How Much Does it Cost to Repair a Vintage Trailer?

cost to repair a vintage trailerHow much does it cost to repair a vintage trailer?  Every person who answers this question will have a different answer.  Chris and I failed to keep track of how much we spent over the last six years.  The answer probably falls somewhere between ‘too much’ and ‘our mental health should be questioned’.  I imagine the same can be said of a lot of hobbies though.

In 6 Mistakes We Made When Buying a Vintage Camper, I mentioned that underestimating the cost of repairs was one of our mistakes.  Fortunately, we have been able to slowly get Cecilia fixed up.  That isn’t always the case though.  Some of these campers are purchased with good intentions only for the new owner to discover they don’t have the means to get it campground and road ready.

The Cost to Repair a Vintage Trailer Depends on:
  • How much damage there is to your camper.  For instance, do you have water damage?
  • Whether you are restoring to original or remodeling.
  • Where you live.  Supply costs vary and you may need items shipped.
  • Can you do all of the work yourself or will you have to pay for labor?

Since we were clueless when we got started, I am always happy to find someone who tracked their expenses.  I think it is a great tool for those of you who are still deciding if vintage camper life is for you.  Laura is a member of the Facebook group Vintage Campers and Glampers.  She recently posted her expense list and gave me permission to share it with our readers.

Laura lives in California and owns a 1970 Siesta Cabin Cruiser.  Keep in mind, the supply costs in California are often more than in other states.  Laura and several other vintage camper owners have mentioned this.

Here is her camper

Siesta Cabin Cruiser

Cost to Repair a Vintage Camper

Here are Her Numbers

Trailer- $3000.00
New axle, brakes, wheels, wiring, brake wiring to car, propane check, oven repair, battery, ice box- $2, 080.00
Paint- $112.00
New foam cushions- $147.00
Fabric for cushions and curtains- $147.00
New water tank and installation kit- $129.00
Random hardware store trips- $131.46
Lumber- $40.00
Window seals for jalousi window- $21.00
Storage while mean neighbors threw fits and tried to find reasons we could not park on our own land- $250.00
new wheel jack- $45.00
GRAND TOTAL $6498.57

Laura has more work ahead of her.  She mentioned that she still needs to work on the j rails and seal the windows with butyl tape.  She may also install a diamond plate on the front.

Even though I don’t have receipts, I can tell you we sunk the bulk of our money into completely different projects.  Our biggest expense was lumber for re-framing and the re-paneling project I mentioned here.  Our cushions were already done and we opted for more counter space which eliminated the need for plumbing.  Again, every project is going to be different.  For a completely different perspective, Red Dirt Shasta also did a great job tracking his expenses in the right hand column of his blog.

I agree with Laura when she told me, “I really think these old beauties deserve saving. The stories they could tell, the places the been…for under 7 grand its exactly what I want.”

A vintage camper may not always be the cheapest route, but Cecilia is priceless to me.  If you are looking for your own vintage camper to love, check out my article that explains how I find them for friends.

If you tracked your expenses and want to share them with our readers, hop on over to our contact form and send the information my way.  You can be a part of educating future vintage camper owners.

A big thanks to Laura for sharing this information with us!