Discovery Begins…

One of the first things you are supposed to do when you buy a vintage camper is remove trim, windows and at least pull back the skin checking for rot. This process has been referred to as “discovery” by Mobiltec.

Last night I began discovery on the 53 Holly. Most of the screws came out easily. A few broke in the window. I used vampliers to pull them out. As time went on I developed a workflow. Use hammer to tap screwdriver into slotted screw, maybe chisel out paint if needed. Get it loosened up then finish removing with rechargeable power screwdriver. I’d do a whole row part way then go over them with the power screwdriver.

I managed to remove the rear window. Considering the age and that this camper has not been restored it’s in remarkable condition. There is some rot at the window corners as expected but it’s still intact and will be easy to replace framing as needed. If it all fell apart then I would have a serious problem!

Tools of the trade:

This window came out so easily. All that drama and waiting to start – I thought it would be a struggle for some reason. I’m sure the door will be a different story.

I’ll have to replace this rotten framing, but at least the pieces are there so I know what it is supposed to look like.

So far this is the worst – and the place that shows the worst on the interior so it’s where I started. The rear end has some rot – the board across the bottom that the skin attaches to is crumbling at this end. Also, the bottom along the side in the rear – I guess what could be called a skirt board in a Holly, tho the walls rest on the floor rather than screw to the sides of the trailer so there is no proper skirt board.


I was pleasantly surprised at the condition of these boards. Dangit can’t remember what they are called but they form the curve of the rear. There is evidence inside of a leak, but these don’t look bad. Maybe the water traveled or they fixed it fast. It does look like some leveling sealant was applied along the top edge.

Though the black putty is a gooey mess, I’m a believer. It did its job and kept things relatively dry. Amazing really. This camper was stored indoors tho for many year which helped a lot. Also Holly trailers do not have roof vents which goes a long way towards preserving them.

Pardon the crocs lol.

I want to demonstrate how important it is to actually LOOK under the skin even when everything looks fine. When I got to the area on the edge of the roof just above the power inlet, the wood along the top edge is crumbling and black. There is almost NO indication on the inside that there is an issue, and there is no indication on the exterior. I’m not sure what happened – sealant fail or what. It will be fixed tho.


On the inside you can’t really tell there is a problem. I believe it may be attached to the cabinet or possibly the roof framing so that is another important reason to fix it. Maybe the nail you can see in the photo was causing a problem. I’ll be doing repairs with a pocket jig and screws and will look for problem nails like this.

Interior shot to demonstrate that you just don’t know until you look under the skin!


Oh and um uh…spotted this in someone’s backyard……no…no…img_1238

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