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Old 08-08-2018, 09:16 AM   #1
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Rust? What rust?? Black tank? What black tank??!?

Hi Everyone!

It looks like I will be inheriting a 27 foot 1966 Avion trailer and a late 1960s Avion camper (C10 or C11, I forget). My wife has given me fairly reasonable, strict, simple demands if I am allowed to keep them. They both need toilets that work, water tanks that hold water, and can't be money pits for repairs to keep them road-worthy. She's a smart lady... and has a point.

I already know that the camper needs new fresh and waste tanks. Crap! How do I fix that? I've never seen another camper like this before...

I know the trailer will need a toilet and bathroom installed because they were removed to make room for other things. Thankfully it still has a black tank but I think it is 11 gallons. Can that be right?

Okay, and the biggest question I have is about rust. How much rust on the trailer chassis is too much? I plan to post photos later today. I know the axles were installed in 2009 but I don't know if the suspension was installed at the same time. How can I determine the state of the frame without bringing it to shop and removing the entire underbelly? The underbelly has lots of aluminum anode corrosion where it was touching the steel chassis. Is that a really bad sign? I can tell that it has been re-secured in many places with screws instead of pop-rivots.

To put it all another way, should I sell these things as is and consider buying a 30 year newer trailer instead? How much of a headache is it going to be to keep these things "flight worthy"?
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Old 08-08-2018, 09:32 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gadgetgeek View Post
Hi Everyone!

It looks like I will be inheriting a 27 foot 1966 Avion trailer and a late 1960s Avion camper (C10 or C11, I forget). My wife has given me fairly reasonable, strict, simple demands if I am allowed to keep them. They both need toilets that work, water tanks that hold water, and can't be money pits for repairs to keep them road-worthy. She's a smart lady... and has a point.

I already know that the camper needs new fresh and waste tanks. Crap! How do I fix that? I've never seen another camper like this before...

I know the trailer will need a toilet and bathroom installed because they were removed to make room for other things. Thankfully it still has a black tank but I think it is 11 gallons. Can that be right?

Okay, and the biggest question I have is about rust. How much rust on the trailer chassis is too much? I plan to post photos later today. I know the axles were installed in 2009 but I don't know if the suspension was installed at the same time. How can I determine the state of the frame without bringing it to shop and removing the entire underbelly? The underbelly has lots of aluminum anode corrosion where it was touching the steel chassis. Is that a really bad sign? I can tell that it has been re-secured in many places with screws instead of pop-rivots.

To put it all another way, should I sell these things as is and consider buying a 30 year newer trailer instead? How much of a headache is it going to be to keep these things "flight worthy"?
How patient is your wife?

Vintage camper renovations are basically the definition of money pits, but if you do good work, maintenance is no worse than a brand new trailer.

There's a 60s aluminum SOB trailer parked outside of my in-law's neighborhood with a sign on it that says "FREE." I keep telling my wife that I could easily make that thing worth $20k for a mere $30k in materials.

Rust around the belly pan rivets is pretty well expected in a trailer of that vintage. It's not necessarily indicative of a larger problem, but it's very rare for a trailer of this vintage not to have some frame issues anyway. You can bounce on the bumper and see if the frame separates from the body, but the only real good way to inspect the frame is to drop the belly pan. It's really not that hard to rivet it back in place if you don't like what you see and want to abandon the project.

If dropping the belly pan doesn't sound like something you want to do, then I'd suggest that vintage trailer renovation is probably not going to be an enjoyable hobby for you. There are a lot of rusty, filthy messes to deal with before you get a finished trailer.
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Old 08-08-2018, 10:20 AM   #3
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I'm happy to do the dirty work. Dropping the bellypan wouldn't be a show stopper if we keep it but would be a lot of extra work if we decide to get rid of it...

So, here are a few photos of what I can see easily. The axles were replaced in 2009. Is that a normal amount of rust for 10 years? Do the breaks look super old? How about the bits of frame in the photos?

I think I'll end up dropping parts of the bellypan soon....
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