I want to share the rebuild of a 1980 Surfside I bought for 4k CAD in September this year. It is my winter project but I'm slowly getting the feeling that even a long Calgary winter might not be long enough to finish this job. I knew I had to replace a lot of things when I bought it but did not think I would end up with a completely gutted trailer, insulation and floor completely removed. I also pulled out the frame and replaced the axle.
What I have done so far:
- added brake controller to my Subaru Outback
- replaced axle with new one ordered from City Springs in Edmonton (Flexiride 2000lbs with e-brakes)
- gutted the whole trailer (the popcorn insulation was gross, with many cracks and discoloring at the back from water leaks)
- replaced plywood floor
- removed the board that holds the door hinges, it was pretty rotten (because I had the insulation removed I managed to pry it out from the inside)
- ordered new windows from Sunview Industries in Summerland BC (they have not arrived yet)
- I have started some small fiberglass and gelcoat repairs, I have never done this before so I will take it slow and easy.
This forum has been very helpful so far (thank you to everybody!). Without it I would have never even thought of starting a project like this. And also a shout out to Joe and Reece at Trillium Outback trailer here in Calgary, they are always very helpful.
Here a few pictures, more to come when I make progress.
There was some progress in the last month.
I re-installed the frame and closed off all the fiberglass holes left from removing the furnace and fridge. I don't need these vents anymore, since I will be installing a 12V compressor fridge. I also filled all the holes from shore power and water supply.
For this work, I followed the instructions by Dave White on this forum: https://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/...ass-52498.html
I used the following materials, all sourced from Industrial Plastics in Calgary:
-Marine grade gel coat, waxed
-Marine grade resin, waxed
-Bondo Body Filler (for repairing smaller holes)
The cutouts I got from Trillium Outback here in Calgary, that made the job much easier, rather than having to make my own.
Fiberglassing is actually pretty easy once you have all the right materials and tools. A bit messy put I expected it to be much worse. I'm sure my job is not professional but it looks pretty good and the surface is smooth. And when I press on the patches, they are solid. Once it's painted, nobody will notice there were holes once.
Currently I am sanding (this sucks so much ;-), and then I will paint the outside with Interlux paint. Updates to follow... (my two small girls want the green band painted in baby pink, we will see...)
Since my original Bargman L400 had a broken outside flange and I did not want to pay 400 USD on ebay for a replacement one, I had to go with a standard Bauer RV lock and modify the door.
The problem with the Surfside is that the door thickness is almost 2 inches where the lock is located. This will not work with a Bauer lock, since it will only accommodate up to 1.5" door thickness.
So I had to do a few fiberglass modifications. I used scrap fiberglass sheets to fill in the holes. I will post more pictures once I got it all sanded, gaps filled in and painted.
Here some more progress pictures.
The new windows finally arrived. I cut out all the openings to accommodate the bigger windows. I also finally put on the first base coat, Interlux Pre-Kote grey. That ugly green band is gone! 😀
The door mods with the new window and new lock turned our pretty good in my humble and biased opinion.
As you can see there is also some shiny new wheels on the trailer, got them from Princess Auto.
Someone with an L-400 where the guts don't work but has a good flange could, with the proper skills, replace the flange with yours and have a good L-400. The cylinder is also sought after since they do wear out.
Hi Bill and Alex,
thank you for the info. Once I find some time and motivation I will list the parts for sale. The latch bolt is pretty worn as well so not sure anybody would find it useful but I will give it a try. I also still have the old windows that somebody might be interested in for spare parts.
The exterior is finally finished.
Applied several coats or Interlux Brightside boat paint with a 4" roller. I mixed the pink myself with off white and a few drops of fire red.
LED's are from etrailer.com.
The belly band insert was suggested by Rob (robeye on this forum). It is made by Taco Metals (Flexible Vinyl, Black Rub Rail Insert, 1/2"W, 1-3/16"H x 50'L). Not cheap, 288 CAD on Amazon, but fits like a glove!
Door is finally on as well, but needs some fine tuning with the seals and maybe some shimming so it closes well. Hinges are also from etrailer.com
Currently working on the interior insulation, will have a separate post for that.
I finished the interior insulation. That was fun!
I used 1/4" Landau closed cell foam, purchased from Trillium Outback here in Calgary.
For gluing it on I did a lot of research. The Trillium guys use pressurized cylinders of contact adhesive and then spray it on. I did not want to do that, I don't have the equipment.
I also did not want to spend a lot of money on numerous 3M90 spray cans which is said to work well for this also.
So I went to a local car and marine upholstery place. They told me to bring an empty paint can and they sold me a gallon of Helmitin NF 4510 for 30 CAD!
The guy told me I can brush it on, so i did.
It worked pretty well, brush on a thin layer to the foam and the fiberglass, wait for a few minutes for it to dry and then stick it together. You only have one chance though, once it sticks, it sticks...
Now I will wait for an opening at the Trillium Outback shop so they can apply the marine liner on top of that. I don't feel skilled enough to do that and the brushing method might not work so well for it. I did a few trials with scrap liner they gave me but if you put too much on with the brush, it soaks through the fabric and leaves stains.
I also built a frame out of 3/4" plywood on top of the roof for the fan. Otherwise the Maxxfan 4000K I purchased will protrude into the trailer too much, I'm pretty tall. Normally I would have fiberglassed the frame onto the roof but since I finished painting already, I did not want to do that again. So I covered the plywood in resin, then with gelcoat, applied a silicon seal around it and painted it.
The frame also acts as a screw in place for the solar panel brackets.
For the other end of the solar panels I added small wooden brackets with two bolts each, glued them on with PL silicon and covered them under the insulation foam.
Rolf - spectacular!!! I have a '79 Surfside that I had visions of doing something similar to, however it was still in decent shape ... and I was too lazy to do the full rebuild, so just lots of cosmetics. Regarding the belly band inset, just curious as to how you finished the ends? Also, if the mechanics of the old Jalosie windows are decent, I would love to take them off your hands. I'm not in Calgary anymore but I could easily pick it up. Send me a private message if you're interested.
Again, that's a might fine rig you're going to have!!
PS. You probably know this, but Trillium offers a "custom" version of the carefree awnings that perfectly fits the Surfside mold shape. Definitely a nice add on.
Life is short, then you're dust. Enjoy it while you can!
I hoped that the Trillium Outback crew would be able to install the marine headliner for me, but they were too busy. Well I guess I will have to do it myself... I ordered some sea gulley liner from jtsoutdoorfabrics.com. Its called Sea Galley Hull Liner - Opal Plain and goes for 38 CAD per yard. I ordered 10 yards and hope it will be enough. I plan to spray glue it on with 3M90. But until it arrives I will finish building all the cabinets, beds, kitchen and electrical so we can at least go camping soon.
I also ordered new cushions, 4 inch thickness, that cost a fortune.
When I'm finished I will add up all the cost and summarize it here. It is way more than I imagined and I stop counting a while ago...