Sunday, October 30, 2016

Cheapskate fan

Many trailer renovators install a Fantastic Fan to keep the trailer cool.  Unfortunately, the $200 fan is not in our budget, so we got creative and bought a Heng Vortex retrofit fan.

The instructions are a bit worrying in their 1980s copier appearance.

The fan comes with a small gearbox to move the vent crank mechanism in a modern trailer.
 Luckily, the holes for the vent crank lined up directly with the holes in the fan.  This meant we needed an extension for the crank knob.  We considered using a piece of plastic tubing or metal pipe, but in the end, we just took the gears out of the supplied mechanism, used the gearbox screws to bond them together and they fit perfectly, if a little hacky.

Reusing the high quality vent and trim that matches our windows is exactly the type of rebuild we are going for.  It actually looks OK and works great.  We will probably add some foam gasket material in the gap and add a PWM speed controller after we take it for a test run.

Here is how loud the fan is when on.  We will probably add a cheap PWM DC motor speed controller in the future, so it doesn't sound like a wind tunnel if we need the fan at night.

Tow Electrical

As we need to be roadworthy to register in one month, we started the trailer electrical wiring.  We made sure to add a ground wire to each fixture that wasn't there before.

Our Autolamp 575 lenses were trashed and even the replacements a friend gave us were too brittle to use.  We bought cheap 7" bus lights from as they are the only 7" option.  For our skin mounted fixtures, we tapped the bases flat, added a ground wire to the lug that was hidden inside and used putty tape to mount instead of the foam provided.  
 For the 7 way plug, we bought a 6 foot harness on amazon.  We mounted it to the tongue, wired it all up and....the right rear light was shorted to ground!
 After an hour of fussing with the lights, we finally unplugged everything, only to find the junction box we bought had a short inside!  We taped up the shorted wire, reconnected everything and then tested all the lamps with a small test battery before plugging into the tow vehicle and blowing a fuse.
 Success!  Just need tires and bearings and we are road worthy!

Cargo Door

The cargo door was the most rotten area of the whole trailer.  As this area is easily accessible from under the rear bed, we opted to just seal it up.

First, we insulated the old door.  We also sealed the door shut using the butyl window glazing we bought for the fixed windows.

We plugged the key hole and sealed the install with butyl putty tape.  

Sunday, October 16, 2016

More Details

We figured out our bunk rail mounting system.  Some 4" L-brackets bent worked out well and really hold the rail in place, but allow it to be removed to raise the bunk to it's upper position.

We've started tidying up the exterior electric stuff.  The license plate light got a quick coat of aluminum paint.  It might get painted again later.

The side markers got cleaned and new bulbs.  They need a little more attention to get rewired, so didn't go back on this weekend.

We sealed up the cargo door and added some insulation.  It will not be used as a cargo door, so is just filling the hole in the skins.  We used window glazing to seal the door and a small chrome plug to fill the cam-lock hole.

Finally, we dug out our old panel molding.  This originally covered the seams in the internal 1/8" panels and is really not available to purchase anymore.  We sanded and stripped it, then added a couple coats of clear shellac to bring the grain back out.

It is much darker than our new birch paneling, so will not blend as well as it once did.  It does match the old ash cabinets though, so is more of an accent than a seam hider.

Sunday, October 9, 2016


We're not using exterior water or waste connections, so we need to plug all the holes in the skin.  We first covered the front and back of the skin with waterproof tape.

 Then we got some cheap aluminum eave vents from the Big Box.  
 They needed a little trim

Not the best, but it covers up the holes.  We need to get a 2 inch one for the last hole to get it to line up with the holes in the skin.

We also built a bunk rail out of oak as it's a good match to the ash our trailer was made from.  Our bracket concept burned in the flames of our lack of metalworking skills, so we're just holding this in place for a photo op.

 Finally, we worked a bit on retrofitting our original vent with a Vortex fan.  We still need to wire it up permanently, but our test run with a bench supply showed it pulled a good amount of air.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Bargman Shmargman

Many vintage trailers came with prized Bargman locks that can sell for $200 used.  Ours came with this piece of junk that would have cost $80 to rekey.

So we bought a kwikset mobile home lock from Amazon for $14

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Wrapping up the skins

After the awesome Buellton Rally, wife decided it was time to stop fusing around.

Finished the front.  Patched the rock holes and tears with waterproof tape on the back.  Will probably add something to the front too, maybe gutter seal or JB Weld.

Finished the back skin.  Window required a little trimming of the framing to get the holes to line up.  This skin is really tight, but all the rail holes line up too, so it was just crap from the factory, which explains why these corners had the most rot.

The crafting clubhouse is really coming along.

Definitely going to be a stealth camper with these old dented skins and new interior.