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dbj216 08-15-2019 07:52 PM

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My son's 69 Globetrotter came from the factory with an above floor black tank. I replaced it as the original was broken when the rear of the trailer bottomed out on some incline. The tank and surround were 9" off the floor. I had trouble finding a new toilet that was a "shortie". I think we bought a 12" one making the seat height a tall 21". A guy feels like a 5 year old with feet dangling off the floor.

I wonder what your new throne seat height is from the floor?


steinVT 08-15-2019 08:29 PM

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One of the toughest things I have done was drilling large holes thru my pristine floor to install vents for the refrigerator and furnace.

This was the original refrigerator vent. There was some window screening to keep out the rodents that was torn. Basically a freeway for mice. I was determined to not repeat this.
Attachment 349525
I ended up with an aluminum vent complete with attached screen. That with a plastic duct connector and some aluminum flashing turned out a much more secure path. Here is the view from inside.
Attachment 349526
And from outside.
Attachment 349527

The furnace also had a 2" vent thru the floor. I used some hardware that would be used to install a central vac system to secure this entry.

Here is the installed port.
Attachment 349528

The parts that make it up.
Attachment 349529

And the view from below. - Mark
Attachment 349530

steinVT 08-15-2019 08:38 PM


Originally Posted by dbj216 (Post 2277490)
A guy feels like a 5 year old with feet dangling off the floor.

I wonder what your new throne seat height is from the floor?


I just checked, 19". Feels a little high compared with the house, but at least my feet aren't dangling. :brows:

Bubba L 08-15-2019 08:40 PM

Great enginuity. Just walk around a big box store and you’ll start thinking of how to retrofit things that weren’t designed for what you’re using them for. Neatly done.

steinVT 08-22-2019 09:13 PM

Counter Tops
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Just like the flooring, picking out what we wanted for a counter top was tougher than actually installing it. We ended up with a print from Wilsonart Retro collection.

I decided to replace all of the original substrates which get cut from a single sheet of plywood. We were lucky in that we were able to use all of the edge trim pieces from the original. I did have to buy a couple of tools, a laminate roller and a wing cutter for my router.

The wing cutter is used to cut the slot in the edge to hold the aluminum T extrusions. Just for future reference, even though the old slots measured almost exactly 3/32", the cutter you want is 1/16". The bigger one would be too loose.
Attachment 350210

Here is the completed sink counter.
Attachment 350215

And then the stove cover down and then up.
Attachment 350211Attachment 350212

And finally the table up and as an end table?
Attachment 350213Attachment 350214

dbj216 08-24-2019 07:06 PM

Hi steinVT: The countertops looks fantastic.

I made a new galley countertop from plywood for the Overlander, but I changed the size about an inch and thus the original edge trip wouldn't fit. No problem I thought, I'll just apply the laminate to the edge and mill it to fit. I found out I could not bend it at the radius on the corner of the countertop. Maybe heat would have helped.

I wondered how edge cuts are made. I put together an old table just the other day that had a groove cut in the frame so the clips would fit in it and then screwed down tight to the top. I wondered what tool might have been used to make that groove.

My old 66 Trade Wind had such a stove top cover as well as sink hole covers just to expand counter space. However, it was made of steel. The wife's 86 has a similar steel stove top cover. My new cooktop in the Overlander came with a dark glass cover. Covering the cooktop or stove is an Airstream standard.

You must be seeing the light at the end of the tunnel on your Safari project.


steinVT 08-26-2019 06:39 AM

Hi David, thanks. The counters turned out to be the look we were looking for.

Yes, I can see the end is near. I am further ahead than my posting. Just finished the propane system over the weekend. Plugged in the 63 year old Kreft refrigerator and it made ice in a little over an hour. :clap: Next I will try it on propane.

More exciting news, my wife Lynne, finished the first of four cushions for the dinette and it looks fantastic. She never ceases to amaze me.

steinVT 09-18-2019 09:28 PM

Maiden Voyage
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With a final rush, we actually met our goal and "finished" the trailer in time for the 100th Anniversary Tin Can Tourist North East Rally. Sorry I haven't been posting. I still plan to back fill the construction details I skipped over.

The rally started on Thursday and we planned on leaving Thursday morning. On Wednesday, the day before, we still had curtains and both mattress covers to sew. I may not have mentioned it before, but my wife Lynne and I decided to make all our own cushion covers and curtains. We had two sewing machines running from 6 in the morning until about 6 at night. And we hadn't even thought about what or how to pack the trailer. We made the decision to go a day late to the rally. We would spend the extra day packing, picking up a few things for the trailer and generally catching our breath.

So now it's Friday morning, trailer is all ready to go and we notice one of our old dogs is not getting up to see us off. We had two old dogs that were to stay with a house sitter and we were taking our new puppy to the rally. Long story short, her congestive heart failure had taken a turn for the worse and she had to be euthanized. Not exactly a great start for the trip. At that point we decided we would name the Safari after her. Our trailer is no longer "Unnamed", she is now "Bella".
Attachment 352496

We finally got going around 10:30 and then drove 300 miles to Sampson State Campground in Romulus NY. Pulled like a dream, no issues. Since it is basically a new trailer, I didn't expect any.
Attachment 352487

My wife and I have never even spent a night in a travel trailer, let alone this newly refurbished one. Turns out we both loved it. The Safari was everything we had hoped and more. And amazingly, all of the systems worked as designed. We used the stove to make espresso and fry eggs, the oven to warm pizza, the beer was ice cold (maybe too cold), the furnace took off the chill in the morning, there was hot water for washing dishes and the bathroom did what it was supposed to do. Definitely a step up from motorcycle camping which was our normal mode of operation.

On Saturday there was an open house and we had a lot of people come by to take a look. Here's a sample of what they saw.

First the bedroom.
Attachment 352488

The dinning room (Can you believe those cushions? My wife Lynne never considered herself a seamstress, but she should now. They came out great)
Attachment 352489

The bath
Attachment 352491

And looking forward to the galley
Attachment 352490

We spent two nights at the Rally and enjoyed them immensely. The TCT (Tin Can Tourists) are a great bunch of people and it was fun talking with folks that restored their trailers. I enjoyed talking with Safari62 (Gary) and Colin Hyde as well. We will be back next year.

After the rally we weren't quite ready to go home so we headed to another camp ground in the finger lakes region, Taughannock Falls state park. Three nights there and we still weren't ready to come home except we had to. Again 300 miles and no issues.

Thanks everyone for your suggestions and support during one of the biggest projects I have ever completed. It ended up taking two weeks less than two years, from mouse infested mess to camping. It has been a great adventure.

79nTOW 09-19-2019 12:30 AM

Outstanding!! You are both to be congratulated on a job well done. Bella is a going to be a lot of fun. Predeta

sterlinghick 09-19-2019 04:15 AM

I love, love, love your restoration. It’s just beautiful. If you get back to the Fingerlakes again, try Robert H. Treman state park. The campground itself is nicer than Taughannock and it is also close to Buttermilk Falls. Our son just finished up at Ithaca and we’ve spent a ton of time camping in that area.

StevieB 09-19-2019 05:57 AM

Congrats on your finished project, great job, you both should be very proud. Thanks for documenting your journey. Now, as with all of us, what is the next upgrade project that you will be working on with "Bella"?

Joyflea 09-19-2019 06:03 AM

Very nice , neat work . You two should be proud . Now go and enjoy . Thank you for sharing.

StevieB 09-19-2019 06:04 AM

On Demand Water Heater
Please tell us a little more about your on demand water heater that you decided to use and your finished results.

Bubba L 09-19-2019 06:12 AM

Great job Mark. Sad to hear about your family member, but naming the Safari after her is appropriate. Don’t get bummed out if you generate a small punch list early on. We took our inaugural trip back in May, make a trip every few weeks and still come up with a few things to change, modify or remove. You sure live in a great area for camping. I’m learning how to fly fish and someday hope to venture up to New England to try my luck. Great job and good luck.

safari62 09-19-2019 02:14 PM

One of the highlights of our trip
I think this is one of those “it really is a small world” moments when I noticed a mid- fifties Airstream pulling in one site over from us. Then I noticed the Vermont tags and thought this might be the Safari with no name thread I have been checking into occasionally on Airforums.

So it was really a treat to see the finished product and no surprise that the job you both did is really the best thing that could have happened to the 1956 Safari.

Thanks for doing an actual vintage restoration. I wish more people would see the value of a true restoration and I’m sure you have improved many of the original
aspects of the construction of the trailer that are just under the surface.

Hope to see you at the next rally!
(I may be asking for advice in the future)!

Atomic_13 09-20-2019 04:34 AM

Great work, Mark! Looks awesome. :)

steinVT 09-20-2019 05:40 AM

Thanks all for the comments.We are proud of Bella, she came together in the end. There were times I thought it might never happen. Now we are plotting our next camping outing.

Surprisingly the punch list is rather short, mainly of camping things we failed to realize would be so important. Things like leveling ramps, awning and outdoor mat for the ground. For the trailer, so far only two items, the water pump is resonating on something is rattling in the furnace when the trailer shakes.

As far a next projects, there's a 1972 Mercedes Benz 450SL in the barn that I have neglected for years. Also keeping my eyes out for another trailer. Since we have one to camp in, this could be done at a more leisurely pace. Like I told my wife, "We already have all the tools and the know how, it would be easier a second time".:lol:

Just to complete this blog, I still plan to comment on a couple of more systems. I plan to complete entries on:
12v electrics
115v electrics
Water heater
Refrigerator venting
LP Gas system
Cushions and Mattresses
Anything else?

dbj216 09-20-2019 06:16 PM

A hearty congratulations to you folks for a solid and beautiful restoration on this old Safari. Bella is a great name for the no name trailer. It looks great, and I'm so glad you enjoyed your first vintage rally.

I've learned a lot from your project thread and hope to see you around the Forums in the future.


steinVT 09-21-2019 02:31 AM

Water Heater
2 Attachment(s)
Let's start off with the water heater as that topic was requested. It is an Excel Vent-Free Tankless Propane Water Heater, Low Pressure Startup, 1.6GPM, about $200 from camping world. I believe it is the same one Jeremy used on his '70 Caravanner. When you start the water flowing, you can here the igniter clicking away and in a moment you have hot water.

I have it mounted under the kitchen sink with it's back against the refrigerator cabinet to take advantage of the exhaust fans. I'll talk more about them later.
Attachment 352614

Installation is simple, attach the hot and cold lines, the propane line and insert the batteries and it just works. I have seen other installations that mounted it under a cabinet without any venting and they would just open the door. I tried it and thought the fumes were excessive.

Here is the finished installation. I added an aluminum heat shield and a vane to help direct the heat and fumes toward the back of the cabinet. There is a hole into the refrigerator vented space that is about 2" x 10". When the heater turns on, you can hear an increase in vent fan speed, but there is no exhaust smell. I was very pleased with how it all worked. - Mark
Attachment 352615

steinVT 09-21-2019 02:45 AM

12v Charging Circuits
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I'm on a bit of a roll here, so I'll keep going.

The charging circuit is basically a standard installation of the Progressive Dynamics Converter with the addition of a battery monitor and master switch. I would strongly suggest if you don't have a monitor, you add it. Otherwise you will have no idea what the 12v system is doing until you blew a fuse. It can also give you an idea where your power is going. For instance, my scare light which, for now, is incandescent, takes more power than all of the other lights in the trailer together. I haven't programmed it yet, but can also tell you the percentage left of your battery as it monitors all of the input and output current.
Attachment 352616

And here is where I hid the monitor's panel. It is nice to be able to shut the door and not have more LED's flashing in the trailer. - Mark
Attachment 352617

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