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Thread: Anyone ever renovate a small camper trailer (ie. Boler)?

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    Default Anyone ever renovate a small camper trailer (ie. Boler)?

    I think it's time me and my wife get a small camper trailer (don't need the wash room) and I came across a Boler on kijiji for $3,000 and it got me thinking....why not buy a real old thing (even better if it has the retro look on the outside) and renovate it over the winter? Anybody ever done this?

    For now it's just me and my wife and our two small dogs, so we really just need a bed, maybe a small kitchen and table and that's all, don't even need the washroom and shower...

    My questions is, has anyone ever done this? Is it worth it? I don't even know where to begin! But I'm excited for this project! Ideally I want it all done for under $5000 (including buying the trailer)...

    The interior stuff looks easy, but not knowing anything about trailers, what do I have make sure is good in terms of mechanicals? Obviously the tires, some of these things have brakes? What about electical-wise inside and out?

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    Friend of mine completely rebuilt an old Shasta. Right from the frame and wiring on up to cabinets, floorboards, and upholstery.
    In the end it wasn't worth it at all.
    For $5 grand you can buy a pretty nice single axel trailer from the 90's
    YMMV

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    yeah i dont think it'd be very fun, every decision you make would have to be based around weight
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    Interesting. ..thanks for the info! Will probably just wait till we can afford something new then. ...or take Dave's advice.

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    I have one and im currently renovating it as well. Mines a 1975 boler 1300.

    Feel free to pm me. 3k is a pretty good price considering we bought ours 3 years ago for nearly 7k

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    It makes sense if you need something you can't buy...

    Otherwise just shop for one thats ready to use or needs minor updating...

    Kijiji is usually full of mostly stripped trailers that people got way over their heads on renovating. It's not like house Reno's (well other than most never complete projects) and the costs can be significantly higher.

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    Man. I tried to undertake renovating a trailer once. Never again.

    People think it is like renovating a house, but, its a whole different beast. You have to take into account the weight of the materials, how you are going to fasten it all together, how it will handle the constant jostling and such of being rolled down the highway and gravel roads, nevermind the flexing of the frame...

    If I was going to buy a new trailer, if it needed anything more than new lino on the floor or new upholstery on the cushions, I would walk away from it.
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    Originally posted by spikerS
    Man. I tried to undertake renovating a trailer once. Never again.

    People think it is like renovating a house, but, its a whole different beast. You have to take into account the weight of the materials, how you are going to fasten it all together, how it will handle the constant jostling and such of being rolled down the highway and gravel roads, nevermind the flexing of the frame...

    If I was going to buy a new trailer, if it needed anything more than new lino on the floor or new upholstery on the cushions, I would walk away from it.
    Also to note on that regarding the frame. Bolers and other trailers of that vintage are made with steel as in rustable steel frames. There are many stories online where people have been towing fine and then it snaps mid way or in the mountains or something like that.

    This is my boler: http://imgur.com/vcLQ0dQ

    However I just replaced the frame which cost a mint. Told my wife we would be camping alot for the next 10 years to get our use out of it.

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    Originally posted by JohnnyHockey
    Interesting. ..thanks for the info! Will probably just wait till we can afford something new then. ...or take Dave's advice.
    I have a 25ish foot trailer for sale for about 7k and it's an 05. you can find plenty of old ones for 5k.

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    Originally posted by JohnnyHockey
    Interesting. ..thanks for the info! Will probably just wait till we can afford something new then. ...or take Dave's advice.
    Just a few examples:

    17' Bigfoot: $5700 OBO. Could haggle that down some too. Bigfoots fetch a very high used price as they're all fibreglass and keep their value.

    1979 19' Vanguard: $3500 OBO Older units have far superior appliances. My Dad's 79 camper's fridge and furnace still work flawlessly. Most newer models last 10 years max. If they're clean and dry, they will last you many more years.

    1998 Fleetwood 24': $5500 OBO Could easily get that for $5,000. No one ever said, "gee I wish I'd gotten a smaller trailer". Could easily pull that with an SUV or 1/2 ton.

    Just a few examples of the prices for used. There are so many deals to be had out there. Conversely my son bought a brand new 18' single axel Apex, (terrible if you ever have a blowout) with a tiny fridge. After all the taxes, PDI, green fees, etc, he paid close to $20,000 plus financed for 14 years!!

    Our '07, 30' trailer with double slideouts and two separate bedrooms, it's massive, was $13,000.

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    Originally posted by C_Dave45

    After all the taxes, PDI, green fees, etc, he paid close to $20,000 plus financed for 14 years!!

    Sorry, this is a little OT... but holy shit. Did you not try and talk him out of it? Financing anything other than a house, let alone something that depreciates like crazy, over that long of a period is a horrible financial move. is right.

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    You can finance trailers for decades. It's ridiculous.

    How else do you think young couple affords a brand new 30" trailer?

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    Originally posted by cjblair


    Sorry, this is a little OT... but holy shit. Did you not try and talk him out of it? Financing anything other than a house, let alone something that depreciates like crazy, over that long of a period is a horrible financial move. is right.
    I know. He regrets it now.
    He may try to rent it out privately to recoup some expenses.

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    Originally posted by C_Dave45

    I know. He regrets it now.
    He may try to rent it out privately to recoup some expenses.
    good luck if he ever needs to make an insurance claim, if you rent it out, you're now commercial, insane rates, and if you get caught without commercial, you'll be blacklisted for sure.
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    Then again...

    If you really are set on an RV project...

    http://www.mikenchell.com/weekender/

    Proven and free design for a teardrop - build it to suit your needs...

    If done reasonably well - fairly good resale (not as good as a true teardrop).

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    All the time spent doing the reno could be enjoyed in a camper in the woods. Nothing more valuable than time.

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    Originally posted by Thaco
    good luck if he ever needs to make an insurance claim, if you rent it out, you're now commercial, insane rates, and if you get caught without commercial, you'll be blacklisted for sure.
    *edit*....yeah, good point.
    Last edited by C_Dave45; 08-24-2016 at 01:07 PM.

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    I have a fiberglass 1978 Triple E Surfside (lesser known brand) and its great! It's the second one that I've own as I fixed up the first one and sold it for more then I had into it. These trailers are easy to work on, parts aren't hard to get and if you have one which has no leaks your golden. There's a great resource online FiberglassRV which will have all the info on all the makes and models. I've have mine now for 8 plus years I think, tows great hardly know its behind the Pathfinder and the gas mileage is pretty much the same. Best thing is when it comes to parking it as you can pretty much pick it up and push it around if you like and fit it in the smallest site. If you have any questions message me.

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    Originally posted by Kjonus
    I have a fiberglass 1978 Triple E Surfside (lesser known brand) and its great! It's the second one that I've own as I fixed up the first one and sold it for more then I had into it. These trailers are easy to work on, parts aren't hard to get and if you have one which has no leaks your golden. There's a great resource online FiberglassRV which will have all the info on all the makes and models. I've have mine now for 8 plus years I think, tows great hardly know its behind the Pathfinder and the gas mileage is pretty much the same. Best thing is when it comes to parking it as you can pretty much pick it up and push it around if you like and fit it in the smallest site. If you have any questions message me.
    I have friends that have a surfside - its been sitting in their backyard for the last 3 years. They asked me to come round and see how good of shape it was in. Inside it was completely moldy - everything was black mold. Apparently their uncle (who had given it to them for free thank god) had gone in there and pressure washed everything and then closed the door and not opened it for a couple of years. And now they think they can sell it for 3k+.

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    Bump.

    Did you have any success on this? Maybe we can do a group reno, as I was gifted a sound framed and decent shape '77 Boler 1300. They have a huge cult following and can fetch a mint when done right.

    I tested it out a couple weeks ago, and as someone who has only ever Tented, but doesn't want to buy a truck to tow some ridiculous "Glamper" there was something amazing about being off the ground, warm and dry, and comfortable. I cant wait to work on this thing in my spare time! Oh, and being able to pick it up and move it around the site, or at home with your bare hands is a HUGE plus.


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