DIY Truck Camper Renovation
Vintage 1970 Avion C11 to Home on Wheels
In the spring of 2017, we acquire a vintage 1970 Avion Ultra Truck Camper. While the exterior is in remarkably good condition after a near half century of use, the interior is full of bugs, rot, and an aesthetic ready for updating.
Remodeling The Avion
Gutting, Building, & Interior Design
The Avion is a beautiful rig. Yet, despite the love of previous owners, our Avion is 47 years old when we purchase it and showing its age. The jacks are broken, structurally critical portions of plywood are rotted through, and the bed is so unstable that we are disinclined to put our weight onto it.
So, we strip and replace every piece of wood with a fiberglass foam composite. We tear out the inner walls, chip out the aging insulation, and reinforce the original camper ribs. We convert the sleeping area from an east west full-sized bed to a north south queen by extending the cabover by 18-inches. We introduce a roof hatch for light, ventilation, and roof access. And there is so much more in the works. Read on for detailed articles on each stage of our remodel. It is a long, extensively researched, and meticulous process. And we have documented every step.
Rebuilding the Avion took a lot of preliminary research. As programmers, we brought little experience in building to the table but well honed research skills. What materials to resource, what tools to acquire, and what techniques to use where all subject to what we learned from researching other people's builds and related techniques. We weren't interested in doing what everyone else had done but in understanding WHY certain choices were made to cross check against the benefits and limitations of alternate approaches. From this, we deviated from traditional plywood construction, AGM golf cart batteries, generators, and other common choices in favor of fiberglass-foam composite boards, lithium batteries, and focusing on solar and the truck alternator for power. We go into more detail with the following posts.
There is something so relieving in closing a question. Whatever the solution may be, to just take any options off the table and proceed down that single, prescripted path is liberating. We spent years considering camper options. A cheap new camper? A custom pop up? A rugged specialty off-road rig? There were so many options that we wasted hours upon hours discussing and stepping through what it would take for each to serve our needs. In the end, we wanted an adventure and, when the opportunity arose, we took it—partially out of a love for the design, and partially in a desperate need to stop looking and start doing.