Thursday, June 22, 2017

Paint scheme poll

Since our first dog was named using a public spreadsheet and our second daughter was named by our first, we thought we'd see what our friends had to say about these paint stripe proposals.

As some background information, the front lower section here will very likely be black.  Most of the following patterns extend from this black area in the front and mirror it in the rear, more or less.

The stripe will also be mirrored on this side.

Here are the options...

The big bold stripe that we may not have enough paint to finish

 The saggy middle

The swoop

The other swoopv (slope would be same thickness as stripe)

The saggy butt

The asymmetrical but easy to tape (black door is an option with any above)

Sunday, June 18, 2017

The $50 paint job that costs $300

We had high hopes for an affordable paint job.  We did a lot of research online and found many people getting great results with Rust-Oleum or Valspar Tractor and Implement paint, so we popped on down to our local store and then remembered...oops, we live in Kalifornia where all you can get is soy based paint to go along with the soy based people.  Lucky for us, there is Amazon and 2 days later, we were ready for our discount paint job...Valspar Tractor paint in International Harvester White and Gloss Black for the stripe.

We did a lot of prep work, wet sanding and priming all the bare metal with Rust-Oleum etching primer where the old paint or stickers just rubbed off to bare metal.

On the big day, we got our auto tape out and masked everything for spraying.

Just when we were ready to go, fate stepped in.  It turns out, you can't really use an HVLP sprayer on such a large object with a tiny 6 gallon, 2.6SCFM compressor.  Not to mention, our junky Ryobi died just outside of it's 1 year warranty (note to self, never buy Ryobi anything again).

Luckily, our friend Pat had an awesome 26 gallon compressor that we could borrow so we raced over only to find it was 220V only and our garage only has 110V.  Strike 2.

At least we had a fallback.  Our work garage had a small 8 gallon compressor, but it was rated at 5.5SCFM, just enough for our 6SCFM Harbor Freight gun.  We borrowed it on a Friday and were back in business...until we turned it on and realized that the regulator on this one was busted too...blowing the safety valve just when it got to pressure.  Strike 3.

Discouraged doesn't really express the extreme emotions we felt after being thwarted at every turn.  We texted our friend Pat again for commiseration and he responded...from his truck...on the way to Harbor Freight!  It wasn't in our trailer budget, but $150 Father's Day sale price for a 21 gallon compressor was just too good to pass up.

Father's day morning went great.  Papa got a lovely bug banner, the kids were on their best behavior and he had the morning alone to put a new dress on the old girl.

We thinned the paint 16 oz paint, 2 oz mineral spirits, 1 oz Valspar hardener.  Valspar recommends Naptha which is also banned in CA.

As I learned in the best trailer tutorial I found, first you adjust your gun, then spray a tack coat, wait a bit then spray your top coat.

Here we go...

Driveway paint jobs are never going to be factory finish and we had a few problems with bugs loving the certain death of outgassing enamel.

Luckily most of them came off easily with just a flick after the paint set up to tacky and didn't leave much of a mark.  The paint has a bit of orange peel and a few drips, is both more beige and more yellow than we wanted, but we are pretty happy at our discount paint job.  Once the paint cures a bit, she will get a black stripe in a location currently under discussion.

Thursday, May 4, 2017


Now that we're down to the final finishing touches, namely those two holes under the benches and a battery, the wife has started nesting in the trailer.

First, she finished a blanket to use on the dinette bed and swears the next one will coordinate better with the color scheme.

Then she started in on cloth napkins. 4 people, 3 meals a day, at least 12 napkins per day. That's if we ever take her camping and don't just keep using it to hide out in in the drive.

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.

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...