New Member Intros Say Hello! Tell us a little about yourself and your camper; we're fairly friendly :)
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Old 09-25-2017, 01:40 PM   #1
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Hello,

My husband and I have just purchased a Hi-Lo camper as a project. We have the frame and the bare steel tube body. There is some rust, but nothing that can't be repaired. A good cleaning and a coat or two of paint for this will be one of the first items on our agenda! The raising mechanism is completely mechanical, no hydraulics, and appears to be in good condition. We cannot test it until we run new cable for it, though.

We have no interior components, with the exception of a bed frame that suspends from the ceiling. We do have the windows and doors, but no walls or ceiling to install them in as of yet.

Jack is quite handy and we usually do our own home maintenance and repairs whenever possible. We have a huge assortment of hand and power tools, and a good resource pool of knowledge of advanced carpentry and electrical skills that we can ask for advice and/or assistance. It may take us awhile, but I think we're up for the challenge.

We found the sales brochures for the 1971 campers on Hi-Lo camper's website, but don't see anything that resembles our model as far as length, width, and raising mechanism type, so we're kind of stumped as to what this critter used to look like. The title says it is a 1971 Towl (which we're guessing means "Towlite"), model TV, body type CT. The VIN number listed on the title is 19712584. The camper is 17' from ball to end of bumper. We are still looking for any kind of plate on the frame that will give us a model number.

Another user on the forums here was kind enough to share an owner's manual that he has for the 1971 models, and we have found and ordered a Hi-Low service manual on CD on Etsy that says it covers most models from the 70s & 80s. We shall see.

And so our grand adventure begins...
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Jack & Lori
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17' 1971 Ratcliff Tow Low 300 Special - project
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Old 10-04-2017, 09:49 PM   #2
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Smile It's a TowLow, not a Hi-Low

Soooo....

I hope we don't get kicked off the forum for this, but we have figured out that we do NOT have a Towlight Hi-Low camper. We have a TowLow, which would explain why nothing on the Hi-Low website matched up with what we have. The captain's wheel looking thing on the front gave it away, haha! It appears to be either the 300 Special, 400 Special, or 500 Deluxe, although it looks like all three used the same frame. Since we have no interior to speak of, we have pretty much free rein on how we want to lay it out.

We replaced the cables on the raising mechanism today and got the top raised up. It moves very smoothly and easily. We were very pleasantly surprised. Tomorrow, we start tackling the rust on the frame, then fresh paint.
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Jack & Lori
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17' 1971 Ratcliff Tow Low 300 Special - project
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Old 10-04-2017, 10:54 PM   #3
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Well what a suprise.Seems to me I remember someone else with this make/model. Good luck with your adventure. Post some pictures of your progress.
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Old 10-04-2017, 10:55 PM   #4
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Hi Jack and Lori - Welcome!

That's one heckofa project you've given yourselves. But, it appears you have a good start if the lifting mechanism works the way it should.

There are several people on the forum who have tackled rebuild jobs, but none quite as extensive as yours. I hope they start posting helpful guidance for you because I sure don't have the expertise.

However, I'd offer this: Since there's no flooring, it seems to me that installing propane tubing and the fresh, grey and black water tanks would be one of the first things you would want to think about. Also, any underneath wiring such as what is needed for electric brakes. Then, I guess the flooring would come next.

You need to post pictures of your progress. That will give us a chance to offer suggestions as we see how things are going.

Wow! I'm impressed with what you've set out to do!

- Jack
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Old 10-05-2017, 08:14 PM   #5
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I have extensively read about Airstreams and the first think they do in restoration is take care of any frame issues. Then they weld the frame to acomidate grey and black tanks. Axles get replaced. Know how much your axles are good for. This will alow you to plan for the weight of your replacement materials. Keep us posted.
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Old 10-06-2017, 06:41 PM   #6
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Can you post a before picture for us?
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Old 10-06-2017, 11:18 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bravada View Post
Can you post a before picture for us?

As soon as I figure out how... Haha!
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Old 10-07-2017, 09:36 AM   #8
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Jack and Lori....wow !! you two have kudo's from me !!! Tackling a project like this gives me a headache just thinking about it. Here I am worrying about replacing a window !! LOL !! I look forward to lots of pics.
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Old 10-07-2017, 10:18 AM   #9
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Lori - to post pictures, click on "Post Reply", or "Go Advanced", not "Quick Reply" which will open the "advanced" features of a post.

Below the box where you are entering text, you will see "Additional Options", and halfway down in that you will see "Attach Files". Click on the "Manage Attachments" in that block, which will open a dialog where you "browse" for pictures on your PC to upload to your post. You can choose up to four per post and then click "Upload", which will paste them into your post.

Start now, and document your progress!

- Jack
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Old 10-08-2017, 01:29 AM   #10
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Here is a photo from the original sale ad. We also have the windows, door, original roof vent, and the plastic shutter for the front window. The gentleman that we bought it from had bought is as it was, for a project, and had kept it for over a year without doing anything to it. He had never seen it raised up. His wife told him it had to go, so we are the lucky(?) owners who will get to breathe new life into it.

When we got it, 3 of the 4 cables for the raising/lowering system were broken, which is apparently a common problem. Jack found the cause - a sharp corner the cable had to pass over that put a crimp in the cable, making it weak. He spent the better part of a day revamping that stress point on all 4 corners and running new stainless steel cable. Now it raises and lowers smoothly and with very little effort. I will try to get more photos tomorrow if the weather cooperates.
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File Type: jpg camper shell.jpg (71.7 KB, 9 views)
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Jack & Lori
Tennessee

17' 1971 Ratcliff Tow Low 300 Special - project
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