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1990 Jayco Sportster 7 Restore

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#1 HoppyToGoWandering



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Posted 07 April 2021 - 07:50 PM

I'm a newbie on this site and found it by happenstance. When I got out of the Army, I knew that I needed to "fluffy butt" camp. I have always liked pop-up's and since I got a boat, I knew that a slide-in was the only way to go. 3 weeks ago, 3/20/21, I was able to come across 1990 Jayco Sportster 7 and knew that I would have to restore it, which I was fully expecting and wanting. Was able to pick it up for $350! I could easily afford that. It will be placed on a 2010 Dodge Dakota Big Horn. This will be a long term ownership and not looking to "flip it".


The main areas that I will have to address is 1st will be clean-up and taking care of the mold. Will be looking forward to any recommendations in that area. Obviously, I'll have to take care of the sources of where the water is coming from into the camper. 


2nd is the roof, but its still usable. Apparently, the roof decided that it wanted to learn how to fly while going down the road one day. The recent owner & his father were able to redo it but due to the way it was stored it needs to be redone due to snowload and rain. Looking at it I'll need to remove all of the existing components and totally reframed and insulated. Not sure what I'll use but was told it was done with 2 X 4's. I plan to use foam board for insulation and will use LED lighting, especially due to amperage draw. The top will need to totally scrub down, remove the molding groove & replace with all new, replace all the corner molding, etc. I plan to repaint and use something along the lines of Flex Seal but geared towards RV roofs. I will follow up later mounting solar panels later.


3rd will be fixing the canvas. Will need to first clean it up with a good bath and scrub down. The outside will need to be hit with a Magic Pad, or whatever its called. I will need to reseal points where time has revealed wear of where the windows were sown and have opened up over time. Next I plan to hit the canvas part with CanVak that I got from Cabelas a while back for a tent trailer I owned. If that's not a good product to use, please advise!  :)  :) The biggest fix, and I have no clue how to do it, is to replace the front clear vinyl window. Trying to avoid taking it to a canvas shop if I can absolute do that. :wacko:  :wacko:  :wacko:

The 4th will be address the floor. Its will likely will need to be replaced. But I saw someplace where the guy who fixed his floor used an epoxy to repair it. Has anyone seen or used that method? Once that's done, I will paint the box part with bedliner to keep water out in the future.


Down the road I will revamp the inside by painting the inside, redo the electrical to LEDs, add USB outlets, basically modernize her. Would like to figure out how to add a small air conditioner as well. Have an idea but any input before I do it will be appreciated. For the exterior, I will repaint the hull, add solar rear light, add awnings to both sides and the rear, add an outside kitchen area, add an outside latrine and shower. Will also, as I said above, will figure out how to add a solar system to it.


Will add pictures and posts as I go. Thanks!

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#2 Old Crow

Old Crow


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Posted 09 April 2021 - 04:51 PM

Welcome to the site, Hoppy!


I love seeing that style of older truck campers re-done and am looking forward to your posts.


I'm sure you're already finding interesting threads.  Here's a few that come to mind:


*RIP* Fixing an old Sunlite TC (and see more photos in the album link in that first post)


My $100 Skamper Build


Jayco Sportster 8ft - Renovation


On your Canvak question:  I've not used it so had to look it up. It appears to be for natural fibers only, not for the vinyl of the typical truck-camper pop-up tent material. 


Good luck with your build!

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'01 FWC Hawk shell on a '13 Tundra Double-Cab  + '19 Ford Transit van with Quigley 4x4 option

#3 corybrown50


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Posted 10 April 2021 - 01:24 AM

Hey Guy,

Found your build thread. I'll add mine here as well for reference for you.

For the epoxy floor restoration, it is done many times in transom rebuilds for boats. That epoxy resin is awesome, but can get pricey. Great stuff though.

The roof is 2x2 and bias grain plywood. The best is having friends over to take it off, flip it over, and rebuild it top down flat gluing pink insulation foam down inside the frame work you make. Rebuilding from the inside up did not work at all. I keep mine under a carport at home because I am still scared a leak will form.

Please, please, please make sure you check the cantilever area for the cab over. If it is bad, replace the whole thing like Manfred and I did. Please don't scab it together like I see so many people do.

My wife took care of the canvas with dish soap and magic eraser just as you will. We still have to put the conditioner on it a year later.... hopefully in the next couple weeks as I'll be heading to the woods soon.

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