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SmokelessJoe 03-21-2007 08:05 AM

Painting the interior
In a recent thread by boatdoc, he asked if one could paint the vinyl interior panels.

I’m repeating my reply here, just for the record keeping and for those that may be interested or helped.


You can paint the vinyl clad aluminum panels easily. I don’t know about other products but this is what I did with perfect results:

First wash down the walls very well. Prep is everything. I tried several types of cleaners and found a spray called KRUD KUTTER superior to everything. I also washed everything down with TSP.

I used TWO coats of KILZ primer.

For the majority of the trailer I used a Benjamin Moore wall paint, oil based and FLAT. Beautiful results.

Same thing with the bath area. There I used a two-component coating by POR 15 called WhiteCoat. The white finish is as hard and brilliant as porcelain.

I applied the flat oil with those little foam rollers originally called “ German rollers”. They produce a lovely finish that looks like it was sprayed.

I used these rollers for the POR 15 too, having first asked the supplier about it. The paint reacted with the roller and ruined the job.

We had to sand the whole thing down with 400 grit paper and redo it with a brush.

POR 15 paid for the replacement paint.


SmokelessJoe 03-23-2007 05:52 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Pat Luscomb, the painter at Wiltsie Truck Body, is coming by tomorrow to paint the small 12 s.f. area below the front window Mini Cooper Black.

This will allow us to install and permanently connect the compressor for the LG split unit.

I took the cover off the compressor today, sanded it down and cleaned it with TSP.

We will paint it black at the same time.


SmokelessJoe 03-24-2007 01:59 PM

Front panel behind AC is painted
5 Attachment(s)
Pat applied the vinyl wash primer first.
Attachment 34497

Then the Mini Cooper Black
Attachment 34498

We painted the parts from the AC plant
Attachment 34499

Now they are shiny black too.
Attachment 34500

After a second coat the still drying BLACK is so highly reflective it’s like taking your picture in a mirror.
Attachment 34501


sequoiacoast 03-24-2007 02:33 PM

Wow it looks beautiful! Congratulations!!!!!!!!!!

SmokelessJoe 03-25-2007 05:46 PM

1 Attachment(s)
The now Mini Black LG compressor, in position and ready to be connected.


3Ms75Argosy 03-25-2007 09:53 PM

woo hoo!
so when is the rest of the trailer going to be shot?

SmokelessJoe 03-26-2007 08:34 AM

final paint to be last thing

The final paint will be the last thing – well, the moldings all around and the new BLACK Zip Dee immediately following that – so spraying is still a long way off.

We painted the area behind the AC compressor because that allows us to connect, charge and test the AC units and proceed with the rest of the interior.


Safari Tim 03-26-2007 09:31 AM


Is the final overall color going to be black? Is so, won't that make it a heat magnet?

SmokelessJoe 03-26-2007 07:09 PM

Pepper WHITE and Black
1 Attachment(s)

From page one of this thread, the Argosy was always going to be painted to match the MINI, Pepper WHITE and BLACK - two tone.

Only the lower portion, below the belt line, is BLACK. The rest will be Pepper White.


SmokelessJoe 03-27-2007 11:22 AM

Ordered the Ultra Fab 3500 power jack
When I asked about the relative merits of BARKER and ULTRA –FAB here I received less comment on the subject than I though I would:

I called the Airstream factory. They’ve been using Barker for 30 years or more but didn’t have an opinion on Ultra Fab.

I called Ultra Fab. They said they thought the two products were very similar and competitive but felt they had an edge by offering an adjustable foot.

Sugarfoot gave me a very detailed report on his Ultra Fab.

I spoke to a local RV repairman who said they were comparable with no appreciable difference between the two.

I assume that Airstream’s use of the Barker has more to do with traditional loyalty than product superiority and followed Sugarfoot’s example and went with an easy 1-800 purchase of the Ultra Fab from Camping World.

It’s a few bucks cheaper than the competition and has the added adjustable foot, said to be helpful when using a WD hitch.


3Ms75Argosy 03-27-2007 05:12 PM

How is the foot adjustable?
Sergei, does the foot pivot on the bottom? I, of course, just have a post that goes on a aluminum block that I use. Eventually, I'll be replacing ours... let me know of it's just a bolt on simple job. I've read some stories that you have to drill out the opening more.... I don't have a grinder, so I'm reluctant to do it myself....:rolleyes:

How's the interior coming?

SmokelessJoe 03-28-2007 08:14 AM

bathroom is starting to take shape
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I don’t know how the adjustable foot functions.

It was apparently the only feature that separated the two major brands and was only $10.00 for the option so I took it.

Ultra Fab described it as particularly useful if you have a weight distribution hitch.

The jack will arrive in a few days. We should be able to tell from the design or the accompanying literature and I’ll let you know.

The “frosted glass and white” bathroom is starting to take shape.

I’ll have to get my act together and order the electrical panel because it goes on the wall just outside the tall vanity.

It will also be nice to have power in the trailer.


Sugarfoot 03-28-2007 11:23 AM


Originally Posted by 3Ms75Argosy
Sergei, does the foot pivot on the bottom? I, of course, just have a post that goes on a aluminum block that I use. Eventually, I'll be replacing ours... let me know of it's just a bolt on simple job. I've read some stories that you have to drill out the opening more.... I don't have a grinder, so I'm reluctant to do it myself....:rolleyes:

How's the interior coming?

Marc, the adjustable foot is an extention to the jack post that can raised or lowered to from 1-6 inches incrementally by moving a pin. It can also be removed from the jack post completely. Quite a handy concept.

safari62 03-29-2007 09:47 PM

Hello Sergei,
That's quite a project. Can I just say WOW! They say it's not the destination, it's the journey....and your on it! Keep the faith and follow though with the quality aspects and the asthetic that you envision. My little bit of advice is maybe do not completely try to reinvent the wheel while pursuing your idea of perfection. Not that I am saying what you are doing is wrong as I do not completely understand the diesel powered part of the trailer yet. I just spent an extra year past the point when I thought my restoration would be completed and I know it can get frustrating at times.
When you do get out there all of that work will pay off because you will no longer have to think about it. I like the aspect of the project as art platform and always remember lighter is better. I love the sprinter and the flatbed look, but having carried heavy objects on trucks like that for too my years, it scares me to think about now. I think the weight is too much and too high especially towing a trailer. I would leave the mini home and load on a euro scooter and some bicycles next too the barbeque, spare water and diesel tanks,tool boxes, surf boards,etc,etc you get the idea. Actually the spinter van would be excellent for that also and you get the security factor. Love what your doing...if you email me privately I will send you photos of a cute two tone baby blue Argosy and a nice Isuzu flatbed/Airstream rig. I also reinvented my own Wally door and will send photos of that too.
1962 Safari

SmokelessJoe 03-30-2007 08:11 AM

the horse is long gone
Gary, thanks for your nice comments and encouragement.

I went through the Sprinter van / flatbed debate with myself over a year ago. See post #22 and 25 back on page 2 of this thread.

Do you use that old adage in Maine, the one about closing the barn door after the horse is out?


safari62 03-30-2007 07:29 PM

I guess I made the assumption you were reconsidering the idea of hauling the mini because of all the various problems mentioned, least mentioned of which seems to be the fact that it is just too much weight for the truck. When you get the truck and trailer loaded up and it's going to feel and be heavy. That makes everything work harder, take longer, stop slower, and will be a drag while travelling. The truck will be perfect for the trips you plan and when you get ready to go and load up the car there will be time to get the feel of it and make a decision then. Then you can take a picture of the car and hang it on the wall of the trailer for the trip. Just leave the car home. That horse has not left the barn and how much does a dead horse weight anyway?
I know ...and they are HEAVY!

SmokelessJoe 03-31-2007 09:03 PM

2 Attachment(s)
I’ve installed the drains and vents for the vessel sink and the black tank. I provided an extra vent for the gray tank by connecting the sink drain to the black vent stack, up near the ceiling.

Phil is cutting cabinet liners from .040 white aluminum sheeting. These will hide the plumbing infrastructure.


3Ms75Argosy 04-01-2007 11:24 PM

coming along!
Sergei - I'm thinking that the final assembly will go pretty quickly once the rear plumbing/electrical is in, is that correct? The cabinets should line up and mount fairly quickly - no? Of course, I'm hungry to see more!
Looks so clean!

My wife is starting to get tired of the ol Dodge Van... I have visions of a Dodge Magnum as a tow vehicle... sometimes I dream of taking a trip to Can Am to see what they do...

Then I think of your van/truck... can't wait to see the whole thing together!

SmokelessJoe 04-02-2007 08:04 AM


Yes, it may go faster now. At least I see more visible signs of daily progress.

DavidsonOverlander is finishing up the gauchos, storage drawers and fold out table now too.

The very cool Blue Sea AC power distribution panel is here too. Detail here:

Lots to do still but it’s starting to move. Thanks for giving me this thought early on a Monday morning!


SmokelessJoe 04-04-2007 02:45 PM

1 Attachment(s)
The Wiltsie shop quickly made a neat 10” x 4” x 3 “ deep box to house the Blue Sea distribution panel but now I find my local electrician is tied up for 2 weeks.

If we can’t find anyone else we have lots of other work to busy ourselves with.


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