Hi everyone, I recently bought a Franklin Premier Caravan. I and my partner are really stoked, but now begins the journey of bringing her back to life.
From the start everything in this van worked more or less, it was in good nick. Chassis is solid, everything works. I noticed that the previous owners had at some point given it a bit of a makeover, there were bits of wood glued on top of other bits of wood etc so Ive decided to completely redo this van and make it nice.
So far the best resource of info would have to be Grandad on this forum. Love your thread Jim, its been an immense help to me and my dad who will be building my van.
The layout is staying the same, just with more thoughtful power outlets and sliding shelves etc.
Anyhow, please enjoy some photos of my girl so far, and any advice offered is gratefully appreciated
Last Edit: Jan 4, 2018 20:26:23 GMT 10 by dean1531
So after taking Frankie away for one weekend to test her out, we decided we were happy with the lay out of everything.
First job was new brakes, wheel bearings and tyres as they were all old and perished. Pretty standard job really, there are you tube videos on how to do these things.
I decided to completely gut the inside and start again to be able to know exactly the state of everything underneath the skin. It had already had a dodgy make over once before. It wasnt until half way through gutting that I discovered this website, and Grandads thread which proved a godsend giving me direction and reassurance.
Removal of the kitchen cabinet, Most of the screws were thread stripped due to the backing timber being so thin and old. Im considering putting thicker ply on the wallsnext time.
The Kitchen cabinet isnt the best, I considered totally replacing it with something more modern and better thought out but have decided to stick with the basic design just refreshed with new panels and perhaps some slide out drawers for the cupboards.
This is when I started to scratch my head, Where o where is the frame!? it was at this point I needed to figure out if I had just destroyed my van, how to fix it and with what. The walls are now super flimzy. Google brought me to this forum fountain of knowledge, Cheers..
The philistines prior to me have replaced the rear left window with this square thing. Im not thrilled but it'll have to stay. Ripping the timber paneling off is messy and fiddly as the glue was still stuck very well.
This is why I was keen to strip it right back. Evidence of sub par repair. This just wont do!
More evidence to warrant my renovating. Thats a screw hole into 240V. Glad i hadnt plugged it in yet!! My plan is to have two outlets for 240 in this van. one above and one below the bench for the fridge. Everything else including the lighting will be 12V.
Diabolical blocking off of the sky light, this was a real pain to remove as it had dozens of screws, nails and silicone holding it on. Still assessing how to overcome this uglyness.
Well thats it for now, I have it totally gutted, all furniture is getting refurbished and reused. The roof and walls will come off next to be re skinned and re wired. When my father returns from camping we will commence. Ive been dragged around by the misses looking at fabric choices
You seem to have a pretty good 'foundation' to work with there, so the end result will be well worthwhile.
There should be a chassis number welded on the top of the drawbar arm, just beside the jockey wheel clamp somewhere. It will be some numbers, followed by a hyphen, followed by one number. I suspect your van is from the 1967 to 1969 time period, so the number after the hyphen will likely be a 7, 8, or 9.
The Premier model was discontinued sometime in 1968 or '69, and replaced with the egg-shaped 'Regent' model.
The cast aluminium Franklin badge showing on the rear of your van has been fitted in the 1970s or later by someone. This aluminium badge was used on Franklin vans from 1973 to 1976.
If you read through the following thread... Franklin Premier ..., you'll see a van very similar to yours, showing the correct Franklin sticker above the front window.
In 1967, Franklin opened their brand new 'state of the art' factory at Wendourie near Ballarat. Franklin introduced new methods of production in the factory, and the caravan walls were built as a composite sandwich on large tables. The adhesive used to bond the external aluminium cladding, the styrene insulation, and the interior wall panelling together, was supplied by the 3M company. The walls have a minimum amount of timber framework, mostly around the window openings so the side windows could be screwed into something solid.
The upholstery on your cushions and divan are also from the mid-1970s, so someone has done an update in that area as well.
Just a note of caution...the original square vinyl floor tiles, showing in your later photos, will contain a percentage of asbestos, so be careful when getting them off the floor. They will be brittle, and every break will release particles of asbestos into the air. Try using a heat gun to soften them bit by bit, and aim to lift them off the floor as a full tile wherever possible.
Hi Dean1531, Yes the van referred to in Al's post is ours. It is 1969 van, serial number 303-9. If you require any photos or dimensions feel free to pm me. We will also be at the nationals in April if you are in the area. Cheers Bob
1964 Roadmaster 1969 Franklin Premier 1964 Baravan (long term project) Mt Tamborine Qld
Welcome to the forum Dean1531. You've certainly given yourself a challenge, now that you have gutted your van. A word of caution about using thicker ply - WEIGHT! The cumulative effect of using thinker ply can get away from you and make towing feel like pulling a brick. Glad to see that you've gone through grandad's thread. I thought he would be somewhereelseinOz by now!!! Obviously bludging now that he no longer posts his workmanship!!! I notice that Franklin1 has chipped in with his words of wisdom. Because he is one of those shy retiring types, he failed to mention that he also documented a chassis-up restoration, with over 700 photos!!!! if you want some bedtime reading and inspiration/encouragement of what can be done, check this thread:
This is when I started to scratch my head, Where o where is the frame!?
Ah, feelings of deja vu. I remember that same question going through my mind.
On a serious note: Regarding new cupboards. Firstly, congratulations on removing the entire sink cupboard in one piece. That was one little trick that I couldn't pull off. Ended up destroying the whole thing in the process.
I concur with roehm3108 re the use of plywood and weight. but, you may care to check out a product6 called E-Lite. It's a very lightweight plywood you may find interesting. And BTW, when I say light, I mean LIGHT!
If I had my time to do over again I think I would go back to Franklin's original method of small dimension timber frame with 4mm ply on outside. A personal choice only, not a recommendation.
In the Pumpkin thread, I incorrectly answered you by saying I thought your van might be from the 70's. I based this assumption purely on the metal badges. Franklin1 has far more experience in this area than me. I stand corrected. Thanks Al.
Edited to add: Sorry Dean, forgot to mention. Take care with the van as a whole once all the cupboards are removed. They provide 90% of the bracing for the whole structure.(The other 10% is the two window frames) There's a thread on the classic forum that beautifully demonstrates what can happen. The whole body collapsing in on itself. I can't find the thread in question but there are several crossover members here. Perhaps someone can assist? Take home message is. Once the cupboards are removed, move straight on with roof and wall removal. J
Post by Don Ricardo on Jan 8, 2018 15:57:14 GMT 10
Great to read about your refurbishment of your Franklin. That's quite a job you've taken on, but it's amazing what can be achieved with a bit of work and creativity, as people like Grandad and Franklin1 - among many others - have shown us on the forum.
Please don't forget to keep us up to date with your renovations by posting along the way. There's lots of us that will be interested to see your progress and cheer you on the way.
Today update, Frankie now has new tyres and bearings. I went to replace the brake shoes and discovered the slave cylinders were shot. Also, they had an antiquated cable handbrake that my trailer place didn't have. The end result is new backing plates with new brakes attached. Also updated the hitch to have a hydraulic handbrake.
Seeing as how we had the axle out I flipped it on the leafs (new locator welded onto the axle) It now sits at a more desirable height.
After lots of hunting, I finally found some "caravan Ply" at Mr ply and wood in Penrith. Almost everywhere else had MDF. I and my old man headed out and selected textured finish in white for the walls and a light grey for the roof. We removed one side wall today which we will begin fixing up. While it was good to have photos etc from previous people in this forum, it was still a bit of a bastard. The rivets in the roof to the wall were tricky, as were the bolts holding the timber at floor level. Upon removal, we discovered yet more timber repair that needed looking in to. The windows once unscrewed simply fell out, including the curved perspex in the front. This van is going to cop a fair bit of sealant in the coming months!!
Anywho, That's it for this weekend. The retiree will undoubtedly conquer this wall next week with all of his free time. Photos to come!
Now that's a interesting way of tackling a wall rebuild. See no reason why it wouldn't work. Falls into the "Why didn't I think of that?" category. I'm enjoying this thread. Might just learn something. BTW...as a fellow retiree, I dispute the "Free time" comment. I often wonder how I ever found time to go to work.
We removed the old window frames as they had lost their integrity and glued in new ones
A new main timber running along the base of the wall, plus the adddition of two full height timbers for added strength. I ran the conduit from the power inlet to under the front seat. The plan is to have a battery and battery charger under there, as well as a double power point for the charger and fridge. I wasnt happy with the location under the sink for the original fridge power point.
So now the wall has been detailed and repaired. things have been reglued, edges have been panel beat. Its now officially time to re-sheet the wall with cladding. Wish us luck!
Last Edit: Jan 22, 2018 22:25:16 GMT 10 by dean1531
So Grandad, I did attempt to do this van one wall at a time. This piqued your interest.. well sir, you were right in fully deconstructing pumpkin. We got a good look at the ceiling in frankie, its shagged and going to be replaced. roof off, all off.. heck may as well replace the floor while we're at it!
The retiree has been hard at it this last week.. Ive popped by after work a few times to help.. but he seems happier to potter away on his own at his own pace.
That last photo looks like one of those "Before" shots where the "After" shot reveals a disaster. I trust all ended well. I couldn't have hoped for a better follow up thread on the reconstruction of a Franklin of this era.
Keep it up.
What adhesive did your Dad end up using on the wall panels? Is he happy with it?
BTW...."Pottering" is time honoured way of working that may well be lost on the next generation. It's truly amazing how much gets done if you leave an old fart alone with his tools.
Usually when people pull a van apart to the extent that yours is, we like to advise them to put dedicated 12v earth wires in to each and every 12v light fitting, if the manufacturer hasn't already done so. Too often, manufacturers just ran an earth wire to the nearest light from the tow coupling, and then relied on the cladding to provide the earth to all the other lights. Over time, corrosion means loss of earth contact, and some or all of the lights can get 'dicky'. A dedicated earth wire will prevent that happening.
All the earth wires are daisy-chained back to the one wire that's fitted into the connector plug. And a little side-story to illustrate the things that can catch you out...At the 2012 Vintage Nationals at Cowra, a 1974 Franklin Regent had problems with the rear lights not working (...just as the owner was hooking up to leave). A check of the wiring finally revealed there was actually NO earth wire into the tow plug, and that the earth was actually done through the safety chains. The problem was that the owner was trying to check the lights before he'd connected the safety chains (not realising he had to), which led to a few hours of head-scratching and hair-tearing by a number of us bystanders. During the frustration, the owner ended up driving into town to an auto electrician, to get him to come and see what might be wrong. The auto fella was the one who suggested to connect the chains, and voila!!
Gday All. So Me and the Retiree have been busy! Well, he has no job, This project is more of a hobby I suppose
Overhead cupboards have all been rebuilt. Mainly due to them being recladded, and me not wanting to waste time salvaging all the old timbers. The ceiling has been replaced. It was completely stuffed around the edges.. We discovered that it was in fact poly foam sandwiched in between ply sheeting. We replaced it with solid ply instead, I feel this will have enough insulative properties. Seeing as how we did the walls and roof, I decided it was also time to do the floor as well. It wasnt too bad, but this van is never coming apart again.. we used 10mm marine ply and ten million rivets.
Hoping we got this skylight hole in the right spot! Fingers crossed!
New cupboards sitting in place, white lining and light grey ceiling.
Chassis is in really good nick, I went around with a fresh coat of rust guard though.
Bracing ready for the assembly!
So now we have the walls, roof and floor finished. Wednesday 21st is assembly day! We will be attaching the walls, and sitting the ceiling in. then on thursday the retiree will be fitting the window frames fore and aft. wish us luck!
Gday All So much has happened to my Frankie of late, I thought It time for an update.
Seeing as how we were doing the walls and roof, I decided to bight the bullet and do the floor as well. WE popped it all back together carefully, Refurbished walls, new floor, mudguards resealed, new window frames throughout, new roof. The roof was originally foam sandwich with thin ply top and bottom, with a framework of sorts in certain areas around the hole. This was going to be too difficult to replicate, so we made it out of solid plywood. The skylight hasnt been used in this van for years, so its great to see it finally reinstated!
Now forgive me for not being a purist, But I didnt really care for the light fittings from original. Im keeping the oyster light on the outside for appearances, but inside I opted for these LED lights. As you can see, we rebuilt the overhead cupboards. I spent time and reused some of the timbers here even though it would have been quicker to just use new stuff. There is something about reusing an old bit of timber thats had a curve set into it for many years that makes me feel good.
The skylight is now sealed, Just have to line the sides with panelling
Today we got out the mastic guns and went nuts sealing the windows back in. We used selleys butyl mastic to do this. The original sealant was hard as a rock the windows simply fell out once unscrewed. We have new perspex ready and waiting to go in too. Forgive the embarrasingly large window on the left hand side. This was a bastardisation done by a previous philistine. Im going to run with it as it is too hard to rectify.
New Table mount, Im installing a 200W solar panel on the roof with one or two big batteries under the front seats. these will power the LED lights, and two of these 4gang USB points. There are just so many of our devices need charging these days such as torches, phones, gps etc.. no more fighting for the point! I got these out of the USA. they are 12V 2.1A at each slot. NOT easy to find.
The front seats are almost ready to put back in, Next job will be laying the new floor (vynil planks) then the furniture can go back in.
This has certainly been a big job so far. IT is nearly complete! I will post some more photos as we go. The Retiree has really done me proud, with only a few minor hilarious stuff ups. Today he traced and cut out the kitchen cabinet front in reverse, stuffing it totally. poor bugger felt bad!
Oh, and the Chassis number does indeed have 4 diggits. "2553" welded onto it. Dont tell me that its a 53 model?
Last Edit: Mar 11, 2018 7:41:51 GMT 10 by dean1531
I'll add my congratulations for a great effort by the 'retiree' and his helpers. Your photos show you guys certainly have a good understanding of what you want the van to finally look like.
I'd like to see a close-up photo of the 2553 chassis number you are seeing on the van, if that's possible. I still think there should be more to it than what you are seeing... mainly a hyphen followed by one number.
Next Instalment! The Kitchen is reclad and reinstalled, Vynil self adhesive planks installed on the floor. I know some people say the vynil flooring lifts off, I thought Id give it a go. We laid them as per manufacturers instructions, and wedged them in hard against the walls so that should stop them from expanding and contracting.
We remade the bed base 100mm taller than original, We are all tall people and the new sitting height is much better. There is also more storage underneath now, we may put a door hatch on the face one day, but will stick with the top entry to this space for now.
The original wardrobe beside the main door was both too bulky and impractical for our needs. We won't be hanging clothes in there ever, they can be hung in the car if need be. So we remade a new cupboard to better utilise the space and open up space a bit more.
This weekend we finally got the ally edging and so began sealing all of the exterior edges. The front perspex windows were fiddly, We put in many bits of ally and heaps of butyl mastic. Hard to decribe, but we have improved its chances of staying sealed significantly than from new. One lesson learned the hard way, perspex needs to be drilled in low speed. we did crack one corner.. I decided to use the slightly damaged window for now, you can hardly see it.
One last arrival from new zealand.. I found this by accident and had to buy it.
Getting there! Still have quite the list of things to do.. It feels never-ending, Coming up soon I'm going to teach myself how to paint with 2pac! Oh and I finally got a good look at the draw bar. IT reads 2553- 2 or 3 (weld has been ground) Still tho gives me a better ballpark on its year! Might clear things up a bit when I detail the draw bar.