1980 Palomino Shetland S3 restoration/offroad PUP project

Discussion in 'Camper Restoration Projects' started by Atoyot1031, Jan 5, 2010.

  1. Atoyot1031

    Atoyot1031 New Member

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    I purchased a 1980 Palomino Shetland S3 over the weekend. I knew there would be a fair amount of work involved in this project, but there is definitely more than I expected. I'm not sure if this is good or bad, either way I'm moving forward...

    Setup the camper in my shop last night and removed all of the "cabinetry" and fixtures including sink, pump faucet, furnace, converter, water tank, propane lines, wiring, ice box, fire extinguisher holder, etc. I kept all of the cabinet boxes intact so as to be used as 3D templates for new cabinets.

    I threw out the ice box, bunk mattresses, and old vinyl.

    Unfortunately, in my haste to get going on this project, I skipped any pictures on Day 1. I hate reading threads like this without pictures, so it won't happen again.

    Here are my plans for the near future:
    1. Complete work I mentioned above.
    2. Remove canvas and bunkends.
    3. Remove roof and external spring lift arms.
    4. Remove box from frame.
    5. Weld in supports and reconfigure frame crossmembers to accommodate new larger truck leaf springs. Also, extend frame and add a bumper with receiver hitch and spare tire mount.
    6. Install new leaf springs, axle, wheels, and 35" tires.
    7. Replace floor with marine plywood and new linoleum.
    8. Reattach box and repair ends and corners as necessary.
    9. Replace lift arms.
    10. Repair roof sides and ends as neceesary, mount on new lift arms.
    11. Install new cabinetry, rewire, replumb.
    12. Reinstall canvas and bedding materials.

    Sounds easy enough, right!!! [;)]
     
  2. Snow

    Snow Well-Known Member

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    First off welcome to our lil hide-away in the internet universe.

    Bad boy !!! not taking pictures..... [:(!]

    If you look around, maybe you have, you'll see a few others who have heavily mod'ed their pups. Others have rebuilt them for "purpose" use. Lots of interesting ideas to be found and people who can answer questions.
     
  3. apachejeep

    apachejeep New Member

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    NO, it won,t be easy but after reading your list, sounds to me you already know how to modify to your liking. If you ever get frustrated walk away, take a break, do something else then come back. A lot of us who have modified took our time and the end results were and are rewarding. No one ever said you had a deadline except yourself, right? Wish you the best, you have the TALENT.
    GO then in 2010!
    aj
     
  4. Atoyot1031

    Atoyot1031 New Member

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    Last night I removed the canvas and the bunk end hoops.

    The foam portion of the roof seems to be OK, but the plywood ends and sidewalls are all rotten. Plus after getting a chance to check out the structure sans canvas, it became evident that the lift arms have to be replaced.

    Now for the good news from yesterday:

    1. The converter works and I figured out the wiring for it. :) I'm glad I tore this down all the way. POs had done a miserable job of add-ons and abandoning old stuff. [V]
    2. The forced air furnace works as well. I was shocked to discover that my 1980 camper's furnace has electronic ignition. I was sure it would have had a standing pilot. Hurray! [8D] That alone has to be worth near what I paid for the whole thing!

    Tonight removal of bunkends, lift arms (or whats left of them [;)]), and roof if I get a few minutes...
     
  5. Dusty82

    Dusty82 Active Member

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    I don't want to sink your project before you get it started, but you need to check out the frame and the way your pup was built a bit closer before you get too far into it. Almost all of these pups were built on the frame from the floor up, meaning that the trailer box isn't a substructure you can remove from the frame in one piece. If you do a little digging, you'll see that just about every off-road pup frame modification has involved building a new frame, or modifying an existing trailer for off-road, and then setting the pup (stock frame and all) on top of it, and connecting it up.

    I'd sure hate to see your project stall because you couldn't get the trailer box off the frame in one piece.
     
  6. Atoyot1031

    Atoyot1031 New Member

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    Thanks for the heads up! If I can't get the whole box off it's not a huge deal. I can still cut out the old floor or weld in the new supports with the old floor in place and just replace the floor after all of the welding is complete. It wouldn't be the first time I've had to weld lying on my back with all of the shmegma falling down on me. It would just be easier to remove the box. However, what you mentioned makes sense as there really doesn't appear to be anything to support the structure of the box. Thanks again!
     
  7. Dusty82

    Dusty82 Active Member

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    You're welcome. Deep in the dark recesses of my mind, I've been contemplating a modification like yours too, so I've done some looking around and reading on it. I'm just kind of stalled on any work on our pup until the snow melts. (I really do hate having to store our pup outside.)

    Also know that the cabinets are usually a part of the trailer's structure too, and provide a lot of the support for the walls - especially near the door.
     
  8. kitphantom

    kitphantom Well-Known Member

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    On our '84 Shetland, we thought we'd have to replace the floor, we were blaming door problems on it having warped. Turned out that the small section of wall the door attaches to was only glued to the floor, and that glue had let go. The "cabinet" there was the frame the icebox used to set into, and was not sufficient to keep things from flexing. DH rebuilt that section of wall; it was easier than peeling everything apart, peeling the aluminum skin off the wood and foam was interesting enough. The he put some good screws through the wall frame through the floor, he may have glued it too. Since we ended up not having to strip it down to the frame, I haven't seen all of the construction, but I don't believe the box will just lift off the frame.
    It does seem that a lot of the stabilizing of the box is from the cabinets, especially on the door side, where it makes a big gap in the wall. I had to be very careful working on the back section of wall on that side - I was reaching over it from the outside, and it would have been really easy to cause damage by flexing it too far inward. Things will be much more firm once we put the seats (wheel well covers) and cabinets back in.
     
  9. Atoyot1031

    Atoyot1031 New Member

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    I got a little more work complete, and I took a few pictures.

    The side and end boards of the roof were worse than I thought. When I removed them, I had rotten wood raining down on me.

    Here's my first attempt at posting a pic:
    [​IMG]
     
  10. Dusty82

    Dusty82 Active Member

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    Atoyot (great name, BTW [:D] ) I took the liberty of reposting your pic. The link didn't make it through the mish mash...

    That's one cold and lonely looking pup you got there...
     
  11. Atoyot1031

    Atoyot1031 New Member

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    Thanks for posting. Not sure what I messed up. Maybe you can give me the lowdown on posting pics. Other forums I use, I can upload attachments.

    The roof is off and the arms have been removed. Talk about cold and lonely. I picked up my lumber:
    -3/4" CDX plywood for the new floor and roof ends
    -3/4" AC birch ply for the front and back of the box (heck, maybe I'll replace the walls with the stuff as well :))
    -1/4" AC birch plywood for the cabinets
    -assorted pieces (corner, 1/4 round, etc.) of pine trim for the cabinet edges and base
    -2x4 pine to be ripped down for the cabinet framing

    I also ordered some new aluminum sheeting that I saw someone on here reference from Lowe's (http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?action=productDetail&productId=89145-46086-200156&lpage=none). With 50'x2' of the stuff, I can reskin the whole darn camper if I want. [:D] This will mainly be for the roof sides that are damaged from the wood rot and spring arms, and the exterior sidewalls of the box that are damaged from dings and problems with the lift arms as well.

    Here's a link to my photo album (http://travel.webshots.com/album/576254562aHpCgM?vhost=travel&start=0). I'll try and get some more pictures of the project in the coming days.
     
  12. Dusty82

    Dusty82 Active Member

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    I think about the only thing that's saved our pup is the fact that it's spent most of the last 35 years in the desert. I have no roof or floor problems (so far) only because of the dry climate. Good luck on the rebuild!

    Here's how to post pics here on The Portal:

    http://www.popupportal.com/index.php?topic=25178.0
     
  13. kitphantom

    kitphantom Well-Known Member

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    Looked at your pictures, and you have a way more ambitious project than our renovation. We do have problems at many of the same places you do, but they've progressed far less. We don't have much problem with the roof, DH may add a plate where the roof lifters attach, just for good measure. On ours, it was apparent that the openings in the floor where the wiring came through had never been caulked, so that was part of the problem near the wheel wells, your looks similar.
    If you use the plywood to replace walls, that will give a better place for the roof lifter arms and the things we're calling brackets (which keep the arms close to the camper) to attach to; DH is making plates for the inside for our re-do.
    The new lifter arms arrived yesterday, and they are sturdy! We have a few things to accomplish before installing the, but will let you know what we think of them when we do get them attached.
     
  14. Atoyot1031

    Atoyot1031 New Member

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    Well, after searching long and hard through nasty, cheap, rotten chip board, I finally found all of the sheetmetal screws that were holding the box on the trailer frame.

    Dusty, if you thought the camper looked cold and lonely earlier, wait till you see the pics of the bare frame and the empty half box sitting out behind my shop. [:D]

    I'm getting my steel (2"x3" box tube) today and my goal is to complete the frame, suspension, and axle work in the next two weeks. This will include serious upgrades to the frame itself, replacing the dinky trailer springs with truck springs, upgrading the axle (7,000lb axle), adding a bumper, installing 33" tires, and lifting the camper overall roughly 24". [:O]

    I'll try and update my photo album later today.
     
  15. Atoyot1031

    Atoyot1031 New Member

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    Well, it's been awhile since I've updated here, but I'll try and cover everything.
    Here's a rundown of what I've taken care of:
    1. Cut everything off the fram other than the tongue and original front crossmember.
    2. Fully welded on new frame rails and crossmembers, capping the frame rails. This was tricky because the original frame was NOT square. I did my best to straighten all new components to the hitch.
    3. Removed the fixed tongue stabilizer jack.
    4. Cut out the propane tank mount and welded it as far forward on the tongue as was possible.
    5. Cut to size and fully welded expanded metal on the underside of the tongue to add rigidity and wet storage.
    6. Reassembled my Toyota spring packs with add-a-leafs.
    7. Cut off my old bunkend support mounts from the old rear frame crossmember, cleaned them up, and welded them in place on the new rear frame crossmember.
    8. Squared and fully wded in place the new leaf spring and shackle mounts.
    9. Installed all new poly bushings for the spring mounts and shackles.
    10. Installed the Toyota spring packs.
    11. Fabricated u-bolt plates for the 3" u-bolts with the plasma cutter and bandsaw.
    12. Installed the new 7,000 lb (3") trailer axle and welded the spring perches to the axle in the appropriate locations.
    13. Built a rectangular tube bumper (out of the 2"x3" stock) that will have a 2" receiver hitch. Cut the hole for the receiver hitch with the plasma cutter.

    A few observations I have along the way are as follows...
    The original trailer frame was bent, dented, and cracked. Even in new condition, I wouldn't want to tow this trailer down a paved road with the complete lack of structural integrity this thing had. I was blown away by not only the cheap and flimsy materials, but also the poor craftsmanship. Not everyone wants a camper that they can drag everywhere in the world like I do, but I would have ZERO peace of mind with level of construction that was originally utilized.

    I purchased a 35gal freshwater tank and a flojet demand 12v pump. Before I get onto the work of rebuilding the box itself, I am working on a cradle that will support the water tank below the floor (and above the axle and springs). This cradle will bolt to the new frame crossmembers. The tank itself needs a little reconfiguartion due to the location of the hose fittings (in the current configuration, the fill line would come through the middle of the floor [:!]). I'll have some new bulkhead fittings in this week to take care of this issue.

    Also before I get onto the box portion of the project, I need to complete the stabilizers. I purchased two Atwood flipdown stabilizer jacks that I will have removeable extender sleeves with feet that will be mounted to the rear of the camper. I will utilize the original tongue stabilizer jack by also creating a removeable extender sleeve with a foot, and relocating the jack to a side-mount on the tongue that will involve a hitch pin to position the jack either in a down position, or in a stow away position.

    Please feel free to check out my webshots album referenced and linked above for all of my new progress pictures.

    April is approaching quickly, I must make haste...
    [:D]
    Nick
     
  16. Dusty82

    Dusty82 Active Member

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    Now you know what they mean when they say that every component of a pup provides structural strength to the trailer. Generally speaking, pups were built to be lightweight, easy to tow on paved roads, and set up in established campgrounds - there are exceptions, but remember, I was speaking generally. Overall, they weren't designed to be taken off-road. Of course that hasn't stopped us yet... [:D]

    If it were me building the trailer, I'd consider stabilizer jacks on all 4 corners. Our Patriot has 2 stabs in the back, and one on the curb side in the front (the tongue jack is on the street side of the tongue, and I guess Coleman decided that was good enough.) When I finally get around to installing BAL stabs, I'll be putting them on all 4 corners. With only 3 stabs now, the trailer is still a bit shaky toward the tongue, right under our bunk, if you catch my drift. I've been in pups that have stabs on all 4 corners, and the difference is really glaring. Of course, YMMV...

    Over all, great job on the build! That pup is gonna be almost bulletproof with a 7000lb axle!
     
  17. Island Ranger

    Island Ranger New Member

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    That is some project, & some axle at 7,000lbs. The benefit that you can weld will save loadsa money & glad you are fully aware of the pitfalls ahead. Good luck with the project & keep posting the pics.
     
  18. Atoyot1031

    Atoyot1031 New Member

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    Got a few more things complete. Namely the 4" block lift to accommodate the suspension uptravel and to avoid the wheels contacting the floor (which will not have wheel wells). I got longer u-bolts, but still had to remove the overload bar in the spring pack to get my custom 4" blocks to fit. This will allow for 6" of uptravel which is plenty.

    I also got the cradle of the water tank completed and welded onto the frame.

    Lastly, I mounted my Atwood stabilizer jacks, cut the feet off, and made adjustable extension legs with 6" square feet to help in the sand and such.

    I'll try again at posting some pics...

    Here's the cradle
    [​IMG]

    Here's the cradle welded to the frame. There's a good 1/4" to spare on either side of the cradle between the spring mounts. [;)]
    [​IMG]

    Here's a shot of the Atwood jack (sans factory foot) welded to the frame.
    [​IMG]

    Here's the extensions I made.
    [​IMG]

    Here they are on the frame extended. This seems very stable.
    [​IMG]

    Lastly, here are a couple shots of the block lift. I had to weld the 1/2" all thread on the side of the blocks to make it wider and stabilize it.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Hope these pics post...

    edit: I figured it out finally [A]
     
  19. Island Ranger

    Island Ranger New Member

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    Great pics of the frame, you look real handy with the welding. Good luck with the rest of it.
     
  20. ranger guy

    ranger guy New Member

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    looks good can`t wait to see it done my only concern would be your state inspection it would not be good if they would not pass it do to the modifcations that you made i know in parts of canada now they can make it hard on modified cars and trucks and i am a licenced tech and i had to take 2 day training class to inspect trailers last year with all the changes.
     

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