Maple Leaf Camper 
Framing for fresh water holding tank additional storage and step for bunk

Maple Leaf Camper

Return to



78' Maple Leaf Camper resto on 1978 Jeep J20

Camper shell in great stock shape overall
78-79 Maple Leaf camper looks
great on the 78 J20
Fits perfectly in the 8ft. bed
Plenty of space
No appliances they were removed by previous owner
Ceiling and joists need repair
Started tearing down the ceiling and found water damage that didn't suprise us though since the ceiling was solid but was beginning to come apart in spots. Began planning how to repair the roof we will use 2x4's and rip them down to the size of the original wood used for the roof supports. Turns out the whole camper skin is aluminum except for the roof wich is galvanized steel .
This is the beginning of our resto on a 78-79 Maple Leaf slide in Camper. Camper came home today 03-11-05. My sons Mark Jr, Thomas, Brad and I managed to get it home without incident. The camper was given to us  free compliments of Bucks County Mustangs. The previous owner had this on his F-150 pickup. Brad washed down the entire camper moped the floor and vacumed the interior, "looking good".

Day two, check all DC and AC circuits. AC Breaker panel was in good shape AC circuits worked but one outlet was repaired and wire needs to be hidden behind panel that will be built over stove and sink area. DC circuits were in need of repair. Identified all circuits and tested same. "Then there was light" indoor and clearance lights. Still have to replace alot of old 12V bulbs though that are burnt out.

This week Mark Jr. set about fabricating new camper stand wrenches out of steel so we can crank this baby up and off the truck in no time. He had one original crank to work from. They turned out real nice.      
Reconstructing the ceiling joists

    April 29, Sealing of the roof is complete using a product called Through The Roof a clear silicon based sealant that can actually be applied to wet surfaces was used to seal all seams along the edges of the roof. The clear is nice in that it doesn't take away from the white aluminum camper shell. An aluminum based roof coat was used to seal the entire surface of the roof.  The roof coat goes on easily with a paint roller and turns out looking great. The aluminum sheen will help to beat back the sun and help keep the camper cooler in summer. The roof was in pretty good original shape with only a couple sq. ft. of tar type roof coating near the roof vent and seams where the galvanized steel of the roof meets the aluminum camper shell. The original roof is galvinized steel with baked white enamel. This surface was swept off before applying our aluminum roof coat. Yes, aluminum roof coat can be applied to steel it bonds nicely. The aluminum composition in the name is whats deceiving, read the labels when purchased for your particular application. The roof has seen a couple of rainfalls now and no leaks. We will give it the old garden hose test once we are finished replacing the long over the cab window which we removed to replace the studs it was attached to and to get a good seal when it is reinstalled. The clearance lights will also be removed and resealed along the front of the camper as the Butyl tape behind them is like rock after baking in the sun for almost thirty years. Butyl tape will be used as a backing to reattach the markers as well as the window over the cab.

   A couple trips to the salvage yard payed off big time in order to refit our camper which had been stripped of all utilities and appliances. A donor popup provided us with a 13 gal. fresh water holding tank and an AC/DC converter which will be used to run the DC interior lights,  DC exhaust fan for cooking and 12V fresh water pump when we have access to AC power onsite instead of draining the batteries. We purchased the exhaust fan/hood on eBay still new in the box which is from the same vintage as the camper and looks and works great. A donor camper van provided us with a small stainless steel sink, 12v water pump, AC/DC Norcold refrigerator, nice small footprint Suburban propane heater, take down dining table and Fuse panel for additional batteries quite a haul all for $80.

     Work continues on rewiring the interior of the camper most of which is overhead runs. This is being done before we reinsulate and repanel the ceiling and offers us the chance to check for any leaks so our new ceiling will not be ruined. Wiring DC circuits we chose to use 14 guage stranded for interior lights, exhaust fan, porch light, a circuit for planned AM/FM/CD stereo and 12V fresh water pump. 10 or 12 gauge stranded wire will be used for the refrigerator and propane furnace respectively. All circuits are hand wrapped with electrical tape instead of wire looms. Turned out much cleaner and takes up less space.

      Mark Jr. started framing the fresh water holding tank compartment which is also comprised of some additional storage and doubles as a step to the top bunk. Mark constructed this by ripping 1x2 framing from 2x4 stock then utilizing 3/4" ply for the step. The cabinets and exterior are trimmed in paneling to try and match the exisiting paneling. Before the cabinet was constructed Mark began to lay down new tile as the original lenoluem was in need of repair. Mark chose peel and stick tile with what happen to have a MapleLeaf design for the MapleLeaf camper. Mark also installed the pedestal support for the dining table which is a recessed design. This is nice so when the table is put away you are not tripping over the support on the floor.

Camper tie downs for the Jeep J20 were finally found, purchased and installed from C.R. Brophy Machine Works I have link to their site under Building Your Own Camper on the main page.

Side walls of Bed Over Cab were stripped down to replace water damage. Reframed and added trusses made from steel cable and turnbuckles to strengthen the BOC area. Large front window in BOC was removed and replaced. Window framing used 1x2 framing from 2x4 stock that Mark ripped down on the table saw. Window was cleaned up and a generous amount of fresh butel was laid down then new screws were used to reinstall. After this a bead of silicon caulk was used around the entire window. Screw covers (plastic trim which snaps into the aluminum window frame) were purchased from our local RV dealer to surround the screws. Additional was purchased for all window and door framing and was installed it was missing after 30 years of neglect.

With the framing and overhead electrical wiring out of the way Brad installed insulation overhead in the roof and sidewalls of the BOC before the new ceiling and BOC walls are put in place. Insulation designed for home exteriors can be peeled down to size just be sure to wear a respirator mask the layers peel apart rather easily off the fiberglass insulation rolls. You should be able to get at least two layers from the roll doubling the sq. ft. coverage. It should not be packed tight into the enclosed space anyway or it will loose it's ability to trap air and the R value will be reduced.

A suburban 12,000 BTU propane fired furnace has been installed (compilments of an older Van camper from the salvage yard). This began by running 3/8" copper plumbing from the propane bottle closet located on the outside of the camper to the furnace. OPD coupler and 2 stage regulator were purchased and installed and are housed in the bottle closet as well. In addition a shutoff valve was installed inline just before the furnace. The bottle closet had to be reinforced to support the weight of the 20lb. tank and a bottle racheting tie-down was purchased from a fleet truck supply center and installed to secure the tank inside the closet. The furnace itself did not fire at first. The orafice in the gas distribution manifold was obstructed by a very small amount of soot. This had to be reemed and the firebox reinstalled and tested fired up like new, Ah heat. This will be nice on those ealry spring and late fall camping trips.

Mark Jr. has framed out a coat closet which is now installed aft of the camper.

Stay Tuned - 

Mark replacing BOC window framing
       Mark Jr. and Thomas rip new roof joists on the table saw to duplicate factory joists. Reinforce or replace any stressed joists and replace water damaged joists.While the ceiling is open redo all 12V DC and 110V AC wiring. Install new circuits for two new 12V ceiling lights, amber porch light on exterior, new 110V circuit for exterior outlet on soon to be canopy side (passenger side of truck). Remove and replace four prong 12V receptacle plug from camper to cab fuse panel. One circuit for running/clearance lights active when parking or headlights are turned on. Second circuit for continous 12V power to lights and other 12V utilities such as stove hood and fresh water pump to be added.

       April 3, Mark Jr. replaced all exterior utility hookups fresh water holding tank fill, cable/coaxial, city water, acces panel for 110v power cord. Remove and clean existing hookups with brake clean to remove all existing caulk. Install new hookups with generous amount of butyl tape caulk which we will let cure for several days then add an additional bead of silicone caulk. The butyl makes a nice seal and fills any voids in the decorative aluminum side panels.
Fuse panel for additional batteries/power
Brophy camper tie downs and turn buckles
BOC walls reframed
Insulating the ceiling