Hello folks.Sorry this will probably end up a little long. I am new to truck campers. Have tent camped for years and camped with my grandparents as a kid in a TT.
DW and I have been looking at all options to fit our needs.
We 4-wheel in a Jeep and snowmobile, so pulling a trailer was very important to us. A toyhauler just didnt quite fit our needs, as its hard to find anything that will fit or handle the weight of our Jeep, of fit 4 mountain, longtrack snowmobiles. Then there is getting a toyhauler to the places we go, which would be a whole different story.
So we started thinking about a TC, but didnt want to spend the kind of money a new one costs and then find out we didnt like it or it just didnt work for us.
So craigslist it was and I started searching for something budjet friendly that I wouldnt lose alot on if it just didnt work for us.
Found an ad that caught my interest for some reason so I contacted the person. He had an old TC posted that he had lost his storage for, due to moving and had to get rid of it. It sounded to good to be true, but I took a chance and went to look at it.
In his ad he said he had a 12' (from front of cabover bed to the back is that length) 1971 Chinook, appliances work, has a bathroom, two newer propane tanks, a set of folding steps, jacks work and an extra set of jacks (which turned out to be...well im not sure what to call them, they are a tripod looking leg with a hand crank on top of each of them). Said it didnt leak and never had. Had one jack mounting point (right rear) with a little damage from hitting it with a riding lawn mower. And that the outside needed a good cleaning from sitting in storage.
I got there to look at it and it was exactly what he said it was. Described it perfectly, other than when he said bathroom I expected a bathroom and it is just a toilet, no sink or shower (not a big deal to me).
It doesnt have a mattress in the cab over part, but easy fix there. The cushions for the dinette look like they just came out of the factory as do the curtains. the refrigerator looks immaculate, the oven doesnt look like its ever been used. There is an old small stain on the ceiling near one of the vent from a leak years ago that was repaired. It has been stored for almost 3 yrs. When it was stored the appliances all worked, so I dont know for sure if they do now or not, I will figure that out this weekend. there is a brand new in the package CO2/Gas alarm in one of the drawers, and a cabinet full of pots and pans, some tools in another drawer. Has sewer hose with it, and also a truck camper dolly to be able to roll it around off the truck.
I think I got a good deal, I paid the full asking price of FREE, and he signed over the title to me. Oh and the license/registration is current and good for a few more months (registration transfers with a vehicle in my state).
He was upset to see it go, but was happy that it went to a family that will use it.
I am pretty handy with working on things, and the work that it needs doesnt seem all that rough to do.
DW of course has the idea in her head of restoring it to brand new factory condition, and I have to admit the idea is growing on me and I think that is the way I am going to go with it.
My truck handles it just fine, actually makes it ride nicer. I have a 2003 Chevy Crew Cab 4x4 3500 dually with a 6.6L Duramax with the Allison trans.
If anybody has any advise for me as to having an old first TC, I would be happy to hear it.
It was dark when I got home and I want to get it washed, and then I will post up a pic or two of it.
Congrats, can't wait to see your new baby! It doesn't sound like this "free" is going to cost much at all. A little elbow grease and TLC and you'll be camping in no time! Have funs...and we want pics!!!
2011 Adventurer 910FBS,Torklift tie downs,Fastguns & Wobbl-stopprs
2012 Dodge 3500 DRW 6.7L CTD, 4x4, LB,CC,6 speed auto,3.73 axle, General 17" on/off road
2008 Lund 1825 Explorer Sport,115 Merc,9.9 kicker,Torklift Super Hitch,42" Supertruss
USAF ret E-9&E-7
Yay!!!! Free is always good, and even better when it's something you can use! Congratulations on your new to you camper and welcome to the TC world. I sounds like you will be on the road and out in the wilderness camping in NO time! Safety is paramount for me, so my only advice would be to make sure the propane system is leak free and up to snuff. If it has a pressurized water system keep it pressurized for a while and listen for the pump to see if it cycles, indicating a leak somewhere. After sitting a long time weird things happen to RVs, almost like a poltergeist is playing havoc on them!
Again, congrats and happy camping!!
1995 Weekender model 910 extended cabover
Calvin, the 1996 creampuff Chev Silverado 3500 extended cab dually
congrats on your new "purchase".
By your description it sounds like an excellent find.If it turns out that there are no surprises you won't have anymore money into it than you would put into a new one in the way of changes and additions.
The jacks are what was the norm back then and we were all very happy with them. The negative was they didn't travel with you so you couldn't offload the camper away from home.
Well done on your new camper. You'll have to send the previous owner pictures once you start using it - will make him feel good that it has gone to a good home where it will be used and taken care of.
Your thinking is like mine in that I wouldn't want to spend a lot of money speculatively on something in case I discovered I didn't like it and I couldn't get that money back. As RV.net members will know I am pretty good with tools, but I was careful not to put too much effort / money into my camper (like rebuilding stuff) until I had used it for a year and was really happy the truck-camping lifestyle was for me. I then jumped in with both feet doing the big stuff like the roof rebuild.
One thing I suggest you do is check the caulk on the various outside seams (especially the roof) carefully and replace it where necessary - if it starts leaking it causes a lot of damage to the timber structure of the camper which is a lot of work to repair, and that damage isn't immediately obvious from within the camper. Some time spent in prevention is well worth the effort.
Another bit of advice - don't rush out and buy lots of stuff for the camper until you are sure you need it. It is easy to see all sorts of accessories advertised and be tempted by them, but it is better to use the camper and learn that way what you really need (you probably went through the same process with tent camping).
One area worth considering is tie-downs if you don't already have them. There are lots of topics here about them including making your own. I used ratchet straps for a while, but now have proper frame mounted tie-downs I built myself and the camper is much more secure on the bumpy stuff.
If you haven't used them before you will likely have a 3-way 'absorption' fridge. These can several hours to get properly cold (assuming it is still working), so don't write it off if it isn't cold after 10 minutes of applying power. However, over time they can corrode and lose coolant - they can be expensive to replace, but you can often get replacement cooler packs for them (the Amish build & sell them). Again, a lot of stuff on RV.net about this (I have gone through the pain of replacing my fridge so I know).
Good luck and please post some pictures for us to see.
'07 Ford Ranger XLT Supercab diesel + '91 Shadow Cruiser - Sky Cruiser 1
'92 Suzuki Samurai 4x4 1.6
'09 Fiat Panda 1.2
'10 Citroen DS3 1.6 turbo
Well yesterday, I started to really look the TC over good. Found one window with some moisture around a small spot on it. It had rained all night, so glad I found that. One vent cover with a small crack in it, but no rain got in, I will replace it though. hooked up shore power and all lights worked. i dont have a deep cycle battery yet to check if it is working on 12V. Hooked up water supply, found a small leak in the supply line to the toilet, but it was an easy fix. Just tightened a fitting. Turned on the propane at the tank and the gas monitor. left the camper for about an hour or so and no alarm, so I figured no leaks. Tried out the stove and the oven. Both worked just fine, as did the propane light that is on the wall about the dinette, had to replace the mantle on it before I tried it. I found 6 of them in the packages in a drawer already in the camper. Put some water in the fresh water tank and didnt find anything leaking. The water pump wouldnt come on though. Not sure if it runs strictly on 12V or what, think that might be the case, and no battery in it right now so I will have to check into that.
All in all I am very pleasantly surprised at the overall condition of the camper and looking forward to fixing the things that need it, and getting it out and camping.
Still no pictures yet, didnt think about taking any till after I was back inside and it was dark.
The water pump is 12v only so it is probably ok but you need the battery to know. As mentioned I would spend some time looking at every square inch of the exterior. Replace any loose and/or dried up chalk with Geoflex (vertical surfaces) for Dicor lap sealant (roof). You should also look at the neoprene pigtail which connects the propane tank. I would just replace it if it looks more than a few years old. Replace or add a propane gas detector and also a carbon monoxide detector.
Sounds like you got a great deal and just need to put in a little work to make sure all is ok. Considering the poor construction quality of most campers you would need to do the same even if you bought new.