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When Your Vintage Camper Dream Becomes A Nightmare

When Your Vintage Camper Dream Becomes A Nightmare

If you’re preparing to purchase a vintage camper for your next DIY project, we want to warn you.

Have you ever bitten off more than you can chew when it comes to a DIY project? You know the feeling. Where your dream and reality collide, and the nightmare (aka huge project) is all that remains.

It can be pure torture. And we know from personal experience.

Let’s dig in.

What Makes A Camper Vintage?

The definition of what makes a camper a vintage camper is a hot button topic among vintage camper enthusiasts. The trailer club, Tin Can Tourists, defines a vintage camper as a camper produced from 1946-1969. However, state trailer registration may consider a trailer from the 80s or 90s to be vintage.

It all depends who you’re talking to.

One of the most widely accepted definitions of vintage is older than 20 years but younger than 100 years.

Pro Tip: Here are the 5 vintage camper brands that are worth renovating.

Why Buying A Vintage Camper Might Be A Mistake

We want to save you from making a mistake. Let’s look at a handful of reasons you should rethink buying a vintage camper.

Hidden Water Damage

There are so many hidden or impossible-to-reach spots in RVs, making it challenging to spot water damage. When water damage isn’t dealt with immediately, mold begins to grow. The longer the issue is allowed to continue, the worse the damage can be.

The presence of mold can cause allergy-like symptoms but also be incredibly dangerous. Mold can cause respiratory issues, including wheezing and coughing.

Treating mold in your RV can get expensive very quickly. You’ll likely need to rip out and replace any affected areas. The older your RV, the more likely you’ll discover some hidden water damage.

Keep in mind: These are the places water damage will show up first.

Damaged Electrical and Plumbing Lines

Manufacturers install electrical and plumbing lines during construction before walls. This means that if there’s an issue with your vintage camper, you might find yourself cutting into your walls to replace electrical or plumbing lines.

Electrical and plumbing are two areas that you depend on to work when you go to use them. While these are two crucial areas to do correctly, they’re also easy to think you can figure out yourself. Figuring it out yourself can sometimes make things worse.

It’s easy to feel over your head when it comes to electrical and plumbing lines. However, you want plumbing and electrical done correctly. A correct install helps assure that your RV will be safe for all who enjoy it with you.

DIY Woes

The professional repairers make those DIY projects look incredibly easy, but they never truly are that easy. It may be initially cheaper to do these projects yourself. However, you have to factor in purchasing the correct tools for the job and your time.

While you may save money upfront by doing the job yourself, you’ll likely spend a bulk of that savings on purchasing the tools for getting the job done.

Very few DIY projects end up being as cheap as initially anticipated. You’ll also likely make friends with the home improvement store employees because any quality DIY project requires several supply runs to the store.

Repairs Can Be Expensive

Every vintage camper likely has something that is broken, has been broken, or will break soon. When you’re dealing with RVs this age, it’s a constant battle of fixing things to keep the RV working. Because parts are often hard to find, these repairs can be costly. Some components may even require customization.

The older the RV, the higher the likelihood that it’ll have a considerable amount of miles. The more miles, the more prone things are to break and wear out. If you’re not interested in constantly working on your RV, a vintage camper will be a nightmare.

Campgrounds Can Discriminate

No matter the condition of your RV, some RV parks and campgrounds prohibit campers that are 10+ years old from using their campground.

While it may be frustrating, not everyone takes good care of their RV. A camper that isn’t well cared for and not had routine maintenance done for ten years is likely to be in rough condition. Campgrounds enforce this rule to help keep their campground have a classy atmosphere.

Is Buying A Vintage Camper Worth It? 

If you enjoy a good DIY project and have deep pockets to fund your project, it most definitely can be worth it. Rebuilding a vintage camper to either its original condition or a modern style can be an enjoyable process. You’ll want to be sure you have the skills and abilities to see the project through.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help or hire a professional if needed.

Be Warned About Vintage Campers

There’s something special about seeing a vintage camper rolling through the campground. It almost transports you back into a simpler time. However, not all vintage campers are a dream. If you choose to take on a vintage camper dream DIY project, we hope it doesn’t end in a nightmare. Have you ever had a camper dream become a nightmare?

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