Boler shopping tips? - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 02-05-2014, 01:16 PM   #15
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Name: RogerDat
Trailer: 77 Scamp 13
Michigan
Posts: 3,081
Any decent trailer shop that does welding could do the frame work. If the metal is rotted from the inside it will as someone pointed out sound bad if tapped with a metal object. Weld joints not cracked and reasonably solid frame and one can reinforce stress points without any need for expense of a totally new frame.

Checking out the propane system is routine maintenance so you might find more spider nests, or leaks on an old one but even new your going to need to check fittings for leaks with soapy water pretty soon.

On the electric if it ain't broke you can't fix it so this expense is easy to know up front. Plug trailer in and see if stuff works, cheap AC plug tester from big box hardware store and a spare light bulb or two. Same for the trailer lights, if they work it only becomes an expense if you want to do the work.

Sand blast the tongue? You can hit that with a small electric sander and wire brush on a drill, then paint with foam brush or rattle can. Paint protects metal and metal only needs to be clean enough for the paint to stick. Decent paint job will look fine on bumper or tongue, it doesn't need to be painted as "fine" as a car or Harley chopper to look good.

Scuffed tire wear or less than approx. 3 inch clearance above wheel to the wheel well are good guideline for "need" an axle or not. Measure your fist then see how your fist fits above the tire. At this age it should be expected a new axle will be required but the question is does it need it right away or is it OK for a year or two of use. Axle done is solid investment that adds value.

Current seller can't say what works and what does not, if you decided to sell it and having used it can say, fridge works, propane all works and axle is only 3 yrs. old it enhances the value, enough to get a good return on the investment somewhat depends on purchase price and market value of one in known good condition. Check out those links from Roy so you know what is a fair offer and how much room you have for adding value from your investments.

Not going to get a "new" 36 year old camper anymore than you are going to get a "new" 1976 Mustang but both can be pretty cool to own.

Question I think you really need to ask is where is your comfort level. Does it all have to be done over to "new" condition for you to feel confident using it, or if it still works are you comfortable with the knowledge something might need repair at some point?

What do you personally have to spend to use and enjoy is the bottom line.
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Old 02-05-2014, 01:36 PM   #16
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Name: RogerDat
Trailer: 77 Scamp 13
Michigan
Posts: 3,081
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Originally Posted by VicCT View Post
I found a welder who is willing and able, works on and builds trailers. $75/hour, does that sound reasonable? So I am thinking I might be able to make this work, depending on condition when I get there. Will bring checklist and do my best to check things out, except propane, I will just assume that system needs fixing since it hasn't been used in five years. Don't want to test that myself!
$75 is a fair labor rate, especially for an experienced person that knows how to design a good reinforcement approach. Propane system of trailer itself is just copper tubing, each appliance is it's own thing that works or does not work. Tank -> Regulator -> lines -> appliance.

And those propane lines are in sections with a "T" at each appliance, not much to go wrong except having the T connection work loose. EXCEPT for getting water in the lines, typically from storing with no propane tank connected and the end of the copper tube not covered. Water collects in the low spot (typically where tubing goes into the trailer) Then water freezes and splits the copper tube. So good to examine the propane line where it enters the trailer or any other low point you find for that tubing.

Still a fairly simple repair that any plumber should be able to do.
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Old 02-05-2014, 02:46 PM   #17
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Name: Vicki
Trailer: Scamp 13, 2015 Nissan Frontier SE
Connecticut
Posts: 95
Roger, I can't tell you how helpful this was. When you don't have experience in what to look for, it is so helpful to have concrete advice like "So good to examine the propane line where it enters the trailer or any other low point you find for that tubing."

If the frame does not need replacing, I will just grind down the rust on the tongue and paint it. Good thought. I've done that on my wrought iron railings. Either way I probably need a new axle, as the Boler currently does not have electric brakes and I would be adding them. I figure if I can keep my spending under $2500, I can keep it within a reasonable value. It has new tires and propane tank, but I will check them. The known "must do's" are brakes, probably axle, and check propane lines and furnace and necessary repairs to that. Fridge does not work but I could live without one for awhile, have it checked out for what the problem is and either get it fixed or keep my eyes peeled for a deal on a new or used one. Other probable things are shoring up the frame, electric stuff I could maybe do myself (although do the lines run behind the insulation?), install a fantastic fan to replace current basic vent fan (I might be able to handle this myself too), and check for window leaks, which I won't be able to do in the middle of winter here. I will look for telltale excess caulking and signs of leakage, though.

Thanks everyone, any more specific advice on what to look for is most appreciated. I have been reading through all of the posts on restoration as well.
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Old 02-05-2014, 04:54 PM   #18
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Name: RogerDat
Trailer: 77 Scamp 13
Michigan
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Originally Posted by VicCT View Post
....."So good to examine the propane line where it enters the trailer or any other low point you find for that tubing.".....
You want to guess how I found that one out?

I thought of one other thing, leaking water always finds the floor and then an opening to drain from, often around the edges or maybe where propane line or wire go through the floor. So a good strong flashlight used to check the floor under cabinets, seating, closets, all around the edges of the camper is a good place to check. Look for discoloration and check if wood has become soft, plywood layers have started to separate or sounds oddly soft and dull when thumped with a knuckle when compared to solid floor.

If you can check floor from underneath pay extra attention near the door, door can leak and wood floor probably takes the most pounding right where people step in.

I totally agree on adding electric brakes if you change an axle. Smart way to go.

If trailer currently has 4 bolt rims expect to need new rims too when you change the axle. Common 13 inch (and most trailer rims and axles) are now 5 bolt. You may also need a bolt on adapter for the spare tire if going from 4 bolt to 5 bolt rims because the holes in 5 bolt rim won't line up with the spare tire bolts/hanger for a 4 bolt rim if that was original. No big deal welding shop can crank adapter out, probably in an hour or less, and possibly brace off of the rear bumper too for some added strength supporting the spare. At least on a Scamp it's possible to go that route. After having gone through a lot of hassle to stay with 4 bolt on mine when I replaced the axle I don't advise it, if I had a do over I would go with the common 5 bolt solution outlined above. Even at the expense of 3 new rims.

3 way fridge runs off of heat so could have burned out electric heating element and it might still work on propane heat source, or vice versa. Google and search the forum for "Burping a fridge" before replacing it. A lot of these fridges take a long time (hours) to get cold, possibly original owner ran it for an hour or two and thought it was broken when it was not.

Good Luck, hope it works out.
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Old 02-06-2014, 08:22 PM   #19
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Name: Roy
Trailer: 1972 boler American and 1979 Trillium 4500
Ontario
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After having gone through a lot of hassle to stay with 4 bolt on mine when I replaced the axle I don't advise it, if I had a do over I would go with the common 5 bolt solution outlined above. Even at the expense of 3 new rims.
Keep your eye out for sales. Tires mounted on rims can often be found for less than the tires alone.
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Old 02-11-2014, 08:55 PM   #20
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Name: Vicki
Trailer: Scamp 13, 2015 Nissan Frontier SE
Connecticut
Posts: 95
Just an update - - I did not buy the Boler, but someone who looked after me apparently did, as it is no longer listed. More work was needed than I anticipated. Still looking! Thanks for the help everyone.
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