1974 KIT 11' Slide-In Pickup Camper (UPDATED 04-22-07)
Been lazy, so I hadn't posted this to the Vintage RV thread sooner, but this is my vintage rig, well the Camper's vintage, the trucks a 92. When I found her, she'd been stored inside a pole barn with a concrete floor for the last 15 years when her previous owner wasn't using her. She's structurally sound and most of her appliances are still original, except for the cold water plumbing, water pump and the furnace, replaced by the previous owner.
Love the old 2 way fridges, no eletronics needing batteries, 12 volt or none, the fridge starts and runs with the process of opening the gas valve and striking a match at the burner. The stove/oven is made by Coleman, and I need to find a shop to tweak the burner controls, or find some instructions on it, a couple are sticky with age.
Total cost: $1500, paid in cash, paid in full.
For an 11 foot camper, she drops my 3/4 ton truck down 3" or so from her stock ride height with full water and fully loaded for a trip. The stock truck, aside from the occasional side to side rock, which is rare and not extreme in any fashion, rides like its not carrying it. At some point I may add an extra leaf to my overload pack, but for now, it'll work just fine.
Greatest features? The diversion valve built into it. You can run your grey water into her 45 gallon combined holding tank, or you can close the shutter and drain all gray water off into a tote or bucket for extended boondocking. We'll run out of fresh water as it stands before we can over fill that holding tank. This worked particularly good with the 5 gallon black paint bucket I have, it allowed me to also gauge how much water was being used. The average for a shower was about 2.5-3 gallons.
I need to go over to my buddies and either patch the existing tin in the propane compartment door, or just pull it out and put a new piece of some kind in. The original is a bit beat up, due to a brain **** moment with the last owner who I bought it from didn't quite get it latched down tight and it popped open and he went down the road a ways in the back country before finding out, door got a bit beat up.
And yes, I know there's no rear tie downs on it in the picture, at the time, the guys front chains were too short because his happijacs were higher up on his bed than mine, mine are down at the floor of my truck bed. Even without the rears on it stayed put. I've since been to the local Lowes and gotten the needed hardware to make certain its properly secured.
Now, for the interior, mind you I've done a fair amount of clean up work and repainting in the cabover, the last owner kinda did a haphazard paint job, since these pictures were taken, if I get around to it here, I'll take some updated ones.
A "real" Queen sized cabover. I can lay out my whole 6'4" self and still have room at either end of me and room along side for the lady. Mattress is the original, cover's about had it.
I've since take my 1" memory foam topper and get one of those vinyl matress covers and wrapped the whole matress with it. Since I go winter camping, I've also installed a layer of 1" foil wrapped solid foam board underneath the matress to help with heat/cold transfer.
Nice big dinette, with plenty of room for people to sit. Roughly a 6' long bed, even my 6'4" 330lb self can sleep comfortably in it. That big steel railing is for the giant fold out cabinet bed. It actually folds out just as wide as the dinette below it, lots of room for the wee one to sleep up there!
I've since painted the lower area around the dinette itself a nice clean white which goes better with the curtains and the cushions. I haven't had a chance to photograph it yet, hopefully when I get it back out of storage I'll be able to snap a couple shots. I've also replaced the old thermometer based temperature gauge with a very nice clock I was given that self sets off the broadcast time from Nuclear clocks in Ft. Collins colorado. It tells the time, relative humidity inside, interior temp, exterior temp (Via wireless weather station), phase of the moon, what day of the week it is, what date, etc. The wire basket for news papers is where the clock is, and the wire basket is now on the wall near the sink, making use of otherwise unused wall space.
A nice two bowl stainless steel sink and more counterspace! The faucet's original and leaks a little, I've already got plans to retire it with a slightly taller Utility Room unit that is of the same fitting size.
Still need to replace that ****** faucet, but its not giving me as much trouble now
Doors open, lots of Light coming in. Thank god the last owner made foam board cutouts for all the windows for winter camping, I took the ones for the front cab over window, painted the exterior side white and stuck them in and left them, it does wonders for the interior temperature.
Plenty of counter space on both sides of the aisle.
Got privacy? Love those sliding doors, makes a nice cubby for me and the misses to be.
I like the bathroom, its a one piece fiberglass unit. Toilet's seal at the floor was replaced about 5 years ago when it finally started leaking, before I bought it. No leaks now and holds water in the bowl just fine.
Since I bought the camper, I tried one trip with just a gasket around the door. That, didn't work. So, I've added a shower curtain, a nice soap dish for shampoo and soap, and a cutoff valve on the shower head to stop the pump without having to shut the sink faucets off.
G.E. Brand 2-way fridge. "Flint" striker for lighting. Clean, no cracks in the plastic and doesn't smell of mildew like so many old campers out there.
I've since added two sets of fans to the fridge, two inside to circulate the cold air, and two mounted to the exterior access door to help move air over the coils to help cool them down. I have plans to pull the fridge here in the near future and using a shop vac and a fridge fin brush clean the cooling fins at the top of the fridge, to my knowledge, they've never been cleaned. Depending on the feasibility of it, I may try adding a set of fans near these coils to boost the cooling capabilities of the fridge, or at least to help exhaust the air better.
Who knows what this is? Its a propane lantern, still works. The old owner loved it because it warmed the camper up. Me? I'm going to cap its hook up at the main gas line and take it off the wall and save it, its rare.
If ya look right below it there's two switches. Silver one is the Battery/Converter toggle. The converter is the original and is not designed to charge the camper battery, its just designed to provide onboard power when plugged in.
Ah, the wonders of the past decades, I forget what they called that color, but it was popular on appliances back then.
These are other project that have been done to the camper since I originally bought it.
When I originally bought the camper, this is how the wardrobe had been setup by the last owner. Not exactly a full utilization of space, so I took his original shelf, and reusing mostly materials that were already there, I made it into this:
Now, I can store my folding camp chairs, propane lamp post, and other tall camping goods as well as my cat heater, propane lantern, spare campstove, hoses etc...
Adding House Batteries
My camper, being as old as it is, didn't have any house batteries of its own. After its first trip with my father for his 60th birthday to Odell Lake, I decided that I was going to need more than the one group 27 battery I had mounted under the hood of my pickup truck.
So, I employed my buddy the metal fabricator to design a rack to carry two Trojan SCS225 Group 31 batteries.
The batteries are wired in using 8 guage wire, snaked along the outside of the camper to the point of where the 8 gauge plug wire comes in from the bed. It does charge, and charge well, because those batteries have yet to run down from the fully charged range much even after a few days service because of driving in between.
With the age of my camper, I know one thing. The sides of the truck box walls on the camper are just plywood, so are the overhangs, they're just two layers of staggered plywood laminated one over the top of the other. It made it really easy for installing bolts.
I now have an onboard capacity of 260 AH, in addition to the 100 AH coming from the battery mounted in the engine compartment, so more than enough battery now for camping up at those remote forestry campgrounds. I've got plans to replace the group 27 under the hood soon, since its going on its 4th year of service and starting to show its age with a Group 29 Trojan Deep cycle. I'd put another group 31 under the hood, but the space in which the battery sits isn't wide enough to accomodate a group 31 without it sitting right up against the side of the radiator.