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Old 27-05-2020   #436
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Re: Bluebell the 900e Amigo

Quote Originally Posted by fiat500 View Post
..not tried that but we two reasonably slim people...I think so.
I was thinking more in terms of length rather than width, the mattress appears to be curved up at one end. Would your head/feet end up touching the canvas... memories of some very soggy camping trips.

Quote Originally Posted by fiat500 View Post
There may be some cantilevered support from the canvas top if fitted taughtly.
I suspect if the roof canvas does offer some support it will put extra strain on the gas struts. A couple of props does seem like a good idea, maybe attach them between the extended bed and the lower part of the van. That way you will always have a fixed distance and not have to worry about uneven or soft ground.
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Old 29-05-2020   #437
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Re: Bluebell the 900e Amigo

Quote Originally Posted by Gary50 View Post
Would your head/feet end up touching the canvas... memories of some very soggy camping trips.
I'm getting closer to being able to find out whether or not it's possible to lie down comfortably because I finally got a myriad of small jobs done that needed doing before the canvas could be fitted. This has been sitting, rolled-up, in the spare bedroom for the last 18 months.

Today it was warm and with no wind, which was perfect for unwrapping the vinyl and offering it up to the roof. So far it is proving to be really accurately made and easier to fit than I expected. It's just tacked to the upper roof at the moment using woodscrews through wooden battens pushed into stitched sleeves in the fabric. OnceI have secured it to the metal stretcher bars I will refit the struts and tension everything. It's already feeling more like a rolling home.....I am just praying for no rain or wind tonight.
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Old 30-05-2020   #438
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Re: Bluebell the 900e Amigo

Love the stripes.
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Old 31-05-2020   #439
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Re: Bluebell the 900e Amigo

This is such a massive piece of canvas that it's taking ages to align all the seams. I've refitted the struts and was relieved when the thing then sprang up to full height without any issues.

It's been a really hot day which has helped the vinyl to fall into shape and I've started riveting the cover to its frame. The final stage is to secure it to the lower roof which will takes out the huge sagging portion underneath.

I'm pretty sure that it's never going to be ultra-taut because the intermediate support is pretty flimsy, but it's certainly going to be quite noticeable on a campsite.
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Old 01-06-2020   #440
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Re: Bluebell the 900e Amigo

Quote Originally Posted by fiat500 View Post
but it's certainly going to be quite noticeable on a campsite.
- great if you are at a festival etc.

Out of interest, do you have any wind-down stabilisers (like those fitted to caravans) to stop the van rocking? With all the weight up top I suspect it will get a little rocky when the wind blows.
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Old 03-06-2020   #441
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Re: Bluebell the 900e Amigo

Quote Originally Posted by Gary50 View Post
- great if you are at a festival etc.

Out of interest, do you have any wind-down stabilisers (like those fitted to caravans) to stop the van rocking? With all the weight up top I suspect it will get a little rocky when the wind blows.
No stabilisers.

Anyhow, I've made my best effort and finished the roof now. I would have been happier to see it a bit more taut but the mechanics of the thing just don't give much possibility of that. But it's tidy enough and looks like a factory-finished item inside. In fact, because I've been using better materials and fixings than original, with stainless-steel screws and bolts and plusher vinyl and fabric, I think it's better than original.

Whilst the basic framework is as found, everything else is new, even down to the ball-bearings in the sliders, so the whole thing feels and smell likes new. I've got it all working properly now and this has stopped the sliders from being a bit wobbly. Now the sleeping baseboards are in it's all gone nicely rigid. I tested the fit of a full(ish) sized adult and it's not a huge bed but big enough. The fibreglass roof curve provides the headboard where your pillow probably ends up and that gives a bit more room.

I'm very pleased with it and with myself as this has been a huge undertaking; but it has been much more enjoyable than I expected and makes a change from welding and painting.

Next target is to finish the trim of the passenger compartment. I have some new, thicker vinyl and also need to varnish the back of the trim-boards and glue them in as an addition to the screws in order to stop them from warping as they did last winter. There's also the small matter of a sunroof to fit.

To answer an earlier question from @Gary50, today I noticed the heater does have a tiddly little fan built in.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #442
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Re: Bluebell the 900e Amigo

It's been raining all day so I decided it was the right time to refurbish the windows. I use such a big name for this because they are were in a right state. Absolutely filthy and covered in paint speckles. The worst of them is heavily marked with spatter from a grinder or welder (not mine!!!) and ideally needs replacing. Luckily, the heated rear screen ( remember, you can't see through it because of the kitchen units ) looks undamaged.

The sliding window must originally have been custom-made for these vans which will have had the window-openings cut out by the motorhome constructor from a panel-van. Amazingly, the specialist manufacturer is still listed as operating from a base in Birmingham, but I don't hold out much hope of finding a spare locking-catch still available. It's from the days when things were really well made by hand and with the removal of some 3mm rivets and a bit of manipulation, it all came apart very easily. This allowed me to clean all the grooves and seals and make it almost like new. The seals were in excellent condition, which was obviously a great advantage.

So I would now appreciate if anyone has a fixed side window or catch going spare although I suspect I will just have to get the glass specially cut.

Typically, although I'm now ready to put the windows back in because the rubber seals have arrived very promptly, I first need to re-cover the window surrounds with some thicker vinyl and that might first mean cutting another set of surrounds from 3mm marine ply; we'll see.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #443
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Re: Bluebell the 900e Amigo

I finally got round to fitting a some windows. I've done a few before, including the windscreen on my 500 and they've all been easier than the Amigo. The difficulties are partly because I've not used this type of seal with an infill strip before, the window openings aren't all exactly the same and are uneven as they were cut by hand and not at the Fiat factory and mostly it's hard because I also have to accommodate a turn-up of the internal window-surround vinyl.

But after a few hours' struggle I have three windows fitted. I have a big tub of water-based lubricant used for slipping drainage-pipes together and I found a generous wipe with that was a great help. I have to say, this type of window-seal is very positive and I don't expect any leaks.

The internal vinyl has been rucked up by fitting the windows and isn't as neat as I hoped it would and I may be able to do some tweaks. But I will have to accept that trying to get fairly non-stretch vinyl to do compound curves is not easy for anyone including the original manufacturers.

I've also fitted the sunroof with a generous bead of PU sealant. This hinges open and creates a really nice interior and allows excellent ventilation above the cooking area. It was a very long-winded item to renovate as I couldn't remove the glass and needed to strip and paint complicated pressings of steel and aluminium. The roof has become a bit grubby over the last few weeks having gathered a patina of pollen and dust; but it will shine up nicely when I'm finished.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #444
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Re: Bluebell the 900e Amigo

Looking good.
I'm assuming that you have already done/thought of this... make sure you squeeze a bit of sealer between the window rubber joins (looks like yours are in the middle at the bottom, as are the ones on Connie). This will make sure that you don't get any water leaks/traps to rust your window opening and/or stain your nice new interior.

I wasn't sure about fitting a sunroof to Connie (she already has a standard caravan roof vent) however, your comment about providing ventilation above the cooker makes good sense - adding fit sunroof to my to do list.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #445
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Re: Bluebell the 900e Amigo

Quote Originally Posted by Gary50 View Post
..... make sure you squeeze a bit of sealer between the window rubber joins (looks like yours are in the middle at the bottom, as are the ones on Connie).
I followed some advice about fitting VW windows in non-factory conversions, which is basically the same as the Amigo. That was to make the join for the seal at the top and then the join for the filler strip at the bottom.

I have a tube of window-sealant at the ready but considered that using it at installation would be the last straw in terms of the challenge and it would end up everywhere. The dimensions of the rubber I used ended up being probably at the maximum the window opening could tolerate with respect to the thickness of the central part of the "H" of the rubber. I was also taking it around a radius far in excess of design. Consequently , once the filler-strip was installed it created a very tight seal. I doubt it will leak although I remember when fitting double-glazed units in the house, the bottom corners had to be given a bead of sealant despite the hi-tech rubbers they use, so only time will tell.

On the back burner I've started on the winding windows and the quarter-lights. The frames to the latter have a familiar look of decay after being steeped in a phosphoric acid solution for a few days and this also removed the black paint from the aluminium channel. So I'm not sure whether to simply paint with epoxy and live with it as it's covered in rubber when assembled, to weld it up properly or to fibreglass. I need to find the latches so they can be re-bonded to the glass and get hold of new winding mechanisms and bottom channels for the glass.

The internals are really getting there now and as it's raining today I will make up the last of the window surrounds and side-panels; so maybe more here later.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #446
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Re: Bluebell the 900e Amigo

Your quarter light frames look in reasonably good shape - one of mine had almost dissolved at the bottom but there was just enough left to attach a strip of new metal to give it strength.

I managed to get hold of new (expensive) quarter light rubbers which happily cover the frame so didn't need to make the repair pretty - they were a pig to fit though as there was very little give in the new rubber (and still leak).

The problem I've got now is bonding the spindles to the glass. I've tried various adhesives in the past (as did the previous owner) but none of them lasted and the glass kept falling out (I've taken a pattern of the glass in case it happens again and I'm not as lucky to keep them in one piece.)

At the moment I have a temporary fix using Gorilla tape - this works as long as you don't try to open the quarter light. I've bought some two-pack adhesive which is supposed to work well with metal to glass bonding. The problem is trying to work out how to clamp everything in place while the glue sets overnight.

Ideally, I want to replace the spindles with ones with a 'U' shape channel that allows the glass to slide in and will be gripped from both sides - probably using a grub screw on the inside to lock them in place.

Thinking back to my school metal work classes making them shouldn't be difficult - providing you have a lathe and milling machine (as much as I would love to have them I can't justify them for one job - especially as we are moving house soon).

I'd be very interested to see what solution you come up with... or if someone else has already mastered this please share.
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