1987 Cadet Trailer renovation - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-05-2014, 06:05 AM   #1
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Name: Norm
Trailer: 1987 Cadet
Ontario
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1987 Cadet Trailer restoration

I bought this 1987 Cadet last August. I had seen another Cadet on Kijiji for $1800 in a community about 3 1/2hrs away, and tried to get it right away... but someone beat me to it. Then another one came up for $3000 (my max), about 3hrs away. I jumped on it right away, and got it. Only to discover at the end of the process that this person had bought the $1800 and sold it to me for $3000. Smart for him, too bad for me. Oh well, I got it.

The trailer sat in a farmers field for years. It smelled bad, mouldy and musty. The fabric interior sagged, and there was evidence of water damage. The back window was cracked, and covered in silicone. But it was structurally solid, and still clean on the outside.

I was still trying to convince my wife that this trailer would work for us - we already had a 12ft hard top Coleman, very comfortable, roomy and clean. But I had a dream, I just had to help her see it. But one thing for sure, in it's present condition she would not go in it, let alone camp in it. And the original layout was too claustrophobic, the bed too small, the colours too dark.

So I decided to gut it...
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Old 09-05-2014, 06:12 AM   #2
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I do not have a garage, nor a workshop. I did all of this on my driveway. And as you know this past winter was a tad cold!

Gutting was a disgusting job. Everything felt dirty, rusty bolts refused to come undone. Behind the cloth the foam insulation had dissolved, and was still stick with adhesive - which stuck all over me too. And as I gutted, I discovered the mould, black mould.
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Old 09-05-2014, 06:23 AM   #3
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Trailer: 1987 Cadet
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I cut out the mouldly floor section, scrubbed and scrubbed the fiberglass sections, then painted to whole interior with mould (mold?) killing primer.

I removed the front and back windows to address the leaks. I also had to figure out how to fill the 2" gap in the window trim - couldn't seem to find that trim anywhere.

"Paint covers over a multitude of sins". It already felt better, cleaner. But my wife was still not convinced we could actually camp in it. I had my work cut out for me.
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Old 09-05-2014, 06:39 AM   #4
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Trailer: 1987 Cadet
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Wiring is not something I'm knowledgable about, with the help of Google and this forum, I succeeded in installing new wiring and exterior lighting. I decided against wiring the interior lighting system, choosing instead to go with battery LEDs, so that simplified my wiring needs.

I was not sure how to finish the interior walls. I was not keen on working with the cloth interior. I figured out a way to frame the walls with 1x2 spruce that did not take too much interior space. But I was uncertain how to cover the top section.
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Old 09-05-2014, 08:10 AM   #5
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It looks so naked but clean.

Did you fiberglass the boards to the trailer?
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Old 09-05-2014, 08:50 AM   #6
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Trailer: 1987 Cadet
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The top and middle crossbar are fiberglassed, the upright studs are fastened to them and to the plywood floor.

Sent from my SGH-T999V using Fiberglass RV mobile app
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Old 09-05-2014, 10:17 AM   #7
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Trailer: 1986 cadet
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Do you have any pictures of it in it's finished state? I have the exact same trailer that I gutted and re did, always love seeing what other people have came up with when restoring there's!


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Old 09-05-2014, 10:34 AM   #8
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Trailer: '88 Scamp 16, layout 4
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The guy who "flipped" my Scamp to me made out like a bandit, and I have had to spend a lot more money and do a lot of work to get it ready to camp. My daughter does not know or care about any of that, she just loves camping with her Dad in "our" little trailer. Which do you think I will care more about a few years from now. The time and money spent on the trailer or the time camping with my kid? I can't buy back the time with my daugther at any price. That is a neat rig you have there, enjoy the process.
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Old 09-05-2014, 12:36 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lucasvickery View Post
Do you have any pictures of it in it's finished state? I have the exact same trailer that I gutted and re did, always love seeing what other people have came up with when restoring there's!
I hope to upload the pictures this weekend!
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Old 09-05-2014, 12:38 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timber Wolf View Post
The guy who "flipped" my Scamp to me made out like a bandit, and I have had to spend a lot more money and do a lot of work to get it ready to camp. My daughter does not know or care about any of that, she just loves camping with her Dad in "our" little trailer. Which do you think I will care more about a few years from now. The time and money spent on the trailer or the time camping with my kid? I can't buy back the time with my daugther at any price. That is a neat rig you have there, enjoy the process.
Great point. It didn't take me long to put that behind me and get into the project itself. The time and the (more than I planned) money I've spent on it has been more than worth it!!!
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Old 09-05-2014, 04:33 PM   #11
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Working on a tight budget, I cut corners on a number of things.
I went with the cheapest insulation (white styrofoam) and leftover wallboard painted and sealed to cover the sides. It worked, but would have been easier/better if I had spent more money.
I also made sure that the wiring was accessible, if necessary. I don't have to pull out all the walls or insulation to get to the wiring.
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Old 09-05-2014, 04:51 PM   #12
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Trailer: 1987 Cadet
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It took me a while to come up with the best floorplan for our purposes. We do not spend a lot of time in the trailer - for us it's a place to sleep and change.
Priority for us was a queen size bed and lots of storage. I settled on two large bunks for storage, and a single bed that pulls out to an almost queen size bed (for sure more than a double). The actual bed size is 66" wide and 72" long. For the slide out bed I used bed slats from IKEA.
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Old 09-05-2014, 05:03 PM   #13
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Trailer: 1987 Cadet
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For more storage I decided to increase the overhead storage over the bed. The original trailer had about 10" deep cupboards over the bed, I expanded it to 24". I also decided to go with sliding doors rather than hinged doors.
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Old 09-05-2014, 05:17 PM   #14
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Trailer: 1987 Cadet
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I decided to go with a full counter/cupboard up front, and sliding overhead storage as well. The counter is 18" deep and 28" high, which brings it right up to the bottom of the window. There is room for a removable plastic tower with drawers, and for a 12 volt cooler.

My original plan was to put in a small sink, but not install a stove. We do not cook in the trailer, and I did not want to deal with bringing propane into the trailer. I designed a small sink using the original hand pump. I replaced that with an electric pump, with a large Brita water tank. It worked, but after using it on my road trip this past winter, I realized it wasn't really necessary or beneficial. We do not cook or eat in the trailer, only sleep and change and store stuff. So I took out the sink.
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