Retro Trailer Rebuild: Part 6

Retro Trailer Rebuild: Part 6

New to the camper trailer rebuild? CLICK HERE to go back to the beginning!

Painting. 90% prep work and 10% actual painting. That’s what everyone with any experience will say, and they’re right. For all the sanding and filling we did I had hoped the fun part might last more than a few minutes!

When we began the rebuild I had sunk into research for paint. Which types of paint are most durable, work best with fibreglass etc. Then I got onto the idea of boat paints. Many boats are fibreglass and endure a hard life of seawater, sharks and barnacles; so a bit of sun, rain and dust won’t be a challenge for it. You follow? So we had a chat with those in the know at Gary Martin’s Boat Paints in Fremantle, and walked away with some advanced polyurethane based paint. It should flex with the fibreglass and withstand the fires of the devils very own forge. Yeah…tough!

You gotta get rid of as much dust as possible before spraying

You gotta get rid of as much dust as possible before spraying

Having not had great success with spray guns in the past (purely inexperience on my behalf) I read about techniques for doing it with a roller which can yield decent results. We did a few layers of undercoat that way, but decided to have a go at spraying for the top coat. This shit is next level deadly, you can’t just go waving it around like you would a rattle can. The thinners itself happily ate through gloves, rags, the table and just about everything else too. We were sure to wear a mask when the spraying begun.


Gotta work quickly before it eats through the floor...

Gotta work quickly before it eats through the floor…

I think the advice from the boys at the paint shop must have made the difference because with the spray gun we were sold and their instructions it came out beautiful straight from the gun! We left the paint to dry for a few days before even touching it. The longer you can leave something after applying paint the better. We have also acquired some dark grey paint for highlights on the body, arms, and a few other little pieces here and there. This we applied by hand with a brush, nobody could be bothered masking up, prepping the gun and all that rubbish. It still looks awesome!

This is why we wear masks people, that ain't everyday dust!

This is why we wear masks people, that ain’t everyday dust!


Before painting the arms, I wanted to sort out a lifting mechanism. The roof on these things can be a real pig to lift, and now that the trailer sits so much higher it was going to be even worse. We experimented with thoughts of a winch system like on a Jayco trailer, or air rams to replace the arms which sounded too complicated. Then my thoughts cast to the idea of good old gas struts. Coincidentally I’m not the first to have thought of this, and I stumbled upon this forum thread where a whole bunch of people have repaired these trailers to one extent or another. Someone had noted  some measurements and approximate gas strut lengths and strengths on here, and we ended up purchasing four struts; each one being about 800mm long and with a strength of 500NM as is reported to work well. Following the instructions of another poster on there I mounted one end of the strut 720mm from the bottom of the arm, expecting to have to play around with it a little, but once tack welded in place the roof rose almost under it’s own steam! It’s a little hard to pull down though….I’m hoping the weight of the canvas and solar panel might even it out a little.

Fitting the gas struts

Fitting the gas struts

Well, that’ll do me for this post, subscribe to the blog so as you don’t miss the building of the cabinetry and kitchen next time around!

Part 7 is now up! CLICK HERE to go on and check it out!

Yeah my hair and beard was grey for a good week...

Yeah my hair and beard was grey for a good week…


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    • Reg
      September 14, 11:47 Reply
      Great work, it's better than new. I have a cruiser in need of new canvas, can you give me any details if have had this done on yours.
      • Alex Garner
        September 27, 18:51 Reply
        Hey Reg, yep our trailer is now complete, so you will notice more frequent blog posts on here showing each stage. As for the canvas, we had it done by Gary at G.K. Trimmers in Canning Vale. Sets you back about $2500 at an estimate. You'll see the completed canvas work on here in about a month :)

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