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 > 1978 Travelaire Rustler travel trailer

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Stony Plain, Alberta

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Joined: 08/03/2020

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Posted: 08/19/20 06:23am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Good day everyone!

New to the forum and wanted to posted my somewhat rare vintage travel trailer that I bought the beginning of July. I found it locally on FB Marketplace. It was listed that everything was in good working condition, no leaks, had been winterized but not used since last year. They had listed it for $2,500 and I got it for $2,000. I'll give some info on it then I'll post a whole bunch of photo's once I am able to get them uploaded! I'll also use this thread as a build &change log. Any advice & tips & comments are welcome!

It is a 1978 Travelaire Rustler 205L, made in Red Deer Alberta. I have been using Google and even searching Marketplace and Kijiji all over Canada and haven't been able to find another one with the same layout as what this one had(s). It has a max weight of 4,400 pounds, dry 2,775 pounds. Tandem axle. Has a 3-way fridge, furnace, 6 gallon water heater, Coleman 3 burner range with oven, 30 gallon fresh water tank. Has no AC, but is wired for 120V 30AMP service. Has a single roof vent with an old Ventline V-2025 120V fan. Carefree awning that does still work, but needs the fabric patched above the door or replaced. Has a nice big front window, but it doesn't open. Has lots of upper storage, decent sized closet. I would say that it could sleep 4-6 people. The bunk in the front, I wouldn't trust it for more than just a couple of young kids.

The 120V system has the fridge and 6 lights on one 15amp circuit, the roof fan on one circuit and a single outlet on another circuit. I changed all the 120v lights to LED bulbs, so I can run my entire trailer on a single 15amp outlet (358 watts used). I don't know why they wired this thing for 30amp when there was no AC. If you had 60W bulbs in all the lights and the fridge and power fan on, that is only 708 watts approx (leaves 732 watts of 1440 watts (80% capacity of 15 amp circuit) still available).

Laminate flooring in the main part of the trailer and then new lino in the bathroom from the previous owners. The original floor was a yellow lino. Actually, once cleaned up it doesn't look that bad. They also painted most of the inside and I really wished they wouldn't have as I think it would of looked better with the original wood panel colour. Plus, they didn't do a complete job and missed lots and didn't do a good job.

I am fixing it up to use for camping in 2021 and possibly 2022 as well, then my plan is to gut the inside and possibly remove/reuse the outside siding so that I can replace all the bad/rotten wood as I have only been able to do the front bottom half and around the front window this year due to space/area to work on it. Then also re-wire the entire thing to replace the 42 year old wiring. One thing I have noticed is that they built the outside walls, putting the paneling onto them, then attached them to the main trailer.

This trailer is almost all original, so it doesn't have a converter/charger, which is something I will have to add in and the entire 12v system is on only 3 circuits. The fridge is on it's own, the water pump is on it's own and then 5 lights/furnace fan/range hood fan are all on another circuit. My plan is to have everything on it's own circuit. So the lights will be on one, the furnace fan on another, range hood light/fan on another, etc.

The previous owner had gotten rid of all the cushions for the front area as seen in the first pictures and had just put a mattress there for a bed, which left little room and you couldn't access the storage area anymore with removing the mattress, a large piece of OSB and a support.

When I really started going thru the trailer after I had got it to my storage yard, here is what I found;

1: None of the brakes were connected. All the wires under the trailer are basically rotten. Replaced the 7-pin connector and found that the brake wire wasn't even connected. Oh and the brake-a-way cable was broken.

2: The fresh water tank has a crack at the inlet and the inside looks like it may have some gross stuff in it since the water fill was missing the cover, letting rain water and bugs into it.

3: There was leak from somewhere around the water pump that they didn't bother fixing so it was wet and the side wall was starting to separate from the floor.

4: They removed one of the 12V lights in the main area and the 12V fluorescent light didn't work

5: The range hood fan motor was dead

6: The roof vent fan works, but is missing all the blades

7: Unknown if the furnace actually works, but a good thing I didn't light it as there was a bunch of rodent food stuff in the heat exchanger. I also broken the copper line when I pulled the furnace out because I forgot to disconnect it.

8: Unknown if the hot water heater works, never tried to light it as never put water into the system

9: Many, many patches in the copper water pipes. Copper pipes just sitting on top of the metal wheel well's.
Found that the cold water for the shower had been patched and it wasn't even connected

10: Lots of water damage/rot in the front of the trailer.

11: All 4 tires needed to be replaced, then found out that 4 of the 5 rims need to be replaced as well.

12: Looked into the holding tank thru the toilet and see they didn't fully clean it out, so build up of sludge/waste

13: Only 2 marker lights worked and only 4 had covers

14: 3 of the window coverings were just stapled with a ton of staples right to the wall

15: The top vent window is screwed shut as it is missing the thing to open it and keep it closed. 2 window screens need to be replaced

16: Missing all drain plugs for all the sinks

17: Roof around black water tank vent is pretty much done as they hadn't sealed the vent cap.

18: Roof vent cover needed replacing.

Starting at the front of the trailer, I removed paneling from under the one side window and partially the other window and removing all the paneling under the front window shelf. Replaced a bunch of wood that was bad, like so bad it was almost dirt. Then later I ended up pulling out the front window and replacing a bunch more wood. Pulled the siding off the bottom half of the trailer to do the bottom and then just loosened the upper part for around the window.

I am only able to do so much as I don't have a good place to work on my trailer, just the front street of my brothers place and the storage yard where I am keeping my trailer.

I took out all the original stuff that originally the front seating area and rebuilt it out of 2x2's. Raised the height to 16", made the front part where the water tank sits wider and made the storage area on the right side bigger as well. I made the front over the water tank into a bed support for a Twin XL mattress as I am 6' tall and will lay left to right instead of front to back. This has also left two sitting area on either side, which I will have to get cusions for. I replaced the paneling I removed with white hardboard as it was a really good price and will work for now until I redo everything. I still need to cut out 3 doors for access to the storage area, the fuse blocks, and the hot water tank.

I'm taking out all the old patched 3/8" copper plumbing and replacing it all with 1/2" pex plumbing. I am going to try and make the original fresh water tank usable for at least one season. It needs a good cleaning with some bleach and a patch near the filler neck. Pulling out the original water lines and found so many patches with tubing it wasn't even funny. The shower line for the cold water wasn't even connected.

I replaced all the old marker lights. While replacing them I found that the two front side ones didn't have any caulking around them and so were letting water into the walls. Will have to replace it eventually. The new ones look pretty good and are dual bulb instead of single like the original ones.

Washed the front awning and it looks a lot better now. I would like to paint it, but not sure what paint would work the best for it.

Replaced the motor for the range hood fan so now it works! Took and replaced the original glass fuse 12V system and put a micro blade fuse block in. I tried taking the anode out of the hot water tank, but I can't get it to move at all.

Replaced the roof vent cover as it was done. I am surprised it held up and didn't actually leak as it pretty much disintegrated in my hands when I was removing it.

Here is a pic collage of when I first got the trailer, I hope it works...


* This post was edited 08/19/20 04:27pm by johnvosh *


Stony Plain, Alberta

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Joined: 08/03/2020

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Posted: 08/19/20 06:28am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

So for the 12 Volt system in my trailer, I am hopefully going to rewire it so that it is spread across more fuses instead of just 3.

1) Furnace fan -> 5 amp
2) Fridge -> 15 amp (probably will never use on 12v)
3) Range hood/light -> 5 amp
4) All lights -> 10 amp
5) Fresh water pump -> 10 amp
6) 2x 12v fans -> 5-10 amp (put by bed to move air around inside)

I do have a question about the cable from my battery. I had to run new cables from the battery to the inside of the trailer. I ran 10 gauge stranded wire, what size fuse do I need on this cable? Thanks!

* This post was last edited 08/19/20 06:56pm by johnvosh *   View edit history


Stony Plain, Alberta

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Joined: 08/03/2020

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Posted: 08/29/20 01:36pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Here's some pics of the back of the 3-way fridge. I need to clean this out as it is pretty dirty. I also want to do the fan mod and install a couple 12v fans to make the fridge work better.

[image]20200816_103250 by Johnathan V, on Flickr
[image]20200816_103333 by Johnathan V, on Flickr
[image]20200816_103256 by Johnathan V, on Flickr
[image]20200816_103306 by Johnathan V, on Flickr

The next sets of pictures of from the repair's and reno's I've done over the past 1/5 months

Here are some pics of the gravity furnace taken apart to clean out the debris that was in it. I was finally able to test it today and I can say that the pilot light stays lit and the burner works good and it produces some decent heat. I am not sure if the thermostat actually works or not as I didn't let it stay running that long. I think the little fan only comes on when the furnace gets to hot as the therm-o-disc is for 90c.

[image]20200801_131930 by Johnathan V, on Flickr
[image]20200802_090744 by Johnathan V, on Flickr
[image]20200802_090712 by Johnathan V, on Flickr
[image]20200802_090737 by Johnathan V, on Flickr
[image]20200802_090731 by Johnathan V, on Flickr
[image]20200802_090728 by Johnathan V, on Flickr
[image]20200802_090717 by Johnathan V, on Flickr

Took and installed new pigtails from the propane regulator to the tanks. These new ones are much better, safer than the old ones that were probably the original ones.

[image]20200822_125222 by Johnathan V, on Flickr

Got the city water connection replaced as the old one was past its prime!

[image]20200822_130203 by Johnathan V, on Flickr

New roof vent lid. The old one basically disintegrated in my hands when I was removing it

[image]20200808_113448 by Johnathan V, on Flickr

Replaced the main living 12v lights with dual bulb ones I got from Princess auto for $10 each

[image]20200801_130154 by Johnathan V, on Flickr
[image]20200801_130151 by Johnathan V, on Flickr
[image]20200801_130146 by Johnathan V, on Flickr

Replaced the clear lens on the outside light with an amber one to help keep the bugs away

[image]20200822_125339 by Johnathan V, on Flickr

And here are some pictures after I took and replaced all the upper marker lights since the original ones didn't work (only 2 did) and most were missing lenses, and replaced the four lower reflectors. My brother also took and washed the front window awning cover. I would like to paint it, but not sure what type of paint to use or if it would work.... I also have plans to take the trailer to a truck wash so that I can give it a good soap bath and make it shine again [emoticon] I want to take and repair & paint the cover for the range hood too as it is all rusted and looks ugly.

[image]20200809_125325 by Johnathan V, on Flickr
[image]20200809_125333 by Johnathan V, on Flickr
[image]20200809_125342 by Johnathan V, on Flickr
[image]20200809_125352 by Johnathan V, on Flickr
[image]20200809_125401 by Johnathan V, on Flickr
[image]20200809_125408 by Johnathan V, on Flickr
[image]20200809_125417 by Johnathan V, on Flickr



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Joined: 03/01/2012

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Posted: 08/31/20 06:23pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The first couple of pictures are too big for this site and it makes it hard to see.

It looks to be in good shape and you are obviously handy at fixing things. Glad you found a TT you can enjoy. My first one was similar to yours and I had a lot of fun with it.

Are you sure that you need to add fans to make the fridge work better ?
Those old fridges were purdy bulletproof. Test it out before doing any modification to it. Might work just fine if you are lucky.

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