17ft Boler Restoration - Fiberglass RV
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Old 03-03-2021, 11:18 PM   #1
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Name: Rachelle
Trailer: Boler
British Columbia
Posts: 7
Question 17ft Boler Restoration

Hi all,

My husband and I started working on the old family Boler last year and were able to make it mostly functional to enjoy camping in the summer. This year we are considering doing a bigger restoration on it, fix the water damage and spruce it up a bit. We're debating between doing a full on reno- gutting it and redoing everything top to bottom, or just trying to fix it bit by bit.
The biggest issues are water damage on some of the cabinetry (were not sure if the floor is water damaged or not), the ensolite is quite saggy, and the ceiling is sagged a bit. We would like to repaint the cabinets and update the floor as well.
I've attached a few pictures to give you an idea of its current condition. Looking for all the help we can get
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Old 03-04-2021, 08:04 AM   #2
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Name: Fred
Trailer: 13 ft Boler
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Welcome Rachelle.
I think the 17s tend to sag from their own weight from the ones I've looked at.
That said the first order of work would probably be firming up interior structure because if helps the trailer maintain its shape.
We have used and improved our 13 boler as we go for over 15 years.
I would get your boler solid and useable then attack the items that bother you the most first,,,, between camping trips!
Fred
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Old 03-04-2021, 08:21 AM   #3
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Name: John
Trailer: 1978 Trillium 4500, 1979 Boler 1700
Michigan
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We also have a Boler 17. We acquired 4 years ago. It had extensive water intrusion resulting some loose ensolite, some floor rot, rot around the door frame, etc.

We did not gut the trailer. We starting the renovation by fixing all of the leaks, for example:

- removed, repaired and resealed all the windows
- removed and resealed the roof vents (actually replaced one)
- removed, repaired and resealed the door and door frame
- removed and resealed all through hull fittings including lights, shore power, fresh water, water heater

Then we moved inside and patched rotted areas of subfloor plywood. Then replaced rusted out frame bolts. Also replaced all the rusty bolts that were holding the benches and cabinets to the sides of the trailer.

We also did extensive rewiring and replaced the power converter and the towing harness, and added a 30 amp shore power connector.

Having completed all of this, we've moved on to renovating the kitchenette, installing a new furnace, getting the fridge tested and operational.
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Old 03-04-2021, 08:22 AM   #4
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Name: bill
Trailer: 2013 Escape 19; 1977 Trillium 1300
The Mountains of North Carolina
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I too would do in "bite sized" chunks. If I did a full gut, I would run the risk of losing enthusiasm and commitment to such a major project. Instead, I would break it down into smaller pieces. Reseal windows (if you haven't done that yet), electrical, paint cabinets, etc.

But first, I would do a thorough inspection, focused on possible floor rot and wood structure rot.

Fixing leaks is always job #1. Regardless of any damage, you don't want to do more.

Another thing I have done with my project is not use some systems until I address them. So the fridge has had to wait while I did other work.

Also having a covered storage area is so important. A lot of damage can happen while the camper is silently waiting in the yard, or open storage.

John's list above looks like a good one. Load up on butyl tape, stainless screws, and other supplies.

I tend to work in bursts. I get motivated, and dig in, and then I relax, do other stuff. Keeping the trailer camping ready in the interim helps.

Don't do half baked repairs. Do each one in a thorough and complete fashion. "Theres never time to do a job right, but always time to do it over." Don't do temporary repairs. I'd rather do one window right, than several windows in a temporary method. I'd use removing windows, cleaning, new butyl tape, replace wood on the inside if the windows attach to it, and then reinstall; versus slathering a bunch of caulk around windows.
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Old 03-04-2021, 11:03 AM   #5
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Name: Eric
Trailer: Boler
TN
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Nice Boler. I have a 1700 as well that I am doing a complete restromod on. It had roof sag as well and I cover correcting the problem in my thread. Zombie Boler. If you do a full Monty you are looking at about 400 to 600 hours of work. Which would mean being with out the trailer for a couple of months if you do it full time or a couple of years working weekends. If you break it up into projects you can at least get some use out of it over the summer.

My advice is to look at each project and estimate the time for it then double maybe even triple your estimate. That way when that three hour job you start on Saturday morning is finally finish Sunday evening you won't feel really bad.
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Old 03-04-2021, 02:34 PM   #6
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Name: Dave and Bonnie
Trailer: Boler
British Columbia
Posts: 93
We have a'77 Boler that sat 15 years in the bush on Shuswap Lake.
We repainted the ensolite, and refloored using that click flooring.
Also firmed up some of the structure like the counter/stove area and the beds.
However, to get ours "road-worthy" to tow back to Vancouver we had an RV centre in Kamloops work on it - new wheels, brakes, tires. Got all the electrical working and the plumbing. Reinforced the frame around the Dometic 3way Fridge. I gulped at the $3900 but hey what could I do?
We love our Boler and I'd be happy to discuss with you some of the things we learned and some tricks, dealers, repair people etc. others have shared on this website.
The advice given already is good and correct - don't bite off a bunch of stuff you'll feel frustrated. Also do everything well. You'll get back every cent you spend as these remain steady in value. Our email is obvious, you can reply and our phone is 604 553 4946. We're in New Westminster
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Old 03-06-2021, 10:04 PM   #7
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Name: Rachelle
Trailer: Boler
British Columbia
Posts: 7
Thank you all for your responses, it is all very helpful and we will definitely be taking your advice on doing it in bite sized pieces!
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Old 03-11-2021, 02:53 PM   #8
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Name: Rachelle
Trailer: Boler
British Columbia
Posts: 7
We've started the first step and finally got the boler in our shed (which was quite a job in itself- clearing out all the junk that was in there!).

I'm wondering what you'd recommend for the cabinets? We don't want to rebuild them if we dont have to, our plan is to patch up any water damaged areas and we want to get them all white. Is painting the best option? Or putting a veneer or paneling on top? When I've tried to look on this site for ideas I find most boler cabinets are fiberglass and ours is not so I'm struggling finding the best way to go about this job.
Here are some pictures to give you an idea of the current state...
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Old 03-11-2021, 05:44 PM   #9
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Name: Eric
Trailer: Boler
TN
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The best way is to remove the pieces and replace with new wood. I can't speak to the level of difficulty removing them as my Boler was stripped of all the interior when I got it.
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Old 03-12-2021, 04:53 AM   #10
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Name: Lisa
Trailer: Trillium 4500 & Boler 1700
Michigan
Posts: 112
I would be concerned about the condition of the plywood under your flooring before worrying about fixing the cabinets. We had a small spot on the corner of the kitchen cabinet where It is next to the door frame that was delaminating. It was caused by water getting in through the door. We had a decent amount of leaks, so we ripped up ALL the vinyl flooring inside and outside the cabinets so we could evaluate the plywood flooring. We were lucky, only 3 small areas that had to be patched. Ripping up the vinyl also made it easier to access the frame bolts to replace them. We are using foam squares for surface flooring.

Our cabinets were painted when we got the trailer, the paint was holding up well except where we removed the plethora of adhesive plastic hooks. So we repainted the cabinets. Out trailer had brown plastic corner and edge pieces. I primed and painted those because I didn't like the way they looked - it's holding up pretty well.
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Old 03-12-2021, 06:04 AM   #11
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Name: Eric
Trailer: Boler
TN
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lisa in Michigan View Post
Our cabinets were painted when we got the trailer, the paint was holding up well except where we removed the plethora of adhesive plastic hooks.
Not to hi-jack the thread, but what is it with the adhesive plastic hooks. My first fiberglass trailer, 16' Scamp had 98 of them We spent about two hours removing them.
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Old 03-13-2021, 11:56 AM   #12
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Name: Mindy
Trailer: 13’ Boler
Ontario
Posts: 17
Beware full gut jobs

Lately most sales are people who pulled everything apart and lost interest or didnít have time. Piece by piece and figure out exactly how you use your trailer. Iím on year 4 with my 13í Boler and still puttering away.
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Old 03-17-2021, 12:37 PM   #13
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Name: Matthew
Trailer: Boler 17'
British Columbia
Posts: 8
Rachelle many congratulations on your new(to you) Boler 17. My wife and I have a 79 Boler 17 and had to do some refreshing of it. The previous owner had some challenges with water leak from the left rear corner of the belly band and also around the fridge vents. They has sealed them with silicone and I discover the problem with I cleaned the silicone out and was investigating how to clean and use the correct calking, in the end I cleaned the silicone out and reapplied fresh silicone as nothing else would stick (not the 100% correct thing to have but it works). We didn't have any problems with the floor being soft but did have some minor discoloration of the bottom of the fridge cabinet (like yours under the furnace). We decided that we wanted to use the trailer and not get into making a show piece so patched where we could and then painted everything in a lighter creamy white. We also had the issue with the insulation falling away form the celling in places. To deal with that we made some small cuts in it and then re-glued with a 3m adhesive we picked up at home depot (I don't remember the exact one). We then used some putty calk on the seams of the cut for appearance and then painted the ceiling. Over all we are quite happy with what we did and best of all we were able to do that over a winter so we didn't miss out on using the trailer. Also we have met Dave and Bonnie Scott and their trailer is what inspired us, they are worth speaking to about your project. Finally if I can be of any help at all please don't hessite to reach out via a message to me here (I am located in Vancouver).
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Old 03-17-2021, 04:26 PM   #14
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Name: Todd
Trailer: Boler
Alberta
Posts: 3
Quote:
Originally Posted by thrifty bill View Post
I too would do in "bite sized" chunks. If I did a full gut, I would run the risk of losing enthusiasm and commitment to such a major project. Instead, I would break it down into smaller pieces. Reseal windows (if you haven't done that yet), electrical, paint cabinets, etc.

But first, I would do a thorough inspection, focused on possible floor rot and wood structure rot.

Fixing leaks is always job #1. Regardless of any damage, you don't want to do more.

Another thing I have done with my project is not use some systems until I address them. So the fridge has had to wait while I did other work.

Also having a covered storage area is so important. A lot of damage can happen while the camper is silently waiting in the yard, or open storage.

John's list above looks like a good one. Load up on butyl tape, stainless screws, and other supplies.

I tend to work in bursts. I get motivated, and dig in, and then I relax, do other stuff. Keeping the trailer camping ready in the interim helps.

Don't do half baked repairs. Do each one in a thorough and complete fashion. "Theres never time to do a job right, but always time to do it over." Don't do temporary repairs. I'd rather do one window right, than several windows in a temporary method. I'd use removing windows, cleaning, new butyl tape, replace wood on the inside if the windows attach to it, and then reinstall; versus slathering a bunch of caulk around windows.
Hey Bill, Just curious, what furnace did you replace yours with? Also what did you use for resealing the windows. Lots on here about 1300 window gaskets/seals but very little about 1700's windows.
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Old 03-17-2021, 06:55 PM   #15
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Name: Eric
Trailer: Boler
TN
Posts: 157
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The17s use a two piece frame with an inner and outer frame. To seal you use Butyl rubber tape between the outer frame and shell.
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Old 03-19-2021, 10:43 AM   #16
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Name: Rachelle
Trailer: Boler
British Columbia
Posts: 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric Frye View Post
The17s use a two piece frame with an inner and outer frame. To seal you use Butyl rubber tape between the outer frame and shell.
I just pulled out one window which we think is causing a leak, I started cleaning off what I think is old butyl tape and was going to apply new stuff and then put it back. But your saying to pull out the part that's attached to the shell and put the butyl tape on that as well? or instead? That part seems really secure to our shell.
Would also like to second Todd's question about the furnace as I think we will need to replace ours as well.
Lastly wondering if anyone in BC knows the best place to get the butyl tape from?
I really appreciate everyone's help!
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Old 03-19-2021, 11:18 AM   #17
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Name: Glenn ( second 'n' is silent )
Trailer: 2009 Escape 17B 2020 Toyota Highlander XLE
British Columbia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rachelle S View Post
Lastly wondering if anyone in BC knows the best place to get the butyl tape from?

Where in BC? BC is a big place.
Try FraserWay RV.
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Old 03-19-2021, 01:20 PM   #18
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Name: Rachelle
Trailer: Boler
British Columbia
Posts: 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn Baglo View Post
Where in BC? BC is a big place.
Try FraserWay RV.
Haha fair enough, I'm in the lower mainland (South Surrey to be specific). I can definitely check out Fraser way RV, thanks!
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Old 03-19-2021, 01:27 PM   #19
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Name: Eric
Trailer: Boler
TN
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You won't be able to pull the interior frame out with out damaging the interior vinyl liner. Just clean the exterior well and apply the butyl tape to exterior frame and reattach.
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Old 03-20-2021, 04:02 AM   #20
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Name: Lisa
Trailer: Trillium 4500 & Boler 1700
Michigan
Posts: 112
On our Boler 17 the glass was mounted in the frame of the slider window with butyl tape, for both the fixed and sliding sections. On the bottom of one of the windows, mold, mildew and dirt had gotten between the glass and the old buytl. We remounted those panes of glass. I cracked one of the panes and we had to have a new piece cut. Much easier to remove when the weather is hot. Not sure if that is how the window was built, or that was something the previous owner did.

And since you have the window out, see if there are any identifying numbers on the window. That can be useful if you need to buy new window seals
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