Originally Posted by PA BAMBI II
Hi-The Bambi II I recently posted about ("Bambi or Bambi II?") turns out to be a very early Bambi II, perhaps the second off the line in Jackson Center. I paid $1000 knowing of the frame/tongue rot where the tongue protrudes from the body. It sat in a South Jersey backyard for twenty years...last registered in 1984. Lots of salt air down there!
Well, I have a very tentative repair estimate (actually given to the PO) for $1500...but that is just on what can be seen. Who knows what lies under the belly pan? The floor is very sold, and the rear bumper frame part looks very solid.
So...a few questions:
1) How to remove the center section of the belly pan? (I am guessing the front and rear seams/connections are hidden under the rub strip front and rear of trailer).
2) If we decide to, how to remove the body from frame? I have a mechanic friend with the equipment to lift the body off the frame and a collision repair friend who can do metal fabrication to fix/repair/replace frame sections.
3) What is the rectangular metal tube size for the main framerails/tongue on a Bambi II? (I am guessing 2" x 3" thick wall tubing). I can't get to the trailer right now and forgot to measure the other day!
4) Final one for now...my hope is to find solid framerail back a few feet from the tongue, weld up a new tongue/coupler combo to weld in and sister it to the existing (hopefully) solid frame. Is this an advisable way to handle this repair?
I think the low production number of this trailer makes me want to continue this project...but I would like to have some opinions on how to proceed. I have even thought of sistering the Airstream Bambi II body to a modern utility trailer frame ready to roll. All just ideas. Thanks for any responses!!
last question first.
Reattaching this body to a utility trailer frame is not a good idea. Work with the existing frame measurements and replicate and repair the frame as it looks now. That does not mean you cannot add and reinforce parts inside the belly pan if needed.
What would be the point of restoring a vintage trailer with a low production # (that does not add to the value by the way) mounted on a utility spec frame? Kind of lowers the value right there.
Why consider removing the body from the frame if the floor is solid? You will know what you have to do after inspecting the underside of the floor after removing the center section of the belly pan. This will have to be done to expose the subfloor, remove insulation, current and former inhabitants and also fix the front frame. The fun is just beginning. Any snakes down there?
Removing the center section of the belly pan will allow the curved side sections of the belly pan that are is attached to flex down enough to get a look at the outrigger supports attached on the outer frame rails. If your front main frame rail is rusted through enough so the trailer cannot be towed, I will bet the outriggers and even the lighter gauge cross members are compromised also. But maybe not.
Of course this is a good time to take some measurements of the axle to order a replacement.
This is a classic case of why a deal trailer ($1000.00) can be not such a great deal. It is often not the fact that you will save money by going this route as opposed to buying a much better condition trailer, but the extented time frame (no pun intended) it takes to restore a unit with larger issues.
If you have the resources and time this can be a fun project that will pay dividends in camping fun in a few years.Yes, years. But if you want to restore it for resale to make money, stop right now and sell it to me. I will give you 2k for it so you just doubled your investment.
Of course there will be many other issues with a unit that has not moved for this long. But this is all part of the fun of owning vintage.
Please read all the restoration threads here if you will be doing this work yourself or even if you hire a pro.