View Full Version : 1988 TrailManor 25

10-20-2005, 04:55 PM

I am going to look at a 1988 Trailmanor 25 in 2 days and need all the help I can get.

1. What should I look for (bad stuff)?
2. What is the floorplan of this model?
3. What are they worth?
4. I know there is a possibility of bad wood in this age range, can anyone tell me how and where to check?
5. Is there an "equivalnet" floorplan in a newer model that could give me an idea about this one?
6. I have read that the AC unit could be wall mounted in this one. Is that true?

I was told there is "slight water damage" in the left front. The guy said I should be able to just "reseal that part of the roof" and it should be fine.

Any help/comments would be greatly appreciated. I will be driving 2 hours to see this thing and would like to be as prepared as I can be.

I have already dispatched an e-mail to TrailManor to see if they could help.

10-20-2005, 10:40 PM
Good suggestions from Leon. I would also ask them to open it up and close it a few times (completely, including the bathroom).

I would check out the wall corners in the upper and lower shells. Push gently on the walls and see if they are soft in the corner areas. If you sniff around the corners and it smells musty and moldy, there is probably some damage. It wouldn't be a bad idea to run a hose over the unit to see if there are obvious leaks.

If there's an awning ask them to open it and close it. Fold in the stairs. Raise and lower the corner stabilizers. Is there a spare tire? You'll need one.

Check out the NADA guides for a value - http://www2.nadaguides.com/autohome2.aspx?Lnk=1&wSec=10&wPr=0&wPg=2111. Most of the stuff that is listed there is standard on a TM so you don't want to add on for it. Extras would include A/C (does it work?), tv antenna/booster (does it work?), and awning.

It would be ideal if you could arrange to have them hitch up and tow the trailer to see if it pulls straight, and also test the brakes. We can hear ours engaging when we put our foot on the tow vehicle brake and someone is standing outside. Do all the outside lights work? The easiest way to know is to connect it to a vehicle that has a 7-prong plug.

Keep in mind that it takes a long time for the refrigerator to cool down. If it's a 3-way (110v, 12v, propane), you want to be sure that it works on propane if you plan to camp without hookups.

Check the grey water tank for leaks. Run water in the faucets. Ask them to fire up the hot water heater. Ask them to fill up the toilet and see how it works or if it leaks.

If it was me, I'd plan on taking at least 2 hours to get the appliances working and check things out.

You should check the converter out and see if it charges the battery. How old is the battery? If you bring a simple volt meter along you should be able to check the output where the wires connect to the battery.

When we inspected our used TM, the dealer had the battery charged up and the propane filled when we arrived. Ask them to be sure that at least one propane tank is filled for your inspection tests. If you want to make sure that the refrigerator runs on propane, then I'd ask them to not start it up until you got there. It should start to feel cool within 20 - 30 minutes, you'll have to put your hand in the freezer to check. If it's really hot outside, it will take longer.

Hopefully what you find will suit your needs, good luck, and let us know how it goes!


10-21-2005, 12:49 PM
Thank you Leon and Dee. I will try to check everything you said.

-I have read on other posts here, that TrailManor will send you free 'wood replacement' kits made of aluminum to to repair your camper. Is this true? Free? No shipping cost or anything? That would be amazing!

-The owner of the camper just had to leave for a family emergency in Florida. So it looks like I will not be able to see the camper until his return. This gives me more time to prepare.

-I received a response from Ed Lytle @ TrailManor:
Good Morning,
We have no records on a model 25 TrailManor.
We have built a model 23 which is our current 2720 model
and a model 26 which is our current model 3023.
The old floor plans are similar to our current models and available on our web site.

(http://www.trailmanor.com) Hope this helps.

-I saw one picture of the "driver's side" front outside corner where it looks like it says "TrailManor 25". The gentleman (owner) said it was a 25. TrailManor says they didn't make a 25. I may just have to see this one in person. lol

Thanks again for your responses.


10-21-2005, 01:49 PM
Here is a website of someone who replaced the rotted wood. In the photos it looks like it is a TM25.


Based on old posts it looks like it is a 1986.


10-22-2005, 10:50 AM
Thanks Rick. I sent HappyTrails a PM yesterday morning. ;)

I still find it interesting that TrailManor says there is no 25 and clearly on the side of HappyTrails' camper it says "25". Hmmm....

Oh well. I'll keep you all posted on my situation. If I end up seeing it and not liking it, I'll let you all know. Maybe there is a finders fee in there... lol ;)



10-22-2005, 07:39 PM
I checked out my library of old TrailManor brochures, and I found some info on the 1989 models. In 1989, TrailManor made a 20, 22, 23, 25, 26, 27 and a 28 & 28F. I am sure they made the same models in 1988.

My 1989 price list stated that the 25 model sold for a base price of $14962.00 There were only 7 items that you could get as optional equipment.

The floor plan of the 25 model was very similar to the 3023 today. There was a couch/bed on the road side. On the curb side, you had 2 chairs with a cabinet in between them. There was no storage under the back bed, You had to get the 26 model (which is the 3023 today) to get some storage under the back bed area.

Hope this info helps out.

10-23-2005, 06:13 PM
Thank Bob. It's nice to hear I am not going insane and the 25 does exist.

I know I should just wait until I can see it in person to answer my own questions, but I am just too curious...
Does the 25 have a furnace?
Does the 25 have the wardrobe?
Does the 25 have an awning?
I could go on all day, but will try to show some semblance of patience. :o


10-23-2005, 07:00 PM

In 1989 my spec price sheet listed the following as extras. According to my brochure, it had a bathroom, wardrobe, holding tanks, gas water heater, 3 way refrig, 4 burner range and oven, 12000 btu furnace, (2) 20 lb propane bottles, and rear privacy curtains. I imagine the same things were applicable in the 1988 model year.

The following items were optional:
spare tire, wheel, and carrier, front privacy curtain. 7500 BTU air conditioner, a/c kit, and an awning rail. I guess the factory was not putting the awning on at the factory. It was up to the dealer to install one if the customer wanted one on the TrailManor.

Hope this helps out.

10-24-2005, 08:18 PM
Hey all. They sent me some pics of the camper.
Just wanted to see what type of damage you all think there is, and what it will take to fix it. I also don't see the AC they said it had...

Not sure if I can put big pics in here, so I am looking for somewhere to host them.


10-24-2005, 08:40 PM

I'll send the rest of the pics they gave me.

I wish I could tell from the picture if the wood was bad or if it just seperated for some reason...

It looks like there are some trim problems and the face of the fridge is coming off. Also looks like the bathroom needs some elbow grease.

I wish it had the rear window cover. Can you still get the older ones?

The TLC we can handle. It's the repairs that make me nervous. (Although, my dad and I replaced the entire floor in a camper years back.)

Does TrailManor give free repair kits for the bad wood issue? If so, what parts are 'covered' by them?


PS: Please be brutally honest with this camper, I don't own it yet. ;-)

10-24-2005, 09:09 PM

You have a real fixer-upper there IMO. I wouldn't pay much for that one at all myself. Maybe $500 or $1000. But I'm a little past the age of wanting to spend so much time fixing one up. I prefer to work on a late model and upgrade that where I can take it out at any time. A chap did buy ($400) & repair such a project and I found his story below by googling "trailmanor repair". I don't know if you are looking at this much work, but he had to replace a lot of wood as it had turned to putty due to water sitting between the inner and outer walls of the shells. Some job. He describes how he supported the top while working on it and how he got inside and replaced the square wood with square tubing. Lots of great photos including materials and views of the inside of the shells.
With the shell integrity broken like this one shows, I suspect you will be in this guy's shoes. I don't remember how far you have to move it, but I suspect it won't roll down the road without new tires. Brakes, bearings, and axle grease are other things to check before bringing it home or you will be stuck on the highway with a frozen bearing. This is a project my son would like to tackle!

I suspect it may smell inside due to water damage as well. Frankly, I love the smell of my TM (whatever that smell is!!).

Have you done searches on the sites shown on the home page of this site? You can put on there the amount you are willing to spend. I did that to complete satisfaction last year, then spent 2 weeks in a grand vacation to get it and camp in it on the way home while visiting friends and relatives. Winter is a good time to find a good deal in the Northern climate states.

Best wishes on whatever you decide to do.

10-24-2005, 09:41 PM
I'd have to agree with Bob R...it looks like it needs a lot of tlc and I'd offer a very low amount as well. It makes me sad to look at the pictures - DH and I are suckers for fixer uppers, but we've done too many at this point in our lives.

I would bet that the corner has rotted out wood, and some of the other corners too. The side flaps (that seal up the outside from the inside) need to be replaced, the inside molding is falling down, the TV antenna has some wire hanging down that is supposed to go? and there is no a/c that I can see either, can't tell much else from the pictures, but it makes me suspect that there could be more problems from the general state that it's in.

I don't think that the cost of the corner replacement material would be substantial, but if you have questions, you could call the TM factory. They are very nice and helpful.

It looks like it is going to take a lot of time and some money to get it ready to go (if you do the work yourself). Do you really want to buy a project, or something to camp in right away? If you really want a project, I'd go look at it, and consider everything, from top to bottom, that will need to be replaced and fixed. Make a list and then really think about it.

I'd be inclined to go look at it, if you have the time, and then you will have a better idea of what kind of shape it's in. The pictures definitely show a lot of deferred maintenance. If it's just the corner, and some cosmetics, then it wouldn't be that much work, but if it's everything else too.....

10-25-2005, 08:10 AM
If I am interpreting the pictures correctly, there are TWO areas of major separation between the sidewalls and the end walls - front right and left rear. With this much separation, you would probably end up replacing virtually all of the wood on both sides. HappyTrails (in the link Bob provided) made it sound pretty easy ... He put a detailed progress report, with lots of pics, on his web site.

In the first picture of the second set, there appears to be a substantial angle between the front shell and the rear shell - looks like the rear shell is drooping. This should not be true, and will probably call for an adjustment of the shell's position on the torsion bars, and then an adjustment of the torsion bar tension. Denny_A did this a couple years ago, and he was successful - but I don't think he enjoyed doing it. You can Search for the thread in which he described it. At the very least, be sure to open and close both shells several times, and look to see how they set and seal.

The interior? Some TLC, yes. Some elbow grease, yes. But it doesn't look too bad. Be sure to try all the appliances on all settings, and be prepared to replace at least some of them. The expensive ones are stove, refrig, and toilet, but also check the small ones like the water pump. And fill all the tanks to be sure they hold water.

Don't worry about the lack of a rear stone guard - I'm not sure how stones would hit the rear window.

I don't think the factory makes any wood-replacement kits available, any more than Ford makes kits for the famous Woodie station wagon that the Beach Boys sang about (always wanted one of those!) This is certainly not a warranty or workmanship issue. The parts and materials were not expensive - mostly aluminum tubing and screws and glue. But ask Ed - it couldn't hurt.

So if you will feel comfortable doing what HappyTrails described, consider going for it. OTOH, if you are more of a mechanical klutz, or pressed for available time, you might want to pass on this one.


10-25-2005, 10:33 AM
Thank you all for your responses.

I am capable of doing the work, although not thrilled about it.

My main issue is I want something I can't afford. :-)
I figure I have more time than money, so I would need to buy an older fixer-upper.

I have an 1988 starcraft pop-up that we currently use, so there is no urgent need to getting it done.

The main problem I have with it right now is the lack of an air conditioner. It is not an acceptable camper to the DW unless it has A/C. I know I could sit one in there, but I would still need the drip pan and the outside grate. I don't even know if you can still get those (nor do I know what they cost.)

The seller was originally asking $2650 and has lowered it to $2200 OBO.
I may offer $250 or $500 and see what they say. Any suggestions?

Is there a way to compile a general parts cost list to work with?

Add A/C -> $???
Fix Bad Wood -> $???
New tires -> $???
2 tanks and regulator -> $???
New curtains -> $???
New velcro -> $???

Anyone have guestimates on these?

Thanks again,

10-25-2005, 07:48 PM
I think $2200 is way overpriced. I would agree with the other post that stated $500 or even perhaps $1000 was a reasonable offer. I wouldn't offer a penny more - I do not think it is worth it. As far as repair, I did get into a project about 5 years ago that involved repairing a cabover in a 26' motorhome that had wood rot damage. It was far worse than anything I would have believed, and more expensive too. There are tons of additional items that are needed for this type of repair: adhesives, solvents (cleaner), screws, specialty tools (vice clamps, tap & die, etc), paint, primers, saw blades & drill bits (yes, you will break some), and I'm sure plenty more that I have not mentioned.

Now for the good: There is alot of things that you can do to an older triler that can make them look lots better for smaller prices. Some of the things that I did to the aforementioned motorhome was to repaint ALL of the plastic vent trim, lights, A/C cover, and other misc plastic stuff (NOT sink or tub) that cost me all of $15, but made it look like we replaced all of it. You know how the plastic yellows over the years! I cleaned the plastic with a solvent to get rid of any oils/waxes. I then sprayed an adhesion promoter on the surface (Bulldog). After that dried, I sprayed 2 light coats of quality enamel. These items looked brand new...and all for $15. This is just an example - use your smarts and sooo much stuff will come to mind for less than simply replacing everything!

I wish you well with this, and PLEEEEEASE keep up posted as to your purchase and renovation!

10-25-2005, 09:52 PM
I know that at least one member here has added a side a/c, so their dealer must've found a drip/drain pan somewhere and a grate (this was fairly recently done). Our side a/c grate is bigger than the hole it covers, so you won't necessarily need an exact fit.

I think boogerhead made a good point that you may need to buy some specialty tools and other items besides just the raw materials to make the fixes. One year I found a porch swing at OSH for $59 and I asked DH to buy it for my birthday. Well, the chains that came with it weren't long enough, so we had to buy new chains. Then we needed special long eye-bolts to go through the beam we wanted to mount it on, and washers. Then, we didn't have a drill bit long enough to go through the beam. And then we needed a certain size s-hook to hook the chains to the eye-hooks. And then some chain links to properly hook up the chair. The whole thing probably cost us another $60 when we were done (but I like it a lot!). So, things can definitely add up! Some good news: I've found that the parts I've ordered from the TM factory are very reasonable.

It seems to me that most people nowadays run away screaming from something that looks like this, so the dealer's market may well be pretty limited. Also consider what your time is worth when you make the offer. There may be some things that you aren't able to do yourself, and will have to have a TM dealer work on (like the shell adjustment). Just make sure that you don't pay too much for it. They might be very happy to just get it off their lot, what with winter coming. It says something to me that the dealer didn't want to invest any labor or money into fixing it up so that it would be more saleable - either they didn't think they would get enough money out of it to make it worth their while, or they didn't know what to do, but I suspect the first idea.

Keep us posted!


10-26-2005, 06:37 AM
Thanks again for all the responses/help.

This place is a salvage yard. For the most part I don't think they fix them up at all. I think he just buys cheap and sells at a profit.

I am truly torn on what to do. I have wanted a TrailManor for a long time, but just don't have it in the budget to get one. Here is a chance for me to get one, but I don't know how much work I will have to do. I guess I will just have to go with my gut when I see it on Saturday. If I see it and decide (or the DW decides) I don't want it, I'll be sure to post all the info I have here so one of you can get it if you like.

If I do get it (big IF right now). I am concerned about how I will get it home. We have the tow vehicles, that isn't my concern. I can grease the axles before leaving, so that shouldn't be a problem. Hopefully the tires have a hundred miles left in them, or that may be a problem. I am worried about the part of the front shell that is loose possibly catching air on the drive back. THAT would be a problem (as he rips the entire side of his camper off.) :mad: I don't know if duct tape would work or if I'd need to find a way to secure some angle iron over it or something???

Just for the record, I hate all these unknowns. I am a programmer. I work in absolutes. Either it is or it isn't. No grey area. ;)

Oh well, I'll keep you posted with my ramblings. Hopefully luck will shine on me and it will just be a freak separation issue and all the wood is good, and all the appliances work, and ........ etc. etc. etc. :new_Eyecr


10-26-2005, 07:57 AM

I found an '89 22 foot TM for $2500 in North Carolina. (1989 TRAILMANOR M-22/2619 22', bifold, full bath, large sink, fridge, gas stove, oven, ac/heat, slps 6, new tires, vinyl floor, awning, $2500, 704-243-1933, 704-502-7208, Waxhaw, NC)

Its in the listings at the top of the home page at RVTraderonline. I have no idea of the conditon but it has the appliances you want. I would think that with patience (less than required to rebuild the model 25) and a little meantime-savings you might find one half that far away.

Also a 26 foot '92 for $5K in Pa.

When you call these guys explain the $$ you have and don't be afraid to make an offer you can afford. Keep watching this site for postings in the "For Sale" section. I got mine over the phone from a non-TM dealer. I suspect he thought he had a red herring and only wanted to get rid of it. His comment was "what do I have to do to get you to buy this camper today". It is quite possible that if you find one, someone local on this site might like to go over and look at it and take photos for you if that helps.

On the other hand, my son loves to rebuild old cars and gets special pleasure out of that. I wouldn't want to take that away from you either.

Best wishes.

10-28-2005, 05:30 PM

I have decided that I do not want to undertake such a project. So I wanted to post it to see if anyone else wants to pursue the camper. I am attaching the URL to the company that has it. At the bottom of the page are their e-mail addresses or you can call them. They rotate the pics ontheir website so it isn't showing now, but I think they still have it.

Thank you all for all your help. I hope I do find the perfect camper for me. Then I can participate in this forum. I will pop my head in from time to time, probably with more questions :o . Hope to camp with you all soon.

Brian Schnieders

http://www.lonniesnet.com/sales.htm...t%20Information (http://www.lonniesnet.com/sales.htm#Contact%20Information)

10-28-2005, 08:36 PM
I also noticed that they have a 1994 TM...

10-28-2005, 09:27 PM

I asked about that one. They said it was gone. And sent me pics of a 1994 Hi Lo.