Fixing Up My 1973 Play Pac — Advice Please! - Fiberglass RV


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Old 03-27-2018, 11:25 PM   #1
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Name: Dylan
Trailer: 1973 Play Pac '13
Oakland, California
Posts: 5
Fixing Up My 1973 Play Pac — Advice Please!

Hello all! I purchased a 1973 Play Pac '13 w/ Front Bath in July last year. I'm currently in the process of getting it fixed up.

I am not handy at all, so I've paid for the following work & am looking for advice.

I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, one of the most expensive places in the country to get any work done...

So far I've invested about $1,000 paid for:
—Resealed / Repainted EPDM Roof (Really wish it still had fiberglass up top...)
—Repaired fiberglass chips / nicks / holes & polish
—Sealed the door gap.
—POR-15 Tongue
—Mold Remediation
—Lite Stereo + Installation
—Lighting Strip + Installation

They managed to get all this work done in one day. I was really impressed.

Planning to work with the same guys to do the following:
—Finished floor, trim, 1/4 round, & transition strips ($500)
—Door support beam, new seal, weather stripping, and frame ($425)
—Wall paneling and trim, roof paneling to cover reflectix insulation ($460)
—Genset box, welded, locking pins, electrical ($475) - I'm a little iffy on this one
—Rear Fold-down Stabilizers ($180)

Anyway, I'm curious what people think about these prices. Am I getting a fair deal? Consider the fact I'm in San Francisco area and these guys literally do the work overnight.

Further, is it worth investing this much work in my little Play Pac? I love it and feel like if I get all this work done, it will be worth at least $4,500 in my area based on other stuff I've seen... Want to solicit the opinions of smart & experienced folks like you though!

ALSO: Open to any other suggestions you guys have to maximize value & comfort in this deal Thanks!!
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Old 03-28-2018, 01:22 AM   #2
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Name: K C
Trailer: 1971 Trailswest Campster
Washington
Posts: 2,599
Quote:
Originally Posted by PlayPacMan View Post
Hello all! I purchased a 1973 Play Pac '13 w/ Front Bath in July last year. I'm currently in the process of getting it fixed up.

I am not handy at all, so I've paid for the following work & am looking for advice.

I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, one of the most expensive places in the country to get any work done...

So far I've invested about $1,000 paid for:
—Resealed / Repainted EPDM Roof (Really wish it still had fiberglass up top...)
—Repaired fiberglass chips / nicks / holes & polish
—Sealed the door gap.
—POR-15 Tongue
—Mold Remediation
—Lite Stereo + Installation
—Lighting Strip + Installation

They managed to get all this work done in one day. I was really impressed.

Planning to work with the same guys to do the following:
—Finished floor, trim, 1/4 round, & transition strips ($500)
—Door support beam, new seal, weather stripping, and frame ($425)
—Wall paneling and trim, roof paneling to cover reflectix insulation ($460)
—Genset box, welded, locking pins, electrical ($475) - I'm a little iffy on this one
—Rear Fold-down Stabilizers ($180)

Anyway, I'm curious what people think about these prices. Am I getting a fair deal? Consider the fact I'm in San Francisco area and these guys literally do the work overnight.

Further, is it worth investing this much work in my little Play Pac? I love it and feel like if I get all this work done, it will be worth at least $4,500 in my area based on other stuff I've seen... Want to solicit the opinions of smart & experienced folks like you though!

ALSO: Open to any other suggestions you guys have to maximize value & comfort in this deal Thanks!!
For a fast turnaround from skilled people in a major city it seems to me to be pretty much what one would expect to pay for labor and materials.

Even on house remodels not everything you do gets a 100% return on the money and time you invest in a project. That is just a fact of life for someone who is not a professional and does not have DIY skills. So you have to hire out the work. You will have to live with that, there is no changing it. In such cases the value is not about maximizing the resale value it is instead about maximizing your enjoyment.

One thing I did not is you said they did a Por-15 treatment on the tongue in just one day. I have done that to my tongue and following the specific instructions for application of first a treatment with a rust conversion fluid and letting that dry. Then putting on the Por-15 and letting that cure for a full day before painting I know they did not do it correctly in just one day. I am certainly not impressed by that work.
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Old 03-28-2018, 01:30 AM   #3
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Name: Dylan
Trailer: 1973 Play Pac '13
Oakland, California
Posts: 5
Thanks k corbin! As far as the POR-15, that was not done in one day. All the other pieces were. Appreciate your insight. Glad to hear I'm getting a fair deal. Curious if you have any big suggestions for ways of maximizing comfort in this ole' unit.
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Old 03-28-2018, 02:04 AM   #4
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Name: K C
Trailer: 1971 Trailswest Campster
Washington
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Originally Posted by PlayPacMan View Post
Thanks k corbin! As far as the POR-15, that was not done in one day. All the other pieces were. Appreciate your insight. Glad to hear I'm getting a fair deal. Curious if you have any big suggestions for ways of maximizing comfort in this ole' unit.
Be sure you have some reading lights put in. Something you can switch off and on without getting out of bed. Also have them put in a bracket by the bed for holding a strong flashlight. You might want to shine it outside through the window in the middle of the night if you hear noises that concern you.

I like to have a self contained battery operated light just inside the door, one with an on and off switch. That is needed for entering the trailer after dark. You will want it so you can see your way to turn the converter on.

Be sure the table is at a height that works with your own body as is the distance to back support when sitting at the table. If you are customizing that is something you can take care of while it is being renovated.

If there is anything in the trailer that is a head knocker figure out a way to cushion the blow.
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Old 03-28-2018, 02:09 AM   #5
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Name: Dylan
Trailer: 1973 Play Pac '13
Oakland, California
Posts: 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by k corbin View Post
Be sure you have some reading lights put in. Something you can switch off and on without getting out of bed. Also have them put in a bracket by the bed for holding a strong flashlight. You might want to shine it outside through the window in the middle of the night if you hear noises that concern you.

I like to have a self contained battery operated light just inside the door, one with an on and off switch. That is needed for entering the trailer after dark. You will want it so you can see your way to turn the converter on.

Be sure the table is at a height that works with your own body as is the distance to back support when sitting at the table. If you are customizing that is something you can take care of while it is being renovated.

If there is anything in the trailer that is a head knocker figure out a way to cushion the blow.
All super helpful advice! Thank you!

At the moment, I don't actually have a table in place. Currently just have the rear set up for bed only. Have to put the mount back in.
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Old 03-28-2018, 07:51 AM   #6
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Trailer: 2008 Scamp 13 S1
Arizona
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My main advice would be to use the trailer some before you spend too much or make any major changes to the layout or functionality. It doesn't have to be a showpiece to start camping. It doesn't even have to have working appliances- you can use an ice chest and butane cooker. It does need to be clean, dry, and safe.

Lots of decisions will come down to how and where you camp and for how long. Will you boondock off the grid, dry camp in developed campgrounds with facilities, stay in parks with full hook-ups? Will you destination camp- go to one place for a weekend or a week- or tour from place to place? Will you stay out weekends, or weeks, or months at a time?

Decisions like whether to build out the 110V system or to invest more in 12V batteries and solar. Like whether to carry a porta-potty or install a toilet with black tank, or even a composting toilet. Like whether to include a shower (inside or outside) and hot water with grey tank. Like whether you want a 3-way fridge, 12V compressor fridge, 110V dorm fridge, or just a good cooler. Like whether to create a really comfortable permanent bed or a less comfortable but more flexible convertible dinette. Like how you will heat and/or cool the thing. Like whether a full galley is even necessary.

Trying to do it all on the first round will suck up bundles of money, especially paying someone else to do it, and you may find you don't use some things at all. We've never used the onboard plumbing or 110V systems on our Scamp, for example, but after 5 years' experience, I'm considering upgrading the 12V system and adding solar.

Last, there is the future to consider. Everybody expects the trailer they just bought to be their "forever" trailer, but life has a way of shifting under our feet. Highly idiosyncratic modifications turn potential buyers off, but well-chosen upgrades enhance the value and saleability down the road. $4500 is a good balllpark estimate of the current value of a Play Pac in unrestored but clean, usable condition with basic, working plumbing, electrical, and LP systems.

The stuff you're doing now is good foundational stuff. Getting good wiring in place that facilitates future expansion is important at this stage. Lots of bad wiring in RV's- it's a major source of fires. You also want to make absolutely sure you are leak free- windows, vents, door, mold seam. Plenty of people apparently think slathering caulk on everything counts as maintenance. I consider it a red flag.

I'm curious about the roof... how did a molded fiberglass trailer end up with a rubber roof and how is it supported? The original was molded fiberglass as you say, with a large acrylic dome/skylight. I wonder if the dome was broken and rather than replace it or fiberglass the opening...

Best wishes and get camping!
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Old 03-28-2018, 08:28 AM   #7
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Name: bob
Trailer: Was A-Liner now 13f Scamp
Missouri
Posts: 2,739
advice

jon is giving you some excellent advice here is a point do you want to spend your time camping or redoing your rig?

there is no perfect camper a lot of thought has gone into the design of a small camper most cases its done the way it is for a reason.

our 13f scamper serves us well we do not use el. at a campground for a camper no b/r its not needed.

we also do not want luxuries when camping its camping right? with our small rigs its really just a step up from a tent! no tvs no dvds but that is just us get an inverter with a bank of 2 or 3 batteries if you want.

don't try to reinvent the wheel if your camper is in good condition most of all get out there!

best of luck

bob
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Old 03-28-2018, 09:38 AM   #8
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Name: Dylan
Trailer: 1973 Play Pac '13
Oakland, California
Posts: 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon in AZ View Post
My main advice would be to use the trailer some before you spend too much or make any major changes to the layout or functionality. It doesn't have to be a showpiece to start camping. It doesn't even have to have working appliances- you can use an ice chest and butane cooker. It does need to be clean, dry, and safe.

Lots of decisions will come down to how and where you camp and for how long. Will you boondock off the grid, dry camp in developed campgrounds with facilities, stay in parks with full hook-ups? Will you destination camp- go to one place for a weekend or a week- or tour from place to place? Will you stay out weekends, or weeks, or months at a time?

Decisions like whether to build out the 110V system or to invest more in 12V batteries and solar. Like whether to carry a porta-potty or install a toilet with black tank, or even a composting toilet. Like whether to include a shower (inside or outside) and hot water with grey tank. Like whether you want a 3-way fridge, 12V compressor fridge, 110V dorm fridge, or just a good cooler. Like whether to create a really comfortable permanent bed or a less comfortable but more flexible convertible dinette. Like how you will heat and/or cool the thing. Like whether a full galley is even necessary.

Trying to do it all on the first round will suck up bundles of money, especially paying someone else to do it, and you may find you don't use some things at all. We've never used the onboard plumbing or 110V systems on our Scamp, for example, but after 5 years' experience, I'm considering upgrading the 12V system and adding solar.

Last, there is the future to consider. Everybody expects the trailer they just bought to be their "forever" trailer, but life has a way of shifting under our feet. Highly idiosyncratic modifications turn potential buyers off, but well-chosen upgrades enhance the value and saleability down the road. $4500 is a good balllpark estimate of the current value of a Play Pac in unrestored but clean, usable condition with basic, working plumbing, electrical, and LP systems.

The stuff you're doing now is good foundational stuff. Getting good wiring in place that facilitates future expansion is important at this stage. Lots of bad wiring in RV's- it's a major source of fires. You also want to make absolutely sure you are leak free- windows, vents, door, mold seam. Plenty of people apparently think slathering caulk on everything counts as maintenance. I consider it a red flag.

I'm curious about the roof... how did a molded fiberglass trailer end up with a rubber roof and how is it supported? The original was molded fiberglass as you say, with a large acrylic dome/skylight. I wonder if the dome was broken and rather than replace it or fiberglass the opening...

Best wishes and get camping!
Thanks for the tips! I will definitely camp in it more before I make any further aesthetic modifications. Over the past year, I've spent a cumulative month in it, so I've gotten some good use out of it and it really doesn't need a whole lot imminently other than structural stability.

The rubber roof was put in place after a large accumulation of snow made it completely cave. This was years ago. It's supported by a wood beam across the middle. In order to improve the structural stability and the aesthetics of this rubber roof, with paneling / trim.

Based on the advice I've received thus far, I think I'm going to hold off on the Genset Box & Flooring. I can actually take care of the flooring myself & Genset Box is not a particularly important addition.

Instead, planning to go with only the following for now:
—Door support beam, new seal, weather stripping, and frame ($425)
—Wall paneling and trim, roof paneling to cover reflectix insulation ($460)
—Rear Fold-down Stabilizers ($180)

Thoughts?
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Old 03-28-2018, 12:15 PM   #9
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Name: Kathleen (Kai: ai as in wait)
Trailer: Amerigo FG-16 1973 "Peanut"
Greater Seattle Metropolitan Area, Washington
Posts: 2,547
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PlayPacMan,
A renovation such as yours is always interesting! We do love pictures!
BEST
Kai
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Old 03-28-2018, 12:27 PM   #10
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Name: bob
Trailer: Was A-Liner now 13f Scamp
Missouri
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there are a couple of restoration guys right here who have posted pictures of their work. I am thinking someone has put a bow in the middle of your trailer to give it support of course I am just trying to get a picture.


my father-in-law who grew up during the depression had a favorite saying poor people have poor ways. be very cautious in your ideas before you apply them you have a serviceable trailer now but make a mistake then real problems arise.


you are heading the right direction in my mind


bob
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Old 03-28-2018, 11:30 PM   #11
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Name: K C
Trailer: 1971 Trailswest Campster
Washington
Posts: 2,599
A fiberglass trailer that does not have a fiberglass roof...that truly hurts the resale value of it to anyone looking to buy a fiberglass trailer.

Impossible to know what it will be worth when it is done as there are no other fiberglass trailers it can be compared with for establishing even a ball park value.
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Old 03-29-2018, 08:31 AM   #12
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Name: Michael
Trailer: Casita 16ft.
California
Posts: 304
Hello, I live just up the road from you in Mendocino County. We spend a fair amount of time in your fare city. Our youngest daughter is a Cal grad and we have very dear friend who lives in the Rockridge neighborhood.

I too am in the midst of a major refurbishment of a little fiberglass trailer. In my case it is a 16 ft. Casita. I agree that getting the trailer structurally sound and sealed and then using it for a few trips before finalizing the placement of the fixtures is a good idea. We will use our Casita this season somewhat primitively for that reason.

I am no fiberglass trailer expert but a lifetime of both mistakes and triumphs, lead me to the following questions. You haven't mentioned how you plan to use your trailer. Will you stay near the coast? (90% of our camping is within a few hundred yards from the ocean) Or will you venture inland where the temperature swings are greater between days/ nights/ seasons? You may need to add heat or air contitioning. It is hard to squeeze any more insulation in these little trailers. Will you stay in RV parks with shore power and black / grey water dumps? shared toilet/ shower facilities? Wwill you boondock. (I have no problem with pit privies but if I go more than a couple of days without a shower I melt)

I would love to see some pictures.
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Old 04-02-2018, 08:38 AM   #13
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Name: Buggeee
Trailer: Playpac
OH
Posts: 327
POR 15 is not resistant to sunlight so the tongue will need a coat of paint over the POR 15.

I am rebuilding a PlayPac. I gutted it and its going back together. The build thread for that project is in my signature below if you want to see what things look like when its opened up.

Good luck! Enjoy the Springtime
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Old 04-02-2018, 09:22 AM   #14
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Name: bob
Trailer: Was A-Liner now 13f Scamp
Missouri
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great work

buggee great work I see you are right up there with your h/f tool collection I have a patch here too.

I don't know how you guys have the time to do all these things!

bob
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