Buyer’s Guide to Common Boler Trailer Problems

by Ian Giles  www.Boler-Camping.com  ©

With the high demand for these vintage trailers they sell quickly, the supply and demand limits the amount of price negotiations a buyer can offer, if you don’t buy it the next person probably will.  I often get asked what to look for when buying a used Boler, there are a number of checklists available but my thoughts are “what good is a checklist if you don’t know what you are looking for”.  A 30 to 40 year old trailer probably needs some work, you can try to use this information in your negotiations but most sellers probably won’t listen. I suggest the best use of this information is for you to understand what general condition the Boler is in and if you are ready and willing to take on a project that requires the work and expense needed. In other words I want you, the buyer, to know and understand what you are getting into.This Buyers Guide to Common Boler Trailer Problems describes in detail 10 key areas that are considered major problems and can be quite costly to repair.

  1. When first looking at a used Boler don’t be blinded by the “cute” factor, a shiny coat of paint can distract you to the point that you overlook problems, yet on the other hand a little dirt or black mold may discourage you from buying a little gem.  At this point try to ignore the cosmetic look of the Boler, you will find that far lower on the list
  2. The Boler Body – can tell you a lot about the condition of the frame.  Since the bodyshell is made from molded fiberglass it lasts a lifetime and can be repaired, but think of the body as a box, if you take it by the ends and twist it the shape will deform, we are looking for this and then what is causing the deformation.  Small hairline cracks, often called spider cracks, are a common occurrence and do not cause structural concern or leaks, but deeper cracks into the underlying fiberglass or if there is a large concentration of surface cracks in a small area it is time to look more closely at some areas.Start by walking around the outside of the Boler looking closely at the body shell.  A key area is the door opening,  Boler doors are notorious for sagging and not fitting properly, A misaligned door can be a simple adjustment or hinge repair or it could be the sign of a bent or broken frame. Bring a carpenters rafter square with you to check the squareness of the door opening, it should look like the left picture in the following table.  If the door opening looks like the center diagram or right picture further investigation on the condition of the frame is needed.

P1060808sm This is what the door opening should look like

Door Frame An exaggeration of what the door opening will look like if the frame is bent or broken

Boler door crop Notice in the above picture the door gap on both sides is even, yet at the top the door opening rises on the top left.

Continue walking around the outside of the trailer, if the door opening is suspect take a close look at the body especially on the left side just above and slightly behind the drivers side wheel.  If you notice an inward dimple in the fiberglass in this area, about the size of a dinner plate, this also indicates problems with the frame.

HappierCamper1

This shows the dimple behind the the wheel arch described above

broken frame

This is the frame from the Boler door picture above, when the body was removed from the frame this crack was discovered, this is an extreme example.

Note any physical damage to the body caused by an accident, the actual fiberglass body, the same a most boats or even a Corvette, is easy to repair, even by the novice, but again how much work are you prepared to do?

3) The Frame – now is the time to take a closer look.  The frame on a Boler is strong enough as designed, the main problem occurs when the bolts and screws holding the body to the frame get loose or break.  When the body and frame are held securely together they function as one unit and support each other, when the bolts get loose the body and frame flex and twist separately and this is what causes the damage.  It is important the the frame rails are straight, parallel and flat, any bend or twist will cause problems.  There are 3 main area that often show damage, bends or cracks.

Frame ABC

 

In the above diagram point “A” experiences very high stress loads due to the fact the frame is notched at this location to accommodate the doorway and the lowered kitchen floor. Crawl under the trailer and look closely for any reinforcements, patches, crack or broken welds.

Point “B” is the most common area for the frame to actually break, again check this area for reinforcements, patches, crack or broken welds. while under the trailer at this time try to look to see if the two frame rails (right & left) are level with each other. You are looking to see if the entire frame is twisted. A twisted frame is common when a frame is repaired and a patch is just welded on without making sure the frame is straight first.

P10001561-e1414361575294

This shows an excellent repair on the drivers side frame rail, but unfortunately the entire frame was twisted when this was welded, it caused major problems with the body.

The final area, point “C”, causes the most problems with the body.  When the bolts that attach the frame to the body loosen or break the body will actually start to rock and move in relation to the frame, this rocking action puts very high loads on the back section of the drivers side frame rail, the result is this frame rail will actually start to bend down from the axle mount to the back bumper.  When this rail bends it causes the body  to twist which will cause the problems seen at the door opening and the dimple above the drivers side wheel arch.  From the back of the trailer look down the frame rail and make sure it is not bent down

sm_frame

sm_frame_line

 

 

The above pictures show a frame rail that is bending, the earlier picture shows what will eventually happen to this frame also.  It is critical to regularly check the frame to body bolt and keep them tight, this only happens when those bolts fail.

 

Finally check the frame for rust, surface rust is normal and usually not a concern, but any rust that has perforated the metal usually means the frame needs to be replaced.  Severe rust on a frame is often caused by water being trapped inside the metal tubes which causes the rust to erode the metal from the inside out.  Any suspicious areas can be tested by tapping with a hammer or striking with a screwdriver, soft spots will be quite noticeable.

4) The Axle – I can just about guarantee that the original axle on a Boler that is 30-40+ years old is worn out and needs replacing, but there are a couple of measurements you can take to confirm the condition of the axle.

According to the Dexter engineers “Dexter would consider any Torflex arm that has moved more than ten degrees from the original build angle as weak or losing suspension”.

The first test is to jack up each side of the trailer and watch to see if the wheel moves down as weight is removed from that side, if on either side the wheel does not drop at least 1½” the axle needs replacing.

Second, measure the diameter of your tire (as an example ST175/80D13 trailer tires have a diameter of 24″) and divide this number by 2 (in this case 12″) to get the radius.  Now with the trailer sitting on level ground measure the distance from the ground to the underside of the drivers side frame rail as close to the axle as you can, just behind the axle mounting brackets.  Take the tire radius and subtract the frame to ground measurement, if the result is greater than 2½” your axle needs replacing (the above calculations are based on a fully loaded axle with an initial start angle of 0° to 10° up angle).

As an example: your trailer has ST175/80D13  tires which have a diameter of 24″, dividing the diameter by 2 gives you the radius of 12″.
The distance measured from the ground to the underside of the frame behind the axle mounting bracket measures 7″
12″-7″=5″  The axle arm has dropped more than 2″ and should be replaced

sm_P1070275First measure the diameter of tire and divide by 2 to get the radius

sm_P1070281Measure from the ground to the bottom of the frame just behind the axle
If the measurement (Radius minus height) should be the 2.5″ or less.

In this example R=12″; Frame to ground = 11″ (12″-11″=1″ axle is good)

 

5) Modifications – This to me is the greatest issue and reason to pause and look closely before buying are modifications done by a so-called handyman.  Now that is not to say that all modifications are bad or poorly done, on the contrary, but any modification that have been done need to be looked at closely.  The first and most important area to look is the body structure.  On a Boler the closet to the left of the door, the 1”x1” steel tube fastened to the right of the door, and the metal support that runs between the lower and upper kitchen cabinets are all structural and support the roof and walls.  If these are removed the walls will sag and the roof can collapse with snow load.  Make sure these have not been removed or tampered with.

I have seen every type of modification, air conditioners mounted through the back window, bolts through the body to support a TV bracket, unvented heaters connected to the propane with a garden hose, holes through the floor for ice fishing, and even a full size RV AC unit on the roof where the roof was depressed over 8” because of the weight.  Use your own judgement with any owner modification, buyer be ware.

no closet

The interior of this modified Boler looks great, but the floor to ceiling closet next to the door has been removed.  The closet is structural and supports the wall and door opening, with it removed like this the walls will soon sag and there is the possibility the roof can collapse in a heavy snowfall.  To repair this curved structural support needs to be installed by securely bonding to the fiberglass shell.

no support

Another beautiful looking renovation with a custom kitchen cabinet, but the support bar between the lower and upper cabinet has been removed.  This leaves only the rivets to support the upper cabinet which places a lot of stress on the rivet causing them to break and/or cracking to occur at the rivet holes in the fiberglass.  Also excessive weight can cause the wall to bow out and contribute to the roof to collapse.

6) Water Damage – (window, vents, rivets, seals), in general water leaks are not a major concern in a fiberglass trailer, they are an annoyance and yes you want them fixed but they usually don’t cause much damage except for some years of Boler that had a wooden floor rather than the fiberglass encased floor.  Walk around the floor checking for soft spots, look around the windows and roof vent for water stains or moisture.  A soft floor requires a considerable amount of work to replace, not a job for the faint of heart.  Leaks around windows and vents means you have to remove them, clean up the old butyl tape sealant, apply new butyl tape and reinstall, not a hard job but also not easy.  If there is caulking around the windows or vent, especially if it is silicon you have extra work to clean that off.  A leak can never be repaired with caulking, the window or vent must be removed and resealed properly.

Dirt and mold from water leaks can be cleaned from the fiberglass, wall insulation and floors, the only item that cannot be cleaned from mold are the cushions and fabrics.

7) Appliances & Propane – In general appliances either work or don’t work, simple way to find out is to test them, don’t believe the seller.  A trick it to bring you barbeque propane tank with you when looking at a Boler, if the seller says the propane is empty you can hook up your tank to test them. Light the stove first, this will make sure the air is purged from the propane lines making lighting the fridge easier.  You won’t be able to test the cooling of the fridge because an evaporative fridge take a long time to cool down, but if the pilot light on the fridge lights you are part way there. Finally test the furnace, be aware that the stove is the only standard appliance in early Boler’s, the fridge was an upgrade from the standard ice box and the furnace was a separate option.  I would never decide not to buy a Boler because the appliances didn’t work but I would use that info in price negotiations.

Don’t worry too much about the condition of the propane tank, hoses or regulator, I would highly recommend you replace all those components. They are old and not that expensive considering your safety depends on their reliability

8) Tires & Wheel Bearings – Standard tire on a Boler are 175/80R13ST, car tires are not recommended.  But like many items on a used trailer this age I would recommend replacing the tires and replacing and repacking the wheel bearing.  These items are inexpensive when you consider the damage a blown tire can cause to the fiberglass body

9) Lights and Electrical – Check the tail lights and marker lights to make sure they work but I will be honest, most Boler owners change out the tail and marker lights for newer LED unit, they are much brighter, far more reliable and will last forever.

Original Boler’s did not have a battery, the interior lights on the ends of the upper kitchen cabinet are powered through the trailer wiring from your car. Kind of a useless feature but a battery can be installed to provide power for lights, etc..  The undercounter fluorescent light is powered through the 120V power cord

Don’t let the wiring scare you, an original Boler has a total of 4 circuits, left brake/signal, right brake/signal. marker/tail, and ground, the tail/marker light circuit feeds the kitchen lights.  Even if the wiring has to be completely replaced the cost will not be excessive

10) Crooked or Saggy Door – If the frame is in good shape then a crooked door is usually caused by two simple problems.  The hinge on a Boler is called a self aligning hinge, it allows the door to open is an arch which is needed because of the curved door.  These hinges use a brass ball and a bolt with a spring to allow the hinge to move or align. It is common for the brass ball to wear and also the hinges can move in relation to the body, because both the body and the door are curved even a slight misalignment of the door can cause a considerable gap at the bottom of the door, by installing new hinge pivot balls, bolt and spring followed by loosening the hinge bolts and adjusting the hinge position the door can be aligned. Hinge rebuild kits are readily available and hinge repair is easy.  The only other cause of large door gap at the bottom is if the metal support on the inside of the body (hinge side) has broken loose this will allow the body to sag, lifting on the roof and reattaching this support securely to the body usually solves the problem

Polishing

Hinge sm

The left picture show a new hinge with the brass ball and spring all in good condition.  The right picture shows a hinge where the brass ball is completely worn, the spring is missing,  With the bolt overtightened you can see the hinge is binding and causing cracks in the fiberglass

11)  Everything else – This section contains many of the “but what about …”

Front and Back Windows – These windows are made from 3/16″ thick acrylic (Plexiglas), with age and improper care they will get hazy and form small cracks. Also with age the rubber seal will harden and shrink often causing a leak.  These windows are not special and most glass shops can custom cut the acrylic and supply new rubber molding (always replace the molding when replacing the windows).

Side Jalousie Windows – The classic Jalousie side windows of a Boler, in my mind, are the best RV window made.  They open fully to allow maximum ventilation, they can also be opens when raining. These windows can be disassembled and repaired, parts are still available.  If you are considering changing these side windows to the more modern radius corner windows please note that this is not an easy swap.  Because the radius windows use a different opening you will need to fiberglass the corners in of the original opening to accommodate the radius corner

Coupler – The original Boler coupler (the part that connects to the tow ball on your vehicle) is only 1 7/8″ and is often quite worn.  Any trailer or welding shop can easily replace this with an upgraded 2″ coupler.  Do note that the Boler tongue angle is a narrow 30º (often used on boat trailers) rather than the more common 50º found on most RV’s.

Exterior paint – The original exterior finish of a Boler is fiberglass gel coat similar to the hull on a fiberglass boat.  It is a tough durable surface that can be cleaned, polished and waxed, making a 30+ year old Boler look almost like new.  If the exterior needs painting because of damage, or you just don’t like the color, the best paints to use are marine topside paints which are specifically designed for use on fiberglass, or automotive finishes.  Avoid using home products like latex paints, rustoleum, or similar, they may look good initially but won’t stand up to long term wear and tear.

Interior Paint and Seam Tape – The interior wall covering and insulation is actually a state of the art, high tech product designed by NASA (in the late 1960’s).  The vinyl covered ensolite is a closed cell foam which will not absorb moisture, and is extremely tough.  You can clean with strong household cleaning solutions but if you want to brighten it up it can be painted with either a paint specifically designed for coating vinyl or by using a high adhesive primer followed by a high quality latex paint.

Originally the seams between the ensolite panels were covered with a special tape which is probably falling off on most Boler’s.  You can buy replacement tape through Scamp Trailers or 3M but I have never had luck with it sticking for any length of time.  The preferred method for filling the seams is to use a paintable latex caulking (NOT silicon), this hides the seams and can even be textured to blend right in.

What does it cost?

Just like having your car repaired the cost is comprised of the parts needed and the labour. The cost for repairs depends on a number of factors which include:

– Your skills and abilities (are you able to do the work or do you have to pay someone)

– The quality of the repair (Do you want everything new and shiny or is used OK)

Because I do all my own work the following list is my best guestimate at some of the costs including shop labour, if you have first had experience please send me a note

– Frame $1000 – $2000+

– Tires $250

– Bearing replacement & repack $50 – $150

– Front & back windows (includes new seal) $200 ea

– Professional Paint Job $2000 – $4000+

I appreciate your comments

63 Responses

  1. claude haas
    | Reply

    for a 1977 boler need ext.door lockset systeme. if stock please give price and shipping requirements for quebec city , if available at princess auto 1111 ages drive Ottawa i could pick it up or any other store closer. thank you in advance, looking forward to a reply.

    • Ian
      | Reply

      Hi Claude
      A 1977 Boler used a Bargman L400 door lock set which has been discontinued and obsolete since 2002.
      You can occasionally find them as old stock at local RV parts departments or on Ebay but they are in high demand and the price can also be very high. Sorry I cannot help with this.

  2. Richard Mahoney
    | Reply

    Searching for axle replacements for 1972 boler trailer

    • Ian
      | Reply

      The Dexter #9 is the direct replacement axle. The original came with a 10 degree up angle on the arms and I would recommend a 2200lb weight rating and I would also recommend getting brakes, they are worth the additional expense. You can go to the Dexter axle site to find a distributor near you but I know that Standens Springs out of Calgary or Paul Neumeister in Ontario can build the correct size axle for you.

      • Richard Mahoney
        | Reply

        Thanks Ian. I have made contact with Paul. Great to have two people with good information.

        Regards Richard

  3. Myrna
    | Reply

    Thank-you for this good information. I am a novice, but have a friend who has been helpful in checking some known problem areas.
    This helps to look for safety issues also.
    Look forward to getting my new hinge pins & brace spacer balls to see if this helps my door line up. Myrna

  4. Eric
    | Reply

    Since got my 1972 13″ Boler, I have been visiting this site for different information from time to time.
    Inspired by your idea a vent with computer fan, I ordered a 14″ roof vent and am going to put 4 12 cm fans on it (maybe too many, but each has its own on/off button). Probably I will try to put it on tomorrow and hopefully will have no problem to enlarge the opening.
    I have been thinking about to check the frame and wondering about the axes, but have difficult to make any convince conclusion without taking the top body apart.

    Other critical thing is the sagged door. The hinges you shipped to me work very well but they are not expected to solve the sagging problem. Just found and watched the video you posted (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Zx2O6VhNbg), the curved support beams are definitely the best solution. I wonder if you could provide the parameters of these beams if you still have them.
    Best regards!

    • Ian
      | Reply

      Your plan to build a 4 fan vent with individual switches for each fan is excellent. When cutting the roof to install the larger vent make sure you cut the opening towards the front and the center of the trailer, this keeps the vent positioned on the flatter area of the roof. The best way to create the curved support posts like I used on my Boler is to duplicate the curve in the door. Since it is the door we want to make sure fits tight we want to make the shape of the body match the shape of the door.

  5. Anna
    | Reply

    Hi Ian – we need to get our new boler into a 7ft garage and noticed your suggestion on smaller tires for storage into garage. Would you have a source for the smaller tires ? Thanks!!
    Anna

    • Ian
      | Reply

      Hi Anna Congratulations on your “new” boler.
      I bought mine through a Canadian company Princess Auto (I have attached the link below.
      The wheel will bolt directly on an axle without brakes, if your trailer has 7″ brakes you can install them reversed (valve stem towards the center of the trailer and they fit. These wheels will not fit if your brakes are larger than 7″. Overall they lower the trailer by about 4″. If you live in the US Google “4.80-8 Trailer Tire Assembly” with 4×4.5″ bolt spacing
      http://www.princessauto.com/en/detail/4-80-8-trailer-tire-assembly/A-p2026888e

  6. David Graham
    | Reply

    Hi Ian.Love your info. Am in process of refurbishing my boler after years of use. Need your site,so thanks. Wondering who could build me a new frame,Depends on my success removing shell. I live in Delta.
    Dave.

    • Ian
      | Reply

      You are welcome David, glad you find the information helpful.
      I am not familiar with any fabrication shops in your area, may I suggest checking Kijiji for a welder looking for some work on the side, you could find you get a better deal. I do recommend using my re-designed frame plans and replacing the axle with one that includes brakes. http://www.boler-camping.com/boler-modifications/boler-frame/

  7. Kevin
    | Reply

    I just purchased a 1973 boler excited about it for the up coming year though I would love to see if its possible to lift even just a few inches for improved ground clearance wondering what you would recommend. I’m mechanical so the work shouldn’t be a problem just wondering your opinion since you’ve dealt with them more. Looking to add a fridge and a heater as well have to run new gas lines since the old ones where rotted out but I’m a gas fitter by trade so that wouldn’t be a problem. My next question is the 2 side windows the crank opens them fine but doesn’t tighten up enough and the move in the wind can you still by parts for those windows would like to keep the originals in if I can appreciate any info thanks Ian

    • Ian
      | Reply

      Hi Kevin
      My first recommendation would be to check the axle itself, being a 1973 I would bet that the axle is worn out and needs replacing. I have instructions on how to check the axle in this article: http://www.boler-camping.com/boler-care-maintenance/boler-rubber-torsion-axle/ included are specifications of what the original ride height was (and should be) along with alternate ride heights based on the initial suspension are angle.

      To answer your question specifically the easiest way to raise the ride height is to use the Dexter lift kits, these inexpensive kits include an engineered spacer that fits between the axle and the frame http://www.dexteraxle.com/inc/sdetail/45177/50968

      For the windows it could be two items, first make sure the actuator, the part the crank connects to is screwed tightly to the window frame. The mounting screws often loosen which allows the actuator to pivot or move causing the problem you describe. Secondly the actuator itself will wear causing this problem, Vintage trailer supply sell the actuators, very reasonable price. http://www.vintagetrailersupply.com/Boler-Torque-Bar-Window-Operator-p/vts-582.htm

      Hope this helps Ian

  8. Kevin
    | Reply

    That’s awesome Ian I appreciate all the info that was so helpful wish I could pay you back you save me a lot of grief knowing what to look for I do realize it needed work but that’s no problem at this end always wanted one I’ve been looking up the dexter axle spacers already but will double check that axle. Thanks again

  9. Tobey Davidson
    | Reply

    Hi Ian, We purchased 74 Boler last year and went through the usual trials of first timers. We live in Vancouver, British Columbia, where condensation can be a major problem and consequently cause Mold. Everything was fine until mid spring. After not checking for a couple of weeks, I entered only to find 75 % of the vinyl coated ceiling covered in the black stuff. After stripping everything out,including all the cupboard doors, I went at the cleaning. Mold usually thrives in a ph of about 3 to 7. Not being a fan of harsh chemicals, like bleach, I first tried white vinegar (acid), which has a ph of about 2.4 on a small area. I wasn’t pleased with results, so went to the other end of the scale, using a water / Borax (alkali) mixture, which has a ph of 9.3. Success! The mold dissolved in the borax mixture and left a “bleached” effect on the now much brighter walls and without any harsh odors. My method: Dissolve water and Borax in a pressurized pump style garden sprayer. Apply over a few square feet and scrub with a medium scrub brush. Repeat process over entire area, including the fiberglass surfaces. With a fan or heater on, leave to dry overnight. When dry, vacuum off the fine residue. Rinse a couple of times. Towel. Let Dry. After that I put in a heater, but it cost me a bundle for the electrical bill. This year I put in a large RV desiccant and left a 60 W bulb on (about $6 a month), so far so good.

  10. Tobey Davidson
    | Reply

    Hi Ian,
    I’m also going to purchase your hinge repair kit, looks great.
    I saw that there was a replacement exterior door handle on the Scamp website. Do you know if that is a direct fit for the Boler?
    Thanks

    • Ian
      | Reply

      Hi Tobey, In 1974 Boler used 2 different door handles, could you send a link or a picture of the handle on your trailer and your location, that way I can help with the door handle. You will love my hinge repair kit.

  11. Mary Ellen
    | Reply

    We have a 17 ft 1978 Boler and wonder if your advice and what to look for would apply the same to the 17ft;
    any different/extra advice for this size and where we might find it.
    Thanks for all your help with the Boler.

    • Ian
      | Reply

      Hi Mary, in general the information will apply. The frame on the 17′ is stronger and does not have as many failures as the 13′, but still take a very close look for cracks.

  12. Lorraine
    | Reply

    Hi Ian
    Going to be starting my Boler restoration soon. Was wondering what the colors of your paint on your exterior are and did you use automotive paint or marine paint? Was it a primer, paint and clearcoat combo?

    Thanks

    • Ian
      | Reply

      I used a product called Endura EX-2C Topcoat, this is an industrial coating that is extremely tough and durable, often used in the aviation industry.
      http://www.endura.ca/products/Topcoats/ex2c.html
      This coating needs to be professionally applied, not a DIY job.
      This is a 2 part primer followed by a 2 part color coat (several layers) I prefer solid color rather than base coat clear coat.
      Yellow is CLR28419 Tier 1 YELLOW (TM PPG 88283), the top is white.

  13. Lorraine
    | Reply

    Looking at installing a Fantastic Fan 1250 in my ’73 Boler. Kinda confused because Vintage Trailer Supply sells one the is curved and one that is flat. Any thoughts?

    Thanks
    Lorraine

    • Ian
      | Reply

      I would probably use the flat one, if you need to enlarge the opening from the original 9″x9″ to the 14″x14″ you cut forward and towards the centre of the roof. This area is actually quite flat, what I really like is the fact they have a modified unit with a shorter crank knob, a benefit in a Boler.

  14. Karen
    | Reply

    I installed a 14×14 new roof vent last summer. Sometime in the last month (because it was fine in early March), a snow load (because it’s STILL snowing) has managed to buckle my roof. I might be jumping the gun here since it’s still frozen and I haven’t fully assessed the damage. I’m hoping it will bounce back, however, I’m wondering if with the larger opening I should have done some reinforcing and if so what?

    • Ian
      | Reply

      Hi Karen

      Sorry to hear what happened but usually there is little damage and the larger roof vent did not contribute to this.
      Are all the supporting cabinets in your Boler? Closet beside the door and metal support between the upper and lower kitchen cabinets?
      First thing is to clear off the snow from the roof, DO NOT quickly try to pop the roof back into shape.
      I recommend using an adjustable support like this to slowly lift on the rook http://www.princessauto.com/en/detail/45-to-114-in-adjustable-support-rod/A-p8538738e
      I would really like to see pictures, this would help me considerably.
      Keep me updated on how it works out.
      Ian
      Ideally the warmer the weather the better. These supports can be used next winter to provide additional support to the roof to prevent this happening in the future

  15. Lance Hall
    | Reply

    Hi Ian,
    Thanks for all your effort into this site. There is loads of useful info as well as all the helpful comments from your readers.
    We purchased a 1975 13 ft Boler last February. We have had it out a few times and love it. We also have found that both front and back windows leak, as do the side jalouise windows. The roof vent was badley installed and also leaked but I have repaired it with butyl rubber and fiberglass. I’ll be getting to the windows soon.
    The fellow that had it before me intended to use it for off-road camping and had it hooked up to a jacked-up CJ5 jeep. It had 16 inch rims and high profile off-road tires. He had rebuilt the frame and replaced the axel but man was it high off the ground! Anyway, I changed the rims to 14 inch and have regular radial tires and had a shop remove the 1 1/2 inch spacers that he had installed so now the trailer is better, it’s 16 inches to the door step. The frame has been repaired and reinforced but the hitch is off center a couple of inches. The tortion arms are set so the wheels are behind the axle and has no brakes. Anyhow, sometimes the trailer sways when towing. I’m wondering if this has more to do with the tires (they are not a matched pair) as they are car tires not proper trailer tires, or the hitch being off center.
    Also when I replaced the laminate on the kitchen counter and did some rewiring of the 12V lights, I removed that ugly metal pipe that had the wires inside as it didn’t seem to have any function. You have mentioned this is necessary to help support the cabinet, correct. Do you know where the original support was located?
    Thanks again for allll your help, Lance

    • Ian
      | Reply

      Hi Lance, thank you for the comments and sorry for the delay, we have been away camping.
      Sway is usually caused by either too little weight on the hitch, it should be 10%-15% of the trailer weight; or the hitch too high, when towing the trailer should be level or slightly nose down. I would check these 2 items first. Tires can also contribute to sway if they have soft side walls like passenger car tires and I can imagine that an off-centre hitch could also contribute.
      The cabinet support is on the left side between the lower cabinet beside the sink to the bottom of the upper cabinet. The tube located at the back centre is to conceal the electrical running into the upper cabinet for the lights, this tube is not structural.
      I hope that answer your questions?
      Ian

  16. Scott
    | Reply

    Hi Ian
    Where did you source your UV protected polycarbonate sheets from? I can only find them at acklands and I am having trouble finding information if it is UV protected. https://www.acklandsgrainger.com/en/search?q=.177+polycarbonate&xref=

    Also do you have any tips for DIY exterior painting. I really like the paint job you had done on the 13ft boler but I don’t want to spend that much money on a professional job.

    Thanks

  17. Rose D'Alimonte
    | Reply

    This is a great guide. We are looking to sell our original Boler and don’t know how much to ask for it. It is in great shape, but everything is original. No rotting, leaking, but a few of the window seals and cranks need replacing. We can’t get the fridge to work anymore and we aren’t sure why. Can you give us an idea of what to ask for it?

    • Ian
      | Reply

      Hi Rose.
      Price depends on a number of things including condition, location, and how quickly you want to sell, but in general Boler’s are in high demand and sell quickly.
      The best place to get an idea of current prices in your local Craig’s list or Kijiji. Also search through http://www.fiberglass-rv-4sale.com/, this is the #1 site for fibreglass trailer sales.

  18. Rosie
    | Reply

    Hi Ian,
    I’m loving all of the information on your site. Thanks! I am about to do some renovations on my 1972 Boler.
    First, I will install the fantastic fan. My problem is that previous owners have cut a hole in the roof to install a 10″ x 10″ sky-light beside the original vent and I will need to remove both of these. Do you have any advise to repair the hole?
    Second, they actually replaced the door handle with a door knob. Yikes! My plan is to 1. re-align the door with the hinge repair kit, 2. build in a support frame around the door, and 3. install a new door handle…I would like to use a keyless entry door lockset with a handle. Do you have any recommendations? Would a home set be out of line?
    Thanks, Rosieo

    • Ian
      | Reply

      Hi Rosieo. The easiest way to repair large holes is to use a patch of similar fibreglass panel and fibreglass it in, but that can also be difficult, you do want similar fibreglass and thickness for the patch. There are alternative ways to repair the holes, I would suggest you Google “fibreglass boat repair” there are some very good videos by reputable companies that show the best techniques.
      I personally would not use a home lockset for your door, but digital RV locks are available. I am not endorsing this product as I have never used or installed one but this is a good example of what is available https://www.rvlock.com/

  19. Jennifer L Gonsalves
    | Reply

    I just want to commend and thank you for a beautifully written article that helps this layperson immensely.

  20. Darlene
    | Reply

    My Husband bought me a 1973 13ft boler recently and the original silver hubcaps are rusty. What steps do I need to take to repaint them?

  21. Joni
    | Reply

    Hey Ian,
    We are just starting the cleaning an repair of our 1977 Boler. Where can I purchase new foam? We have had rodents in it and want to start fresh. Also you have suggested not to remove the metal supports that attach the upper and lower cabinets. We were thinking of removing both the upper and lower cabinets and replacing with just lower cabinets for storage (no stove or fridge, just extra seating) what are your thoughts?
    Thank you in advance!

    • Ian
      | Reply

      There are 2 ways to go for cushion foam, you can get upholstery foam which is very high quality and durable, but also costs a fortune. Or you can go to IKEA, buy a 4″ thick foam mattress (which I find are quite good quality) and cut it up into the cushions. To cut foam use an electric knife, they works surprisingly well. The 4″ foam sold as camping sleeping pads from retailers (like Walmart and Canadian Tire) are far too soft and are not comfortable to sit on.

      There is no problem removing the overhead cabinet, but the lower cabinet does support the wall so if you are replacing the current cabinet make sure you install the replacement so the wall is secured to the cabinet so it supports the curve of the wall. The critical supports are the closet beside the door, the steel post on the hinge side of the door and the wood horizontal supports below the front and rear windows.

  22. Patricia Hunt
    | Reply

    Where can I find rims for my 1977 bowler also tires and a holder for the spare tire?

  23. Barrie Ballantyne
    | Reply

    Where can you get the body to frame bolts with flat heads and do they go thru the frame or are they tapped into the frame. Barrie B.

  24. ValerieDawn
    | Reply

    Wish you lived closer by lol.
    Bought my first ever trailer in 2015 a 1978 17 foot boler and have no clue about repairs so your information is amazing.
    Friend towed it home for me…..I drive a Mazda 3 which I guess won’t do.
    Was told the tires were new but got two blowouts bringing it back to my place from Manitoulin Island.
    Have had 3 surgeries on a bad leg break just after buying the trailer so it has been sitting in my driveway for 2 years. Now that I’m walking again I don’t know where to begin with the trailer to know if it’s safe.
    Any suggestions are most invited and dearly appreciated

    Retired 59th year gypsy mom looking forward to hear back

    • Ian
      | Reply

      Sorry to hear about your injury and hope you are well on your way to recovery. The items in you trailer you need for safety are: Tires, I assume since you had tire problems these have been replaced, if not I highly recommend Maxxis M8008ST trailer tires, I believe they are one of the best http://www.maxxis.com/catalog/tire-122-129-st-radial-m8008.
      Other items for safety include: checking and repacking wheel bearings, lights, check propane for leaks.
      You are correct your Mazda 3 is not capable of towing.
      Completing the items I listed should make it safe for you to start enjoying your Boler

  25. Arne Larsen
    | Reply

    GREAT info! My wife and I are currently “shopping” and this gives me a much more intelligent “look”.
    Quick question… does the axel lift/drop and radius measurement/axel clearance check(s) apply to the Trillium as well, or would the numbers be different?
    Again… thank you!

    • Ian
      | Reply

      The measurements should work on any trailer using a Dexter #9 Torflex axle. Good luck “shopping”

      • Arne Larsen
        | Reply

        Thank you! 🙂

  26. Dee
    | Reply

    Looking at purchasing a 1983 Boler in Ontario, asking price seems high but not sure. Have not seen it yet, just want to make sure it would be worth looking into further. Listed at $9,500, all appliances work apparently work great. Furnace was removed and replaced with a microwave. They say it is really clean and adorable. Stored inside during winter. Includes, a/c unit and all accessories.

    Appreciate any advice you could provide.
    Dee

    • Ian
      | Reply

      It is hard for me to comment on the price of a Boler, the price is always determined by the motivation of the seller and the desire of the buyer. My biggest caution is to check out the trailer and don’t get blinded by nice finishes. You don’t say what size of Boler this is; 13′, 15′ 16′ or 17′. If it is a 13′ where is the AC mounted? if it is roof mounted on a 13′ walk away A furnace costs $600-$900, a microwave costs $100 and you have to be in a powered site or carry a generator, you decide what item is needed. Follow my Boler Buyer Guide to check it out, that will help you lots.

  27. Margo stables
    | Reply

    Hi I need to purchase the door hardware for my boler. Where can I find them in Edmonton?

    • Ian
      | Reply

      I offer the only stainless steel door hardware for Boler’s. You can purchase it through my online store at http://www.campingtreasures.com/, I ship at a very reasonable price throughout Canada and the USA.

  28. Gale Jacklin
    | Reply

    Hi Ian,
    We live 1 hr north of Toronto in York Region, Ont. We bought a 1972 Boler a year ago
    Could you recommend someone that can reseal the windows and fix the door as we feel it may be too big a job for us. I thought I had seen someone in Guelph Ont that did repairs to Bolers or would a RV shop be reliable for these kind of repairs ?
    Thank you, Gale

  29. Brent
    | Reply

    I’m having a lot of difficulty with my boler renovation when it comes to the ensolite. It’s sagged over the years to I peeled it back and re contact cemented it. I’d really like to replace it but no where will point me in the right direction for ensolite. Also, I live in Edmonton. What would you suggest?

    • Ian
      | Reply

      The Ensolite used in the Boler was discontinued many years ago and there is noting equivalent currently to replace it
      I believe your best option is to try to save the existing ensolite, it is by far the best but here is an article in my Boler.ca site that may help
      http://www.boler.ca/2017/05/18/replacing-ensolite-wall-covering/

  30. Heather
    | Reply

    Love your website. I bought a 17ft Boler this summer and am loving it. There are bolts that have poked thru the outside or the covering over them has come off. Is this a concern for water damage? Also is there sink or stove covers available?

    • Ian
      | Reply

      Are these bolts or rivets showing through? There should nit be a leak from these unless they are loose.
      Rivets may have had a plastic snap cover over them that is replaceable if the base is still intact

  31. Jin
    | Reply

    Amazing little forum you have here! Just purchased our 1976 Honey Boler and are starting to restore a few kinks. One main one I am having trouble with is the fridge. Mainly I can’t get it out! I have removed all front bracket screws and can’t see any others. Even removed the stove above for a better look from up top and down the side. Is it possible there are bolts holding it in place from underneath?

    • Ian
      | Reply

      Thank you for you comments. There are usually 2 fasteners at the back holding the bottom of the fridge, these you access from outside the trailer through the lower side vent

  32. Jeff Burnett
    | Reply

    Hi,
    Glad we found you. I’m cleaning up an old 13′ Scamp and right now I’m looking for a source of a complete set of cushions. Can you point me to a source. Then I’ll turn my attention to the door and hinges.
    Thanks,
    Jeff

    • Ian
      | Reply

      If you are looking for the foam one of the best sources is to buy a 4″ thick foam mattress from Ikea, Use an electric knife to cut the foam, works great. For the fabric you could try to sew it yourself, use a local seamstress or buy through Scamp trailers

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