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.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Never trust a Previous Owner

One thing about buying a 60 year old trailer is that a lot of the original information about the trailer has likely been lost.  Previous owners will tell you the tires are great, there's no rot, "everything works" and it's camp ready.  In our case, the trailer came with a small receiver hitch with a 1-7/8" ball which we assumed was correct.

For our first little tow, we borrowed a 1-7/8" hitch from a friend and everything seemed fine.  It's hard to tell if there's a problem when the trailer is on the ball, but our trip was beset with all manner of clanks, bangs and clunks.  To find out once and for all, we purchased 2 balls, 1-7/8" and 2".  As you can see below, the 1-7/8" is a bit sloppy.

The 2" ball fits pretty well and the hitch latch closes completely, so I think we have a winner.  For anyone out there with a 60s Hadco MK-61 coupler, make sure you try the 2" ball before taking a long trip.