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Modifying a Rear Entry Dandy for 'High Sides'?

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ChrisP

Posts : 91
Join date : 2012-04-01

Modifying a Rear Entry Dandy for 'High Sides'?

Post by ChrisP on Fri 29 Aug 2014, 6:31 pm

I will be stripping my 4/5 back to the frame this winter. The main reasons are to replace sagging suspension, replace warped floor with very unpleasant carpet glued on, fit internal 240 electrics, replace internal 12v electrics and replace towing electrics (currently using a lighting board as at any given time a random selection of lights will not work).

While looking at the pictures in the 'Suspension for a Dandy Five' thread, I wondered whether replacing all the vertical steel with longer sections to make a 'High Sided' conversion would be possible. I would have to make a new lower door and section at the front , but the old door is rotten anyway. As the hinge mounting points would all rise, everything above the hinges would just rise as well and would not require any adjustment to the PVC.

It would allow a modified kitchen with a permanently fitted caravan fridge. I could also get a lot more inside the Dandy rather than in my car and dispense with a roof-box. Especially as the current portable fridge takes up nearly half the boot. Since I will be fitting 750Kg suspension units, I will not be overloading when I put the extra stuff in.

I suspect with all the other work to do, this will not happen, but I wondered if anyone else had attempted it? Searching for 'High Sided' just retrieved posts about the Destiny model. I used to have one and while I decided it was too big, the fridge was convenient!

navver

Posts : 995
Join date : 2013-01-03

Re: Modifying a Rear Entry Dandy for 'High Sides'?

Post by navver on Fri 29 Aug 2014, 8:01 pm

Interesting...........

You would need to be careful with the bed heights. When a settee, the height above floor need to remain about the same. On the destiny, the hinge arrangement is different allowing the beds to drop when unfolded but be high when folded. On rear entry the beds are both different heights as they fold over each other.

The geometry needs to be perfect when open so that the PVC lines up properly. I reckon the beds need to stay at their current height but go about a foot higher when folded.

The fridge would be at the front and the vents would take a lot of driving rain when towing. They are always in the side on caravans and destiny so not a problem normally. Lower vent would be in the gas locker. perhaps you could turn the whole tub round.
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ChrisP

Posts : 91
Join date : 2012-04-01

I just assumed that I would lose the settee option

Post by ChrisP on Fri 29 Aug 2014, 8:42 pm

I assumed that I would would sacrifice the settee function. With the extra height, I suppose I could make the box for the 1/2 bed higher and add a back cushion and sit on the other side. I find the settee a bit low and the lip that makes the bed hinge gets uncomfortable after a while.

I had not really thought about the vents getting drenched though. I am mostly on a hookup, its probably only twice a year that I am somewhere where I run the fridge on gas. I could install a 2-way and for those two trips, I could just use my existing fridge, or even just make do without the fridge.

Although when I had the Destiny not having to carry the fridge between house car and Dandy was good., crawling in through the lower half of the door to load it before travelling was not so much fun. Also once other stuff was loaded, access to the fridge was blocked. With the 3-way in the car, we can put our travel butties on top of our chilled food and keep them cool too.
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Tow Itch
Dandy Expert

Posts : 3175
Join date : 2011-06-20
Location : Leigh Gtr Manchester

Re: Modifying a Rear Entry Dandy for 'High Sides'?

Post by Tow Itch on Sat 30 Aug 2014, 7:14 pm

ChrisP wrote:I assumed that I would would sacrifice the settee function. With the extra height, I suppose I could make the box for the 1/2 bed higher and add a back cushion and sit on the other side. I find the settee a bit low and the lip that makes the bed hinge gets uncomfortable after a while.

I had not really thought about the vents getting drenched though. I am mostly on a hookup, its probably only twice a year that I am somewhere where I run the fridge on gas. I could install a 2-way and for those two trips, I could just use my existing fridge, or even just make do without the fridge.


I thought this was a really original idea and thought through some issues but didn't consider the seat as a problem. I have a Designer where someone boxed in the wheel arch on the bed side to allow a transit for cables between the front and rear seat boxes. Admittedly a foot high box say six inches deep might look odd but it could be hinged to provide storage and it does stop the perennial issue of stepped on wheel arches denting.
Agree with you about the lip being uncomfortable. As you're rebuilding everything you could look at a later Dandy to see if you could fashion the post 95 method of hinging the bed?

Three way fridge: A hinged or pocketed cover for travel and not cool en route? A hinged or pocketed cover that was say 2" deep with no top or bottom to deflect air. How big a gap do the vents need? A permanent cover with a 2" or 21/2" gap. A redesigned gas box that terminates 21/2" from the body.

Do the removeable pin trick for the door.
I guess even though you are relatively young you could look at gas struts for the beds as they are a pain when hinging higher up.
The real stumbling block is the awning you'd need to get it lengthened both the PVC and 3 longer metal poles. (2 actually the centre would do one of the sides)  I'd suggest zip out sides because of the extra weight. You would also need to pack a set of steps because of the height)

Why not phone Ian saying you need to rebuild your Dandy and see if he sees any reason why you shouldn't increase the height. He might be able to advise on the bed hinges.

Certainly Dandys have been completely rebuilt Cazz, Wayne and I looked at one near Bolton in 2011. [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]  
This really does need to be seen.

It,s a 4/5 as stated.

The roof, the front and back walls the suspension units and the hitch are probably the only original major components.
The new PVC walls are a light grey blue.
The inside is a lot tidier than the pictures suggest there are some nicks in the vinyl upholstered bars at the side of the beds, but generally quite tidy. The beds and the pad for the top of the storage box have been re upholstered, unfortunately it was probably a better colour match when the PVC was brown. The transfer material on the tub walls is not scraped. The "Rub Off" of the paint on the metal spar on the right is from movement in transit of the kitchen unit.
Sorry the bed bases and walls to the side of are original but have been painted
The major strength of this unit is that the whole of the tub has been re built.
Not just the woodwork but the steel as well. This new chassis also being in 3mm walled steel not 1.5mm? (1.6? original tube wall
thickness) This looks to have been painted with smothrite.
The rear light clusters are also new.
In many ways what you are buying is a new unit.
Downsides. Not the best colour combination of cream and brown tub sides, deep burgundy doors (painted) and blue grey PVC sides.
Suspension and brakes: While no point in replacing functional units. these must be at least 30 years old, for this must be a very early 4/5 as it still has rod brakes. If the primary advantage of the unit is it's perceived longevity then what happens when the most likely units to fail do so? Going with a new hitch and going to unbraked units is one option. I'm not sure if the backplates can be grafted onto a stub axle? Also when the units are replaced it will be a grind off weld on or weld on studded plates, because as per original these suspension units are welded on.
Woodwork: If spending so much on steelwork why re fit with OSB board rather than ply?. Painting on side could do with a clear sealer soon before deterioration.
Electrics a RCD fitted with twin double sockets. Believed to be working but not tested by myself. No hook up cable as non was supplied with their new Dandy. No 12v fitments.
Cooker a very tidy free standing unit that will I think fit on the plinth within the Dandy. I didn't test this.
The owners preferred to cook in the awning or outside.
Awning. The awning was not offered with the Dandy it would be available separately. Whether that mean that the price would be reviewed sympathetically on sale to you or not I don't know. I do know I'd negotiate before bidding on the Dandy. He sold a separate awning a short while ago and stated he got £175 quite quickly. To be fair there was an issue why he might want to sell separately. He stated that there always appeared to be surplus PVC at the side of the awning when joined to the Dandy, I don't know if this is common with full width awnings or not?
To summarise this Dandy is unique, that is both it's largest positive and biggest negative. In my own deeply sexist manner I believe it will preclude most sales where a female has part of the purchase decision. After you have purchased a decent hook up cable your deep into £700 or £750 plus territory. You could have all sorts of Brown Dandys for that money with gas heaters possibly winterised. If your lucky you might pick up a blue for less than £100 more? Now with regards to solidity this rebuilt may well be the better package.
For someone this is a cracking unit, it's just finding the right someone.
That's life you will pay your money and no doubt make the wrong choice.
Quote from [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

Obviously we would love pictures if you go ahead with this but please keep us up to date whatever you decide. we may be able to help if you think you have hit insurmountable problems.

navver

Posts : 995
Join date : 2013-01-03

Re: Modifying a Rear Entry Dandy for 'High Sides'?

Post by navver on Sat 30 Aug 2014, 10:39 pm

Good point Mr Hitch. I would not want to buy a heavily modified Dandy unless it really did suit my purpose well. I would want a settee, it is a major good point for me. What else could we sit on as we don't have an awning.

I like having a removable chest fridge we can take in the car. It makes packing and unpacking much easier. I would like a built in one when we are in it though but not if it makes packing and unpacking much harder.

I would look at what you really are trying to achieve and keep it as simple as possible bearing in mind any return on investment you may want unless you are going to keep it for s long time. Or just buy a high-side destiny.

More storage can be added on top with perhaps a hinged frame to hold it and a deeper cover. Would be easily accessible for packing too. I have a designer and although I would like more room inside, I really like the ease of storage, towing and assembling.
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Tow Itch
Dandy Expert

Posts : 3175
Join date : 2011-06-20
Location : Leigh Gtr Manchester

Re: Modifying a Rear Entry Dandy for 'High Sides'?

Post by Tow Itch on Sun 31 Aug 2014, 8:59 pm

I would look at what you really are trying to achieve and keep it as simple as possible bearing in mind any return on investment you may want unless you are going to keep it for s long time. Or just buy a high-side destiny.

I suppose if I put my sensible head on I'd have to agree with this but in ChrisP's case we are in the unusual situation where he will have to rebuild the Dandy anyway. Cost differences should be minimal. A bit more structural steel and new skinning but It might have wanted new skinning anyway. The cost is in the labour which is his or his Dad's. I'm not doing it though so it's easy for me to comment.


The cost is in the labour which is his or his Dad's.
Sorry getting ChrisP's rebuild mixed up with petethebeer's one.

Odd to get two warped floors in close succession.
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ChrisP

Posts : 91
Join date : 2012-04-01

Thoughts after a weekend away

Post by ChrisP on Wed 03 Sep 2014, 6:35 pm

I have just come back from a long weekend in the Dandy and spent some time thinking about what I would really want and also how much time I have available to get it done over the winter and ready to use for next Easter.

I think this is just one mod too far in terms of time and complexity.

When I get started, I will start a new thread as a record of the rebuild process. Hopefully the photos will prove useful.

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Tow Itch
Dandy Expert

Posts : 3175
Join date : 2011-06-20
Location : Leigh Gtr Manchester

Re: Modifying a Rear Entry Dandy for 'High Sides'?

Post by Tow Itch on Wed 03 Sep 2014, 8:12 pm

We will wait with interest.
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ChrisP

Posts : 91
Join date : 2012-04-01

Repairs on hold.......

Post by ChrisP on Tue 27 Jan 2015, 9:16 pm

My Dandy strip and restore is on hold, as my wife decided that the master bedroom needs it more than the Dandy. It is no more lopsided than it was when I first got it, so it will do another season.

The trouble with doing this over the winter is I will have to do most of it in the evenings rather than weekends. While the garage is dry, it is still very cold. However, if I work over the summer when it is pleasantly warm, then I will not be able to use the Dandy....

I plan to keep my current Dandy in service and get another old one to restore. Once the restoration is complete, the current one can go on ebay to be someone else's project.

Another reason for the change is to allow me to open the Dandy at home. We have all left stuff in after a trip that we can't get at without partially erecting the unit again.  My garage is at the rear of the house and even with a double side door, I cannot get a 4/5 out of the garage into an area big enough to open it. If I roll it out the main garage door it is straight onto a public area, so not ideal. If I get a 4 (we do weekends mostly and there are just three of us on a full trip, more often just two). This will go up the side of the garden and I can reclaim the garage for parking a car.

The key feature I am looking for is good condition PVC, preferably insulated both sides. My current one is insulated on the bed side, but not the settee side. Not only is the un-insulated side cold, the material is a lot weaker and the clear 'windows' seem to cloud up on storage and clear after 2 days in the sun. An underfloor heater would also be nice! Pretty much everything else is fixable.

Now I just have to wait for spring and sales to start up again.......and finish the bedroom....

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