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Author Topic: Bambi Buyers Guide updated  (Read 4449 times)
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slowcoach
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« on: February 09, 2011, 12:06:14 PM »

This guide was originally written a bit too quickly and hastily. I've improved the accessibility somewhat, however don't count me on the spell check.

Anyway, it's dedicated to the wonderful community of fans here and beyond. Hopefully the Nipper and romahome folks will find something useful here, too.

I soly put the guide together based on my own experience. Bambi's will all develop damp without resealing, especially over 20 years. I took the DIY option repairing, resealing and taking apart my Bambi. In doing so I have accumulated a wealth of knowledge that I want to put to good use.

As a buyer, you must accept that unfortunately there are thoses out there who will lie and decieve you, period. The real sociopaths will try and make you feel like you are the 'unreasonable' one by saying no or doubting them somehow. They will talk about their kids, need to get back to Australia, whatever. Honest people are an increasingly rare breed. General common sense also applies. Don't buy from car park. Check the V5 document matches the name and address you are buying from.

Beware sellers who appearing to be dealers yet they are not registered businesses, and those selling 'on behalf' of another person. Before I go any further I want to direct you to an online caravan buyers guide. It's got some excellent information on how to approach buying caravans. It's extremely applicable to Bambi's. See their step by step guide. http://www.caravanbuyersguide.co.uk/phonecall.html

Next, depending on your purchase price, say £3000, you might not need to be as thorough on your vehicle checks however it would still be a good idea as there are those out there who would still be prepared to do a 'higher' quality botch up job for a quick sale.

I must stress the importance of this one. If I were to again be a prospective bambi buyer, I would check all receipts and records of habitation checks done by motorhome and caravan repair companies, if possible. Follow them up too, and make sure they are legit.

Arrange to visit the bambi in question.

Get up to the vehicle and really spend time over your checks. Aim for 45 to 60 mins to get to know the vehicle. Do not rush this, if you feel rushed or pressured, WALK away fast.



Looks harmless enough, doesn't she!

VEHICLE

Before hopping into the cab, you will want to take a look under the front air intake and from under there you can gauge the rust situation. Then, move around to the wheel arches and importantly, the suspension struts as these do have a habit of rusting through. The struts are a structual area and will require welding fixing whatever if perforated. The wheel arches are not quite as significant however but if they are badly rusted over they will require replacements and that will work out to a 3 figure number including fitting and removal of old ones to the best of my knowledge.



This is worth checking out. This one was OK, supprisingly.

Next pull up the matt in the cab and check the floor and especially where the floor edge meets the front wall. If you see little specs of light shining through then there is a rust problem thats bigger then it seems. Easily fixed with welding yes but again expensive welders are not cheap and a small hole often has to be scraped away leaving a much bigger one.  

When buying a rusty vehicle remember that it will require a rust treatment job. This is a dirty, difficult job that will require a boiler suit as you will get covered in treatment. There are also millions of nocks and crannies underneith behind where the suspension is and the struts and a good level of mobility and physical agility will be required if you do it yourself. Ideally you will also scrape all the loose rust flakes away which is even more awkward. Bare this all in mind. If you dont mind sorting the rust and expect it then OK but take note if your not planning to buy a rusty vehicle then be thorough while doing your checks.

Follow all the usual common car sense advice about investigating service records, receipts, changes of filters, belts, points, oil, batteries etc. I strongly suggest a brake test is done, my cylinders had completely seized up and braking was very very poor indeed. As far as I am aware this is not uncommon especially at this age. Negligence to sort brakes before getting on the road seriously could very easily have fatal consequences. TEST DRIVE IT, period.

BAMBI

Bambi is a box that has been factory bolted to a pickup version of the Bedford rascal van. It was assembled using rather standard caravan construction methods of the period.  

Damp meter. Buy one, use it. If seller objects, then it is damp, period. Biggest enemy by far is damp. It is inevitable, and is caused by failure of mastic and sealants or panel damage. A good sealant will only last 10 or so years. Perhaps less. If it hasn't been resealed, it leaks. Period.

Credit must be given to Autohomes, as the wall panels are done quite well and damp can be out of sight and out of mind. By the time it's spotted and discovered, chances are it's too late to fix economically, in my opinion.

The most severe damage can be caused by water entering the side rail joins and rotting the UNTREATED original timbers that they are screwed onto underneith. The rubber strip that runs on top of the rails should be lifted and checked under, rusted screw heads will indicate this has happened, and chances are the timber baton frames are beyond repair. The vehicle should be considered for scrap unless a serious restoration project is intended.  

Autohomes cut some corners in the factory. The side panels join and are hidden behind the side bumpers. These are only stapled shut, no sealant whatsoever. Unbelievable. Unless this has been sealed well, damp will get in and be evident under the bunks. Or not. Likely will smell damp. Don't just take the sellers word. Ever.

Some inside visuals are worth noting. Do metal hinges and other metal surfaces appear to be rusty? Possible damp. Put your nose in every cupboard and locker, if you smell damp, it's damp. Period. If wall paper looks done quickly and doesn't match, chances are damp is being hidden from view for sale.



Another damp entry point.

Fixing the result of prolonged exposure to damp will cost around £5000, done professionally. You can do it yourself of course, I did. It involved ripping out all the furniture, hacking away at the walls to get to the rotten beams and replacing them with about 145ft of treated batons. To put it mildly, it is not an easy job or one for the faint hearted. Feel free to PM or open a thread if you've got any questions to ask me about how I did this, or about the construction or the vehicle. I know mine inside and out.



This is the extent of my damage.



Trust me, this will only be the beginning. The cooker unit has already been removed as has the shelf above.



Once again, check behind the rubber strip that runs on the aluminium rail.  Notice the hole in the skin. This hole was very tiny but gentle poking revealed it's true size. Caused by the sodden frame on the other side. Look at those rusty screw heads after all!

Now inside, run your finger around the door frame, keep pushing at it right the way down to where the bottle edge of the floor meets the edge of the door frame. If it feels soft, once again damp has penetrated. Walk away. Other areas you might find the same result includes the lockers under the cooker and sink against the wall.



This mess was where the water 'ran down' the beam. The top of the beam is sound but gravity takes the water down to the bottom where the worst of the rot will set in.

Move back to the luton area. If yours has a window, it more likely than not leaks. Mine has a window. Condensation is a huge problem, too. The general consensus I have found is that it is advisable to seal it up.

Some general checks for this area : touch right where the roof slope joins to the luton floor. Any mushyness here also indicates problems. Now press with your finger along the bottom edge that runs where the floor of the luton and wall meets. There is a frame here as well and if it is soft again that is due to water.

Lastly, another area where water gets in is behind where the luton panel meets the cab roof. Originally a strip of flexible plastic or rubber was inserted here. If this hasn't been removed or replaced by a quality sealant, assume damp once again. Water that gets in this section rusts the cab roof out, as it did mine.

Any questions, suggestions, thoughts and comments should be made at the soonest opportunity.

Lastly I want to take this opportunity to recommend some members / businesses.

Member Dellboy

Contact : Derek phone no. 0787 961 5056.
Based in East London (Dartford Essex)
Sorts every Rascal problem imaginable, truely a miracle maker. Also sorted out my bodged up Bambi electrics.
 
D&A Mobile Mechanics. Mobile mechanics who have helped out with my vehicle while it was unroadworthy.
Contact phone no. 07506139141.
Based in South London and and are mobile.
« Last Edit: September 04, 2012, 11:46:54 PM by slowcoach » Logged
Dell Boy
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« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2011, 04:16:03 PM »

I fit a complete 3 piece clutch for £130.00 & timing belt for £60.00.
Derek.
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Claire Green
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life is not a dress rehersal


« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2011, 05:12:07 PM »

Hi Slowcoach,
 
I am very impressed with what you have written and would further suggest that rather than do these checks yourself, as a prospective buyer, hire Tim to act in a surveyor capacity on your behalf and check the Bambi over to see if it's as described by it's current owner.  This would cost but could save you a lot of money in the long run.


Any Bambi will need something done to it.  They are after all 20 years plus old now and need to be looked upon more in the light of a historic vehicle restoration rather than just buying a small cheepy camper to keep for a while and then sell on.

I've not long bought mine complete with a genuine MOT and so far have spent more that it's cost in having the wear and tear on the mechanical parts replaced and I've yet to start on the bodywork apart from some odd things.

I want to keep my Bambi for a long while and in my book this restoration is well worth it to get a reliable, comfortable camper that suits me down to the ground.


Claire
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1988 Bambi l 1989 Van
slowcoach
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« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2011, 07:43:57 PM »

Hi Slowcoach,
 
I am very impressed with what you have written and would further suggest that rather than do these checks yourself, as a prospective buyer, hire Tim to act in a surveyor capacity on your behalf and check the Bambi over to see if it's as described by it's current owner.  This would cost but could save you a lot of money in the long run.


Any Bambi will need something done to it.  They are after all 20 years plus old now and need to be looked upon more in the light of a historic vehicle restoration rather than just buying a small cheepy camper to keep for a while and then sell on.

I've not long bought mine complete with a genuine MOT and so far have spent more that it's cost in having the wear and tear on the mechanical parts replaced and I've yet to start on the bodywork apart from some odd things.

I want to keep my Bambi for a long while and in my book this restoration is well worth it to get a reliable, comfortable camper that suits me down to the ground.


Claire

Dear Claire,

Thanks for the PM and the compliment. However, with regards to your request, I am not currently a member of the Bambi Owner's Club and have no plans be one, therefore I would prefer to keep my article here at the Rascal Enthuiasts club.

T.
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J J 007
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yep


« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2011, 08:48:19 PM »

and i thought i had some work to do after my crash,well done keep the good work up
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smookin                   those that care don,t matter those that matter don,t care
teaspoon
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the starting point


« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2011, 10:10:28 PM »

nout like gutting a project before you start,,,,,,,,,,, i thought i had a refurb job on my hands,,,,,, i hope your enjoying yourself, ha ha DAVE.
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slowcoach
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« Reply #6 on: February 09, 2011, 10:36:02 PM »

Big refurb job yes and I would'nt have bothered if she had any more then a 30,000 genuine miles on the clock Smiley

Drives like a dream too!

My back is still aching though...
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Pirate
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« Reply #7 on: February 17, 2011, 07:44:04 PM »

My bambi is a very genuine vehicle, it came with a huge folder full of bills & service history, & as i have referbed my rascal van, i knew what to look for rustwise & mechanically, turned out it was a goodun & a good price.
However, i had some electrical problems (lucky that i know my way round electrics) and yes, as i found out, ALL bambis leak through the bodywork joins Sad
Having dealt with leaky caravans in the past, i have learned that the first job is to re- seal the outside, then repair the rotten frame on the inside, on mine this was mostly the rear end, water had been getting in round the rear lights & also on one of the rear seams, not an expensive job materials wise, but takes a fair bit of time & effort Cry
If i had paid 3K for it, i would be totally gutted, luckily it was a LOT less Grin
Just goes to show, i spent over an hour going over the vehicle & still missed the damp problem!
Now mainly sorted & over a thousand holiday miles added last year, it has run faultlessly & i love it Wink
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duncanamps
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« Reply #8 on: February 17, 2011, 07:56:09 PM »

How would you go about re-sealing the outside?  My Bambi is dry and having seen some of the horrific pictures above, I'd like to keep it that way  Shocked
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Duncan Munro | 1987 Bambi | www.sootyvan.com
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« Reply #9 on: February 17, 2011, 08:30:43 PM »

I removed all the ali trim (remove black trim to reveal screws) thouroghly clean & seal with silicone sealant, then re-fit trims, i did this years ago with my old caravan, still no leaks Wink
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duncanamps
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« Reply #10 on: February 17, 2011, 08:36:22 PM »

Thanks Pirate, sounds like a little job for Sunday  Grin
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Duncan Munro | 1987 Bambi | www.sootyvan.com
J J 007
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yep


« Reply #11 on: February 21, 2011, 08:25:58 PM »

look on the bright side summer is coming
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smookin                   those that care don,t matter those that matter don,t care
slowcoach
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« Reply #12 on: February 28, 2011, 07:27:59 PM »

I was just poking around on the bay, and here's one that really rings my alarm bells...

270713198471

Look at the 'panel damage'...!! Yikes!! I know exactly what the damage is and I would feel dreadfully sorry if someone gets sweet talked into handing over their dough.

Scary. Maybe I can put this guide on eBay somehow, there are lots of guillable buyers out there. And I was one once, too..!
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rangerman77
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« Reply #13 on: February 28, 2011, 11:00:36 PM »

Its 'damper' than a crowd of grannies at a Tom Jones concert  Cheesy
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« Reply #14 on: March 01, 2011, 10:33:04 AM »

I would think it was fixable though, i would rather do bodywork than mechanics Grin
As i said in a previous post, repair is cheap, but very time consuming, but seeing prices for good bambi's are 2-3K these days, looks to be worth doing.
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