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Old 10-01-2019, 10:45 AM   #1
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Camper sat 10+ years. Help?

Picking up a camper from a friend of ours in a little over 2 weeks. Itís been sitting since at least 2007 (when the tag expired) and need to pull it home 7 hoursand looking for help from anyone whoís moved these before after sitting so long. I have new rims and tires for it already. I still need to figure out how to manually pull the slide out in (electrical isnít working for the motor, not sure why yet I know the fuses are good) are the brakes a concern with seizing up or should these be fine? Anything else I need to check out? Weíll have about 2 full days to work on it to get it Road ready. Pulling it with my 01 F350.

After we get it home, we are going to be doing a full interior restoration and whatever else the chassis would need over the winter. We plan on christening it with a 5 day music festival trip beginning of May. Canít wait for it! So Iím sure youíll see us pop up again over the next few months. Thanks for any help or ideas!!
I tried to add some pics but something ainít working today
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Old 10-01-2019, 04:48 PM   #2
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Brakes. Make sure they work. If it has a slide it's probably pretty heavy. The 350 will stop it but it sure would be good to know they work. Wheel bearings while you have the rims off would be worth a look too.
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Old 10-01-2019, 05:05 PM   #3
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Welcome and you are off to a good start with new tires. My next concerns would be running lights and the brakes. It will also need a good battery for the breakaway unit. with a good battery installed when you jack it up to replace the tires you could pull the breakaway cable and spin the wheels. If the brakes are working you will know, then put the plunger back into the breakaway and see if they release. After doing that when you have the wheels off I would pull the drum and make sure the pads are good. I have seen the pads come off from rusting. There should be a crank handle for the slide. I am sure someone else could help with location of crank. Knowing what year and model number will be a great help.
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Old 10-01-2019, 11:21 PM   #4
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Hi Trailmaster,

I have picked up as of last weekend, 4 campers that have sat for years and brought them home as project campers. Each one has been a learning experience.

As was said, you are right on with new wheels and tires. Make sure they are aired up to max cold sidewall pressure for the trip. They need all the air the tire can take to hold the loads. Since they are new wheels and most likely painted, you have to do at least 3 recheckes on the lug nut torque. 1str recheck, approx 20 to 30 miles. (most important), 2nd check, approx 50 to 75 more miles, 3rd check 100 to 150 more miles. If they all stop moving (stop taking torque) on the 3rd check then most times your good. If any take a little more, add a 4th check until they stop moving.

I also bring extra lug nuts, a lug nut brake drum stud and a tap and chaser die. 1/2-20 fine thread is many of them. Sometimes all the nuts come off well. And others not. Assuming 6 lug wheels, that is 24 nuts. The odds exist some may pull hard and gall the threads.

The comments on the brakes and bearings are dead on. And bring spare bulbs for the DOT lights and tools to troubleshoot the lighting system. Tell us the make and model of the camper? This helps.

I'll also add, assuming the camper is leaf spring suspension, look at the shackle links for at the spring pins holes for having elongated holes at the pins. Those links wear over time and elongate the hole. After enough wear, they break right off leaving you stranded. I have seen this happen enough times that I always check those links before pulling a camper some 500 miles home. And I bring old usable parts with me. Also look at the spring eye connections at the hangers. Make sure they all have nuts on them and the spring bolts look intact.

The roof, odds are high the fridge roof vent cover can be totally sun baked to death. Touch it and it can crumble. I've had this happen on 2 campers that were about 13 - 15 years old when we picked them up. I had to duct tape one of as that was all we had to patch it with to keep it intact enough to not fly off going down the road . The last one, we changed the cover. And we hit a monsoon rain on the way to camp on the way home. Glad we addressed it. The same goes for the 14 x 14 crank up roof vents. Again knowing this, I bring old usable spares to change if they are toast. While you may not have a bunch of old parts laying around, come prepared with something to cover the holes if they are sun baked to brittle. Add the black and grey tank vent cover too to the list.

The camper battery on the tongue may be toast too. I bring a spare.

The slide, we need to know the make of the camper, year and model number. Sunline used different slide drives over the years and each is a little different. While there is a hand crank that can help, there is also the reality the hand crank on many of the slide systems is direct to the ACME screw drive and has major mechanical advantage with no slip clutch in the manual mode. You can break the slide motor mounts right off if the slide is stuck and your turning the crank the wrong way. I'm taking very little effort on a hand crank the wrong way can shear off the motor pins. My slide only needs 25 in. lb. of torque on the slide hand crank to move the slide. That is nothing. You start putting 10 to 20 ft lb which is still almost nothing and you can shear off the motor drive. It is like 18 to 1 gear down or larger in some cases.

Need more info on the camper and slide system to help better. Any chance of some pics? Has the slide been open for the last 12 years and outside? Pending the slide drive, you can have some good rusting going in. Bring a qty of penetrating oil and a large adjustable wrench to put on the square shaft drive. Again, pending the make and type of slide drive, assuming it is a rack and pinion drive, you may have to unhook the square shaft drive to loosen things up.

My F350 is packed with enough tools and parts to deal with whatever we "think" we need when we go on one of these pickups. After every pickup, the list of what to bring keeps getting longer... We have had to improvise before. Fence wire, and gorilla tape does help!

Hope this helps and good luck. Please create a post on your repair effort and the trip. We all learn from each other.

John
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Old 10-01-2019, 11:27 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TrailMaster1 View Post
I tried to add some pics but something ainít working today
For help on uploading pics, see here to upload to a post directly, on our server or your own photo server. Forums 101 - posting, accounts, basics

And here to upload them to your own photo album that you can then later link to a post as many times as you need to. This link is later in the same help post. Forums 101 - posting, accounts, basics

If you need more help on pics, let us know. They are a major help in trying to show what you are up against.
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Old 10-02-2019, 06:42 AM   #6
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Caution about pulling the breakaway pin, do it fast it would be good to have two people it will burn up in in less than two minutes if left out. Connecting to your truck should allow you to see what is up with the brake wiring, magnets etc. the truck should show an error code if there is a bum magnet or wiring problem. Nothing beats having a visual with all of the brake drums off they are going to be rusty and it would be a good time to check and repack the bearings. Wipe the bearings off with a rag if there is so much as a fleck of shiny metal the bearing is no good.
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Old 10-03-2019, 03:51 PM   #7
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I thought I put the year in the original post, my bad. I know itís a 1997. I donít remember the model off the top of my head. I ďthinkĒ itís a T1550 or something like that? Iíll try and find my notes again. I already have a battery and have been trying to locate new bearings for it already with little luck. Once we get to the camper Iíll hook up to it and check the lights. Thereís an auto part store about 20min from where it has been sitting so Iíll be able to replace whatever is burnt. If for whatever reason the lights donít work at all I have a separate harness/light system I can attach to make it legal to drive home with. Iíve added some pics here as long as theyíll actually post this time. It seems I got a little farther with them today.

As for extra parts, we have none at all. I do have several rolls of duct tape and wire/fencing to tie anything down if need be. It is going to be our project camper over the winter (new subfloor and flooring in rear half and updating in general. It already has an electric fridge and the original vents have been capped. We are getting it for free from a friend of ours (long story) all Iím truly worried about here at this moment is dragging it home oct 20th. We will be with it starting the 18th and Will have 2 full days to wrench on it to get it Road worthy, then the 7 hour drive back to NC. As for the slide itself, Iím just going to assume the slide has been out itís entirety of sitting in the campground. The tracks and everything seemed fairly decent considering itís 1/4 mile from the ocean in Chincoteague VA. The frame is more than solid with the original paint still in tact on 90-95% and the suspension looked just fine to me. Iím assuming this camper hardly saw road usage for more than a few years at best.
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Old 10-03-2019, 04:14 PM   #8
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Definitely not a 1550! Looks pretty good and you have just the right thing to tow it with that's a heavy camper. John will tell you what it is.
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Old 10-03-2019, 05:31 PM   #9
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I was damn near positive I was wrong on the model. I found my notes and it’s a 1997 T32SS. Anyone know what the true weight of this thing? My research has come up with 6k but I think that’s the dry weight of the shell. I’m thinking it’s going to be pushing 10k
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Old 10-03-2019, 06:03 PM   #10
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Wow, great pics!!!

Ahh, as Mainah said, it for sure, is not a T1550... That would be a single axle camper.

Since you know for sure, it's a 1997, and with those 2 great pics, it lines up with a Saturn T-32SSA with the optional monster size rear bathroom.

If you go to our files section, you can download the 1997 brochure, which lists all the spec's on it. To get to the file section, look for the tab on the top of the forum called "FILES" click it when you're logged in.


Then go into Sunline Brochures and scroll to 1997. They have the floor plans and lots of other good stuff in the brochure.

Your T-32SSA when empty and no added options weighed 6,595# gross weight. It has a 10,000# GVWR. It has 3,405# of cargo capacity, which is unheard of on any new camper built today short of a custom one. They sure don't make them as they use too.

It is 33' 2" long from tow ball to rear bumper. The empty dry weight of the tongue (no battery and no LP in the tanks, and nothing in the camper) is 790#. I predict with battery and full LP tanks and some stuff in the camper you can easily approach 1,000# tongue weight hauling it home. Loaded, it can go up to 1,200, maybe 1,400 pending your camping gear.

Point being, your truck receiver, if it is still OEM, is most likely not rated for that kind of tongue weights without a weight distributing (WD) hitch. There should be a sticker on the receiver with the ratings. Have a look. Do you by chance have a weight distributing hitch? And if so what is it rating? We can help with how to set it up and adjust it if needed.

I know my 2005 F350 only came from Ford with a deadweight carrying ability of 600# receiver on the back. With a WD hitch, it went up to 1,250#. It was a good receiver, but I had to change it out for more rating as my T310SR weighs in fully loaded at 1,600# tongue weight. It is a 32' camper with a 10,000# GVWR, and I have managed to fill it...

On the bearings and seals, if there is a NAPA or other auto parts store in the area, they have the bearings and grease seals. Take in the old ones, and they can match them up. As for brake shoes and other parts, that can be more complex unless there is a trailer shop nearby. The axles are most likely either Alko Kober or Dexter. Sunline used a lot of both of them.

On the duct tape, suggest you get a roll of Gorilla tape. The 2" wide is a good size to have. I'm stating that brand as it is different and better than most. It can patch a lot of things and make the trip.

The slide, I'll do some digging and report back if we had another member with a 97 slide model talk about it with the super slide and what kind of slide drive it was. By chance, do you have any pictures of the slide drive system under it or can get them beforehand? If I know what you have, odds are good I can find a manual on it for you. Then you can go prepared better with tools and a plan to start.

When you make it to the point of taking it apart, start a new post on that. I'll leave you with this, if you're going to redo the camper, you start with taking the siding off and fix this from the outside in especially when you find water damage. We have many posts with pics on how these campers were built and come apart. They are not built like a house, they are built from the outside in.

And your truck, WOW it looks in great shape. The lack of road salt helps. Us folks up here in the rust belt do not have that much luck keeping older vehicles living without significant rust cancer in them.

Hope this helps

John
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Old 10-03-2019, 06:16 PM   #11
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Side note since weíre here, these are some interior pics and the full story. Donít mind the mess at the moment. Part of it is from the PO and part is from the abandoned project from our friends. The friends we are getting it from bought the lot it is sitting on, camper obviously went with it. Their plan was to fix it up and rent it out weekly to basically pay their yearly dues and taxes since they now have 3 conjoined lots (it sure as hell ainít cheap). They started to take the vinyl out and realized how bad the water damage really was. Iíve done home disaster restoration for 4+ years and this is right up my alley. The AC system doesnít work, keeps flipping breakers. They have no clue of the condition of the propane lines, the minor electrical issues or the plumbing. They know it was only used a half dozen times in the past 7-8 years for like a long weekend at most per time. They never talked to the PO due to the auction sale so have almost no long term info on it at all.

Weíre going to replace the subfloor in the bathroom and up to the counters in the main area. The slide in is solid. If I canít figure out the AC issue weíre going to pull it, install a new roof, and install an interior wall mounted AC/heat system. Personally weíre not worried about the propane lines. Iím going to install a electric stove and I have a working electric water heater out of another totaled camper our family has (damn tree fell on it, not worth the time to fix) to replace the current one if all else fails. Weíll go with some sort of engineered flooring through the living area, new carpet in the bedroom and vinyl in the bathroom. Most of that I can pull from job sites without issue. Well do new wall paper or paint the interior with all new fabric and curtains through out and probably call it done after that. We are planning on christening it with A first trip the first week of May 2020 to go to a metal music festival in Rockingham NC. Weíll definitely have it parked on the current lot it is sitting on through many years to come. I basically grew up going to this campground every summer from when I was a child and absolutely love it there. Took the wife up there for the first time beginning of July when we decided to take the camper off their hands. Weíve wanted a camper for many years and are ecstatic to get started on this thing.
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Old 10-03-2019, 06:38 PM   #12
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John, I do have a WD hitch and I don’t know the rating off hand. We are going to be using it when towing. I’m more than confident it will hold the weight, it’s one of the larger models. And I will DEFINITELY check out those brochures, thanks for that!! I do not have any pics of the under carriage at the moment. I’m hoping part of our group goes down before we do to get me some more info. They are only a little over an hour from it. The water damage is from the roof vent in the bathroom. I happened to have my moisture meters with me when we looked at it and the walls were dry so we shouldn’t need to tear the exterior apart (hopefully)

We’ve only had the truck a little over a month. It’s an 01 4x4 V10. I upgraded from a 98 1500 Sierra to Iron Man here. So far I’m loving it. It actually came from NY so there is a bit of rust under neath it, but it’s still solid as all hell.
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Old 10-03-2019, 07:03 PM   #13
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More cool pics!!! Thanks for sharing.

It sounds like you're going to have this on a stationary site and not tow it like a traveling camper?

And it sounds like your handy. Home disaster restoration, Great!!! You can teach us some new tricks. Your planning a lot of really good work. And since you are, it would be a shame to have it all get water infected from leak sources that were not realized and fixed prior to the restoration.

Since you found us here, welcome to the club by the way, we can help you understand how campers leak. And how to seal them once you know how they leak.

The basics of a leaking camper is the sealants go bad over time. The siding and the roofing material itself is fairly solid. But the sealants are not. While routine roof maintenance is mentioned in the owner's manual and if done, it helps with some of those sealants. There is nothing in the owners manuals about anything below the roof line on maintenance for leaks. But there are many leak sources below the roof line.

Any hole, big or small put into the siding or the roofing is a leak source. Just looks how many screws and holes there are in a camper....
Sealants are used at those joints/holes and when the sealant starts to break down, given the right conditions, water finds it way in and then gravity takes over and it starts heading down. A roof corner leak not only takes out the roof, but the walls and maybe even the floor as the water keeps weeping down until it can either get out, or it festers in the basement rotting the floor out. A low leak, like in a lower corner molding or window seal, at least starts half way down the wall... and then only kills what is below it. And there can be many leaks sources all at the same time. There is never just one. And you can't always see the leak. It's in the walls and vinyl wall and ceiling paper do a great job of keeping moisture not coming through it.

Point in all this, odds are favorable there are not many, if any sealants left on the camper that are not deteriorating in some fashion. You have 2 choices of correction. Take each joint apart and replace the base sealant with better than original and then cover with a secondary sealant. (the better bullet proof long term plan) or clean the joint and put the correct sealant over the old one. Not the best plan, but is still a plan to help keep the water out. And then there is the combo of both. Do the worst actors with the best method and other with the quick method. This all comes down to how many years do you want it to last?

Not trying to be a wet blanket, pun intended, just helpful in helping you seal up your camper so your beautiful inside work lasts a good long time.

Suggest you get a moisture meter and scan the whole camper. It is a $40 tool that can help show you how good or not this water situation is. This thread can help on the moisture meter. Moisture Meters For Inspecting a Camper

PS. We can help on the roof AC unit too. It might be toast or not. A few tests can help back into what is tripping the breaker. If the compressor is toast, then something all new or different is a better option. Much anything else on the AC unit is not that hard to repair/fix. We just need the model number of the roof unit and the control box. Both number stickers are up above the intake filter stuck on the bottom of the roof unit or the control box.

Hope this helps

John
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Old 10-03-2019, 07:17 PM   #14
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This actually won’t be my first camper restoration. I’ve actually done about a dozen before including soft pop up, hard side hi-lo and full size campers from bumper hitch to 5th wheels. My moisture meters I have for work total over a grand between the 3 of them. Ours won’t be a stationary, we are planning on using the hell out of it everywhere. Granted, it will get parked in its current spot in the future for long trips back up there. Like I said, I absolutely love that campground, but it will come home with us each time.

Part of the restoration we do I will pull all the exterior trim and replace all the sealing, plus the roof.

As far as the AC goes I do want to try to bring it back to life. If all else fails I’ll do the wall mount I mentioned earlier. That will be a project for another post though.
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Old 10-04-2019, 06:42 PM   #15
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Great! And smart move on planning to reset the exterior trim seals. Smart move. Your into camper restoration too, this is also good. We can compare notes on methods and materials maybe when you get into yours. Always good to see how others do this.

Also curious on the brand/model and type of moisture meters you use at work. Always looking forward to learning new stuff and improving methods on how to fix stuff. The $40 General Instruments pinless meter is simple and can scan about 5/8" into a wall, ceiling, floor etc. It takes some learning on how to interpret the numbers, as on wall mode it is 0 to 100%, which is not percent moisture but is an analog scale of how wet it is. Over enough use, combined with taking campers apart, you can create your own how wet is what percent on the meter. It's simple, cheap and easy to use. Fellow camper folks who are not into full blown restoring can use them to help themselves inspect a camper before buying it or how to know if the one they have has issues.

I am now on my 12th rot repair camper, the 12th being one I just brought home last weekend of my own. Some had minor damage, while others were full blown rebuild/restorations. Most have been on Sunlines, but have worked on Keystone, Coachman, Starcraft and Gulfstream dealing with water infections. I'm a somewhat recently retired guy with an extreme hobby... Some do, boats, some cars, trucks, motor cycles, well, I do campers! Trust me, as I'm sure you know very well, you have to be "into" this with all the time it takes to do a restoration and deal with rotting wood... and enjoy doing it in the process!

Good luck on your pickup day. I'm still on the hunt for what slide system they used in 1997 and will report back. Maybe a Barker or Power Gear unit or other brand as they were switching brands around in the early days of slides.
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Old 10-18-2019, 07:03 PM   #16
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So an update if anyoneís still seeing this

Got to the campground about 1am slept for a bit and got to work. We got the slide in, the lights working, brakes passed a check and my brake box isnít throwing any codes. Tires and bearings will be done tomorrow morning and hopefully that should be it! The electric jack on the tongue is froze up. So Iím going to jack the camper up with a floor jack to get it on the truck and Iíll just remove the whole thing for the trip. Iíll mess with it when we get home. Bad news is a storm rolled through a couple weeks ago and did some serious damage to the roof. So our restoration just about doubled. Iíll have to remove the cabinets now. But anyway, Iíll post another update tomorrow with how the rest went. If anyone comes up with anything else I should check let me know!
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Old 10-18-2019, 07:09 PM   #17
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Oh yes, we are following this!

Always learn something and looking forward to seeing your progress.

As to anything else to look for, if you already looked at all the roof plastic things I noted that can be sun baked and brittle, then you seem to have it all covered.

Good luck and let us know how it goes.

John

PS Glad the you got the slide in. Curious on pics of the slide drive system they used in 1997.
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Old 10-19-2019, 05:55 PM   #18
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We leave in the morning!

I was wrong about the tag. It expired in 2000. So Iím assuming it was registered, brought down, and parked. I found out itís also been on several lots here. Friend of ours selling it to us has a binder of paperwork and Manuals on it. That will help a ton here soon.
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Old 10-19-2019, 06:18 PM   #19
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Wow, the original manual. You scored!!!

Have a safe tow home.

John
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Current Sunlines: 2004 T310SR, 2004 T1950, 2004 T2475, 2007 T2499, 2004 T317SR
Prior Sunlines: 2004 T2499 - Fern Blue
2005 Ford F350 Lariat, 6.8L V10 W/ 4.10 rear axle, CC, Short Bed, SRW. Reese HP trunnion bar hitch W/ HP DC

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Old 10-22-2019, 06:32 AM   #20
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Join Date: Aug 2019
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 16
SUN #11483
TrailMaster1 is an unknown quantity at this point
Made it home Sunday about 1800. 8 hours, almost 500 miles all in the rain. It was a BLAST (not really) but truck did great for the ride. Was a little sketchy going across the Bay Bridge Tunnel. Iíll start a new thread here soon when we actually start work. I got it tarped and leveled last night. My goal is to have this done by Christmas, but no ones allowed to hole me to that!!
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