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Old 07-26-2011, 11:35 PM   #1
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My Totally awesome older camper

I Went to the intro section but felt like I shouldn't go all out there.

So, I have this pretty awesome Yellowstone capri that apparently seems to be like 1 out of 5 left at least that's been on the inter-webs. It was free so im willing to try whatever.
Heres my starting problems:
  1. no papers;need to find the vin
  2. water damage that comes from the sky lights exhaust vent and a pipe that comes out of the ceiling near the potty
  3. floor damage near the cord box.
  4. I have NO idea how any of the propane system works.
  5. havent tried the water system yet

Heres my starting questions:
  1. How do I mentally prepare myself for looking at the water damage
  2. anyone have a general idea where i should be shooting for when taking the paint off the tongue to find the vin
  3. how should I go about testing the water system?
Some things you should know:
the power works when plugged in. I'm a 21 year old female with no knowledge of how any of this works; however, I have basic carpentry skills with access to plenty of tools. I see this as an art project and am refusing to back down at this point I don't Know why . The previous owner kept a tarp on the camper up intill last winter. The girlfriend of the owner apparently did not like mice or bugs and kept plenty of poisen for the mice out so unfortunately theres dead mice every where so ive started by cleaning out the insulation under the futon/bed boxes. I Will be documenting every part of this project
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Old 07-27-2011, 01:20 AM   #2
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Let me start by saying, "Best to you and hope all works well for you in your project." With that said, I don't know that I can answer all (or any for that matter) of your questions. Let me start with the first thing that hit my mind...IF you know about where the VIN number is on the trailer tongue, you can use Carb Cleaner spray from Walmart or any automotive store to remove the paint. But be careful b/c it will also burn your skin if not washed off in a reasonable time. If you don't know the exactly where the VIN number is on the tongue you could try a couple of things. If you have access to an air compressor you might sand blast the area. But that will require a small sandblaster (Harbor Freight has cheap ones) and the compressor must provide sufficient CFM. Another thought would be power drill with wire brush attachment. .....just ideas.

As to testing the water system, does it have a gravity fed fill for the tank? You'll need to pressurize the system and I believe if it were me I'd NOT connect it to 'shore' water (from the house with hose). I'd begin by parking it somewhere on pavement so that I can detect water. Then I'd put an amount of water in the fresh water tank to begin with and look for leaks around tank first. If that passes, I'd make sure all faucets are off, including any outside faucets, and then power up 12V water pump. The pump should pressurize the system and then shut off. If it continues to run with all faucets shut you've got a lose of pressure (leak). If the pump shuts off after a short period, turn on a faucet and the pump should start. Turn off the faucet and shortly thereafter the pump should stop. If that functions in that manner - you've got a good start. By the way, don't forget you've got drain system to check also including the black & gray water tanks if yours has em.

Sorry for seeming scattered with the post but there's a lot of variables to any project like this but I thought I'd at least give you a place to begin. By the way, it will help if you post the mfg / model / etc of what your project RV is. You'll probably get someone (or many) that can help you with specifics then.

Best of luck again and keep us posted. Happy RVing to ya.
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Old 07-27-2011, 01:23 AM   #3
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Well you seem quite ambitious and so you are going to have some fun. Just wanted to wish you well. I'm not familiar with this thing---but if it were me I would clean it out (as you are doing), Then spend some time just chasing pipes and wires and hoses to see where they lead. That way you can get a sense of how things work.

If you can find an old manual or literature that would help. The vintage folks will chime in here and I am sure they will help along the way----Good luck---oh to be young again.
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Old 07-27-2011, 08:54 AM   #4
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I too, welcome you to the forums. I look forward to following your progress. Ask any questions you have no matter how silly they may seem, as there are some pretty knowledgeable folks here that give great advice.
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Old 07-27-2011, 09:42 AM   #5
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Regarding preparing yourself, start with a prayer helping you to deal with carpenter ants if necessary.

The VIN should be on the driver's side of the frame in front. I would attack it with a wire brush.

Water system best tested with air pressure. It's much quicker to clean up after finding a leak with it. Just don't use over 40-50 psi. when doing that.

I would keep it covered when you aren't working on it untill getting all the roof leaks fixed.

Best of luck!
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Old 07-27-2011, 10:06 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dunlapml View Post
you can use Carb Cleaner spray from Walmart or any automotive store to remove the paint. If you have access to an air compressor you might sand blast the area. But that will require a small sandblaster Another thought would be power drill with wire brush attachment. .....just ideas.

does it have a gravity fed fill for the tank? I'd begin by parking it somewhere on pavement so that I can detect water. Then I'd put an amount of water in the fresh water tank to begin with and look for leaks around tank first. If that passes, I'd make sure all faucets are off, including any outside faucets, and then power up 12V water pump. The pump should pressurize the system and then shut off. If it continues to run with all faucets shut you've got a lose of pressure (leak). If the pump shuts off after a short period, turn on a faucet and the pump should start. Turn off the faucet and shortly thereafter the pump should stop. If that functions in that manner - you've got a good start. By the way, don't forget you've got drain system to check also including the black & gray water tanks if yours has em.

, it will help if you post the mfg / model / etc of what your project RV is.
SO then i should probably start off by saying I have a ( havent figured out the exact year yet)
1970ish
yellowstone capri its about 20 ft long.
hopefully by making the text bigger it makes it easy to find since i'm slow and didn't include it in the first post

Resposes YES! okay so. I have PLENTY of carb cleaner leftover from when My boyfriend and I replaced the head gasket in my car! and i have a dremmel with all the sanding tools so i just need to get motivated

As for the water system I have nooooooo clue if its gravity fed the water port is on the door side just behind the tire. it has two ports on it that looks like it can fit a two inch hose and one that fits a garden hose. the camper has a toilet and the septic outlet and i just recently figured out where they hid the hoses. I'm pretty sure I found the grey water tank and/or just the holding tank. its under a bench with a contraption that may be a water pump thats not hooked up anymore. ill grab a picture before i leave for work




I cannot move the camper from where its at right now

the tires are deflated. and im not buying new ones till I either know i'm going to do something with it or I get the title. what ever comes first.So its chilling out in the grass right now

UPDATE:
I removed some of the ceiling infront of the exhaust where i thought the damage was the worst. the area around the skylight is a bit damaged but no where near what I thought it was going to be. when the guy left the camper back there it was tilting twards the door side so all the water damage starts in the middle and runs to the front.
Skylight:


Over the door where it looks the worst:
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Old 07-27-2011, 10:10 AM   #7
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Heres my Before Pictures. Before the hell starts

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Old 07-27-2011, 11:37 AM   #8
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All I can really say is: you go, girl! I am in a similar situation as I recently acquired a much smaller travel trailer project of my own with absolutely no knowledge of how anything works or how any of it is built! Seemed like a good idea at the time and gives me something to learn and work on.
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Old 07-27-2011, 12:32 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Gfaanijray View Post
As for the water system I have nooooooo clue if its gravity fed the water port is on the door side just behind the tire. it has two ports on it that looks like it can fit a two inch hose and one that fits a garden hose. the camper has a toilet and the septic outlet and i just recently figured out where they hid the hoses. I'm pretty sure I found the grey water tank and/or just the holding tank. its under a bench with a contraption that may be a water pump thats not hooked up anymore.



Yep, it appears to have a gravity fed and 'normal' water supply. One good piece of advice from AHICKS about using air to test system. I don't know that I'd go over 30ish psi though. Also, the pic you've posted IS the water pump. Hmmmmm, been disconnected hey? That's something you need to figure out early on as you venture into the water system. May be that the pump simply went bad. Of course, if you use only 'shore' hookups you won't need the pump since you get your water pressure from the system you are hooked to and not the 12V water pump.

The photo outside the TT is the waste dump for the black/gray water tanks. What you need to find are the tanks. The tank in the photo I believe to be the fresh water tank especially if that pump is next to it. One thing to remember is you're really focusing on two completely differenct systems when it comes to plumbing - fresh water & drain. It might be a good idea to do as other as said and simply sort out what and where everything is first. Then prioritize what needs attention first. One thing to remember is that if you tackle the water damage first, you need to consider that once your done with those fixes you may need access to the areas your working on in order to fix electrical & plumbing issues. Give it a little thought.

Honestly, I think the first thing to do is what you're doing....clean everything out of it and search the systems out. Figure out what and where everything is. Don't worry about asking 'dumb' questions......there is a lot of very knowledgable people on this forum with years of experience. Good group of people.
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Old 07-27-2011, 12:59 PM   #10
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the previous owners only used the camper to sleep and for light so I wouldn't be surprised if they just disconnected it to save electricity. on that note should I just try and reconnect it? is there some kind of magical switch to turn it on? lol and I think I might stick with finding out how bad the water damage is I'm sure I'll end up taking the floor out in the back because of that pipe.
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Old 07-27-2011, 01:22 PM   #11
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Do you mean the 12V water pump? If so, it's your call but if it doesn't seem to power up, make sure you have 12V there to start with since it will need 12V from battery(ies) or converter (120Vac to 12Vdca.

One thought came to mind about the water system - since there is already damage that needs to be repaired, maybe a reasonable approach in this case is simply reconnect water to house source and see what leaks or not. Obviously this wouldn't be my approach to most problems (smoke testing is what it's called) but since you have water damage to repair anyways AND if there is leaks they probably have already done significant damage and will need to be repaired anyways. Remember though - water leaks, either from the outside or from internal plumbing, can be a drip at a time. And as you know, water is the biggest enemy of any RV. When it comes to leaks, small leaks are as damaging as any leak. I think that's the reason you need to find out if there is ANY water leak by either air testing or seeing if the system holds water pressure (watching water pump cycle). Just my 2 cents....not worth any more than that.
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Old 07-27-2011, 03:00 PM   #12
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if you go to RV education.com Mark Polk is doing a complete restoration of a small Yellowstone and is posting the vidio of the restoration on his site. You might be able to get some useful information on the construction of your trailer there.
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Old 07-27-2011, 03:06 PM   #13
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Hey, your electrical system appears intact, anyway.

That air nozzle next to your fresh water fill and the long galvanized water tank with copper piping coming out makes me think you have a fresh water system that uses air pressure to move the water, rather than a 12 volt pump. It may have been converted to a pump system, but you can check this by looking for a small black pump near the outlet of your fresh water tank. Is that a 12 volt pump in the picture? I'm trying to figure out the very tiny diameter tubing that appears to go in but not out (or vice versa) of the pump (which looks more like a tiny compressor). Not a useful looking unit for fresh water.

You appear to have a single rectangular waste tank; somewhere (back bumper, perhaps) will be stored a long 3" diameter slinky-style plastic hose. This connects to that white waste valve (pull the T-handle) to drain your tank. DO NOT mess with this now.

If it were me, I would borrow or rent a small compressor to use to try to pressurize your water system (and incidentally check for leaks), and in conjunction with some Fix-a Flat, pump up your tires.

The water damage inside is pretty much always fixable; it just depends on how much time/cash you want to invest. Sealing the roof leaks is also fairly straightforward as long as the roof is relatively intact. It will, however take an investment (couple hundred dollars?) in some quality materials if you want to get the roof sealed and trouble free. The interior is an unknown quantity

The propane will probably not give you big problems as long as nobody has cut pipes off. You will need to be able to access the various connections in your propane system, since leaks are your most likely problem and the connectors are the usual culprits.

Likely you can get a rent/swap a 5 gallon propane bottle outside at the grocery store or hardware (Blue Rhino is our local brand of bring one/take one propane). Pick one up, and find where your tank goes; connect (note; propane tanks are threaded backwards to normal) but wait to open the valve.

Make up a solution of 50/50 dish soap and water (very soapy, in other words) in a spray bottle. Make sure there are no open flames or any electricity hooked up in case you have a propane leak. After you slowly open the valve on the propane tank, listen and sniff; propane has a distinctive foul odor. Spray your soapy water on each connection and joint; look for bubbles. If no smell, sound or bubbles, you can turn on one burner on the stove and try lighting with a match; air will be all you get at first, but keep trying for 20-30 seconds. Once propane is moving through the pipes, you can try lighting the reefer, furnace and water heater, if you have them.

Good luck with your discoveries.
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Old 07-27-2011, 03:25 PM   #14
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if you go to RV education.com Mark Polk is doing a complete restoration of a small Yellowstone and is posting the vidio of the restoration on his site. You might be able to get some useful information on the construction of your trailer there.
wayyyyy ahead of you I'm on episode 10
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