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We own a 1991 Elddis Autoquest 320. We need to do some restoration works as we have found some leaks that have led to extensive rot of the internal framing at roof level. I have found two pinhole leaks on the nearside rear and clearly there have been leaks around both of the rear roof lights. The more I dig the more I find. However looking at UKCampsites I see I’m not alone, and that there is an “I Fixed it club”, which without doubt after my discoveries saved the old beast from going off to join the choir invisible.
My problem isn’t so much the leaks, as I have the book “Build your own Motorcaravan”, and all the fixed it clubs archives of advice, and I’d like to think I’m competent with glue, hammers and ordering tea. No: the problem I have is that our motor home is road side. I am looking for a barn or some such unit, but worst ways I’m going to have to work in the street. And here in lies the question I need answering. If I remove all the internal upper storage cupboards, bathroom and wardrobe floor to ceiling dividers/partitions am I going to compromise rigidity to the point that the unit could collapse in either high wind or as a result of a bus regularly whizzing past it and shaking it about?
The unit is a rear kitchen and bathroom model. So far I have only removed the old oven, fridge and entire shower room fittings (which I was going to do anyway). Now having stripped out some more of the damp insulation and wall board on the ceiling I have found that both of the inner timbers that run inside the insulation; one assumes previously bonded to the skin, are in actual fact no more than powdery black wet stuff. I suspect that the rot in these timbers runs a good way along the on both sides. If I continue to remove the rear wardrobe, LPG, internal cupboard, and upper storage cupboards, will all the stiffness of the shell be removed? There are obviously cross spanning timbers that are also rotten enough to warrant a rip and replace, and one which appears to have a damp induced dry rot.
The attached link shows the modern equivalent of our floor exactly. And from the virtual tour you can see the positions of the wardrobe, shower room and opposite the LPG/Microwave tower.
I did ask Elddis if they had original framing drawings and they were unequivocally unhelpful.
If anyone does have a set of the original frame drawings it would be appreciated (BIG ask I know). Despite its age and issues we would like to get it back to mint inside, with a modern revamp and re-trim, and some minor modifications to the high level cupboard layout, as we would like to go travelling for up to a year, starting next year.
Clearly we are not looking for a concours restoration, we want modern user friendly inside for two and to use the additional space we intend to claw back for additional storage (beeding and clothes mostly). We intend popping up to Magnums showroom with a shopping list, however before we do, we would like to know what to put on that shopping list. So any help with the technical question regarding road side working would be useful, and any help with the internal fit shopping list would be likewise very useful.
I am unable to offer you much technical advice. However, from what I know about Elddis, you should perhaps ask them if their construction technique of their motor caravans has radically altered from that used in 2005.
They now construct vans by fixing front, side and roof panels first, then finishing fixing interior fittings by entry at the rear.
If in 2005, they fitted the roof last then this would indicate a much different order of fitting, which in turn could affect how you should tackle your refit.
Doing what you describe on the street, so to speak, is a very brave thing to do. It will probably take you much longer to do than estimated, and it will need very careful planning.
But I applaud you for asking the questions that you have.
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