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rkbn 01-27-2018 11:16 PM

Rob's 1973 Love Bug Rebuild
9 Attachment(s)
Day 1-10 -- See Attachments:
  • Removed stove, sink, ice box, cabinet doors, bed, benches, curtains, cushions, 8 years of previous owners garbage...
  • Deep cleaned interior -- dirt, mold, mildew, rust, bugs, sanded & painted with primer.
  • Cleaned exterior
  • Jacked up trailer to examine frame and axle.
Up Next:
  • Cut out rotten entry floor and back bed floor, make stencils for new floor.
  • Investigate removing shell from trailer.

SteveV 01-28-2018 07:54 AM

Wow! Amazing what some clean up & elbow grease will do for a FG camper!
Great progress on your "Bug"! :D

MurrayC 01-28-2018 11:02 AM

Looks just great.
Be proud of your work.
Go and Enjoy:

WaltP 01-28-2018 02:30 PM

Great job on the exterior. I can't wait to see the insides done.



rkbn 02-06-2018 01:34 PM

Rob's 1973 Love Bug Rebuild - DAY 11-20
6 Attachment(s)
Day 11-20:

I've gone down the rabbit hole much deeper than I had originally planned and I am a little overwhelmed by the scope of the project. That said, I am well on my way.

The frame is with at a local trailer shop having a new axle welded on before it goes to be sandblasted.

This leaves me with the shell suspended in my garage.

In the last 10 days, I have:
  • Removed trailer from shell
    • There were about 20 screws holding the shell to the trailer in the Love Bug. The four in the middle were buried underneath fiberglass and instead of cutting them out, I used a 5ft pry bar to pry the wood out over them. Through the careful use of floor jacks, jackstands, 2x4s and cinderblocks I was able to remove the trailer.
  • Axle has been ordered and the trailer is now with a welder at a trailer shop who is installing the new axle before I take it to have sandblasted.
    • Trailer was in very good shape, much better than I expected to find.
  • Suspended trailer from garage ceiling in preparation for fiberglass work and new floor
Up Next:
  • Make stencils for new rear floor, remove rear floor, cut new floor & tab it in
  • Begin work on cleaning up cracks and imperfections in exterior fiberglass
  • Remove front and rear windows

rkbn 02-16-2018 02:40 PM

Love Bug Rebuild - Day 21-30
6 Attachment(s)
Dexter #9 axle is ordered, trailer has been sandblasted, primed and painted. Axle is still a few weeks out so I have been cleaning and sanding in preparation for patching holes in the hull and tabbing in a new floor. Working on embracing Dave's fiberglass wisdom and believing that I CAN DO IT! Hopefully that will get under way in the next week or two.

rkbn 03-06-2018 02:30 PM

Love Bug Rebuild - Day 31-50
4 Attachment(s)
Things are progressing albeit not as quickly as I would like. While I await the new axle, I have been doing a lot of sanding and cleaning in preparation for fiberglass body work.

The biggest thing in the last 20 days has been getting the old floor out of the rear which was not too much trouble.

Yesterday, I went to the local MakerSpace to learn about their new tool the x-carve which I am going to use for custom cabinet doors. I was excited to discover that Davie B from this Forum runs our MakerSpace. Two years ago, he did exactly what I am doing, so now I have a local person who has experience with all of this to bounce ideas off. :D
Day 31-50 -- See Attachments:
  • Continuing to sand and clean in preparation for fiberglass work
  • Used a jigsaw to remove rear floor leaving a 2 inch fiberglass lip
  • I then notched vertically with jigsaw from below up to the lip and used an oscillating scrapper to remove the old wood up to the bottom of the fiberglass lip. This left the old lip in tact for the new floor to rest on.
  • Used a refrigerator box from sears to create stencil for new floor.
Up Next:
  • Track down marine ply (just found local supplier), seal new floor, glass in new floor, more fiberglass body work, hopefully axle will arrive soon and I can lower the shell back down.
    Until next time...

WaltP 03-06-2018 08:12 PM

Nice work Rob. Thanks for sharing the details.
Now I need to look up the X-carve.:ask


V'sGlassSleeper 03-06-2018 10:29 PM

Way to go! I love seeing these wonderful vintage trailers getting the TLC they deserve! Great work - it looks amazing so far!:thumb

stevebaz 03-07-2018 11:13 AM

Boy that axle was really done for. Its going to ride so much better now.
All those bad smells will be gone and your going to really enjoy the trailer so much more.

Jay H 03-07-2018 03:44 PM

Looks really good Rob! I understand going down the rabbit hole. It can be fun though, as long as you get back out!
I have to say I am jealous of your green grass and that you are working outside. While things have been warming up lately and all the snow had melted, we woke up to 4 or 5 inches of surprise snow this morning!
Keep working, you are doing a great job.

k0wtz 03-07-2018 04:12 PM

great work
rob there are several of you pros on here I admire each one of you!

good job


TomMarti 03-09-2018 10:35 AM

3 Attachment(s)
You asked me to measure the floor from underneath. Couldn't resist sending a picture from this morning for you to compare the difference between winter renovations in Maine versus Florida. HA! Anyway, the measurement was 45 inches. Appeared to be the same as the inner frame width if that makes sense. Also attached a photo of my axle installation with 3+ inch lift on Dexter 9 axle with arm angle 00NT. I have pretty easy access so let me know if you need any other measurements / pictures to compare... Tom

rkbn 03-09-2018 11:37 AM

Thanks, Tom! Those measurements helped. I may have one or two others to get from you once I get back underneath it. It certainly looks cold up there! I hope your wife had safe travels back from Apalach and that you are making good strides in your project.

The new axle arrived yesterday and the trailer is at the welder today. The marine plywood should arrive next week. After a few weeks of slow going, things are starting to come together. Thank you everyone for your encouraging words and all of the support--this forum has been an invaluable resource. Target date for first camping trip is June 1, and so far, I am on schedule.

I will check back in with the shell back on the trailer in a week or two.

Rick W in MI 03-09-2018 03:19 PM

Looking great Rob!

It is a lot of work and fun. As others have said there is a lot of information here that I to have found very helpful.

Man I miss a good snow storm...HA


rkbn 03-18-2018 10:21 PM

Rob's 1973 Love Bug Rebuild - DAY 51-60
6 Attachment(s)
Day 51-60
  • A lot of progress to report. Very excited on this end. I've moved past the tear down phase and on to putting it back together.
  • New Dexter #9 axle was installed at 22.5* down with a high-lift bracket. This raised the trailer ~7" over the height when I brought it home to give roughly 13" of ground clearance. The new axle's arm resulted in the tires sitting 1/2" further back. Thankfully, no fender modifications were necessary for accommodation.
  • New rear floor stencil was made and new rear floor was cut out of 5/8" marine ply
  • I was concerned I wouldn't be able to get the new floor in place in one piece, so I had another support beam welded down the center of the rear floor to tie into and support a seam. In the end this was unnecessary but the middle support will add another mounting point.
  • Front couch cushions were taken to an upholsterer. Charcoal marine vinyl one-side with grey sunbrella fabric on the other and a lime green piping to trim.
  • Two months to the day after starting the project, I lowered the shell back on it's freshly sandblasted and painted frame with new axle.
Up Next:
  • Re-mount shell to trailer
  • Re-glass rear floor to walls of trailer
  • Re-wire trailer with new LED taillights
  • Work out hardware for and cut new cabinet doors
  • Patch remaining holes, re-drill and rivet furniture back to interior
  • Order another sheet of marine ply and finish floors

Borrego Dave 03-19-2018 01:51 AM

Looking good Rob and the extra beam can only be a plus.

k0wtz 03-19-2018 07:58 AM

going to be waaay better than factory!!

rkbn 03-28-2018 08:06 PM

Rob's 1973 Love Bug Rebuild - DAY 61-70
1 Attachment(s)
Day 61-70

It's coming back together and faster than I had imagined haha but still plenty left to keep me busy :)
  • The camper shell is fully re-mounted to the trailer
    • The door lines up perfectly and opens and closes with ease!
  • All holes in the shell are patched and I have been sanding every day
  • I cut a few cabinet doors from birch on the x-carve at the makerspace with a few left to complete.
    • Installing the push button latches I selected has been tricky. I 3D printed spacing brackets to accommodate the latch mechanism on the thin cabinet doors and may have to create a few other pieces.
  • I picked up the upholstered front cushions today
Up Next:
  • Sanding the body will continue in preparation for paint
  • Another sheet of marine ply should arrive Friday to finish installing the new floor this weekend
  • I will be re-wiring the trailer with new LED lights all around and sorting out how I want to handle the electrical system

rkbn 04-30-2018 08:23 AM

Rob's 1973 Love Bug Rebuild - DAY 71-100
5 Attachment(s)
Day 71-100 -- See Attachments:

I am making progress though the beautiful Florida weather as of late has certainly slowed me down--it's just too nice out to be holed up in the camper! First camping trip is one month away so I have my work cut out for me. Since my last update:
  • Marine ply floor was installed in the front and rear of camper
  • Ply was re-glassed to the shell at the floor
  • All new wiring has been laid for trailer running lights
  • New Lifeproof Sterling Oak waterproof laminate floor has been installed through the unit
  • Cabinets and couches have been sanded and painted
  • Proof of concept for new cabinet doors complete, hardware satisfactorily fitted
Up Next:
  • Trim floor in
  • Anchor furniture back to hull
  • Final coat of interior paint
  • Cut remaining cabinet doors
  • Install new Progressive Dynamics PD4125KV converter
  • Wire up the new electrical system with new led lighting
  • Continue sanding and prepping the exterior for paint

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