How to Restore a Vintage Camping Trailer

How to Restore a Vintage Camping Trailer
Just because your trailer is vintage doesn't mean it can't be upgraded and restored. Using just a few simple tools and restorative processes, you can bring your vintage RV trailer into the 21 century. In less than 24 hours, your trailer can go from old and out-dated to shiny, unblemished and new. From improving the exterior to installing new carpet and upgrading the furnishings and facilities inside, you can restore your vintage trailer in just a few steps.


Difficulty: Moderately Challenging

Step 1
Restore the exterior. Wash the camper with an automotive cleaner and hand dry with a microfiber towel. Use 400-grit sandpaper to sand pits, dents and scratches to a dull finish. If there is no structural damage to the exterior, use 100-grit sandpaper to remove any rust that has formed. Apply aluminum primer and let stand for two to four hours. Finish the restoration process by applying acrylic enamel to complete exterior of the vintage camper.
Step 2
Restore the interior. Replace damaged, rotten or weathered wood veneers. Match the characteristics of the wood, which may be "fine-grained," or "coarse-grained" depending on the veneer. Check the wood texture by sweeping your hand over the wood or taking a visual survey of the pores.
Step 3
Install new RV carpet. Lay the carpet per the manufacturer's instructions, which will generally include removing old padding glue, laying new padding and securing the new carpet in place with cement or a sylastic sealer. If the vintage RV does not have tack strips for securing the carpet, install new ones. (Use small nails to attach the tack strips to the wood floor.)
Step 4
Add new furnishings. Replace damaged or missing window and cushion coverings. Match the trailer's original era and reupholster any original cushion coverings that only only have slight damage.
Step 5
Install a mobile composting waterless toilet in your vintage trailer to minimize water use and make your trailer more efficient. The waterless toilet system allows you to travel anywhere you want without having to worry about "pump outs."

Tips & Warnings

Replacements may be available for purchase at salvage yards. Vintage trailer magazines are also an option.
Contact a licensed electrician if you are not skilled or qualified to handle electrical wiring.

Article Written By Charlie Gaston

Charlie Gaston has written numerous instructional articles on topics ranging from business to communications and estate planning. Gaston holds a bachelor's degree in international business and a master's degree in communications. She is fluent in Spanish and has extensive travel experience.

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