Nigel DonnellySee other Blog articles filed in ‘Our fleet’ written by Nigel Donnelly
THERE WAS STILL some clearing up to do on the floor of the Elddis before a nice bit of fresh vinyl could be laid over the top.
Mainly, it was pulling up tufts of carpet stuck under the corners of the lockers. Teasing out the scraggy bits which 28 years of the wear had welded to the cabinetwork, without removing lumps of furniture at the same time was boring, fiddly work and I shan't bore you with further details. If you are really keen, there are some details here.
This boring photo is not as boring as the job of clearing the snags of carpet
While cleaning up the floor, I decided that I wanted to 'de-spec' a little. Elddis fitted its GT range with retractable metal steps in 1984 and I've no doubt that in the days of Deely Bobbers, they were just the ticket. Now, I'm not so sure. They make sense on a motorhome, where the height off the floor and convenience of a fixed step are essential. On a caravan however, the distance to the floor is not that great and the caravan tends to stop in one place for a few days at a time. That means popping a step out is not really an issue.
Fixing a step to the van itself also means the van moves every time someone steps on. Particularly if that someone is as luxuriously upholstered as myself. The way the little Elddis creaked and groaned when the step was put to use made me wince. And regardless of how well pitched it was, using it rattled teacups, spilled drinks and generally makes being in the van less nice than it might otherwise be. Factor in a 5kg weight penalty that carrying it around entails, and clearly it was heading for the skip.
Removing the step looked pretty straightforward. It was bolted through the floor of the van using four dome-headed coachbolts.
The four dome-headed bolts run straight through the floor of the van
More in hope than expectation, I popped a socket onto one of the nuts under the van. Despite lashings of penetrating oil, it was obvious it didn't want to let go. On an old car, you'd grab the blowlamp and give the bolts a bit of a toasting to free them up. With so much plywood and polystyrene around however, I decided to go with power and reached for the drill. I ran a 6mm HSS drill through the top of each bolt.
The heat of the drilling caused the floor to smoulder. A splash of water sorted it
The whiff of smouldering ply briefly alarmed me, but a few squirts of water into breached bolt heads was sufficient to cool the red-hot bolts and becalm the smoking floor. A little leverage of the drilled out bolt heads saw them give up and the step dropped onto the floor with clang.
Step is now in the skip and the van is nearly five kilos lighter.
I left the floor to dry out before sweeping up the swarf and vacuuming the van floor. The next job is to seal and flatten the holes ready for a nice new piece of vinyl to lie over the top and smarten up the tired interior. It will be nice to add something, rather than keep ripping bits out...