Retro Trailer Rebuild: Part 8

Retro Trailer Rebuild: Part 8

Its vehicle inspection day and John and I are madly finishing off a few little details before our appointment at midday. These include mudflaps, the odd cable tie, and some centre caps for the wheels. Before taking it in, we also have to get the camper weighed; which costs about $10 at a certified weighbridge. On the way to the weighbridge we notice that the wheels appear to be wobbling a bit. Not sure why, but everything goes smoothly and it’s exciting to have it finally on the road!

It weighs in at 530kg. Waaayyyy less than our limit of 750kg to pass as an un-braked trailer. Of course there’s still the canvas to go on, cushions and upholstery to go in, and a bit of camping gear; but that will bring it up to a nice weight if we don’t go stupid loading the thing. But on the drive out of there it all came apart.


No, not the entire camper! Just our plans. The axle appeared to have settled and despite us factoring in a tonne of extra space for the wheels, the bloody things were rubbing on the chassis on both sides! There was nothing we could do but limp it back home and re-schedule our appointment for the next day. John managed to source a new axle from Martins Trailer Parts that day, this one being 60mm shorter than the other. By the following day, the new axle was all fitted up and the problem was all solved. But there was more to come!


All was going well with the inspection. The inspector had actually done up his own camper a bit and was very impressed with our work. Then he got to the front of the camper and things went downhill somewhat. As it turns out, the rule book had just been changed and it now says that we must install front facing clearance lights on both corners. Not only that, but our safety chain was lacking an Australian Standards number, meaning it wasn’t rated and had to be changed. Our weighbridge certificate wasn’t valid as the weighbridge we used was lacking the proper certification numbers; and worst of all – the poly block coupling. Whilst ours was rated and way overkill for our needs, it was lacking a manufacturers name stamped upon it, and for this reason it would need to be changed.


This bad boy sadly had to go!

We booked it in for the following week and set about making the changes. A cheap Trojan brand 50mm ball hitch was purchased from Supercheap Auto, and we hacked the beautiful poly hitch off with an angle grinder. Luckily I hadn’t cable tied the wiring for the clearance lights in tightly, otherwise I’d be pulling out all the cupboards at the front and removing the veneer to wire in new lights! So we drilled the holes in the body and made up a cable extractor with a coat hanger. Easy.

With all that fixed up we went back down to Rocko and our trailer was passed in 10 minutes. They don’t hand out plates there, so it was back up to the licensing centre in Kelmscott, wait half an hour for their rubbish customer service (seriously, what am I paying so many rego fees for!?) and finally hold one brand new license plate in our hands. The worry was all over, our camper trailer is road legal!


Now it was off to have the canvas done. It had taken a bit of ringing around to get someone to do the job at relatively short notice, but Gary at G.K. Trimmers in Canning Vale was happy to take on the job, and reckoned he’d have it done in just over a week. We chose a dark grey canvas which matched the hand painted highlights on the outside, and opted for white PVC over the top of the bed ends to reduce the chance of it leaking in the rain.

In the next blog post I will be looking at the upholstery to be done by Wendy (mother) and the finishing touches before its first big journey up to Melangata Station in the middle-of-nowhere, W.A.

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  1. Gmack
    December 02, 07:06 Reply
    Towing this behind the subaru?
    • Alex Garner
      December 05, 21:44 Reply
      So far I've borrowed my old man's patrol, the subaru has non-functional towbar. But I reckon it'd tow this no worries!
  2. Aaron
    December 03, 14:09 Reply
    Awesome to see this thing almost done. Shame about the issues but I guess that is part of the job. Is that treg hitch the import one Martin's trailer parts sell? I bought one a while back for my boat trailer and returned it the following day after having a good look at it. I mentioned the stamping issue and they told me it wasn't an issue!
  3. PK
    July 14, 07:09 Reply
    Hi i bought an ACT trailer camper, it's twin brother, exactly...spitting image to yours except up right poles (my long springs are inside the square section...inside the 4 upright, never mind, did your 4x 800mm long gas struts at 500Nm, did the 4 struts work? including the weight of the canvas (i only have 1 bed end)...thanks
    • Alex Garner
      July 27, 12:27 Reply
      Mate, the gas struts worked amazing! You could probably go a little bit lighter than 500nm as it requires a bit of a pull to get the roof to come back down again. But it's so much easier!
  4. Timbo
    March 02, 11:43 Reply
    Can we have some pics of how you attached the canvas to the roof, please?
  5. Thomas D
    April 15, 06:55 Reply
    Camper looks amazing. I've just started my own act camper, lots of bodywork to do on the lid replacing the rotten wood. But by anychance would you have a diagram of the uprights bolt hole positions and the 45 degree cut. My poles are is disarray and can't trust the measurements im getting from them.

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