Curious about Hi-Lo Campers? Thinking about buying a Hi-Lo camper, curious, have questions? Ask them here
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Old 07-25-2014, 06:06 AM   #1
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Default Beyond Curious, just bought a HI LO

Just wanted to introduce myself. I'm from Marietta, Oh and I just picked up a 1969 20' Bon Voyage for 800 bucks. It looks terrible, but the structure and wood all seems to be very solid with no leaks that I could find. Pretty happy with it, going to pick it up tonight. I'll have pictures this evening.
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Old 07-25-2014, 07:42 AM   #2
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So I have been reading around the forum some, and seeing that there are some guide cables and hydraulic rods that need lubricated from time to time. Judging by the looks of my camper, the previous owner probably hasn't done much maintenance on it. What are some of the things I will need to take care of before taking it camping?
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Old 07-25-2014, 07:56 AM   #3
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Probably number one on the list will be new tires. they shouldn't be over 10 years old and that is stretching it. Just go all over it, look for loose screws, etc. Remove all the windows, moldings and lights and reseal them. don't skimp here. Check the roof and remove the vents and reseal. When removing the screws you may find them rusted off. if this is the case this could be bad news, but you can try replaceing them with #10 x 1 stainless steel screws. (I just got 500 from ebay for a little over 29 bucks including shipping.
If the cables are frayed replace them and cover them with a light coating of white lithium grease. Oil the pulleys with a plastic compatible oil.
Check both fresh water systems for leaks, as well as the sink drains. If it set a long time without being properly winterized you can expect leaks.
Check all your lights and fuses.
Clean and repack the wheel bearings and check the brakes.
Check the spring hangers and lube the suspension.
Look for rusted frame.
Check the operation of the hydraulic system and make sure the safety lock operates.
That should get you started.
Good luck.
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Old 07-25-2014, 10:52 AM   #4
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thanks very much! That's a good list to get started. So on windows and vent, use butyl tape to replace existing sealer and then caulk around outside once the window is back in?
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Old 07-25-2014, 11:15 AM   #5
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thanks very much! That's a good list to get started. So on windows and vent, use butyl tape to replace existing sealer and then caulk around outside once the window is back in?
That is what I am doing right now. I got the tape on ebay, 1 inch wide, but it is not as sticky as what they used at the factory. I may try butyl caulking under the moldings and around the windows too along with the tape. I don't want to ever do this rebuild again, and cleaning up a mess from caulking is easier by far.

some of the folks are using silicone caulking. It stays flexible, but where the factory butyl was applied as should be (enough) it is still soft and sticky, and sealing, so I think I will stay with that.

Lots of folks here have done theirs before, I am new to it, but I did auto body work for years. The butyl we used to hold windshields would be great if it came in white. It was really sticky, and we could buy butyl sealer to shoot in under the rubber on windshields that were held in the old fashioned way.

Also look at the main beams to be sure they are not bowed up. That was the clue that there was water damage for me. The beams get wet and if in the up position the constant weight bows the beams up right where the cables attach.
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Old 07-25-2014, 01:11 PM   #6
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Thanks for the help! I have a long road ahead of me on this turd, it's pretty awful looking. I'm sure I'll have more questions along the way.
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Old 07-25-2014, 01:24 PM   #7
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Thanks for the help! I have a long road ahead of me on this turd, it's pretty awful looking. I'm sure I'll have more questions along the way.
Be sure to take some before and after photos to share with us. Good luck on your project!
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Old 07-25-2014, 01:37 PM   #8
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I will be documenting everything I do, and will start a build thread as soon as I can. It's pretty big for a first camper, but I couldn't turn it down for that price. Just hope my poor old dodge ram can haul it ok!
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Old 07-25-2014, 06:22 PM   #9
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Well I made the 30 mile drive home on rotten mismatched tires. Still pulled very well, suspension seems to absorb most of the blows. Here's some pics:

Truck pulled it no problem. I took it up a very steep hill as well, lost some speed but it wasn't too big a deal. That's saying something for an old dodge with 249,000 miles on it.

Hydraulics work quite well. I'll start going through that system soon



all opened up and airing out



Benches at the front of the camper

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Old 07-25-2014, 06:29 PM   #10
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kitchenette on street side middle



back bed and the only damage on the walls, which seems to be from the top and bottom rubbing. Toilet is under the bed.



dresser and closet on curb side middle of camper

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Old 07-25-2014, 06:30 PM   #11
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bought in zanesville apparently. Cool little chrome plaque as well



originial sticker on curbside. I also have a shot of the back sticker in case anybody needs it for replicating



Haven't tested electric yet, but this looks like the only open spot so far



I'm curious about this black bumper material, does it waterproof? or is it just to hide the screw heads?

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Old 07-25-2014, 06:30 PM   #12
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screens are shot, replace with black plastic screen material?



There's a few more pics in my profile album if anybody is interested. So how did I do? Decent deal for 800?
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Old 07-25-2014, 06:33 PM   #13
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Well, GM it really doesn't look too bad. a little cleaning will show you what needs to be done but all in all it looks like a good project.
Great pictures.
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Old 07-25-2014, 06:36 PM   #14
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so charlie, first thing I want to get started on, you said number 10 screws on ebay? I suppose I could just pull one and take a look as well. I plan on replacing all the screws and polishing up the aluminum framing.
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Old 07-25-2014, 06:41 PM   #15
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The rubber in the moldings just covers the screws, but if it is in place the screws have less chance of leaking. That rubber is available almost any trailer dealer, even some horse trailers use it
look at the range of prices here. sometimes you really are not getting what you pay for.
Rubber Molding Insert of RV / Camper / Trailer | eBay
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Old 07-25-2014, 06:46 PM   #16
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screens are shot, replace with black plastic screen material?



There's a few more pics in my profile album if anybody is interested. So how did I do? Decent deal for 800?
I think you did pretty well! Just that fact that the hydraulics work is a good sign. Should be a fun project for you!
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Old 07-25-2014, 06:54 PM   #17
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so charlie, first thing I want to get started on, you said number 10 screws on ebay? I suppose I could just pull one and take a look as well. I plan on replacing all the screws and polishing up the aluminum framing.
You might get lucky, and be able to use #8, or what ever is in it. I recommend stainless because the devils in mine are rusting even where there isn't water damage. Ebay was the best price I could find, I got 500 for the body and 250 # 8 for the windows. Your windows install different then the newer models. Are they screwed in from the outside? My Coachmen is that way and only one leaked in 34 years ant that is the front one. I blame the fiberglass cover that you put up for loosening the area up and beginning the leak.

I am new here and to hi-los too so if I say something that doesn't sound right holler at me.

I just spent all day removing 4 screws from the front cabinet on mine. they were put in from inside to the front into a steel beam in the roof. It took a trip to Harbor freight to get a little 1/4 inch ratchet screw driver to back them out, and one of them still won't budge. I finally took the front ceiling panel down and discovered the steel in the roof appears to be OK. I will Koroseal the braces and install some foam insulation before putting it back together.

Just up Route 7 from you a couple hundred miles.
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Old 07-25-2014, 07:57 PM   #18
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yes, from what I can tell ALL screws are exterior, they're the square head variety, and they are all rusted, and have leached rust all over the place, which makes everything look horrible. The only thing I've found without screws is the electrical plugin, it has very short staples that held it in. thanks for the link to the black rubber, probably worth replacing if it's not too expensive, seems easy to replace. How would exterior latex paint hold up on the interior? The paneling is in great shape other than where it rubs, but it's very sun faded and is a pretty outdated color. I was just thinking a light tan color would make the camper look larger and cover up the fake wood grain. I'm just glad the ceiling is intact and stain free. I've got a lot more questions, but this is a good start. I bought a tarp to drape over until it until I'm sure it's water tight.
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Old 07-25-2014, 08:01 PM   #19
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Default Replacing black trim

Charlie is correct, The trim is meant to cover the screws. The trick is installing when it is cold enough so it doesn't shrink. Install in the fall. Welcome to the forum.
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Old 07-25-2014, 08:34 PM   #20
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That's a good idea Sam, and install it by squeezing it in don't stretch it.

GM, Be careful using exterior paint inside because some of it is designed to "shed" a little every time it rains and will streak. I am different, I like a glossy finish, probably because I did so many paint jobs over my life, but good gloss paint wipes clean pretty easy. My wife loves the desert sand rustoleum with leather brown trim. I bet that is what will be inside ours. She is the painter now.

I ordered 5000 stainless steel staples today too. I couldn't find them any where locally. I was going to use the galvanized but 80 percent of the staples so far are rusted so I am not taking a chance.

The tarp is a good idea. I have to work outside on mine and I just found a 20x30 rubber shelter floor to cover up with. It weighs 110 pounds and was a bear to put over the camper, but it is water tight and won't tear. It was twice the price of the poly tarps but they are only good for 6 months. and it is a good thing to keep them covered until you have all the leaks fixed. Even then cover it in the winter.
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