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1974 Franklin Regent caravan renovation

twocutekelpies
Junior Contributor

1974 Franklin Regent caravan renovation

Forgive me, it's been a while since I've posted, my 1972 York rebuild was completed and is now being enjoyed by a lovely couple who bought her shortly after completion. 

I bought another 10ft caravan to restore as I love how cute these little 70s vans are. She barely made it home, hanging off the very rusted chassis and no door frame or back window. Thankfully the door was sitting on the floor inside as well as replacement windows for those too damaged to salvage.

For those who aren't aware, 70s Franklins are made from Thermopanel which is basically 3mm plywood/styrofoam/thin aluminium cladding sandwiched together to make the walls/ceiling. The only timber framing is across the bottom of the walls, around windows, door and vents, take away the ply lining and there isn't much holding the roof up. Add to that, most of the timber across the bottom of the wall on the door side had rotted away and the entire door frame was gone. The only way to properly restore her was to flatpack and do it from the ground up. 
We originally intended to fix the chassis up, paint and re-use but it was extremely heavy and not that well built so husband Geoff felt it was better to build a new one than try and work with the old. 

Geoff is a boilermaker by trade and I'm a self taught DIYer, he does all the mechanical and heavy metal stuff while I do most work above the chassis (he won't touch timber lol). We also have great neighbours who have helped with the heavy lifts as needed when flipping the chassis, putting the walls back on and the roof back up and don't complain about all the noise I make 🤣  

 

As she arrivedAs she arrived    Interior mostly gutted a long time agoInterior mostly gutted a long time ago    Any frame that was here rotted out a long time ago tooAny frame that was here rotted out a long time ago too    Hatch missing and open to the elements, thankfully I have a carport to work underHatch missing and open to the elements, thankfully I have a carport to work under    Gutting completed and walls bracedGutting completed and walls braced    Roof removedRoof removed     Front and rear removedFront and rear removed     Walls off!Walls off!    Bare chassisBare chassis    Boilermaker hubby deemed chassis too far gone so he built a new oneBoilermaker hubby deemed chassis too far gone so he built a new one    New chassis, axle, hubs etcNew chassis, axle, hubs etc    While I rebuilt the wallsWhile I rebuilt the walls    Adding new wall liningAdding new wall lining    Re-pressing the thermopanel wallsRe-pressing the thermopanel walls    Then it was time to put her all back together again.Then it was time to put her all back together again.    Add in the floor etcAdd in the floor etc    Front and rearFront and rear    Start rebuilding the interior and ceilingStart rebuilding the interior and ceiling    Rebuild the roofRebuild the roof    This took 4 of us to put back on!This took 4 of us to put back on!    Start of bed buildStart of bed build    Badge restorationBadge restoration    Window restorationWindow restoration   First light fitted around the hatch frameFirst light fitted around the hatch frame  Where we're up toWhere we're up to    


Instagram @twocutekelpies
EricL
Bunnings Team Member
Bunnings Team Member

Re: 1974 Franklin Regent rebuild

Hi @twocutekelpies

 

Thank you so much for the update and photos. Wow! What an amazing restoration. Just out of curiosity, what materials did you use for the thermopanel walls? Did you end up re-using all of the metal skin or did you have to buy extra panels? I can't wait to see the final look when you've painted it. I'm sure a lot of our members will find this project inspirational. I would love to give this a go, unfortunately, I don't have the garage space. 

 

Please keep us updated with your progress, we look forward to the unveiling of the restored caravan.

 

Again, thank you so much for sharing your project.

 

Eric

 

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twocutekelpies
Junior Contributor

Re: 1974 Franklin Regent rebuild

Hi Eric
I salvaged most of the walls, just relined and added new ply lining, 2.7mm poly coated caravan ply from ForestOne.

I managed to peel off most of the interior ply lining whole but some of it came off in little pieces which was frustrating and time consuming.I managed to peel off most of the interior ply lining whole but some of it came off in little pieces which was frustrating and time consuming.     You can see in this photo the extent of the rotten timber.You can see in this photo the extent of the rotten timber.
The walls are 25mm thick so I replaced the framing with 2 layers of 12mm Tassie Oak and the bottom rail with 19mm Tassie Oak with 4mm bracing ply to make up the difference. All timber was coated with linseed/turps mix. I also ran new wiring (with permission from my electrician who will connect it all later) and added some framing. I had to think very far ahead due to no access to the walls once the lining goes on.
I used Tassie Oak for the above but have used 12x30 and 18x30 meranti for the front and rear framing to give me 30x30 lengths and 18 x 41mm meranti for the ceiling ribs with 16x3mm aluminium flatbar screwed to either side to prevent sag. My Bunnings doesn't stock Meranti so I ordered it in via Special Orders.I use 5.4m lengths of pine for cabinetry as it's not exposed like framing timber and more accessible for me (and no wait time to buy).  

Original wiringOriginal wiring    240v run in trunking alongside added framing240v run in trunking alongside added framing    
Minor repairs to exterior required - 
Most of the outside was undamaged except for a tear next to the door areaMost of the outside was undamaged except for a tear next to the door area    This was repaired with a piece from a donor van left over from my York rebuild.This was repaired with a piece from a donor van left over from my York rebuild.   The rest of the cladding is original, I sprayed the front with stone shield paint from SCA before putting back on.The rest of the cladding is original, I sprayed the front with stone shield paint from SCA before putting back on.

 


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linfrank
New Contributor

Re: 1974 Franklin Regent rebuild

Wow you have done so much!!

And I have totally learnt so much just from your one Post! 😄 I have seen the thermopanel "sandwich" and was wondering what the story was...... it's definitely good to know that's what's holding the roof up.

My Franklin is in a bit better shape than yours was at the beginning. It was registered and being used when I got it, although no longer registered now. There is definitely some rot in it but I'm just concentrating on covering it and sealing initially.

It is great to see your little van coming together so well from such a tragic beginning.

Robyn

 

 

 

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