To buy or not to buy

Toytaco_2000

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Joined
Apr 6, 2023
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3
Location
Utah
Hey everyone I’m new to owning Four Wheel Campers as I previously have a Palomino. I’m interested in trying to buy a 86’ Grandby I found in my area. It’s cheaper and I get why but I have a carpenter here as well as a welder so I’m not too helpless and I love renovating the camper to some degree. I put in the hard work so I’m not scared of that however I want to make sure it’s a good counter balance for investment. We’re looking at $2500 for the camper. According to the owner all of the accessories work water, power, propane.

My question is with the rot that seems evident in the front two corners, how does the structure of the camper work to replace any of the wood/roof situation?

Also any tips on things to triple check when I look at it would be great! These are the pictures from the seller. You can see in the front two panels the black dry rot.
 

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Well.. its a project, but if you are up for it, it will be worth it.. (see my signature for a rebuild of a similar year Grandby).

Personally, I have rebuilt 2 basically from the frame (the second one had good siding so I just painted it).

My advice is decide what you want to do first. If its going to be a full rebuild, just take the top off and make everything easier to work on.

I would call myself a novice carpenter at best and if I can do it, anyone can.. Good luck
 
Cool thanks so much for the input appreciate it!

I’m not super familiar with the structure of these, would I just rip off that wood and it’d expose the insulation and frame? I’ll likely pull off the roof so it’s done properly.
 
These campers are "easy" to rebuild, since the framing is aluminum and won't rot. That said, you may find broken welds, but if your welder can do aluminum, that's not a show stopper either. The front lifter mechanism will need to be replaced, and folks here have write ups on how to do that. Likely the mattress is shot, as is the bedboard that the mattress rests on. Both can also be replaced.

When I got my PUMA (Grandby equivalent from ATC) it needed to completely gutted, even though it "looked" OK in pictures. The roof had leaked and the cloth ceiling fabric had much dry rot. All doable.
 
The wood is in the lift panels. I wouldn't want to replace them but plenty here have. Likely you'll need to reseal the roof. Not a big project. You have the skills I'd say go for it. You'll wind up with a really nice camper.
 
The only thing behind that wood is the soft top material. The wood is 2 pieces that are hinged.

Another thing to consider is the condition of the soft top and whether or not you are up to making a new one if needed.

The lift panel and soft top replacement are the most complex things in a rebuild and there are many write ups here about the process as well as videos on YouTube.
 
Welcome to the cult.Looks like you have a very doable project.
The price seems good also.With some skills that you have the project
will turn out to be a great bargain.
Post photos,and there are a lot of threads on the site for help.
Frank
 
What year truck will you be putting this on? Back when this camper was built truck beds had straight walls. Now they curve around so the tailgate is narrower. So if you have a newer truck, you may need to make the whole floor section of the camper narrower.
 
Howdy...I wanted to mention there is a FB group dedicated to Vintage and Classic FWC Campers....you may find some answers there also.

Good luck if you buy the camper...they are a very sound design.
 
If you are handy (and it sounds like you are), it could be a good value for you and you'd get to learn how all the pieces fit together. It's quite intesting to see why/how they all go together. I basically did the same thing to my old Eagle. I didn't have access to a welder, etc. so used ATC and other sources (friends, etc.). I replaced pretty much everything. I probably spent $6k on the major components (vinyl, push boards, matress pad, replaced all the roof screws, sealed it up, most of the battery wiring, new battery, etc.). I took everything apart/out and replaced it all (furnace jets, refrigerator parts, etc., etc.). I found some old 3/8" corian and replaced the counters. The vinyl and pushboards were done at ATC. I also had ATC put on jack mounts and bought jacks. In the end, it was worth it and took me a while. You can do it if you have time and don't need the camper this year.
 

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