Curious about Hi-Lo Campers? Thinking about buying a Hi-Lo camper, curious, have questions? Ask them here
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Old 10-13-2013, 08:36 AM   #1
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Good morning all. The wife and I are thinking about buying a used Hilo. It's a 1994 Towlite 184 DL. Cannot find much info on it here. It's in great shape. Can be had for $1800.00. Does this thing have a freshwater tank or no? Can't tell by looking underneath. Any other advice would be great to hear too. Thanks.
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Old 10-13-2013, 08:51 AM   #2
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The fresh water tank may be inside under the couch. Be sure there is no water damage as TowLites in those years had wood framing, and if the bottom rail on the top half that the cables are fastened to is rotted the cable bolts will put out.
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Old 10-13-2013, 09:04 AM   #3
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This was taken from NDgent's post here on the forum. It is a great go-by list. You can do a search of thinking about buying and find his post to read it first hand.

Basically, start with the visual items –
1. Exterior
• Look for water stains and discoloration on inside walls and around ceiling anywhere vents, skylights, windows, etc. exist.
• Push and prod with your hand on the inside walls for soft spots (which could indicate a water leak and a damaged or rotten interior wall).
• Check for bubbles in the wallpaper (a sign of delimitation or water intrusion)
2. Interior cleanliness of the unit-
• Look for water stains and discoloration on inside walls and around ceiling anywhere vents, skylights, windows, etc. exist.
• Push and prod with your hand on the inside walls for soft spots (which could indicate a water leak and a damaged or rotten interior wall).
• Check for bubbles in the wallpaper (a sign of delimitation or water intrusion)
3. Test appliance functions –
• lights
• fans
• refrigerator
• air conditioner
• heater
• water pump
• range hood
• stovetop
• oven (if equipped)
• microwave (if equipped)
• stereo (if equipped)
4. Lift System-
• Does the unit raise and lower properly
• Check the lift system for hydraulic leaks (puddle under the trailer)
• Check the lift cables to see if they are in good shape and not frayed
• Check the seal between the upper and lower body halves for tears or damage
5. fill the tanks to the top and check for leaks
6. Battery
7. Solar Panel (if equipped)
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Old 10-13-2013, 05:48 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by PopRichie77 View Post
The fresh water tank may be inside under the couch. Be sure there is no water damage as TowLites in those years had wood framing, and if the bottom rail on the top half that the cables are fastened to is rotted the cable bolts will put out.
To add a note, the price sounds to good to be true.

When you inspect the trailer pay close attention to the bottom rail of the top section. If it is wavy or not perfectly straight or starting to roll under where the lifting cables attach or has soft interior walls that is an indication of damage or water infiltration.

Towlites built in the 90's have the potential to have this problem because of the wood framing in the walls. Towlites built after 2001 is when hi-lo switched to alumium framing. To rebuild the walls of the trailer could cost up to $3000. My 1997 had this problem and the walls rotted out because the factory installed the box awning incorrectly. I did everything I could to save my 1997 hi-lo, including installing built-in gutter trim to divert water water run off and re-installed the box awning. The lower rail of the upper section failed and it was unsafe to contiue to use the trailer. I chose to replace it with a 2006 towlite because of the alumium framing.
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Old 10-13-2013, 07:19 PM   #5
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Default 184 dl

Thanks for the great advice everybody. I am going to pick it up on Tuesday. I will have a closer look at the rails. The lady that is selling it lost her husband to cancer 8 months later. It has been sitting in her yard for 1 1/2 years. She should me the bill of sale and when the bought it in 2011, they paid $5000.00 for it from a dealer. We found no evidence of water damage inside at all. I even looked using a thermographic camera. It does have a few issues, but nothing serious. I will report back Tuesday night after I get it home.
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Old 10-15-2013, 08:06 PM   #6
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Hello all. We made it home with the camper. Before we paid for it, I went thru it with a fine tooth comb again. It really is pretty spotless for it's age. It needs a good exterior cleaning but inside is a different story. The cushions don't appear to have been sat in much. They look pretty new. The fridge is spotless, the cooktop looks spotless and I don't think the furnace or the A/C has been started. They too look super clean. One question: How do you raise the top on battery power? It will only lift with 120 vac.
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Old 10-15-2013, 08:40 PM   #7
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The top lifts via battery power. Perhaps the battery is going bad and will only lift with some boost through the converter/charger. Allow the trailer to be plugged into 120 VAC for a day then try lifting on battery only. The top will not go up with 120 VAC only, all power to the lift comes from the battery.
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Old 10-15-2013, 11:47 PM   #8
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gizardlizard Welcome to the forum. Congrats. on your new HiLo. Best of luck in your new adventures. This is a great friendly forum. Ask any questions you may have. Our members are very experienced and helpful.
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Old 10-16-2013, 09:24 AM   #9
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Thanks Rich and Sam. I appreciate the advice. I am an industrial Maint. mechanic by trade and I can work on anything. I plan on tons of mods on this trailer. I looked into the mechanicals a little more this morning before work. The burner on the furnace is not even discolored neither is the cooktop. It doesn't appear they were even fired. The A/C condensor was spotless. I even smelled inside the vent for the black water tank and it didn't smell at all. I think I did great for the price. I assumed the hydro's were suppose to fire under 12 vdc since you don't always have 120vac at a campground. I am sure the battery is junk. If a battery sits that long without a charge on it, the damage is already done to the cells with sulfiding. It might take a charge but it won't be the same. I will load test it and probably swap it out. The furnace appears to be electronic ignition but the water heater has a pilot. Do most people let the pilot burn while camping? They must. It doesn't use much propane anyway. As good as I am with machinery and electrical/hydraulics, I know nothing about campers. Guess I'll learn. Are there any must have spare parts/tools I should never leave home without? Thanks in advance.
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Old 10-16-2013, 10:30 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by gizardlizard View Post
The furnace appears to be electronic ignition but the water heater has a pilot. Do most people let the pilot burn while camping? They must. It doesn't use much propane anyway. As good as I am with machinery and electrical/hydraulics, I know nothing about campers. Guess I'll learn. Are there any must have spare parts/tools I should never leave home without? Thanks in advance.
My current Hi-Lo has a water heater with electronic ignition, but I've owned two RVs with pilot lights. When camping I would leave the pilot light on, but I would only turn the thermostat up when we needed hot water. Both units heated water very quickly so this was not an issue.

As far as special tools or spare parts go, here is what I carry:

- Fuses
- 2 long lengths of 12 ga wire with alligator clips - These serve two purposes. They can be used as temporary jumper cables or test leads when troubleshooting. They also can be used to bypass a bad wire by taking the alligator clips off and splicing them into a circuit.
- Variety of crimp-on electrical connectors with connector pliers
- Electrical tape
- Inexpensive multi-meter
- Electrical outlet tester
- A length of potable water line with a few fittings.
- Extra waste dump hose with fittings
- Water hose
- Multi-bit screwdriver with bits to fit all the screws on the trailer. This includes square drive screws and torx screws (used on some door latches)
- Jacks, ramps, etc. required to change tires
- Wrenches to fit all nuts and bolts, including hitch ball, hitch, etc.
- Cordless drill
- Drill bits
- Screwdriver bits
- 3/4" socket for cordless drill - Used to quickly lower or raise the leveling jacks
- Folding T-shaped lug nut wrench
- Spare bulbs, exterior and interior
- Two sets of plastic leveling blocks
- Extra hitch pins
- Hitch ball grease
- Flashlights and headlamp - The headlamp is great for setting up or taking down the camp after dark.
- Extra batteries for flashlights and any other battery operated device
- Assorted nuts/bolts, screws
- Common hand tools
- Quick setting epoxy syringe

I'm sure that I forgot something, but I've carried the above items in RVs for years. There's been a few times that I'm really glad that I did.

Incidentally, don't forget to include tools or spares for your tow vehicle and bikes or motorcycles, if you carry any.
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Old 10-16-2013, 11:00 AM   #11
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Awesome list. Thanks so much Norton Rider. I always like to be prepared.
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Old 10-16-2013, 02:43 PM   #12
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Does your list include big hammers, sharp pointy things and duct-tape? If not then you're missing the essentials.
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Old 10-16-2013, 03:32 PM   #13
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There is an after market 110 volt heat rod that screws in place of the hot water drain plug. I put one in the 95 and it worked great. Saves propane when you have electric.
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Old 10-16-2013, 04:02 PM   #14
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Ok...That is a slick idea. I like that. I will add that to the list as well.
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Old 10-16-2013, 09:17 PM   #15
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Default Replacing battery

We have had good luck with Interstate Deep cycle RV batteries.
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Old 10-16-2013, 11:48 PM   #16
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IMHO the most important thing to remember for new campers is: Be sure the clamps on the sewage drain hose are tight and that the outlet end is not going to pop out when the waste hits the hose. Take it from someone who knows the price of inattention and has paid it.
Figuring it all out and modifying it to suit your needs can be very fun. This forum is great for when it stops being fun.
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