Before & After - 1973 Love Bug Renovation - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-12-2018, 01:00 PM   #1
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Name: Rob
Trailer: '73 Love Bug
Florida
Posts: 38
Registry
Before & After - 1973 Love Bug Renovation

See attached photos for the before and after of my 1973 Love Bug renovation.




It took me 4 months and 16 days to get the shell off the trailer and to get it back together and camp-ready. I took it for the maiden voyage two weeks ago and it was great!

After four months of sustained effort, I am now tackling all of the other items in my life and around the house that were put on hold to complete the project.

I will be taking my time with a few loose ends that my hurried completion left unfinished. These include new windows and seals, body work, and exterior paint -- to be completed by the end of the year.

It took a lot of money, patience and four months of my spare time but it was a fun project that I wouldn't hesitate to do again. Of course, if I had more time I would love to drag it out West for the road trip I had in mind when I bought it. All in good time....

Full Restoration Album: https://imgur.com/a/3PyvX

Thanks again to everyone here for sharing your insights and pictures of your projects. I certainly would not have finished as quickly or with as much ease without this community.

1973 Love Bug Fiberglass Camper Renovation Summary - Spring 2018
  • Frame-off restoration - frame removed out from under the shell
  • Frame sandblasted and painted
  • New Dexter #9 Torsion axle installed at 22.5* down with a high-lift bracket - 2,200 lb capacity & a new rear center support beam welded in
  • New 5/8” marine ply installed as sub-floor and fiberglassed to shell in rear
  • New custom upholstered front gaucho couch cushions; charcoal marine vinyl and grey Sunbrella outdoor fabric with chartreuse piping
  • New custom CNC-cut birch cabinet doors with recessed marine-style latches and custom 3D printed hardware
  • All new, completely re-wired from scratch DC electrical system with Power Dynamics PD4135kv charger/converter and a new deep cycle marine battery - system includes all LED lights through cabin, with ample 12v and USB receptacles as well as a Waeco 12v DC fridge/freezer from a Freightliner Cascadia Semi-truck (6 years left on a 10 year warranty). All wires are heat shrink wrapped and installed in conduit.
  • Replaced all running lights with LEDs - all new wiring all around
  • New LifeProof Sterling Oak Waterproof Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring with lifetime warranty & custom 3D printed floor trim
  • Custom air conditioning retrofit in closet with upper storage shelf
  • Restored original sink and Coleman two-burner propane stove
  • Redesigned Love Bug logo for the Love Bug 2.0 concept - 3D printed for use in the project
  • Replaced all window screens and locking mechanisms
  • New bed & bedding, recycled old curtains by dying them
  • iPad mount installed
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Old 06-13-2018, 09:52 AM   #2
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Name: Tom
Trailer: Outfitter truck campper
Colorado
Posts: 136
Awesome job, Rob! The results speak for themselves - you built one most excellent camper here. Very impressive!
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Old 06-13-2018, 10:59 AM   #3
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Name: MURRAY
Trailer: Ventura
British Columbia (BC)
Posts: 92
Great job
Go and Enjoy
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Old 11-12-2019, 10:41 AM   #4
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Name: Cheryl
Trailer: SCAMP
Wisconsin
Posts: 10
Love it!
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Old 11-12-2019, 05:22 PM   #5
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Name: Dave
Trailer: 2013Escape 21
Iowa
Posts: 658
Was your camper originally built in Tripoli Iowa? If you have not communicated with RoyTO he has done some research on these campers.
Iowa Dave
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Old 06-04-2020, 10:24 AM   #6
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Name: Debra
Trailer: Love Bug
Georgia
Posts: 3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iowa Dave View Post
Was your camper originally built in Tripoli Iowa? If you have not communicated with RoyTO he has done some research on these campers.
Iowa Dave

How do I get in contact with RoyTO? We just bought a 1973 Love Bug and would love some history on it!
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Old 06-04-2020, 11:16 AM   #7
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Name: Rob
Trailer: '73 Love Bug
Florida
Posts: 38
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Hey Debbie, you guys aren't far from me in Camilla... I am based in Tallahassee. Congrats on the new-to-you Love Bug. This forum is a great resource. My restoration would not have happened without this community. There are a number of great threads on here that you can search and a lot of information relevant to Bolers & Scamps is just as applicable to your Love Bug. I'll give you a brief history of the Love Bug as I remember it.

Going from memory here, it has been a few years.... I'm sure others will come on here to correct me... Boler was the original Canadian fiberglass camper manufacturer. In the early 70's they licensed their molds to two companies in the US to manufacture them here under the Boler name. Within a year or two each of those companies spun off on their own, making modifications to the mold and selling them under their own brands. One of those companies became Scamp and the other was TriFab which manufactured the Love Bug in Tripoli, Iowa. In late '73, I believe it was, the TriFab manufacturing spot burned to the ground but the molds were saved. They continued making them and introduced a longer one. I believe they were making them through '94 (not positive).

I would suggest you look to the posts (using site search feature) of members Cat Furtrell & Tom Marti. Both have/had Love Bugs of your vintage and were of great help in my project. In addition, I found D White's thread "You Can Repair Fiberglass" to be of great help. Also, as I said earlier, much of the information about 70's Bolers and Scamps here will be relevant to your inquiries.

Post some pictures! We love to see them. I am not here as frequently anymore but happy to field questions when I see them. Good luck with your project!

Best,
Rob
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Old 06-06-2020, 07:42 AM   #8
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Name: Zac
Trailer: Surfside
Ontario
Posts: 47
Wow awesome Job.... 4 month of spare time!
Thatís amazing it would take me 6months full time.
Thanks for sharing
Zac
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Old 06-07-2020, 05:45 PM   #9
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Name: Tom and Marti
Trailer: Tri-Fab Love Bug
Maine
Posts: 24
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Thanks for shout out, Rob. I finished up most of my renovation and have failed to do a good job at posting. Gives me inspiration to show some work that others might benefit by as much as yours. Happy to say my frame and floor were in good shape... interior not so much. Keep in touch. p.s. we were supposed to be at St George Island this week for family reunion. Ain't happening
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