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Old 10-19-2016, 12:25 AM   #1
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Sunline Fan's Sunny #6 Restoration Thread

This thread will serve as a log of my restoration progress. This is not a typical restoration as commonly seen with vintage trailers. There are two parts to this- the restoration and the tribute. This trailer will serve as a tribute to my childhood trailer (more on this below), as well as be correctly restored back to late 1996 standards. I will do as much as I can to keep original parts and materials, or restore things to correctly look like the trailer did when new.

Some of you may be familiar with my want ad here:

WANTED: 1997 Sunline Solaris T-2653

While I'm still searching for that one and will probably won't ever stop until I find it, I was doing some thinking over the last couple months that I should really find one similar to it to enjoy, while I can still find one. This particular year/model is so me...it inspired my bedroom decor as a kid, it inspired me to restore three other Sunlines to resemble it, and of course it has caused me to track about 3500ish Sunlines in the registry. My criteria seemed reasonable enough...it had to be a 1996 build '97 2653, with a double bed and not twins. I'd love for it to also have the Mountain Green Floral interior, but I'm more concerned about overall condition than having the correct interior color. I don't want another major project, and keeping things looking original is much more difficult when flooring or paneling has to be replaced.

I've been watching this particular trailer for sale for the last five summers, and the seller decided to drop the price significantly to move it before winter. With that, I decided it was at least worth a look. Drove up there last Friday and ended up towing it home. This trailer will be a tribute trailer to the one above, so I will be trying to restore it as accurately as possible.

It's a one family owner coach, custom ordered in September 1996 and purchased new in early November 1996. The owner passed away in 2012, which prompted the family to try to start selling it then. For whatever reason, it never sold all these years, and they'd store it inside at a local fairgrounds every winter. I was concerned about missing components in the pictures (such as the chair, bedspread, front curtains, etc.), but I was surprised to see pretty much everything reappeared when I saw the trailer in person. The trailer was almost exclusively used as a seasonal trailer at a campground in West Michigan, so road miles are minimal. I like the fact that it still sports the factory original Canadian Goodyear Marathons, which look in surprisingly good condition. After airing them up to 50 from 22 psi, I made it home without trouble. Since the Marathon isn't made anymore, I will try to use these tires locally as long as I can, but I will have to replace them eventually so they don't hinder my using the trailer.

The seller had assured me that the trailer had no water damage, and I was really hoping for that, because I don't want to tear another one apart. When I inspected it, I didn't find any at all and besides the moth ball smell, it didn't seem musty. Climbed up to inspect the roof and everywhere that I checked, the roof had a firm feel to it to indicate good bud board, despite the seams looking very questionable. This past Sunday, I completely went through the coach, wiping down every surface inside and out. With the moth balls removed, the inside has been smelling better and better every day. In wiping down the walls, I did find one small spot of water damage simply by feel, it was hard to see by eye. I immediately grabbed a ladder and inspected the roof in that spot. The seam was certainly compromised, but I was happy to find the bud board was still decently firm. Softer than other areas yes, but not rubber band feeling at all.

The next day, I stopped and picked up three tubes of Dicor 501, and had the entire roof resealed that evening. I scraped everything out of the questionable area and re did it all, but only removed loose parts and debris from the rest of the roof. I don't think this water damage is serious enough to warrant pulling the trailer apart at this time, since the leak is very new. Without a doubt, had the trailer spent a winter or two outside, the damage would be much worse and more widespread.

The rest of the trailer has just needed a very thorough cleaning and minor mechanical work. All four scissor jacks have various issues, so they will be replaced with four original style Liftco jacks, after the frame is scraped and painted. Due to the minimal road mileage and pretty minimal usage overall, the trailer is in phenomenal shape under the dirt. Interior was pretty well kept and exterior skin is nearly perfect, except for a slight tree branch dent in the back corner. If I ever open up the corner, I can probably push this out completely.

I'm sure some of you are wondering...no, the '07 isn't going anywhere. That will remain the nice one for actual camping. This one is pretty much going to serve as a personal studio/man cave at my house, while the '07 chills a few hours away with the protection of four walls and a roof.

This coach came with most documentation, even though some seems to have disappeared. I have the QCC at least, indicating a birthday coming up at the end of this month. I was lucky enough to find the original license plate and a registration inside as well, which I can register the trailer with when it turns 25. I'm excited to do that!

So far I have found that restoring a Sunline will be a bit more difficult in general compared to 10 years ago. Water heater doors have changed slightly with a logo addition, refrigerator access doors have also had a logo added, Bargman #68 series clearance lights are no longer available, etc. Luckily a few things have worked out really well- such as Hehr sending me brand new red stickers for the windows, and new baggage door catches were exact replacements.

While it remains a work in progress, here are a few pictures:

When I first saw it:




After a fresh wash:









......


The original Craigslist pictures, which I saw every summer since 2012:



















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Old 10-19-2016, 05:35 AM   #2
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That is a beautiful find for sure. Sounds like those tires disproved the five year rule, LOL!
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Old 10-19-2016, 06:07 AM   #3
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Wow that is so exciting! It looks amazing! So which one will come to the meet and greets? I'd love to see this one ��
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Old 10-19-2016, 07:07 PM   #4
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Wow Jon, Nice find. It sure looks good in the pics.

Amazing a coach that old still looks better then some of the brands today, brand new.

Good luck with your new camper.

John
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Old 10-19-2016, 07:36 PM   #5
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Looks very nice. Congratulations.
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Old 10-20-2016, 05:49 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim-Bev-2363 View Post
That is a beautiful find for sure. Sounds like those tires disproved the five year rule, LOL!
Haha yeah, but I'm a huge fan of these tires, they are from the good years at Goodyear. As long as they are properly inflated. I wouldn't go long distance on them, but they should work fine for around the yard.

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Wow that is so exciting! It looks amazing! So which one will come to the meet and greets? I'd love to see this one ��
This one will likely stay local. The 286 will remain fully stocked for actual camping, whereas this one will be a little sparse. It will stay in the yard here or head over to the Tin Can Tourists annual gatherings, which are 17 miles away. They are fully catered, so no cooking is required!
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2007 T-286SR Cherry/Granola, #6236, original owner, current mileage: 9467.8 (as of 5/26/19)
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Past Sunlines: '97 T-2653 #5089, '94 T-2251, '86 T-1550, '94 T-2363, '98 T-270SR
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Old 10-20-2016, 08:18 PM   #7
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Very Nice! The layout looks very similar to my 2000 but mine has a single exterior door with single beds instead of the queen.


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Old 10-21-2016, 06:04 AM   #8
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Great new addition Jon, I love seeing older Sunlines in great shape, enjoy using it!
It also reminds me of the fiberglass sided 2653 that Gary (EMDriver) had a few years back. I think he's sold it by now, but it was a nice trailer once the floor work that it needed was done. Nice floor plan.
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Old 10-21-2016, 11:22 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sep View Post
Very Nice! The layout looks very similar to my 2000 but mine has a single exterior door with single beds instead of the queen.


Steve P
Thanks Steve! The twin bed option was a pretty rare one. That said, the coach built three after this was also a twin bed model.

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Great new addition Jon, I love seeing older Sunlines in great shape, enjoy using it!
It also reminds me of the fiberglass sided 2653 that Gary (EMDriver) had a few years back. I think he's sold it by now, but it was a nice trailer once the floor work that it needed was done. Nice floor plan.
Rich
Honestly, I wonder how the three of us functioned in this as long as we did! I do love the floorplan, but it would be tight for us now. What I especially love is how the dinette and chair have nice big windows on the patio side, so I feel like I can be inside but be able to still see what's going on outside. The 286 has more windows on the other side, which it's kinda awkward to look out over neighbors.

That Advancer Gary had was sure a nice one! Certainly more rare, but this is all sentimental for me, so I wanted one that looked like the original.
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2007 T-286SR Cherry/Granola, #6236, original owner, current mileage: 9467.8 (as of 5/26/19)
1997 T-2653 Blue Denim, #5471
1979 12 1/2' MC, Beige & Avocado, #4639
Past Sunlines: '97 T-2653 #5089, '94 T-2251, '86 T-1550, '94 T-2363, '98 T-270SR
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Old 10-21-2016, 01:37 PM   #10
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Awesome looking camper Jon! Loved my 2653's also...but as for the queen bed reference,I thought that didn't make it until the 1999 model? I remember my cousin buying his because of the queen . Not many made with twin beds thru the years--I saw just one 2653 with twins in the Reading PA area many years ago-it had pulldown bunks/storage above each twin. I did own two other models with twins but I always liked the second exit door for the bedroom. Enjoy!
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Old 10-21-2016, 01:56 PM   #11
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Quote:
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Awesome looking camper Jon! Loved my 2653's also...but as for the queen bed reference,I thought that didn't make it until the 1999 model? I remember my cousin buying his because of the queen . Not many made with twin beds thru the years--I saw just one 2653 with twins in the Reading PA area many years ago-it had pulldown bunks/storage above each twin. I did own two other models with twins but I always liked the second exit door for the bedroom. Enjoy!
Hmm, not sure what you mean about the queen...when the 2653 first came out in '93, that's how it came. I think you could option twin beds all along, it's just the take rate was very small.

Some used to have cabinet bunks over the twins, but that wasn't as common in by the late '90s. I think '97 had just a center wardrobe cabinet in the back, between the beds.
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2007 T-286SR Cherry/Granola, #6236, original owner, current mileage: 9467.8 (as of 5/26/19)
1997 T-2653 Blue Denim, #5471
1979 12 1/2' MC, Beige & Avocado, #4639
Past Sunlines: '97 T-2653 #5089, '94 T-2251, '86 T-1550, '94 T-2363, '98 T-270SR
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Old 10-21-2016, 02:09 PM   #12
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Yes..it seems twins were an option and when I searched for my twins they were very hard to locate. As for the "queen bed"' it arrived in 1998 as per my brochures info. That is why Sunline remanufactured the length (and the height) that year.
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Old 10-21-2016, 02:13 PM   #13
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Yes..it seems twins were an option and when I searched for my twins they were very hard to locate. As for the "queen bed"' it arrived in 1998 as per my brochures info. That is why Sunline remanufactured the length (and the height) that year.
I follow you now! This one is definitely a double bed.
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1997 T-2653 Blue Denim, #5471
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Past Sunlines: '97 T-2653 #5089, '94 T-2251, '86 T-1550, '94 T-2363, '98 T-270SR
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Old 11-08-2016, 11:58 PM   #14
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For those who aren't on Facebook to follow along, here are some recent progress pics.

I've been doing a lot of painting, trying to detail things to make them look new again.

The original outside shower box was replaced for some reason, and replaced with a gray one. I also found the putty tape wasn't replaced, so I removed the box, disassembled it, painted, and reinstalled (with new tape).

Similarly, I painted the storage doors, refrigerator access panel, stove vent, porch/utility lights, etc. I'm trying to have as little unpainted plastic on this trailer as possible, so that it doesn't age quickly from sitting outside.

The scissor jacks that came on it originally were Liftco, which are the same ones I remember as a kid. The previous owner had bad luck with scissor jacks and bent almost all of them, and they were a rusty mess with some replaced with different kinds. I removed all four scissor jacks and rather than restore them, I contacted Liftco and bought four new jacks from them ready to go. Highly recommend them. A quality made in USA jack for cheaper than other scissor jacks from the dealer.

While the jacks were off, I wire wheeled the frame and painted it. Just didn't do the rear bumper, which still has original nice powder coating on it. The new jacks look phenomenal on the shiny frame.

Next, I started on the doors. I pulled them off, fully disassembled them, removed the old striping, prepped and sprayed them white, and then sprayed the stripes. I took a virgin piece of striping I had and had special automotive spray paint mixed to match, with the correct metallic. The front door was my first, and the tape I used apparently started to lift up after I pushed it down, so I had a lot of bleeding. The rear door stripes look a lot better, so I'll have to redo the front. I also replace both door window frames, since the seals were failing and the outside frames were cracked in the corners. They were only available in all black, so I figured I could just use the old inside frame- wrong. The new frames have more screw holes and none align. So I painted both the inside and outside new frames, black and white, to match original. They turned out really well, I'm glad I bit the bullet and bought new frames.

After the doors, I tackled my favorite part, the rock guard. I liked that this trailer still had a decent original decal on the front. It was starting to peel a little, so I trimmed the curled edges with a razor knife. I then decided to go over the letters on the decal with the paint, to make them more vibrant. It turned out really well. Once I sprayed the white, I covered the decal and stripe with the same clear film like I used on my 286 (and I believe JohnB has a write up about doing it himself too).

When I went to reinstall the rock guard, I noticed it was binding when it came down. After investigating, the mounting rail was mounted too low and hitting the window frame, which caused the track to angle back. So, I pulled the rail off, cleaned it all up, put new butyl tape on, and mounted the rail 1/8" higher up. Between the rail being mounted flat now and it being cleaned of all the nasty gunk, the rock guard works better than it ever has before.

Lastly, I started the refrigerator this weekend on electric and it froze a cup of water after about 5-6 hours, so it seems to be good to go.

That'll be about it for the season, because I'm planning to cover it soon. I know the weather will start turning soon. I've already made a long list of things to do yet this year and in the spring to get it done.

Finally, the pictures:













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2007 T-286SR Cherry/Granola, #6236, original owner, current mileage: 9467.8 (as of 5/26/19)
1997 T-2653 Blue Denim, #5471
1979 12 1/2' MC, Beige & Avocado, #4639
Past Sunlines: '97 T-2653 #5089, '94 T-2251, '86 T-1550, '94 T-2363, '98 T-270SR
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Old 11-09-2016, 05:58 AM   #15
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Looking good John, If you're like me, your spring to-do list will be getting longer over the winter!
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Old 11-09-2016, 03:01 PM   #16
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Looking good John, If you're like me, your spring to-do list will be getting longer over the winter!
Rich
I have a few white boards cut and attached to the inside of my garage door. One is a chart of all the latest service records for everything I have that needs service, one was blank, and one is an on-going to-do list. The blank one is now full of projects for this trailer, so I'll be able to see it all winter and ponder...
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2007 T-286SR Cherry/Granola, #6236, original owner, current mileage: 9467.8 (as of 5/26/19)
1997 T-2653 Blue Denim, #5471
1979 12 1/2' MC, Beige & Avocado, #4639
Past Sunlines: '97 T-2653 #5089, '94 T-2251, '86 T-1550, '94 T-2363, '98 T-270SR
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Old 11-09-2016, 03:38 PM   #17
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Very nice.

What is the actual length of the body?
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Old 11-09-2016, 05:44 PM   #18
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Very nice.

What is the actual length of the body?
Hard to measure myself with the tape measure falling off, but it's about 24'1".

Overall tip to tip length (which is how Sunlines are measured) is 26'11".
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Old 11-10-2016, 04:46 PM   #19
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New addition

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What's your procedure for polishing that aluminum? It looks great.

A little trick to stop the paint from bleeding under your painters tape is to smear some paintable caulk along the tape edge then wipe it all off, let it dry, then paint.
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Old 11-10-2016, 04:52 PM   #20
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Hey Jon,
If you have a steady hand, get a thin artist's brush with some white paint and run along the edges of the stripes to cover the bleed through areas.
Rich
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