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Old 06-12-2012, 06:18 PM   #1
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Default 1994 Towlite Demolition/Rebuild

I am new to the forum and have been reading and have found out a ton of information.

Started with tent camping, then came the first pop-up (Jayco). Just rebuilt the entire top of the Jayco (finished that about a month ago) when my son who helped me called "with the deal of a life-time" as he put it. His friend bought a 94 Towlite 18 TL that needed minor repair and did not want to do the repairs (he is not handy at things like this) and would trade me my pop-up for the towlite. Made the trade...had been wanting a hi-lo anyway.

Now the real story begins. The minor repair has now grown to a total rebuild of the entire top half. The inside was/is in very good shape, as close to new as new goes. Other than curtains need to be replaced everything else was extremely well cared for. Outside is all aluminum, 1" metal rood framing, 1 by 4 wood wall supports. How I know this? Roof, both sides and back completely rotted.

This is what it suppose to look like...

camper up.jpg

Close ups of ceiling before replacement

003.jpg

Only side rail on door side, and both end rails were good, rest were rusted through and broken. Most of the insulation board was molded so all was removed. Got new 14 gauge metal tubing and hubby cut and welded new frames to insert. Spray painted and covered with duct tape as suggested by the kind guy at J & R. I gave hubby detailed drawing and specs for two frames which fit in and then were screwed to the good side rail and supported under by two by fours until we could get the long side rail attached, then screw all together. Replaced insulation board with fan fold foam insulation glued to metal roof.

Here is the new ceiling before added cross supports were screwed in.

020.jpg

After looking at what we had done decided that we should add 4 3/4" metal tubing as support from the ceiling framing to the bottom rail on both sides as close to the pulley systems as possible without interfering with the widows. While my son figured all of that out I got busy on cutting 2 x4's which I had all ready painted with several coats of exterior paint and getting them back in the tin casing they originally were in, attached new glide blocks were needed and attached new seal around bottom rail. By then my son had metal side supports cut and welded ready to be inserted. Metal was also cut and welded to wrap completely around the side rails where the cables attach, which we cut a channel on all 4 sides so the straping was flush with the 2x4.

Now comes cutting and fitting in all the 1 by 4 that have been pre painted to insert in the walls and tie everything together. At this point we were finally able to lower the top so that the framing would be easier. Needless to say I have ordered 5 30 foot rolls of butyl tape and have 4 tubes of Lexel Caulking on had. Lexel caulking was also used on seams before insulation was put in.

Going to sons tomorrow to do the work on framing, will keep posted if anyone likes.

Here are a few more pictures of the damage.....one is before we finished removing windows and siding.

013.jpg
016.jpg
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Old 06-12-2012, 07:19 PM   #2
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Yes, keep the forum posted on your progress as it may help someone later, at the least they will know what they can expect and how to repair.
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Old 06-13-2012, 12:55 AM   #3
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Default Repairing towlite.

Yikes, what a mess. You are so brave to tackle this massive repair. It is a lot of work,but you will enjoy the end result. So glad you got advice from the repair folks at JR. If you have any spare time you may want to look under the off topic thread 1990 HiLo Classic restoration. I'm trying to do some taping off and spraying faded decals on the exterior. Can't work on it when the sun is blazing down on me.
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Old 06-13-2012, 01:37 AM   #4
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Yikes, is right. The one side was not there, siding was hanging onto the top rail. It was so bad that no wood was left and if it were not for the side with the door to get the idea of how it went back we would have been in a world of hurt.

Good Luck on the decals!! Sooner or later that will be the next thing.
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Old 06-15-2012, 04:51 AM   #5
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Yikes, what a mess. You are so brave to tackle this massive repair.
I second and third that, but if you have the place, tools and knowledge to do it yourself it can be done... there really is nothing "special" about these campers once you get over the fact they go up and down...

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Can't work on it when the sun is blazing down on me.
Sun blazing on you? it's the middle of june and it's hit the upper 90's every day so far here. We are in stage 2 water restrictions allready and have the rest of the summer (which will most likely be dry) to go.

You're doing a good job so far...
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Old 06-15-2012, 11:10 AM   #6
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I second and third that, but if you have the place, tools and knowledge to do it yourself it can be done... there really is nothing "special" about these campers once you get over the fact they go up and down...



Sun blazing on you? it's the middle of june and it's hit the upper 90's every day so far here. We are in stage 2 water restrictions allready and have the rest of the summer (which will most likely be dry) to go.

You're doing a good job so far...
I worked yesterday and the day before all day on it, hot but not as hot as you are, upper 80's mainly in the sun but some shade which helped.

My only problem is half of the walls were completely rotted, nothing left at all for a pattern, and of course it was for the two back corners so I am trying to get at what angle the back wall is at. I can use the side tin for a pattern for the top corners, but I need to figure out the angle of the back bottom rail the wall sets on. The original was hollow, looks like plywood cut and nailed in a tube shape wider at the top. I am replacing with a 2 x 4 and then will use a spacer on the top half side of the 2 X 4 and then attach the back wall.

How are you doing your decal work? Painting them on by hand? I would love to know because once I get this back together and get it home where I can get it cleaned inside and out, weather proofed, top painted with the roof coating, get the inside was and cabinets back in and all of that I would like to try and get the outside looking really nice again.
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Old 06-16-2012, 08:42 AM   #7
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Any one local to you that you could make a pattern from?... kinda assuming you are talking about the curve the upper wall has? Big piece of cardboard and a compass...

Actually not sure what part your talking about? Any curve should pretty much match the end caps...

You have a tow lite, no end caps, my bad.
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Old 06-16-2012, 09:14 AM   #8
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Default Painting decals

I am painting the decals with spray paint in a can. Using rust oleum. Lots of taping off and being patient. A slow tedious process for sure. I haven't worked on it lately as the sun is on it most of the time. Too many chores to do outside. sure hope some one can make a pattern for your repairs or lives close by to help you. So much for minor repairs!!
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Old 06-26-2012, 02:18 PM   #9
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Got the new walls built with 1 x 4. Could not just build one frame and insert it in, had to build in between the metal supports my son put in 2 per side. Didn't have much left of the old side to really make a pattern from since there was nothing left of the wood to make patterns from. With a few adjustments we got the sides and back all back together. before putting the siding back on we made sure that the top went up and down without any problems, several times, went great and with out a hitch.

Then came getting all the siding back on. This was a challenge due to the fact the previous owner removing some siding and tossing it which lead to creases, dents etc. A few adjustments and we got all the siding back on. Top piece along with roof edge is riveted a lot of pre-drilling and rivets but good and secure.

Needed to got the camper from my sons, an hour and a half away back home so I could work on it everyday. It was 10 pm so we got the windows in, not butyal (sp) taped just in to at least get it home. Finally at 11 pm we start the trip back home.

First thing that happens the door pops open. My fault didn't get it closed good, Ok get back on the road. We have two vehicles my Durango to pull (husband driving) and I am following in my Ford Ranger, I notice that the front of the camper is really to low to the ground in the front, plus I need gas, so we pull off get gas, take camper off and change the drop hitch to the other one we had and everything looks great. Get on the four lane and head home. About 5-6 miles down the road I think I see smoke...well maybe fog,,,no smoke...get him to pull over. YEP smoke from the transmission fluid leaking out of the durango. Husband looks under and finds that the pan plug is falling out...opps there it goes and all the fluid is now poring out. Thank goodness husband is a diesel mechanic so not a problem....except of course we are in the middle of no where in an area that closes up at 5 pm, so no chance of getting it fixed that night.

Went up the next day, fixed it and got the camper home...

I have now been working on the camper here. I will get pictures posted later. Have the inside roof ready for luan and have luan cut to fit and am painting today. Also cleaning where the air conditioner sits and rest of roof, and have removed the back window since half of it sits in the roof area. (roof curves part way down the back). After cleaning going to Lexell the seams on the roof, and get ready to roll several coats of the roof coating on.

The inside ceiling has 1 x 4 run on the top of the metal bracing in the middle part to give the roof a pitch for rain and air conditioner condensation to run off the sides, air conditioner vent re-framed to match and ready to except it after I get the roof coated.

Also have most of the inside panels for the walls cut, will pre paint today. Cut 3/4 inch thick Styrofoam panels to fit all voids in the walls and need to tape for better seal. Still need to remove side windows and door to get cut out for inside paneling and will get that installed, then buytal (sp) tape everything set back on and Lexell.

All this needs to be done by July 3rd, I have had reservations for months for 2 weeks of camping starting July 4th.....There have been several work until 3 am due to the heat we have been having during the day. Yesterday after working till 3 am got back on it and worked in the heat most of the day. Took a break last night, and will be on it again today.

I will get some pictures posted probably this evening of the progress.
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Old 06-26-2012, 05:30 PM   #10
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Default Getting your HiLo home.

What an adventure!! If nothing ever happened we would never have a story to tell. It is never funny when it is happening to us. Somehow in retelling the story it becomes funny. When you reseal your exterior roof seams the correct product to use would be lap sealant found at RV stores or on line.
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Old 06-26-2012, 05:43 PM   #11
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Default Rood seam sealer.

Talked with my DH. He said to ask for a RV roof sealer that is specific for the kind of roof you have. Aluminum lap seal. Correct me if I gave the wrong advice.
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Old 06-26-2012, 11:59 PM   #12
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The guys at J & R said to Lexell all the seams, which I have done, letting it dry or cure, then roll on the same roof coating that you use on aluminum/metal house roofs to seal (in white), several coats. I have rolled on some roof coating in the area where the window is going, air conditioner is going. lights etc. It is white and I am sure was more of an almond color new, but it is sealing and looks new and fresh and better than just aluminum color which it was most of anyway due to never having anything done to it since more than likely it was new in 94.
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Old 06-29-2012, 01:10 AM   #13
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Been working on getting the luan attached to the inside of the roof and getting paneling cut and ready for inside walls. I decided it would be easier to prime and and then paint the luan, so I did that the other day. Plus cut and painted the wood paneling that was already primed. It was a good idea until leaves from the tree that is losing them due to the lack of rain and 104 degree temps and the bugs that decided to land on the fresh paint.

Then of course getting the first sheet of luan in, while dripping sweat and hands dirty from working on the camper did not help. So now I will have to wipe everything down and do touch up paint after install. Same for the wall panels. Have a couple of 3/4 inch foam sheet insulation to finish up in the walls before installing all the paneling.

Another hot one tomorrow...may get up to 115 and if it does it will be a all night deal not a all day thing.
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Old 06-29-2012, 10:12 AM   #14
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Default Restoration

I do a bit of furniture refinishing and work under the shade tree in our backyard. I hear you about leaves and dirt in the wet paint. I purchased a small AC unit for my attic. Many times you can hardly move in my dinning room because my projects hog the room. Hang in their and you will get to the finishline.
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Old 06-29-2012, 10:54 AM   #15
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I do a bit of furniture refinishing and work under the shade tree in our backyard. I hear you about leaves and dirt in the wet paint. I purchased a small AC unit for my attic. Many times you can hardly move in my dinning room because my projects hog the room. Hang in their and you will get to the finishline.
I sure hope so I have until July 3rd to finish. Have had reservations for 2 weeks of camping starting july 4th. I am the only one working on it so it isn't always the easiest task. My husband helps with what he can when he gets home from work, but after he's worked 13 hours I can fully understand his not being overjoyed to jump in and help. He doesn't camp, a friend of mine and I do and she is not helping either

If the heat was not so bad it would help. Today were are getting records highs 105 to 115, I'll work until I can't then go out at night with lights on and work.
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Old 06-29-2012, 12:32 PM   #16
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Good luck lengle with your project. post pics when done. would like to see it.
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Old 06-30-2012, 12:59 AM   #17
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I have been taking them to post but by the time I am out in this darn heat wave, 104-109 all day I am wore out.
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Old 06-30-2012, 10:53 AM   #18
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Default Heat wave

I have been watching the nightly news and see many parts of the country are in a heat wave pattern. Ask Jr or Mantelli about your AC seal being in good condition. Maybe you can reuse it. Remodeling always takes more time,money and materials than you think.
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Old 07-16-2012, 02:00 AM   #19
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So? Did you get it done and go camping?

We have a 1994 Towlite 24 ft and just today dh ripped into the whole right side. Our wood was not nearly as bad as yours, but there were some rotten ones.

I want to make sure it doesn't happen again, and am thinking about gluing on some extra aluminum siding-type mat'l on the top edge to act as a "shield."

Anybody have any thoughts on this?

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Old 07-16-2012, 08:03 PM   #20
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I need to get the pictures uploaded. Still have some trim work inside to finish. Left on the fourth in the afternoon after doing some final things before leaving. Has rained a lot since we have been here but NO LEAKS!!! Still need to put a couple more coats of cool seal on the roof, get a new vent but I will work on that in between camping trips. Have loved camping in the New Camper.

I will get the pictures uploaded and explain some of the steps when I get home from camping.
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