ACT Trailer Rebuild Part 4

ACT Trailer Rebuild Part 4

Is this the first time you’ve stumbled upon this rebuild? CLICK HERE to go back in time, and check out part one!

It feels like it’s been a while since the last installment, and I guess it kind of has been! Last time we visited the camper trailer I was planning the electrical system. And the time before that we had just completed the chassis build. Well now the body is on, and we are talking about prepping for paint and tidying up the body!

With one person per corner, lifting the body on was easy

With one person per corner, lifting the body on was easy

The body screws straight to the chassis with some of the most epic screws in the world. It won’t (or shouldn’t) go anywhere! There was a minor issue with the body catching on the supports for the roof arms. This required them to be cut off and re-welded, but these things happen! Once it was all screwed down I got straight into the body repair.

I love a good rub...

I love a good rub…

As you can see in the awesome photo featuring mostly me; I have stripped off every exterior mounting there was. The large hole in the front there was patched up with a fibreglass kit – it used to be the 240v power point, but we’re going all 12v now. The stone chipping is just visible under the layer of bog, and there were MANY layers of bog that went into the front end.


The water filler hole needed some attention, having been torn up and covered with a piece of plywood and there were a few tears which needed to be neatened up.


A patchwork of body filler

With neither of us unsure of the proper way to go about painting fibreglass, I took to the internet for some research. I found very little help there, and what I did find was confusing! One thing I did take away from my net-surfing session was that I should have a chat to a place that sells boat paints. So off to freo (Fremantle, for those of you not familiar with Perth) we went, to a little store called Gary Martins Boat Paints at 372 South Terrace, Fremantle.


At first it was a lot to take in, but with patience from the staff we began to understand the route we would need to take. Unfortunately the quick rub back and spray I had hoped for would not work out, I can’t remember the science behind it but basically; the old paint below the new paint would cause it to craze and be ugly. Probably had something to do with about 4 layers of old house paint being on there.

While I lobbed into the sanding, John repaired the wheel arches

While I lobbed into the sanding, John repaired the wheel arches


We’ve burned through two sanders that couldn’t hack the job, and so much sandpaper! The roof needs some attention as well, and the roof is tricky being a composite of plywood and insulation sandwiched between two layers of fibreglass. There were a couple of holes which needed patching, some bubbles that had to be repaired and the wood had rotted away in the corners. We found that fibreglass resin worked quite well to run down into the less rotted pieces of plywood; to stiffen them back up.


The old canvas tore away from the roof like tissue paper!


So where do we stand now? The camper seems to be in a constant state of “nearly ready for paint”. You’ll go in ready to put the paint on, find an imperfection; and end up spending the entire day sanding! As a result, it has taken a back seat to other projects for a month. Coming along next will be the completion of the drawbar and the accessories mounted to it. I’ll just be glad when this load of sanding bollocks is over and we can get stuck into the interior fit-out!

Part 5 is now up! Read it HERE!


Alex Garner

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  1. marcus
    September 11, 10:53 Reply
    Hey guys, as mentioned I'm redoing exactly sane camper, ours was full of wood rot in ceiling too. Also found the 3way fridge doesn't seem to work. Went through so much sand paper bog and paint. Email me if you want to swap notes Marcus van Riet
  2. Hud75
    October 05, 05:34 Reply
    Hey Guys enjoying watching the build. I'm about to start my own shortly. I'm rebuilding my rotted roof with sandwich foam boats are built from, very strong and light. Can't wait for the next instalment. Cheers
    • Alex Garner
      October 07, 20:32 Reply
      That's a pretty good idea mate! Will that get you out of needing to do a whole bunch of fibreglass work? A new roof would be a bit of work!
  3. Hrv
    October 15, 12:00 Reply
    I've just got one of these bad boys too. What are you going to do about the canvas? Quotes I've had for locally produced are around the $3.5k mark. Have you got tips on where to go to get them done?
    • Alex Garner
      October 16, 22:46 Reply
      We are getting all the canvas redone obviously, and we've got a guy coming out to take a look at the camper shortly. So no quotes just yet!
  4. Frank
    April 13, 14:21 Reply
    So when are we going to see the finished project
    • Alex Garner
      April 27, 08:33 Reply
      It took a bit of a back seat for a while there Frank, but it's up and going again. I'll start blog posts about it again soon :)
      • The Ark
        April 28, 10:59 Reply
        Can't wait for next instalment...this is my camper, I am in the process of doing it up also but wasn't planning on redoing electrical, but might now. I decided against redoing the canvas as it is pretty good nik, so have decided to strip it back and redye and reseal, half way through and quite happy with the result.
  5. RV Roof Sealant
    May 23, 15:48 Reply
    Great rebuild Alex. But your roof needs some attention as well. You mentioned some holes and bubbles on the roof. Remove any debris and loose material from the roof surface and apply a coating of RV Roof Magic. RV Roof Magic will not only prevent leaks but protect it from destructive weather.
  6. Gazza
    October 27, 03:43 Reply
    Hay I'm stuck now i have the same camper its my first pop top project lol. what rim's fit on the pop top i don't think there holden rim's. also the canvas is the same who would i see about doing that i would do it my self but canvas is not cheap. Another thing is my corner on the outside of the roof is ripped do i pack anything behind it so make it mould back together or just fiberglass the outside
    • Alex Garner
      November 28, 08:02 Reply
      These things were supplied with different stud patterns according to the buyers choice, our one was a 5 stud holden pattern, yours could be ford. A tyre shop will be able to tell you and help match the right ones. Canvas depends on where you are located. It was about $3000 on our build. Any decent canvas worker should be able to tackle it. Finally, the fibreglass. Patching from behind is preferable, if you can't do that, use a sharp knife to trim the rip into more of a channel and use fibreglass filler on it I reckon.

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