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Old 08-08-2010, 06:36 PM   #1
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Default Port side repair to 1994 TowLite :(

Hi All,

We were offered a 1994 TowLite by our folks. They bought it new, it was barely used, and it was garage kept until 3 years ago, and they just didn't want to trailer anything anymore. We, of course, said yes.

Wow, haven't had a vacation in 3 years, this is going to be so much fun! Left home early June and headed up North to get the trailer.

Pressure washed the outside, checked the wheel bearings, totally cleaned the inside, stowed all of our gear, stocked it with food, and took off to head back South with several cool camping spots in mind.

Bear in mind that while pressure washing, cleaning and stocking, we ran the trailer up and down and up and down.

Took the scenic route down the Blue Ridge Parkway, nice leisurely drive. Stopped at the National Park Service campground near Blowing Rock, NC. Got a camp site, said "YAY", and went to put the camper 'up'. Battery was dead. No problemo, we say. Unhooked the Tundra, turned truck around and charged the battery. Easy sneezy.

As the trailer was going up, I noticed the one side was not lifting.

"WHOA", I said. He brought it back down. Let's give this another try, slowly.

"WHOA, the port side still isn't lifting!" He brought it back down and it came down with a crash. (insert lots of noise here)



Crawled under the port side, lots of rotten wood came falling down on the ground, along with a metal clamp that was attached to cable. Geez, we knew what this meant.

Off to find a hotel room, some dinner, and get up the next morning and head straight back to Florida. Yet another year without a vacation, right?

Once home, we 'thought' it would be just a matter of possibly replacing the bottom board and reattaching the clamp and cable and we would be able to lift the trailer once again. We wanted to do this quickly so we could head up to a NPS campground in Flagler Beach, FL while we still had some time off from work. No way.

The entire side had rotten wood - wet, stinky rotten wood. We spent the rest of our 'vacation' purchasing materials, doing the design on paper, and crawling on our hands and knees in and out and in and out to get our 'stuff' out.

We took detailed pictures of the dismantle, and have slowly been building an entirely new side in our garage, while keeping the camper under several tarps since this is our rainy season down here. We are sharing the dismantle photos here (below), and plan to take pictures of the actual side rebuild during and after we get it all put together, showing how we are doing the attachment. The side is now half way assembled, so we will post pictures before we sandwich it closed and put the window in. The siding was torn on the bottom, so this is either going to be a TowLite Woody, or we will replace the siding (anyone know of a source?)

Word of caution - DO NOT leave your camper uncovered so that it gets 4 to 5 feet of snow and ice during a harsh West Virginia winter!

After viewing the photos, if anyone has any words of wisdom and/or recommendations, we would love to hear them! We are slowly working on this project and have plenty of time to do a redesign.

Oh, and the CRASH that we heard on that first night, well, hopefully it was just the lights crashing on the countertop because the top fell way further than it normally would have. We will see when we can lift it again and get inside.

Here's the link to the photos. If you click on each photo, there will be a little description, I hope.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/dangdeb...7624557123955/

Have fun camping this summer folks!
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Old 08-08-2010, 08:04 PM   #2
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The link wouldn't work for me. I use Fire Fox browser. Will try IE later, good luck with your project.
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Old 08-08-2010, 09:47 PM   #3
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I use IE and the link wouldn't work for me either. It indicated that it was a private photo file.
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Old 08-09-2010, 07:33 AM   #4
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Default think i have photos fixed

photos should be visible now, i always have such trouble with flickr.
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Old 08-09-2010, 10:13 AM   #5
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Very interested in your repairs Anyway to post the pics on this site? The links are blocked here at work........we are only allowed to look at bunnies and butterflies

Cheers,Steve
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Old 08-09-2010, 12:07 PM   #6
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Yuck! That IS a mess! Are you able to tell if the rest of the top is sound?

I wonder how it got so wet and rotten if it had been garaged all its life? I can't believe that damage was caused by pressure washing it.

There are people around who do sheet metal work. I think I would try to find one of those guys to fabricate a new side for you.

What a terrible introduction to the "World of Hi-Lo"!

- Jack
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Old 08-10-2010, 10:27 AM   #7
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To answer your question Jack about how the side got so wet, years ago some of the siding on the left side came loose. When the repair was done, the siding was riveted in place with the seam side up (the top piece of siding was inside the bottom piece, instead of being on the outside), so water was able to seep in. It was siliconed, but the few years it was in the weather the (cheap) silicone didn't hold.

The top of the camper is fine, a little indentation from ice and snow, but the roof beam is so strong, we aren't concerned with this issue at this time. We may address it later, but it certainly isn't major. We've been on top of the camper working on the a/c.
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Old 08-10-2010, 12:32 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tropicslady View Post
To answer your question Jack about how the side got so wet, years ago some of the siding on the left side came loose. When the repair was done, the siding was riveted in place with the seam side up (the top piece of siding was inside the bottom piece, instead of being on the outside), so water was able to seep in. It was siliconed, but the few years it was in the weather the (cheap) silicone didn't hold.

The top of the camper is fine, a little indentation from ice and snow, but the roof beam is so strong, we aren't concerned with this issue at this time. We may address it later, but it certainly isn't major. We've been on top of the camper working on the a/c.
Makes perfect sense! Thanks for letting me know. Our trailer sits outside, but under a cover most of the time. I was wondering if this is something more I needed to worry about. (Of course the Arizona desert is not known for its "rain".)

- Jack
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Old 08-14-2010, 02:13 PM   #9
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OMG! what a mess. You are a very brave man to tackle this job. You look like you know what you are doing, we wouldn't even know where to start. We lost rubber from one of our tires on our "trip from hell", and it tore the wood from under our trailer and ruined the wheel well. We we're into a three month trip only 2 wks. We found out our a/c didn't work while in Houston and it was 91 degrees,and we have two dogs. Needless to say we turned around and came home to Phoenix. The trailer has been in the shop for three months waiting for parts. Hope we have better luck on next trip. This only half the story of our two week adventure,but it would take me two weeks to tell all. Looking forward to better times. Jack & Joyce PS will be watching for the the new pictures.
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Old 08-14-2010, 11:29 PM   #10
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I'm looking at the same repairs this fall on my '88 towlite, but my lifting cables are good.
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Old 01-26-2011, 08:19 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tropicslady View Post
Hi All,

We were offered a 1994 TowLite by our folks. They bought it new, it was barely used, and it was garage kept until 3 years ago, and they just didn't want to trailer anything anymore. We, of course, said yes.

Wow, haven't had a vacation in 3 years, this is going to be so much fun! Left home early June and headed up North to get the trailer.

Pressure washed the outside, checked the wheel bearings, totally cleaned the inside, stowed all of our gear, stocked it with food, and took off to head back South with several cool camping spots in mind.

Bear in mind that while pressure washing, cleaning and stocking, we ran the trailer up and down and up and down.

Took the scenic route down the Blue Ridge Parkway, nice leisurely drive. Stopped at the National Park Service campground near Blowing Rock, NC. Got a camp site, said "YAY", and went to put the camper 'up'. Battery was dead. No problemo, we say. Unhooked the Tundra, turned truck around and charged the battery. Easy sneezy.

As the trailer was going up, I noticed the one side was not lifting.

"WHOA", I said. He brought it back down. Let's give this another try, slowly.

"WHOA, the port side still isn't lifting!" He brought it back down and it came down with a crash. (insert lots of noise here)



Crawled under the port side, lots of rotten wood came falling down on the ground, along with a metal clamp that was attached to cable. Geez, we knew what this meant.

Off to find a hotel room, some dinner, and get up the next morning and head straight back to Florida. Yet another year without a vacation, right?

Once home, we 'thought' it would be just a matter of possibly replacing the bottom board and reattaching the clamp and cable and we would be able to lift the trailer once again. We wanted to do this quickly so we could head up to a NPS campground in Flagler Beach, FL while we still had some time off from work. No way.

The entire side had rotten wood - wet, stinky rotten wood. We spent the rest of our 'vacation' purchasing materials, doing the design on paper, and crawling on our hands and knees in and out and in and out to get our 'stuff' out.

We took detailed pictures of the dismantle, and have slowly been building an entirely new side in our garage, while keeping the camper under several tarps since this is our rainy season down here. We are sharing the dismantle photos here (below), and plan to take pictures of the actual side rebuild during and after we get it all put together, showing how we are doing the attachment. The side is now half way assembled, so we will post pictures before we sandwich it closed and put the window in. The siding was torn on the bottom, so this is either going to be a TowLite Woody, or we will replace the siding (anyone know of a source?)

Word of caution - DO NOT leave your camper uncovered so that it gets 4 to 5 feet of snow and ice during a harsh West Virginia winter!

After viewing the photos, if anyone has any words of wisdom and/or recommendations, we would love to hear them! We are slowly working on this project and have plenty of time to do a redesign.

Oh, and the CRASH that we heard on that first night, well, hopefully it was just the lights crashing on the countertop because the top fell way further than it normally would have. We will see when we can lift it again and get inside.

Here's the link to the photos. If you click on each photo, there will be a little description, I hope.

TowLite repair - a set on Flickr

Have fun camping this summer folks!
Thank you so much for post what you have told us, we bought the 1994 towlite 18TD camper and fell in love with it... ( we had pop up craftstar and got tired of pulling bed out and set up a lots things) We love camping and traveling with our van that we are members of Van Club for years. We want to find something that is comfortable and small to pull and we happy to have this camper so i came here to check out some informations and to my surprised we read this and going to take precaught to check out everythings that you all talk about. We also didn't have manual for this camper and we were disappointed and trying to find everything we can on here to keep our belovely camper up to date and all. WE want to check things out before we go on the road to freedom vacation. Now we going to buy a biggest tarp or getting a carpool to have our camper cover up through the storms of any kind and want to keep this as long as we can. Reading your informs about the side wall, we admit how u guys could torn the wall off and repaired it. We would do the same as you did and the less worrying about what the future come for us camper lover. We love the life of camping and vanning. Hope you guys keep the camper as well
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Old 08-10-2011, 08:48 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tropicslady View Post
photos should be visible now, i always have such trouble with flickr.
Did the project get finished? I haven't seen any photos of the re-construction of the towlite.
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