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Old 06-19-2013, 01:12 AM   #1
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Newbie needs opinions on this possible project

Hey folks...I am a newbie and I think I've found a good item for a project but wanted to check with the pro's.

About me...I'm fairly skilled in DIY stuff but haven't had trailer restoration experience per say. I built my hot dog cart about a year ago and it has been doing a fine job and I think maybe some of those skills would help me with a restoration project.

I was originally looking for a utility trailer on CL and was going to build a teardrop trailer from the ground up using the trailer. However a couple of days ago I found this little guy and while it's bigger, it might be the way to go.

It's a 17' Holiday Rambler Wide World trailer. It has a clean title and new tabs and license plate. I won't lie, it's rough. Especially on the inside. Two corners of the trailer (see pics) have opened up and there is rot on those outside walls. There is a stove, fridge, bathroom...not sure if stove or fridge or toilet works for that matter. When I checked it out today, power came on when she plugged it in with the extension cord and the pump turned on so that's good.

There is some ceiling rot not surprisingly by the outside corners that have split open. The rest of the ceiling seems ok...and the floor isn't bad. The bathroom floor is horrible and would probably need to be completely replaced. The windows are the best thing about the old bird as they are intact and large! Strange to see sliding windows instead of louvered ones like I always see....maybe someone knows if these are original or not? They look like they are.

She's asking $300 but is willing to take less then $200. I told her that I needed a night to think about it and I know she's motivated. I'm worried about what I'm going to find once I start gutting it but for the price? Hmmm....I more worried about figuring out HOW to do something when needed because while I'm fairly competent in the diy catagory, general carpentery isn't something that I've done much. Although I have the time and am wanting to do this myself and not spend the money to have someone else do it.

Any thoughts on this guy for a project would be appreciated. Worst case scenario I've come up with is maybe I gut the whole thing and it's full of rot. I could clean it down to just the utility trailer and maybe try and sell that if nothing else.

Thanks for your input!





















Should this rust worry me?

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Old 06-19-2013, 01:24 AM   #2
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Ok, I'm no expert either. My two cents worth would be to decide what are you getting for your $200?
If the chassis is ok, and you can salvage some of the internals, what is that worth to you? If you can repair the shell, what will it be worth when you have finished, compared to what it will cost you to repair it. How long will it take to repair it and do you have the time?
It would be a lot of fun, and you should have the chance to improve the insulation, and layout, if you want to.
Good luck, whatever you decide!
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Old 06-19-2013, 01:42 AM   #3
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WOW!! Now that's a "project"!
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Old 06-19-2013, 08:48 AM   #4
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With the money you will have to put into this trailer, you might be better off finding a unit that I just needs cleaning up. I also can repair things. This does not sound like a good trailer to repair. I think it's time to call in Dr. Kavorkian .
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Old 06-19-2013, 09:13 AM   #5
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To me, it would be a fun project because, with the condition it is in, you can just gut it and rig it up the way you want. While it's gutted, you can fix all the problems and replace any rotted dimensional wood perhaps even with aluminum. If it were me, going back with it, I'd go total retro.

Projects like this aren't always about the bottom line, but more about the accomplishment.
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Old 06-19-2013, 09:29 AM   #6
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If you want a fun project and are now worried about getting your money back out of it any time soon, then go for it! There are a lot of companies now that rebuild,old trailers. It is often not about the money, but the satisfaction in knowing ou have brought something back from the brink. Do try and remember that the axles, tires and wheels will probably also need replacing. Adding to your cost.
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Old 06-19-2013, 10:23 AM   #7
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Thanks everyone... Yes it is definitely a project but the challenge is what intrigues me. I offered her $125 and I haven't heard back yet but I think she will take it. Honestly I think she will be happy to get it off of her property any way possible, ha ha.

Donn... see that's a concern because that sounds like big $ and seems to defeat the purpose of going forward with this. Is there any easy way that I can determine if the wheels or axel need replacing? The tires seem good to go at this point.

Can anyone tell me if I should be concerned about the rust in that propane compartment? I'm not sure what that circular vent is next to the propane dials...perhaps it's just a vent and the rust doesn't really affect it? I will certainly try to get rid of as much of the rust as I can but I'm not sure if that's a serious issue or not.
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Old 06-19-2013, 10:38 PM   #8
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That's the hot water heater! Looks a little rough
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Old 06-20-2013, 06:00 AM   #9
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You'd be best suited replacing the hot water heater and the fridge. If you are thinking about resale, you should err to keeping it as light as possible while including as many conveniences as possible.
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Old 06-20-2013, 10:43 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Djdawg View Post

Donn... see that's a concern because that sounds like big $ and seems to defeat the purpose of going forward with this. Is there any easy way that I can determine if the wheels or axel need replacing? The tires seem good to go at this point.

Can anyone tell me if I should be concerned about the rust in that propane compartment? I'm not sure what that circular vent is next to the propane dials...perhaps it's just a vent and the rust doesn't really affect it? I will certainly try to get rid of as much of the rust as I can but I'm not sure if that's a serious issue or not.
Yea. Look at the wheels. If they are a star pattern where they bolt onto the drum rather than a typical 5 lug pattern then the wheels are obsolete. Does not necessarily mean you cant use them, just that none are available new. Maybe a good media blasting and paint will be all you need. As for propane tanks, remember the 12 year rule. Or is it 7 years> cant remember, but they need to be recertified or replaced after XX years. Before you jump in with both feet you do some research on the net for vintage trailer restore shops. I know there is one in Bend,OR that does fantastic work bringing antiques back to road worthy things of beauty. It might give you some ideas how to proceed and a resource for parts.
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Old 06-20-2013, 10:58 AM   #11
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Well, she arrives today. I don't have an electrical brake controller in my rig yet (nor the correct pin connector for the lights) so the dad-in-law is towing it to me for an extra $20. It's pouring down rain here like a son of a gun right now, so my first order of business is putting a tarp over the roof so it doesn't have to get any more wet inside then it already is! Ha ha. Let the fun (??) begin!
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Old 06-20-2013, 11:11 AM   #12
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Yea. Look at the wheels. If they are a star pattern where they bolt onto the drum rather than a typical 5 lug pattern then the wheels are obsolete. Does not necessarily mean you cant use them, just that none are available new. Maybe a good media blasting and paint will be all you need. As for propane tanks, remember the 12 year rule. Or is it 7 years> cant remember, but they need to be recertified or replaced after XX years. Before you jump in with both feet you do some research on the net for vintage trailer restore shops. I know there is one in Bend,OR that does fantastic work bringing antiques back to road worthy things of beauty. It might give you some ideas how to proceed and a resource for parts.
I'm looking at my pics Donn and from what I can see they do look like a star pattern. I'll confirm today. Better hold onto those babies!
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Old 06-20-2013, 11:39 AM   #13
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My 2c worth : This could easily be a multi year $ 3,000 + project, and return nothing for your labor time spent.
Take a look around and see what's available in the $3,000 range, I'll bet you can find something that you could be out camping in, in a few weeks, not years.
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Old 06-20-2013, 01:14 PM   #14
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I think your best bet is to gut it and seal it up. Just keep the toilet and maybe the sink. Ditch the rest. Put down some linoleum flooring, a matress, a fantastic fan and use it as a boondocking dry camping unit. Total cost would probably be less than $500 invested. Maybe a coat of paint on the interior walls so it doesn't look so dated(waynescotting can be painted and looks nice).

It's not worth it to restore it back to fully functional. You're better off buying a old unit which was kept in better condition, but fully functional.

Just make sure the chassis isn't rotted out, brakes still work, and you can still tow it.

Put some batteries on it for the fantastic fan and water pump. Maybe a solar panel as well. No need for propane, i wouldn't risk getting the original heater back up and running, probably some leaks in the line. You could end up on fire while you sleep.
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