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Old 04-26-2012, 04:15 PM   #1
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Name: Tim
Trailer: 1989 Dodge B250 Camper Van & 1972 Compact Jr
Colorado
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My simple rebuild of 72 Compact Jr

I knew, the moment I saw the ad on Craig's List, that this Compact Jr would be part of the family. I also knew that it would get a complete make-over before it's first use. Now, if this were a trailer that I would use myself, I might have dealt with the decor for a while, but this little guy was purchased for my Mother, who started taking road trips with me in Jan 2011. It turns out that she loves the road trips, but hates to drive, so towing her behind my van was the perfect idea... which leads me to this 1972 Compact Jr.





When I bought it, it looked great in pictures, but only "OK" through a real set of eyes. The bed was fold-out, which made for a difficult time unfolding it in such a small space. All the paneling was hanging on by either a single nail, or Elmer's glue from 1978. By the time I towed it home, many of the woodwork was sitting in the isle-way. The swivel chair was out of place, taking up half the interior for a single seat. The previous owner installed an AC which fed outside air through a large hole cut in the side of the trailer (ARRRGH!!!). They also attempted to build a shower stall for any travelers shorter than 5' and skinnier than 18 inches. Needless to say, it all had to go...



It was at this point (day-2 of ownership) that I realized how shoddy everything was in there, including all the wiring and the fiberglass patches done by the previous owner (basically they bondo'd in some paneling which was now warped and ready for a stiff wind to rip it apart). The holes were in need of repair; the smallest being 4X18 (top), the largest being 18x18 (middle), and the hardest one roughly 14x20 and right on that horizontal bulge (metal grate)... what where they thinking?!?



By day-3, I had the wiring completely overhauled, both 120v and 12v. I'm not sure why the previous owner wired in 8 different wall sockets into this small of a trailer but he/she did... and I removed half (two on each side) and split them on the fuse panel so that the exposed wall sockets consumed one 10A fuse and the AC & battery-charger will sit on another. I had to do a bit of reading online to figure this fuse box out. As it turns out, the previous owner wired both the neutral and ground lines together which doesn't work in the real world. After fixing that, I found that the 12v/12v converter that was installed would not go back to 12v if I unplugged the power cord... so that was removed all together (saves weight), with the decision that all 12v appliances will run off the battery, not a converter.

After the wiring repair I set off with a couple coats in interior semi-gloss latex paint just to freshen up the drab interior. Now you can see those holes in the fiberglass on the right side...



I had some learning to do before I tackled the massive fiberglass repair, so while I was reading up and watching videos online, I also built the framework on the two bench-couches/pull-out-beds. Both would be 6 feet long and pull out to a 35" wide bed. If both are pulled out, it would form one large 6 ft X 5'10" bed that can comfortably sleep two adults.



By day-4 I could not go any further until I fixed the holes in the wall, so I bought all the supplies (ended up having to buy twice as much the next day) and got to work on the smallest hole first.

First I thought about just fiber-wrapping a pre-cut panel, inserting it in place with a little more fiberglass, and bondo'ing the outside... this in hopes of using less fiberglass to keep my costs down. This failed miserably so I went back to the standard way of laying large pieces of fiberglass over each hole (from the inside) while from the outside I used plastic sheeting and paneling screwed in place to keep the limp fiberglass in place until it dried. This worked out OK for my first delving into fiberglass repair.





As you can see, it isn't pretty, but from the outside things are coming together real well. This image above is after the first day of bondo work (also my first time dealing with bondo). The top hole has 3 coats of bondo, each getting smoother and smoother after a lot of sanding. The 2nd hole has it's first layer of bondo. And the 3rd hole had just finished up the fiberglass.

Since this image I have completely finished the top hole, including 3 coats of white paint. Basically, unless you were locking specifically for the hole at nose-lengths away, you can not see the repair. The 2nd hole is on it's final (of four) layers of bondo and is getting it's first coat of paint tonight. You won't be able to find this one either... I'm real happy with how they came out. The 3rd hole now has two coats of bondo and is looking good, although it will not be perfect due to the difficulty with that bulge at the top of it.

I will post some more images of the couch/pull-out-bed as requested and the final images of the fiberglass repair in the coming days.
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Old 04-26-2012, 04:29 PM   #2
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Trailer: 1989 Dodge B250 Camper Van & 1972 Compact Jr
Colorado
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Pictures of the bed(s)/couch(s)

I still need a few legs, but you get the point.





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Old 04-26-2012, 04:31 PM   #3
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More images of the fiberglass repair underway

Before


Mid way through


Top hole is gone, others in final stages
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Old 04-26-2012, 05:20 PM   #4
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Trailer: 72 Boler American
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Neato!
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Old 04-26-2012, 06:53 PM   #5
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Tim, way to go! Your hard work will pay off I promise...the rewards will be in using it and you can say you did it! Happy Camping!
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Old 04-27-2012, 11:56 AM   #6
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Finished up the 2nd fiberglass repair, now only one to go and it is in it's final stages.

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Old 04-27-2012, 04:46 PM   #7
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Name: Dave and Shelly
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Iowa
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Very nice. Thanks for posting. I love to see the before and after pics.
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Old 04-27-2012, 06:34 PM   #8
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I like the bed though I am thinking of making it permanent at about 28 inches with a walk between space. Something I can buy cot mattresses for, anyway. If I do it. I realized the way I have it now is pretty much like a V Berth on a boat but with more foot space so we could still use it to sleep two and be able to get in and out okay. Mine is also for taking my mom along but we have to share the space.

I wonder how it would work to put in one cot and then have a fold out bed for the other side? Hm, I need to think about that. I would have more space without her and could still add a bed when she came along.
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Old 04-27-2012, 06:41 PM   #9
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Very nice ditto's
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Old 04-27-2012, 07:50 PM   #10
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Name: Tim
Trailer: 1989 Dodge B250 Camper Van & 1972 Compact Jr
Colorado
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Bobbie, each of the couches are about 22", leaving a 26" space in between. Each then has a slide-out that will reach a maximum of 14" for a 36" space for each single bed or they can fill in the entire walk-way to make one large bed.

My van has a 26" couch that slides out to a 42" wide bed and it will sleep two *married* people. I scaled the trailer beds down a notch since there would be two and no need to double-up on either.

We also discussed leaving one bed out and just having a cot available. We assume that most of the time there would only be a single person sleeping in the trailer. For now we stuck with two beds/couches, but it one can be removed with less than a dozen screws once we know the number of people on the trip. If we knew that there would only ever be a single sleeper, we would leave it out and install some additional counter-space and storage instead. I will probably build that so we can pop either in (or out) before each trip depending on how we want to roll.
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Old 04-28-2012, 09:21 AM   #11
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Tim,

If you have a moment I have a couple questions. 1). Did you attach the bed/couch to the fiberglass lip it rests on? 2). What kind of sander did you use for the bondo?

I have just purchased a Trails West that needs similar TLC.

Thanks.

Bill
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Old 04-28-2012, 09:54 AM   #12
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Name: Tim
Trailer: 1989 Dodge B250 Camper Van & 1972 Compact Jr
Colorado
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill K Jr View Post
Did you attach the bed/couch to the fiberglass lip it rests on?
Yes, I used the existing wood which was still in good shape. If that failed, I would have put a simple horizontal piece in supported by a few legs, attached to the wall and floor as needed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill K Jr View Post
What kind of sander did you use for the bondo?
I just picked up a cheapo 1/4-sheet vibrating sander. 60-grit followed by 100-grit seemed to do the job pretty quickly. It was still a lot of sanding and in hind-sight I would now pick up the larger 1/2-sheet sander to make things easier and make it easier to prevent 'waves'
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Old 04-29-2012, 12:27 PM   #13
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Trailer: 1989 Dodge B250 Camper Van & 1972 Compact Jr
Colorado
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Finished fiberglass repair. As you can see, the final patch is far from perfect, but I am over-budget and will tackle it again next rebuild. I'm back to the interior work now.

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