John & Jaci's Great Adventure (Vintage Boler rebuild) - Fiberglass RV


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Old 05-31-2009, 10:14 PM   #1
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John & Jaci's Great Adventure (Vintage Boler rebuild)

This is the beginning of our adventure in rebuilding a Vintage (a very kind description) Boler. We once had a 25' 5th wheel camper but got tired of the effort and expense involved in it and sold both RV and the 1 ton truck used to haul it. Our goal was to shrink the size of our equipment and also the cost of transporting it. We bought a small pickup truck and because it only has a tow capacity of 2500 lbs. we started looking for an ultralight RV to tow.
The 13' Boler weighs in at approximately 850 lbs. and although it needs considerable work, it looked like an ideal match to our needs. Our plan is to completely disassemble it and repair/reinforce every part of it. We want to make it an RV that reflects our own slightly bizzare ideas on interior decoration and we aren't particularly concerned with returning it to original specifications. We simply want it to be safe, secure, and attractive (perhaps a bit eyecatching).
I spent 21 years in the USN as an aircraft mechanic so I have both the tools and the experience to complete the project. If anyone wishes to view the progress, I will post -in process- images. I am open to suggestions or comments. I may also be posting tearful requests for assistance (especially in the electrical arena). Please look for my pleas for help and submit any advice or condolences that you can.

P.S. The interior is intended to be a distinctly nautical motif, complete with barnacles and the scent of salt air (if that's possible)
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Old 05-31-2009, 10:27 PM   #2
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Quote:
If anyone wishes to view the progress, I will post -in process- images.

P.S. The interior is intended to be a distinctly nautical motif, complete with barnacles and the scent of salt air (if that's possible)
Too cool! I'll be following the progress
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Old 05-31-2009, 10:56 PM   #3
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I look forward to seeing your re-do! It sounds like it will be different and fun. Maybe you can bring it to one of the Egg Camping Club (TN, AL & GA) gatherings so we can see it in person!
Sandra
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Old 06-01-2009, 07:02 AM   #4
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Your 70 something Boler appears to be in reasnable shape except for that "Red Green" installed AC. We'll look forward to viewing your progress.
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Old 06-01-2009, 07:17 AM   #5
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Hi: John & Jaci D... and welcome. Let the adventure begin!!! Boler wiring was...lets say "light weight", and some of the P.O.'s( previous owners) may not have been any better. You will probably uncover some looking stuff...but nothing that can't be fixed. As far as restoring well "Whatever FLOATS your boat".
Alf S. North shore of Lake Erie
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Old 06-01-2009, 12:09 PM   #6
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Welcome! That's one fine looking project!

Not to rain on your parade, I always have to do this to new Boler owners , have you actually weighed that trailer? I have a fairly stock Boler with a frig, a window AC, one battery and one propane tank. It weighs 2200 lbs. in travel mode. I haven't beefed up anything yet!

Do you have pictures of the inside? I really like the idea of your theme and am looking forward to seeing what you do!

Lizbeth
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Old 06-01-2009, 12:55 PM   #7
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Congrats! I hate to see you guys work on this all summer. Why don't you take it a project at a time and get a little camping in. Take the project you can't camp with first then take a break and camp, then tackle the next project, then camp and so on and so on. Again Congrats! Enjoy! Robin





Can't wait to see your "slightly bizzare interior idea's" Please post pics!
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Old 06-01-2009, 08:49 PM   #8
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Well, I have now added some pictures of the inside. As you see it needs considerable work. Its actually a little scary as it is now but it is structurally sound. And the the Redneck named Bubba who put in the air conditioner left a lot to be desired. One of the first plans is to remove that air conditioner and put in a porthole window in its place as well as another porthole window in the door. We plan to completely change around the inside. Just about the only thing that will be the same is that we plan to keep the booth/bed in the same position and keep the closet by the door. The kitchen will be completely removed. We plan to use a camp kitchen. When we had our 25 ft 5th wheel we found we spent a considerable time with set up and breakdown taking everything outside for the kitchen. We never used the indoor kitchen. We plan to put a compact bathroom in instead of the kitchen. The front bunk/couch will be removed and we will use that space for more cupboards for storage. We are still trying to figure out some of the details and plans such as were to put the air conditioner. We hope to make the interior look reminicent of the captian's quarters of an 1700's sailing ship.....or at least thats the current plan. We shall see where it goes. I will add more pics once we get a chance to start working on it.
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Old 06-03-2009, 11:32 PM   #9
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We were able to find the VIN on our Boler American Wichita, it is 5071. Does anyone have info that would help us figure out what year it is? The recessed tail lights are stamped 69 but that seems to be a high vin for that year from what I have read. From everything I have seen the narrow window in the door was changed to a larger window after 75 and ours has the narrow window so our guess is somewhere between 69 and 75 but we would love to be able to narrow down the year. Any help would be appreciated.
Thanks
John and Jaci
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Old 06-04-2009, 12:22 AM   #10
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Hi: John & Jaci D... As far as I know Boler Americans built in Wichita were a one year production...1972 I think. Roy in TO Is that right???
Alf S. North shore of Lake Erie
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Old 06-04-2009, 07:25 AM   #11
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Alf could be right. A lot of Boler Mfg's used the date as part of the vin code. Mine is 4284, or the 42nd made in 1984. So yours could have been the 50th made in 71 and badged in 72.
Good hunting!
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Old 06-04-2009, 08:32 AM   #12
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Thank you very much for your help. Sounds like we probably have a 71 or 72 from your responses. My husband was guessing that our VIN meant it was the 50th made in 71. We had found a date of 69 on the tail light lens, so we we were first thinking that they could have followed the same custom of some auto manufactures to stamp the manufacture year in the lens, however the tail lights are recessed which if my research is correct would indicate one made in the 70's. That goes with your assessment of the VIN. I never knew it could be so much fun trying to figure out the manufacturing history of our little camper. I can't wait to get started on the restoration. We will probably get started next weekend (13&14 June) as we are going this weekend on an already planned vacation.
Thanks again
John and Jaci
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Old 06-04-2009, 09:29 AM   #13
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Hi: Again... Taillights for a lot of Bolers were simply the Red flashing School Bus lights. Early '68&69's mounted flush on the back of the body like Scamps. My brothers Winnipeg '72 had recessed front reflectors and the water fill was on the door side rear corner with the tank in the rear storage bin. Our '77 had the water tank underslung below the dinette floor with the filler on the service side.
Every Mfg'er did something a little different!!!
Alf S. North shore of Lake Erie
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Old 06-04-2009, 09:16 PM   #14
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Trailer: 1972 boler American and 1979 Trillium 4500
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... As far as I know Boler Americans built in Wichita were a one year production...1972 I think. Roy in TO Is that right???
Wow, [b]TWO new[b] boler American owners surfacing in one week!

Amazing. Welcome to FGRV.

You are 1/2 right Alf. They were only made for part of the production year. As far as I know none were ever made in Wichita, that apparently was only the "head office". We have confirmed that they were made in Tripoli, IA by Tri-Fab and Backus, Mn by the Eveland family prior to Scamp. They were possibly also made in Aurora, NE.

I have been talking with Matt Hirota that is doing the documentary on the boler including it's history. We've compared names and information and it sounds like he has been able to arrange interviews with certain individuals that should be able to give us some of the missing pieces of history. (I don't want to spoil things for Matt)

As for the serial number. I have postulated that the first digit was to represent one the five production plants (or planned plants) followed by the serial #. If that is the case, John and Jackie have # 71 from plant 5. To date all I have seen are serial #'s starting with either a 3 or a 5. Which leads me to believe that the Aurora plant never made it to production before the boler American met its demise. I postulate those molds were used to make only the ECO. I'm hoping that Matt will be able to confirm this with his interviews. If he can't confirm it, hopefully we will learn something new.

Roy
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