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Old 08-24-2012, 11:42 PM   #1
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For those interested in buying an "old" TT to rehab, here's what I did

If you want to buy an old TT and resurect it as I did, here's what I found in my search and rehab.
We looked at 6 TTs (all craigslist) all said good or excellent condition in the $2000 to $3500 price range. Yes I know, bottom feeding just for fun. ALL were junk when we got there. We wanted a road trip anyway, it was actually fun for the 1400 miles. We finally found #7 and when we got there it was OK for what we wanted. 1977 20' Excell with N/S sleeping. Not perfect by any means, but not rotted out like ALL the others. One owner since new, sitting with cover for sometime. Inside cabinets and furniture in very good shape thanks to the cover. No water leaks at the windows and just a few stains at the roof. Roof completely solid with no soft spots of rot- WHOOPPEE!
Everything worked, stove, oven, REFER, furnace, water pump, A/C! Paint dull but OK, some corrosion on all the aluminum frames and channels. All interior lights work. Now what does it need?
1. Tires. Old ones wouldn't make 50 miles and we have 550 to go. This being Sunday we called all the usuall, Costco, Wally World, Goodyear, Firestone, all open, no ST tires. Finally thought of PEP Boys in La Habra, CA. They said they would go to other stores to get 2 more as they only had 2. Deal done! In and out in under an hour. Great service.
Now the rest of the story:
On the way home I make a list and I find I need:
Stop/turn lights are weird, re-wire and rebulb, remove corrosion
No clearance lights work, replace all
No brakes ( well I don't have a brake controller)
Reseal roof seams that are wearing out from the sun
Remount the new skylight covers that are not secured to the hinge
Weld a small leak at the outlet to the grey water tank
Refasten the dump manifold that is falling off
Rewire the trailer harness hookup and new breakaway switch and clean all grounds (very important!) due to corrosion.
New hoses for the propane tanks
New cover for refer outlet and stove vent outlet
New washers and orings on all faucets.
Fix leak in vacuum breaker on toilet
Remove DEAD battery and replace with 2 T105 Trojans with new plastic boxes and rewire all battery connections with new crimp connectors.
Install POD brake Controller, Inexpensive and works fine on this little TT
Tighten some cabinet screws
Deep clean the entire inside and wash the outside.
All in all, not too bad for a 35 yr old box compared to most we looked at.
Got all the above done and went on first week out. Did 1400 miles.

After first trip stuff:
Found another leak on the grey tank when it was almost filled. Weldable
Checked and cleaned and regreased all wheel bearings and adjusted all brakes. All brakes work.

The "box" is doing good for its age. For the amount invested (under $3K total for everything) I'm pleased. Anyone wanting to do the same remember-you gotta kiss a lot of frogs before you find the Prince! And, you gotta have some understanding of what to look for and have the capability to fix it
Up next is the cosmetics, outside paint, clean and reseal all the drip channels, figure out how to clean and reseal all the windows.

We'll see how things go after the next week on the road!
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Old 08-25-2012, 02:18 PM   #2
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Sounds like you accomplished what you set out to do. Congratulations!

Post some photos!
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Old 08-25-2012, 10:13 PM   #3
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Here's pictures if I did it correctly
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Old 08-26-2012, 01:09 PM   #4
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Great Job.

Best of all--You did not expect it to be in perfect shape after 35 years, and then expect the maker to fix everything for free under "warranty."
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Old 08-26-2012, 01:23 PM   #5
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Nice job!

Trailer looks great!

I'm considering bringing home an older travel trailer to do some light rehab to. Thanks for the post, that's some helpful information. I'm trying to make myself aware of any "red flags" on a deal that seems too good to pass up!

- Matt
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Old 08-26-2012, 01:32 PM   #6
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What I don't understand is why they built this model with TWO "dinettes".

We have basically the same floor plan, but with a queen bed in the front. Looks like you might have room for a plush king mattress there if you're so inclined.

Jus' sayin'.....

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Old 08-26-2012, 11:04 PM   #7
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Actually the 2 front seats are used as beds on either side. We wanted N/S sleeping rather than E/W and one having to crawl over the other to get out. Doing a queen bed is something we have discussed for later on.
No one can expect to find any trailer over 30 yrs old and for under @$2000 in perfect condition. It just ain't going to happen. You can find them without roof or floor rot though. It's not easy, but it can be done. 9 out of 10 will have rot somewhere. The mechanical systems in trailers are not too complicated or expensive to fix if all the appliances work. All the appliances MUST work or the deal is over at these prices, especially the refridge.
Tires always need replacing. Unless someone can prove they are 1 yr old or younger- they need replacing with good ST tires. There are ways to check the wheel alignment for bent axels that you should do. My neighbor found out the hard way last year and had to put in a new axel on his recent purchase. Never trust the wheel bearings and brakes until they are taken apart, cleaned, inspected and repacked with grease and then the axel nut tightened correctly.
Battery (ies) always need replacing. I put 2 Trojan T105s in with new cables and inside plastic battery boxes. I can boondock for 5 days and never use half the battery even with using the furnace at night.
For under $3000 all in, one can find a great trailer that will last several more years.
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Old 08-26-2012, 11:45 PM   #8
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Quote:
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Never trust the wheel bearings and brakes until they are taken apart, cleaned, inspected and repacked with grease and then the axel nut tightened correctly.
AMEN, brother! You are sooo right-on there!

After thoroughly cleaning a bearing and race with solvent, then alcohol, and then blowing it dry with compressed air, , I like to "dry run" the bearing in its race to ensure it "feels right" to me. Any hint, at all, of anything but perfect smoothness gets a disqualification.

When I bought our 1999 this last Spring, one of the hub caps was missing. I suspected it was for only a short time, as there wasn't any dust or dirt built up on the grease showing. It was the last hub I re-packed, and the outer bearing, sure enough, had very minor rust spots on both some rollers and the race. At first, I didn't see it, but it just didn't FEEL right! After a trip to the parts house, and about ten bucks spent with Mr. Timken, it DID feel right!

Had I re-used it, I may have been OK on this trailer's first outing (it was only 200 miles), or I may have had a smoking-hot hub in the middle of the Mahave Desert. The choice was mine, and I'm not a gambling man.

In my opinion, careful bearing inspection, proper grease pack, and accurate pre-load set, is just as important as using the best, properly-inflated tires, and TPMS possible when it comes to problem-free towing.

Oh yea, inspect and adjust those brakes, too, and make sure all the magnets and shoes are operational and not worn beyond limits.

What rides above the axles may or may not be a hundred percent, and may be an irritant or inconvenience for an outing, but that's not nearly as important as what rolls and stops!

An oven pilot light that won't stay lit is one thing, a burnt-up wheel spindle in the middle of nowhere is quite another!

Happy rolling!

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Old 08-27-2012, 01:38 AM   #9
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Thx for the nice thread, I think like this too, just trying to get started with an TT, and low budget is the rule.
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Old 08-28-2012, 01:01 AM   #10
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Quote:
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Doing a queen bed is something we have discussed for later on.
An advantage to a dedicated bed is all the under-pedestal storage space you'll gain.

The most important part, however, is that you can select a top-quality mattress. When my wife had ours built (most mattress shops can have a custom-sized mattress built to order for very little up-charge) she selected an RV-sized queen "euro-top" style. It has springs, mattress material, and a "memory-foam" top. It's over twelve inches thick.

Though it sure wasn't the cheapest mattress on the show-room floor, as the sales-gal reminded her, "You don't take the trailer out to get a bad night's sleep!". I sleep on it almost better than at home.

So, be sure to keep that as a future possibility!

Here's how ours came out after completely rebuilding the entire bed pedestal, as the previous owner had reduced it to a "full" size for reasons completely unknown. Note the unused width in the upper-right of the photo:

Before:



Gutted it:



And after:



What couple can sleep on a "full" now-a-days, anyway?

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Old 08-28-2012, 01:09 PM   #11
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You gave me good ideas Thanks I like that bed!
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Old 08-29-2012, 11:20 AM   #12
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I like it!

I just bought a new to me trailer earlier this summer- a small 1985 Sunline. I've got very little money in it and it is going to be lovely when I'm finished all the updates. I have some surprise woodrot in the floor corners and where the awning mount caulking failed but nothing I can't handle. I wanted a camper, but didn't want to add a monthly bill when I already have a house payment and a car payment. If I use this one a lot, I'll know it is worth it for me to upgrade in the future.
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Old 08-29-2012, 05:27 PM   #13
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Cliffy,

Your TT is the exact layout of one I owned many years ago,
mine was a 1979 Komfort.

The single bench's up front opened up to make a bed all the
way across the trailer (about a king bed).

The bathroom was roomy and the bath tube/shower was big.

Looking at your pictures brought back good memories.
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Old 08-29-2012, 05:45 PM   #14
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Wow! Great looking TT. While we haven't had a TT for many years, we have done rehabs on a class C and a class A so I understand many of the little piddling fixes that are always present on an older unit. Looks like you do nice work. Thanks for the thread and pics.
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