Jump to content

Renovating a damp 1988 Elddis Mistral


Recommended Posts

Hi all

 

Made the decision this year to start hunting for a caravan, budget didn't stretch too far but ended up falling for a little Elddis 2 berth mistral xl. The OH loved the design of the interior etc.

 

Anyway seems we bought a van riddled with damp. Being a little bit handy I thought let's investigate and see if I can do the repairs myself. OK so started stripping down the affected areas so I could find the source of leak. Ended up stripping right back down to aluminium.  Glad I did as there was so much water hiding behind the ployatyrene and some of the ally panel had corroded away.

 

A bit of ally filler later, some aluminium tape over that and the main external holes have gone. 

 

So I found the leak. According to all the research I've been doing I suspected the rails areas. The main awning rails and front window rail seemed to be the main culprit.

 

I've found the stripping of the walls very therapeutic, occasionally picturing the seller as I tear bits off lol... anyway. 

 

Both main front frames where the grp meets the aluminium have rotted away. Replaced both of those but as I dug down to the floor level in order to fit the new wood, I'm finding the floor area to have a fair bit of rot also. The sides aren't actually attached to the rest of the van!!

 

I have my concerns at the moment, the plywood/wood/plywood sandwich seemed fine. The plywood is OK but the wood underneath is full of wet and dry rot. This is mainly in the front storage area. So now I'm pulling apart what I can to see how its constructed.  I have had to remove the front legs as the wood they are on is either gone or rotten. 

 

The missus is pulling her hair out but I know all I need to do is see how was put together and pretty sure I can put it right. Just i know now that I'm into structural territory. Not 100% on what is holding it all together. There is no lower battons along the bottom of the side panel, and the remainder of wood from the floor is glued to the styrofoam? Panelling in the floor but nowt else. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Sounds like my project but I haven't got too far with her yet started to RIP out the walls yesturday 

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 26/07/2020 at 11:24, ForMySin said:

There is no lower battons along the bottom of the side panel, and the remainder of wood from the floor is glued to the styrofoam? Panelling in the floor but nowt else. 

As I see it you need to dry everything out and replace any soft wood or it will not take glue. The strength in the construction comes from the laminate so when the glue has parted, even without rot a lot of the strength has gone. You could use Gorilla glue which will expand to fill gaps and not melt the core. Alternatively get some one-shot delamination resin which will work out cheaper because you need a lot of it.

 

If some of your aluminium edges have gone you could use triangular section 'tilt edge'?) 50mm batten commonly found at builders merchants and use it inside the van to help secure the wall to the floor in places where it would not be on display. The floor needs to be sound or repaired first though.

 

Fyi I screwed some tilt edge to the wall frame of my Fleetwood for an accident repair of cracked timber and it is completely hidden after the insulation and back panel were put back.

StrengtheningBrace.jpg

InsulationReplaced.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites
56 minutes ago, limecc said:

Fyi I screwed some tilt edge to the wall frame of my Fleetwood for an accident repair of cracked timber and it is completely hidden after the insulation and back panel were put back.

I thought about this some more and you might benefit from my solution already suggested.

After the accident the interior wallboard was cracked and bulging inwards although the vinyl hadn't split. This is like your aluminium skin, yours is horizontal not vertical. I used bracing timber against the toilet to hold the wallboard flat until the Gorilla glue went off.  In your case the glue would fix the outer skin to the tilt edge, and the tilt edge would be glued and screwed to the floor. After this, the insulation and wallboard replaced with more glue.

WallBracing.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

One thing you need to do, and soon, is put some temporary bracing in to hold everything in shape. Without the timbers the aluminium shell becomes a floppy box, capable of collapsing out of shape. This bracing can be rough and ready, just capable of holding everything square and true.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 month later...

Hi all

 

Forgot to add that more has been done! Been replacing so much of the wood its crazy. Even had the fibreglass off completely for a day or two. 

 

Completely replaced the top corners and centre now, the roof is unscrewed halfway down the front as needed to remove the wood in the centre. The window frame and bracing has all been removed as well in these photos.  

 

I havent got any new pics of where I am now, but the basic wood frame around the windows is now rebuilt, the framework connecting the sides to the windows are mostly in. The top frames thst join the two sides are now in as well. 

 

Its surprisingly easy to rebuild. And using ply in structural areas seems to be a good way of increasing strength without increasing weight.

 

Right now the weather is pounding it with no front windows in so bit frustrated as rain keeps getting in. Guess I'm going to end up replacing more of the floor ply than j wanted. Its an absolute nightmare to get up.

 

On the underside I have had to strip off whats left of the old ply, (one layer left on the glues) and then re glue some new 6mm ply from the side panels to the metal frame. You can feel the strength its got back!  Question though, what can I seal this ply with to ensure it doesn't fail again? My initial thought was some resin or underseal? 

20200821_152012.jpg

20200821_152019.jpg

20200821_152004.jpg

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...