Love Bug restoration - Fiberglass RV


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Old 01-14-2007, 05:22 PM   #1
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Trailer: Love Bug / Chevy Astro
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I am finally getting around to showing the rebuild of my 13’ -1973 Love Bug. I located the LB on this forum and purchased it from Jamie Auch. The LB was in need of a rebuild and Jamie decided that he did not have time for the project.

I drove from Baraboo, Wi to Harpers Ferry, WV to pick up the FGRV. It was a 1800 mile trip (both ways.) I left on Wednesday at 6:00pm, drove until I got tired, slept in my van for 6 hours and then drove some more. I arrived in Harpers Ferry at around 3:00pm local time. Jamie helped me get the trailer ready to travel. This is a picture of the trailer on the trip home. I made up a light bar that I clamped to the rear bumper to get it home.
I got home at 1:30PM. Total trip time was under 44 hours. I did not “officially purchase” the trailer until it arrived at my house so that I could use Jamie’s registration to trailer. My wife and kids looked at the poor Love Bug when I got it home and with a collective gasp, asked me if I was nuts and really expected them to sleep in that pile of germs.



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The front window and door had been removed so that Jamie could do some repairs but he sold it before he got it started. The cabinet doors, front seat, rear seats, etc had been removed and were on the floor of the camper when I purchased it.



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I started by removing all of the windows and cabinets. Jamie told me in advance about the rotten floor and cracked fiberglass. The ensolite was moldy and coming off of the walls. I scrubbed the interior with a bleach solution, next I used TSP, followed by soap and water, and then water alone. I reglued the ensolite using contact cement and filled the gaps between the ensolite sections using good latex caulk. I painted with 2 coats of Kilz primer (kills mold and mildew) followed by 2 coats of satin gloss interior latex paint. I removed the interior doors and made my own out of boxcar siding which I stained and varnished. I installed woodgrain vinyl flooring and waxed the interior fiberglass.



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After getting the inside of the Bug cleaned up, I moved to the outside.

I started sanding with a finishing sander and soon decided that I would never finish. I borrowed an orbital sander from a friend with a body shop and spent the next couple of weeks sanding the exterior. I found that the camper had been painted with latex house paint. When I got all of the house paint off, I went to work on the 3 cracks in the fiberglass shell. After getting the cracks repaired, I sanded some more. My neighbor paints stock cars and he had agreed to paint my trailer when I was ready. Every week he came over to check on my progress and gave me pointers on what to do. Most of this work was completed in my garage (without heat) in January. When I got to the part of repairing the fiberglass, I built a tent over the trailer so that I could heat the area and get the repair to set up.

Next I removed the frame and sandblasted it. I found 4 cracks in the frame and determined that the axle was shot. I repaired the frame by welding patches over the breaks and reinforced several areas that people on this forum warned about. I purchased a new axle and welded up some mounting brackets that gave me a 6 inch lift. This gave me the ground clearance that I needed to get into my favorite campground.



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I reattached the frame to the egg after replacing most of the plywood floors. By this time the weather was nice enough to get the trailer painted. My neighbor did a great job priming and painting the Love Bug. I attended a Scamp Camp at Devils Lake State Park which is only 8 miles form my house. I got many comments from people about how nice it looked and they really liked my before and after shots.


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I would like to thank everyone on this site for all of the encouraging post to new members. Without the encouragement, I would never have started this project.
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Old 01-14-2007, 06:29 PM   #2
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Great work Bob. Thanks for sharing your story.

I don't have a big problem starting projects, it's finishing them that's tough!
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Old 01-14-2007, 06:51 PM   #3
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Bob: That's a sharp looking paint job and a terrific job overall.
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Old 01-14-2007, 07:11 PM   #4
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Wow! Great job! And what does the family think now?

CindyL
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Old 01-14-2007, 07:59 PM   #5
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The kids think that it is great. My brother stayed in it during deer season this year and he liked it. My wife had a stroke a couple of years ago and maybe she will try camping again in it. She said that it looks nice.
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Old 01-14-2007, 09:53 PM   #6
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maybe she will try camping again in it. She said that it looks nice.
And she's right Thanks for sharing the restoration with us
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Old 01-16-2007, 07:35 PM   #7
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WOW, Bob - your determination & "elbow grease" surely paid off! Your 'Bug looks terrific and we wish you & your family many safe miles & happy memories! Thanx for posting - Hope our camping paths cross in the future. Take care, L 'n D
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Old 01-17-2007, 12:27 PM   #8
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A sows ear to a silk purse! Very nice restore Bob!
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Old 01-17-2007, 07:12 PM   #9
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Send a message via Yahoo to Kurt & Ann K.
Bob,
I can't put it better than Lizbeth
We pray the entire family will share the fruits of your labors.
Kurt & Ann K.
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Old 11-01-2011, 02:16 PM   #10
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Name: Wren
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nice article!

I am a new member of fiberglass RV - I just purchased a 13' Love Bug, 1973 and am gearing up to restore it. Thank you for your article. Since I am new to this, what is the best way to find answers to questions I will have during the process? Shall I post them on the social group site or on my own site...Would you be willing to field questions? Thanks! - Wren in Virginia
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Old 11-01-2011, 02:44 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Wren View Post
I am a new member of fiberglass RV - I just purchased a 13' Love Bug, 1973 and am gearing up to restore it. Thank you for your article. Since I am new to this, what is the best way to find answers to questions I will have during the process? Shall I post them on the social group site or on my own site...Would you be willing to field questions? Thanks! - Wren in Virginia
Pictures please!
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Old 11-01-2011, 03:52 PM   #12
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Bob Cupp
Your what I call a HANDS ON GUY.
GREAT job.
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Old 11-01-2011, 08:10 PM   #13
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Welcome good to have another member from Va. What part of the state are you located?
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Old 11-02-2011, 08:58 AM   #14
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I'll have pictures up soon!
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