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Old 08-01-2012, 09:10 AM   #1
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Location: Walpole, NH
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Default 1971 14ft Hi-Lo classic (restore project)

Hi Everyone,

So we now own the '71 Hi-Lo.... all ours in all it's glory

Last Friday I went with a friend to go pick it up. We took his 3/4 ton pickup, a compressor, spare magnet lights, a couple of jacks and other spare gear along. Since the unit has been up for the last two years, cover with fairly deep snow at times, I was most concerned about lowering the top section, and the possibility of a tire blowing out on the way home (1.5hr drive each way).

When we go to the trailer, the first thing we did was see about the top, and sure enough, it wouldn't move in any direction, up or down, and the release cable seems frozen. So I followed the suggestions of a number of folks, (in this thread) and it seems that Fireballsocal was the winner, the pump was low on fluid. We added about 1/3 of a quart of tranny fluid, and tried the top again and after whinning for a second, the roof lifted up, and the release moved freely. It lowered down just fine. (we did end up using jumper cables to give the battery some more life).

Once down, we hooked it up to my buddies truck, used a adapter to try the lights and none of them worked. We were also scared that the brakes might lock up, being they have sat so long without use. So we hooked up a set of magnet mount lights, and ran the cabling under the unit, solving that problem for the ride home.

We added a lot of air to the tires, they were both down to about 5psi.

We headed home with the unit, stayed about 60 on the highway, and had no issues at all. The trailer rolled down the road great.

Once home we started really looking it over. (probably would have been best to do that before we bought it but.... oh well). The roof lifted right up, no problem other then having to jump it off my Durango battery. The trailer is solid. The frame and floors are in excellent shape, no soft spots, not serious rust. The roof is a different matter. The chalking around the shower vent pipe has a 1/4" gap between it and the pipe, and water has just poured in there. The ceiling vent is leaking as well, it is cracked and out of shape on the left side, also allowing water to get past it. The rest of the roof looks good, and pressing down on it, it does not have a spongy soft feel. There are minor cracks in the roof covering, in the front, but they are surface only, not going all the way through the sealing material. (I have no idea what the material is).

The inside is dirty, but serviceable. The inside ceiling is trashed. Needs to be completely replaced. No inside lights work, and I have no idea about the appliances yet. The batter is dead, and once I got it home and actually got a good look at it, the sides are bulging. I plugged the unit into my AC from the house, but I seem to have no power at all.

While under the camper, I found that the trailer lights and brake cabling is broken in at least two places and need to be replaced. The tires are very weather cracker, and both need to be replaced. I haven't gotten to the bearings or brakes, yet, will do that on a weekend day, when I have some time.

My first order of business is to get the unit weather tight. Once I have all the leaks repaired, my wife can start on cleaning up the inside, I can start on the inside ceiling. I will get the unit level and off the tires, pull the rims, and get new tires put on. I plan to bring it to my friends and have him go through the brakes and bearings for me, since he actually knows what he is doing. I am hoping that I can get the unit painted before we get snow, the paint is flaking off the sides, and really want the sheet metal protected against the winter months. I do plan to put up a temp car port of sorts to make it so I can lift the unit, and keep it clear of snow during the winter.... we will see how much time I have to put into this.

So that is where the project is, and where I am starting from, I will keep this thread updated as I work on the unit, and will try to add pictures of the restore as it is going


Some people are like Slinky's: Not good for anything, but the thought of pushing them down the stairs brings a smile to your face.

1971 14' HiLo restore project
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Old 08-01-2012, 09:54 AM   #2
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Sounds like a plan, and good luck with the restore. Be sure to seal that roof first thing.

(215TL) - 1995 21' TowLite
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Old 08-01-2012, 01:18 PM   #3
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Good luck with your project and keep updating this posting as many of us enjoy reading about other peoples adventures in repair of their HiLo's. It helps others and I am sure many here will help you along the way.
Former Owner of a 1999 Classic HiLo Model 29B
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Old 08-01-2012, 05:49 PM   #4
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Georgetown, S. C.
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Hi, I have a 1970 HI LO camper and I am learning and fixing it up at the same time so thanks so much to all you who know what you are doing teaching us GREENHORNS OUR WAY.
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Old 08-02-2012, 01:46 AM   #5
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I hear ya bud,i love my 78 too and had to do similar work to it as you are doing and after 2 1/2 years i'm nearing the end but not quite there yet $$$$.Anyway my warning to you is check the brakes right away,cause i didn't and found out that the drums are one piece with the axle and you cant replace them with a kit.You have to buy the parts ( pads-magnets-springs) separately.That's not the kicker, the magnets are as scarce as hens teeth.I got lucky and my RV guy found 4(i have tandem axles) using Google .They were in Arizona! $167.85 not bad if you can find'em.I even tried the Hi-Lo part dept. & the only help they could offer was if i couldn't find them i'd have to buy new axles ( that they have & can do),BIG $$$$$.Now mines a 78 and yours is older,so unless yours has surge brakes then their electric and you may need new magnets.Pads arnt as hard to get.Ya got to have brakes for safety & Johnny Law.The good news is,my magnets are the originals & they lasted over 30 years.So mine will last me my life time by setting the controller box right.Dude i'm in to the tune of $3,299.73 & still have some work like you do inside.Oh and i bought it for only $200.00 the rest of the above price is repair or replace .You'll want to look into a weight distribution hitch.It helps the tow vehical greatly and is recommended by Hi-Lo.Hope i didn't spook ya,just a heads up,i wouldn't trade mine for nothin. The way i figured it once i bought it was it wasn't going anywhere so i did it as my finances dictated ( the rest of the time i imagined it finished),good luck.
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Old 08-13-2012, 09:07 PM   #6
Join Date: Jun 2012
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I'm in the same boad with the brakes. The magnets are shot and not a one to be found. Out of curiosity, looking at the way the magnet is mounted, wouldn't an after market magnet work by mounting it to the pin in the center of the magnet with the retaining clip that comes with the new magnet? May have to cut off the original mounting pin but the clip should hold the magnet on the pin that goes through the center of the magnet. I really don't want to replace the axel!!

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