It's been a while...

Post by RobX » Subscribing Member » Sun May 06, 2018 7:58 pm
Joined: Fri Aug 12, 2016 8:52 pm
Posts: 126
Well, that was a pain of a winter/spring, wasn't it? Kept me out of the front garden anyway - and they only work I've done on the camper since late October was trying to keep the rain out (mostly successful, thankfully).
So with the first good weekend for ages, I got going again. I'd already built the front wall, and on the occasional spell of good weather spent some time fixing it - I made the opening too big and had to add some wood along the edges to compensate.

First order of business was to clean up the last bit of the chassis, Hammerite it and clean the mastic off the cab. That left me with this:
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Best not to mention the state of my fingertips after cleaning all that mastic off... they'd stopped throbbing after a good night's sleep though!

Next order of business was to drop the wall in to place - a perfect fit! - and draw the outline of the cab on it. Then I pulled it out again, laid it on the lawn (artificial grass - like working on carpet) and transferred the lines to a sheet of clear plastic (wrapping from an IKEA mattress, if I remember correctly). This template then went up against the cab to mark out where I should make holes for screwing it in. I chose fresh wood a centimetre or so from the original holes. Then I turned the outline over and put it on the other side to check the marks were good for both sides - they were. Next step was to lay the template back on the wall and punch guide holes, then follow up with a 4mm drill.

Now the interesting part: lining the wall with ACM. The plan was to do this with four parts on the forward facing side:
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Then use the off-cuts of that to line the lower section (floor level down):
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This was pretty straight-forward:
1) Glue one side on (Wurth Bond + Seal),
2) Glue the other side on,
3) Cut the centre strips to length and glue them on.

I wasn't sure how quickly the glue would set, so I glued off-cuts of ACM and plywood together; turns out an hour at 20°C makes a good bond, certainly good enough to start routing. Routing ACM is pretty straight forward, best done at slow router rpm (2 out of 7 on my router's scale) and a feed speed that keeps it moving but not so fast that the router audibly starts to loose speed... easier to do than describe! Here's part way through the job:
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Looks a bit like I've got a major ant infestation, doesn't it? The swarf from cutting ACM is thousands of curly bits of composite. If I end up doing more of this, I'll definitely put an old sheet down first because the stuff's a bugger to clean up. Lucky I chose a windless day! Once that was done, I drilled the holes through the ACM too.

I must have had my brain in gear when I order the ACM, as the off-cuts were perfect for the other side. Total cost for the ACM was £81.68 delivered, by the way. This time I put the centre piece in first, then the two outer pieces (since they were going to be trimmed anyway). Last bit of work here was to drill holes here too, where appropriate.

That finished the wall... almost, anyway. I figured it would be easier to cut the interior panels while the wall was off the vehicle, so I clamped and trimmed those to size, then taped them together with the good sides facing and put them in storage for (much!) later.

So at the end of today, I have this:
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The wall still fits perfectly, and I have a bit of play between the front floor bearers and the cab rear - just right for getting some bond and seal in there for water-proofing (that's going to be messy though, I've plenty of room to improve on my gun skills), and plenty of room for peeling off the protective film. A job for tomorrow... then it's on to the floor. Main thing is though: almost everything from now on is creation or new stuff, not destruction or fixing old stuff (not until I get to the cab and engine anyway).

Not quite the day I planned...

Post by RobX » Subscribing Member » Mon May 07, 2018 9:15 pm
Joined: Fri Aug 12, 2016 8:52 pm
Posts: 126
Upon reflection, I decided mastic was the way to go for sealing the front wall to the cab: a) it's easy to apply to the cab; b) it's easy to clean off later. Since there's nowhere to buy mastic on a public holiday... after placing an order on Amazon it was on to plan B!

Plan B was prepared using MIUAYGA* principles. First I counter-sunk the holes in the wall, ready for screws. Then I put Hammerite on the battery tray because that would a lot less fun with the floor down. Finally, I started on the sub-frame; though there's a story behind that. Nearly six months ago I made a mind map of what I needed to do, and the order to do it. When it's raining outside, at least you can do the job in your head! I reviewed this today, and it was a good thing I did because I'd completely forgotten about the sub-frame. A-plan added six timber beams between the two main chassis members to even out the floor load distribution; and the back two had another beam between them running down the centre-line. So I headed off to B&Q to get some (allegedly) 47mm x 50mm treated timber which turned out to be more like 48mm than 50mm, but still: good enough. So far five beams are done, and it wasn't as easy as it might sound. I'm pretty sure the A-plan guys drilled their holes through the timber first and then the chassis, which is much easier than trying to match up existing holes. Still: five done with minimal fuss is OK. But I think I'll have my work cut out for me when it comes to bolting the actually floor down: getting four bolt holes right on a panel that big will be harder. Worst case, some of those holes might get bigger. :)

Here's the result of today's effort:
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You can see two of the new sub-frame beams.

There's also a medium-sized correction job visible here - I didn't make room in that floor panel for the fuel filler. So this week I'll need to remedy that before I can bolt the floor down.

* - Make It Up As You Go Along

Re: Not quite the day I planned...

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Post by Phil Bradshaw » Club admin » Mon May 07, 2018 10:03 pm
Joined: Sun Sep 02, 2012 7:15 pm
Posts: 3701
RobX wrote:
Mon May 07, 2018 9:15 pm
* - Make It Up As You Go Along
Often the best way. :)
  • What is real is not the external form but the idea, the essence of things. Constantin Brâncuși

Re: Advantura Rebuild

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Post by VDUB384 » Club admin » Tue May 08, 2018 8:44 am
Joined: Wed Sep 12, 2012 9:01 am
Posts: 1361
I found the step into the Advantura wasn’t very deep and at times you can slip on it,What I did was to make it about 12” deep and it was much better you could do that to yours at the stage your at.
Dave
Whilst good maintainece is the best prevention"If its not broken don't fix it."
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Re: Advantura Rebuild

Post by RobX » Subscribing Member » Tue May 08, 2018 7:22 pm
Joined: Fri Aug 12, 2016 8:52 pm
Posts: 126
VDUB384 wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 8:44 am
I found the step into the Advantura wasn’t very deep and at times you can slip on it,What I did was to make it about 12” deep and it was much better you could do that to yours at the stage your at.
Dave
You know, that's a really good point. Now I think about it, I remember feeling it was like climbing a step ladder to get in. Thanks, Dave!

Progress Update

Post by RobX » Subscribing Member » Sat May 12, 2018 11:13 pm
Joined: Fri Aug 12, 2016 8:52 pm
Posts: 126
The front wall is now up. First I put mastic along the original rubber beading (with the paper tape still on it) then slotted the wall in. This left just enough room to remove the tape, after which it was just a case of pushing the wall up against the cab and screwing it to the wooden inserts in the cab. A couple of days ago, I cut out the slot for the fuel filler I missed out. Today I finished the sub-frame and started removing the rusty brake lines (more on that here). Until I've done that, work on the camper body will have to wait a bit. Here's the state of play:
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That pictures missing one sub-frame beam but I added that later. The front floor isn't attached, and I've moved it out of the way now so I can get to the brake lines.

In the mean time, I've been converting my CAD drawings from TurboCAD (which almost nobody uses, and is only free for 30 days) to Sketchup (which almost everyone uses, and is free). Here's progress so far:
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@Dave: turned out I must have noticed the step was to short before I cut the new floor - it's already 10" deep! Great memory, me...

Re: Advantura Rebuild

Post by tctor68 » Subscribing Member » Sun May 20, 2018 7:27 pm
Joined: Fri Dec 20, 2013 2:37 am
Posts: 306
Rob very nice resto project you have got going there, any more updates?

Dave, I like the idea of making the step deeper into the van.
It looks quite a straight forward mod but it might not be, any probs found in this fix?

Tor

The floor is in...

Post by RobX » Subscribing Member » Sun May 20, 2018 8:22 pm
Joined: Fri Aug 12, 2016 8:52 pm
Posts: 126
After a brief diversion to replace the long brake line to the back axle, this weekend was mostly about getting the floor in which has gone very well, I'm pleased to report! :)

The front floor was pretty straightforward: just butt up and align with the front wall, then measure the distance from each chassis rail to the edge of the board. A little nudging got it aligned to within a millimetre each side and still flush with the wall. I had to put a couple of recesses in for the shoulder screws through the ACM on the rear-facing lower part of the wall (I figured ACM was too thin and the interior too soft to countersink). Next step was to draw where the holes needed to be to bolt it to the chassis: simply sticking a pencil up through the holes and tracing the circle did the trick. Then I flipped the floor over and put a 4mm hole through from the underside to the topside. Flipped it back, then used a forstner bit to make room for the coach bolt, followed by an 8mm bit to give the bolt some room manoeuvre if needed. Also drilled some pocket holes to screw it up to the wall. Then just a case of:
1) Put glue/sealant along the wall where the floor will contact (Sikaflex 512),
1) push the floor back into place,
2) drop the coach bolts in,
3) Do up the pocket hole screws into the front wall,
4) washer and nut onto the coach bolt and tighten.
With that done, the last step was to screw down to the sub-frame with 5x70 wood screws. One slight mishap here: I had assumed the sub-frame holes were perpendicular to the chassis. Not always! Lesson learnt, I carefully measured the exact positions of the sub-frame for the following floor sections.

The middle section was more awkward. Probably an accumulation of tolerances, but it had drifted off by a centimetre. Shimming one side out by 5mm corrected it though: a small gap for Sikaflex to deal with. Otherwise the same process as before, but with a couple more screws up the centre because of the H-shaped sub-frame. Only difference was I made the holes 6mm (as per the bolts) as I was worried the slack in 8mm holes might allow it to get out alignment with the shimming - turns out that was no problem.

The rear section also went without any real hitches (other than finding myself three coach bolts short; bizarrely no such shortage of washers and nuts!) Overall, there is 5mm of error from the front of the floor to the rear - not bad for woodwork, I think! Here's what it looks like now:

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With all this extra room, I got to tidy up the cab and luton. Lots went to the tip, and for the first time I went through the spares that came with it. Oddly, there's an eight-cylinder distributor cap. I have four sets of points, and as many condensers. Two sets of HT leads, one set which claims to be for a Ford. More brake shoes than I have wheels for (thankfully they look to be different enough that I believe I have one full set). A carburettor service kit, as well as spare carburettor. Two ignition coils, one brand new in its wrapping. Two clutch plates. A varied collection of relays and bulbs. Some ball joints that on the one hand look used, but on the other they still have their plastic protectors on... Anyway, all this is for playing with next year after I've done the cab metalwork and decide what to do engine-wise.

Next step is to do the front-left skirt and the step, which led to an interesting discovery. Human error (I like to think it's that anyway!) crept into a few places between my CAD drawings and what I built. So I spent an hour or two retaking measurements and updating the model. Turns out I didn't make the step much deeper after all, despite drawing it as 23cm deep, but we held council on it and decided we'd actually prefer more floor than step anyway. A thought on that: on the mid-sized Advantura, the toilet compartment is pretty small, and the door unfolds around the step area to give you both room and privacy. Making the step bigger sacrifices that floor space.

I'm out on a mission to Falmouth this coming week, but next weekend I'm hoping to have the skirt and step in for sure, and perhaps some more of the other skirt too. Either that, or I've got my eye on a donor caravan so might end up collecting that instead. I'm a long way from needing it for this project, but the family is keen on a visit to the New Forest and the Advantura is a very long way from ready for that!

Re: Weekend Update

Post by RobX » Subscribing Member » Sun May 27, 2018 10:29 pm
Joined: Fri Aug 12, 2016 8:52 pm
Posts: 126
Not much progress woodwork-wise, but one big win: I found a really great donor caravan. It's a 2000 Abi Manhattan 470/2, with everything working, square windows that are all the same height (so just right for a camper) and even a roof-light. Because the seller was terribly honest and posted pictures of the (long dry) water damage, it went for only £623, and Saturday was spent on a five-hour round trip to collect it. Here it is:

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We'll use it until the camper's ready, which changes my plans slightly. High level plan is now:
1) Finish the frame plus internal walls with window cut-outs and furniture frames,
2) Skin the roof only - plastic sheet over the walls,
3) Remove the engine,
4) Cab repair, metalwork, etc.
5) Engine decision: put the slant back or find something else.

Then I'll move stuff across from the Abi, plumb/wire it all in, skin the walls, fit the windows, roof light/vents, etc. That'll shorten the period between caravan to camper.

Knowing what size the window apertures needed to be, I finalised the wall design ordered the wood (and collected most of it) and cut it to length.

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Last thing this weekend was to cut out the big pieces at the front of the luton. I printed the shape out to scale, glued it to the wood and cut it with a DIY four-piece orchestra of plunge saw, jig saw, router and mouse sander.

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Next up is to get routing halving joints and put that right wall together. The last of the wood will be available Tuesday and I've got Wednesday off. Fingers crossed it'll be done this week.

Re: Advantura Rebuild

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Post by VDUB384 » Club admin » Mon May 28, 2018 8:13 am
Joined: Wed Sep 12, 2012 9:01 am
Posts: 1361
tctor68 wrote:
Sun May 20, 2018 7:27 pm
Rob very nice resto project you have got going there, any more updates?

Dave, I like the idea of making the step deeper into the van.
It looks quite a straight forward mod but it might not be, any probs found in this fix?

Tor
Hi Tor I found it straight forward by removing the old step cutting the floor back to desired depth then I used some 3x2” wood that I had lying around to screw to the underfloor made a frame then put some 1/2” plywood on it what a difference it made.
Dave
Whilst good maintainece is the best prevention"If its not broken don't fix it."
Image

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