Renovating the Madhouse (1975 Boler full renovation) - Fiberglass RV


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Old 10-23-2014, 08:45 AM   #1
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Name: Joe
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Renovating the Madhouse (1975 Boler full renovation)

After long debating whether to simply clean or actually restore, I started getting to work last week. All work so far was done with a drill, vise grip pliers, and utility knife. Pictures of the original at New to FGRV . I'll be keeping in closet by door for structural support.
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Old 10-23-2014, 12:37 PM   #2
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Good to hear you have read about the structure needed, you should also replace something on the kitchen wall, the original metal brace between the upper and lower cabinet was structural (looks like it could have been missing looking at your other pictures).

What are your plans for the interior?
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Old 10-23-2014, 09:37 PM   #3
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Looks like the mess we have... Will be looking forward to following your progress!

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Old 10-24-2014, 05:00 AM   #4
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Youv'e got you work cut out for you now. Keep us posted
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Old 10-24-2014, 07:51 AM   #5
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Yeppers, love of work ahead of you, but all very doable. Looking forward to seeing how it turns out.
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Old 10-24-2014, 09:46 AM   #6
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Hmmm...I too have gone that route. I bought a Boler in Winnipeg in summer of 2013 and blindly towed it to Calgary only to find out that ignorance was bliss or I never would have towed it "as is!" So far, I have completely gutted the trailer to find that the whole back end, up to the belly band had been in an accident and was pretty much all bondo with the pieces of fiberglass very poorly reglassed together. Every single wooden floor was rotted out and there were up to 1.5" gaps to air where the broken shell didn't meet the floor again! All the fiberglass cabinets had cracked in the accident (or whatever had happened to it) and were hanging loosly but not adhered to the shell!

My approach was to simply gut to the shell, including the insulation. After trying EVERYTHING to get the insulation off, I started scoring it in strips with an exacto knife and then I put a scraping blade onto my dremmel tool and it actually came off pretty easy that way - it only took about 25 hours to remove the insulation (that was the easy way!!).

To get the shell off the actual trailer, the screws and bolts were so rusty, i ended up having to cut the wooden floor around the bolts and just bust off the screws as I found them. I ruined some pretty nice tools doing it!

I then removed all the windows and hung the shell from rafters in my garage. I have replaced the back end floor so far - that too was hanous!! In removing all of the old rotted floors, there were some pieces of the fibreglass that had held it in that I left in place in order to have "little shelves" of fiberglass to hold up the new floor. I cut out most of the fiberglass if it didn't already break off with the removal of the old floor. I used 3/4" plywood and cut it as if it my shell was in perfect shape. I then had to sand down the edge of the floor to bevel it with the bevel facing down, as the shape of the trailer that shape. I used chopstrand fiberglass and put one layer on the plywood (ended up on both sides, rather than just the bottom side as I put it on the wrong side initially! I guess it is just added weight! I then lay the floor in and as I said, had it somwhat supported by some of the original strips of fiberglass that had secured the original floor - it was put in by a 4 or 5 inch strip on both sides of the fibreglass, essentially sandwiching the floor to the shell. Because my shell had been pretty poorly repaired to begin with, I had some pretty big gaps in spots where the shell didn't meet the floor anymore. I screwed through the shell to the floor to bring the shell as close to the floor as I could. I used 6" strips of cloth and managed to glass both sides of the floor - that was not easy to work on the bottom side as the fiberglass was difficult to work with - I had the best luck working in short strips and only mixing up small amounts of resin. I have NEVER worked with fiberglass before so it is a learning opportunity! Whew! I have a long way to go with this Boler Baby! I will figure out a way to add some pics!!
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Old 10-24-2014, 01:15 PM   #7
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I will be doing bamboo wood flooring. Replace foam insulation with reflectix and cover that with rat fur. Sandblast and paint frame. We will be replacing benches with wood and adding a wood cabinet over the sink. Dorm fridge and replace furnace with in wall heater. Add shelving around most of the top instead of front and rear cabinets. Turn closet into a kids training toilet for my daughter. Have to redo electric to suit our needs. Eventually add in fantastic fan. I know it sounds like a lot for a beginner but fortunately for us we have several electricians, a carpenter, a construction worker, a building inspector, and a jack of all trades farmer who have all stated a willingness to offer advice when needed. I have the ability to work on it three 12 hr days a week. So I'm hoping to have everything done by may. Next picture update will be sunday.

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Old 10-24-2014, 01:17 PM   #8
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Clarification: sandblast the trailer frame after putting the body up on blocks.

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Old 10-25-2014, 11:18 PM   #9
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Not too much to update this week. Took out the sink and burner cabinets along with the fridge and heater, kept working on getting the ensolite and foam insulation off, and managed to get the body off of the trailer and on to some cement blocks. Added tools for this part of the project include a hammer, putty knife, a can of WD-40, and a tractor jack (I imagine a car one would have worked, but I stumbled upon a tractor one first). After the ensolite is off it's time to start patching (fiberglassing) the body and work on getting the subfoor put in. I was thinking OSB board for the subfloor. Anybody have any experience or tips for that?

Cool find of the week: a map detailing all of the places in southern Canada to visit from 1989.

I also have a picture of everything that has been gutted out. Would anybody want this stuff possibly, or should I just take it to the dump? All the benches and cushions, the cabinet over the top of the sink, the sink(pretty rusty) and the fridge and heater(not sure if they work).
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Old 10-26-2014, 02:54 PM   #10
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We are saving our cabinets to use as templates and then they will head for the trash. Thanks for the pics! What does your lp gas connection look like inside? Outside? Are you going to keep it go without gas? Good work! Keep it up!

Tony & Myka
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Old 10-26-2014, 03:42 PM   #11
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Yeah, we're switching to strictly electric with small batteries for just lights during dry camping. I'm pretty paranoid about gas leaks in such a small trailer. We did already make templates of everything. I can take pictures of the hookup next time I work on it early next week.
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Old 10-26-2014, 04:41 PM   #12
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Thanks! It's amazing how much yours looks like ours.... Right now, our body is up on blocks in our garage while the trailer is having some repair work done...as soon as it gets back, we will be in the same boat as you are. Any pics you'd be willing to share would be awesome!

Tony & Myka
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Old 10-26-2014, 09:54 PM   #13
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I'll take plenty of pictures. Do you just want pics of the gas line? We are going to pull the trailer out on Monday to get it sandblasted and painted, so it looks like we'll be switching places.
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Old 10-27-2014, 06:08 AM   #14
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I know that I would like to see all the pics you are willing to share! And yes, please! Our unit was completely gutted and the PO sealed up all the holes for the water, power, gas, and the vent in the roof. So we have no idea what was there originally, so pics of yours would be helpful. Pics of ours are on this forum under Restoring the Haunted Mansion. Thanks so much!

Tony & Myka
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