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Old 02-15-2011, 08:50 AM   #1
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Vintage 16' Camper Restore

Hi Everyone. Im going to be restoring this camper trailer and wanted to document it here to get some help and feedback on it.

We are just looking for a “Glorified Tent”. I dont want to do a full restore on it because we just wont cook or use water in there. We just want it road worthy/structurally sound, functional for camping with a bed and storage, doesnt stink, and looks respectable. The inside will be remodeled and painted.

16' - 3000lbs tongue weight - 70" Axle with a 4" drop and 13" wheels. No braking system.

The plate by the door has TR 1795 stamped in it. Im guessing that is the weight of the camper and where the VIN/manufacturer info was. The previous paint jobs has covered everything other than the stamped in info.

I removed the stove, sink, holding tank, plumbing, gas lines, tables, benches and electrical.

I will be keeping the cabinets/drawers from the stove and sink removal and just making one big counter.

I will run a small amount of new electrical for plugging things in.

I will be keeping the bathroom minus the outside plumbing for dumping. It will be a changing room with one of those fancy Porta Pottys in there.

Here are the pictures I have so far. Ill posting as I take them.


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Old 02-15-2011, 08:58 AM   #2
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looks like fun
only if i were young again !!!!!!!!!!!!!

just liven life in east tn or where ever our
2011 georgetown ,2012 explorer and 02 tbird take us
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Old 02-15-2011, 10:00 AM   #3
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Im sure I took on a big project, but it is the perfect size for what we are looking for and it gives me something cool to work on.

Other than what I mentioned already, Im expecting to repaint the outside, re-enforce the roof and apply some liquid roof to make it look pretty again.

This is my priority list for the restore:

1. Replace old wheels/tires and install new trailer lights - I believe that the original wheel and hubs were swapped out to a 4 lug system. 13" wheels with 995lbs per tire weight limit just seems to small for this when the tongue weight limit is 3000lbs.

Anyone have suggestions on the proper size wheel and tires for this would be?

2. Verify, repair, and re-enforce camper mounting to trailer and put in new sub-floor.

3. Verify, repair, and re-enforce camper walls.

4. Verify, repair, and re-enforce camper roof to fix sags in aluminum from heavy snow and ice. All support beam in roof are good, its just got some sagging in between the roof cross beams.

5. Clean roof and siding thoroughly. Apply White Liquid Roof!

6. Paint outside of camper whatever colors makes the wife happy.

7. Caulking, Caulking, Caulking......both inside and out

At this point, ill come up with a new priority list for re-finishing the inside.
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Old 02-15-2011, 01:17 PM   #4
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Tongue weight is 3k on that little guy? something is wrong. TOTAL weight of trailer would not even be 3k.
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Old 02-15-2011, 04:06 PM   #5
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I took another look at the tongue weight and I was wrong. Its 5000 lbs. Here is a pic.

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Old 02-15-2011, 05:17 PM   #6
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My axle is a 2-3/8" x 70" tubular axle with 4" drop rated for 3500lbs. Im for sure convinced that the 13" wheels/tires with 4 lug hub on it currently are not proper for this camper. Im going to replace the hubs with a 5 lug and put a couple of ST205/75D- 15" with 1800lbs weight limit each on it. Would that make things fit better?
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Old 02-15-2011, 07:20 PM   #7
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Is that stamped into the tongue? I think you're mistaking tongue weight for GVWR. The tongue weight is the percentage of the total unit weight that is exerted on the tongue. There is no way that would be 5000 lbs because that would mean your unit weighs more than that. My 2000 Coachmen 24' TT only weighs 3500 lbs. I think what that stamp is telling you is that the manufacturer of the tongue built it to be able to be used on units that weighed up to 5000 lbs using an SAE Class III 2" ball hitch. It doesn't mean your unit weighs 5000 lbs. I would disregard those numbers and go with your calculations on the axle/wheel combinations and what they are capable of holding. After you get your unit done go to a truck scale and get it weighed. The difference between what your axle/wheel combination will hold and what the unit actually weighs tells you how much stuff you can pack when you go camping, leaving out a few hundred lbs for safety.
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Old 02-15-2011, 07:36 PM   #8
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Simple thing to do is to go weigh your tow vehicle and then weigh the whole rig. The difference is the weight of the trailer. You want 10 to 15% of the loaded trailer weigh on the tongue.

I doubt if it weighs over 2500# now. And I would add electric brakes to it while doing the work.
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Old 02-15-2011, 08:40 PM   #9
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Weight Inferences

After lots of looking and Craig's List/Manufacturer 'research', my pal and I bought late '80s, 15' TTs. Here's what I 'think' I learned.

1. 'Newer' 1 single Axle TTs almost always have a 3,500 lb Axle. His Wheels are 15"; mine are 5 Bolt 14" Load Range C Trailer Radials rated at 1,860 lbs. each. My Dexter Hubs/Brakes are 10" diameter.

2. My outer Box dimensions are 8' W x 14'2" L. Like upsizing 2"x4" Lumber dimensions, I suppose, my Chassis is called a 15' unit. With the generous Tongue, it's 16' and change.

On the Title, my Trailer weight is 26 CWT [hundredweight] or 2,600 lbs. 'dry'. I've learned that games are played with these specs. That is, Propane Tanks and other 'accessories' are often not included in that weight spec.

3. My pal's Trailer is listed as 3,000 lbs. dry.

4. Construction techniques haven't changed much. 1" x 2" Walls; Luan ply; Appliance weights, etc., run about the same. Our Trailers both have 2"x4" channel Steel Frame construction. His has a wet Bath; mine has a dry Bath.

The 5,000 Tongue weight you mention is very possibly the rating of what the Hitch Ball subassembly is rated for. I think 'want2camp' nailed that.

Based on your pix; the '1795' nomenclature; the Wheel size/Bolt pattern; and absence of Brakes; I think the dry weight is/was 1795 lbs. within the bounds of spec games. Snowmobile and other Trailers use smaller diameter Wheels that carry respectable loads.

As noted above, a Truck Scale will settle the issue. I'd never tow w/o Trailer Brakes. So, perhaps an Axle upgrade/Brake retrofit is a good idea. I retrofitted Brakes onto my Utility Trailer, but the 4 hole Brake mounting Plate was already there on the 3,500 lb. Axle. Brakes use ~3 Amps/Hub. A good Ground Wire is essential, since the Trailer Frame is not adequate. A Trailer Brake Controller Manual will provide wiring/Circuit Breaker details not to be shortcut.

Good fun you've gotten yourself into!
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Old 02-16-2011, 06:03 AM   #10
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Thank you everyone for all the great information! You actually answered some questioned I hadnt even asked yet. Thanks so much!

Im going to pull the tires and the 4 lug wheel hubs off this weekend to be sure I have my measurements correct for the 5 lug hub upgrade and 15" tires. There is a 4 hole mounting bracket for electric breaks on the axle, so I will be adding that to the list of "ToDos". I wasnt going to add them because we camp within 10 minutes of home usually, but now the wife is talking crazy stuff like traveling around Michigan and I will need the breaks for that.

Once I have the new tires, lights, and reinforcements complete, Im going to take it to get weighed. I have to have the police come out and check it because I need to get a new VIN for it. Its no where to be found and it has no title or registration. Its going to be registered as a home built trailer that Im going to use for "work". Once I get the VIN and the police blessing, Ill start remodeling the inside to make it a camper again, then apply for a title. I need to document, take photographs, and save receipts of the whole process so I can prove that its mine and the SOS will title it.

Thanks again and I will post updates as soon as I have them.
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Old 02-16-2011, 06:45 AM   #11
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I would be a little careful about what all I stripped out and tossed.

Personal experience tells me that the more you have, the more you want.

That stove and toilet, I would store somewhere for maybe future use.

You don't mention a wife, and they have a way of deciding whats really necessary.
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Old 02-16-2011, 09:04 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Wizard View Post
I would be a little careful about what all I stripped out and tossed.

Personal experience tells me that the more you have, the more you want.

That stove and toilet, I would store somewhere for maybe future use.

You don't mention a wife, and they have a way of deciding whats really necessary.
I have to agree Wizzard.

The water tank and toilet doesn't add that much weight compaired to the gear you haul. I can say from personal experience, when it's cold out and 3 in the morning the water and toilet are worth their weight in gold....... They are not that hard to keep clean if you are worried about that. As for the appliances, I have had campers with and without and personally couldn't do without them.
I was a tent camper for years and thought the way you do now.....That changed....
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Old 02-16-2011, 12:20 PM   #13
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Points well taken. We probably will want those luxuries, but I was thinking we would want a bigger camper to get them. I mean, this thing is so small I couldnt imagine trying to cook or wash dishes in there. Im going to make one big counter where the sink and stove were. This way we can use the elctric skillet and coffee maker when needed. We have a nice 10 gallon jug for water needs. It will fit nicely under the new counter also. The old water tank was broke and the pump had been removed.

As for the bathroom, I only removed the plumbing to the outside which was no longer operational anyway. The toilet that you see in the picture is a portable one not connected to anything, it got thrown away also, very nasty. I plan on keeping the bathroom and putting a new porta potty in there like this

Im sure this is just one step in our RV future and thats kinda why I want it to be a "Glorified Tent". If use it long enough to get the wife convinced to buy something bigger with more features, then mission accomplished. lol Ill just sell this and get what I can for it.

Thanks again everyone!
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Old 02-16-2011, 12:38 PM   #14
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will be almost as cheap to buy a complete axel with brakes. i bought a 6000 lb dexter with brakes for $260 when i bought same size dexter brakes for my dolly it was $220. i used redneck trailer look them up

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