Randy's really ambitious Boler restoration - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-01-2018, 06:11 PM   #1
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Name: Randy
Trailer: Boler
British Columbia
Posts: 23
Randy's really ambitious Boler restoration

Hi Fiberglass RV community, Randy here, thought it was about time I introduced myself and start a thread showing my restoration project. I've followed this forum for about 18 mos, all the while searching for a project Boler or Scamp. In May of this year I found a 72 Boler (manufactured in Peace River AB according to the little ID plate)
Calling it a project is a huge understatement! Got my wish and I know it will challenge me, probably piss me off a lot and in the end be something that I will be proud to say, I built this! Even my wife is getting excited (we won't talk about my other projects)

So the Boler is in rough shape, the usual sagging door, which some idiot decided to trim to fit the sagging corner, this will need to be built out. There is a gorgeous do-it yourself patch riveted on to the top corner as well. On the plus side, it came with everything, all cushions (can use for patterns) original stove, sink and all fibreglass components; bench, upper and lower cabinets. I've stripped out the interior, 3 wasp nests and the lower floor. Gave it a good scrub outside, TSP'd and rinsed all the ensolite inside, some panels came out remarkably well. I will be removing all the ensolite and hope to find a technique that doesn't required scraping for days. I may try a heat and strip gun, it's worked well on other projects in the past, or an oscillating tool. What I salvage I will offer up to those interested, maybe trade for something small like a door hinge.
I am going to build a new frame, combining a few designs I have found on the forums, and keeping the original as a reference. Interestingly, my frame has a set of leaf springs, so someone did some customizing at one point. This week I started removing the body from the frame, challenging to say the least. When previous owner “fixed” the door he or she decided to fibreglass the wall and bench together, so, I spent a good hour or two with my Dremel carefully grinding to separate them. Most of the screws and bolts are to rusted or stripped to work out, time to pull out my sawzall and cut them.
So, I will pose a question to everyone, tab or no tab? Do I cut the floor to roughly where it meets the fibreglass lip, about 2” and leave it, or cut out the floor and grind the lip flush to the body? I've seen both on this forum, some people leave a tab, then butt the new floor to it and glass it together top and bottom. Others take it right back to the shell, grind it smooth, then fit the floor as tight as possible and glass. I know people also say save the old floor as a template, but seeing how the frame is no longer straight and true, and in shoddy repairs, etc I can't see the old plywood being much use.

Before I remove the closet, I am going to make a template of the curve. I am thinking this curve will be the same on both sides of the doorway? Anyone have any thoughts on this? Once I lower the body onto the new frame, get it level and square, as well as lined up, I will clamp, screw and use whatever means necessary to get the door frame back into position. I may keep a curved (fir or oak) support on both sides of the door and attach a retractable screen door at some point.

Anyone have any tips when lowering the body onto the frame to get it in alignment? If I go with a larger tire (15”) I will need to compensate when I build the frame, correct? Will the wheel wells be an issue?

Almost forgot, my taillights are bumper mounted, I really, really wanted a trailer with the recessed style, so I will be looking for a set, or customizing my own.

I'll add a bunch of pictures and try to post regular progress reports, thanks in advance for tips and ideas, Randy
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Old 08-01-2018, 06:38 PM   #2
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Randy, welcome to the FGRV forum. Looks like a great find, and a blank slate is nice to have it the way you want it. If your ensolite wall lining is intact, have you read how many have filled in the seams with a paintable calking, and textured it to match the walls, then paint with a flexible paint? Just something to think about. Best of luck with your projects.
Dave & Paula
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Old 08-01-2018, 11:12 PM   #3
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Hi Randy. Welcome! Really looking forward to seeing you build this into something special.
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Old 08-02-2018, 12:20 AM   #4
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Name: K C
Trailer: 1971 Trailswest Campster
Washington
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To help align the trailer back onto the frame. Make yourself a set of gauge blocks that locate against the side of the trailer and over to the metal framing members. It is much easier to align parts using gauge blocks than to use measuring tapes. They don't have to be anything fancy, just some scrap pieces of lumber screwed together that index against the materials. Be sure to label them and take some photos of where they belong.
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Old 08-02-2018, 12:28 AM   #5
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Name: Randy
Trailer: Boler
British Columbia
Posts: 23
Thanks KC, at the risk of sounding like a total noob, could you explain the gauge blocks in more detail please? Would I attach them before I lift the shell off the old frame, use them to align onto the new one, then tweak into place?
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Old 08-02-2018, 12:31 AM   #6
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Name: Randy
Trailer: Boler
British Columbia
Posts: 23
Hi Dave, thanks for the warm welcome. I do plan to remove all the Ensolite, some is just to far gone to salvage. One idea I'm entertaining is spray-able cork for sealing and insulating the interior. I need to do some more research to see how well it will bond to resin and fibreglass.
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Old 08-02-2018, 05:24 AM   #7
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Colorado
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Randy's really ambitious Boler restoration

Welcome Randy, Can’t wait to see all the changes. I did the same when I purchased my trilly in July 2017, it took me nearly a year (680 hrs) to complete all renovations. I did document it and if you need ideas you can reference it. Many can’t believe that I completed this , I say never give up and work till your satisfied and you will receive many positive compliments. Here is my link.....
Trillium 4500 (quebec)
http://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/s...ad.php?t=81003

You should try going to the 50th Anniversary of Boler in Winnipeg on Saturday aug 18 open trailer day to get ideas.
http://www.myboler.com/
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Old 01-18-2020, 12:26 PM   #8
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Name: Shannon
Trailer: 1975 13' Boler
British Columbia
Posts: 138
Hi Randy,
Is this the Boler that you're working on?! Any progress since we last spoke?

Shannon
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Old 01-19-2020, 06:02 PM   #9
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Name: Randy
Trailer: Boler
British Columbia
Posts: 23
Sadly no, the weather has been a big deterrent and halfway through a bathroom reno as well. I am hoping to lift the shell off the frame next month and start the new frame. We are planning to spend a month in the Yukon in August so I will be going all out until then, nothing like a deadline to motivate! I'll try to post pics and updates as I go.
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Old 04-16-2020, 08:36 PM   #10
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Name: Randy
Trailer: Boler
British Columbia
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Silver Lining to the madness

Like everyone, did not see this coming. In January I posted that my wife and I would be spending a month in the Yukon & NWT later in the summer and this would give me a deadline that I had to meet. First there was a basement bathroom reno which then turned into a complete basement redo. I don't need to go into to detail what came next. So, now I have time and lots of it! We are so fortunate to have our health, our jobs and the space to work on our Boler! I hope everyone who reads this is managing and finding fun projects and things (other than Netflix) to keep them occupied.

So today I actually got inside my 72 Boler and surveyed the interior, exterior and frame, I had a wtf moment, wow there is a lot of work to do! Just then my wife came out and said how excited she was, and looking forward to using our little Boler as much as possible.

Tomorrow, a welder buddy is coming by to look at and measure the frame. Hoping to start on it next week as his work is slowed down.

In the meantime, I've decided to pull out what usable Ensolite I could and I'm posting a few pics, so if anyone needs a couple pieces for repairs, etc it's yours, free. We just need to work out how to get it to you and if we ever meet I like Guiness.
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Old 04-17-2020, 10:13 AM   #11
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Name: Fred
Trailer: 13 ft Boler
Kootenay's of BC
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Hey Randy, that is a project! Looking forward to following your build.
Ill pm you about the ensolite.
Fred
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Old 04-23-2020, 07:05 PM   #12
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Name: Randy
Trailer: Boler
British Columbia
Posts: 23
Body Removal

The basement reno is completely done and with the good stretch of weather it was time to turn my attention to the Boler. Using a floor jack and cribbing I started to raise the body off the frame. As I expected there were a few screws through the floor still attached and several in the closet. The floor screws were straight forward enough, however the closet presented a few challenges, so I decided to use an oscillating tool to cut through them from the wheel well. This meant I had to remove the tire, then cut through a blob of fiberglass from a mickey mouse repair, to finally access and cut the threads.
Once this was done, I replaced the wheel and jacked up the body, chasing the cribbing and blocking as it went, until the closet was clear of the wheel. This all took about an hour, I then rolled the frame out from underneath. Wow! What a basket case, rusted, warped and broken.
I think a lot of repairs were attempted over the years on both the frame and the body. For starters, the axle has hydraulic brakes and leaf springs, so I don't think that was original. There are pieces patch welded on and a lot of rust.

After the new frame is built and rolled under I will remove all the “repairs” and rivets, built up fibreglass blobs and other shoddy fixes on the fiberglass and see how the body will actually sit, before I even think about the new floor. I did take measurements, but since nothing is true or level, I can't really go off of the old frame and floor. In the one picture you can see how the side is pulled in, it's the same on the door side. The body section on the hitch side of the door, probably sits a good 6-8 inches back.
I'm kinda of leaning towards a system where by I can “hang” the body over the frame, then measure and line it up as best as I can. I will trim out the old plywood “lip” that runs around the inside as I don't think it is reliable and will only pull everything back out of position. After that I will screw the door into the opening to shore up the body, before I make any fibreglass repairs. There are lots of cut outs and screw holes that need filling so I'm not worried by adding a few more.

I'm thinking I might build out the frame around the door to stiffen it up more as well as provide for the hinges and later a screen of some sort. I'd like to build it out in layers and glue them together. Any recommendations material wise? I think some members have used marine plywood/veneer to bend and form to the body shape.
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Old 04-24-2020, 08:34 AM   #13
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Name: Fred
Trailer: 13 ft Boler
Kootenay's of BC
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Hey Randy great to see progress!I
Lots a work but probably a good idea to let the body relax on the new frame.
But you want to insure the interior pieces, closet etc fit as you move forward.
Ya frame is really different from mine, a 74 built in WPG.
Looking forward to what you guys come up with for the new frame.
Fred
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Old 04-25-2020, 07:44 AM   #14
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Name: Michelle
Trailer: Boler ‘76
Ontario
Posts: 2
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doobie View Post
Like everyone, did not see this coming. In January I posted that my wife and I would be spending a month in the Yukon & NWT later in the summer and this would give me a deadline that I had to meet. First there was a basement bathroom reno which then turned into a complete basement redo. I don't need to go into to detail what came next. So, now I have time and lots of it! We are so fortunate to have our health, our jobs and the space to work on our Boler! I hope everyone who reads this is managing and finding fun projects and things (other than Netflix) to keep them occupied.

So today I actually got inside my 72 Boler and surveyed the interior, exterior and frame, I had a wtf moment, wow there is a lot of work to do! Just then my wife came out and said how excited she was, and looking forward to using our little Boler as much as possible.

Tomorrow, a welder buddy is coming by to look at and measure the frame. Hoping to start on it next week as his work is slowed down.

In the meantime, I've decided to pull out what usable Ensolite I could and I'm posting a few pics, so if anyone needs a couple pieces for repairs, etc it's yours, free. We just need to work out how to get it to you and if we ever meet I like Guiness.
Hi Randy, I am working on a ‘76 in need of some ensolite. Where are you located? I am in Ontario. Are you able to post it? I would certainly be willing to pay any shipping costs.
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Old 04-25-2020, 11:45 AM   #15
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Name: Randy
Trailer: Boler
British Columbia
Posts: 23
Hi Michelle, out of fairness, Fred above asked first, so I am holding it for him until he comes into town. That said, I do have another piece on the ceiling that I will pull off in a week or two when I pop the window out. If you don't mind waiting for it, we can work out the shipping then.
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Old 04-25-2020, 01:42 PM   #16
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Name: Michelle
Trailer: Boler ‘76
Ontario
Posts: 2
Hi Randy, thanks for your reply. If you end up having anything extra I’ll definately take it. If Fred needs the extra , then please let him take it. Thanks again!
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Old 05-01-2020, 10:45 PM   #17
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Name: Randy
Trailer: Boler
British Columbia
Posts: 23
Thought I post an update. I towed the old frame out to a friends place on Thursday. Dave's a welder by trade, we actually went to trade school together after high school. He stuck with it, I didn't. He's got the tools and experience plus it's nice to help a friend out.

Anyway, we ordered 6” C-channel for the outer rails and some of the interior cross bracing, 2”X3” tubing for support members and some flat stock. Wow is steel expensive now! While we waited for the steel to be cut, Dave and I raised the old frame on stands and got it pretty level, maybe 1/8” out, it was so warped and twisted. Cut off the bumper, with the plan to reuse it.

Around noon we picked up the order and set to work on the new frame. We started by laying the outside rails on top of the old frame and clamping them down, another wow moment, the old frame was so warped! The design I'm using is mainly Ian Giles of Boler Camping, with a few modifications. Thank you Ian for sharing your expertise.
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Old 05-01-2020, 10:52 PM   #18
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Name: Randy
Trailer: Boler
British Columbia
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Starting on the frame

Starting from the back and working forward, we cut and tack welded the rear cross member, followed by the brace behind the axle and then the front to complete a rectangle. Dave decided we build the “box” to provide the strength and ensure everything was square, then cut out for the door and smaller supports inside. Next, we fitted 2”X3” tubing into the coupler, measured in 4” from the outside corners and clamped everything in place to mark our angle for the bevel cuts. Once measurements were confirmed we cut the two coupling tubes and tack welded everything.

Moving the frame forward under the body, much like Ian's design, I wanted it to extend past the doorway, before starting to angle into the coupler. I measured this section 22” but may need to shorten it 2-3” to ensure I'm not to tight with or extending past the corner of the body. Should resolve that Saturday.

After that, I'll tow it home, order an axle and line up the powder coating. I'm a little nervous how the body will fit the frame, but the reality is both were so out of whack that I don't really have anything “true” to go off of. I'm fairly convinced the body was pulled and shaped to the frame after numerous repairs and fixes. Once I remove the riveted aluminium patch above the door, the crappy fibreglass repairs and have a square and level frame, I will have a better idea what I'm up against.
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Old 05-02-2020, 06:49 AM   #19
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Name: Daniel
Trailer: '82 Burro 13'
Northern VA
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Nice you know a welder. It's looking good.

I kinda wished the steel supply places had weekend hours.
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Old 05-02-2020, 07:48 AM   #20
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Trailer: 13 ft Boler
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Looks great Randy! Im sure the body will settle onto the frame but you might have to give it some time sitting in the hot sun.
Your plan of removing "repairs" will aid as well.
I think proping up the center of the ceiling will help too.
Looking forward to the next installment!
Fred
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