View Full Version : home built camper remodel

July 20th, 2011, 09:14 AM
My grandfather has passed down (for $350) his home built camper. it was built from plywood on an old lawn mower trailer. I don't have any pics of it yet, but here is a list of things i want to do.

recover roof (flat roofing tin?)
add one, maybe two, roof vents (no power yet so just the pop up style)
add some foam insulation to the interior roof
Flooring (carpet, sticky vinyl tile, rolled linoleum)
build a fold down bed frame for air mattress
add second window on opposite side for cross breeze
convert wooden door to a camper style screen door
cover exterior with siding (whats been used and tried? was thinking of
using the sheets of plastic they sell for custom shower walls, the glue
on kind...)
storage cabinets
fold out awning (wood supports with maybe a tarp or canvas stretching the
gap) with fold out grill table underneath

add battery bank with solar charger (one maybe two lights (in and out) and a single speaker radio)
out door shower holding tank on top no Grey water collection

Basically I am trying for a camper that lets you have a place to sleep and a dry place to wait out the rain. Camping is for time outdoors having a fire, talking with friends, relaxing with a beer under the shade, I don't want something that makes you want to be inside more than out.

I am looking for some insite on the projects (materials to use and avoid) and similar builds to research, but have no idea what to search for.
basic necessities only build.

July 23rd, 2011, 09:13 PM
Go light as possible
Reflectix is awesome (Home Depot insulation section)
Avoid materials that don't do well with moisture (laminated pressboard)
Put all your electrical in now- you can skip the battery, the solar panel and charge controller but rough out the locations, leave space and run all the wiring now before the walls go in (back in?)
You can figure out how much battery you need (probably group 27 is fine) to determine your battery box size, again prewire
A portable butane stove is great, stores well and works outdoors (e.g. throw it on the picnic table)
Consider a water system and grey water tank- you can do a manual pump for the sink or a roof water system, which gives you solar for warm water
Awning widows if possible (open in rain)
For a trailer I'd go with a full screen door (the more air the better)
Look for free pop-ups and travel trailers on craigslist you can scrap and salvage things from
Skip the air mattress and do some kind of gaucho folding couch, you can make the back cushions become the bed between the benches without any fancy lift and roll, or I've seen some bench-bed folders on craigslist
Fiamma is the way to go on an awning, but you can do pretty well with a tarp, or get creative and do some kind of second faux roof. Really the key to an awning is the attachment to the rig- which can be temporary (removable tarp) but is the most important part.

These are just general ideas, I have no idea what you're working with and I'm a van guy, so for the exterior I'd say "build it in a van", can't help much there.

July 24th, 2011, 01:01 AM
Here are some pics of what I am working with.


As you can see it has a single window that opens maybe four inches, a X skylight, and a single large door with a separate opening top section (no screen).

I was picking up some fencing for my garden and also picked up a free camper vent. It needs minor repair to the screen and a good cleaning but should work fine.

My cleaning steps, for the interior, are going to be;
bleach/water spray down
spot scrub where mold is visible
vacuum entire surface
let dry completely
a good spray down with a antimicrobial/mildew/mold cleaner killer
let dry and air out

For those of you with experience in used campers, what can you suggest for a good cleaner or tips for getting this thing mold free?

Next, I will be installing the roof vent. The best place for it seems to be in the rear of the camper (closest to the tongue) to pull the hot air closest to the sleeping area away faster. Agree? Disagree?

Finally, I also scored some roofing tar with my garden posts. The roof was originally done using tar and only leaks in a few places. I want to eventually use a roofing tin that is primmed and painted white, however I don't have funds for that right now. What problems might arise in attempting to use roofing tin over top of the tar? Am I going to have to remove the tar/replace the roof before putting the tin on?

These steps are only to make this road worthy for our trip next weekend. I have many other plans for this build but they must wait for money and time.

July 24th, 2011, 01:22 AM
I would simply replace all the chipboard if I were you. Very very difficult/impossible to get the mold to go away completely on that stuff and it is really very cheap.

July 24th, 2011, 09:14 AM
Ditto that on the mold. Also you might consider viewing it as a trailer platform and start from scratch- at the point you get rid of the mold, you might as well reframe or put a salvage popup or slide in on the front 2/3 and make a toy hauler.

Until then live in it this summer as much as possible without doing anything and see if you can determine your needs better for the rebuild.

July 24th, 2011, 11:15 AM
The mold is realy only on the cieling, and since it is covered in tar it might be easier this fall or winter to swap out it out. Still cleaning it real well though for the time being.

July 26th, 2011, 11:27 AM
I'm looking forward to watching this project come along. I'm planning on building my own slide in camper for snowboarding. I'm looking for light weight and warm. Figuring on using 5mm plywood, 2x4's and furing strips for the frame work and exterior. Coating it in either the elastomer roof coating from h.d. or an epoxy resin. 1.5" thick foam board for insulation. Stripping an old cheap or free camper for heater, stove, windows/doors, etc. 1 battery & inverter for l.e.d. lights and my laptop & speakers. Maybe using drier ducting to rout the furnase exhaust under my trucks engine to help it start on those sub zero mornings.

July 26th, 2011, 02:57 PM
:cool:I just scored at the local JY!! I'm getting a gas/elec fridge, new jack, fold down step, electric hook up stuff (110 rv plug) with circuit panel, water tank with pump, hoses, and connections, propane hoses and hook ups, table with removable post/flanges, two little windows (if I can get them out), and a set of ceiling vents for.......$50!!! its OK you can be jealous :flipoff2:

July 26th, 2011, 05:47 PM
Nice score, cant wait to see the progress.

I would replace the roof with something other than wood though. And probably the sides too.

July 26th, 2011, 07:56 PM
I have a big to do list for this little project this winter which includes;
Sleeve the whole thing in either painted roofing tin (the flat kind or a really low profile if available), or a plastic sheeting of some kind
Build fenders into the floor & sidewall to add larger wheels and tires
Insulate the side walls and floor
Install the solar warmed water tank and outdoor shower
Install solar battery system
Install interior (lighting, storage and sleeping systems

That gives you an idea of what I have planned. I'll share individual projects in greater detail as I come to them.

In the next few days i need to...
install vent, windows, and insulate the roof.

Should I install the insulation first or the vent in the roof? :confused:

July 26th, 2011, 09:42 PM
Vent in the roof, first. That way, you don't have to work around the insulation and have it be in the way.