Boler 1700 refresh. - Fiberglass RV


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Old 04-29-2007, 04:19 PM   #1
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Someone bought our renovated Boler 1300 so I bought a 17 which had been sitting in a back alley for 3 years with broken roof vents and leaky everything. We're going camping on June 15th (had already booked that before we were convinced to sell our 13; so there's a lot of work to do. The previous owners of the 17 haven't so much as changed a light bulb in the last 20 years.

So the job of stripping almost everything to see where the damage is, and get it all cleaned up was first:


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Old 04-29-2007, 04:29 PM   #2
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...Then it was time to attend to the leaks. We had a heavy snow which pointed out where the leaks were... First there was seeping through the fiberglass around the seam in the center, so off came the rail and in went the sealant:


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and out came all the windows for re-sealing:


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Then off came all the interior insulation:


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and fix some dry rot:


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Old 04-29-2007, 04:34 PM   #3
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During the process, you find some things that tell you how much love and care went into the manufacture of these things. The gaucho bunk was built with one of the support legs standing on the furnace wiring:


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and the bathroom window was lovingly cut straight leaving lots of room for fasteners:


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These power converters are junk and do nothing but buzz anyway so it's going in the trash:


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Old 04-29-2007, 04:38 PM   #4
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So that was 2 weekends of work. Doesn't seem like a lot but it is ... Now that the insulation is gone, and all the old crusty glue has been ground off:


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it's time to start re-constructing... Since I've always wanted to learn how to weld aluminum, I decided to rebuild the bunks out of aluminum:


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I'll post more pictures as I make more progress ....
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Old 04-29-2007, 08:12 PM   #5
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[quote]I decided to rebuild the bunks out of aluminum:


Attachment 7565

I like that idea!
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Old 04-29-2007, 09:11 PM   #6
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You are very ambitious!

It'll look great when you are done, and it's "Your" way.
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Old 04-29-2007, 09:30 PM   #7
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Hi, Herb
I am greatly interested in following your mods. I have a 1700, that is in a very better condition than yours, but I am thinking about some refreshing on windows and some other minor mods. I am sure you will present some great ideas.
Good luck with your project, and go on showing pics.
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Old 04-29-2007, 09:34 PM   #8
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... Since I've always wanted to learn how to weld aluminum, I decided to rebuild the bunks out of aluminum ...
What did you use for welding the aluminum? Mapp/Propane Gas and trialloy aluminum brazing rods or did you go all-out and run argon gas and aluminum alloy welds?

One of these days I'll have to learn how to torch-weld . . . All I've done is brazing and wire-feed arc welding.

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Old 04-29-2007, 10:01 PM   #9
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What did you use for welding the aluminum? Mapp/Propane Gas and trialloy aluminum brazing rods or did you go all-out and run argon gas and aluminum alloy welds?
I have what's called a ReadyWelder which is basically a spool gun with some battery clamps. It also has a gas valve. I clamped it to my MIG supply and hooked up an Argon tank with my MIG regulator... The ReadyWelder is really just a trail welder meant to run off car batteries with some flux core for emergency welding. I put a spool of aluminum wire in it to try out Al welding... Seems to work ok.
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Old 05-06-2007, 11:19 PM   #10
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Looks good Herb. I can see by one of your pictures how much more lift you get with the spring over.

What are you going to use for your new insulation?
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Old 05-07-2007, 06:16 AM   #11
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Looks good Herb. I can see by one of your pictures how much more lift you get with the spring over.

What are you going to use for your new insulation?
Joe at TeamTrillium (and International RV) sold me some closed-cell foam that he uses on the Outbacks.. It's about 3/8" thick.. Then over top of that, I'll be laying the light brown fuzzy stuff that he glues on top of the same insulation.

I'm totally not looking forward to that task.
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Old 05-08-2007, 06:20 AM   #12
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Had a busy weekend and a few busy evenings...

I did some more exterior work. After the most recent rain, I found some more leaks so I had to seal some more stuff that I was planning to leave alone until I painted the exterior. That was actually a silly notion, in retrospect. One thing I discovered was water leaking out from under the shower/bathroom (which on my model is right beside the fridge). Since my trailer hasn't had any active plumbing in 3 years, I was sure it was rain water. Since I had just resealed the bathroom window and frame, I was confident that wasn't it. The next place I looked was inside the fridge access panel on the outside. It was drenched . We live on a windy hill so rain probably got blown inside the vents and then dripped down onto the wood, and from there, through the cracks in the old sealant (butyl putty plus some other caulking) and down the inside and finally out from under the fridge/bathroom wall onto the visible floor. Still not entirely sure how that fridge area should honestly be drained but I'm thinking of building a wooden dam a few inches in to at least keep the water on the outer few inches of that area...

I also stripped and painted the front of the frame. I got rid of the propane and battery storage because I intend to construct a new storage bin like I did on my 1300. Since the hitch was pretty impossible to wire-wheel, I sandblasted it with my cheapo princess auto sand blaster:


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I also added a bike carrier receiver and redesigned the tire carrier on the rear bumper:


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and I rolled some truck bed liner on the front of the trailer to hopefully prevent more rock chips. I'm taking a gamble on this because I wasn't entirely pleased with the performance of the 'rubberized rock guard' stuff on the 1300..


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Finally, I took the wheels off and left them at the tire store to be replaced and while there, took the brake drums off, repacked the bearings and inspected the brakes:


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(also in that picture, you can see the motion sensitive porch light that I installed. I've had this light sitting in a box for years always intending to put it on my 1300 but never getting around to it (sorry Yuri). Since the porch light on this trailer was decimated in some high speed pine tree collision, this was perfect.)
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Old 05-08-2007, 06:42 AM   #13
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On the inside, I've been busy as well.. I sealed and painted the floor plus sprayed the storage compartments with rubberized rock guard. I wasn't thinking when spraying the side gaucho area and sprayed a little too high for some inane reason.. I also finished the dinette bunk and side gaucho bunk in aluminum:


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For the upper bunk/storage compartment, we plan to put my 5 year old up there so we can leave the dinette in table form as opposed to bed form. We figure this will be good for a few years... So I welded a rail out of aluminum. I've bought a ladder to mount to here as well. Time will tell whether this will all work out for the better.


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I'll replace those bolts with proper ones later.

As far as electrical goes, I was hoping to leave well enough alone but I discovered the converter that came with the 1700 couldn't so much as supply enough power to spin the hood fan, I decided to give the whole thing a rototilling. Out came the converter. It must have been someone's idea of a joke. The stove hood fan would barely spin so I figured it was broken. I took it downstairs, hooked it up to my variable DC supply and when I turned the supply on, the fan jumped to life, launched itself off my bench and proceeded to take a chunk out of my thigh. It then hung there by its wires spinning itself in a gyroscopic frenzy while I contemplated what was wrong with the stupid converter that couldn't even supply 800mA to turn a motor (no batteries were hooked up)... Plus the fact that there's 20 feet of cord sticking through a massive hole in the side of the trailer (along with I found an entomologists dream of dead insects which clearly, over the years, had decided to crawl in this 'cable access port' and make their home). So I bought a new cable hatch, bondo'd the old holes, and epoxied in a twist lock 30A 125V male connector. Then I'll cut the cable to length and connect it to the AC breaker panel that was part of the old converter.


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I'll make some pigtails to convert to 30A male RV as well as 15A household. I've never encountered an RV park with one of those 30A RV plugins so I'll store that 15 foot pigtail deep in the rear storage compartment where nothing else will fit in the event that I wind up in one of those RV parks at some point. I don't know yet whether this is a good idea or not but it has to be better than losing almost an entire storage compartment to a 20 foot black cable that has been pushed in there through a 1inch hole, not to mention the insect ingress... I sleep in a trailer because I don't like bugs crawling on me while I'm asleep.

As far as DC, my plan is to put a 30A fusible link on the battery, run that to a DC breaker panel and use a smart car charger to keep the battery (or batteries, I haven't decided) charged. I also have a 55W solar panel that I'll mount to the roof and a controller to charge the battery(batteries)... I'll probably have to get to this next, since I'm coming close to laying the insulation and fuzz...

New cushions have also been ordered ....

That's all for now ...
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Old 05-08-2007, 08:55 AM   #14
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Very interesting project Herb.You mentioned one maybe two batteries.I use 2-6volt batteries.Best power decision i ever made.With your solar power unit you would be good for a long time.
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Old 05-08-2007, 09:18 AM   #15
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Very interesting project Herb.You mentioned one maybe two batteries.I use 2-6volt batteries.Best power decision i ever made.With your solar power unit you would be good for a long time.
Well, I'll probably go for 2 12V batteries just for practicality... First, I still have 2 deep cycle group 24 UPS batteries... Also, since one of my trucks is a diesel, if my truck batteries dies, I can boost my truck from them; and finally, I can rewire them in series and use them for emergency welding ... Additionally, if one of them drops a cell, then I can still get a full 12V out of the second one whereas if I have 2 6V batteries and one of them drops a cell, then everything will be running at half power and it's not clear whether the furnace fan running at 6V would be enough to clear the heat out of the combustion chamber of the furnace... I can probably still last a few days out in the bush with the solar charger topping up a single 12V battery than with a single 6V battery that I can't charge with my solar charger.

Anyway, that's my theory.. I don't know how truly valid it is.
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Old 05-08-2007, 11:35 AM   #16
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Herb, now I feel like I have neglected my B1700! Nice work!

I particularly like the reworked spare mount: I think that the stock design places the tire unnecessarily far back.

The dual 12V battery logic makes perfect sense to me. Dual 6V batteries intended for golf cart service seem to be very readily available at good prices, which is a good reason to use them, but the same type and total size of battery in 12V has the same performance. One caution: with two batteries in parallel, care should be taken to keep the wiring to them identical in resistance, to encourage balanced operation.
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Old 05-08-2007, 01:05 PM   #17
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Things are coming along nicely Herb, good job on the updates. Don't worry about the porch light... As for the rubberized rock guard, I taped and resprayed the front of the 1300 2 weeks ago and while it did go on beautifully, delivering back to the storage site managed to knock a few flecks free showing the marine paint underneath, for undercoating spray the stuff doesn't stick all that well, anyhow a good touch up every few months should restore the luster. Its only 6$ / can anyhow.

Your 55W solar panel plan should charge the 2x 12V batteries nicely, I picked up a 15W panel at Walmart for $99 (Can Tire wants 165$, sheesh) and a charge controller and managed to charge the 2x12V batteries on the 1300 40% (from 40% charge to 80% charge) last week just laying it on the front rack facing straight up. Last week was quite overcast as well. Based on my super low power consumption I'm thinking that it will suffice for my needs.

Here's to hoping you can get it all done by the time your first camping trip rolls around.
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Old 05-09-2007, 07:10 AM   #18
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Thanks for the encouragement ....

So, has anyone done anything to isolate the furnace from the chassis so as to reduce the noise from the furnace fan? When the fan is on, the whole trailer sort of 'hums' because the furnace is bolted straight to the chassis ... I'm thinking of isolating it somehow but not really sure how yet...
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Old 05-09-2007, 09:43 AM   #19
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Herb, Find some of those round rubber pads with a bolt hole in the middle that come from packing crates that machinery is shipped in. Or something similar. They usually throw them out.
The diaphram pump I installed in our Boler has rubber mounts.
I used some on the legs of my 80 gallon vertical compressor rather than bolting it to the floor. What a difference in the noise level! Also it doesn't move around at all.
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Old 05-09-2007, 01:43 PM   #20
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Herb, Find some of those round rubber pads with a bolt hole in the middle that come from packing crates that machinery is shipped in. Or something similar. They usually throw them out.
yeah, that's sort of what I was picturing... I should head off to the dump and find an old refrigerator and grab the rubber mounts off the compressor. I'm curious whether that's going to reduce the noise level enough.
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