Tuesday, December 31, 2013


The new floor was bolted down using “elevator bolts.”  

I used  and a "forstner" bit to countersink the bolt heads into the plywood.

Aluminum was installed on top of the frame but under the floor at the step.

This area of the floor will be exposed and will need protection from the elements.

Improvement here.

Wally Byam’s familiar refrain, “Let’s not make changes, let’s make only improvements.” 

I designed an “improvement” on the floor edge.  I incorporated an “L” shaped aluminum piece that attaches to the bottom of the floor and onto the outside of the “C” channel.  My reasoning for this was to add strength to the “C” channel for holding the body down and for protection of the plywood edge of the floor.

"L" shape attached to the floor.

"L" shape attached to radius curves.

I made pie cuts every 2 inches along the bottom of the “L” shape to help wrap around the radius curves.  Steel screws with neoprene washers were used to attach the “L” shape to the bottom edge of the radius floor curves both in the front and rear floor areas. 

"C" channel sitting on top of the floor.  The "L" shape fitted below the floor and against the "C" channel.

"L" shape attached to outrigger and bolted to floor.  Plastic washers and plastic film were used to insulate the steel bolts.

The “L” shaped piece is held in place along the sides of the trailer with bolts through the “C” channel and outriggers.  In between each outrigger, bolts and plastic washers were installed on the bottom side of the floor to help hold the “L” channel in place and to provide the intended strength and protection. 

The steel frame comes into contact with aluminum in several areas and needs to be insulated to avoid dissimilar metal corrosion. Throughout the frame attach points I used a polyurethane caulk “Vulkem” sealant, thin plastic sheet material and plastic washers to provide a barrier between  those dissimilar metals.

Steel and aluminum insulation point at end of outriggers.

New aluminum installed under the step was also insulated against steel frame using rubberized tape.

New steel plate up front!

Notice the new steel plate in front of the floor area.  It is a standard item on this trailer and was used to securely fasten the body to the floor and to distribute the twisting forces over a wide area of the front of trailer.  I installed a new, over sized plate and bolted it to the frame under the floor instead of on top of the wood floor. The old one was severely rusted out from a leaking window.

It is almost time to invert the chassis (Rotisserie) for the last time.  Insulation and plumbing will be needed before the new belly pan goes on.

It is very cold outside and progress will slow down.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Plywood Flooring

I saved all the old flooring panels from the "dis-assemble" phase.   They were used as patterns for the new flooring.  They were also used as a reference to double-check original measurements. The old panels also held impressions on the top and bottom of the panels as to the position of furniture and mounting holes.  Using exact measurements is "key" to avoid problems placing the shell back onto the frame.  I also "referenced" the old panels to make decisions on where to place grey tanks and plumbing below the floor.

Here are some pictures of finished wheel wells and the cutting of new flooring panels.  I purchased the plywood from Lowe's, the "RV Superstore."  I decided to use a good quality cdx plywood 23/32 inch thickness.  I felt that it needed to be a bit stronger.  The previous flooring was only 5/8 inch thick.  

All furniture will be rebuilt anyway so I don't anticipate any problems with a thicker floor.  

The four corner curves on this trailer were somewhat symmetrical.  I used a simple method to figure a smooth radius curve.  It matched the original curve very well.  The rotted panels were missing some wood for tracing around.

The wheel wells need to be water tight.  As I installed the new flooring I caulked the exterior seems on the bottom side.  I also  plan to use black "undercoating" spray on the underside of the wheel wells. The upper surface (green side) will be out of sight and be covered by "interior" wheel wells.

 I was pleased when all the pieces were cut and fitted together.  Nothing is bolted down yet.  More measuring will be necessary to ensure that the overall dimensions are correct.

The trailer took on a familiar shape.  Notice the new steel panel in front for attaching the shell.  Planning well ahead is a daunting task.

I am having fun !

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Frame work

After the frame came home from the welder's shop I had an opportunity to add a few additional items.
The step support rails needed to be repaired.  I fabricated two new supports with slide channels cut in.  The actual step itself was in good shape but rusty.

New supports fabricated for the step.

New safety chains were added.

Safety chains with new jack support plates.

Frame Painting.

Once the welding chores were completed the frame needed to be prepared for painting.  I used "Marine Clean" to remove the grease and oil from the metal.  It really worked well to strip the oil from the new metal and the grease from the old metal.  I used a small sprayer to coat all the surfaces with "Marine Clean".   It was allowed to stand for the prescribed amount of time and then it was rinsed off using clear water.

Metal Preparation.

"Marine Clean" application.

I wanted to spray both the top and bottom of the fram.  Moving it around upside down was fun (Rotisserie).

Clean water rinse process using a garden hose.

Next came the preparation of the metal to accept paint.  The spray process again was used to apply " Metal Prep and Ready". 

The product dried with a white color ready for paint to "grip" the metal.

The frame was suspended from my barn trusses using two chain hoists.  
The process allowed access to all angles of the frame to apply paint.


Painting day.

I used "Por-15" black paint to coat the frame.  Hopefully, it will stop rust for another 54 years.
The product needs to be applied "as indicated" on the directions.  I am very impressed with this paint and would not hesitate to use it again.

By hanging the frame from the rafters I was able to paint the frame using a paint brush to get paint on all surfaces with a minimum of runs.  Spraying is not recommended.

The frame looked great when all painted.

Wheel Wells.

What to do about the old wheel wells?  
The old ones were rusted out, damaged and basically useless.
After much research, I decided to make new ones. 

I purchased aluminum from a roofing and gutter supply manufacturer in the area.  The metal was painted brown on one side and virgin green on the other.  It was thick enough  to suit me for replacement wheel wells.  A metal brake was used to bend everything to needed specifications (my own design).  

I purchased a new rivet gun from "Vintage Trailer Supply."  I will "buck rivet" the pieces together.
This is going to be fun!

My math skills were involved to fashion these beauties.
The old ones had round curves.

Learning to "buck" rivets was easy and fun!

I used 1 inch aluminum angle to rivet the aluminum pieces together.

Grey tank installation and wheel well installation.

Grey tanks were purchased from "Vintage Trailer Supply" with openings already installed.  They were fitted into the frame rails near the wheels and secured with bottom supports.  Plumbing routes were then selected.  Hopefully, my advance planning will pay off later.

Wheel wells looking good!

Tanks and wheel wells in place.

Plumbing will be routed through cross members.  Holding tank hangers will be fashioned so that nothing will extend below the frame members.  A smooth belly plan is planned to maintain the vintage look.

Wheel wells were fabricated to match the overall dimensions of the old ones.  They will be covered up on the inside of the trailer by "inner" fender wells and not visible.  They needed to protect the trailer from water on the underside and to be sturdy enough to provide protection from a possible tire failure. The old ones were very thin and rusted out (galvanized metal).  They were used for patterns and then discarded. 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Frame Repairs

Frame repairs have taken a long time to accomplish.  A decision had to be made whether to repair the old frame or build a completely new one.  That decision was a hard one and will be costly in the end.  I decided that it would be best to repair the old frame.  The welder agreed and stated that he would rather build a new frame but that I could save money if he repaired the old one.  He had great confidence in his ability to repair and replace rusted out metal.  In the end, keeping the original dimensions and improving the overall strength of the old frame was a good decision. Hopefully, it will last another 54 years.

Now, I can turn the corner and start to rebuild the whole trailer from the ground up.

The frame is back at home and I must get busy planning how to proceed with this new and improved frame.

Today, I expect a delivery from "Vintage Trailer Supply."  
Two grey tanks, a black tank and some plumbing fittings.
I must also order "Por 15" paint.

Look!  Two new "Dexter" axles!
No more leaf suspension springs.  We now have "torq-flex" suspension for a smooth ride.
45 degree angle to rise the frame 2 full inches higher from the ground.
Not a "low rider" anymore.

Angle Iron 1/4 thick was welded to the underside of the main frame rails the length of the trailer.

A new rear cross-member was added along with extensions to frame rails for a trunk box.

While at the welder's shop it was a good time to improve the "A frame" rails and add a  new 2  5/16 hitch coupler.

The frame looked and felt much stronger when finished.  

If I ever rebuild another trailer I think I will build a new frame (just sayin').