Tips For Buying A Vintage Camper That Needs Renovating, And The Chandelier

A couple of posts ago I told you I was finally back working in the Pink Paradise (1972 Frolic Camper) and I promised to post regular updates on our progress.   With this renovation process I feel (at times) like we are moving at what seems like a snails pace.  Sometimes we take two steps forward only to take three steps backwards.

And just so you know, the Pink Paradise has become quite the celebrity.  She’s become popular on my blog, as well as on Pinterest.  I’ve even been asked if I’d be willing to sell her. This makes me a little nervous, and quite proud, all at the same time.

I thought I’d take this opportunity and share what I feel are some important tips with you – just in case you’re thinking of buying and renovating a vintage camper.  If you’ve never scouted out vintage campers (which are usually found in the rough and need quite extensive rehab) then you might have a hard time appreciating the sweat and tears that actually go into a renovation.  There are a lot of things to consider when you are thinking about purchasing a camper that needs renovating.

As with any purchase, the first thing to consider is your budget.  How much are you willing to spend on a camper and it’s renovation?  Once you decide that, let your search begin!  After you’ve located a camper you should consider the following: What is the overall condition of the camper?  Is the floor solid?  Are there signs of water damage?  Has the roof been coated and maintained properly?    Is there any indication of bug or rodent infestation?  Dry rot?  What is the condition of the windows, screens and doors? Are the appliances working or non-working?  Are the plumbing, heating, electrical service, and gas lines working and safe?  Has the camper been winterized when necessary? Are the cushions all there? Do they need re-upholstered? How about the curtains, can they be washed and rehung, or do they need replaced? Does the camper have any offensive odors? Will you need a carpenter for any of the work, or will a fresh coat of paint or refinishing simply do the trick?  How about the underbelly, are the axels and springs safe and intact?  What is the condition of the tires?  Have the wheel hub bearing been packed?  How about the exterior siding?  Is it missing, dented, need patching, or painting?  Is the tongue and hitch in good shape? Do the exterior lights work like they should?   Is there a clean title for easy ownership transfer?  Does the current owner have any of the original paperwork concerning the make and model?  And lastly, do you have a supplier where you can purchase the replacement parts that you’ll need for project like this.

These tips can be applied to purchasing a vintage camper, or any used camper for that matter.  The bottom line… You are the only one that can decide if you have the time, skills, budget, and know how to undertake such a project.

Now for the very best part of this post.  The showing off of the most adorable chandelier I had my hubby hang for me over the dining table.  I just love it!

I also found a cute light to replace the wall light behind the kitchen sink.  The old fixture was missing it’s original cover and I haven’t had any luck finding another one.  The only option I had at this point was to use what was readily available.  I’m still looking…

Would you feel comfortable renovating a vintage camper?  Or, would you rather buy one that is done and ready to use?

Sharing this post with BeBetsy – one of my favorite on-line lifestyle magazines.  Check out, or join in on their Linky Party!

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Vintage Camper Re-Plumbing–Not A Job For The Faint Hearted

The Frolic, also now known as the Pink Paradise, has had some serious plumbing issues. While much of the work is still being completed I thought I’d share an update.

Since a few of the exposed PVC pipes and copper lines showed obvious damage, we decided to remove the shower insert to get a better look underneath.

This was a good move on our part since we found the lines under it in need of replacement as well.

Here are some signs of the damage, and here are some before and after shots of the shower insert.

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To work on the water lines, check the pump, and remove the fresh water tank (to clean it and check for leaks) we had to remove the table, along with the recently upholstered cushions. I felt like we were moving backwards instead of forward.

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The 12 volt operated water pump (below) looks ancient, but the good news; it still runs!

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While working under the seat we found carpenter ants that weren’t very eager to vacate the camper.  Here is an example of the damage the can cause.

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Here is how we evicted them.  It took 2 foggers to do the job.

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Below, we have replaced the ant infested wood, cleaned what was a terribly dirty and looked almost unsalvageable fresh water tank, and started running new water line. 

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We found the kitchen sink faucet was filled with a mud wasp nest so we replaced that too.

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And here is proof of our progress.

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What’s next?  We still have to check the gas lines for safety reasons, ensure the hot water heater works, and check out the furnace too.  We need to  finish the bathroom plumbing, track down a water leak (when it rains) that we noticed in the bathroom, and hopefully after we get those things out of the way we can start rebuilding the bathroom. 

I have been working on the curtains for the Paradise.  I think you’re going to like them, but that’s a story for another day. 

So, are you ready to buy a vintage camper to re-do?  Or, do you want to hire us to do it for you?

To follow the Pink Paradise project from the beginning, and see all the updates along the way, type Pink Paradise into my blog’s search engine.  You’ll be able to read each post featuring the Paradise.