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Old 02-16-2015, 12:56 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Camper build using old Hi-Lo

So I went through a few more possible designs including the idea of a slide-on camper for a flatbed sort of like a slide-in camper for a pickup but with a template taper and pup up top with tent sides. That was a good idea in my book as I would end up with a good car hauler when the camper was off and in my state only the trailer would need to be licensed not the camper.
Then this 1995 Tow Lite, Hi-Lo style, camper popped up when looking for a used car hauler, for less then all the used car haulers I was looking at. It has water damage in the rear of the top. This is perfect. All the appliances are good and it has great tires, axles, suspension and floors. The lower, inner clamshell is perfect So my plan now is to just remove this factory top clamshell and make my own hinged/pop-up top. Even towing it back as-is I was getting 15 mpg with a Hemi Aspen at 65 mph.
My design should allow a slight rearward slope and will reduce the overall width a good 6" as the top clamshell overhangs the bottom by at least 3" on each side. I will get some better pics tomorrow but these are the crappy ones from the ad.


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Old 02-16-2015, 03:14 AM   #2 (permalink)
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A far smarter idea than the "perfect" approaches sometimes aired around here. An RV isn't easy to design or build. You are to be commended for taking a rig economical by design and restore/renovate it. That is more than enough work.

The other side of "economy" is the capacity of the vehicle to remain independent of food, water and energy inputs for the longest period possible. This will be dictated by water capacity, first, and the assumption that the climate is not extreme, second. The size of the vehicle and those capacities already inherent will suggest the best time limit.

Versus ten or twenty years ago one can now utilize solar electric packages that can work in concert with a genset to run an A/C unit, but not have to have such a large generator as even a few years ago. One can do more with less (preserve propane for example). Lithium Ion batteries on on the near horizon. In other words there are improvements to appliances, insulation, running gear, etc that will net a better vehicle.

One shouldn't, IMO, favor any one system upgrade over others but strive for an overall balance while keeping weight near the OEM figure.

With all this, water is the normal enemy. And what kills nearly every RV in time.

Looks like a 3400 lb trailer. Go to the HiLo forum for more. You'll need some important particulars to do an inspection.

Last edited by slowmover; 02-16-2015 at 03:20 AM..
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Old 02-16-2015, 08:15 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Nice project!
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Old 02-16-2015, 12:13 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slowmover
With all this, water is the normal enemy. And what kills nearly every RV in time.
Amen. Both precipitation and the weight of stores.

What is your plan for the hinge/pop-up part? Design and materials?
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Old 02-17-2015, 02:01 PM   #5 (permalink)
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That's an interesting project. I have been lurking to do something similar.
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Old 02-17-2015, 03:03 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I was thinking for the pop-up, 2 sections overlapping flat panels that form a peak like on an A frame pop-up camper. I would probably just use soft tent sides rather then the hard sides the factory A frames have.
I do own the camper now, it was $1100 which may be a little high based on book value and the extent of the damage, but I never see these for book value. I did get it popped up and supported inside with 2x4s. Both rear lift cables have ripped the rotted wood out of their mounts and the whole rear upper lip was disintegrated. The lift motor and front cables worked great, I just lifted a little with the motor and then jacked a little inside in the back with a floor jack and post in the back until it was fully lifted. Looks like a heavy snow load combined with a big rooftop a/c partially buckled the roof loosing it's crown and allowing water to pool and leak around the a/c unit and then wet and rot the bottom of the upper clamshell. The entire lower section looks great. Furnace, 3 way fridge, stove, cushions, waterheater, pump, and bathroom, all better then expected for a 1995.
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Old 02-17-2015, 08:22 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Here is an experiment that I consider suggestive, if not successful:



In each case, two (edge-rolled) pieces joined. One rolled across and one with the seam. The idea is to not have flat pieces joined with a framing member to prevent water penetration and improve the aerodynamics.

I used scraps of Polymetal and I just braked the material without scoring the line which broke the outer aluminum skin, resulting in a seriously weaken result. Sheet metal or scored Polymetal would have been more successful. A strap or T-section could be inserted between the pieces for strength or interior attachments.

The piece with the seam running across the roll uses a plastic H-channel and superglue for proof of concept. A final version would need a deeper H-channel and rivets or something. I just worked with what I had on hand. Larger pieces would need an edge roller rather than the roller/brake/shear I had available.

HTH
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Old 02-17-2015, 09:01 PM   #8 (permalink)
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So here are some better pics
This is stock down position with a 4" drop hitch which was level before attaching it to the hitch then it sunk about 2" so I may switch to a 2" drop or add Timbren coil helpers.

Here is it up

Damaged along the back

damage on each side
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Old 02-17-2015, 09:02 PM   #9 (permalink)
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here is the inside
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Old 02-18-2015, 03:31 AM   #10 (permalink)
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You may be interested in the teardrops and tiny travel trailers site. Especially look at "foamies".

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