Hi, I知 Ellen! My grandfather gave me the best gift! - Fiberglass RV
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Old 10-09-2018, 01:20 AM   #1
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Name: Ellen
Trailer: Boler
IN
Posts: 7
Hi, I知 Ellen! My grandfather gave me the best gift!

Hello!

My name is Ellen. I’m 24 years old and from Indiana. Two years ago, my grandfather gifted me the most wonderful present: his '74 Boler! Growing up, my family also had a Scamp and I have fond memories of camping with our little fiberglass crew. ☺

When I got it, my 13’ babe was structurally sound, but a little worse for wear with some real funky modifications. I took out those mods and am working on making it my own. This forum has been a godsend while I figure things out, I've been lurking for about 2 years.

I'm an artist, and my plan is to travel full time for a while, vending at art festivals and seeing the states. Since I'm finally at a point financially where that's viable (here's to busting my butt teaching, cheap rent with my parents, and saving!), I've been working hard to get things put together in the camper. So I figured it was time to quit lurking and make an account here!

I'm excited to be a part of this community!

PS Attached is a picture of my babe from last summer, before I really started working on her. Her name's Rummi, because I used to play Rummikub inside her with my grandparents when it rained. ☺
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Old 10-09-2018, 02:33 AM   #2
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Name: Ellen
Trailer: Boler
IN
Posts: 7
I suppose I should also add what I'm working on, and what I plan to do soon. I definitely am doing some things out of order. Oh well! Here's to learning.

Done (There's not much!):
As per usual, I started with a big deep clean. Ripped out a bunch of modifications and the ancient (original?) carpet and cleaned cleaned cleaned. I scrubbed the ensolite, primed it with some Zinsser, and repainted it. It's amazing what a fresh coat of paint will do.
Replaced the table support. You don't want to know how my grandpa had it jerry rigged together.

Current:
I'm currently in the process of building a dinette/ bed conversion for the front end. I got a tabletop from an RV Surplus store nearby and just cut it down and refinished it this past weekend. It's lovely!

I'm about to install a new countertop, as mine has a giant hole where the stove once was. Once it arrives, I'll be able to put in the sink and run waterlines. I bought a new water tank (again, yay for RV surplus!), and will be running PEX to a pump sink, as well as a faucet for hooking up when it's available.

One of my jalousie windows is broken. I bought a new crank and will be fixing it soon. I also picked up some butyl tape and will probably end up removing and resealing them because it's the right thing to do? The ceiling vent too. How long of a process is this? I'm trying to plan properly.

Replacing the folding screen door mod.

Rewiring everything, LED lights, solar setup

Future:
-Putting in bamboo flooring (Is particle board original? Its in surprisingly great shape, but it still makes me nervous.)

-Potential major closet mod to house a teeny tiny wood stove, depending on the structural safety of cutting more holes into the fiberglass. If it'll work, I'll be very excited to share it with all of you!

-Clean and rewax the exterior. Potentially reseal the belly band, though there are no apparent leaks.

Concerns:
-I've got door sag. I know that at one point the frame cracked, but it was hastily repaired. I've had my dad, an automotive engineer, check the frame and he said it seems to be in good shape, no twisting or cracks. It was stored indoors, so there's not even bad rust. I'd rather not take it off the frame because I don't have an indoor workspace, but I will if it seems like I should. I'm going to replace the bushings on the door and see if that helps. Otherwise, I'm at a loss as to what is causing it.

Anyway, pictures to come! I look forward to learning more, and I promise not to ask too many questions with easy to find answers!
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Old 10-09-2018, 03:33 AM   #3
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Name: Dave
Trailer: Casita SD17 2006 "Missing Link"
California
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Welcome to the forum Ellen. Being you've had this for a while I'm sure you have checked/repacked the bearings, made sure all the running lights are good and the tire age/condition is OK. It's got to roll safe before the glamping starts . Door sag is a problem and may have something to do with the frame issue. I'd hold off on any mods until the sag is taken care of. That may well include removing the shell. Others will be along with more detailed info for you.
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Old 10-09-2018, 04:00 AM   #4
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Name: Ellen
Trailer: Boler
IN
Posts: 7
Thanks Dave! All good starting points!

I'm waiting on my dad to finish another project, then he'll be helping me rewire everything from top to bottom, running lights included. Tires are in good shape, and I've got a good lookin spare to boot. I will admit that I would not have known to check and repack the bearings!

I'm still quite a ways off from being able to hit the road, and I admit I'm getting ahead of myself by sharing my plans. I DO need to figure out the sag, but I'm struggling to find the root of the issue. I'll double check the frame and bolts this weekend. If it comes down to it, my dear friend is a welder and I live in an area with a large RV industry, I can have a new frame made.
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Old 10-09-2018, 04:21 AM   #5
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California
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Ellen, you might want to do a site search of "door sag" to bring up many posts of that problem. You'll see many pics of the problem and the rebuild fixes too.
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Old 10-09-2018, 04:32 AM   #6
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Trailer: Casita SD17 2006 "Missing Link"
California
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ellen S View Post
Tires are in good shape, and I've got a good lookin spare to boot. I will admit that I would not have known to check and repack the bearings!
Tires on TTs that sit more than they're on the road tend age out before wearing out in most cases. They break down from the inside out and the tread can look great. There is a date code on the sidewall that will tell you when they were made. Think most folks change them out at around the 4-5 year mark. A tire blowing or a bearing letting go can sure make for a bad day .
BTW, adding pics to most questions you have will help us to see exactly what you're asking about.
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Old 10-09-2018, 06:12 AM   #7
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Name: bill
Trailer: 2013 Escape 19; 1977 Trillium 1300
The Mountains of North Carolina
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+1 Tires all have date codes. Google will help you decipher. Trailer tires do not usually wear out, they get rotten. I just picked up a trailer that had been stored in a garage for 15 years. Tire date code was 1994 (24 year old tires)! If you saw the tread on these tires, you would think they were brand new. But if you looked at the sidewalls, they are scary! Needless to say, I replaced those in the seller's driveway.

On my other trailer, the tires were five years old. I replaced them again solely for age, there was plenty of tread left. Personally, five years old is my limit on trailer tires.

On your trailer, its just two tires, so the expense is not that much to have something you can count on. You can only imagine if an old tire were to blow out on the road (it happens) the damage to your trailer could be very substantial! Don't take the chance.


Lots of threads on Bolers and Boler frames. Like most of the vintage FG trailers out there, the frames were under built, and after all these years, people are replacing them. I doubt these manufacturers ever dreamed that we would be using these trailers for almost 50 years! Its a tribute to the original designers and builders.

You should also consider replacing the axle. Long past its useful life, unless it had been replaced in the past. There are some threads on checking axles.

On working on the trailer, if you have access to covered storage, carport or even better a garage, that gives you the time to do good work and learn. There are probably people out there that can remove, clean, and reinstall a window in a couple of hours. Me, I'm planning on at least a week on the first one, as I learn through the process. Right now, I am busy rounding up supplies.


Vintage Bolers are VERY desirable and you got a nice one!
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Old 10-09-2018, 11:14 AM   #8
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Name: Ellen
Trailer: Boler
IN
Posts: 7
Bill, thanks! I know the tires were new when I got it (my grandpa had blown one out on his last trip and replaced them) but it has since sat unused through Indiana seasons, which I know can be hard on them. You can be sure I'll be prioritizing that a little later down the line when I am closer to actually taking her out!

After diving back into things online, I plan to contact my friend and see what it would cost to have a new frame built. Even though its in decent shape, with the one solid repair, I figure it's worth checking into. If I end up going that route, I'll likely replace the axle. I've been looking into that on here already.

As for a covered space to work, my parents are in the process of rebuilding their garage. I am trying to convince my ma to go a while without parking in it once it's done so I can use that space. Fingers crossed!

I know, I got very lucky! I grew up loving our Scamp, and getting to personalize a Boler that still holds much of its original character and structure is a real treat.

Dave, now that I've actually begun working on the camper more, perusing these forums regarding door hang makes much more sense. Once I get a chance, I plan to do some troubleshooting based off Proud Canadians frame check and several of the major forums regarding door frame. I have a few new suspicions.. Will update.
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Old 10-09-2018, 01:01 PM   #9
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Name: Donna D
Trailer: Escape 5.0 TA, 2014
Oregon
Posts: 25,218
Such a cool story Ellen! You're the second person I've heard that received a boler from their Grandfather. Suvi received her 1968 from hers too. Grandfathers are GRAND
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Old 10-09-2018, 04:46 PM   #10
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Name: theresa
Trailer: Outback (by Trillium) 2004
New Brunswick
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Welcome Ellen! Glad to hear you have stopped lurking and become "official"




I don't have anything to contribute to the structural rebuild of your Boler, as our trailer was new when we purchased it in 2004..so I have zero experience with rebuilding.


However, I just want to say that your Grampa gave you a wonderful gift because he knows that you will appreciate it and love it. Rummi is a great name!


Good luck with your rebuild and then with your fulltiming art sales plans.

The small woodstove mod has been tried--with varying degrees of success--but remains very intriguing to me. I will follow those posts eagerly.
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Old 10-09-2018, 05:26 PM   #11
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Name: Harold
Trailer: 1975 Scamp, 13-foot
Redding, California
Posts: 390
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Welcome!!

Welcome and Congratulations on your new to you Boler!!!

I had to look up Rummikub. If my dog could play I would get a set, (the only game she plays is give me a cookie, but she is excellent at it) and Rummi is a great name. People will wonder if your Boler tends to sway...

Is the wood stove your thinking of putting in something like a Rocket Stove? I would guess a Wood stove is doable, but this it my first time hearing about putting one in a tiny trailer. It will be interesting to hear how it develops.

It sounds like you have everything dialed in, and I really enjoyed reading your posts.
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Old 10-09-2018, 07:33 PM   #12
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Name: Kelly
Trailer: Trails West
Oregon
Posts: 2,966
As to how long it will take to remove the windows and then put them back in with new Butyl tape. The first one will take about 20 times longer to remove, clean, do any minor repairs and then reinstall it than any other window. Don't worry, you will quickly develop a system for the required steps. Working with a partner helps for pulling them out and putting them back in. But the partner can be excused for all the cleaning up of the surfaces before the window goes back in. That is likely to be the most time consuming part of the job.

Have a folding table handy for laying them down flat for cleaning them up. Also have a couple of plastic putty knives, plastic razor blades, a soft brass brush, a stiff fiber brush, some small metal picks for getting little bits of debris out of crevices. Some Scotchbrite pads, rags, paper towels, old towels to pad the table with. Bar Keepers Friend Cleanser is good for helping to cleaning up the surface of old aluminum frames.
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Old 10-09-2018, 08:26 PM   #13
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Name: Ellen
Trailer: Boler
IN
Posts: 7
Donna, Theresa, thank you for the warm welcomes!

Doctor Harold, the stove I'm looking at is the Cub from Cubic Mini Stoves. I actually heard about it from a full time Scamper that I follow online. They're very popular in vans! Since I will be boondocking most of the time, I do not plan to have copious amounts of electric to run a traditional furnace. Finding a spot to put a wood stove is challenging, but I've created a viable design for a closet remodel that would be safe, redistribute the heat well despite being in a nook, and not take up too much usable space. In my experience and from some things I've seen online, the closet is underutilized, and since its just me, and I live lightly, I will have plenty of other storage in cabinets and my vehicle. I will certainly start a thread with specs if I decide to go that route!

k corbin, thank you! I've done some searching regarding this, but you made a daunting task seem doable.

As for my door sag! I went out today with a carpenters angle and was relieved to find that, as far as I can tell, the frame is still squared up. Regardless, I messaged my mechanic/welder friend today about thoroughly checking the frame and, if necessary, giving me an estimate on a new one. I'm meeting him tomorrow for some car stuff, so I'll discuss more with him then.

I suspect that the door sag is caused by two things;
1- The hinges are in awful condition, particularly the lower one. I will be ordering a new hinge kit and looking into hinge adjustment.
2- The couch/bunk fiberglass pieces were removed long long ago, I've never seen the camper with it in my 24 years. Judging from the curved chrome rod, the broken flimsy screen door mod, and the fact that nothing I removed from the front end was secured to the little tab edge near the bottom, I suspect I'm dealing with some bulging. As I put in the dinette securely and add a more supportive screen door mod, I should be able to fix this, if I'm not mistaken. If I am mistaken, let me know!
(All that said, the door is fairly heavy... I hope I don't have water in it).

Whew, that was a lot. I already know that making this account was a good idea!
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Old 10-09-2018, 08:45 PM   #14
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Name: Harold
Trailer: 1975 Scamp, 13-foot
Redding, California
Posts: 390
Registry
Ellen,

I don'tr know if Boler hinges are like Scamps, but when I bought my Scamp there were brand new hinges in a box inside. There is someone I think on this forum that sells kits with a new ball, some washers and a stainless steel bolt. That kit would have not solved my hinge problem. My hinges seemed to look okay until I removed them from the Scamp and saw how bad they really were. The aluminum cast parts were very badly wallowed out. New bolts and balls wold not have fixed my hinges. If you are thinking about repair kits, take your hinges apart first. You may decide to replace the entire hinge assembly.

I looked up the Cub from Cubic Mini Stoves -- it's a cute little devil. It will be interesting to see how it comes to fruition in the Boler. Hard to imagine a wood stove in my Scamp, now you have me thinking.

I look forwards to hearing more about the adventures of Rummi.
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Old 10-09-2018, 09:08 PM   #15
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Trailer: 1978 Trillium 4500, 1979 Boler 1700
Michigan
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Hi Ellen,

Looks like a wonderful Boler! Based on experience with our former 1974 Boler 13,

- Definitely agree with your idea regarding door sag to first try replacing the hinges, or at least using a re-build kit to replace the brass balls (probably worn out), springs, screws and nuts.
- Don't know about your particleboard floor; our floor was reinforced fiberglass supported by steel frame cross members. The floor surface was textured (for traction) gelcoat.
- Check the bolts through the floor into flanges welded to the frame, and at least in some Boler 13's like ours, also many screws through the floor then directly into the frame. Our bolts and screws had rusted out leaving not much holding the body to the frame.
- Check whether axle is too stiff or frozen (generally need replacing after 15-20 years)
- At some point you might want to do extensive leak testing. Yes the side window frames eventually leak, so removing and resealing them is a good idea (and the vent frame). But its also a good idea to do extensive leak testing with a garden hose before going on the road for an extended period. Here are other places to check for leaks (basically everything):

front and rear window frame gasket
through hull rivets holding the curtain brackets, closet and upper cupboards, kitchenette, and door drip cap
cord port, city water port, fresh water fill port, grey water drain port
refrigerator vent frames
door frame
center seam

Good luck with your Boler!
John
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Old 10-10-2018, 02:27 PM   #16
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Name: John
Trailer: 2000 16ft Scamp
Minnesota
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welcome

A very happy welcome to you Ellen! The group looks like it's right on track for all the important things. I am anxious to see your artsy touches that are more fun than a box of bearings!
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Old 10-11-2018, 01:01 AM   #17
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Name: Val
Trailer: 1988 Bigfoot Deluxe B19 19 ft / 2007 Nissan Frontier V6 NISMO 4x4
Arizona
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Congratulations, Ellen! What wonderful grandparents and an awesome Grandpa!
It must make him happy to see you breathing new life into that beloved little Boler. What a terrific project and exciting long-term plans. Sounds like you're already making progress and have some good skills, smarts and local help and resources to do the repairs and renovation.
Don't worry if it takes longer than expected...that is usually the nature of any major R&R project...you think you're going to fix "A," but in so doing, discover that "B" and "C" also need attention. Enjoy the process and take lots and lots of photos as you go...not only so you can look back and celebrate all you accomplish and so we can celebrate with you, but also, it can be helpful as a reference if you need to ever retrace your steps or remember in what order something was assembled or installed.
Welcome to the fiberglass community!!
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Old 10-16-2018, 11:17 PM   #18
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Name: Ellen
Trailer: Boler
IN
Posts: 7
Whew! I hadn't realized more people had replied! And it's like all you newcomers predicted the future!

VsGlassSleeper, this summer has been a series of discovering new things to be fixed, so your description summarizes my feelings perfectly. Unfortunately, I'm AWFUL at remembering to take photos. I feel I got gypped out of some "young person technology skills". I'll try my best from here on, because I know I'll want to look back on it!

John in Michigan, I hadn't touched the particle board because I thought it was necessary. Lo and behold, this weekend I lifted it out to find the textured fiberglass floor, in great condition.
As for leaks, it POURED for three days straight last week, and I used the opportunity to check for leaks. One of my windows and the top vent have small leaks that I need to address soon. I also have a missing rivet that was letting water in. On that note:
-My fiberglass cabinetry is currently attached with a few original rivets and some bolts with acorn caps. I've read mixed results on whether or not to use bolts; some say it doesn't matter while others say it puts too much stress on the fiberglass. The current bolts do not have any cracking around them. What is everyone's opinion on this?

And the big update: Poor Rummi had no viable connection to her frame! Yes yes, this is the point where you all can say "I told you so!" There were all of three screws holding the poor thing together, and all of them were so loose I could just pull them out. And the other screw holes in the fiberglass were totally blown out, so I'm sure my poor girl has done some rocking. Yikes! I'm still waiting on my friend to check the frame, but once I know I'm good to go, I plan to use the U-Bolt connection method. Does anybody have any experience with this?

Oh AND, turns out Rummi is actually a '73. I checked my registration and realized I've had her birthday wrong all this time.

I'll probably be making a project thread soon so I can stop clogging up the "Hi, I am" page, I'll be sure to link it.
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Old 10-16-2018, 11:27 PM   #19
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Name: Ellen
Trailer: Boler
IN
Posts: 7
Also, crowwing, since you mentioned artistic touches, I thought I'd share the fabric I got to make my curtains. I need a little fun to counteract the stress of thinking of Rummi flying off her frame. I'm glad she made it to me, her last trip was from Indiana to Alaska and back!

In such a small space, it'll be a fun challenge to find the balance between my love for simplicity and my love for all things tastefully gaudy (oxymoron? I think not!)
Anyway, here's the fabric!
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Old 10-17-2018, 06:45 AM   #20
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Name: John
Trailer: 1978 Trillium 4500, 1979 Boler 1700
Michigan
Posts: 1,666
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Ellen,

Regarding rivets vs machine screws, I actually the old leaking rivets holding the cabinets with SS machine screws, washers and acorn nuts. If you do that, use a dab of sealant such as 3M 5200 marine sealant below the screw head and thread lock on the threads before attaching the acorn nut. Nylock nuts are actually a better choice because they can be tightened just snug and minimize stress to the gelcoat. Others will probably weigh in on the rivet alternative.

Regarding using U bolts to attach body to frame, you could search by clicking the Search link above, then use the google search box at the bottom of the window. I used regular SS bolts and nylock nuts to replace the four larger rusted bolts in the corners. These larger bolts did NOT go through the frame, but rather through brackets welded to the frame.

Here is a note I previously wrote describing the fasteners holding the Boler 13 body to the frame:

For reference, my 1974 Boler made in Alberta has:

- Four 1/4" bolts with fender washers (on the floor), lock washers (below) and nuts. These four bolts go through the FG floor into flanges that are welded to the rectangular tubing frame. Two of these fasteners are under the front bench. The other two are under the two rear benches.

- Approx. fourteen #10 x 1 1/2" sheet metal screws with fender washers (on the floor) go through the FG floor into the rectangular tubing frame.

All of the above appeared to be original. I replaced all of the fasteners. (Edit: The sheet metal screws were loose. I increased sheet metal screw size to #12 (hex head self drilling screws).)

-John
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