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Camper questions

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by Modeler, Jan 3, 2011.

  1. Modeler

    Modeler Ketchikan, Alaska Soccer Fan

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    And by "Camper" I mean the slide-in truck bed type...

    I'm planning on buying a used camper to put in my 1984 Chevy 3/4 ton. 8' bed, will be towing one of two boats as well, either 1,700 lb boat or 4,000 lb boat. A few questions:

    1. What is the best type of tie-down? I'd like to get these ones:

    Camper Anchor Tiedowns by Happijac, model CA-CG3

    Are these good tie-downs to use? They also have stake-pocket tiedowns, but I'd like to leave the stake-pockets open for stake-sides when the camper isn't in use.

    2. Planning on buying an old <$500 camper off CL. What should I look for? I know it needs to have no leaks, but what beyond that? How do I test the propane system? Do campers generally have their own battery and electrical system or do they run off the truck's 12v system?

    Any thoughts?

  2. deadeye

    deadeye Albany,OR. Moderator Staff Member

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  3. trainsktg

    trainsktg Portland OR Well-Known Member

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    Campers as a general rule (except for the really tiny ones) have their own water, propane and 12v systems, with provision to hook up to 120v shore power as well.

  4. KalamaMark

    KalamaMark Kalama Wa Well-Known Member

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    +1 on the torklift frame mounted tie downs.
    Good luck on finding anything short of a light lens donor for <$500.
    I prefer mechanical jacks to hydraulic...the hydraulic ones leak down and are messy in a cheap camper.
    Look for soft spots...floors, walls, ceiling, etc. Pay extra attention all around windows, doors, and any penetrations. Dry rot is the enemy, and the enemy is always there.
    A new 3 way fridge costs $1500. They are charged with ammonia. Once they leak, it's time for a new fridge. Be aware of an ammonia/cat piss smell inside the fridge, or the exterior door.
    Poke around under the sinks in the kitchen and bathroom. Look for dryrot and evidence of leaks.
    Look for buckles or warping in the skin, which is evidence of structural weakness and sagging.
    Make sure the fresh water pump turns on, pumps water, and then shuts off by itself when the faucet is shut.
    I could go on and on...good luck.
    It would be worth any premium you had to pay to find a one owner camper that was stored under cover its whole life. Under cover would eliminate most of the dry rot issues, and the one owner deal from an honest owner would give you an history and education that was worth gold.
    Good luck.
  5. trainsktg

    trainsktg Portland OR Well-Known Member

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    Also, if you are camping in the winter, look for an 'all-season' vs. 'summer' setup. In the former, there will be no exposed/uninsulated water piping or tanks.

  6. mjbskwim

    mjbskwim Salmon,Idaho Well-Known Member

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    KalamamMark,you look for green in the back of the fridge,in the outside door? That means the refer unit is shot.And the smell.
    You will need an "battery isolator" at the least,for the truck.
    This makes it so you charge all the batteries and drain all but the main truck battery.

    And everything else KM said.
    Take a woman with you (don't know if you are married or not)
    They have a better sense of smell and can smell the mold us guys sometimes miss.

    I'm thinking in these lines too.
    Now a buddy bought a "fixer" trailer.He started to gut it and repair it.It was too far gone.
    He ended up selling everything and getting his money back but he didn't see how far gone it was when he bought it.

    You may find a great deal at $500,but I have been real hesitant after what my friend went through.
    Mostly a $500 RV is a can of worms.

    Good luck
  7. Desertfox19

    Desertfox19 Oregon New Member

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    RVTECH LaPine Well-Known Member

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    I work in the RV industry and see it all - trust me I could tell you some horror stories. We could spend hours discussing used campers but I will recommend one thing before you commit to anything - find a RVDA-RVIA certified tech to perform an inspection before you buy anything! This will cost you a couple of hours of tech time but will be worth it. Heck if I were closer I would do it for you for a heckuva deal but if you want some experienced advice PM me and I'll give you my phone # and we can talk about it. I hate seeing people get burned on RV's.