DOUG KING HAS been working hard for the last two years on and off, to bring our 1984 Elddis Whirlwind GT into touring trim.
[tl:gallery size=460×343]Elddis being towed by our Mondeo heading back from Dr. Doug’s surgery
I acquired the Elddis as a part-exchange. Our previous project van, an Avondale Wren was advertised in Practical Caravan magazine once completed and the first person who came to view brought the Elddis along as part-payment. A deal was done and we got a poorly Elddis and £600 to put towards the refurb.
Over the two years of ownership, Doug has completed a lot of work on the van at V&G Caravans workshops in Whittlesey, Cambridgeshire. Both the space heater and water heater were beyond help. A new Whale inboard space heater has been installed, while a second-hand Carver Cascade 2 was fitted in place of the frost-damaged Morco original.
A new Dometic fridge has also been added as the Waeco one which was installed was a free-standing unit designed for an awning and did not have the correct fittings for interior installation. Other than that, a battery charger, mains unit and a Mini-Heki have all been added too.
With Doug taking charge of all the heavy lifting work, it left me with a caravan where everything works, but it is not quite ready to hit the touring field. The leaking rooflight has left the carpet looking (and smelling) pretty grim and a lot of the locker doors look a bit sad. The worktop edging strips have pulled away, there are holes in cabinets where the old control boxes used to sit and while the cushions are all in very good condition, the curtains are frankly, horrible. Externally, there are a few preventative bits of resealing to attend to, some broken window catches but basically it is just a massive cleaning operation outside.
The internal work has already started. First up, I’ve started pulling out the old carpet. In the doorway is a very scabby bit of lino, and this joins the carpet with a lump of domestic carpet threshold strip. The rest of the interior is fitted brown carpet with an embossed pattern, and a few embossed stains for good measure.
Old lino flooring is scabby looking and makes the inside look very sore
I removed the threshold strip with a stubby Philips screwdriver, but twenty five years of foot traffic meant the foam-backed carpet was reluctant to let go of the floor. A bit of persuasion with a flat scraper lifted the carpet, and revealed the lino went under the kitchen cabinet, while the carpet goes under the wardrobe. Rather than removing the lino, I ran a trimming knife along the floor edge to cut the lino for removal. This revealed a beautifully clean plywood floor which needs little preparation for a new floor covering.
[tl:gallery size=458×305]Old carpet is laid under the furniture, so care is required to avoid damaging it
As for the rest of the caravan, removing the carpet was a swine of a job. I ended up cutting the carpet into smaller sections, cutting along the cabinet edges and trying to remove the carpet. It was slow, painful work. The trimming knife struggled with the carpet and the harsh synthetic fibres are very hard on your skin. By the time the bulk of the carpet was trimmed away, the van looked far brighter and cleaner inside and with the damp-afflicted flooring in the bin, it immediately smelt better too.
My plan is to cover the whole floor in vinyl, and then get a couple of loose lay carpet sections to sit on top, as you get in a modern tourer. A remnant piece of vinyl should cost no more than £40, although having small sections of carpet whipped will mean the total cost for that will nudge £150. In terms of the improvement it will make, I’m confident it will be money well spent.