Overland's 88 Coleman Colorado

Discussion in 'Camper Restoration Projects' started by Overland, Jun 23, 2018.

  1. Overland

    Overland Active Member

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    Hello all, thought I would start a thread on a project i'v been slowly working on. Recently picked up the pace and looking to get into the woods again soon.

    This all started a few years back, deteriorating back had tent camping unenjoyable anymore, which then led to the purchase of a Roof Top Tent (RTT). Quickly realized the RTT was also not the answer as I don't sit in camp very much opting to get out and see the sights. Then I found a thread on expeditionportal detailing a few Colorado builds. I wanted one..

    Took awhile but I found a local ad for an 87 Colorado. Guy was selling his dad's camper which had a recent canvas replacement. Problem was it sat for a few years with a travel cover that had leaked.. heavily. Seller was well aware of it's condition, and asking was appropriate. I bought it for the canvas.. hoping the rest of the hardware/bows etc were still usable. They weren't.. some bows were heavily rusted and/or badly bent. Towed it home.. put it behind garage and tarped it.

    Another year goes by as i'm looking for another local Colorado or someone parting one. One day I logged into this forum and found an ad by @rich2 selling his 88 Coleman Colorado. After a lil back and forth I purchased it from a few pics. Rich was honest about it's condition and was the better camper to start my build on. Drove up to see him and dragged it home.. smiling the whole way.

    In early 2017 I dragged it to my son's house in NJ, we tore it completely apart. Started by modifying the frame, suspension and axle. Then his marriage started going south and it sat till the fall when I went and brought it home. Work through the winter was nothing more than replacing the tongue and painting it. Few months ago I got back to work on it, it's a bit further than the current pics will show but i'll get caught up if there seems to be an interest in following along.

    So, i'm not the established campground kinda guy.. this build is intended to get me deeper into the woods than most would drag a pup to. Picture National Forest two track roads.. and that's where I can be found.

    OK, so here's the camper as purchased from Rich.

    Colorado1.jpg
    Colorado2.jpg

    Once torn down we started by replacing the axle with a Dexter 3500#, new leaf springs with a shackle to eliminate the slipper springs. Axle is non cambered and bolted in spring over to gain some height towing it behind the Jeep.

    Colorado3.jpg

    Modified the frame by adding additional crossmembers, and built boxes infront and behind the axle along the sides for more support. As I tore down the Colorado's it became apparent floors were bowed down outside the original rails by the box's weight itself.. this had to be fixed if I expected it to not do so again on forest roads.

    Colorado4.jpg

    Then it sat... and sat.. till I brought it home.
     
    jnc and Orchid like this.
  2. Overland

    Overland Active Member

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    Over the winter I got the tongue replaced.. longer and heavier steel tubing. Plan is to be able to slide open for overnight use while still having it attached to Jeep. Then painted it with POR15, and wired it up with new harness.

    Colorado5.jpg

    Then it was time to start building the box itself. Floor is 3/4" tongue and groove with 4 coats of Herculiner DIY bedliner rolled out to the bottom.

    Colorado6.jpg

    Then built the box with 3/4" plywood. Door still needs to be assembled after cleaning aluminum channel.

    Colorado7.jpg

    I'll be back soon with more pics and update to where i'm at currently.
     
  3. DJS12354

    DJS12354 Well-Known Member

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    Impressive work so far!
     
    Overland likes this.
  4. jnc

    jnc Welcome from New Hampshire

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    I'm in! Looks like fun to me.
     
    Overland likes this.
  5. WVhillbilly

    WVhillbilly Well-Known Member

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    When you said build you weren't joking.
     
    Overland likes this.
  6. wayoutwest

    wayoutwest Member

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    really good start, looking forward to following
     
    Overland likes this.
  7. Overland

    Overland Active Member

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    Thank You all for the kind words.. enjoying this project.
     
  8. Fuzzy Bear

    Fuzzy Bear Active Member

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    Great project and good work so far. Can't wait to follow this build to it's happy conclusion. I was always a fan of the Colorado. Before we got out current Coleman Columbia I scoured the internet looking for a Colorado within a reasonable distance and there were none to be had.
     
    Overland likes this.
  9. nineoaks2004

    nineoaks2004 Every meal is a picnic and every Day is a holiday

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    One thing, when you get thru you will know every inch of the unit. looks really good so far.
    Good Luck and Keep up the good work.
     
    Overland likes this.
  10. sceri

    sceri Active Member

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    Great work! Love keeping up with projects. Keep it up and keep us posted please. You're doing great!
     
    Overland likes this.
  11. Psifanboy

    Psifanboy New Member

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    Cant wait to see the finished product. i plan on doing the same with new frame and longer tongue. Building a old military K5 with a 6.0 ls and some 3/4 tons. love jeeps those have own about everyone pre 07
     
    Overland likes this.
  12. Overland

    Overland Active Member

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    Appreciate the feedback all..

    We left off once most of the box was built. In order to get the walls as thick as they were from manufacturer my son and I added Birch veneer Luan over the 3/4" ply. Without this the aluminum track that caps the walls and accepts the bed slide etc would be too wide. I was amazed that Coleman used wood strips and foam in center to make the walls.. extremely weak and i'm surprised this trailer wasn't in worse shape for being 30 years old.

    Once the Luan was installed we stained it with Grey stain.. looking for the aged/distressed look inside. Then painted and installed the Wheelwells.

    Colorado8.jpg

    Then started sanding the aluminum skins, removing the stripes and chalking paint.

    Colorado9.jpg

    Same with the door. Took a wire wheel to the aluminum track/door jambs to remove corrosion and staining over the years.

    Colorado10.jpg

    Decided to use LED strip lights for my tail/brake/turn and regular oval surface mount LED's for the side clearance. They will mount beneath the box against the frame.. and should be well protected. A friend from another forum donated these to my project.. thanks Jake!

    Colorado11.jpg


    The larger rear panel, where the original taillights and license plate were attached will be covered with a fold down table meant to hold my small propane stove. When flipped up/closed it will have the license plate/light attached to bottom.
    Colorado12.jpg

    I did receiver tubes at both ends of the full length tongue, rear to carry a basket/bike or whatever.. maybe a rack with small smoker for grilling. The front receiver allows me to remove the ball coupler when I leave the trailer behind.. remember i don't do campgrounds and my stuff would be left unattended. Little bit of security.. and I plan to look into a GPS tracking device as well. This receiver is left over from a newer Jeep Wrangler that's in the stable. Once I cut off the mounting brackets i'll weld it on and clean/paint it up.

    Colorado13.jpg

    Colorado14.jpg


    Today i'll finish sanding the skins and get them secured, then install the top track/rails. Measure the interior and figure how much Vinyl plank I need for a new floor. Hope to be back with another update soon. Michigan's UP is calling..
     
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  13. rich2

    rich2 Active Member

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    WOW...looking good. Glad the one I sold you worked out. Was wondering how it went. Had many a good time in that little Colorado.
     
    Overland likes this.
  14. hq308

    hq308 Active Member

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    Keep up the good work, looking forward to updates.
     
    Overland likes this.
  15. Katskamper

    Katskamper Active Member

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    are you single and or do you hire out?
    ive always wanted something custom built, you got skills.
     
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  16. Overland

    Overland Active Member

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    Sorry Kat.. spoken for the last 33 years.. :)

    No, I don't hire out, this is the first camper i'v owned. Although I have a good assortment of tools I and my son are just now learning new fabrication skills. My son however is a union carpenter which helps with the woodwork.

    Been VERY hot here outside Philadelphia the last week or so.. haven't touched the camper in days.
     
  17. WVhillbilly

    WVhillbilly Well-Known Member

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    Yea, I'm working in Philly right now. It was 103 when we headed back to the apartment yesterday.
    Maybe this storm will cool it down.
     
  18. Overland

    Overland Active Member

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    Hillbilly.. your IN the city? What kind of work are you here doing?

    Yeah, it's been uncomfortably warm for me.. it did cool off last night with the storms.
     
  19. WVhillbilly

    WVhillbilly Well-Known Member

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    Installing foundation piling under I95.
    About a mile or so north of the BF bridge, where the druggies steal everything that we don't lock up, and half the stuff we do.
     
  20. Overland

    Overland Active Member

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    I'm familiar with that project, i'm right around the corner from the 95/Turnpike project.
     

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