We own this 1979 Bethany Compact 560-Special (page 05) and I would love to restore her to glory. I am going to use this thread to talk about my steps, ask questions specific to my model or vintage repair, and to hopefully share photos of the process. Please feel free to jump in, share ideas, tips, tricks, personal stories, and photos of your own vintage PUP from any line. I am new in the camper world, so I can use every bit of advice you have to share!
My first big restoration project is having the LP and electrical systems checked out. I have a feeling every bit of wire and tubing is original, but I have no maintenance or repair history from previous owners. I will be having the systems checks done by a shop, since I have no knowledge of propane service.
An aesthetic restore project I need help with is some black/brown staining on the canvas. I don't want to use bleach as that will speed up fabric rot, what solutions have you used to remove staining? It is located on the front it is a fairly large stain. I will try to post pictures soon.
Thanks for reading, I hope we can each get valuable information here.
If the stain is anywhere where it could have been caused by rubbing on any aluminum parts it's almost a permanent stain. In 40 years we've never found a way to remove black aluminum stains.
As for you run of the mill black/brown stains in most cases it is simple mildew. Unfortunately some kind of bleach is needed if not to remove the stain but to at least kill it off and keep it from spreading.
Oxyclean is a good starting point. It is actually an oxygen bleaching agent.
If that doesn't work we've found Tilex some times works. Be careful of either and test them out somewhere where it won't be noticed.
I made the mistake of going right at the stains and end up with a pinto pony color scheme on the canvas.
After you do get rid out all or most of the staining you undoubtedly will have removed the waterproofing. There are many waterproofing compounds available and again try one where you won't see it, as some materials can be stained by some waterproofers.
Don't forget to try wetting it down wih the hose after the waterproofing dries to amke sure it's working and you got all the area. Nothing worse, from personal experience, finding out you missed spots or it didn't work on the first day of a 2 week vacation where it rains every other day.
Mike, thanks for the advice! I'm not sure what the cause is... I will have to inspect it more thoroughly after this rain stops! As for the other, I'm fairly certain that any form of weather protectant is long gone on this thing! There are small wear holes (near seams and corners, mainly) throughout the entire canvas. Some are tiny, others are large enough for me to be concerned about future repairs. How does one patch the canvas, in the middle of a wall, without it looking like a Frankenstein-esque monstrosity?
I'm grateful, however, that the wood and cabinetry is in good condition, at least I have a solid place to start the restore. Propane system tune-up and electrical systems check on the schedule for the week of June 21!
For the smaller holes, you can use Seam Sealer from the camping sections of Walmart/Target/etc. I had a small hole develop due to rubbing once on the previous PUP. I applied it from the inside and built up a couple of layers, then applied one or two dabs on the outside and never had a problem.
For places where you actually have to sew in a patch, there's not much you can do except put the patch on the inside, use seam sealer on the seam/stitching, and also use it to glue the edges of the original canvas to the patch behind it so that the edges don't stand out from the new patch material behind, catching water and debris. Helps reduce the look of it being a patch.
I've toyed with older tents that have actual fabric made of natural or the right kind of synthetics, of using the iron-on color-matched patches from the sewing shops on the front side of the patch material, cut to the exact shape of the hole so that there is edge-to-edge uniformity. You could iron this onto the patch first, then sew it in. Then seam-seal that edge-to-edge flush patch.
Nothing is going to make it look like nothing ever happened, unfortunately.
And to do a full canvas replacement, figure around $1,000 from replacementcanvas.com.
Thanks for the tips everyone, they have really been helpful while researching restoration techniques. Our PUP is at the RV shop having her systems checked. One of the previous owners had cut the outside LP hose off... Weird. I also didn't know where the thermostat was... Actually didn't know I was supposed to even have one! We have also started looking at interior upcycle ideas, I am going to start cutting squares for quilt tops next week and thinking about cover ideas for the PO's and cushions.
On a positive note, I opened her up last week and had to leave her up during some rains.... No signs of inside moisture or drips, that I could see! My dds and I put her up and took her down without too many outbursts! I'm still having trouble getting used to hitching -first time I have ever towed- but we are getting the hang of it. I hope to take her out for dry camp next week and to the coast in July!