WolfmanMatt here to share some of my camper improvements since I've benefitted from reading about so many of yours. I have great memories of camping for weeks at the lake or the beach with my family in our overhead camper. Through college I camped for many years with a tent set up but really wanted to get outfitted with a truck and an overhead camper, since I also want to pull my small sailboat from time to time.
When I was looking for a truck I zeroed in on the Tacoma for its size and capability. While I was looking I happened to talk to a friend who was selling his at a price I could not pass up. I wanted at least a prerunner and his was a 4x4, which I am glad I have now. Since I couldn't afford an overhead camper at the time, I spent weeks trolling craigslist for a camper shell. This worked for a year or so but I really wanted the benefits of a pop up camper.
After getting the funds in order and checking craigslist and the wander the west repostings of ski3pins and others I finally found a popup camper that would fit my truck and it was only an hour drive! The thing was a steal but it did need some work. I called right away and drove down to see it. I figured at the price I could not go wrong. Plus I looking forward to having a project on my hands. With my stepdad being the handiest man on earth I wasn't scared to tackle this thing
The bad: the previous owner told me that the front top of the camper roof frame had broken when a gust of wind hit the front of his rig while he was driving and a big rig passed in the opposite direction. So the PO decides to fix this by sinking eight 3/4" holes in the roof and sandwiching it with 2 pieces of 2x6" and bolting them on top and bottom... Surprise, surprise this genius move did not work and it broke again not to mention had leaks etc. Lucky for me he did not try to "fix" it further and had decided to buy a new camper. His loss is my gain!
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I trailered the camper home after finagling with the portable jacks since I still had my shell at the time. Me and my stepdad got to work over the next few months to fix the roof, build a platform so it would fit my truck, fix the roof again, repair the canvas, reseal the roof (did I mention that already), and reposition the water tank drain port. I also had to get the door locks rekeyed.
The camper came with a 3 burner stove, sink, water tank, furnace, and fridge. The fridge had to be brought in for service and a new burner to work on propane but now it works like a charm!