Retro Trailer Rebuild: Part 7

Retro Trailer Rebuild: Part 7

New to the camper trailer rebuild? CLICK HERE to read from the beginning!

Okay, so the camper trailer has just stabbed me right in the Achilles heel. Working with wood. I failed woodwork miserably in year 9, taking an entire term to make a 4WD shaped money box, when I should have also completed a cup holder made of cheap shitty pine, and made a paperweight. C’mon son! You couldn’t make a paperweight!? But anyway, that’s why I have a younger brother in the cabinet making trade.

The outer framing which supports the fibreglass body is all in excellent condition, so no worries there. Before fitting new veneer panels, I looked back on the wiring diagram I made in THIS BLOG POST and ran wiring behind the Meranti frame to make my life easier. At this point, we also fitted new LED rear tail lights and side clearance marker lights, ran new trailer wiring for these and carefully soldered and heat shrunk every joint. Should last another 40 years no worries!


Them wiring feels…


John selected a beautiful new veneer for the interior, a light cream colour to replace the old mission brown that dominated previously. It’s a good idea to drill holes and pull the wiring through where needed, before the veneer is stapled in place. Makes life soooo much easier! After this was installed, Sam (younger brother) set about building us a fold over kitchen to fill the previously empty space. The seating arrangement in the trailer stayed the same, although we opted to raise the height of the seats so that our ankles weren’t up around our ears any longer.

Sam making a start on the frame for the kitchen

Sam making a start on the frame for the kitchen

The Meranti we used for all of this is 19x32mm in size, and is easily available at Bunnings. At first we tried stapling the framework together, but this wasn’t working; so we screwed it instead. Probably better as screws seem like the stronger option to me. When we acquired the trailer, the tiny wall near the door seemed like a waste of effort to replace. But as it turns out, the main purpose for that was to support the body where the door is. Without it, one person accidentally heaving on the door frame would probably pull the body apart.  So back it went, leaving just enough space for our Waeco CFX 50 to sit.


Now, the kitchen has to fold in half; to allow it to be at a reasonable working height when setup, yet still allow the roof to close when packed away. So while John set about decking out the top half with laminate, a nifty Smeg sink and two burner stove, I was busy at work doing what I do best; wiring up the battery system in the bottom section of the kitchen cupboard. For this setup, we have a 120AH deep cycle AGM battery, charged by a Redarc BCDC 1220 charger which is fed by either the 150W solar panel on the roof, or the Anderson plug wired to the vehicle starting battery. From here, all wiring runs from a Blue Sea 12V distribution panel, and off to the accessories. For more details on that, see the electrical system blog post mentioned previously.

Giving the filthy inside of the roof a few coats of paint with the roller

Giving the filthy inside of the roof a few coats of paint with the roller


The horizon of this project was in sight. With a looming magazine deadline we had to make a booking to get this thing through vehicle inspection and registered as a 2016 model ACT Camper Trailer. Without canvas on, and no cushions or bedding yet; a few inspection stations denied us a booking. But we found one in Rockingham that was happy to inspect the trailer for us. I’ll fill you in on how that went in the next blog post!

About author

You might also like

4WD Technique 12 Comments

Hi Lift 4wd jacks; why EVERYBODY should own one!

Sometimes referred to as a high lift jack, or a kangaroo jack; the ‘Hi-Lift’ is actually the brand name of probably the biggest supplier of these type’s of jacks. I’ve

Cooking & Recipes 1Comments

Campfire Breakfast Burritos

Nothing gets me frothin’ like a good burrito. When I was in California, USA; burritos and other Mexican foods were incredibly popular (for the obvious reason of them sharing a

How To's 0 Comments

Nissan GU Patrol Overland Build

Arguably one of the best vehicles for an Overland beast, and one of the most capable 4wds around (and I’m not just saying that as a Nissan fanatic, I love


  1. Aaron
    October 14, 11:42 Reply
    Great work mate. Can't wait to see the end product. Is the whole project taking longer than you anticipated? Almost always does!
    • Alex Garner
      October 14, 21:55 Reply
      Yeah we gave it a year, and it took 18 months just due to family life shit getting in the way and a few other projects that needed to be pushed along :)
  2. MatRug
    February 04, 08:27 Reply
    Looking great, keen on seeing the next post & the end product. I too are rebuilding a 1976 ACT camper. Getting some great ideas & working out a to do list from there :) love to know how the gas struts went in the end, any easier lifting the roof with 1 person ??
    • Alex Garner
      February 08, 22:04 Reply
      So much easier mate! It just about rises under its own power! Does take a little more effort to get it to come down obviously haha
  3. Exo
    April 11, 22:43 Reply
    I've read this whole series probably 10 times over since getting my act camper, great for inspiration but the one thing I'm struggling with is sorting the kitchen out( previous owner molested the inside with diamond plate... Literally looks like a tradies toolbox on the inside) it doesn't even have a kitchen, just two bodged storage boxes. I would really love some more details or photos of how the kitchen was made to fold and how you did the plumbing (gas and water) to be able to flex. Also how the bench seats fold down to make a bed as mine just has drop on lids for previously mentioned reasons.

Leave a Reply