The construction of the new camper internals started with strengthening the foundations. The camper fully loaded would have 2 x 30kg batteries and 80kg of water in the front section. I wasn’t sure if the existing frame was up to this so I welded in some supports.
While I welded Katie lent a hand to paint the new floor and internal walls. 7mm structural ply was used for the walls and 12mm marine ply for the floor. These were all expertly coated in 3-4 coats of marine grade varnish.
The floor was then installed in the camper. At this stage the walls weren’t secured, they were to be secured later by being sandwiched and riveted between the external aluminum cladding and the internal frame.
The internal frame was cut and assembled outside of the camper. This made running of electrical cabling and water hose a lot easier. Approximately 70m of shs aluminum tubing was used to construct the frame..
It was then slid into the camper from above and secured.
A reasonably expensive road bike tyre of my father’s was cut up and wrapped around any bends that were likely to rub on electrical cabling or water hose, thanks for the suggestion Mick, I’m sure it won’t be missed…
Gussets were installed at any critical joins for added strength.
The switch/display panel was also made out of chopping board. The battery monitor displays the battery voltage, percent charged and the net input or output current. This is reasonably important as if you cycle a deep cycle battery below 50 percent you lower the battery’s capacity. Here you can see the front.
And the back. Bus bars were used to limit the number of cables that needed to be connected between the different chopping boards.
A large hole was cut out and framed to form the external kitchen. This would consist of a fold down bench secured with chain for cooking on, a small LED light recessed into the frame for light, a tap and enough space for a stove, dishwashing bucket, pots, pans, 12 secret herbs and spices etc..
Hose connections were used on each side of the water pump to allow the pump to source water from an external source, the intention being to heat water on the stove and pump warm water from a bucket through the shower.
A little Bernoulli inspired hose tomfoolery was used to provide the water tank guage.
After the panels that would form the surfaces of the frame were cut out and painted we began to attach them to the aluminum frame.
Over 300 pop rivets were used in the renovation of the camper. If you are going to do something similar and don’t want a wrist sore from over use I strongly suggest you get one of these.
The accordian style rivet gun was reasonably useful too.
I installed a gland plate for the cables that charge the batteries from the cars alternator and from the solar panels.
I installed large gussets in each corner to transfer some of the torsional load from the top of the legs that support the camper when it’s not on the back of the ute to the steel frame under the camper.
The last step was to install the table. This could be used in three ways, firstly as a table:
Secondly as a bed: (judging by the cushion covers I think the previous owner of the camper may have liked cats.)
Or thirdly it can be folded out of the way to provide more space.
With the renovation compete, all that was left to do was to fill the fridge with beer, hook up the boat and start driving north.