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Old 01-07-2004, 10:09 PM   #15
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Just completed a 1500 mile tow with my vintage trailer yesterday. Yep, 38 years old and she's still got what it takes!

Only one problem: on I-95 in South Carolina, a section of the underbelly skin let loose and dragged on the ground. Turns out the rivets and holes holding the leading edge of the aluminum were in less than ideal shape. A considerable length of the belly skin "unzipped" down the center rivet line.

Fortunately, I had the rivet gun packed and was able to rig up a temporary repair at the next exit that lasted 400 additional miles. (If I hadn't had the rivet gun, I would have tried duct tape!)

The only other issue is just plain dirt. The entire trailer is filthy with northeast road gunk. Needs a good scrubbing at the car wash.

And now, the reward: I see the high temperature for tomorrow at my home is forecast to be zero to five below. But I'm in Florida now enjoying a balmy 70 degrees and sunshine -- so it was worth it!

-- RL
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Old 01-07-2004, 10:17 PM   #16
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Good for you, Rich! Glad to hear she made it ok, I knew the old girl had it in her. Scary little surprise you had on the road though. How did you know - did you see sparks or hear it or something? Good fix though. I'm going to go add a rivet gun and rivets to my toolbox in the trailer. It seems so obvious, I don't know why I hadn't thought of that yet!

And I'm oh-so-jealous of that Florida weather! We are snowed/iced in up here! Enjoy!
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Old 01-08-2004, 12:29 PM   #17
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Fortunately, I had the rivet gun packed and was able to rig up a temporary repair at the next exit that lasted 400 additional miles. (If I hadn't had the rivet gun, I would have tried duct tape!)
Just so yall know-duct tape dosent work on Caravel belly skin!

We had the exact same thing happen a few months ago on our trip to Santa Fe (3000 mi. total) We were about 400 miles into the trip when we heard a loud noise and had to pull over. Duct tape was the obvious choice but would not stick at all. We also happened to have some commercial double stick carpet tape, binder clips, nylon rope, bungies and wire. All of which we tried to no avail. I got some nylon ties at a truck stop and threaded them through the rivet holes. This worked well with just a little maintenance when we stopped for gas.

When we got to our ralley in Santa Fe a very nice gentleman filled me in on vintage belly maintenance. He had every size rivet made , a big drill, and just about anything else anyone could need. He actually crawled under my trailer and showed me how to rivet. I would have had no idea but I sure do now! The man was Don Schafer, a very active WBCCI official. Thanks to him we are still rolling!

Heidi
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Old 01-08-2004, 12:30 PM   #18
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Old 01-08-2004, 01:17 PM   #19
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Wow, sounds like my Caravel's going to get a good tummy inspection before we hit the road for our big road trip! And I'm now going to bring a rivet gun, drill, rivets, and wire ties - Never can be too prepared!
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Old 01-08-2004, 02:16 PM   #20
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It does not suprise me that Don had the tools and the knowlege. He has been in WBCCI for 40+ years. He and his wife are wonderful folks. We had the pleasure of them attending our first two unit rallies this year.

Stephanie,

Remeber the black box of goodies I shipped to your house? My coach goes nowhere without it on board Rivets, wire ties, screws of all sizes and electrical connectors galore! I would suggest a smaller version (for a smaller unit) that stows in the Van or under the bed. They can be had in the sporting goods department at a Wal Mart or Kmart.
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Old 01-08-2004, 02:21 PM   #21
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I just need to add to my existing toolbax. I already have a complete set of wrenches, sockets, screwdrivers, electrical connectors and tape, stripper, duct tape, pliers - all in the emergency toolbox I used to keep in the classic cars. There's just a few more trailer specific things I guess I'd better have on hand so we don't find ourselves stranded in Kansas or something!

The folks I bought my trailer from also kept a huge well stocked toolbox in his pickup truck for emergency repairs. I think he could have built you a trailer on the spot if you brought him the aluminum to work with! But travelling all over the country and to Alaska every summer, he must have already learned his lesson about being prepared.
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Old 01-08-2004, 07:27 PM   #22
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I'll mention a few things that came along in my tool kit for this trip, besides the Olympic rivets and pop rivet gun:

-- little zip-lock baggie of grease for the hitch
-- spare light bulbs (1141F, 1156, 1383)
-- rubber hose washers
-- Vulkem and caulk gun
-- a little block of wood for tapping things
-- rags
-- Swiss army knife
-- quick links
-- bungee cord
-- allen wrenches
-- manuals for brake controller and hitch
-- little LED headlamp
-- wire cutter/strippers
-- fuses
-- spare cotter pins for hitch parts

I also brought everything Steph mentioned, but only one socket for the wrench: the size that takes off my lug nuts! All of the above fits into one medium tool bag that weighs about 15 lbs.

The wire ties and tie-wraps are a good idea I hadn't thought of.

-- RL
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