3 steps forward, 2 steps back (it’s still progress!)

Well, I had very little to do with Clyde’s latest work day. Actually, I showed up after it was over and brought dessert! This one was all Chad. He works an odd schedule and has 7 days off in a row every 28 days. So, on his 7 he decided to spend a whole day on Clyde. He worked his butt off and made a ton of progress! Of course, the poor guy had to tear out half of what he’d done before and we now know we will have to remove the AC and we are absolutely sure the camper has been wrecked before, but I’m getting ahead of myself…

First of all, let me repeat what I have said before… this camper was a death trap when it was built. I can now see why Bendix campers are not the world renowned campers like Airstream. It’s because we probably have the only one that survived for more than a year. Seriously, the craftsmanship in these things is like a high school shop project: just enough to pass!!! Case in point, this is the left-hand corner of the camper. This is all that was holding up that entire corner:

Quality from Bendix to You!

Just in case you are wondering, yes, that is a piece of wood someone was too lazy to mitre so it would actually fit up against the wood, instead of holding up the corner of the roof with about 1/8″ of wood held in by 2 staples. AMAZING.

Needless to say, that got torn out and replaced with a correctly and sturdily built corner! But, not before we had our Glitch of the Week! Yes, I think we need to make this a regular part of our posts. Since we discover something catastrophically wrong and wind up digging our hole deeper every time we touch the camper, I think we should have a special segment just for the FUBAR we have find!

This week’s find: Clyde was definitely wrecked by a prior owner. When Chad tore out the section against the roofline in the back, and rebraced it, he noticed what we have noticed before: the back wall has a bit of a bow to it. However, from the top being rebraced, it showed just how much of a bow. Following the line down, here is the damage:

Cotton Candy???

Interior slope up to the ceiling. When this got braced, we got some issues...

Just a little gap...

OK, it doesn't look too bad from the side, right? Just a little gap...

OH, wait...

OK, not so little. This is what happened when we got the top lined up correctly, it bowed all the sheet metal out and revealed that the AC had been installed AFTER the sheet metal had been very poorly repaired!


Remember the beautiful seam from the post about getting all buttoned up? Yeah, had to tear it out! Sigh.

Warped Tour

Notice what used to be a small bow to the back metal that has now become so pronounced it is pulling away from the AC unit!

So, here we go again. Chad reopened the corner we’d repaired and rebuilt both corners, but we are having to wait to connect the corners until he can bring in the plasma cutter and his welder! We have to remove the AC unit and get the metal put back down even. That wouldn’t normally be hard, but the AC unit is on a huge metal frame that is welded onto the homemade bumper. So, we have to cut it all loose and rebuild. Look, kids! It’s the word of the year: REBUILD!!!

So, he did all he could do the back, and then went ahead and pulled all of the paneling out up to the doors and rebuilt the bottom of the exterior frame. This has since been put back together, but the pictures are just super-cool! And, any time you think you want to renovate a vintage camper, look at these and THEN decide if it’s worth it!

I love an open floor plan

Wonder why my toes are cold?

Look! Fresh Wood!

Now, less you start thinking we are going to be in a nursing home before Clyde ever gets done… he’s come a long way! The walls are rebuilt all the way up to the door way on the left side, and up to the wheel well on the right. So, there has been progress, it just doesn’t look like it. When we get the AC unit pulled, it will take only a few minutes to button up the back walls and they will actually be DONE and ready for paneling at that point. Due to removing the bound up sheet metal at the back, the camper is back even and now the door closes without us having to throw our full body weight against it!

So, it looks like a trainwreck and we had to take a few steps back, but we made several more steps forward. So, we are still Happy Campers! While this would not be a project for people with no construction skills, we are actually having a great time doing this. It’s been a dream project for a long time, and we’re both loving seeing this little hunk of junk coming together and turning into our dream a piece at a time.

So, don’t feel guilty if you giggle at our finds and terrors and un-progress! We are laughing along with you and I promise, some day Clyde will actually come together and we’ll have a Clydewarming party! You’re all invited.

Both of you.


7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. sillyliss
    Apr 05, 2012 @ 09:57:29

    Hee, a Clydewarming party. I’ll be there with bells on!


  2. thejoyofcaking
    Feb 24, 2013 @ 16:12:37

    I am re-doing a 1972 Frolic and I can so relate to your stories. If you want to see my trials and tribulations check them out on my blog http://thejoyofcaking.wordpress.com/2012/07/12/vintage-camper-pink-paradise-update-3/ I still have a bathroom to put back together and then it’s onto the outside. Mamma Mia! It never ends…


    • clydethecamper
      Mar 11, 2013 @ 19:55:07

      It really is amazing how much work those things are, isn’t it? I just thought it’d be some simple little deal. Uh… no. LOL! So, at least know we are suffering along with you!


  3. Kristy
    May 23, 2013 @ 11:39:39

    What a wonderful journey and a great way to make memories to retell around the campfire (once you get there, of course). I’ve been thinking about tackling a trailer rebuild myself. but, for now, I’ll enjoy living vicariously through your blog and pictures. I doubt I’d ever be able to talk my husband into helping anyway and I’d be stuck with a trashed out trailer in the yard so it’s really better this way. LOL


    • clydethecamper
      May 23, 2013 @ 13:01:28

      Hey, Kristy! Welcome aboard our trainwreck of an adventure. LOL! We really have had a lot of fun doing this, but I’m gonna be SO glad to get somewhere, park that bad-boy, build a fire and eat some s’mores!!! I’m hoping we can finish him this Summer and get him out and about by the Fall! We’re working on the windows as we speak, so we’ll have some updates soon!


  4. nwgreengirl
    Sep 14, 2013 @ 17:11:56

    so fun to find others restoring old campers and finding out its not as easy as we thought. lol. we are working a 1960 camper and posting about it as well. I can relate to some of your problems. 😉


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