Love at First Inspection

Like I said in my previous post, it took me about 2 weeks to finally get in contact with the previous owner of the camper and set up a date to go inspect it.
The Craigslist listing had no pictures, only a vague description that said the camper “leaks like heck, and is 26ft long 5th wheel.” That’s all. I had no idea what I was going to check out, but I went out on a limb.

Here’s what I first saw:

The first picture of the camper, with my Dad modelling to the left.

I’d brought my Dad along, just to be safe, even though he had no idea how to inspect this thing for an eventual Tiny House. When we first pulled up he said “Oh no,” and I couldn’t stop laughing. My Dad had only heard me speak about Tiny Houses, had never seen a project picture or anything else… In hind sight, I should have set him up with better information beforehand so he wouldn’t have been so negative, but oh well.

(Also, it should be noted that I did some online research beforehand on how to inspect a used RV. One of the best lists I found was here on Yahoo Voices.)

When we walked up, the owner started talking my Dad’s head off (as if my Dad was the one buying the camper). Which usually annoys me, but in this case was totally fine as I wanted a distraction-free and sales-pitch-free inspection. Quickly I started crawling around under and around the camper to inspect the frame. I was looking for bends in the frame structure, buckling, major rust cavities, or any other blemishes.

A blurry picture I took of the frame while inspecting behind the tires.

Thankfully there were no bends that looked like the frame structure had been wrecked, or hurt in any way. But then my next concern was the thin, scale-like rust that covered the surface of the frame.

A bit of the scaly rust, under the cabin.

Because of the rust, I went under the camper again and started kicking, banging, and knocking on parts of the frame. I was trying to make sure there wasn’t any weak spots, and that the frame wasn’t rusting from the inside out. I probably looked like a crazy person, because I completely ignored the previous owner’s attempt to get me inside the camper. I just didn’t care about anything except the frame.

Thankfully, the frame seemed pretty intact. I finally went inside the camper and was a bit surprised at how junky it was.

Facing the hitch end from the middle of the camper.

The previous owner told me how he had bought it about 10 years ago so his mother could live in it. This was a bit sad, since the inside was so derelict. Also, the yellow/orange outline on the side of the camper was leftover foam insulation, where he had built a porch for her to have. Thankfully, she hadn’t lived in it for the previous 5 years because the roof started leaking very badly.

The saggy roof (and accidental mirror selfie).

I was excited to possibly be buying a used RV so that I could harvest useable parts, but quickly I determined there wasn’t too much left for me to re-use. The majority of the camper had been gutted while trying to fix the water damage. But I wasn’t really discouraged by this, because what was left would still be helpful.

What was left of the “kitchen” area.

I’m hoping to harvest the piping, toilet, bathroom sink, air conditioner, RV hook ups, and maybe some of the wiring. All of this stuff listed is just a theory though, since I have yet to see what condition these parts actually are in.

The bathroom area (and another selfie).

I didn’t get too far into the bathroom area, because I saw a snake skin (which was right behind the table above). Also, while I’m on that subject, it should be noted that the owner never moved beyond the entrance door, as he later confessed he was scared there were snakes in the camper.

Another point I’d like to make is that I had no idea what the difference between a 5th wheel and Gooseneck hitch was. Even googling brought very little information to me. So here’s what a 5th Wheel Hitch looks like, which is on my camper:

A 5th wheel Hitch is like a plug, a Gooseneck is similar to the regular “ball” hitches you see everywhere. The difference is that both of these hitches are stronger because they’re usually welded to the frame of the vehicle.

After I finally got all the information and pictures, my Dad and I said goodbye to the previous owner and his buddy. I told the previous owner I was about 95% sure I wanted the camper, and I would call him in the next couple of days to schedule a good time to haul the camper away.

The back end of the camper (and a nice shot of the foam insulation).

I’m sure that some people will have look at a few of these pictures and think I’m absolutely crazy. But you folks just don’t have ~vision~.
Just wait. My Tiny House may not have the most ideal beginnings, but isn’t there a saying that goes “nothing good ever comes easy” ?

Up next: The Longest Haul, or how I finally got this hunk of junk to my workspace.

2 thoughts on “Love at First Inspection

  1. This looks awesome! Pretty cute bathroom sink too! Buy new wires, you won’t regret that, worth the expense, everything else is right on point, great find! Snakes freak me out too :) (Is there a stove in there you can reclaim? I didn’t see one but those things seem to be built solid! Also curious, are you going to keep a budget? I don”t want to be nosey at all but I’m curious how much this would go for :). Looking forward to more! Happy New Year!

    • Thanks! I’ve been told new wires is a must, and I’m hoping these old wires have copper so I can sell them to my local recycling center. There is unfortunately not a stove, that’s one of my daily Craigslist searches. I am totally going to keep a budget, and I’m actually working on a Google Docs spreadsheet to share shortly. :)
      The snakes are still an issue… But more on that soon.
      Happy New Year to you too! :D

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