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

How To's 3 Comments

Is this the most difficult terrain you’ll ever drive?

I was with a bunch of mates  the other day,  knockin back a couple of bush chooks (a piss weak aussie beer who’s actual name is Emu Export) when we

How To's 2 Comments

7 Must have Upgrades For Your Kayak

Sometimes there’s only so far your vehicle can take you. From there it’s out on foot to reach your destination. But unless you’re Jesus H Christ or something, you can’t

How To's 10 Comments

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


  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

Leave a Reply