Travelander camper gas bottle upgrade

Submitted: Sunday, Feb 21, 2010 at 01:10
ThreadID: 76198 Views:5898 Replies:2 FollowUps:5
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For those who have a travelander camper or with a similar camper gas bottle issue.

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We have a Travelander slide on camper and have found it to be fantastic. I have over the two years made some minor improvements. The camper has a 3 burner gas stove and a gas hot water system but only has carrying capacity for one 3.7litre gas bottle.

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As the camper is mainly a fibreglass construction and behind the gas storage there was ample space I set about creating more space for another gas bottle. I could have put the extra bottle inside the battery storage compartment but it is difficult to access and I don’t think gas and electrical wiring are a good pair.

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First I marked the rear section of wall to cut out and move backwards. I used a small angle grinder with one of those really thin blades. Also wear proper breathing mask and safety glasses.
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Next a quick fit with the two bottles to make sure they will fit as designed. I would hate to do all the work only to find they don’t fit.
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To make the new fibre glass panel to fill in the gap where the rear section has been pushed back I started with a piece of white melamine shelving. Sanded smooth with a random orbital sander. Then polished with car polish to all release of the white flow coat of fibreglass.
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After letting a layer of white flow coat and then 2 layers of fibreglass matting dry for a couple of hours the separate easily with a knife. A quick cut to size with some tin snips and ready for fitting.
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Just put the panels in place and fibreglass the edges together with a few layers and then paint white flow coat over the joints – all done inside and outside.
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Final stage is to put the gas bottles back in with tie down straps. I now have the two gas bottles in a neat storage compartment. I have found with 4 adults we can go about 2 weeks on one bottle so two should be great. The other big concern would be if we where out only a couple of days and left the gas on or had a leak – if we ran out of gas on one bottle at least there is now a back up.

David

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Reply By: Wilko - Sunday, Feb 21, 2010 at 07:36

Sunday, Feb 21, 2010 at 07:36
Well done Dave ,

Youve obvousily been thinking about doing it for a while. Looks like a neat job too.

Are the 2 bottles of different dia?

Can you fit the larger dia in the rear section?

Cheers Wilko
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Follow Up By: Member - Serendipity(WA) - Sunday, Feb 21, 2010 at 10:49

Sunday, Feb 21, 2010 at 10:49
The two bottles are rated the same as 3.7kg but one is a bit taller and the other a bit fatter - I made sure they would fit in either position with a little bit or tolerance.

David


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Follow Up By: Wilko - Sunday, Feb 21, 2010 at 15:03

Sunday, Feb 21, 2010 at 15:03
Hi Dave,

Have you mentioned this mod to Travelander? It may be an improvement they could make.

Cheers Wilko
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Reply By: Duncanm - Sunday, Feb 21, 2010 at 08:26

Sunday, Feb 21, 2010 at 08:26
Very impressive and well done on a good write up. A good idea re the making of the fibreglass sheets as well.

regards Duncan
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Follow Up By: dirttracker - Sunday, Feb 21, 2010 at 13:27

Sunday, Feb 21, 2010 at 13:27
Duncanm,
This is an excellent mod. Fibreglass is relatively easy if you avoid the dust. I note that you have used two layers of glass in your extention piece. You don't mention how heavy the glass is, but it looks light. Can I suggest that you reenforce the section alittle. The reason I am saying this is that fibreglass is subject to fracture if it is too light. The reason yachts can go light is that they use a sandwich construction and different fibres to strengthen the work. I suggest that you use a piece of hose pipe/rod foam set diagonal down the sheet on the back and fibreglass over this to give it rigidity. Alternatively, you glue a section of wood or quite firm closed cell foam - 30mm Clark Rubber -over all the section or at least in an X pattern. No flex in corrogations, no failure.

For others thinking of like mods I would suggest a piece of thin piece of ply between the sheets of glass or a piece of foam from a fibreglass supplier. The method for achieving a gelcoat finish is excellent and is often used in the boat building industry. For a single curved section, U or curved L shaped, Laminex can be bent to shape and held in place with wood. Laminex doesn't need to be sanded.

My two cents worth.

Martin
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Follow Up By: Member - Serendipity(WA) - Sunday, Feb 21, 2010 at 13:40

Sunday, Feb 21, 2010 at 13:40
Thanks for those tips Martin. I am not an expert with fibreglass and did wonder whether it would be strong enough.

The panels I made where two layers of the glass matting you buy at bunnings. And then I added a woven glass matt over the top after it was all in place. It still does not seem as strong as the original but is only filling in a 230mm gap.

If I fibreglassed some thin timber strips across the back do you think that would be enough to give it needed strength for offroad work. The section around the gas bottles is not part of the structural sections of the camper and only serve to seal the gas bottles into their own compartment.

David



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Follow Up By: dirttracker - Sunday, Feb 21, 2010 at 16:42

Sunday, Feb 21, 2010 at 16:42
David,
I 'm glad that the panel is not structural because the issue, if there is one, is only to make sure that the panel stays together when it vibrates over corrogations. If you have put strips of timber on the back it maybe enough the make it rigid enough. The flex occurs across the middle and if the timber delaminates from the panel, that tells you it is too light. If you have used an epoxy glue to bond it, it should be ok. You may have noticed that sheet metal has an X shaped deformation across it to stop this type of flexing.

Keep a check on it next trip and strengthen if required.

Martin
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