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72BamaStream 06-03-2010 06:11 AM

Age-schmage... you two are definitely young-at-heart...
So, in the grand-scheme of things is Little Girl at the place you hoped her to be at this time in 2010? Ahead of "schedule"? My guess is, even with a MN winter, y'all are further along than you had planned... am I right? I remember you saying it's a "5 year project"... I just don't see Little Girl being in dry-dock for 4 more years.
I can't wait to see the furniture/cabinet progress!! Judging by Chris' meticulousness I can only imagine that his wood-work is gorgeous... EXCITING!
Our door on Luna still doesn't latch so I'm gonna have to read back through his notes on what worked for Little Girl... l think the screen door was removed or repaired at some point (judging by the holes and the rivets on the hinge) and the change appears to be keeping the door from catching/latching... the door can't be pushed in far enough to latch... anyways, another thread....
Happy Thursday!

Minno 06-03-2010 05:10 PM

Luna? Sounds more like female name than a male name! Did us Navy types rub off on you? :D

Are we where we thought we’d be? Hard to say really. Our goal last year was to replace the floor, and we did that. The goal this year is to get the inner skins back on, so we’ll see where we end up when winter sets in. Which means all the wiring and insulation needs to be installed. I think we’ll have the time available after the wedding – it’ll be a question more of available funds. We have 80 to 90% of the wire now (I think:blink:). Insulation might be pricey depending on what we do. Jury is still out on prodex vs. reflectix vs. fiberglass.

I have adjusted a bit in my estimate. She's now a 4 to 5 year project. :)

Happy Thursday evening!

Minno 06-07-2010 06:41 PM

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Rainy weekend. That kept me from replacing either of the two remaining roof vents. :( But, since she’s still under the canopy, I was able to work on a couple of other projects. First off, I had bought another 50 feet of 12/2 clad wire, so I finished the rough 110 VAC wiring. :)

Then I started working on replacing the marker lights. This is in part an upgrade to LEDs, and in part because when we picked Little Girl up last year, none of the marker lights, or any of the other running lights worked. Rather than try and fix the old lights, I decided to replace them with LEDs. The ones we bought look almost like the original ones. Same lens, but you can tell that they are LEDs instead of regular bulbs.

Replacing them was pretty easy. Drill out the two rivets that held the original ones in place, clean up the shell underneath where the lights were (both inside and outside), drill a new hole for the wires, put on some vulkum, and install the new lights with a pair of #8 stainless sheet metal screws. Here are a few work in progress pictures showing the rear marker lights.
Attachment 104408 Attachment 104409 Attachment 104410 Attachment 104411 Attachment 104412

One interesting thing I found was under the center and starboard rear marker lights were two rather large holes, maybe an inch in diameter. None of the other marker lights had these holes. No idea what they were for, but they were sealed up well so they didn’t leak. And everything looked original when I took the marker lights off.

Attachment 104413 Attachment 104414
Here’s the new front and rear marker lights.

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One last thing I did Sunday evening was I replaced the old radio antenna.

Little stuff, but it all needs to get done.

Minno 06-28-2010 04:37 PM

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Wow - didn't realize exactly how much we’ve accomplished since our last post. We’ve managed to grab a few evenings and a weekend afternoon or two over the last few weeks to work on Little Girl. Sanity from all the wedding and business travel pressures.

Before you ask, the wedding went very well, and I’m so glad it’s over! :) We had an absolute blast that week, but I think I got about 5 hours of sleep the entire week. Not per night you understand – 5 hours total spread out over 5 or 6 days. Kay faired a bit better, but not by much. Then last week I was in Las Vegas for a tech summit, so no rest for the wicked until I got back. Kay and I went camping in our other trailer for the weekend, and basically done nothing but read, eat, and sleep. But we did come home early on Sunday so we could work on our project again.

Anyway, I’ve kind of lost track of exactly when we did some stuff. I’ve working on the 12 volt wiring, starting with the umbilical cord to all of the outside lights. One afternoon (probably the Sunday after the wedding) I replaced the rear roof vent. The old one was actually pretty intact, but we want another fan vent, so it’s in place now. Like the front one, it’s temporarily connected to the battery so we can use them while working on the trailer. They do move a fair amount of air!

This past weekend, we finished running the umbilical wiring to the rear of the trailer, and I connected all of the running lights. Bonus – they all work!!! Tested them by connecting them to the battery. Pics of wiring - not the most exceting thing in the world... :cool: From left to right: Under the front window, over the front window, middle of the trailer, and the rear window area.
Attachment 105854Attachment 105855Attachment 105856Attachment 105857

While I worked on that on Sunday, Kay worked on removing the tail lights. That was an interesting project because we had no idea how the heck they were attached to the skins. Come to find out they’re riveted on from the inside. We thought those 6 rivets per light just held the inside cover in place, not the whole cast aluminum tail light assembly.

Got them off, and brought them into my work shop, and took them apart.
Attachment 105858Attachment 105859

The cans are pretty much shot, but we expected that, and I already have the LED replacements to install.
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Now we just need to fine tune the fit on the LED lights and figure out exactly how to hold them in place. I know Vulkum has been used to glue them into the housing, and I’m thinking that’s what we’ll do as well.
Attachment 105861

I also bought replacement tail light lenses so we can maintain the original look, and again, some experimenting will need to be done to figure out how to mount them to the LED lights. I read that Mello Mike used gorilla glue, so maybe I’ll try that as well.
Attachment 105862

I do need to modify the housing a bit on the back side to allow the connectors to clear completely, but that’s a fairly easy project I think. Just a bit of grinding.
Attachment 105863

The more interesting project is my idea on how to maintain the fiber optic function. More on that in a later post once I see if that experiment is going to work or not.


MrBeast 07-04-2010 11:06 PM

Man I am impressed with what you have done, looks like you are going to have a mighty fine trailer on your hands. I am really glad you posted the pics of the tail light housings, it is what I was thinking about doing seeing as how I run those LED's on everything I can, and they are a thousand times better than incandescent bulbs, and they last forever too.

I also used to drive truck over the road, you can really tell the difference when you have LED tail and turns because people can see them much better and pay better attention to what you are doing, it is a huge help when towing a trailer, especially a long one.

Minno 07-05-2010 02:35 PM

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I quite agree - LEDs are the way to go for best visibility. Our current SOB trailer has them, and I think they are much more visible both during the day and at night.

Started out working on replacing the center roof vent today while Kay worked on running 12 VDC wiring. Got the old roof vent out, and enlarged the opening to 14 x 14 inches. Meanwhile, Kay ran the rough-in wiring to finish circuit #2 (front lights inside the trailer), and then for circuits 3 (furnace) and 4 (control/monitor panel, water pump and electronic ignition control for the water heater). Then we took a break for lunch. As we’re finishing lunch, Kay notices the darkening sky, and goes in to check the radar weather page. Sure enough, the evening rain was arriving several hours early! I grab some plastic and duct tape, and seal up the opening in the roof just as the rain starts to fall.

Being rained out of any outside projects, I went into my workshop and worked on the tail lights.

One of my goals was to keep the fiber optic functional to some degree while still upgrading to LEDs. My solution was to fabricate a new mount for the fiber optic on the back of the tail light assembly, and install a second LED just for the fiber optic. While this does not guarantee the tail lights work just because the fiber optic lights up, it does maintain the coolness of the fiber optic tail tell. And we check trailer light operation daily anyway. :)

I started by fabricating two pieces to hold the fiber optic mount and the second led out of sheet aluminum. Nothing real fancy, but it works.
Attachment 106309

The two pieces nest inside each other. The shorter piece with the notch is where I mounted the LED. Glued on with vulkum. I picked these LED bulbs because they have a flat back so I could glue them in place.
Attachment 106312

Here’s the assembly put together, and then mounted on the back of one of the tail lights. The center of the fiber optic mount lines up directly over the middle LED of the cluster bulb.
Attachment 106311 Attachment 106313Attachment 106314

With the fiber optic LED thingy mounted, I turned my attention to the LED tail and backup lights. The backup lights fit into the housing just fine, but the red tail lights didn’t. I had to sand about 1/16” off of the outer flange of the LEDs (all the way around) to get them to fit inside the housing completely. My disk sander made short of that.

To mount them, Inland Andy said to use vulkum, so I put a fairly good bead of vulkum in the bottom of the housing and stuck them in place, making sure the DOT wording was right side up and centered on the bottom of the LED.
Attachment 106315

Here’s a couple of pics of the back side of the housing showing the vulkum holding the LEDs in place.
Attachment 106317 Attachment 106317

There was quite a gap between one place of the housing and the read led, so I cut a small piece of aluminum to help the vulkum span the gap. You can see it above the red LED in the pic below. The retro look lenses will cover that up.
Attachment 106316

Now to wait for the vulkum to fully cure for a couple of days, and then I’ll glue the retro lenses on the LEDs.


Aerowood 07-05-2010 08:33 PM

Is that all going to fit without cutting clearance holes on the interior skin?

Minno 07-05-2010 09:05 PM

Golly, I hope so!


Minno 07-06-2010 06:56 AM

Actually, probably not. I'll need to cut a larger hole in the inner cover for the tail lights, and a hole in the inner skin. That area will be inside future cabinets, so I'm not concerned about adding the hole. I could move the assembly I built since it really doesn't need to be mounted on the back of the tail light. We'll see how it all works out when I re-install them in the trailer.


Minno 07-07-2010 03:22 PM

More progress. The rest of our 12 VDC wire arrived on Tuesday (orange, pink, and purple), so yesterday evening we went out and ran the rest of the rough 12 volt wiring. Need to double and triple check it all and make sure we haven't missed anything, but the wire harness is all basically in place now. Both 12 VDC and 110 VAC. :clap:

Next wiring step is to add neutral/ground pigtails at each of the 12 volt fixture locations. These will connect each 12 volt fixture to one of the shell ribs to ensure a good return path to the batteries/converter.

Minno 07-10-2010 06:25 PM

Little Girl got a bath today - we scrubbed her down, going inside with each section to look for leaks. We only found 2! One is at the top of the refrigerator vent, and the other is along an upper seam along the street side about half way down the trailer. We are quite excited that that's all we have to deal with! Nothing we've sealed or repaired leaked, except the door which still needs some adjustment, anyway. We think the clear coat is still intact on the whole trailer too, which is very good news. I was NOT looking forward to stripping it! Now, we can reinstall the tail lights, and put the rear interior end cap back in place with some insulation under it so we can get it out of our way (it's REALLY in the way!). Making progress...


MrBeast 07-11-2010 07:40 AM


Originally Posted by Minno (Post 870123)
Little Girl got a bath today - we scrubbed her down, going inside with each section to look for leaks. We only found 2! One is at the top of the refrigerator vent, and the other is along an upper seam along the street side about half way down the trailer. We are quite excited that that's all we have to deal with! Nothing we've sealed or repaired leaked, except the door which still needs some adjustment, anyway. We think the clear coat is still intact on the whole trailer too, which is very good news. I was NOT looking forward to stripping it! Now, we can reinstall the tail lights, and put the rear interior end cap back in place with some insulation under it so we can get it out of our way (it's REALLY in the way!). Making progress...


Knowing your trailer is water tight is a good thing, that has a lot to do with why I had to give up full timing, mine started leaking right above my bed!

Nothing like a south Texas gut buster dumping at 3am leaking through onto your bed to make you feel all warm and fuzzy! :angry:

Minno 07-11-2010 08:50 PM

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Today, we worked on some of the exterior things we need to finish before we can insulate and re-install the interior skins.

While I worked in installing the tail lights, Kay worked on removing the water fill hatch as we want to put that on the other side of the trailer. Fairly simple removable – standard drill out the rivets, and then cut through all the vulkum that had sealed it in place for 38 years. Piece of cake…

In its place, we installed an outdoor outlet cover we bought last year. We either bought it from Out of Doors Mart or Vintage Trailer Supply – I don’t remember which. The outlet mounts up high inside the cover at an angle, and we’ll install that from the inside later.
Attachment 106653

Meanwhile, I was working on the tail lights, pulling Kay from her project when I needed two sets of hands. We installed both tail lights, now outfitted with LEDs, and a new center stop light.
Attachment 106654

A couple of close-ups. I should note that the retro lenses are glued in place with vulkum. Actually, so are the screws. I ground off some stainless screws and glued them into the screw holes. I think is looks better with the screws in place. Kay thought I was being a bit (she’s trying to think of an appropriate word as I type :rolleyes:) anal… :D
Attachment 106655 Attachment 106656

One inside pic of a tail light installed. If you look, you can see we were testing the LED on the inside that will power the fiber optic.
Attachment 106657

Finally, one pic showing them all working during our test.
Attachment 106658


nmbosa 07-11-2010 08:53 PM

Chris and Kay, nice work. I like the exterior outlet you put in place of the water fill.

mello mike 07-12-2010 03:23 AM

Great job, Chris and Kay. I see you went with the vintage look, too, for your LEDs. Last summer, I decided to keep my main brake light original so I can use the fiber optic system, but I've opted to go the LED route for this light, too. Inland Andy has instructions on making the fiber optic work with the LEDs. I'm going to look into this.

I also thought about gluing the shortend screws in the lens holes to make it look like an original installation but haven't done that yet. So many projects and so little time.... :o

Ultradog 07-12-2010 08:22 AM

Hi Minno.
I just did a quick scan of all your photos in this thread. I hadn't seen it before as I've not been too active here in the last few years. It looks like you are doing a great job on the old girl. Kudos to you both.
I'm not too far from you - Columbia Heights.

Minno 07-12-2010 04:42 PM


Originally Posted by mello mike (Post 870611)
I also thought about gluing the shortend screws in the lens holes to make it look like an original installation but haven't done that yet.

Vindicated!!! :lol:

MrBeast 07-13-2010 01:04 AM

It does look sharp and I will say definately worth it.

Minno 07-13-2010 04:17 PM

Thanks! Took all of 5 minutes to grind down 12 1/2" screws and glue them in place. I used one of the disposable syringes you can buy at Vintage Trailer Supply to keep the amount of vulkum down to a manageable level while doing the lenses and screws. Pretty much those are a one-time use – not worth trying to clean out and re-use in my opinion.

Hey Jerry – nice to find someone in Minnesota that actually knows where Lexington is! :) When we first moved here 27 odd years ago, we rented a house in Columbia Heights, about 2 blocks north of the Minneapolis city limit.


Minno 08-08-2010 12:12 PM

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Been a few weeks since we’ve worked on Little Girl. We took 2 weeks and made a road trip out to Connecticut to see our Navy son and his family, and then stopped by Michigan to visit our families. 3500 miles total. And all we kept thinking about was how nice it’ll be to make trips like this with Little Girl instead of our current trailer… But I digress.

Friday evening, we got back to working on the rear headliner. We had insulated and made a start on installing it right before we left on vacation. We learned a fairly important lesson then – the headline is heavy and flexible. And we didn’t have anything on hand to help prop it into position. So, a stop at Menards to buy some 2x3’s took care of that problem. Now, armed with studs to prop the headline in place, and a new pneumatic rivet gun, we were able to fairly quickly get the darn thing installed properly. Of course, hardly any of the rivet holes lined up, so we drilled new ones.

Attachment 108329 Attachment 108330

After much debate, we decided to go with fiberglass for the insulation. It’s really easy to work with, cheap, and as we mentioned in an earlier post, we did not have any real water leaking issues in the upper shell. Fiberglass will not go under the floor, but we’ll deal with that when we get to that point.

Saturday morning, I worked on the 12 volt wiring some more. Pretty much complete now, with the exception of ground/neutral pigtails and some misc wiring like speaker wire, cable tv, radio antennae, etc. In the afternoon, we installed 3 of our 4 new external connectors – new 30 amp electric, city water, and cable tv/phone. Not that I’ll connect the marine phone connector – I bought that one purely for the cable tv connector.

Here’s a few outside pics of the new connectors.
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And inside:
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