Caravan Rebuild August (2015) Update

Well it’s day 40 of the build (yesterday that is) and to date so much and yet so little has happened. This post actually starts with “I have a dream”, (posted the 16th of August) and this is the continuation.

This project started with a simple thought, “where will I counsel my clients”, (I’m a counsellor if you didn’t already get that). I didn’t want to have clients coming into my house, and I wouldn’t feel comfortable going into theirs.
I had thought about hiring/renting an office, but the pricing of such creatures is waaaay out of our budget.
The thought soon came to me about having a mobile office, my own space that can move from place to place offering a greater coverage of the service I have to offer. A roving office, to be moved where needed when needed, and so the search began for the candidates.

Long story short, I found a 24′ almost straight away, but the price for product was ridiculous and the owner wouldn’t budge, and while the space it would offer was awesome, I had to think about fuel consumption and available parking, we thought smaller.
After what seemed like forever  (in actual fact it was only two days!) I received a text from a friend, that a friend’s neighbour had one in their yard… Yep, that’s what I thought a bit of a long shot. Turns out they were interested in selling, so she sent me a pic…. this is not a short storySorry, we bought the 16′ van after some negotiation, difficulties with a tow truck driver “20 years in the industry”, I rectified the issue with my Toyota Prado 20 minutes in the industry! And the following day a new truck driver, not without some persuasion, bought her home for us. WP_20150803_003

Day two, she had a bath…WP_20150805_001… and I resounded to the fact that washing wasn’t going to be enough, though she came up better, it is going to take a pressure wash. But we shall save that for a later date when she’s a bit tougher that what she is… don’t want to blow her apart!

Days 2 – 12, Steve removed the brake booster, it wasn’t going to be much chop when chocker block full of wud masps nests, I am never going to live that gaff down 😦 also removed the old hitch, hand brake system and gas bottle holder. The entire A frame was then wire brushed free of old paint and rust and then coated in primer. A discussion soon ensued as to whether we should have over or under slung suspension, figure we should leave this until we get new rubber and tow hitch.
I cleaned out the hatches and their accumulated wud masps nests, swear I could have potted a plant with all the dirt we’ve uncovered so far, shaved at least 5 kilos I imagine. Also removed all the door hinges, handles and lock fittings, planning on reusing these, they’re actually kind of pretty when they’re cleaned up.WP_20150814_014
Fitted new hubs to the rear axle, discovered, after driving all round the shop, that the rims we have are actually old HT rims, and once again depending on ride height we will think about selling these and getting 14’s instead. Spent so much time fixing up the old rims, have I become attached?
It may be that the rear axle is slighty turned to the left, going to have to sort this out when we can get it on a more even surface. New grease nipples and possibly a new suspension mount will be required, but for now its sitting on four, rather spiffy looking, wheels. Speaking of which, I did say we would need more primer, didn’t I!?
After discussion last night I will have to go back to the drawing board for internal design and move a few things to redistribute some internal weight and exactly how much of these overhead cupboards (which I wanted to remove) are structurally needed. Good thing I’m pretty good at playing Tetras.
Went shopping with a friend, typical girl things… to a timber mill, what can I say she knows my heart 🙂 and picked up a few scraps of rosewood I intend making into an end cut desk top. Turns out my maths is a bit off and I got enough timber to do the bench/table tops in the entire caravan, and the desk, twice over! Tetras yes, maths… no. Hmmm, what floor finish were we using again???
I got busy and pulled out the frame work of the front bed and side table, as well as, the front wall beneath the windows. I’m hoping to reuse some of this framework again… I’m already sick of pulling out nails :/
Removed some of the walls too, though now I am tired, I find I’m being lazy and sticking mostly to the rotted parts because it’s easier! If it wasn’t for wanting to fully insulate the old girl, some of these more stubborn parts in really good condition would be staying put.
Both front lower corners are rotted out as are the lower rails of the wall, this was what we expected, and turned out to be a blessing as I could sweep the dust, dirt, wood splinters and dead ants straight out through the hole in the bottom of the wall!
The front floor section will need to be extended forward around 25 cm, removing much of the inner curve of the wall so my desk chair can sit on a more even floor surface.
Mum showed up and delivered me some sheer curtains to go in when all is finished, I would love if more things would show up like this. Hint hint, any takers? We need 3mm plywood, perspex panels for the bookshelf doors, cream vinyl for lounge covering, insulation, roof top air con, generator, solar panels, battery storage system, trailer lights, rubber windows seals, pine for furniture framing, curtain wire, heavy duty drawer rails, new tyres, possibly new flooring, lots of sikaflex, and skilled, or not so skilled helpers. The kids have helped, finding the not so enjoyable job of removing nails enjoyable… who knew.

Day 19-29.
The painter and the budding carpenter also delighted, I think maybe a little too much, in removing the old lounge. Though most of Steve’s energy, I’m sure, was from the earlier frustrations of removing the rear passenger stabiliser. He delighted in posing with his kill afterwards. The foreman (see in the background) states those safety shoes are sufficient for the job at hand, the budding carpenter begs to differ!WP_20150823_002WP_20150823_029We have now removed most of the wall on the passenger side, the entire front wall and much of the rear bed and side table. Attached new tow hitch and jockey wheel. Removed the overhead cupboards, ceiling, rear wall and wall between back wall and door… um what has happened here? Most of, if not all of the rear framework from floor to ceiling on the back wall needs replacing. Much of it is in a rotting pile behind the wall. And they have built a whole new ceiling over the top of the original. Some bad repair job has gone on here… don’t get me started on the differences between sealer and no more gaps, suffice to say, after removing the no more gaps I am just a bit miffed at the thought that such a substance could be used for such a job.
With so much of the internal walls over head cupboards and ceiling and rear wall removed and much of the ceiling down the passenger side and rear wall frames near on non existent the whole structure is now leaning over a little, so much so the front window cover and door wont close without percussion… I mean, persuasion.  Decided we had better check floor levels and fix at least the rear wall before removing anything else. Thankfully we had presence of mind to brace the ceiling right from the start, but then again we knew the roof leaked so expected damage up there.
After levelling the caravan floor we proceeded to remove aluminium cover strip and discovered it had been stuck on with no more gaps. WP_20150831_001Anyhoo, after scraping off the worst of it, it was discovered that the no more gaps had a function of filling a 10mm gap between side and rear walls, this of course is the reasoning behind the massive rot we are witnessing, and for all you reading this please note NO MORE GAPS IS NOT, REPEAT NOT WATER TIGHT!!!
After clean up, we then removed what was left of the inner frame work and the skin dropped almost a foot (about 30cm), it was a bit unnerving, but after digging rusted nails out of old no more gaps, dirt and rotted timber, and a bit of panel beating along the way, I just wanted to get it done, and if it fell off, so be it!
We finally got around to installing the first piece of framework… actually we didn’t, an argument ensued though eventually we cleared up what was simply a miscommunication and both got on the same page. Unfortunately by this stage we had already run out of daylight hours and we had to cover the van with a tarp and leave it for another day.
A wind storm blew up the following day followed by several days of rain, only discovering after the second day that the tarp had come off, that’s ok, there’s nothing else in the van so no harm done.


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