I marked out the floor plan and mocked up the vertical surfaces in the bathroom and shower with cardboard. I still may need to swap the locations for the shower and lavatory, but the final refinement should tell. The way I have designed the holding tanks will support that potentiality, and I have built in some areas in the pantry and chest of drawers that will allow me to make some adjustment to the bed, shower, and lavatory size up to about eight inches if required. I am using the original size and overhead cabinet layout for the galley area. The original trailer seems to have come with a larger double sink, but I may use a smaller one in order to increase the counter space.
The chest of drawers will be on the curb side next to the head of the bed and reach up to the base of the window. I learned when ordering my axle that my trailer is about 2” wider than average, and that will be useful for a headboard and hamper on the ends of the bed. Everything under the bed will be storage of one form or another.
For the dinette, I still need to work some further refinement to the size of the table and bench layout. Toastie, I really like the style and layout of your dinette. My overhead cabinets will not extend that far into the front. I think ours will either have similar styling, or if I can make it work, we will have a U shaped dinette. Either way, I will extend the seat on the street side to the end of the cabinet to provide some additional seating area.
Once I get to work on learning how to use Google Sketchup, I will digitize the model with the precise dimensions.
I also added and built a mocked up outline for the curvature of the rear end so that I could cut the new floor in the absence of the last 3-4 inches of the missing current floor. I stole the idea from Frank Yensan’s blog. Very useful tip. The rear floor plywood didn’t really survive removal in any case, despite my efforts to preserve it.
I am interested to see whether I can make my plan work to use a marine A/C unit above the fridge which it hooked in to vent with the fridge vent, and then be able to blow cold air forward and backward from higher up in the trailer. The A/C units on the floor just don’t make any sense to me, just like the heat pumps in the A/C units on the roof. I’m not an expert on thermodynamics, but warm air rises, and cold air sinks, just like water will always seek to equalize at the lowest level. Most of the 12K BTU units that I am seeking are running about $1500-1600, but look like they are fairly straightforward to work on and small enough to fit over the fridge with ease.
For planning purposes, I had to plan for a separate shower and lavatory. Neither I, nor the wife like the idea of a wet bath. Some folks don’t feel the need for a shower in the trailer, but not us. I will probably add a hanging bar across the top for clothes while we are traveling and in order to make dual use of the space volume.
I think I can put the batteries, control panel and the preponderance of the electrical elements up front under the dinette seating to add a little weight and shorten some of the runs. But then, knowing nothing about wiring, I am open to ideas. I still need to work out the maths associated with the total power load, but I have some time to do that.
Scott and Kathy, I have been following your blog quite a lot. Yours looks remarkably like mine. There are interesting differences in the window configurations, but I anxiously await any update.
Toastie, here are the ones that I am looking at. Sometimes they run a little less, because I am not expecting to need the saltwater intake kit. If the trailer is in saltwater, I will have bigger problems than the A/C. Three major manufacturers that I have found so far.
They all have options it appears to be right/left/center dump, and based on how I am going to duct it, I should not have a run greater than about 40" to get it to dump to the front and rear of the coach. I am a long way off still, but of course one needs to have the floorplan in mind as you set the foundation.
I have also been looking at truck and bus systems, but so far, I just haven't found one that seems to be the right size, configuration or within about $600-700 of this price point. This also looks like a very straight forward system from a maintenance standpoint.
Matt, they all look very interesting and had completely escaped my attention when I started looking for a stealth AC system. I haven't read all the documentation but don't they all need some kind of water cooling line as part of the instal? If they don't need any water then they look like a great solution!
If it helps at all I started a thread on split systems a few weeks ago and found the Dometic truck splits that list for high $5K's at $1500 to $1800 or so.
1960 Sovereign 33' Pacific Railroad Custom
Cue your best Homer Simpson "Doh" or Tow Mater, "Oh Dang" quote. In rechecking the specs on all of them, the ones I thought would work, would not, and have made a bit of a dog's breakfast of my A/C plans. In my utter ignorance of marine A/C I thought that "Self-contained" actually meant self contained. Instead, it means, "Wait until you read the installation instructions to learn that is really no different than any other system.
I did find two models that were 15 and 16K BTUs, but were about eight inches too long too the space that I need. Back to the plan for the truck or bus A/C. Now I just need to find a vendor handy. But I can still afford to table the issue for a year or two.
Now to finish doing my due diligence on the alternatives to POR-15. At some level, I should just buy something and use it, but I am always methodical and try to not to miss anything. I went to the auto shop to see what was available and was offered some two part epoxy auto primer. I don't know anything about paint really either so I am learning as I go. I am concerned and skeptical about the ability of the epoxy to inhibit and encapsulate the rust. In may be a wash compared to POR-15. The price point is similar.
With the weather cold for a day or two and nothing left to work on outside until the shell is ready to come off, it’s time to start working on the windows. This is slow, laborious work, and taking apart, cleaning, straightening, repairing, sanding out the corrosion, and doing the initial cut of polish takes about eight hours per window.
I started with what looked like the nastiest. The PO decided at some point that an entire tube of silicon would be appropriate to seal the cracked window. After removing the thoroughly rusted bolts, a scraper helped to start separating it from the window frame trip pieces. Fortunately most of it came out in one large piece, although there was still quite a bit stuck to the frame. Fortunately, WD-40 seems to take the silicon off the aluminum pretty well. Citristrip and Goof-off took care of the 59 year old original glue. The pieces were labelled, and prepared for polishing. Most of the window cranks are completely shot and broken. There are a couple still possibly serviceable, and I will attempt to clean them out and get them working again.
I also found a couple more options for frame paint, and read all the paint threads I could find on the forum. It does sound like there are a lot of good options as long as the prep work is done properly. My main concern now is to ensure that I can paint over whatever the base frame coating is on the exposed tongue and bumper with the top coat that I am looking for. So it must be a paint that other final top coat paint can stick to after it has already cured completely. This makes me a bit nervous about the POR 15.
Otherwise, the weather cooperated again at the end of January and I had a chance to get the gantry built to raise the shell off the frame. I stole a plan from the forums, attached below. I don’t remember where, out of the hundreds of thread I have looked I got it from, so thanks very much if it’s yours. It no rotisserie, but it is handy. Very good design with ample reserve strength when we needed it. I added my own system captured in the photos below with a couple of pulleys, an 800# cable, and an 800# capacity boat trailer crank. The pulleys were 1200# capacity. All the items cost about $200 at Home Depot, Tractor Supply and a local hardware store. It was a bit more than expected, but I figured that a first class system would be good insurance against damage to the shell. And it was. Money well spent based on the instability we had as we found the last few hidden rivets and screws and the gantry helped insure that it was lifted smoothly and with no damage when things stretched and popped.
One minor mishap occurred when building some of the vertical structure happen when moving the wood down to the driveway, bumped the neighbor’s brand new Acura tail light. Most expensive part of this phase of the project. With the neighbor’s car safely moved, I finished putting it all together and standing it up.
It was a week before I was able to take off the shell, but I didn’t want to wait because more bad weather was on its way. My little boys were a big help taking pictures once again.
Finally, a couple questions I am still working on:
I have been following William’s thread on A/C (http://www.airforums.com/forums/f44/...ml#post1421770) and trying to work out the best system for my set up. I would like to have the A/C components fit on top or bottom of the fridge about 24” x 24” x 20” of total volume available, or both, and vent through the floor or in the fridge vent passage, and in turn allow it to dump cold air from near the ceiling. No roof system and no big split system that requires an externally mounted condenser on the tongue or some such. Sorry if you have them, but I think they just look like hell on the vintage trailers. I am looking now as some type of split system similar to what CHTR is doing for the 55 FC they are working on: Byam's '55 Flying Cloud but need to know some of the specific dimensions and requirements in the trailer before I can decide and know whether my floor plan will require modification. Unfortunately, some, like me are not knowledgeable at all on these A/C systems, so I feel like a bunch of virgins talking about sex.
Also still trying to decide on the paint, and don’t know if there are any real disadvantages associated with any of the paint systems I have been looking at, otherwise I am likely to try the POR-15 or chassis saver.
Waiting for the weekend to take the shell off, I started working on the next of the windows.
Several have the structural rivets at the top of the outer frame pulled out, and I am hoping that I can repair those with smaller, very short rivets that don’t disrupt the window glass. Otherwise, this window has some damage to the frame and the top and bottom brackets that hold the glass in place such that they are cracked through. I will reinforce the front frame where cracked, and then I have rebuild the brackets from some leftover 3003 .025”. The dimensions were easy to get, but the sharp creases from the proper kind of metal brake are just not possible for me. I did get them a little sharper through very judicious use of the rubber mallet, but I don’t think it will be visible once installed.
A lot of straightening required, followed by cleaning, sanding, and polishing. So far I am between 8-9 hours per window just to get to a smooth first cut with no orange peel look from the sander, but I see that average going up with the horrible rubber cement used in the rear window coming up. Cleaning and sanding takes a long time and doing it properly makes a huge difference. I can definitely see why some of these windows leaked.
After shoveling snow and inviting a few friends over, the shell is off. The gantry worked like a champ and with the 2x4 bracing and carry handles under the edges of the shell, it was safely stowed in the carport.
There were a few rusted screws still residual from the exterior base trim, that had to be removed with judicious use of the hammer and crowbar from the inside, but once free it came right off. With one person on each corner of the shell we easily moved it the fifty yards to storage. The endcaps and some other odds and ends were stowed inside. I modified the gantry design to be more modular in its construction so I could essentially remove two lag bolts and it would come apart in three pieces for storage.
Then I peeled back the top edges of the belly pan and removed it. After removing the odd screw and rivets still holding it in place on the bottom, and some aggressive pulling and prodding, the skins came out from between the wheels.
Holy…what a mess! The dead mouse looking curled up asleep. The tons of dirt, garbage and shredded insulation, and individual plies of wood from the sub floor in the belly. Swept up, pounded flat and saved with my floor template in the shell.
Next, to get the subfloor out. The rear section was just rotted to the point that I could overcome it with brute force and ignorance, and rip the wood through bolts. I have read on the forums that they are often rusted and breakable with vice grips. These were not. Generally mine were in great shape. So with a combination of the saws all, and the grinder, they all came out. Working in the snow while lying on one’s back was less that fun for comfort, but gratifying as fairly quick work. As I got to the seams between plywood sheets farther forward, I noticed these little tin or steel joiners picture holding them together. I have considered using biscuits as part of the process, but if these are easier, I will go with them as well. I am open to ideas here.
One of the best parts was the gigantic wasp nest that needed removal in order to access floor bolts on the street side rear, just behind the tire. It literally filled the 15x15” space and 3” deep. Glad it was abandoned and winter time. I would not have liked to meet it occupied and summer time! Great surprises in the frame and belly pan.
One could see the areas of the C channel that were badly corroded, and while some was saved as a template, the majority went to the recycler. After the floor pieces were cleaned up, nothing was left of the frame and it went to back to the storage yard, after careful measurements of everything in order to plan for the framework with the welder, tanks, and a new axle with torsion suspension. With a little more than 58” between the inter surfaces of the main frame rail, I gather it is a bit wider than average.