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Need some help from experienced trailer campers...

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by newyorkin, Jul 26, 2005.

  1. newyorkin

    newyorkin 1 ton status

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    Scroll down if you're not my wife...






























    OK, hopefully the coast is clear...

    I'm going to look at a 1973 Starcraft popup trailer this evening or sometime this week.
    I need to know what to look for. The owner's asking $175 for it, said he hasn't used it in a while, but it was in good shape, just needing some light canvas repair, otherwise ready to camp.

    We're going camping this weekend in Hershey, PA. We are planning on tents, but I thought it would be realllly cool to surprise her and the kids friday afternoon by pulling up with a trailer (I have to figure out a way to get a hitch put on the minivan really fast, but that's a detail...).

    What are the most important things I should look at on this thing? I don't even know the slightest place to start... I'm assuming tires and tongue should be rust free and in good shape, but what else should I seek out on it?

    Thanks fellas!
     
  2. mr_clean

    mr_clean 1/2 ton status

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    I'm deffinately not experienced here, I just bought a trailer myself a few months ago. I'd say check for leaks and dry-rot. Mold would be a bad thing too. Open up all the cabinets and look inside them with a flashlight for any signs of that stuff...

    Paul (Canmore) can give you some great tips here.

    Scott
     
  3. newyorkin

    newyorkin 1 ton status

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    Cool, good tips I hadn't thought of yet.

    Where's he been? I haven't seen him online recently...
     
  4. mr_clean

    mr_clean 1/2 ton status

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    I haven't seen him in a while either, but I've been a little too busy to get on much myself the last 3 weeks or so...
     
  5. mtn. burb

    mtn. burb 1/2 ton status

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    Hey Ratch, I'm a newbie when it comes to trailers but a couple things come to mind.

    Ask when the wheel bearings were last repacked. Take hold of a wheel with both hands and push/pull on it, see if it feels loose. Bad zippers are one thing, but losing a wheel on the road is another.

    Does it have a safety brake...one of those cable deals that if the trailer comes unhitched it pulls on a brake. Some have them.

    Mold, mildew?

    For $175.00 bucks or less, if it can be cleaned up enough to be acceptable to sleep in it's a good deal.

    Plan on doing some maintenance on it.

    Good luck.
     
  6. baldamish

    baldamish 1/2 ton status

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    With limited experience with the pop ups (mainly helping my buddy), the few things i can suggest is to be sure and go over the canvas, it could end up pretty costly for "simple" repairs. Maybe even run by an upolstry shop and talk to them, ask them what to look for, and how much they'd charge for different repairs. The other thing would be to actually expand it, see how well it goes, on some of the models there is basically a bike chain that extends the end bed areas and raises the top, and sometimes those chains are off track and it won't come up smoothly, or it's off track on one side and only one side will expand and the other will not....those are just the few things that i know of them. As far as leaks go, you can always tar the top, or epoxy it to insure it no longer leaks!! just some thoughts!!
     
  7. gambit420s

    gambit420s 1/2 ton status

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    i would replace/repack the wheel bearings immediately...

    i helped a guy that had just bought a 3-4 yo 30' camper. he paid like 15g's for it. he didnt even make it home and the bearing locked up in traffic/construction(no shoulder for like 2mi) the tire exploded and completely f-ed up the whole side/lower panel. he was pissed!!! a $20-30 bearing cost him a whole lot...

    and look at the tires too. trailer tires aren't as well made as car tires and usually wont take the same abuse(dry-rot/bad wear) as a car tire

    there was a guy who's trailer tire busted in yellowstone a few years ago he dragged it on the rim for a few mi cuase he didnt notice, ended up starting a big forest fire... guess who they sent a very large bill to.....
     
  8. hi pinion

    hi pinion 3/4 ton status

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    :thumb: Camp it up brother!!

    the truth: I dont ever camp in a tent anymore, lol, or anything a bear could get into ,,lol, bacuse im scared chitless of bears man, noooo thank you.

    It sounds like a good deal, dont pass :thumb:
     
  9. newyorkin

    newyorkin 1 ton status

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    Thanks for all the suggestions all!


    Edit: normally I never remove any comments I make on here unless I'm asked to or they're overly aggressive and offensive. But I just re-read what I wrote here, and I sound like a whiny snivellybeotch, and I don't need to say such negative things about the seller just because he's a rude dumbarse. So I edited my comments in the interest of not being so whiny and not trashing a dude that may not deserve a trashing...



    On a more humorous note, I just got off the phone with the woman selling it, and she mentioned it needs a 2 inch ball to be towed. I said "I have plenty of balls with my truck, I'm not worried about that."... Took a little effort not to start cracking up as I said that and realized what I said. I think she was trying not to laugh, too...:haha: So immature...



    Rude people suck.
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2005
  10. diesel4me

    diesel4me 1 ton status Premium Member

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    Yes,rude people DO suck...

    Sorry to hear the "seller' is being a jerk---I had a tent trailer given to me about 10 years ago--it never left my yard,but I did use it some for a month or so,then one of my friends wanted to buy it so I sold it too him for 75 bucks--I was not looking to make a killing on it--only reason I didn't just give it to him was I had to spend about that much on it getting it roadworthy and fixing the winch cable that raised the roof up..

    I dont like tents very much--like Hi Pinion said,I prefer to have metal walls animals and intruders cant rip thru easily--and the canvas can be costly to fix when it gets ripped..but they are a good alternative to sleeping in a regular tent on the ground,or in a cramped van...lots of room in them,and easy for a smaller vehicle to tow..and all the comforts of home with a sink and stove!..(and a heater in some models).. :laugh:

    If you do get one,all the other guys suggested the same thing I am going to--check the tires,(cheap to buy new--check the rims too!)-wheel bearings,the condition of the frame and tounge as far as rust,and make sure the roof cranks up and down easily and the winch cable or chain(s) are in decent shape-(on the one I got they had broken,thats why it was free!--but it was in excellent condition otherwise!)..mold can be a bummer,but it can be removed with bleach or lysol..

    I am tempted to get a travel trailer--my van has been off the road almost 2 years,and its seen better days..only reason I keep it is if I become homeless(not too farfetched) I could sleep in it,since its set up for camping..but its a lot of cash to spend to keep it registered and insured just to use it a few times a year..its getting pretty ripe from sitting--I figure a trailer would be less to put plates on,and there is no motor or tranny to maintain..

    I see one in the local paper cheap--a 1971 15 footer that is in "fair" condition bodywise,and otherwise good shape,with a title,for 75 bucks!--there have been a few "freebies" advertised too(one trailer and 2 slide in campers) but I dragged my A$$ and I missed out on them(I thought about a slide in camper--but after having the van and a mini motorhome,I found it to be a PITA to have to drag the "house" with you everywhere,and you have to disconnect the water hose,electric cord,etc,everytime you want to go sightseeing--plus they are cumbersome in traffic..

    I am not a big fan of towing either--but once you get to your campsite,its nice to be able to get "set up" and leave everything there rather than drag it all over ...

    Hope you have good luck finding a camper!--I should check the 3 large trailer/RV places right in my neighborhood--I've heard a few people went there and scored a trailer very cheap--"trade ins" on new campers that the dealers just assume scrap than sell...one guy got a tandem axle one for 25 bucks in rough shape,and he made a nice car trailer out of it...might not hurt to look there I guess.. :crazy:
     
  11. newyorkin

    newyorkin 1 ton status

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    Oh yeah, I forgot about them. There're a couple dealers around my area, too. I wonder if I could pick up a cheap used one for a couple hundred that's at least newer than this one.
    Ah, I shouldn't look a gift horse int he mouth either, at the same time...
     
  12. Kiwi John

    Kiwi John 1/2 ton status

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    It's a gas.

    As well as checking all the above stuff, check out the cooker for good hoses and clamps etc. If possible.take a gas bottle and hook it up. Gas leaks are very bad in a trailer! Also if it has a fridge that's run by gas then check that too. Lots of these fridges can catch alight if the pilot light is not serviced properly.

    Translation: Gas: Propane or whatever you get over there in a steel bottle with a regulator on top.
    Fridge: Refrigerator. Often run by gas with a heat exchanger.

    Also also check the washing-up sink for leaks at the plug fitting. Water leaks are not dangerous but they sure are a PIA.
    Lights. Check the trailer lights all work when you plug them into your tow vehicle. Indicators, stop lamps etc.
    Happy camping!
     

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