1973 Eco Camper Questions - HELP! - Fiberglass RV


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Old 11-05-2018, 08:57 PM   #1
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Name: Nicole
Trailer: Eco
Colorado
Posts: 49
1973 Eco Camper Questions - HELP!

Good evening fellow fiberglass campers!

My husband and I have a 1973 Eco that is in pretty good condition.

An opportunity has come up where I may be living in my camper full-time this summer. It will be in an RV park, so I will have a bathroom and laundry services, thankfully!

Our camper has some rust on the frame and I am not sure where to take it to. I am not sure if it's something I can do, or if I need to take it to an auto body shop, or a regular shop. I am not sure what to do about it, but I know that needs bandaids first and foremost. I believe I may be needing a new axle too, not quite sure.

Next: I need my sink to work because currently it does not. I was going to buy the other sink piece on Amazon and replace the old because the last time we tried to use ours, it didn't work. I am a very visual person, so if anyone else has pictures of their plumbing system, I would greatly appreciate seeing and understanding how yours works in your camper.

Next: I need to get our cushions reupholstered and before I do, does anyone have a certain fabric that really works well for them? We have a dog, and we do some dirty camping sometimes and I want something that will stay clean easily. Previously, it had fabric on the top and marine fabric on the sides and the bottom.

Next: Where can I order a newer table? Ours is older, falling apart and it is almost completely a rectangle.. which makes it hard to slide in on the sides when it is in "table mode".

Next: If my electrical lights are working, should I upgrade them any way, or just leave them be? Can I do an LED system? What have you done with yours?

Next: I have NO stove in mine. We don't have the hook-ups for propane. I am thinking of doing a solar power system in my camper.. does anyone have an electrical stove? If I stay in this rv park, I will have an electrical hookup, but I want to eventually do solar so I do not have to rely on that in the future.

Next: Solar.. how do you do it? Does anyone run fully on solar? Send me pictures and give me information, PLEASE!

Next: A fan for the ceiling. Of course, there isn't much insulation. So, when it's hot outside, it's hotter inside and when it's cold outside, it's colder inside.
Not really the most exciting.

Next: Has anyone replaced the plexiglass windows? Was it hard?

Next: How do you fix the sagging door? We really need to upgrade that.


I think those are all my questions. So far, this is what has been done:

New cabinets made that are smaller and lighter.
Painted the interior white.
Reupholstered (real cheap and ghetto do get by, but it's not permanent)
New vinyl flooring.
New tires.


Thank you for any help you can provide. I just really want to hit this hard and get this done by April/May. I live in Colorado, so it might be slightly dumb to be trying some of this in the Winter..but I want it to be more comfortable to live in for the Summer in Washington/Oregon.
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Old 11-05-2018, 09:00 PM   #2
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Name: Nicole
Trailer: Eco
Colorado
Posts: 49
Pictures

Here are pictures of our "lighthouse"

Enjoy!
Attached Thumbnails
IMG_9305.jpg   IMG_1783.jpg  

IMG_1942.jpg   IMG_1867.jpg  

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Old 11-06-2018, 09:58 AM   #3
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Name: K C
Trailer: 1971 Trailswest Campster
Washington
Posts: 2,083
Nicole, you have already been battling that faucet issue in this forum previously as in a year ago. You also have previously asked for help on the issue of the light fixtures.

You need to remember that nothing last forever, especially true for faucets as they have rubber parts inside of them and rubber parts get old and brittle and don't seal anymore. So at this point quit trying to fix it and instead buy yourself a brand new faucet to replace the old one. If you don't know how to use the new faucet just go to youtube, you will find video instructions showing how it works. If you don't know how to remove and replace a faucet there are plenty of threads in this forum that show how other members did it. But you can also see youtube videos on it.

The same thing goes for old light fixtures. The metal parts develop corrosion inside of old light fixtures, you can't get decent electrical contact on corroded surfaces. Restoring them is not worth the effort you would have to put into it. They were cheap items when they were new and now they are worthless. Replace them with new LED fixtures. There are videos on youtube and threads in the forum for that as well. There are numerous RV supply stores online who sell LED fixtures that will be of a similar size to your old ones.


Lots of threads on the forum showing how to build a new table top and also showing the new tables they have bought from online to replace the original table. If you don't have woodworking skills you can hire a handyman or cabinet shop to make a new table top to match the size of the old one.
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Old 11-06-2018, 10:08 AM   #4
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Name: Michael
Trailer: Casita 16ft.
California
Posts: 246
My that is quite a list of questions. I will try to answer some. I'll let others to fill
in the blanks that I leave out.

1) Rust on Frame. Can you post some pics? Your description doesn't include enough info. Rust can be anything to light surface needing a simple to sanding and painting to outright cancer requiring major surgery to remove and replace rotten steel.

2) Sink Drain. By "sink piece" do you mean the p-trap? P-traps are a method that seals off odors from the sewage or grey water systems For grey water, here are two types of sink odor traps which typically install directly under the fixture. On larger trailers with more extensive plumbing includes grey water storage tanks, often a conventional U type p-trap is used that is similar to what you have in your house. On small camper type trailers that are usually do not have grey water storage, there is a smaller trap fixture that looks like an upside down plastic dome with a hose nipple on the side attached to the underside of the sink. The latter is probably what your trailer has. Both are readily available from RV suppliers and simple to install.

3) Cushion Upholstery. I'll leave that to others.

4) Newer Table. I doubt that you can "buy" a new ready made table for an older trailer though all of the trailer companies that utilize the original Boler molds are probably close or identical in dimensions. I would think that you could have a local cabinet shop to custom make you a table with a laminate like Formica that is affordable. I built the table in my Casita trailer from a laminated pine slab bought from a local building supply and sealed it with clear urethane. As for cutting the corners for easier access into the booth that is certainly doable though you ought to keep in mind that this same table is also the bottom of your bed when in sleeping mode. Your cushions will probably gap small angle cuts corners so I wouldn't get too carried away.

5) Electrical Lights There are much more efficient LED lighting options available for both 110vac or 12vdc systems. You can get them as simple screw in bulbs or whole fixtures. The high efficiency of LED really makes the most difference when operating on 12vdc via battery storage. Most older trailers use fixtures that take an 1156 tail light type bulb in their 12 systems. LED bulbs to fit this are readily available. My trailer is completely changed over to LEDs.

6) Stove There is no solar system that will fit on your trailer that will supply enough electricity to run an electric stove. You are best to install a propane stove. This will require installation of a bottle, pressure regulator (most likely on the trailer tongue) and assorted piping. You should have this system installed by a competent professional.

7) Solar. For a solar newbie, It would be best to purchase a whole system which includes panel(s) controller, and batteries. The size will be dictated by the amount of power that you expect to use and the length of time you will run off grid. A solar professional can assist you in calculating your needs. There are also numerous books and videos available on line if you do a search.

8) Plexiglass I'll leave that for others

9) Sagging Door. Need more info. Photo? Is the sag in the structure of the door? Or in the hinges?

I hope this helps.
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Old 11-06-2018, 10:26 AM   #5
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Name: bill
Trailer: 2013 Escape 19; 1977 Trillium 1300
North Carolina
Posts: 1,367
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Given the amount of work you are asking about, and the features you want that this trailer does not have, I'd recommend you sell it and buy a trailer in good condition with the features on your list.

Old trailers are best suited for people that have the time/tools/aptitude/resources/indoor workspace to tackle the job themselves. Otherwise, its best to leave projects to others. Just in the aptitude area, an experienced person can complete jobs in two hours that take me two or three DAYS to complete. And their work will likely be higher quality. I usually multiply experienced person's time estimate in hours by days. So a four hour job might take me four days. And so on. The other thing is the nearly constant waiting on parts. I seem to be ordering parts every few days. Right now, I am waiting for RV outlets from Amazon (they are different from standard household outlets). Nothing has been too costly yet, but it has been a time suck.

It would take a highly skilled and motivated person months of time and thousands of dollars to complete the list you have there. New frame and axle will not be cheap, without seeing it in person I am guessing it will need both. Welders around here charge $80 an hour to do welding. Wild! But skilled welders are in short supply. Now if you can weld, or have access to a friend that is willing to weld for you, you might be able to barter for it (still will have to buy the steel of course).

While I love vintage FG trailers, most tend to not have the features their newer cousins have, like a refrigerator, AC, roof fan, furnace, etc. Its a tribute that these trailers can last this long!

I have a modern trailer (2013 Escape 19) that my wife and I use for our travels. Then I have a 1977 Trillium "project" as something to work on for enjoyment. Fortunately, I have a garage that it fits in, as well as carport space. I have no illusions that this will be a money making, or even money saving endeavor.

All of the topics you have asked about have been answered in depth in the past. Search the forum via Google and you will find a lot of information. Your trailer is similar to a vintage Scamp or Boler, so repairs on either of those can translate well to your project.

LED lights can be tricky, as old converters don't always agree with them. There are threads dealing with that issue too.


That style window was used by Scamp, Boler, older Trilliums, and many more. There are threads from people that have struggled getting replacement front and rear windows to seal properly.
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Old 11-06-2018, 10:35 AM   #6
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Name: Fred
Trailer: 13 ft Boler
Kootenay's of BC
Posts: 725
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Nice little trailer.
Pics of your issues will help with answers.
What is your water source going to be? Rv park, tank?
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Old 11-06-2018, 12:18 PM   #7
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Trailer: 2014 Escape 21, 2002 Ford F250 7.3 Diesel 4x4
California
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since noone addressed this, let me say this about that...

re LED lighting... if you're going to be full timing in an RV park, then you will be plugged in to shore power, right? if so, there's no need for LED lighting. Myself, I like LED lighting because I'm usually NOT plugged into shore power, and LEDs use 10% of the electricity for the same amount of light, so my batteries last longer. That said, I actually prefer the light 'color' of incandescents, as LEDs tend towards either being too cold and blue-white, or having odd tints if they are warm-white.

re: frame rust... if its badly rusted, the only real fix is to take the whole fiberglass shell off the frame, and either repair the rusty parts of the frame via welding in bits of new steel, or build a whole new frame with fresh steel using the old frame as a template. Then rust-primer and paint the whole thing, then reinstall the fiberglass 'egg' on the freshened frame and hook all the undercarriage plumbing and wiring back up. Needless to say, this is a MAJOR job, and if you can't tackle the bulk of it yourself, the cost will far exceed buying a newer trailer.

re: your table.... its a piece of plywood cut to a custom size/shape, some countertop laminate on top, some sort of bumper/border around the rim, and bolted to whatever sort of pedestal mount. anyone with carpentry/cabinetmaker skills should be able to fabricate you a new one using the old one as a template. the odds of finding one the exact size/shape pre-made are slim-to-none.

electric stoves need 1000s of watts, not at all practical in an RV unless you're full time plugged in. I would get a portable propane camp stove for now, and make sure you open windows for ventilation when using it.

solar systems basically recharge your camper battery, typically 100-200 watts max (with rasrely more than half of their claimed/rated power during the sunniest part of the day). if you're going to be full timing at an RV park, you should have plug-in-power.

re: fan, cut hole in roof with jigsaw, install fan, wire to 12V system. I really like the MaxxFan Deluxe in our Escape, it can be left open even if its raining outside, its got 10 speeds, and the slower 3-4 speeds are nearly silent, and it moves a lot of air even on the lowest speed. it can blow in or out as desired. Fantastic Fans work ok, I consider them second best, but they are also cheaper.
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