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Old 03-20-2012, 07:27 AM   #1
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Ben and Lynn's Bambi II Re-do

Greetings everyone:

She sat for twenty-plus years in the backyard of a rural south New Jersey home. A cross country trip in 1984 was her last voyage and everything was left pretty much to decay. She was not a total loss, though, and while I knew the process would be arduous, I dragged her home and the plans started spinning in my head.

Well it has been almost two years since the Bambi II arrived in my driveway. During that time I have gotten to know it better and have been working on gutting the entire thing in preparation for frame and floor repair and an interior rebuild. All major systems will be reworked to make it camp-able again.

Most recently I have removed the black tank and the brass Thetford valve as well as the hot water heater. Previously I removed all of the gauchos and kitchen parts.

Last evening I began to remove the inner-aluminum wall material to expose the "C" channel and begin the process of floor removal and frame repair. Fortunately, I work at a technical high school with students and instructors who are experts at fabrication and repair.

Plans are to get the frame repaired, axle replaced, and floor replaced before the end of the Summer. I will also rough in the subfloor plumbing (with the addition of at least one gray tank) and then slowly rebuild the interior as time and money allow. Lynn, my wife, has color schemes and themes picked out for fabric choices and we are already heatedly discussing whether or not to use the vintage light fixtures, etc.

I will keep posted with pictures as I get them. I do not plan to do as extensive a rebuild as Becky with her Bambi II, but I will make pretty much everything clean and new.

We are very excited to get this trailer going and to enjoy it for years to come with our growing family (a just-turned-one-year-old little girl and another baby due in September.)

Details and photos on the Bambi II and our other vintage camping toys can be found here: Ben's Bus +

I hope you enjoy the process with us...Ben, Lynn, and Emma
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Old 03-24-2012, 07:14 PM   #2
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Exposing the front frame

I spent about an hour today figuring out how to remove the very front floor to expose the tongue/frame for needed repairs. The surgery was pretty easy as I have read up on it in various forums posts. It was pretty straightforward except the perimeter screws did not want to come out (they were in rotted wood so had no resistance) and the original elevator bolt heads blended in too well with the rust and dirt. It was raining today and I already saw leaking inside the front wall.

I did figure it out and used the trusty SawZall and angle grinder to make short work of the demo. Photos attached of the frame exposed- and the rust we will deal with.

This will be a shell-on renovation, so we will fix the frame as we work our way back. The most dire part is the tongue which is almost rusted through on both sides where it protrudes from the body. I knew this going in but was surprised at how much goes in to actually uncovering the frame!

One picture shows the front interior wall aluminum peeled back to reveal the c-channel, etc. I did this as I was going to try to not remove the buck rivets around the entry door frame, but I see now this will be required to finish this part of the job correctly.
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Old 03-24-2012, 07:25 PM   #3
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My hat is off to you!
I have participated in a lot of restoration work (boat and automotive mostly) in my day and I understand the enthusiasm and drive that it takes to do this.Remember that the big projects are best finished first then you tackle successively smaller things until you are done. There is great satisfaction to be had in restoring a thing of beauty....
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Old 03-24-2012, 08:10 PM   #4
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I'm looking forward to following your thread!
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Old 03-24-2012, 08:34 PM   #5
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Here you go, Ben! I'll be watching and cheering you on!
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Old 03-25-2012, 01:41 PM   #6
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Hi Bruce-

Great ideas to consider. I never ran scared from a trailer project, and the one thing I have realized in tearing this one down to properly redo it is that although there are seemingly complex systems in an AS, it is all very basic and simple. The designers did a nice job of keeping all of the plumbing towards the rear for example. As I removed one system after another (cabinets, seating, appliances, tanks, etc.) it all made more and more sense and was less and less daunting. I know I will be able to get this thing back together. A basic problem with our society is that no one likes to fix or repair-or even learn HOW TO fix or repair anything. We just throw it all away.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rifboy View Post
My hat is off to you!
Remember that the big projects are best finished first then you tackle successively smaller things until you are done. There is great satisfaction to be had in restoring a thing of beauty....
Bruce
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Old 03-25-2012, 02:02 PM   #7
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Getting it home and tongue rust

I added two pictures here of my Dad's van stuck in the sandy mud when picking the trailer up from New Jersey. My buddy and I thought we would be stuck there forever! The towing company would not come out to help at all as we were more then 30 feet from the road. A truck repair company said they would come look for $100 and then let us know if there was anything they could do to help.

Then the mother-in-law of the owner, whose property the Bambi II was stored on, remembered her neighbor Harold the farmer. He came with his tractor, towed the whole mess out of the mud, towed us over to the equipment trailer sitting on hard pavement, and then proceeded to assist in loading the Bambi onto the other trailer. I am not sure we could have ever done it without his help. Interesting that Becky also enlisted the use of tractors to get her trailer home as well!

The other two pictures show close up the tongue rust. Like I said, I went into this knowing what it needed. The rust is very bad. I already have the metal to repair the tongue and a new coupler. I had to get the frame exposed (top and bottom) so that friends can help me repair it. I work with some fabulous fabricators. The one who went to help me get it from NJ also offered his trailer to tow it to the other friend's house for repairs.
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Old 04-02-2012, 08:33 PM   #8
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Good start!

Looking good. Getting it home sometimes can be nervous in itself. I just drove 860 miles to pickup a '58 18' California... looks pretty similar to yours, it was on the northern California coast and was rusted through some of the aluminum skins. I opted to replace wheel bearings on the side of the road. I was not privy to a trailer.... although that looks like a load.
8 hours of pounding out bearings/races and seals, replacing them (luckily I found them in town) and then driving away. As we pulled away it was 7:30, starting to get dark and just started raining. I wouldn't recommend this for the feint of heart.

Anywho, I'm just about to start my project.... 1965 Globetrotter. All the interior is removed, and I'm about to start with front floor board.
I was wondering, when removing the inner rivets for the lower skins, how far did you drill into the rivet?

BTW, I'm going to start a thread also.

Thanks in advance,

TIMK
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Old 04-02-2012, 08:57 PM   #9
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you'll know when you're thru the rivet. The inner circle part will be on your drill bit and you'll go into the wall about 1/8 inch. I stop after 7 or 8 rivets and clean off the leftovers on the bit with vise grips. Clamp on to them and run the drill in reverse.. There's always at least 1 you missed!

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Old 04-03-2012, 06:39 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by REDSLED88 View Post
Looking good. Getting it home sometimes can be nervous in itself. I was not privy to a trailer.... although that looks like a load.

Anywho, I'm just about to start my project.... 1965 Globetrotter. All the interior is removed, and I'm about to start with front floor board.
I was wondering, when removing the inner rivets for the lower skins, how far did you drill into the rivet?

BTW, I'm going to start a thread also.

Thanks in advance,

TIMK
The equipment trailer was quite a rig. Dad's one ton Ford van made short work of it. The real adventure was getting stuck and realizing that had the farmer/neighbor not brought his tractor, we would probably not have been able to get the Bambi on the trailer, either! I am getting ready to move it again soon- to my friend's house for frame welding- but we are going to use my buddy's car trailer this time and everything is already on black top!

Pop rivets are easy to drill out. Just go until you feel it give... the guts will fall inside your wall and the outer rim will definitely stick to your drill bit. Clear it every once in a while and you are in good shape.

Best wishes on that GlobeTrotter!!

Ben
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Old 04-03-2012, 06:56 PM   #11
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Buck rivets are coming out!

I started removing the buck rivets around the entrance door so that I can fully remove the inner skin and finish removing the front floor. I followed the advice of a fellow forums member and cut an X on the head of the rivets with my dremel and a cutoff wheel. I then removed what was left of the head with a hammer and screwdriver and punched out the rest with a hammer and punch. Took about ten minutes to remove 25 rivets. Now I just need to drill out a few more pop rivets and remove that large front inner skin.
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Old 04-03-2012, 11:31 PM   #12
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If you went through all that...

Then you were destined to get the thing out of there... That's how I felt, If it wasn't getting the bearings changed on the side of the road, I wasn't taking it home with me right then.
But it worked, and here you are!
Looking good, I don't have a rivet remover yet, although I hear a center punch and a #21 drill bit should work for the bucks. (5/32")

I just removed the interior lower front panel (below the window).. not a problem with a 1/8" bit. Almost too simple.
Do you know if you have to remove all the exterior 5/32" buck rivets to replace the front floor board?

Have you removed the belly pan yet? This is my next move.

I used a multi tool from sears with a flat blade to get under the C-channel and get at the bolts bolting the Lower C-channel to the floor.
I also used a 1 1/4" hole saw bit with center guide bit removed ( I hacked sawed it off), and this straddled or doughnutted over/around the elevator bolts. I did it on one so far and it should probably work fine for the rest.

Anywho, I've got a thread going with pics also, I'll follow yours, here's mine.
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f36/...ion-89528.html

Keep up the good work,
Thanks in Advance-

TIMK
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Old 04-04-2012, 08:11 AM   #13
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Edit....

Edit,
Do you know if you need to remove all the lower exterior buck rivets to remove the floor? (JUST THE LOWER ROW)

TIMK
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Old 04-04-2012, 08:13 PM   #14
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Ready for frame repair

I finally removed the entire front inner skin and the remainder of the front floor revealing the entire tongue assembly of the trailer and also the center rail of angle iron. I can't believe what thin metal that rail is made of!

Pictures will come soon as I did not have a camera with me for this part.

Now that it is ready to have fresh metal welded in, I am at a standstill (pretty much) waiting for my buddies to get schedules together to move the trailer and actually assist with the welding and fabrication.

Well...there are things to do. I need to finish taking all that has been gutted out and also finish rebuilding the streetside window now that the corners have been TIG welded and repaired.

Getting to be a very cool project!
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Old 04-04-2012, 08:14 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by REDSLED88 View Post
Edit,
Do you know if you need to remove all the lower exterior buck rivets to remove the floor? (JUST THE LOWER ROW)

TIMK
You do not need to remove any exterior buck rivets to remove the floor. You need to remove the inner skin (pop rivets mostly) and then the screws holding the perimeter of the floor the the C channel, then cut the bolts and cut the flooring to make it actually removable. Outer rivets should not be a factor.
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Old 04-05-2012, 12:04 PM   #16
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Thanks

Yeah, I didn't want to remove the lower row of exterior rivets and then have the lower C-channel free floating.... That was my thought anyways.

Any tips for belly pan?

Thanks in advance,

TIMK
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Old 04-05-2012, 05:09 PM   #17
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Wear old clothes, and a full face shield. He came out looking pretty bad! You know, mouse "stuff", leaves, insulation, and dirt. Yucky. That was probably the worst of the demolition. I'm glad Chris got to do that part! Even the wall insulation removal with all the mouse tunnels and debris wasn't as bad as that. I don't know if there's a way to drop the belly pan from the top....

Kay
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Old 04-05-2012, 08:16 PM   #18
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Bellypan

My current thoughts are to take an electric sheet metal nibbler tool and cut the belly pan about six inches in on either side all the way around the underneath perimeter. I might not do this above the axle...but in front and behind it for sure. This would be beyond the curve of the metal under the side walls. This would expose the frame and wiring for repairs, etc. I will later put pieces of aluminum up and tuck it underneath the remaining curved bellypan metal (making it act more like a banana wrap) and pop rivet in place.

Again, this will allow me easier access than by dropping the axle and removing the whole shooting match every time.

Be wary when you do drop the pan...even parts of it. I filled two large sized trash bags with just four or so feet of bellypan exposure. It is nasty up there!

Ben
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Old 04-06-2012, 10:36 PM   #19
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Belly pan!

Someone else mentioned removing the belly with a nibbler.
I don't know what would be worse, using a nibbler to remove and then having to overlap later and re-rivet, or just trying to take the whole thing out and putting it back. I'm going to see how it pans out for you, no pun intended (LOL)
Keep us posted, and pics if you got em!

TIMK
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Old 04-07-2012, 07:46 AM   #20
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If I were going to take that approach, I'd cut the bellypan at the edge of the frame rail. The new belly material can extend past the rails and support the old edge pieces. I used this method even though I installed all new metal. Now if I need, I can remove the center of the belly without messing with the edges.
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