What to do, Starcraft Starlounge Reno decision making process

Discussion in 'Camper Restoration Projects' started by Old_Interp, Feb 10, 2019.

  1. Old_Interp

    Old_Interp New Member

    Hi folks- been reading for weeks about Reno projects. Had planned on purchasing an early 00's Coleman, but we instead bought a really nice 95 Starcraft Starlounge XL 1224. It's our first PUP. Here's the deal: it's February, my wife and I both want to make changes, but due to weather she has not even seen the inside live yet. We both want to update- me outside, her inside. The PUP's in the garage, whispering and cooing softly- and here I sit at 6am typing to you kind folks.

    Our family bought this to use, to have fun in and really get together with each other. We have only ever tent camped ourselves, and became converts after staying in our friends with them. This trailer was garage kept, has no weak floor spots, no issues except one spot in the front right corner inside that looks old, and the PO said the original owner had fixed that and it never bothered them- and I believe him. Call me foolish, but I do. This thing had original everything- down to every book and manual, all accounted for. I'm the third owner.

    I see lots of posts on here where folks started renovations because they were forced to, or found a problem and decided to. Is see where loosening a screw became a voyage of discovery that ended in a tear down to the frame. I also see lots of threads fizzle out- and have no "ta da" moments. Yes, there are great examples of Starcraft's that have been resurrected, but there are some casualties along the way, where on page three the thread ends and that was 3 years ago.

    So- to the dilemma and my plea for thoughts. Do I:
    1. Tear into this now, full blown rip apart and we make this baby our own, possibly going down a road that leaves my garage littered with scraps, family upset we have nothing to show for the moment and possibly spend a year plus on this, doubling our $1500 investment before we even sleep in it...
    2. Get cosmetic, slap some paint on things, polish the chrome, let the wife play around inside, make it our own and get to know our pup while leaving big projects to when we know more...
    3. Leave it alone, camp in it a while, make a list of stuff we like/dislike and gain first hand experience.

    Regardless of the above, I'm going to replace tires/wheels, repack bearings, do a 100% maintenance on everything by the book and clean every little nook and cranny. PO's kept it extremely clean, but I feel you only know something after you have polished it all yourself.

    Attached Files:

  2. SteveP

    SteveP Well-Known Member

    May 21, 2015
    and go camping. Repair what needs to be fixed and enjoy the camper. No way I would start a full off resto or reno on a camper that appears to be in good shape without getting to know it first.
    kitphantom, 1380ken and neighbormike like this.
  3. Flipped in NH

    Flipped in NH New Member

    Sep 6, 2018
    Groveton, NH
    We went with option 2. You get some instant gratification because it reflects your style. Some minor updates such as paint, fabric, etc don’t have to cost a lot so when/if you decide to do more later, no harm.

    Yesterday I sewed new covers for all the cushions from draperies that I found on sale. Total cost $26 and I have enough fabric left for some curtains and accent pillows.

    I washed the foam cushions in the bathtub with laundry soap and hung them in the drying rack.

    Doing things like this now, helps to pass the looong winter up here.
  4. kcsa75

    kcsa75 Well-Known Member

    Sep 9, 2013
    Kansas City
    If it were me, I'd go for Option 3. Get out and use it. You'll figure out soon enough what "needs" to be done and what you "want" to do.

    Regardless, your thought on maintenance is a good one.

    Good luck and have a great time. [:)C]
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2019
  5. Sjm9911

    Sjm9911 Well-Known Member

    May 31, 2018
    Use it first, make sure pop up camping is for you, then you can go nuts. I had visions of painting, and upgrading it. Then i thought its a 20 year old camper, if it gets messy or dirty who cares. I just made it usable, you will spend enough on that and camping gear that you may or may not ever use!
  6. lksdrinker

    lksdrinker Member

    Oct 15, 2018
    I suppose the answer to your overall question depends on your skill level and what you are or are not capable of repairing (or attempting at the very least!) I personally bought my family's first NTU popup knowing it was a project....I've owned it 3 weeks now and the roof is off for a rebuild currently sitting outside in 30 degree weather draped with a tarp with a propane heater underneath so the newly glued up ceiling/roof can set! I've got lots more work to do and I'm starting to worry that my skills/time wont allow for me to finish up all the stuff I have planned before camping season is upon us. Again though, I went in to this purchase expecting to spend a little on a PUP and then a little more on parts for repairs and in the end will have something that is truly ours, and hopefully in many ways is better than the original!

    But your quote below would worry me a bit. Its a 25 year old pup so things are bound to be worn out here and there. Hopefully its nothing more than wear and tear but age also affects old repairs as well! Just because it never bothered the previous owner doesn't mean its not an issue that could end being an emergency repair at some point!

  7. Old_Interp

    Old_Interp New Member

    I appreciate all the good advice. We are going to go "light 2", so maintenance, some cosmetics and then camp. Yep, there is a chance that weak spot in the roof cascades water on my wife's new whatever, but that's a risk on any camper this age without a total tear apart. But all in all, we don't have a ton in it, won't have a ton in it and will begin to enjoy. So, with that decision made I wiped out all the dust and wiring in the fridge exterior compartment, removed the peeling decals on the roof to prep for paint, ordered an new exterior LED porch light to replace the UV bronzed original, and picked up new tires/wheels. I was able to raise it in the garage and pop out one end, and my wife said the best words ever- "hey, you did good!", followed by "I like the curtain colors!" Holy crap, how did that happen...
    neighbormike likes this.
  8. FARfetched

    FARfetched Active Member

    Awesome! I was in the "option 3" camp; clean it up and go see what you really need to do to it. So far, it's working for me.
  9. kitphantom

    kitphantom Well-Known Member

    Dec 26, 2009
    Albuquerque, NM
    A light 2 is a good choice. Getting safety issues (tires, etc.) done, and some comfort things so you can camp in it is a good plan. How we thought we'd use the spaces in our pups and (now) TT is not necessarily how we've ended up using them. For example, with our first, very tiny pup, we thought we'd use the sink and not the stove. Turned out exactly opposite - if we'd ripped the stove out before ever camping in it , wed have been majorly disappointed. By the time we'd used it and then needed to do an extensive renovation on it, we knew what we wanted to do. Even then, we learned as we lived with it - we never replaced the cupboard doors on the galley, it was so much easier for me to reach supplies without them.
  10. Tmackcj5

    Tmackcj5 Member

    May 24, 2018
    If it is good shape like you describe I would go with a mix of option 2 and 3. I would go camping and start working in some small projects during the times you don't have trips planned.

    My main suggestion is to get it popped up and set up and do a dry run in your driveway. Testing out your ac/heater/gas/refrigerator/waterproofing/etc.

    I had my NTU camper set up in the driveway while working on a project which led me to discover the AC gasket was letting condensate drain into the PUP. I wouldn't have wanted to learn that while on our first camping trip.
  11. tzmartin

    tzmartin Active Member

    Sep 9, 2015
    X2 on the camp driveway option. You'll learn a lot about setting it up. Sleeping in it one night will help you discover and prioritize your projects.

  12. CamperChrissy

    CamperChrissy Active Member

    Nov 25, 2016
    Chicago suburbs
    Lite Option 2 is a good plan! We camped in our first PUP about 7-8 times trying to figure out how to make it work best for us. It's a nice little PUP and when we bought it we thought it would meet out needs. I spend much of my energy figuring out how to organize, pack, etc. and we tried a different configuration of things each trip. Turns out it was never going to work for us because it was too small! Glad we had a nice unit to start and glad we didn't put too much work or money in to it. Last fall we bought a bigger PUP and got to spend just one night in it and it was amazing! We had storage space for everything and could actually walk around inside without trampling each other.
  13. Sneezer

    Sneezer Well-Known Member

    Aug 8, 2015
    DFW, TX
    Definitely make sure everything works and just take it out. Have fun, and make lists of what works, what doesn't and what you would change to fit your style of camping. I have had mine for several years now, and I am still modding things, tweaking my loadout, etc. I also found it easier, for me at least, to add things that made ti a little more personal, but a complete reno was too much work and overkill for my needs and desires. I added rugs that cover the old linoleum, make it more comfortable to walk barefoot inside, and look nicer. Bedding was a big issue for me, so it is much more enjoyable to sleep. new shelving, tweaks to make setup easier and make more efficient use of storage, etc. Get out there and have some fun! In the end that is significantly more important to make and enjoy those memories than redoing the interior to fit your perceived notion of what you want, but maybe don't need. You may find that you really don't notice the things that you were positive would be glaring annoyances, etc.

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