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January 26, 2016 Comments (0) DIY Advice, Projects

Retro Trailer Re-build – Part Five

It seems like a while since we last touched on the camper trailer, and I know everyone’s been a bit concerned that it’s turned into one of those projects! Like the internet will end before the project does! Well rest assure, the trailer is well and truly under some sort of progress. Today I am talking about the excitement of getting the body sitting back where it should be, and the pain of prepping the beast for paint!

The fibreglass body and the floor are bonded together, so once the whole lot was lifted onto the chassis; the floor was screwed down with some epic broad headed screws. It shouldn’t go anywhere in a hurry! The only failure in our brand new chassis was the location of the mounts for the roof arms. We hadn’t factored in the different size of the chassis tubing, causing the mounts to foul on the body. Thankfully, this is nothing an hour with the grinder and welder couldn’t fix.

Moving the chassis

Working on the trailer

If you can look past my pretty face in this picture, you will notice I have stripped off every exterior mounting point and screw that ever was. In line with our complete conversion from 240v to 12v only power, I have patched over the old hole in the front that was the 240v power inlet. You can see the severe stone chipping as well, just visible under the bog. There were a lot of tins of Body Filler slapped onto that front end!

Sanding

At some point in its life, the trailer had a water tank which was later removed and the hole covered over with a piece of plywood. I removed that, found the hole was pretty torn up, and spent the afternoon working it over with the Fibreglass Repair Kit.

Before getting too excited, we decided we’d better figure out what we were doing when it came to painting the thing. Neither of us having painted fibreglass before, I turned to the internet with my questions; and in true internet style, came back with a handful of different answers. The most useful advice I found was to have a chat with a place that specialises in boat paints. Off to Fremantle we went, to see the guys at Gary Martins Boat Paints (372 South Terrace, Fremantle).

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The information given was a lot to take in, but with some patience from the staff; we understood the method we would need to employ. Unfortunately, there were no shortcuts; no quick rough up with some sandpaper and a couple of rattle cans. We had to get that body right back to its starting point, through 4 layers of ancient house paint that had been slapped on over the years.

Two sanders burned out during the job, and the third is on its last legs. The amount of sandpaper consumed is phenomenal; and my fingers are sore. The roof ended up needing more attention than we hoped, a few bubbles and holes that needed patching; but the trickiest part was where wood rot had started in the corners. A bit of stop-rot and some Fibreglass Resin drizzled down the rotten parts took care of that problem nicely, and now we’re nearly ready for paint!

Fixing the trailer

Ready for paint

Now the camper hangs in a state of “nearly ready for paint”, but something else always seems to crop up and needs attention before the paint can go on. Regardless, now that the body is back on we need to finish the drawbar setup before we can paint. We’ll take a look at that next time, so sit tight!

Alex Garner Sign Off

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