Rebuild Camper


Old 01-21-12, 03:00 PM
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Rebuild Camper

I have a Lil Hobo camper trailer approx. 1972 model yr. The company has gone oob. I need to repair/ rebuild this trailer. The roof leaks, there is one window missing,the aluminum skin is pulled out at the front and rear edges, exposing the 2x2 construction. The frame and running gear and road lights all seem to be in good shape.
I need to replace the two skylights,(no problems there),and the roof.The roof shouldn't be to much of a problem.
My problems start when I get inside. How do I remove water damaged ceiling panels, wall paneling, and rotted flooring.

There are built in seats and tables, but I can't locate any fasteners.
The same holds for the ceiling and floor.
How do you get the ceiling panels down and back up?

Thanks for any and all advice.

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Old 01-22-12, 07:06 AM
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Thumbs up Welcome to our forums!

Is this similar to what you have? You really need to take a long hard look at the practicality of doing a project like this.
How these campers are made is that the trailer gets a floor installed first with the sheet vinyl completely installed.
The wall framing and roof gets completely installed and finished and then the interior cabinets and appliances go in.

In order for you to repair the floor and roof depending on how bad it is you would need to strip pretty much everything out of it and being stick built would have to rebuild all the cabinets, beds etc.

One thing you need to keep in mind is that the metal trailer structure is somewhat flimsy and this style of camper relies on the wooden box structure to actually stiffen up the trailer frame.
If you only patch the wooden parts and travel down smooth roads you should be ok but if you do any rough road driving the camper may flex too much.

This could be a fun project but would take a LOT of time and possibly money.

If you could take some clear pics and post them to a free site like Photo Bucket we could take a closer look.
Just provide a link or use the buttons when in the reply box to make the pics appear in a post.
Old 01-24-12, 08:16 AM
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Look at the seams area where the 4x8 panel butt up. There is usually a batten, or seam tape covering the seams. Once you remove seam tape or batten, if you don't see any fasteners (staples, nails) then they may be laminated panels. (glued) Laminated panels are just rigid styrofoam with the interior panel glued to inside and aluminum or fiberglass (filon) exterior. They are glued and sandwiched together, then assembled. If you see no sign of fasteners, remove a vent trim and look in there. If you see rigid styrofoam with panel one side (Interior) and metal or what ever you exterior is on top side, then is glued. Start at a seam and try a thin pry bar, or scraper in between panel and styrofoam and see if glue will release. If you see a spot where it's had water damage and starting to de-laminate, that's even better, start there, it has to be fixed/replaced anyway. If there is no sign of de-lamination or other damage and you just want to change decor, you may want to consider going over with wallpaper, or panels. As far as getting seats/benches, etc out, check and see if the sides have an inner and outer panel that shows any fasteners. Sometimes once the inner panel is removed you find framing attached to floor with screws. Removing the inside panels is also easier to cover up if damaged when removing & you plan re-use panels later.
Old 01-25-12, 04:06 PM
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Me and my dad had to do the same thing to his dads travelmaster. I think it was built in 1975. It was alot of work. The roof was ok but the floor rotted out. We peeled up the aluminum on the sides and cut the box off the floor and built a whole new floor and set the camper back down on the new floor. It was a lot of work and a lot of our repairs were done different then how it was built just because we didnt have access to areas like they did. From what I could tell they built it and the siding was the last thing to go on.
Old 02-12-12, 09:29 PM
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You might give some serious thought to just how much use you'll get out of the old rig after putting hundreds of hours into getting her fixed up. Seriously.

None of us leaves this planet alive.
Old 02-14-12, 07:07 PM
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Man, go for it. I'm restoring an old camper now. I have mine parked right outside the back door, and can work on it anytime I have a few minutes. Power is hooked up and all my tools inside. It's a lot of work, but materials are cheap because they are all thin cuts of wood.

If your roof is aluminum or metal, use eternabond tape to repair the leaks. My roof had holes in it and it stopped the leaks.
Old 03-05-12, 08:11 AM
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Thumbs up My Lil" Hobo

Well, I tore down one ceiling panel, and found a couple of rotted 2x3 rafters, which kind of fell out. I have found that the wall on the drivers side (left side) is all solid and everything looks good there.
The right side is a much different story.
One window is missing, and the sidewall ,if not rotted is all cut up in little pieces. There is no structural integrity at all. I will have to completely gut the inside right sidewall, and I am thinking about taking down the rest of the ceiling , and removing the bathroom and all the storage closets in the rear.
That way I will be able to rebuild/replace all the rot in the sidewall , and at the same time I will have to replace the floor.
This could get to be very time consuming, but I am retired, and I have had a lot of building and repairing experience and I have most all of the tools I will need.
Since the walls and ceiling are just 1/4" plywood and standard paneling, and the floor is going to be replaced with either 5/8 or 3/4" plywood, there really won't be that much expense I will take pics and post as I go.
Old 03-05-12, 08:15 AM
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I am also thinking, since it will all be open and exposed, of getting some spray on insulation and doing the whole ceiling/roof area, as well as the sidewall and rear wall. This should add a lot of rigidity to the unit as well as insulation.
Old 03-05-12, 08:57 AM
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I'm in the same boat! Last summer, I purchased a 1992 fifth wheel from a remote family member -not realizing that he might have been as clueless as I about what to look for when it comes to damage...So, a few days ago, I get a wild hair and decide to start prying around in it, investigating the soft spot in front of the entry door and another by the bathroom sink...
To make a long story short, I pulled up the carpet and the carpet pad (and the hideous stick-on tile) in front of the door and found rotten strand board that I could poke a screwdriver through. (WHY in God's name is that [email protected] put in floors?!? -Especially when 1 drop of water makes it disintegrate?) More prying discovered a 4' X 5' area of rotten floor beams and a past attempt at a floor repair.

The bathroom was worse. When I pulled up the discolored linoleum, the flooring had rotted to dirt under the sink and the floor beam was so saturated with water it squished out when pressed with a thumb. I think (hoping?) a toilet leak was the culprit in this one...

So now I'm facing gutting the bathroom and dining area (the beam rot extended along the exterior wall to the back of the trailer), pulling up the rest of the rotted floor, sealing every nook and cranny on the exterior, and trying to figure out how one goes about making sure the top side of the vapor barrier (and the rest of the subfloor) is dry before I close everything back up....I'm really hoping I don't have to remove the vapor barrier to get to the floor beams under the bulkhead...
And to think that this started out as a 1' X 2' flooring repair...:P

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