restoring a 71 Compact camper - Fiberglass RV


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Old 11-12-2012, 11:38 PM   #1
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Name: Dorey
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restoring a 71 Compact camper

My husband and I are restoring a '71 Compact camper and would LOVE to find some good sources for parts and details.

The camper has a 3 burner Ward stove. One of the burner grills isn't original and would love to find a replacement grill. Also the cover is missing for the heater.

It appears that the camper originally had a propane fridge, but the one in it now is an icebox. Any idea if we can even find an original fridge, or if we would be better to stay with the ice box.

The cloth for the pop up section has also been replaced with a solid cloth instead of the original one that had the screens and plastic covers. Can we find a cloth for this, or should we see about making our own?

One hurdle to our restoration is that we live in Alaska, so I worry that shipping maybe expensive for some of our parts. I worry we may end paying more in shipping that the parts.

Thanks in advance for any help you can offer.
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Old 11-13-2012, 06:09 AM   #2
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Hi Dorey, welcome to FiberglassRV. We're glad you're here!

I thorough understand about the cost of shipping. You'll need to decide if the price is worth it. I'm not an "original" kind of gal, but believe in making my trailer and space as comfortable for me as I need/want.

Because all manufacturers use the same sources for appliances, you should be able to find a stove grate and furnace cover. Unless others pop in to help, Google may be your friend.

and please post pictures when you can.
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Old 11-13-2012, 09:50 AM   #3
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Re: pop-top. Easiest thing would be to remove it and have someone put the windows into it. It's already fitted to the poptop so no need to start from scratch. Or at worst they could use it as a pattern. No commercial source exists for the poptop, some people make their own or have it done locally.

I've also heard of people removing the stove, so keep an eye out for that and you might find a burner.
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Old 11-13-2012, 12:24 PM   #4
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Thanks everyone for the quick responses and replies.

Donna - I agree regarding not making it original, but would like to make it as efficient as possible. I plan to use the camper for in state trips during the summer time when I'm traveling alone. We also have a motor home for trips that my husband can join me on. I don't like to drive the motor home, so the camper will be ideal to pull behind either our pick up or our Vanagon.

Bobbie - I was thinking of using the existing cloth, but it's pretty stiff and I'm not sure if I'll be able to sew it without doing damage to my sewing machine. I suppose I could see about using a glue or epoxy.

Does Ward Stove company still exist?
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Old 11-13-2012, 02:04 PM   #5
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Don't know about the stove company.

If you don't want to sew the existing stuff (I would not try epoxy) then take it off carefully for you or someone to use as a pattern. When I get around to doing mine I'm going to make it probably from coated nylon so it is lighter and attach it with Velcro, then maybe also make an insulated version for colder weather, also attched with velcro.
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Old 11-13-2012, 02:13 PM   #6
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If you have the original vynyl top boot, and it's in otherwise decent condition, it can be rescued.

Take it completely off of of the trailer and lay it out in the sun (Ya, I know you are in Alaska, maybe inside under some heat lamps.) When it is well warmed and soft first smooth out everything and then use a weak solution of water and bleach to clean both the inside and outside surfaces. Rinse with fresh water real well to get rid of the chemicals. I just did that with mine, and had a local tent & awning company sew in new windows and flaps and, at 39 y.o., it looks and folds great and feels as soft and pliable as when new.

BTW: When you take it off be sure mark it so it goes back on in the exact same place, otherwise you will have to put in a lot of new screw holes.
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Old 11-13-2012, 11:11 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harman View Post
The camper has a 3 burner Ward stove. One of the burner grills isn't original and would love to find a replacement grill. Also the cover is missing for the heater.

It appears that the camper originally had a propane fridge, but the one in it now is an icebox. Any idea if we can even find an original fridge, or if we would be better to stay with the ice box.
At this time I think your best bet for parts/replacement for the Ward stove and heater cover would be Ebay or Craigslist, or an RV salvage operation. Another possibility might be to make friends with a local machinist and fabricate what you need.

I am skeptical that it originally had a propane fridge. Are there vents, or patches in the fiberglass behind the icebox to indicate covered-up vents? Iceboxes were common in the Compact Jr., and fridges are more often found in the Compact II.

I'm in the process of a total frame-off restoration of my Compact Jr.
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Old 11-15-2012, 12:42 AM   #8
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Name: Dorey
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Frederick - Thanks for the input regarding the fridge/icebox. I was thinking that it was originally propane because there was a copper pipe going to it that was capped off at the end with a bent pipe. Now I think that the pipe was run by the factory in the event that they were going to put in a fridge, but since it's a junior they put in the icebox and bent the pipe.
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Old 11-16-2012, 11:23 AM   #9
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Another thought on that bent and capped pipe, MAYBE for a propane light that was never put in, or no longer there?
In my Compact II, such a pipe was in the wall between the fridge and the dinette, along with a small unexplained hole in the wall. My dad and I guessed that at some time in the past it might have had a propane light that was removed for some reason. A real shame too, I would have enjoyed a propane light! Heck, it probably would have acted as a heater as well as a light source! hehe
And a BIG WELCOME to you Dorey!
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Old 11-16-2012, 02:02 PM   #10
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The propane light is on the same side as the stove in my Campster- I would guess they'd have put it there if there was no propane fridge. No sense running propane to both sides otherwise.
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Old 11-16-2012, 03:15 PM   #11
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Ohhhhh, that does make sense Bobby... Hmmmm, well then, I'm out of ideas! Hehe
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