Sunday, January 15, 2017

Finishing the faucet

Our first lazy attempt at fixing the original metal pump faucet seemed fine until we installed it, then it was leak city so we had to do it right.  First task was to replace the old cork gasket with some rubber gasket material.


After replacing the o-rings in the handle and putting it all back together, it worked like a champ!
We also reinstalled the original shortie towel rack

Securing the propane tank

If you've been following along at home, you might have noticed a common theme with our camper build....Cheapness!  When it was time to secure our propane tanks, it was no different.

Originally, our tank was held in place with a wing nut and a prayer.
Many recommend j-hook style tank retainers, but they are pretty expensive online and not available nearby.  I also didn't think they would fit our weird tank mount well.

https://colemanpopupparts.com/products/lp-j-bolt-kit

Last weekend, while working on the screen door, adding a doggy door for our precocious pup when I realized the turnbuckle style door support might work.


So the girls and I went off to Ace and picked one up for $7.  You can save a few bucks on Amazon, but I wanted to try it out.

It took less than an hour to drill a couple holes and bend the rod by hand and we had something that looked halfway decent.  I put a little shrink tubing on the end and voila!


The first hook went on great with the wing nuts I also bought.  As I tried to get the nut on the second hook, I realized yet again that I am not a smart man.  For the turnbuckle to work, one side is reverse threaded...doh!  Luckily a lifetime of being a slightly dumb guy had made me resourceful, so I cut the turnbuckle in half, which actually works out well as you get a lot of thread engagement and it's easier to reach from underneath.


Yay...I made this!




Friday, December 30, 2016

Getting Ready to Paint

We had hoped to paint the camper this holiday break, but the "uh ohs" that plagued our early days of restoration returned with a vengeance.  First we ordered all of the supplies needed from Amazon.  Everything arrived on time...except the paint that is apparently decorating the floor of some OnTrac van as we speak.


Since our paint got refunded and reshipped, we missed our warm weather window.  In the meantime, we decided to sand down our hubcaps to be painted.  After a few minutes with some 240 grit paper, a little rubbing compound and some elbow grease, they actually started to look usable as they were.
Wife gave her seal of approval for the pitted but still kinda chrome like finish.  Unfortunately the inside was pretty rusty still, so we hit it with some high rust primer and put them on the shelves.  As you can see, our paint did finally arrive, only to have it rain yet again...certainly nothing to complain about in drought stricken SoCal.  Another weekend...


The Bed

Originally, our camper had a "goucho" style bed/couch.  This is a thin foam pad that folds up into a couch by doubling over the back portion.  Ours was old, smelly and would have taken a lot of work to recover, so we bought a $100 memory foam mattress off Amazon.  FYI, here is what $100 in "memory foam" looks like...3.5 inches of egg crate, 1 inch of higher density foam and 1 inch of memory foam.  Oh well, it's camping, not the Hyatt.


One thing you'll learn about most smaller vintage campers is the rear bed is actually a 3/4 Full.  What's that, you say?  it's about 48 inches vs 54 inches for a full.  Sharing a 48 inch bed with my 20 inch wife, 24 inch me and 2 dogs should be fun.


The photo above is why we bought the foam mattress instead of a spring mattress....a few minutes with a sharp carving knife and it fit perfectly...if only the same could be said for us...

Kitchen Sink Plumbing

Our camper originally had a high pressure city water hookup plus a pump facet from a large water tank under the dinette seat.  The sink itself just drained right onto the ground which is generally frowned upon in modern campsites.

To simplify things we decided to use two 5 gallon Jerry cans directly under the sink.  For the drain side, we used a 1-1/2" plastic RV drain and hose.  This is intended to be mounted to the outside of the camper and hooked to a hose, but we wanted to have the waste tank inside for easy setup, so we needed to trim the waste flange to fit our jug lids.

 A little trimming with tin snips and some sanding and it fits well.
 We cut the drain hose in half for a better fit and hooked it up for a test run...and the pump faucet leaked all over the counter.  Bummer.

We took apart the cheap plastic rocket pump only to find that 3 of the corner standoffs were broken.  What a piece of crap!  A new pump runs $30 and gets terrible reviews, with about half of them seeming to leak, so we did what we always do...



...We improvised! With the trailer, hidden in a drawer, was an old (original?) hand pump made of solid cast metal.  The chrome even looked better than the cheap plastic chrome of the new replacement.  

The only problem was the gasket was old, loose and fell off the piston when pumped.  We tried to take the gasket off the plastic pump, but it was hard plastic and wouldn't come off, so we decided to graft the plastic piston onto the old metal pump mechanism.

As the old pump cylinder was a little narrower, we had to trim and sand the piston plastic again.  In our first test, the pump worked perfectly.  We sealed it up with silicone and will install in a few days.




Holiday Stove Rehab

Our old Holiday stove was in OK shape, if you don't mind some rat feces and a broken knob.  First thing was to disassemble and clean everything.


The left knob stop was broken, so you never knew if it was on or off.  I can't be sure kids playing house didn't twist it too hard, but the fix was pretty easy.  Where the stop pin was broken, we just pushed a little more of the pin out through the shaft and it still had at least half inside.
 We then painted the inside and outside of the box with high rust paint.  We didn't think we needed high temp as most of the heat is directed upwards and the box was pretty badly rusted from the leaking vent above.
 We reused the old copper gas line which was very heavy and good quality.  It had a small kink outside, but no leaks when pressurized with propane.  We replaced the old regulator with a new one from Amazon and the stove fired up great on the first try.