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Old 06-11-2010, 01:43 PM   #1
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1964 Caveman camper

Just bought a 1964 Caveman camper. Very solid and has been well taken care of. Only problem is that one of the Rieco jacks is bad. I would like to rebuild it myself, anyone do this before? I can't find any info or "how to" rebuild. Doesn't seem it would be difficult especially if I had some instructions.
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Old 06-12-2010, 10:57 PM   #2
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Depending on if Caveman built their rigs with steel frames through all the generations, it should be fairly structurally sound, most of the wooden parts are likely for framing in walls.

Rebuilding isn't hard, it simply starts by de-skining the unit and marking the order and where each piece went. Depending on the make of siding, you'll either start at the top, or start at the bottom, they're usually only held in place with staples.

As to schematics, you'll never find any, Caveman out of Grants Pass, OR, went belly up decades ago.

Simply measure the old material to cut the new. It'll either have 1x2 or 2x2 wood in the frame, along with steel angle iron (Caveman only had this).

Reico jacks you can buy rebuild kits for for $50, which rebuilds two jacks.

I have a set of 4 Riecos that are far newer for sale, $400. Been working on repainting them as the powder coat they came with from the factory was crap.
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Old 06-14-2010, 12:32 AM   #3
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1964 Caveman

Redneck,
thanks for the info, took the ceiling paneling off this weekend, looking good so far, yes the camper is all angle iron through out. some signs of old leaks, but all the wood is sound w/ no rot. Would it be wrong to simply re-skin the old cabinetry w/ new material and then re-hang the doors? Right now I think I am going to start w/ functional things, and down the road do the cosmetic stuff later on if I really want to?

Have you rebuilt any jacks in the past? I got the rebuild kit ordered, I am counting on some instructions w/ the kit, but for now was wondering if anyone could give me some info if they have tackled this or would you just recommend an RV store do it.
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Old 06-14-2010, 02:55 AM   #4
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Keep a couple bottles of transmission fluid handy and a big syringe, the fill hole on the jacks is tiny. Lay the jack on its side when filling and fill slowly to displace the air till full (unless instructions say otherwise).

I've been slowly making new face panels for my cabinets and what not. Camper's kind of an odd amalgamation of wood right now as there's birch and mahogany paneling intermixed with different shades of the same pecan stain (Mahogany stained darker).

I found a bargain barn building that had cabinet doors for cheap and bought 6 for $30 when I redesigned the cabinet over the dinette to eliminate the fold down bunk.

Back to the jack repair, its not hard. The entire piston assembly is simply threaded in, a good deep socket of the right size with a long handled socket wrench will do most of the work.

I just decided to switch to electric jacks and do away with the back and forth pumping process. Found a set of 4 used ones for $500 on craigslist and ran the wiring for them myself on the outside of the camper.

Save the major cosmetic work on a "To-Do" List and fix the things that hold you back from camping, its what I've been doing for the last 4 years.
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