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Gadget Man 03-01-2012 09:59 AM

Renovating Old Starcraft
Some older folks that we have gone camping with and that are members of our church, came into some hard times last year. They had a real nice pop-up trailer that was 2 years old. The husband got laid off and decided to cancel the insurance on the trailer, to help them get by (bad call). As luck would have it, while returning from a camping trip two months later, the wife lost control of their truck in some high winds and flipped the trailer, totaling it in the process. They really miss camping. The wife has M.S., so tenting it isn’t an option for them.

I came across a 1978 Starcraft Starmate 12' pop-up trailer yesterday. It’s not in great shape, but the canvas is good, which I’m told is the main concern with these trailers. I talked the seller down to $500 and trailered it home. My son & I are going renovate it, clean it up and give it to our friends so they can resume their passion for camping.

I have never owned a pop-up, so if there are any pointers any of you fine folks can give me on renovating it and what to look out for, I’d be much obliged!



Ramblin 03-01-2012 10:04 AM

What a great thing to do. You, sir, are my hero. :flowers:

Dadeaux 03-01-2012 10:07 AM

Craig you guys are the kind of neighbors that most people long for, my hats off to you.

Gadget Man 03-02-2012 12:10 AM

Thanks folks, just paying it forward. :)


Smeraldo 03-02-2012 02:38 AM

Renovating starcraft
God bless you, Owned a palomino popup 11 yrs. ago. Kept it in A1 shape and my sister is still using it. Give it a good washing.and waxing.Treat the canvas with scothcguard fabric protector. Cheaper in Walmart sporting goods section. Orange label much cheaper. Go on the internet and purchase a roll of seam sealer. Coat all 21stiching on canvas and stitching on outside of awning bag and stitching of awning. Treat awning fabric (both sides) with apropriate protector for the type of fabric it is. Lubricate lock of door and lube stabilizer. Make sure propane bottle and regulatorare newer style. Hose is not cracked with age. Have trailer fullopened up and lay on the ground to check wood floor. You will need to check tires and see if it needs any brake work or bearings repacked. Post again and let us know how things check out for you. Ask if you have any more questions. We need more people like you!! Never put the canvas or awning away wet. If you are really adventerous after you do the TLC go camping in it.If you have to bring it home wet then set it up at home and dry it out ASAP. Keep us posted . Take pictures of the inside and fully opened up for us to see.

Smeraldo 03-02-2012 02:48 AM

Starcraft renovation
I looked at the picture again. Check the caulk at the vent clean and reseal if needed. The vent cover can be waxed to minimize sun dammage. Looks like you could hand sand the tongue and clean off with paint thinner. Get a can of black spray paint and it will look brand new.

Gadget Man 03-02-2012 09:17 AM


Thanks so much for your input! My son & are going to get started on it this weekend. I'll print this out as a guide.

I plan on taking a wire brush and sandpaper to the entire tongue assembly, spray it with Rust Reformer and then hit it with some black paint after that dries (rear bumper as well). I'd like to re-paint the entire trailer surface up front as its badly oxidized and chipped, but I don't want to paint the entire rig, so I'm not sure how it would look with just one side being freshly painted.


Ragingbull 03-02-2012 09:38 AM

Way to pay it forward Craig! Just goes to show RV'rs are the best sort of folks out there!

Flaggy 04-24-2012 04:03 PM


You are to be congratulated on your caring approach to this project. We traded off a 1984 Starcraft last summer very similar to what you are trying to restore for your friends. I got into some pretty extensive repairs on our unit. So, from my experience, here is your list of things to check. 1. make sure the roof is sealed. Ours had leaked at one point, and would have avoided most of the issues we encountered, had the roof been properly maintained. 2. Check the lifting mechanism. (Do not go higher than the red mark on the master post!) Does it go up and down completely on on four corners? If not, cable kits are available to repair. (Make sure the kit is model-specific!) 3. If you see evidence of a roof leak at some point in time, proceed with caution! Is the floor solid? Are the vertical framing structures securely attached to the floor. Does the door close and latch properly? (Result of the door frame rotting off the floor.) 4. Hand powered water pump replacments are available. 5. Carefully check the propane line for leaks. (There are a lot of rubber flex connections. ) Check the bottom of the canvas for rot along the clamped edge. (This is the area under the most stress.) If I can be of any assistance, feel free to PM me.


Gadget Man 04-25-2012 10:23 AM

Thanks for the reply Mike. Unfortunately, health issues have stalled the project. I hope to get going on it again next month!


sam-3 04-27-2012 10:11 PM

Renovating starcraft
Craig sorry to hear you are a bit under the weather. I know how that is I,ve been struggling with my health since Dec.2011. I,ve been inpatient in the hosp three times and am recuperating from my second surgery. I,m scheduled to have shouldery surgery May 18th..I just have a hernia problem then I will try to get it fixed in the fall/cold weather. I'm getting all this fussy stuff out of the way so when I get old I will be healthy!! Anyway ,I was in walmart and I was in the camping section and saw a tube of roll on seam sealer and thought of you. The other poster gave you some first hand experience really good advice. Hope you feel better and are able to post again soon.

goreds2 04-29-2012 10:36 AM

Super nice of you to think about those people. I hope your health gets better and post pictures of the project progress. :thumb:

bpendley 05-09-2012 01:28 PM

For a 1978, the picture looks like it is in awesome condition!

I bought a 1984 starcraft last year. I had to replace the entire floor because of leaks. As they have said above, make sure your corners are weather tight!

Assuming there is no water damage and structural rot, seal it nice and tight! Don't use silicone. It is a very poor sealer. I use an acrylic sealer called "Quad" on my travel trailer.

Gadget Man 05-18-2012 11:07 AM

Hi everyone. Thanks for all of the replies.

I resumed work on the trailer this week. I am currently rebuilding the brake system. The master cylinder was completely rusted and frozen up. I also had to replace one of the brake lines. I'll be removing the brake drums today to re-pack the wheel bearings. I'll know then what kind of shape the brake shoes are in.

So far O'Reilly auto parts has had everything I've needed, and at a great price.

While I was under the trailer I got a good look at the wood floor. It looks excellent. I'm sure it was replaced at some point.

I'll keep you posted on my progress and post anything unusual that may come up.


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