Saturday, April 16, 2011

Travco Bones

Travcos were unique in their times in many ways and one was the structure of the body.  They were built on a Dodge Motorhome Chassis,  Harvee is a M-400.  Side members and cross members, a bulkhead and braces for the raised cockpit floor and some lower storage compartments, were all welded in.  Then the curve shaped ribs were welded together with horizontal ribs.  After that, the two halves of the body were connected with a seam running the full length down the center and fastened to the structure with fiberglass and foam.   This makes for a very strong unitized body.... Until it rusts!!!

Driver side bulkhead, notice how it has broke away. 

step and bulkhead at door

Well, Harvee has been diagnosed with Bone Cancer.   His prognosis is good with an outlook of a nearly rust free future!  He will undergo several surgeries and months of intense treatment.  The only way to deal with rust is cut it out,  Completely!  I won't patch anything structural, if its rusty, its gone!

Turning the corner with th first new panels welded in. The step, side members and 2 ft of body rail.
I have the body supported so I could cut out the bad metal and weld in new sections.    You will see in these pics that there is not much left original except the chassis itself and that is solid.  Also note that the panels that are being welded in look "used"  That is because a friend and I bent them from salvage 14 ga. sheet.   It will clean up nice and be painted with Por15 product.   I like to re-use.  Not so much because I think green, more like I lack the green!  Ok, and it makes me feel good too!

Body jacked up and Nasties all cut out.

New bulkhead and side members welded in!
The bulkhead was the worst part of the rust on this project.  There is still alot to do with the side members and the understorage boxes.  I am doing a little redesign with the storage compartments, more on that later.
Door back in

1 comment: