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Old 08-27-2020, 10:04 AM   #1
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Default Greetings from MN! New member with a "canned ham" popup: 1971 Rolite

https://imgur.com/a/86P4fC3

https://imgur.com/a/UFbIJlL

The short of it: my wife and I were looking for a vintage, small, canned ham style camper. She's never been too excited about RVs but she's all about decorating and home renovations and wanted a camper like that to use as a guest house in the back yard. So, why not a guest house we can camp in, too? I'm looking forward to a camper both of us will be passionate about.

The long of it: the fact that this one is collapsible wasn't part of the plan at first. Now I'm thinking it's a huge bonus for rehabing this thing because the walls will be so easily removable. Plus, the walls seem to be the least affected by the rot that's taken over the lower portion. My dad and I spent a few hours the other day trying to fix the driver's-side corner which had sagged a full 8" lower than the other three when I started playing around with the collapsable functionality.

This one uses a chain-drive system with four independent chains on the corners. The rot was so bad on the problem corner that it was causing too much slack in the chain and before I knew what was going on it had sagged horribly. The passenger's side front must also have structural issues as it seems to have sagged a good 2" lower than the rear, too. We managed to use a screwdriver to derail the really bad corner so the chain would for sure skip as I slowly and carefully continued to lower the top with that corner down and the others still up.

Over Memorial Day weekend I plan to start disassembling the interior, document and catalogue everything and get to where I can work on gutting the rot in the lower portion. It's going to be a pretty long project, I think. Until I get this going we'll keep using our 4x8 teardrop. I can't wait until it's done and we have a camper with an actual dinette so my family of 4 can all play The Farming Game inside on rainy days rather than being forced to cut a trip short.
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Old 08-27-2020, 11:07 AM   #2
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Interesting trailer, trevize. Welcome to the forum! Some of our members may have ideas to help you if you run in to problems. What drives the chains to raise and lower the top?

- Jack
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Old 08-27-2020, 12:08 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trevize1138 View Post
https://imgur.com/a/86P4fC3

https://imgur.com/a/UFbIJlL

The short of it: my wife and I were looking for a vintage, small, canned ham style camper. She's never been too excited about RVs but she's all about decorating and home renovations and wanted a camper like that to use as a guest house in the back yard. So, why not a guest house we can camp in, too? I'm looking forward to a camper both of us will be passionate about.

The long of it: the fact that this one is collapsible wasn't part of the plan at first. Now I'm thinking it's a huge bonus for rehabing this thing because the walls will be so easily removable. Plus, the walls seem to be the least affected by the rot that's taken over the lower portion. My dad and I spent a few hours the other day trying to fix the driver's-side corner which had sagged a full 8" lower than the other three when I started playing around with the collapsable functionality.

This one uses a chain-drive system with four independent chains on the corners. The rot was so bad on the problem corner that it was causing too much slack in the chain and before I knew what was going on it had sagged horribly. The passenger's side front must also have structural issues as it seems to have sagged a good 2" lower than the rear, too. We managed to use a screwdriver to derail the really bad corner so the chain would for sure skip as I slowly and carefully continued to lower the top with that corner down and the others still up.

Over Memorial Day weekend I plan to start disassembling the interior, document and catalogue everything and get to where I can work on gutting the rot in the lower portion. It's going to be a pretty long project, I think. Until I get this going we'll keep using our 4x8 teardrop. I can't wait until it's done and we have a camper with an actual dinette so my family of 4 can all play The Farming Game inside on rainy days rather than being forced to cut a trip short.
It is interesting your trailer is somewhat like our first trailer, which was an Estrelle and had the fold down walls. The Estrelle was a French company with a factory in either Ohio or Indiana. The trailer was all fiberglass and had to be opened by hand. The front and back of the trailer went up first with the help of gas shocks. You then had to open the door and lift up the curb side of the trailer, then step in and raise the street side. Good luck with your refurb.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Estrelle on the Kern April 2009.jpg (157.5 KB, 6 views)
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Old 08-27-2020, 01:40 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by JackandJanet View Post
Interesting trailer, trevize. Welcome to the forum! Some of our members may have ideas to help you if you run in to problems. What drives the chains to raise and lower the top?

- Jack
There's an electric motor in the passenger's side front that drives the four corners which each have individual chain drives that rotate a sturdy cog that lifts/lowers the four arms. The arms are able to curl as they go into the body of the trailer in a J channel as it goes down. Seems like the fact that they only bend in one direction helps them hold up the roof straight as they all "face" each other.

I haven't checked if the motor works yet but I've been using the manual override in the front with a corded drill.
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Old 08-27-2020, 02:14 PM   #5
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Wow! A manual lift too! I think your trailer has a great design. Looking forward to seeing how you get it back in shape.

- Jack
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Old 08-27-2020, 03:21 PM   #6
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Wow! A manual lift too! I think your trailer has a great design. Looking forward to seeing how you get it back in shape.

- Jack
When I first saw the rot in that driver's side corner I was feeling pretty intimidated! I was thinking the whole thing would need to be 100% gutted and rebuilt from scratch. But it's starting to look like it's mostly the lower corners and floor. I'll find out more next weekend when I dig into it but I've got my finger's crossed that I just need to patch here-and-there.

That floor has to go if only because of mildew. I finally started wearing a mask while inside it. Yuck.

Right now it's a matter of not letting myself feel too intimidated or frustrated and work on my patience ... which is a weakness for me.
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Old 08-27-2020, 05:23 PM   #7
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Default Interesting project.

Take pictures and measurements before disassembly. Best of luck with your project. Some of the HiLo trailers suffer lower wall dammage. Many of us have done extensive repairs. Be sure to remove all windows and reseal with butyl tape and Lexel caulk on the exterior. You tube has a video on how to remove windows.
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