1976 Ventura Monarch Fix-Up - Fiberglass RV


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Old 05-23-2017, 04:14 PM   #1
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Name: Birgit
Trailer: 1976 Ventura Monarch towing with RAV4 V6 2008
British Columbia
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1976 Ventura Monarch Fix-Up

In an effort to downsize in fuel expenses and weight, we downsized from a Boler 1700 to a Ventura Monarch 1976, a sweet little trailer after the Boler was written off in an accident.

We decided we didn't want a big reno job, one that was "done" but maybe could use a facelift.

We found one in Calgary, $5500 and seemed clean and nice. Maybe not so much,....

The fridge was a residential bar fridge, it's been tossed, but the furnace is in working order. Details are still undecided, but I think I want a fridge and a furnace in there.

This winter we had some serious leaking, and the poorly installed ceiling (pine panelling running front to back) buckled and pulled the roof down.

Cheap bead board stapled over original paneling was soggy and gross from the leaks,.... not quality stuff, that's for sure.

I'm not exactly sure where the leaks are or how to go about fixing them (inside or outside?) and I wonder how much was condensation,... There is some rotten frame needing to be replaced, but not much, mostly around the windows, which makes sense, but doesn't explain the ceiling. However, I just need a good rainstorm to happen and I will start getting an idea.

All the wall paneling has been removed and insulation too, so everything is quite visible. I saved the frames for the all the bench seats, furnace/cupboard and galley in case I want to reuse them.

The ceiling is pretty soft and flexible, I am not sure how I will support it but I don't think it needs much. I would love to just bend some cedar panelling in an arch holding the ceiling up with a natural flex,...

The windows,... I love them but one doesn't shut properly (one of the smaller), it's a jalousie window, passenger side. On the opposite side is a McGuyver'd window using an original jalousie frame, but it has a sheet of plexiglass glued/siliconed into place.

I think they all leaked at one point or another,.... I think it's probably a good time to repair the seals and windows or replace them entirely. I don't want one new window really and these jalousie windows are so awesome, I hate to part with them, BUT,... new windows all around would be really nice too. Going to have an estimate for that next week, now's the time with the camper gutter.

And it needs a new door. I found a great link from someone who DIY'd a door: RV.Net Open Roads Forum: Built A New Entry Door For My Truck Camper!
He did a great job. I'm really curious to know what the stuff is called that goes around the edge of the door,... I have to know the words to know what to ask for! I am hoping to build a new door too and it all looks good up to there, a mention of it in this person's post is missing.

Lots to do! I think I'm bouncing between excited and overwhelmed. I was rooting for a DIY job in the fall, so I guess I got what I was asking for! I just want to have a teeny, nice, warm home on wheels with a little elbow grease. I think I should manage.

I'll post some pics as I go along,...
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Old 05-23-2017, 08:44 PM   #2
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What I did on my Ventura ceiling was to arch 3/4 aluminum square tubing and screw them to the side of the roof braces which have curf cuts in them so they can be curved in the factory but really weaken them. Also check the fiberglass above the rear window as mine plus at least one other have had cracks that went right through to the inside.

Water leaks can also happen from the belly band because the two halves of the trailer are NOT glassed together as in other trailers ( I didn't know this when I did the rebuild on mine years ago.

Most of the seals for the windows are available from Vintage Trailer Supply
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Old 05-24-2017, 06:33 PM   #3
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Name: Birgit
Trailer: 1976 Ventura Monarch towing with RAV4 V6 2008
British Columbia
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thanks for the idea

Hi Dudley, thanks for the idea for the ceiling.

Yes, mine has a significant leak in the front in the middle and I think one starting in the back, but at the top above the window, not below it as in the front. How did you repair these?

Should I seal the two halves together when I rebuild it all? Do you wish you had done that?

Shortly after I posted yesterday, we had a huge rainstorm, so I got my wish about some rain and confirmed 4 leaks plus around the windows.

One of the arched ceiling pieces is completely broken and not rotten, I'm wondering if someone actually stepped on it last year,...

I am totally picking up on how you did the roof supports, that's really bright. Aluminum is really rigid and light, a great option. Did you glass them to the ceiling or not?

Thanks for your reply.
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Old 05-24-2017, 07:37 PM   #4
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Sealing the windows is actually very easy, remove the black plastic trim on the window frames, remove all the screws and gently pry out the windows, clean off the old butyl tape and replace with new 3/4" butyl tape found in most rv shops. Clean up the fiberglass as well then reinstall the window tightening down the screws slowly over an hour or so giving it time to ooze out a bit. Good time to also replace the 40 year old screws. You may have to replace some of the wood framing around the window if rotten.

As for the roof, I also had a broken wood strip, I glued it with epoxy glue and used a 2x4 to wedge it together until the glue dried. I then arched the aluminum square tube and drilled and screwed it to the side of the old supports. The probable cause of the broken supports is snow load on the flat roof. I made a 2x4 TEE which I used it the winter to support the roof from the inside.

As for the belly band area, the wood in that area was good so I didn't know there was a potential problem. I think if I was going it again then yes I would remove the band and glass the interior and exterior of that area for my own peace of mind,. That being said, the trailer has lasted 40 years the way it was made so its a coin flip.

One more thing to do is repllace all the bolts holding the body to the frame, hate to see it part company from the frame.

We sold ours about 3 years ago to a couple from Fort St John area. Hereis the link to my rebuild
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Old 05-24-2017, 08:26 PM   #5
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Name: Birgit
Trailer: 1976 Ventura Monarch towing with RAV4 V6 2008
British Columbia
Posts: 25
Hi again,

Thanks so much, I have actually been over this thread, not enough, I was trying to find it again! Thanks for this handy link in the thread, now I can resource it more easily.

I like the job you did, it looks great and it will be a great reference as I go along here.

Super tips too on the window seals, thanks and the belly band and I really like the T idea for winter supports. That's just brilliant. If I take the windows out to reseal them, I guess it would be an ideal time to fix cranks and what not.

Yes, I'll be taking those bolts off and replacing them, I think there's 6? 4 in the back and 2 upfront, but not sure,... if I've picked up on anything reading the forums here, it's to tighten those!

thank you, I'll post some pics, I wouldn't say we bought a nightmare, though it may require some sweat and blood,....
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Old 05-24-2017, 10:27 PM   #6
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All the ventura threads.

As for the spider cracks repair , yes it would be a good time to fix them with the windows are out but mine was so bad that was out of the question(plus when I did it, it was a $800 fixer upper) I used a rv roof sealer paint on the whole top half but it was hard to clean so painted over it with a plastic paint and that worked well.

BTW I totally gutted the trailer and the pine was installed with a air brad nailer and glue to the wood strapping not the old paneling. Sounds like someone did a quick and dirty to make it look good for resale. I did mine to us to enjoy and if the Casita hadn't come available, we would still own it, miss the trailer. BTW did the same doors on the Casita. My casita doors.One that like is a good video on how to make the cabinet doors
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