If you’re the owner of a vintage camper, it’s more than likely that some upgrades or repairs are needed. Most vintage campers are at least 45 years old by now, so it’s likely that your trailer is overdue for maintenance. Owning a vintage camper comes with the responsibility (and enjoyment) of completing repair or upgrade projects that are necessary for your trailer to look its best. The question is, “Where do you find vintage camper parts?”
We put together a list of suppliers that sell parts for all your vintage trailer maintenance needs - and more!
What’s considered a “vintage” RV?
Vintage campers are typically 25 years or older. So, if you have a trailer from as long ago as the mid 1990s or even before then, it’s probably considered vintage.
These campers take on a design that was very popular in its era, and look a lot more different than modern campers. You’ll notice they have a distinct design and usually come in bold colours, like the one below.
Photo source: @vintagecampertrailers
Teardrop trailers are also considered vintage, and are in a class by themselves. Although they don’t qualify by age as a vintage camper, most teardrops were built based off of the original plans of earlier trailers - making them vintage. They’re called teardrop trailers because of their unique shape that resembles a teardrop.
How to restore a vintage RV
When looking at the electrical system of your trailer, you might end up spending about $1,500 to rewire an entire electrical problem on the interior if you aren’t able to do it yourself. However, if there’s a minor problem, a little handy work could do the trick and save you a few thousand dollars.
The camper’s electric braking system is another major consideration. Trailer brakes are a considerable safety requirement, especially if you plan on travelling in the hills. Ensuring that the brakes work can be easily overlooked, so don’t forget to check up on them when restoring your trailer.
There are many vintage campers out there that still have their original propane tanks. If you didn’t already know, it’s illegal to have them refilled (and not to mention, dangerous)! These tanks should always be replaced with new style valves and tanks.
If your refrigerator needs to be replaced, consider converting or replacing your old refrigerator with an icebox. Or, if a new electric model is within your budget, we say to go for it!
Sidenote: Vintage rides come equipped with older refrigerators. Older fridges are more sensitive to being level than are those found in newer RVs because of the extra stress put on the appliance when trying to push liquid ammonia through a portion of the low-temperature evaporator coils inside the refrigerator. This process depends on gravity to run smoothly, so if your RV isn’t level, you’ll have gravity working against you and your overworked fridge.
Suppliers that sell vintage camper parts
Vintage Trailer Supply is known as North America’s leading supplier of parts to restore collectible vintage travel trailers. More specifically, they specialize in vintage Airstream trailers. From wheels to awnings, they have a huge inventory of parts for vintage campers. What’s great about them is that they ship worldwide, so you can get the parts you need sent directly to you - wherever you are.
Vintage Campers is another supplier that’s dedicated to selling more than just parts; they also offer appliances, restorations, and services for vintage campers. Although they specialize in Spartans, they also deal with Avions, Airstreams, and Vagabonds.
Hemet Valley RV are longtime supporters of vintage trailering and Tri-Lynx’s Boot Camp event. They specialize in RV siding, RV aluminum siding, travel trailer siding, fiberglass RV siding, and RV Storage.
The Vintage Camper Trailers Magazine and its online classified ads are a source for new and used parts. If you need some help with your project, you can also find a reputable restorer. Buy and sell vintage trailers, RVs, and classic tow vehicles. Most ad categories are FREE or you can have your ad featured for a fee. Rallies often have an open house where many of the campers sell their extra parts. You can find a rally near you at www.VintageTrailerRallies.com.
Online classifieds: https://classifieds.vintagecampertrailers.com/
Link to the magazine: https://simplecirc.com/subscribe/vintage-camper-trailers-magazine
Coming soon: the folks at Vintage Camper Trailers are editing their Newbies Guide To Vintage Trailers! It's a collection of all the questions that are asked repeatedly by people new to the hobby. Keep an eye out for its release!
When you start to spot problems with your vintage camper, it’s a good idea to maintain it as soon as possible to keep it functional and safe.
When travelling, make sure your vintage whip is level and secure with the Lynx Leveler.