Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Trying to weatherproof the carport.

Added some beams, center posts and some diagonal ropes.  

 Finally added the carport walls in hopes they stay together.  Rain this weekend, so we're hoping it holds, so we can move forward with the cabinets and walls.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Flooring Finished

Vinyl glue is nasty, sticky stuff...

....But installing vinyl tiles is much easier than porcelain.  They easily score and snap with a utility knife, even for complex inside corners.  The wife and I went around and around about the pattern orientation, and ended up with her preference for all tiles oriented in the same direction to add some width to the narrow axis.

A flooring roller is $40 for a one use tool, so we went full Betty Crocker on this installation. 

As usual, the helpers were on hand to make sure every seam and corner were pressed into place.  It's a little concerning that we did this on a day that was barely above the required 65 degree install temperature, but Mama wants to go camping, so the trailer show must go on.

Now comes the hard part...we need to fully rain and wind proof the carport before we can even contemplate putting up the walls.  Our driveway is going to look like Ringling Brothers pretty soon with all the tarps and guy-wires, but El Nino is coming..., 

Monday, December 28, 2015

Starting the floor tiling

Our tile order got messed up as usual by Home Depot, but we eventually got them 6 days late.  We started by cleaning up any bumps, filling the remaining divots and laying out the position of all cabinets.  By the time we decided where each tile would go, it was too cold for the recommended temperature range of the adhesive, so will bust it out tomorrow.  Our buddy Pat gave us a few suggestions about weatherproofing the carport, so that might be the next task.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Finishing the street side wall paneling

Got the remaining sheet installed (plus a 2 inch sliver hidden behind the kitchen).  This wall will join it's sister in the garage for a bit while we work on the trailer interior flooring (if Home Depot can ever find our special order flooring that was due in last week)

Friday, December 25, 2015


Got a few hours to start on the street side paneling.

As usual, nothing is easy with this trailer.  Framing that seems strong breaks with the slightest movement.

Oh well, we needed a thicker piece here anyways, as there is a 2 inch sliver of plywood here, hidden by the kitchen cabinets.  Added a few extra scraps as this area seemed especially weak.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Rebuilding the street side wall paneling

Even though we replaced a lot of rotten framing with new wood, we still needed to add some additional framing to both walls, since the original trailer was built with 3 foot panels and we were using 4x8 sheets.  While we were at it, we added some scrap under the rear bunk support, as our 4 year old just happens to live in the body of a 6 year old girl.

The windstorm made a mess of my saved template panels, and it also was blowing so hard that we thought the carport would fly away, so we took off the tarp and the street side wall lives under it's own tarp until the paneling is completed.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Rebuilding the curb side wall paneling

This trailer is a little bit different in most of which is that all the wall panels were securely glued to the wall framing.

Most trailers rely on staples and "twisty nails" alone, but the wife didn't like the look of the exposed twisty nail dome heads, so we will "rebuild it the way we found it" and use lots of Titebond III wood glue and staples/brads to secure the panels.

Removing the old panels is tedious as you must remove many staples and glue residue.  Luckily, we have a "staple power" fairy in residence, so it goes pretty quickly.

The curb side wall took 2 days to repanel, with a light rain and windstorm interrupting the progress.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Uh Oh Part 5

These walls are not built for a lot of strength.  In fact, many people believe the framing is only there to allow you to secure the plywood and metal skin, which supplies the true unibody strength.  That being said, we broke the top framing board lifting the curb side wall, and had to patch it with a 1x4 pocket screwed to both sides of the break.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Rebuilding the wall framing

With the scraps from our Chinese plywood and 2x4 framing failures, we built some sawhorses sized for the trailer walls.

The original walls were built with nearly all 1x2 framing.

We wanted a bit more wood in the rot prone sill boards, so we used 1x6 with an additional 1x4 above the wheel wells.

The rebuilt curb side wall

The rebuilt street side wall

We used nearly 100 pocket hole screws to replace the rotten framing

And we even found a festive use for the remaining Chinese junk plywood

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Uh Oh Part 4

After about 6 months in the record setting SoCal heat, our carport roof disintegrated in a late fall windstorm.  We replaced it with a cheap Costco tarp that is holding up well.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Rebuilding the floor

After many missteps, trying to replicate a thicker joist type Shasta floor, and even buying some bargain basement Chinese plywood that could literally be ripped apart with your bare hands.

A fellow trailer rebuilder from an online forum finally talked some sense into us.  With his guidance, we decided to just "build it like we found it", using thicker 3/4" exterior grade plywood and 3/4" clear fir "joists" as spacers to make the floor the same thickness as before.  First we laid out the joists and coated them with asphalt emulsion sealer to protect the floor from the elements.

Then we secured the plywood with 1-1/4" deck screws and countersunk carriage bolts to the metal frame.  Each panel was coated with asphalt emulsion for waterproofing.

Finally, we reinstalled the wheel wells using 1/8" putty tape and hex head sheet metal screws from underneath.

Finally, after filling all the holes with wood putty, the chief helper manned the paint roller to add a protective coat of primer until we can install the final flooring material

Monday, October 12, 2015

Uh Oh Part 3

After our welder left, we did some inspections and found a hidden problem caused by the broken front support.  Without that crossmember tying the two frame c-channels together, the channels were able to twist, allowing the trailer tongue to lift.

As we had already had the crossmember reinstalled, we didn't want to try and straighten the frame, so we had our welder back out for an hour to box the frame in, preventing further bending.  We asked him to stitch weld the boxing to prevent heat stressing the metal here, as this frame is pretty weak in general.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Frame rebuild

Our wimpy broken frame was going to need some major TLC

So we came up with a plan.  Replace the broken crossmember, extend the frame all the way to the rear of the trailer and add "outrigger" supports to hold up the new floor

We went through several welding quotes, all near $1000, until we found a mobile guy who works weekends for $60/hour.  4 hours later, we had our frame plan realized.  Turns out the guy has a bunch of old trailers himself and was very interested in our future plans, so we'll keep him updated.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Uh Oh, Part 2

Turns out, it was probably a good thing we decided to do a "frame up" rebuild.  After loosening and shifting the floor, we found that the main front crossmember was rusted through and broken loose.  This thing could have been an major highway tragedy.

You can really see how the cheap floor construction coupled with the lack of metal frame and complete wall sill board rot made the rear floor area break loose.

The floor in the front didn't look so hot either

Monday, September 7, 2015

"All In"

After a few weeks of stalling, we finally realized our hopes of keeping the whole camper together were just not going to happen.  The sill boards were too damaged, the floor too funky and we didn't even really like the heavy grained ash paneling.  Besides, due to the ash borer beetle, you really can't get ash plywood anymore, so any repairs we made would not match.  We were "all in".

Bye bye curb side wall
Bye bye street side wall

Enjoy your new home for a while.

Sad little trailer floor

Last ditch effort

For some reason, we still thought we could just lift the body on stilts, roll out the trailer part and fix the floor.  With this in mind, we removed most of the interior cabinetry that secures the walls the floor.

With most of the cabinets removed, we added some cross bracing to hold up the walls.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Back inside

At this point, we still thought we could repair the floor in pieces like they do in a vintage Shasta travel trailer.  Removing the rotten front panel and a little prying showed that just wasn't going to happen.

The cardboard floor extended throughout the trailer, so could only be replaced as a whole frame up rebuild.  Of course, there was no instructions online for how to rebuild a floor that was only 1.5" thick...

I do like the way the light filters through the removed open ceiling panel here the time of purchase, we thought we would only have to replace this one bit of plywood near the vent and be on the road.  ha ha.