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Advantura Rebuild

Post by RobX » Subscribing Member » Sun Jul 16, 2017 10:13 pm
Joined: Fri Aug 12, 2016 8:52 pm
Posts: 133
A couple of weeks ago, I posted this topic. Since then I've splitting my time between planning what I'm going to do, pulling the camper to bits and build new stuff. So I thought it was time a started writing stuff down. Since I'm pretty much taking it back to floor and rebuilding it (albeit not all at once), this should make an interesting autopsy of how A-Line put these things together.

Here's a good place to start. This photo shows the situation in the back half of the camper (click for maximum resolution):
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Some devastation in that rear-right corner - looks like the roof was repaired, but not the damage that had been done - draw a line from the centre of the floor to the top-right corner and everything under that triangle is rotted through. Rear-left is quite solid, but the front left is also beyond hope; haven't looked into the front-right (hidden behind a pile of stuff). This was made worse by the tail lights not being properly sealed: so rain would run down the back, wick along the cable and into the floor.

Time to start smashing things up and finding out how this thing is put together. Phil described this succinctly, but it made a whole lot more sense having seen (and dismantled!) it.

I've cut away the top layer of the floor, revealing the insulation inside. The floor is basically 7/16" plywood over this blue foam, with thin ply underneath (probably 1/8" since it all seems to be imperial). The edges are boxed in with 2" by 1" PSE - the rear of which I've trimmed back and prepared for a lap joint. The floor is attached to the chassis frame by (approx.) M6 x 80 bolts - these are about 30mm too long, IMHO, and I'll be replacing them with 50mm.

Looking at the wall, the standard structure of the period is clear: 1" x 1.5" timber, polystyrene fills the gaps and eighth-inch plywood over inside. I'll go over how the skin is assembled in a later post. You can see here that the back wall is attached to the side walls (note the rusty screws that remain from tearing the back off). I imagine the build order was: 1) floor, 2) cab wall and luton base, 3) side walls; followed by the roof and back wall (either order would work, I guess).

So work has progressed this far: most of the interior is out and the back wall is off - as I write this, the new floor piece (12mm planed down to 7/16") is clamped in and the glue drying. Weather forecast says the next thing I'll be doing on Monday evening is putting up a waterproof sheet to prepare for the rain scheduled for Tuesday. :)

In terms of hours, though, I've been doing about three hours planning to one hour of work. At first, I was intending to stick with roughly the same interior layout: double seats at rear, single seats at front and stuff (TBD) in the middle. But one morning I woke up with an epiphany and decided to think about how we want to use it, and came up with this:
  • If we'd wanted to stop in one place for more than a couple of days, we'd have got a caravan.
  • We don't want to be making up beds.
  • We're fair weather, summer campers, so expect to able to use the outdoors.
  • Don't want to spend a fortune on new windows!
This led to a frenzied CAD session combining all the things we've liked about caravans we've owned, and this is what I came up with:
Image
Triple bunks at the rear-right (bottom can be pulled to convert to miscellaneous storage - eldest son probably will want to stay home "alone" by the time this is done! - a wardrobe with drawers in the centre rear, and toilet compartment on the rear-left. Kitchenette with Smev combined sink/hob with fridge and gas bottle underneath. The seat units will have electrical stuff under them and obviously general storage. I may shorten the long bench to make another storage unit between that and the bunks - which might be a better place for the electrics, in fact. Haven't done the right wall yet, but that'll have windows for the top two bunks and over the long bench.

Unless I get distracted, this blog will be how I go about building this. Please inject your thoughts along the way. :)
Last edited by RobX on Thu Jun 21, 2018 9:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Re: Advantura Rebuild

Post by tctor68 » Subscribing Member » Tue Jul 18, 2017 10:07 pm
Joined: Fri Dec 20, 2013 2:37 am
Posts: 306
Impressive Rob,
Any photos of outside,
this is the kind of blog thats good for others to see how it is done
Keep up the good work and the interesting read

I have a 350 Advantura that had a front end resto and not to forget the inside makeover
My van LAL599W

Worth the effort in the end.

Tor

Re: Advantura Rebuild

Post by RobX » Subscribing Member » Wed Jul 19, 2017 10:55 pm
Joined: Fri Aug 12, 2016 8:52 pm
Posts: 133
Thanks, Tor. I read your series about repairing the front - I'll get around to copying that though I don't think (OK, I hope!) it won't be so bad so will be all repair not replace.

Here's a few shots that will do for the 'before' part of this blog...

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Pile of rubble because there's an extension being built at the back of the house..!

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Back end waterproofed against the lovely weather last night - survived the storm and stayed dry.

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A shot from a couple of weeks ago - this view was great for drawing an outline in an overlay using paint.net for recording dimensions onto.

Image
When I took everything off the back, it looked like it had been machine-gunned. That was a tedious half-hour with the duct tape..!

Lots of rain scheduled over the weekend so progress may be slow...

Re: Advantura Rebuild

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Post by VDUB384 » Club admin » Thu Jul 20, 2017 7:55 am
Joined: Wed Sep 12, 2012 9:01 am
Posts: 1396
Good luck with it and keep the progress photos coming.
Dave
Whilst good maintainece is the best prevention"If its not broken don't fix it."
Image

Re: Advantura Rebuild

Post by tctor68 » Subscribing Member » Thu Jul 20, 2017 8:24 pm
Joined: Fri Dec 20, 2013 2:37 am
Posts: 306
Rob ,
The outside looks realy cool and retro, don't change it !!!
The camper seems in good nick on outside, bit of a ding in passenger wing but not too bad from where I am sitting.
But like all things old the more you dig the more you find.
Worth it in the end because it'll will be your home from home.
Modern campers you can not personalise them much, that is why we love ours :thumb:

Tor

Re: Advantura Rebuild

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Post by VDUB384 » Club admin » Fri Jul 21, 2017 8:45 am
Joined: Wed Sep 12, 2012 9:01 am
Posts: 1396
Hi Tor I used to like mine but after 9.5 years of towing a caravan round the rallies it's now for sale and being on LPG that's a bonus, I like my 2001 Transit Autosleeper Ravenna because it's a pleasure to drive with the 2.4 TD engine my first tank to tank refill that include local and distance plus towing the caravan returned 26.91 mpg. Going to top up before I go to Whitby and see how it does.on just a run.
Dave
Whilst good maintainece is the best prevention"If its not broken don't fix it."
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Talking Skin

Post by RobX » Subscribing Member » Wed Jul 26, 2017 9:38 pm
Joined: Fri Aug 12, 2016 8:52 pm
Posts: 133
A couple of weeks have gone by, so time for an update. Weather hasn't been great, so a lot of time spent covering and uncovering the thing!

The back wall is completely removed, so the view out of the back is fantastic. :) Or it would be if it was on a Scottish mountain somewhere instead of looking into my garage. The replacement frame is assembled in three parts, but I've been putting a lot of thought into the planning and have decided to put the left wall in first because the back wall will need something to attach to. By the time I do the right wall, I'll be ready to rip it all off in one go and rebuild it (almost) as it was built. I also replaced that bit of rotten floor:
Image

I also had a crack at the front left wall - which is quite the match for the rear right. The plywood peeled off in layers, while what's left of the wooden beams will probably shatter under a stern gaze..!
Image
There's obviously a live leak here still, as it was damp so I'll have to fix that if I'm not immediately replacing the skin.

Talking of skin... I've finally decided what to about it. After three weeks of trying - and failing - to find suppliers for aluminium skin, I'm going for ACM - Aluminium Composite Material. It's a thin layer of polyethylene with a layer of aluminium on either side - the stuff I'm going for is 3mm thick and already white on one side. I'll join it together with this kind of thing - the back wall will be a trial run to see how it looks and feels to work with. @Tor: I'll be keeping the same external shape - I'll think about copying the paint job after I see what it looks like in white! :)

So there could be a lot of Advantura skin available soon, if anyone needs to repair something. Taking off the back wall showed me how this stuff fits together. Here's a picture:
Image
The top sheet (blue line) comes down, then folds back up for a few cm, before coming back down again where it's pinned to timber; then the bottom sheet (red line) slides up into the last fold and pinned in place at the ends. Apply a load of mastic and it's all pretty water-tight.

And the rest... a lot of hours on CAD trying to plan as far ahead as possible and make mistakes virtually so I don't have to in reality - like preparing the frame for the toilet, ensuring interior walls have a solid beam to attach to, etc.
Image

Next job is to get that left wall assembled, get an interior wallboard on it and get it fitted, then get the back wall on stick some ACM on and see how it all holds together. Stay tuned, etc...

Re: Advantura Rebuild

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Post by Phil Bradshaw » Club admin » Wed Jul 26, 2017 10:26 pm
Joined: Sun Sep 02, 2012 7:15 pm
Posts: 3818
If there's opportunity to modify the left side frame to include a full length stringer above the door aperture then this should increase the long term rigidity of the frame especially if a deep section stringer is used (likewise for the right side if there isn't one to copy).

If the roof line had been straight then a full length cant (corner) rail would do the job ...

Luton overhang will need thinking about as a consequence but there could be a saving in sticks and joints to the rear of the door aperture to compensate.

I like the sandwich panel and alloy channel idea for the outer skin. :thumb:
  • What is real is not the external form but the idea, the essence of things. Constantin Brâncuși

Re: Advantura Rebuild

Post by RobX » Subscribing Member » Thu Jul 27, 2017 1:12 pm
Joined: Fri Aug 12, 2016 8:52 pm
Posts: 133
Phil Bradshaw wrote:If there's opportunity to modify the left side frame to include a full length stringer above the door aperture then this should increase the long term rigidity of the frame especially if a deep section stringer is used (likewise for the right side if there isn't one to copy):
Good thought, Phil. I was surprised how flimsy that part is: a weak point that any time the door opens or closes - or someone uses the wall to pull themselves in - it flexes and likely contributed to the front left wall deterioration, perhaps even causing the leak in the first place.

The original frame is almost all 1x1.5" and the smallest I'm using is 1x2" - the thicker stuff you can see over the door, along the roof line and above and below the window, and either side of the door is 1x3". The two sides of the door will be attached to panels that will be screwed into the floor and ceiling, which will seriously stiffen it up. If anything I've been a little worried about adding extra weight, but I think the 340 gives me some leeway there and wood's not that heavy..! Taking the oven and water heater out will balance that out a bit anyway.

Re: Advantura Rebuild

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Post by Phil Bradshaw » Club admin » Thu Jul 27, 2017 1:42 pm
Joined: Sun Sep 02, 2012 7:15 pm
Posts: 3818
Internal fixtures stiffen up the walls and originally there was plenty of support for the door frame ... but this changes when owners don't pay much attention to periodic inspection and re-sealing of joints against water ingress.

With full length stringers the marginal weight increase may be offset by a little more freedom in frame construction for attachment of internal fixtures of your choice (which you probably have realised already in drawing up your own design).

It's an option to add to others you have in mind; likely the actual construction will dictate which option is best, or something else may present itself.
  • What is real is not the external form but the idea, the essence of things. Constantin Brâncuși

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