Is fixing this up worth it?

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Jun 13, 2013
I have this RV, and picked it up for free. But is it worth putting the time and money into it? I have no idea what it would cost to rebuild this, but I do know every piece of wood in this thing needs to be replaced (floors, walls, and roof). Im up for the challenge, and dont mind the labor. Its the cost, and what I could potentially buy that would be equally as nice as the outcome of a new trailer. Here are some pics, I hope they show up.
Both doors also need to be replaced, along with the vents on the roof. I have no idea about the holding tanks yet, but the person I received it from claims everything mechanical works. Its in question.


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Not horrible, It just needs a bath because its covered in green mold. The inside is whats a killer. The worst parts on the outside is a couple kinks in the siding, which can easily be fixed. I would take pics of it, but right now its raining and covered in tarps.
I see absolutely nothing worth salvaging.  The person who gave this to you has not done you any favors.  I hope you are not obligated to haul it away.

It's a shame to see any vehicle in this condition, but the time to save this particular RV is long past.  If you remove all the items and structure that need to be replaced, there will be nothing left but a pile of siding, a HUGE pile of rotting wood and a flat bed trailer frame.  Just my opinion, of course.
The stove is probably the most mint piece in there, and honestly, the oven looks brand new, never been used! I know thats no reason to keep it, just saying. It is sitting on my property, now. Not much is salvageable, at all. Which I knew that. If I can get this thing rebuilt under 10k, I'll be happy. But as I say, I have never done something like this before, so I am just looking for the thoughts of others who have done something this crazy before.
What make and model trailer is this?  What year?  I think you can purchase a nicer trailer than this particular one ever was, for less than $10K.  Spending $10K on this trailer may possible make it worth. $1500, but I seriously doubt it.
Again, just opinion.
Its an 86 Wilderness Cimarron 29R. I'm not really concerned with the value of it afterwards. I would be keeping it indefinitely.
Find another similar vintage one that is still in use. It'll probably have some tired apliances but a structure that is sturdy. Then you have a parts camper for your project camper. Put a deck on the wrecks frame and sell it as a home made trailer, to help finance the project. Bet you could come in well under 10k.

That was my plan B, rip everything off and bring it to the scrap yard and sell for some cash. With all the siding and wiring, I should get a couple hundred. Then I would keep the trailer and use it as a flat bed. The RVing has been a serious thought for a long time now. Im just unsure on the direction I should take. Either rebuild this how I would like, or just buy another trailer hoping I dont run into water damage or any other issues. The pro side of rebuilding is everything is new, and built well. I will know where everything is, and how it was built for future repairs.
Hi Brett

With my 1971 camper I believe I have the oldest rig that anyone here on has in regular use so I speak with a bias towards preserving the older stuff.

Even so the rig you have there is a basket case.  You're dealing with roof leaks and rot-related structural problems.  In general these are not worth repairing unless the rig is uniquely valuable or of great personal significance, although if the frame and exterior are metal they would be more readily repairable and might be worth it.
About the only advantage I can see in fixing this one up is you would become very familiar with nearly every aspect of it.  And if time is money, it will cost you a fortune.
The frame and siding is metal for sure, and the frame is solid. This has no special value to me at all. Time also is not money, I have no deadline to finish this. Its just there, open for opportunity. All labor will be done by myself, and with the help of my fiance and friends. Only cost for me, is parts. I know if this were to cost more into the 15k range, I will pass it up. 15K will likely give me a chance to buy one of the types where the sides slide out to open up the inside. I like that, but it also contradicts with my beliefs that simple is better. The more functions, the more problems which can go wrong. But for slide out sides, I would be willing to take on the risk. Thanks for all the feedback, though. Keep them coming. Its helping me to make a determination. Sometimes, advice is better from outside the box.
Ok- sounds like you are young and committed. Now would be the time to redesign the whole business to suit your taste. You can gut the thing- save the parts that are not trash- the clock over the entry looks cool. Rip all that old stuff out and we will help you construct something - and if the outside can clean up- remember- when you take that to a campground - if it looks like crap on the outside- you may be turned away.
Do yourself a BIG favor and tow that thing to a scrap yard. If you don't, you'll hate yourself in a year and your wife may not think much of the time and $ put into the project.

If you are dying for a hobby.... go for it...... if you want to go camping.... well, that ain't doing it...... at least for a year or 2.
You don't do a rebuild like that unless it's something you WANT to do, something that you enjoy doing. Is this something that you WANT to do ?
I was just in there ripping some stuff out. Surprisingly, there is quite a few spots in there, large areas, where the wood looks good. It doesnt even look like it has ever seen water. More dry areas than I had thought. I am going to do some more work in there and post up pics for some more feedback in the next few days.

Wavery, my fiance/wife is all for this project just as much as I am. She has no issues getting her hands dirty, and is actually looking forward to it. I have myself a good little woman!  ;)  I am just curious on what people have spent on this type of thing, for planning purposes. I know it's more of a personal question, but some may give out some solid info. I am far from rich and live off a paycheck. As for the camping, I have always slept in a tent or hammock outdoors. This TT is just an extra thing to have for traveling around. Once I am finished with school and obtain my degree, we may live out of this thing for a couple months so I can land a job down south in a warmer climate. There is no rush in using this, and I expect it to be more than a year to finish. It's all good!  :D  I'm just looking for some help. But, as I said, if this TT is going to blow my budget over 10-15K, I'd rather just buy something newer. I just feel if I spend 7K or so on some of the ones I am finding, I may encounter other problems with it, or a leaking roof, which will obligate me to spend more money on it than planned.  Although, I have found that it doesn't cost too much to replace a roof if you are doing it yourself ($700ish for materials?).

Right now, after seeing what I did inside the trailer, I think I am leaning more towards fixing it up. Ernie, I'll post some pics of the outside once this black rain cloud leaves Massachusetts. We haven't been seeing too much sun here lately.
Take a look at this:

My bet is that you could own that trailer for $4,000. If you don't have $4,000, how do yo propose to fix up the trailer that you have.

BTW..... the trailer above...... it will probably need new tires, batteries, misc repairs ~ another $4,000.......... lok at that one and look at the one that you have and ask yourself which one you'd rather spend effort & $ in....... Trust me..... you're not being realistic. In order to end up with that camper in decent condition, you would do well to buy another camper just like it that you can use for parts. It would be far cheaper.
I'm with Lou on this - if you want an RV, buy a halfway decent one for $4000-$5000, sink another $3000 into it plus your love and labor, and you will have a nicer rig that this one ever was or ever hoped to be. Starting with a metal frame, some siding and a stove is not much of a beginning, and that trailer wasn't a great one to begin with. I know - I owned an 88 of the same brand, though a little smaller. Appliances alone will set you back thousands.

Now if what you want is braggin' rights, ala "I rebuilt this sucker from the frame up!", that's a different story.
Alright, alright. I think you all have convinced me to rid of this thing.  :) I am keeping the frame and converting to a flatbed trailer. I'll probably end up selling it, too. But I know all the metal this thing has will throw me a couple dollars for my trouble. How about some recommendations as to what TT brands are good, and which I should stay away from? I will also be doing some research online, but I definitely want to hear from the experienced, as well! Also, I am willing to buy a reasonable motorhome. If budget allows for a decent one. I'm sure those cost quite a bit more, so I wont get my hopes set too high on that one.

Since I have an account on here now, I am going to search around and learn a few things. Mainly on what I should look for when buying a TT.

Again, thanks for all the feedback! I needed it, which is why I am here.
Jammer I think you do win the oldest. Mine is a 1977 and the one I rebuilt was a 1974. I tried.

Brett. If I was to do it again  I would cut it to the frame and use the sides and top as a pattern to rebuild. It took a year and a half working on weekends and vacation time ( a buddy of mine even gave up his 2 week summer vacation to help me)
We did what you a planning to do and that was rip back to the good wood and rebuild from there. Mine was only 22 feet.
It took about 4k to do. or that was where I stopped counting the cost. I ended up wanting to sell it and get something bigger not more then 3 weeks after it was finished. managed to sell it for 2k could have keep it for 20 years but it was too small.

I also went looking for used replacement parts and yard sales to refit with. I bought all the new cabinet doors at a hardware store for 5 bucks each and a pantry for 10 because it was scratched. had to cut it to fit anyway and then refinish it to match. counter top was a remnant for less then 10.

if the fridge works and the stove and sinks looked fine.
you may want to think about changing all the freesh water pipe to standard household PEX if you have all the walls open anyway. the old grey stuff WILL leak someday soon and it WILL happen as soon as it is all back together.

Have fun

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