Back in the UK and sufficiently recovered from my jet lag, I joined Nick to lavish some more attention on Squiffy, and in particular on her roof. With her shiney new roof struts installed the problem was no longer how to lift the roof up, but how to keep it down!
In her past life, Squiffy probably had two roof clamps but one had long since fallen off and the one remaining clamp was in a rather sorry state.
Removing the old clamp and catches revealed a rather unsavoury mix of old paint and rust, so a quick lick of Hammerite paint was applied to the area to help protect the underlying metal.
Time then to fix the brand new clamps and catches that we took delivery of back in January and time to play with a new toy in the London2Sydney toolbox: the rivet gun!
This neat tool made a simple job of attaching the new clamps and catches, even if between us we didn’t make a simple job of putting them on in quite the right place at first…
However, two smart new padlockable clamps was a much more satisfying end result than one disintigrating old one, so we felt that our cup of tea at the end of the day was well deserved.
The roof looks much better since we attached the new seals and gas struts. Currently though, we only have one clamp (technical term: – an over-centre) holding the roof down.
Two clamps arrived from Protex today and I’ll hopefully be fitting these at the weekend. They’re much smaller than the one we already have (see comparison to CD case – my favourite CD currently – Dave Matthews solo album), but there isn’t a lot of tension for them to take. They’re exactly the same size as the over-centres on later VW Camper conversions such as the Devon Moonraker (c.1979). They are also padlockable, just in case a casual passer-by is feeling malicious enough to open up the roof, slit the canvas and climb in that way. There’s paranoia for you!
While attempting to get a good night’s sleep in one of Squiffy’s upstairs bunks, the last thing we’d want is for her pop-up roof to come crashing down on us. Unfortunately, Squiffy’s pop-up roof had managed to convince us of its potential as a death-trap, and so demanded our attention.
Once elevated, Squiffy’s roof was supposed to be held up by a pair of pneumatic struts, one at each end. The years had taken their toll, however, and the struts were, frankly, putting in a very poor effort. Even more worrying was the small wooden stake which had been installed to take over their role, and was not inspiring confidence.
So we installed two brand new struts in the hope that we could dispense with the wooden stake and enjoy stress-free kip throughout our journey.
It turned out that the new struts were so good and so hard to compress that they needed a good deal of coercion to get them to squeeze in under the roof. A stout piece of broom handle made a convenient prop while the back strut was forced in.
But the front strut proved to be a little more stubborn, calling for an ingenious application of man power…