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Cheltenham Restoration / Recommissioning


speedy555
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Having just bought my first classic caravan, I thought Id put a few pictures and things here if anyone is interested! It's a Cheltenham Sable, and was made in 1980 (Apparently they started making them again at another factory from 1980-82!!)....Double glazing it would seem was fitted almost from new, though wasnt a factory option. The gas locker box is original - Only it wasnt for gas, it was for a heating system & shower pump (I think) which were options at the time - Thats why it has a vent in the lid.

Its actually in very good shape for its age - despite years of damp getting in the front, the timber frame is still amazingly bone dry and solid.

 

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It has 2 doors - The rear one is in the toilet compartment / shower room. The original shower tray is kept under a false floor, which then lifts up to keep a bit of water off the door!

 

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Thanks

Dave

Edited by Gordon
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It currently has 4 water pumps & 2 taps! Im hoping to rmove the 'new' tap and pipe up the new water pump to the old switch and manual pump

 

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Now I did say it had some damp!!! Ist all at the front and simply down to window rubbers (Which I am trying to source)...been like it a long time though, and was still used by the previous owner until a few weeks back,

 

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Amazingly its all superficial and nothing has got to the frame. The next pic is the same area as the previous picture, after I started to strip it out

 

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Ive removed the top layer from the window ledge, and as it is sound, will just re-skin it when I replace the front panels round the windows.

 

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Solid framework

 

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And you know you are dealing with craftsmen when they sign their caravans!

 

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Front affected area stripped

 

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Cooker looks OK, but turned out to have 2 leaks, and a rotted out pipe to the burner :(

 

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Chances of spares are slim to none at all, so will try to find a replacement for a sensible price.

 

The mains hookup consists of a 13amp household plug dangling in the gas locker :o:D ready to plug into a normal ext. lead. Im going to be fitting a consumer unit, correct hookup socket and a battery charger.

 

Thanks for looking. ...hope its been of some interest. ..as I will probably be back with more as I progress :ph34r:

Dave

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This thread is very interesting Dave. Thanks for sharing. I look forward to more. Nice 'van.

 

Alan

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Speedy I'm dead jealous, I love the cheltenham vans. Did you know there is a Cheltenham forum

http://www. jacquimccarthy. co. uk/ maybe if you needed some parts someone there could help you out

 

Yes seen it thank you. ...seems very quiet over there though! I will have to try it soon though. The cooker is my main problem at the moment - I think I have located a new burner, but need to see if the o rings / seals are available next!

 

Going to have a go at getting rid of my 'new' tap that has been fitted next. It has a rubber footpump in the cupboard, mated to an old type whale electric pump. The footpump works, but despite operating from a 12v floor switch, the electric pump makes the right noises but doesnt pump. It also has another foot pump set into the floor (The type you twist and it pops up for operation) which works well, and are all mated to the original tap set into the sink. Theres also a newer type whale submersible pump connected to a microswitched tap as a totally seperate 'circuit'.

The plan is to get rid of the newer tap, and connect the new submersible pump to the floor switch / manual foot pump circuit, to hopefully get the best of both worlds without the ugly extra tap someone has fitted. ...In theory I think it will work, as long as the manual pump can suck the water up through the submersible pump. ?!?!

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That should work; I have exactly the same system in my Royale. The thinking is that when on hookup I can use the electric (submersible) pump; when out in the sticks I use footpump to save battery.

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Good to know - I will give it a try then! Im hoping to take a piece of the formica from a hidden area then to cover the holes that have been made for the tap Im removing.

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  • 2 weeks later...

we moved our tap as it was in the way and fitted a foot pump in the bottom of the cupboard but could not match the worktop so have cut some tiles to fit which work quite well as you then have somewhere else to stand something hot, as for the window rubbers you can get the main rubbers from baines details on the cheltenham website they say they are easy to fit but we gave up and had our caravan man fit them as for the fixed windows we had the RAC come out and do them they have a plant side which do tractors etc

 

forgot to say if you can get hold of the B600 gas oven which was fitted to earlier cheltenhams as it is a lot more hard wearing than the later vanessa model you have which were known to rot through - ebay is your best bit

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Well, Ive done something at the caravan every day, yet looking at it I think Im going backwards! lol

A correct electric hookup point has been fitted, and now goes to a charger and consumer unit too, plus as the whole 12v system was on one 30a fuse, I now have a fusebox with blade fuses in. Found some dodgy 240v wiring (well most of it was dodgy TBH) by getting an electric shock :unsure: . ..Boy did I feel rough for a day. Im not the sort to ever get to a doctors, but kept getting chest pains so had an ECG etc, and as it happens all is well. Was just muscular, probably due to the shock throwing my arm back. And I was only worried about the gas saftey wise up that point. ... lol

 

Sorted out all the water pumps etc, and now runs on a whale submersible, but on the original switch / manual pump through the original fold away tap. Managed to get a bit of the original formica worktop from in a cupboard to cover up the hole in the worktop where an aftermarket tap had been fitted.

 

Cooker has been a nightmare. ..rotted burners, leaking valves. ..etc etc. It was very close to being binned on a few occasions! New seals cured the leaks, but after managing to find a new burner it caused the gas to pop back to the valve . In the end I bought another cooker today (Same type but minus an oven) in order to get parts from. I swapped a burner from my 'parts' cooker into mine in the caravan, and all was great . The burners from the 'parts' cooker also had a part that can be used to restrict the air flow into them etc - swapped one of the bits onto my 'new' but seemingly faulty burner, adjusted it a bit and all is well . So it seems all I needed was a small springy restrictor all along . Good bit is I can now sell my 'parts' cooker on, as fully working and hopefully get my 70 odd quid back. ...It was a long way round, but got there in the end!

 

All the front woodwork is replaced round the windows, plus the shelf, and new window rubbers with the correct white insert. The water damage from the previous leak had stained the wood black on the side panels of the wall too, just in the corners. I sanded for all I was worth & it seemed to have gone. ...but as soon as I varnished the panel I appeared again :angry: I know its dry, and when the upholstery is back in wont be visible, but is really bugging me. I just cant justify replacing two whole side panels though for a few stains. ...

 

Took the fridge out, cleaned, checked etc and seems to be working well now. Replaced the front panel on the door and painted the outer surround where it was showing some signs of rust.

 

Removed the remains of one plastic window ledge / capping, and again all the wood is in good order beneath . Trial fitted some of the new capping - fits well!

 

Removed all the interior door hinges and catches, window catches, mirror brackets etc, and had them all re plated (zinc).

 

Managed to find some NOS outer door handles/locks/keys at just a fiver each, so couldnt say no!

 

The Fire wasnt lighting too well, and a terrible yellow flame, so had to remove that to take a look. Out of 6 bolts, all but one sheared off . ... - The gas burner gauze had rotted out, the main gas pipe in was badly corroded, and the small one actually perforated :o How it ever lit is one thing, but how it never went bang is another. Im just awaiting a replacement fire in the post now, a slightly later Carver Caravelle with a thermostat. ....

 

Rear lights - On removal of the lenses, the side that didnt work properley was reasonable inside, the one that did work was hideous! You wouldnt believe it could work! lol. After some research the cheapest new pair I could find were about £50+ p&p which seemed a tad pricey i thought. I then realised Id seen them before on trailer boards years ago. ...trawled fleabay, and got a barely used trailer board with mint lights and seals / gaskets for £20 all in

 

In fact, with the electrics,and various gas problems, it was an accident waiting to happen. How on earth did someone use this last month and come back alive??

 

So, I think thats where we're up to. ..an empty caravan with no interior doors :lol: Going to do all the window cappings next, now Ive had my trial run with fitting the front one. The woodwork in the kitchen, (The wall behind the sink / cooker etc) again is solid, but has some black stains like the front - unfortunatley they will be very visible, so the only solution I have come up with so far is to get some kitchen type wallpaper, a bit more in line with more modern (Late 80's! lol) models. Still not sure though. ..

 

Well if youre still reading, well done & thanks. ....Oh yeah, and here's some pictures :lol:

 

 

Refurbed rear badge

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Front woodwork nearly done

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Woodwork under the white capping (Front side window aperture)

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And with new capping offered up and re-plated anti-rattle catches trial fitted

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Box of re-plated bits. Not perfect, but cheap and keeps a bit more originality in the van. ..and mostly hidden hinges TBH

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This is the back light that worked well! lol

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Cooker finally back in and operational

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Fridge tidied up

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saw a cheltenham van on the way up from London last weekend we were just getting close to Blackpool area and I said. I wonder if thats Speedy from CT lol

glad to hear your getting stuck into the restoration,can't wait to see it all finished

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Wish it was me finished and on the road!

Ive been varnishing all day today - Maybe not for purists,but Ive gone gloss so far with the varnish. Just a personal preference really, and looks better quality in an older van, in my eyes! Postman Pat has put a note through my door today, asking me to collect a parcel - Which Im thinking is the replacement fire. I hope so!

 

Just copied and pasted thie info below that I have had from the Cheltenham Owners Club -

 

 

 

The Cheltenham Caravan Company actually ceased trading in 1974. From 1978 to 1982 Sable's and Puku 2's were marketed as "Fernden-Cheltenham" at Frant near Tunbridge Wells in Kent. These caravans were very well built with useful modifications including oak grained wood for interior paneling and furniture. The lengthening of the A frame to support a box containing gas bottles and in some cases a water heater.

. ............ this would be the third Sable built in 1980. A van ending in 00 would be built for the annual show at the start of the year (August) If yours shows a date of July that would be the end of the year which would probably mean that not many Sables were built that year.

 

Thanks. Dave

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There are some decent vinyl papers about. A coachbuilder friend of mine found a nicely grained off white type for my old van.

 

He used the stickiest white looking glue I have ever seen to put it on.

 

It did not have much slip in it but it made an amazing job of attaching it to the new timber lining he had fitted.

Ford C-Max and Coachman Festival 380/2 SE 2006    Motto  Carpe Diem

Still trying to find the perfect pitch. ..110 amp Battery+ 65 watt roof mounted Solar and 25 watt Wind Turbine. LED lighting. Status Aerial 315. Loose chattels marked with UV,. Safefill Gas Fitted.

 

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Hi Speedy,

Thanks for sharing your renovation project. Found it very interesting. Would have a Classic Van any day but would have to insist on a classic interior with all the modern toys. I would like to think there could be a market for Classic van style new builds,if you know what I mean, :wacko: with modern day heating and insulation etc,,,, One thing is for sure Speedy you will be a very proud owner when the Old lady starts to turn heads on your first outing. ................

 

Grumpy Auld Smeesh. ........ :angry:

 

Ace Jubilee Statesman . ........... Jaguar S Type 2. 7d SE Auto Sport . .......

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Hi Speedy,

Thanks for sharing your renovation project. Found it very interesting. Would have a Classic Van any day but would have to insist on a classic interior with all the modern toys. I would like to think there could be a market for Classic van style new builds,if you know what I mean, :wacko: with modern day heating and insulation etc,,,, One thing is for sure Speedy you will be a very proud owner when the Old lady starts to turn heads on your first outing. ................

 

Grumpy Auld Smeesh. ........ :angry:

 

Ace Jubilee Statesman . ........... Jaguar S Type 2. 7d SE Auto Sport . .......

 

Ive seen a few of these Cheltenhams with cassette toilet / shower / hot water / zig units etc etc all fitted. I suppose within reason, because the older caravans are just a big jigsaw puzzle that are almost indefinatley repairable, it could make sense for some people.

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Great to see the refurb.

 

Keep the pictures coming.

 

Ian

2018 Range Rover Sport AB,  2015 Buccaneer Cruiser.

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Very interested to see what you have been doing Dave. I rebuilt a 1967 Elddis Whirlwind some years ago, but that was a totally different prospect, as first I had to rebuild the metal box from the chassis up, but I then fitted it with an layout of my own. I bought it for £150 notes, and sold it on three years later for £500. It was a good learning project, and has stood me in good stead in later years, as I now know how caravans of that age were constructed. I am sure your project is sticking much closer to the original design concept than mine did, and I wish you well with it. Looking forward to the "next installment" of your restoration journey.

Gordon.

Fourwinds Hurricane 31D Motorhome. Also MGTF135 1. 8i Roadster (fun) & Volvo V70 3.2Ltr LPG (everyday car)
Unless otherwise stated, my posts will be my personal thoughts and have the same standing as any other member of Caravan and Motorhome Talk.

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Very interested to see what you have been doing Dave. I rebuilt a 1967 Elddis Whirlwind some years ago, but that was a totally different prospect, as first I had to rebuild the metal box from the chassis up, but I then fitted it with an layout of my own. I bought it for £150 notes, and sold it on three years later for £500. It was a good learning project, and has stood me in good stead in later years, as I now know how caravans of that age were constructed. I am sure your project is sticking much closer to the original design concept than mine did, and I wish you well with it. Looking forward to the "next installment" of your restoration journey.

Gordon.

 

Thanks - Im still not sure if Im happy with the term 'restoration' yet :wacko: Maybe 'sympathetic restoration'! As I said elsewhere, It was restored once before by one time cheltenham resto' specialists John & Tina Bradley, so not sure what is and isnt original. There are still some relatively hidden stains from previous water ingress, some of the wood is different shades, some through sun bleaching, some just how it left the factory. But while I want it to be nice, and sound, I always feel some of these blemishes / faults etc are what give an old car / caravan character. I do like ground up 'mint' restorations (If your budget allows that!) but apart from the cost, I feel sometimes something is lost along the way. Like my hinges - they have all been re plated, and they arent perfect by any means, but they look pretty good, and keeps it original. I could have replaced some of the wood I suppose, but it is 99% good, and seems a shame to bin good quality oak veneer thats been there 32 years, when a few minor repairs will do the job! And to be perfectly honest, this is a project, and no more. I may use the caravan, but realistically it will be sold at some point soon after completion. I love it, but a 4 berth is needed in our household Im afraid. ....I will definatley lose money on it, but Im learning, keeping myself out of mischeif, and it will keep another classic old caravan on the roads, which can only be a good thing :)

Glad people are showing an interest. ......the 'wrong' fire arrived today. ..but that will be for a new installment! lol

 

Dave

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Speedy555 has kindly let us publish his restoration project as a series of articles on CaravanTalk, have a look at his DIY restoration project.

 

All future updates will appear as articles, but we'll post in the forum to let you know when it's been updated.

Tim
Developer | Caravan Talk

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 6 months later...

Speedy555,

I have been browsing through the main website, and read about your Cheltenham Restoration Project. It looks like you have a lot of work to do, but I am sure it will all be well worth it when it is finished. I wonder how progress has been since your last update six months back?

Any chance of letting us all know the latest situation as I am sure there are others who would like to know. I am sure I cannot be the only nosey one :D

Skiman.

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http://www. ebay. co. uk/itm/ws/eBayISAPI. dll?ViewItem&item=180879225385#ht_574wt_922&clk_rvr_id=342027244185

 

talking of cheltenhams

what a stunner !!!

this is what can be achieved.

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We saw this one at the club national in 2010 it is a real stunner

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  • 1 month later...

Well yes it was a long time back now, and sorry for no updates :blush: Life took over so to speak, various other distractions, and although I finished it off I needed some ££ and had to sell - Member AJLelectronics bought it from me. Ahh well. ... Here's some pics of when I finished her off. ..

 

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Edited by speedy555
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