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Old 09-13-2013, 10:57 AM   #1
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Our first RV...

Hi guys,

I guess I should finally post an introductory post since I have already posted a "real" post! So, here goes!

My husband and I bought our first RV last week, a 1985 Sunline T-1550, it was a great deal, only $600! The trailer had been sitting in a friend's pasture since 2010, his sister-in-law had lived in it for about a year, but it had just been used for storage for the rest of the time.

We've been working on cleaning it out and cleaning it up. So far, we know that: 1) The air conditioner works wonderfully! 2) The stove works and 3) The bathroom doesn't!

We didn't do such a great pre-purchase inspection, due to price, etc, so we didn't realize that we had some major water damage in the bathroom until AFTER we got the trailer home and hooked up the water! The supply line to the toilet leaked BADLY and we will be replacing the floor and walls.

The Dometic refrigerator also has some sort of issue. The freezer compartment is cooling, but not freezing (I haven't picked up a thermometer to stick in there yet, but I would say it is around 40 or so, it kept a pint of milk for a few days), the refrigerator compartment is barely colder than ambient temperature. The refrigerator is level left-to-right and front-to-back, so it looks like we might end up having to switch out for a dorm fridge.

Most of the other work we need to do seems to be cosmetic, curtains, cushions, scrubbing, etc. We also need to do a little bit of "functional" work before we tow it again. We managed to air up the dry rotted tires and pull it 15 miles home, but it definitely won't leave the driveway again until we have replacements! We also need to work on the lighting and obtain a battery.

Anyway, our goal is to be ready to camp by our anniversary weekend, December 14-16, so we have a lot of work to do this fall!

Link to photos that we have taken so far:

https://plus.google.com/photos/10338...45309036548193
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Old 09-13-2013, 11:56 AM   #2
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It looks like you're off to a good start and still a pretty good deal for the work it needs. You're refrigerator "works" to some extent so it's probably just low on freon or what ever gas they used then. There's no compressor to go bad.

Welcome and good luck
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Old 09-13-2013, 10:24 PM   #3
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It's definitely weathered on the outside, but it looks complete! These trailers are definitely restorable with enough time and energy.

The best thing to work on cleaning up the exterior is a cleaner called Awesome from the dollar store. It's an orange based cleaner that works remarkably well on these trailers. I really like Mr. Clean Magic Erasers with Awesome as well- you'll be shocked at how well it works. I haven't tried it on really dirty decals like yours, haven't had any in a long time, but I bet it would make them look a lot better.

Your front rock guard definitely needs some attention. I'd work it with Awesome and a stiff brush first. If you have stubborn spots, you can try one of those brass grill brushes with Awesome and that should really power through it, but be very careful with the decals. Since they are so dry/cracked, scrubbing too hard with any brush will tear them up.

You have the original hubcaps on there too! The 'pockets' on them were originally painted dark flat black, so if you wanted to polish them up, mask off the pockets and repaint, they'd look brand new again.

Your clearance lights look in bad shape too. Those and the taillights are still available new. The clearance lights are Bargman #99 series: https://www.google.com/#q=Bargman+99+series&tbm=shop

While you can get just a lens, with as much sun as the trailer has had, whatever is left of the factory lights is so brittle, I wouldn't chance it. Pull them off and replace them with whole new lights for as cheap as they are. You should plan to put some roof sealant on top of the lights so water can't get in, silicone could work for a short time basis only, but it would be a good idea to cover those when you recoat the roof seams (like you would with the mobile home there).

Btw, your mobile home looks to have a very nice Bargman Trail-Lite taillight on the back of it there! That's a rare light these days to find in good shape and not broken/faded.

It looks like someone put a patch on the inside bottom of the entry door. There's a wood frame sandwiched between the plastic pieces and that has the aluminum frame around it. These door frames often rot out at the bottom due to water seeping down on the textured plastic. You can pull the door apart, strip all the framing, hardware, and window out, then carefully remove one side of the plastic, and rebuild the wood frame. Unfortunately you'd have to fill the screw holes that were made in the panels, or just get new. The panel is called FRP panel and you can get a sheet of it at Home Depot. It would be bright white though, so you might have to paint it so it wouldn't look too out of place.

Front side window valances aren't there/original, it looks like someone tried to strengthen the cabinet bunk's capacity.

You do have the standard 3 burner stove in there, no oven. You get a nice big cabinet below the stove instead. Given how much of a PIA RV ovens can be, that's not necessarily a bad thing.

One additional concern about the bathroom floor area is the refrigerator floor. It looks a bit saggy. You may want to pull the refrigerator to make sure everything it sits on is solid.
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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
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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 09-14-2013, 03:12 PM   #4
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I scrubbed the outside with a nylon dish scrubbie, a rag, and some Fabuloso yesterday. After about 2 hours (and some sunburn), it is almost respectable looking!

I don't know what we will end up doing about the wheels/tires. It seems like it is almost cheaper to just buy new wheels with the tires already mounted since we don't have a spare, but it won't be as pretty, so...

The lights are pretty awful, I touched some of them when I was cleaning yesterday and they just kind of disintegrated. I think the taillights have been replaced, they are really ugly and there are wires ran to them externally. South Carolina is pretty weird about trailer lights, as long as we are moving during the day, we don't have to have any!!! This seems kind of stupid though, so they are definitely on the list.

The valances were so ugly! I had to pull them down, I just couldn't stand it anymore!

The refrigerator floor definitely seems like it will be an issue! I think it had some sort of leak???? (There is a drain pan inside, there was also a 9x13 cake pan with alot of rust inside the bottom, like they were using it to catch water? Maybe they weren't emptying it??) The pullout under the refrigerator is toast, it is badly swollen and falls apart when we try to remove it, I think we will have to use the saw! The two drawers underneath are also in bad shape...I think we will just have to rebuild that whole area when we switch out the refrigerator, I want space for a microwave anyway!

Anyway, thanks for the advice! Back to my scrubbing!

https://plus.google.com/photos/10338...12097836267283
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Old 09-14-2013, 03:23 PM   #5
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I think that if you double check you will have to use trailer lights. I think SC said no trailer lights if the tow vehicle lights are visible during the daytime, as in a small utility trailer. At night you must have lights mounted within three feet of the rear of the trailer. You should recheck that law, especially before traveling at night.

You might try looking for hornet nests at the back of the refrigerator and other appliances. If the freezer is cooling some then the fridge probably works but will need to be run awhile since they are slow to cool.

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Old 09-14-2013, 04:02 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim-Bev-2363 View Post
I think that if you double check you will have to use trailer lights. I think SC said no trailer lights if the tow vehicle lights are visible during the daytime, as in a small utility trailer. At night you must have lights mounted within three feet of the rear of the trailer. You should recheck that law, especially before traveling at night.

You might try looking for hornet nests at the back of the refrigerator and other appliances. If the freezer is cooling some then the fridge probably works but will need to be run awhile since they are slow to cool.

jim
You are probably right about the trailer lights, I have never towed anything larger than a lawn mower trailer or maybe a car dolly before. *I* would certainly not tow anything without lights anyway, I can just see someone rear-ending my poor little camper

I pulled a huge snake skin off of the top of the coil, it was running HOT before I took it off, now it is much cooler. There may still be something there, I might have to check out the roof vent and see if I see anything there. It has been running for a week now.
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Old 09-15-2013, 03:28 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by tpeiyn View Post
You are probably right about the trailer lights, I have never towed anything larger than a lawn mower trailer or maybe a car dolly before. *I* would certainly not tow anything without lights anyway, I can just see someone rear-ending my poor little camper

I pulled a huge snake skin off of the top of the coil, it was running HOT before I took it off, now it is much cooler. There may still be something there, I might have to check out the roof vent and see if I see anything there. It has been running for a week now.
Is the refrigerator cold though? These old refrigerators don't have a good track record of running when they get old, and I'm afraid it could be a problem if you have it running for a week and it can't cool. If it isn't cooling, I'd shut if off. Definitely check the roof vent to make sure it isn't broken or anything, because a leak as bad as that came from somewhere. If the refrigerator doesn't work, the leak could be partly from the coolant leaking out of it. But definitely check the vent for it up top as well as the roof seals.

The original taillights were Bargman 91 series with backup lights. It's possible the lack of clearance light lenses were shorting things out and causing the taillights to not work. Fixing those might help it all. Here's a link to the original lights, they were the white base, with backup, and plate bracket on the left light, not right. RV Tail Light for Sale - PPL Motor Homes
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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 09-15-2013, 09:41 PM   #8
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The refrigerator isn't cold enough, but the freezer is cooling somewhat. I am off tomorrow, so I think we will try to remove the refrigerator and make sure there isn't anything else blocking it. I guess we will make the decision on whether or not to replace it at that point.

I'm glad the lights are so reasonable to replace, they will definitely improve the outside appearance!
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Old 09-15-2013, 10:06 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tpeiyn View Post
The refrigerator isn't cold enough, but the freezer is cooling somewhat. I am off tomorrow, so I think we will try to remove the refrigerator and make sure there isn't anything else blocking it. I guess we will make the decision on whether or not to replace it at that point.

I'm glad the lights are so reasonable to replace, they will definitely improve the outside appearance!
I've yet to personally hear a successful attempt at this, but an old trick that has worked for some people is to flip the refrigerator upside down when you remove it. This apparently causes the coolant to flush back through the system and can help unclog any blockages. It's worth a shot, and you might have a chance since the refrigerator is still working some. I think when they quit altogether, there's no unclogging them.
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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 09-24-2013, 08:31 AM   #10
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Welcome to the group! You will love it here.

You should get a thermometer because when I stick my hand in my refrigerator it appears to not be very cold yet when I put a thermometer in it is very cold. It's weird. So, definitely check with a thermometer prior to ripping the refrigerator out.

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