Ok here’s your typical Tripple E Surfside trailer photo from the big wide web.
Yup that’s nice.. But here’s What I found for sale (and now own).. Followed me home. And got dirty.
Hey wait a minute ! That’s not my usual fixer upper ?
Well that’s cause I paid more for it.. not too too much.. Alas there was no collapsing to the ground trailers… Or everything painted green ones out there. All gone ! So I have to settle for “better” stuff. I know…it’s a change I will just have to put up with.. And this brings up the dilemma of ..what to work on and what to leave alone. Sigh.. Oh well we’ll get to that. I’m hoping to swap the boat for the Surfside in the garage , let it thaw out and get down to answering that.
OK how bout a few photos taken by the fella who sold it to me. I haven’t had time yet !
The Exterior of the trailer is in great condition.. Nothing broken or missing..
The floor is done the walls are done.. Time to build some new cabinets. Today I bought the plywood .. some very nice Birch. 1/4 ” for the sides, 1/2 ” for the shelves, doors and to make drawers. The framing will be made from 1×6 , ripped on the table saw. This is typical RV cabinet construction.. with the exception of me using 1/4 ” instead of 1/8 ” paneling. Still light weight but stronger. Closet first then work my way clockwise around the trailer.
Today I built the front of the closet… and seeing how it fits. Very good. Next the sides and that’s where it gets interesting. Curves to fit the wall. Next to the fridge cabinet this one is tricky. Lucky I kept the old walls to help with that.
Here’s one side done so far. This side has the wires inside the wall. The closet will be finished both in and out. That will also be needed for the overhead cabinets and shelves. They too will be hollow to allow for wiring and lights. New Video….
The closet is the guinea pig for the construction , painting and the gimp rubber trim. So lets talk “GIMP”. Or better yet show you..
Funny name for old school rubber trim. I like the look! Finishes off the joint nicely. I found a source and bought lots of white and brown. I’ll use the white where the cabinets meet the walls & celing. And the brown where they meet the floor.. like baseboard.. but “GIMP”. Just staple it on .. cuts with scissors.
Well the closet is painted ..gimped and installed. Lino on the bottom and the porch light switch installed. On to the rear upper cabinet. This time I made a pattern for the where the front fits to the roof. Nailed it !
Once again the wires are hidden in the hollow of the floor of the cabinet. I’m not putting doors on these , so I routed the opening smooth. I’m going to try stain on the front . If I don’t like how it looks I’ll paint it. But I would like to break up the amount of white.
And here’s the finished overhead at the back the the trailer. Lights installed. Fits great.. And next is the 8 ” wide shelf that ties the closet to the rear overhead.
And there will be one of these on the other side once the kitchen takes shape. Lot’s of places to stash things. Next is the seat for the closet side of the trailer..
This turned out good. 1/2 ” birch will be the seat, with access lid for under neath. I’m thinking the fridge cabinet will need to be next.. because the others fit to it.
Here I have it located in the proper place. The openings are all correct too. Starting from the bottom we have , a cubby, then the furnace, a nice large drawer, the fridge and another cubby at the top. I’m working on the sides… and they have to fit the wall.
Delivery Notice !
My new fridge arrived today.. It came from Ontario. 12 volt compressor fridge. No propane.
Nice quality fridge. Small… only 2.5 cu ft. These are becoming more common in RV’s . Low draw on the battery and auto shut off if the voltage gets too low.. Waaay different than the old 3 way fridges.
And the windows are a part of that cause they need the wood framing on the inside. So I can work on several things here. One of the first things I did was power wash the windows. They were filthy.. way better to work on clean stuff. Too bad the green paint didn’t come off with the dirt. Sigh ! So lets talk devotion.. These are Jalousie (louvered) windows. 46 years old.. And hurting for some love.. The opening mechanisms are mostly wore out. and the seals are either dried up , cracked or missing. SOOOO I have spent some money and ordered new openers and all the seals. AND I’m taking them all apart because that is how you clean the green paint off.
With a wire wheel and sanding block too. It’s going to take two days for each of the four windows. However… they will be shiny new and working perfectly. Here’s a video…
Video is mostly about the window work.. It’s going well but tedious. I’ll be waiting a few days for the order to get here. And can’t assemble the windows till then. But there are other things to do if I finish the windows before the parts arrive. One of the most important part of these windows is the actuator ..or cranky thingy.
Here’s the two from the rear window which has separate sets of panes and a left and a right actuators. The other three windows are all right hand actuators. I ordered four new ones… not remembering the fifth one ( left hand). Good thing it still works good. So far I’ve only found one broken .. I’m interested to see how a new one works.
Hey check out the factory correct “Surf Side” in the same location too. The palm trees are my little touch. I just couldn’t resist applying one.. Now that the paint is fully cured. I finally got all the windows cleaned and even the missing glass replaced. Today the new seals arrived !
50 ft … I hope it’s enough. Still waiting for the actuators .. then I can assemble the windows. In the mean time I got some 1×6 boards , Some of which will become the new inside window frames. Real wood not plywood like the rotten ones I tossed. These will be painted with the walls & ceiling. They will also provide attach points for overhead cabinets and window dressing.
A bunch of this will become framing for cabinets too. The Boler had molded fiberglass cabinets … the Scamp had the same but I did not install them.. This will be very different and challenge my wood working skills. The actuators ( cranky thingy’s) have arrived so I spent the day re assembling the four windows.
Can you tell which ones are new ? There is a difference for sure.. Smoother and tight. Now all the windows are back together cleaned fixed , new seals, new cranky things.
Just imagine… Windows that work , don’t leak and not silicon-ed shut. No missing glass too ! Now for the inside frames.
Got myself a biscuit joiner.. And dusted off the table saw. Here’s the large rear window frame glued and curing. These are good enough to stain and varnish….but that’s not happening. They will be painted with the ceiling and walls.
So I primed them with good primer.. backside too! The factory plywood ones were toast from moisture getting behind and de-laminating the plywood. Now comes the work inside. Got to clean the Ensolite on the walls and ceiling. Plus remove the unnecessary bits. Here’s a video I made today…
I tried a sample of paint on some scraps.. plus the acrylic caulking just to see how good it all works. Nice. So I’ve spent some time repairing the Ensolite. And now I have the first coat on.. It will take two coats to get an even look.
Sure brightens up the interior. Repairs done to the walls and ceiling look great. I used a silk (semi gloss) acrylic floor paint.. pure white, two coats. The walls are now washable. And yes you see windows !
This is a mile stone… with the windows back in. One inch vinyl trim insert covers the screws nicely. Things are moving along.
Today I made a wiring harness for the running lights. Properly color coded … actually using a 25 ft trailer 4 pin harness and adding a backup light wire.
Yes loom too.. Tested and working. Then I got real ambitious and cut the holes for …and mounted the six LED tail lights. And the side marker lights too.
This is different … most of these trailers have regular trailer lights.. I just gotta be different! Now I got to figure out where the license plate goes. The bumper I guess..
Another milestone …. The lino is done (floor) So now I move on to the cabinets… And a new page.
Has all that filling and sanding paid off.. You bet.. The first coat of primer is the tell all.
And sure enough I missed a few details. Just a few holes I forgot. But now’s the time to fix them. You wouldn’t even notice them if I didn’t point them out.. But we can’t have that.. I was especially interested in the left front repairs. Not bad ..
I’m not the best body work guy by any means.. But this is not an expensive classic car ether. At least a 90% improvement. I have run out of primer.. so off to Kelowna for more. Today the little goobers are fixed and so the second coat of primer will be even better. And I’ll use grey so I don’t miss any spots. The door however is good with the one coat … So I painted the finish (off white) on the inside. Looks awesome !
Hard to really see in just a photo.. But it’s very shiny new looking. New Video…
Can’t go to get the primer for a few days.. So a wee lull in the action. However I am using the time wisely. I will be replacing the graphics on the trailer. I send the files to a sign maker for a quote. But have not heard back. Then I remembered I have a Cricut ! I can make my own. It took a while to get programs that would convert the files… but I did it !
Oh did I say I have large rolls of 3M sign vinyl… Yes but don’t ask… long story. The cricut can do small things only, and that’s fine. I wanted to shrink the size anyway. I could not find the font used in the triple E logo.. So there was a bit of a compromise. Hope I don’t get called out on the one. UPDATE: The fella that supplied me with the “Surf Side” logo made me the proper “Triple E ” logo.. So I’m legit again. Got my primer yesterday..
And now we have a gray trailer. would have been nice to have white primer. But you take what you can get. I cleaned the store out of the off white and the primer.
And now we are back to the white.. Actually the off white finish coat. You can see the band in the middle that will be blue. By New Years The exterior will be done.
Another day … another coat of paint. The second coat (and final) of off white is on. I used the brush tipping method to get the smoothest and run free finish. Roller and a dry brush. I also really wanted to see what the blue would look like..
And here it is ! Yes it will grow on me.. needs black pin stripe border I’m thinking. Wife likes it…says it goes with the beachy theme. Or boat theme.. Ya it works. so lets do this to the trailer..
Ya it’s fine.. So getting close to done. The door was painted at the same time.
I added the black line because I thought it was good to continue the rub rail look. The Bargman door latch was rebuilt and keys made so back it goes.. And that small dot up top is a peek hole with a wide angle view. It was there and works great so back it goes too. Rock guard is next. I’m still waiting for the taillights But the exterior painting is DONE ! so a new page is in order.
The bottom half of the trailer is where most of the bad stuff is. Makes sense I suppose.
Some schooling and some thoughts:
The Surf Side is very different than a Boler. Not just the over all shape but that it’s just two molded pieces instead of three. Boler’s and their cousins Scamp’s have floors that are formed separate from the bottom half ..then glassed into place. Even the wheel wells are made separate then glassed in. This is ok.. They are still strong. However this gives them a “skirt” hanging below the floor. This skirt is easily damaged. I know I’ve had to repair them on both the boler and the Scamp.
Here you can see some of the repairs done to the skirt of the Scamp. Not so on the Surf Side …the body just curves under, and so does the painting. And so it seems to me that the NEW fiberglass Escape trailers are copying something from 45 years ago.. They call it a “pontoon” or low spot molded into the bottom half. This “pontoon” is under the cabinets and the floor stops short of going out to the body.. Thus allowing any moisture to go there. And yes there is drain holes under these. Here’s a better way for me to show what I mean…
This also could be a cross section for the NEW Escape trailer. Things that make you go HMMM . But it’s a good design why not use it.. And I would choose this over the Boler skirted underside. Well better get back to the job at hand. I started at the door and working my way clockwise around to the bad stuff.. Bad stuff is the two front corners.
Here’s the rear of the trailer all prepped, Yes I didn’t totally sand the Triple E logo off. I’m hoping to be able to see it enough to apply the new graphics over the old.
Jack the Knife !
This is where the real work starts. A very messy patch job. At least it’s not silicone.. Out comes the big sander ! Well I guess they tried to fix it…but I wish they didn’t. Would have been easier for me … When I see lower corner damage I presume it’s from lack of trailer backing skills. Or they tried to drive around a stump ? Take a guess.
Wow it’s bad ! And thin in spots so I have to be careful. I’m going to skim coat this with filler.. And maybe an extra layer of resin & mat inside. I’ll need another can of body filler for sure.
Oh ya.. over 7 applications of filler to get the curves right, and that was just the top half. I knew this was going to be the most work.. But it’s turning out great.
Parts & Pieces:
Let’s take a small break from sanding and filling.. I’ve been collecting lots of stuff for this project.. like new stove , door seals, plumbing bits and electrical bits. One of the “not new” but reconditioned things is the factory door latch.. it works great but the keys were lost sometime ago and judging from the multiple holes …many hasps for padlocks were installed.
Well for thirty backs ( possibly the same price as all those locks and hardware) I had new keys made. There is three screws holding the latch on the door.. Just too easy I guess. One of the things I ordered thinking it’s easier to replace than take the paint off.. The drip cap over the door.
There’s no way I want this on the trailer.. It’s too long and it looks like someone formed it with a hammer ! I’m cleaning the paint off the top one..
The final prep work.. Say goodbye to the green !
All patching is done.. all sanding is done.. And the masking too. Plus I used an automotive product from Pro-Form , a paint-able rubber flex sealer ( off white) to fill the gap where I removed the silicone on top of the aluminum rub rail ( band around center of trailer ) I also used this product around the fridge and furnace vents.
Now for a good cleaning of the shop and the trailer. We’ll start a new page for the painting.. Bye Bye Green !
Starting work on the the body. & removing the interior stuff. Goal is to have just a shell.
The first thing was to get it to fit into the shop. We had to remove the roof vent .. and then it just fit under the door.
And we are in.. Now the fun part ! Removing everything.. Yup all of it. except the roof vent … that’s done. I guess the body will take two posts because there is a lot involved in just getting to the re – finishing part.
Along the way you find treasures like the factory power center. This could be fixed up, modernized and used again.
And this little water pump.. I did not know they made these. If it works great I’ll use it.. Otherwise it’s a hand pump. And so I continue the purge of the interior.
Still fighting with the furnace.. it’s rusted and wont come apart. The only nasty is the wiring.. It’s a mess, except for the running lights. That seems to be intact.
That’s no big deal.. I was expecting this. Everyone makes a mess outa the wiring. Still have the closet to pull out.. and that darn furnace too. Then it will be time to work on the outside.. Thought I’d try a window to see how hard it will be to remove it.. Rusty screws are the biggest problem. But it came out easy.
The other problem ( which I can fix) is the sag in the roof.. I jacked it up a good 3 inches. That’s what happens when you remove the support ( like the fridge cabinet) and there is a snow load. There needs to be something holding up the roof. Still fighting with the furnace ! The exhaust pipe rusts bad and won’t let go. but I got the exterior all stripped.
Now I’m scrapping years of silicone. Wandering from job to job.. Mostly getting ready to repair the holes and re do the bad fixn. I placed some orders for supplies and dug through my RV stashes for things I’ll need. Plus I cleaned up the wires. Here’s the latest video..
Started work on the sanding and filling. And the door and parts of the roof are first.
The holes are all gone on the door. I’ve sanded more of the green paint from the door because of some scratches (Dog comes to mind). Mostly I will leave the green paint on the body. Rule #203 “If it’s a lot of work to take it off then it’s good enough to leave on”. It’s some tough paint. Stripper barely removes it. The “Pre-Coat” primer doesn’t bother it.. so we just sand it smooth and work with that. And I’m taking my time.. But still making progress.
At this point I have sanded and patched the top half of the trailer. Now the only hole in the roof is the vent. The big patches are on the lower half. I’ve mulled over what to do with the rub rail. And I’m going to take the time to remove all the paint ….back to aluminum and from the black vinyl insert too. The green will be only a memory. And here’s a sample of the result..
Way better than just painting the whole thing black.
This post page is getting too long so time for a second part for the body repairs. Cuz there’s lot’s more to do…
Before I start work on the trailer I went about how to get the registration.. No luck.. Of coarse I did not get the registration with a free trailer nor did I expect too. And preliminary searching shows BC registration could not be found anyway. I could pay to have a deeper search, which could also show nothing. but would give me the paper work to get registration in my name. OR just fix it up and get U-build registration.. easy to do if you are replacing lots of parts. but I’ll deal with that later. Check these out.
Ordered these on line … a sale . Grab em while you can.. New wheels and tires is on the need list. There is no spare so one of the ugly ones will work.
Time to separate the body and the frame: Here you can see I’ve lifted the whole trailer enough to remove the wheels. Then I got under and removed the propane lines and cut the six bolts holding the body to the frame. They were rusted bad. Then we lift the body up off the frame… then drop the frame to the ground ( no wheels) and pull it out the front. The body then gets lowered on to my trailer dolly. Wheels back on and the frame goes on the lift.
Body on dolly .. Hope it fits through my door later.
The frame is now in the shop. Isn’t the lift great.. Don’t have to get down on the floor.
The initial inspection shows no issues..none. except a dent in the front cross member.
Not a big deal.. There is only some modifications that I want. And a good paint job. Oh and rebuild the brakes and hubs. First is the rear bumper and the appendages on it. The stabilizer jacks are bent, frozen and mounted upside down ?
And those braces ! Yuk ! Out comes the cut off wheel for this mess. Those are 2″ receiver tubes.. strange. I’ll be sure to save those.
Better ! I do get why they mounted the jacks up behind the bumper.. Protection ! Anything mounted under the bumper could get wiped out .. it’s low to the ground. Now to fix up the tongue up front.
Just a few things to fix here.. Those jack mounts will have to go. And the battery box too. I’ll make a new holder going across for the battery.
All cleaned up.. Ready for new stuff. But first I focus my attention on the wheel hubs and the brakes. Even though they work I know there is rusty parts and a needed inspection of the bearings. I’ve done this many times… even have the brake removal tools. Sure enough the brake adjusters are seized and dirt, rust and even spider webs in the drums.
So every thing gets the royal treatment.. and some get paint too.
Like the backing plates , the drums and ….
The axles. I’m having trouble believing these axles are 46 years old. The ten inch brakes indicate to me that this is a 3500 lb axle. It’s pretty beefy for a light weight axle. And it just bolts on so could be easy to change out. Set aside the painted stuff to do some welding.
New battery tray, and a place to mount my wiring junction box. I also moved a couple of hooks from under the frame for a handy place to hang the safety chains when not in use. The paint is dry on the wheel parts.. so I resembled the brakes.
They worked ok before but now should work better.. I set them aside while I clean and paint the frame. Easier to handle the frame without the added weight of the drums.
Here’s the frame flipped over.. I always paint the underside first.
Another view. We’ll let this cure for a few days. Remember I removed the bad stabilizer jacks .. I really want to have the stabilizers. They are important for these trailers because they are so light. If you go to the rear of the trailer inside it will tip up if not hooked up. So I had a newer pair.
These tabs allow the jacks to be removed very easily. I also plated the bumper ends. Won’t need the sewer hose storage and don’t want them full of crap.
Well back over and finished the paint. No more ugly green on this part of the trailer. Instead it’s shiny black.
Today was finishing up the frame. I ran the brake wires through the frame to the front. Nice, tidy and protected. And they terminate at the 7 pin junction box.
Did not have to drill holes in the frame … just came out the front of the tube. I love these boxes.. for $8.99 they are great, easy to connect the wiring and weather proof too. Gets a bit crowded when all the different wires come together.
New jack installed .. 5000 lb over kill , but I like these and they go on sale for $25. And it’s nice how the handle folds out of the way.
That’s it for the frame.. Brakes adjusted.. bearings greased… time for the next page.. Total invested so far is under $400. Mostly those fancy new wheels.
I would love to get working on this trailer.. But the John Deere 1420 is in the shop and we are still fighting with it… Oh well but I did remove the broken lower hinge on the door. Sorta fixed it and back on. Not sure if you can get these or not. But it turns out it’s not special like the Boler / Scamp door hinges. A good stainless marine hinge will work.. may even be better. So I’ll order those.
Let’s talk about the Trailer :
Looking up the history of the Surf-Side, and using the build sheet info.. it’s determined that this is a 1976 trailer. Built in Winnapeg Manitoba. The model is a TM14. The GVW is 1650 lbs. Making this trailer very light. There is the same torsion suspension as a Boler. The frame looks a bit stronger and rises up at the tongue giving a better 14 inch hitch height. Also the tongue is narrower and a longer reach making it less likely to be damaged by “jack knifing”. As you can see below.
However seems someone found a different way to do damage to the left front corner ?
Fortunately it’s fiberglass and the body work is easy …and doesn’t have to look like this butcher job ! While we are talking fixes.. The roof has sagged down .. Most likely snow load.. and made worse by the missing kitchen cabinets. Just like the Boler those cabinets help support the roof. So that will be fixed when I build new cabinets. Aside from removing the green paint the windows need repairing too. Now more will show up I’m sure, but those are the obvious ones.
And too bad these are broken.. But I want LED lights.. so new ones for sure. Notice the back-up lights. Ya this trailer has brakes too and the plug WAS a 7 pin.. (missing) But the wiring is still there. A bit overkill for an under 2000 lb trailer.. But I will keep it this way.
And here’s a look under the trailer.. Looking toward the rear. This is cool ! the bottom is molded as part of the bottom half … One big happy tub. No skirt hanging down like the Boler. This is so much like the new trailers are built.. Casita’s and Escape’s. Needs a bit more framing I’m thinking.
This view shows the drop in the floor where the dinette ends and the standing area starts. Interesting.. Looks like the torsion arms are trailing and up. And the brake drums are visible.
So much for brakes ! The wires are hanging down and dragging on the ground. Propane lines are seen here too. Not a fan of holes in the floor but this is probably best . All of this tells me that gutting the trailer and even replacing the floor would be very easy.
After restoring two small fiberglass trailers the Boler and the Scamp I had enough and was glad to see both gone. But I changed my mind when this one was offered to me for free.. Yes free. What can i say …I’m a sucker for an ugly trailer.. And more if it’s fiberglass. Starting from $0 is as good as it gets. Now as usual I’ll show you a photo from the web of a nice one…
Nice eh… It’s what it should look like… But then it would not be free, would it ? Nope a free one looks like this…
Oh ya someone got some free green paint and no sense of when to stop. Unless your lazy and did not have a ladder …then the roof gets left the old color. Like it did.. Sad.
Today I towed it home. Which makes it better in some respects. Neither the Boler or the Scamp could be towed home they had to be loaded on a flat deck for that trip.. This time I did not even have to put air in the tires.. But lets share the story.. or what I know anyway.
It’s presumed this trailer was given to one of our street folks. Whom had someone park it for them up one of our forest roads. CO tells them they can’t do that and have to move.. So they make a deal to park in my friends RV park… But they don’t pay the rent .. and after a few months sneak away at night. This trailer sits there locked up and waiting for them to return for the stuff they have horded in side.. Nope months go by and they are gone .. The RV park is sold and the new owners want it gone.. Who ya gonna call ! Rob. Now I’m going to say the above story plays out everywhere. The bleeding hearts say these folks need help , community support and a place to live.. sure so long as it’s free and there are no rules. And what’s up with all the stuff ! Just wait till I start going though the STUFF in side the trailer … God only knows where it came from ?
What is the first thing to do ? YA find the floor.. Some of the stuff is good .. Here’s hoping the fridge works.. but I’ll not hold my breath. I need to find a tag or plate with info about the year or Vin number.
Found It !
Both the floor and the Vin number. Today cleaned out the whole trailer Filled my utility trailer for a dump run.
This was one of the things I was looking for.. The factory build sheet.
This was the other thing… The floor. Found a few treasures, Too much to list. But most is off to the dump. The trailer is now empty. Ya got all the proper cushions.. But they are 40 years old. Aside from a filth the trailer is in good condition. Missing the kitchen though.. BUT all the cabinets are wood and can be modified or built to whatever you want. I have sinks , stoves and another small fridge . And several bins of RV parts..
So I’m going to tarp it till I get to working on it . And then I’ll start a Page 2
Here we go … After the family camp this summer we realized the 26 ft Wanderer trailer was a lot for the Avalanche to handle. When we weighed it on the way home.. after all the food and drinks had been consumed ! the trailer was 500 lbs over what the Avalanche can safely tow. The decision was made to put the trailer up for sale. BOOM gone in a few days. And we will look in the spring for a smaller trailer. Well this little gem popped up on my radar…
Wow.. it ticked all the boxes we had agreed would be the ideal trailer. And added a few extras too! Power awning ! Power stab jacks ! Power tongue jack too ! A full queen bed ..full size fridge.. Pantry… Best of all big pass-through storage … Wow.. all this and weighs only 2800 lbs dry.. You can load up another 2500 lbs and still be under weight for the truck.
Had to go to Chilliwack to pick it up from a small dealer.. The price was a bargain for this size trailer. Especially considering all the extras. Like a TV. The floor plan works for us no wasted space…and consider that we spend most of the time outside… it works.
This photo shows how small the trailer is.. It’s 6 inches narrower than most travel trailers ..so I don’t need mirror extensions. Also the hitch needs only a 2 inch ball. No equalizer setup either.. With only 290 lb tongue weight ans a good balance there is no bounce.
The decor inside is light and bright. The windows are dark tinted. We are fairly certain the trailer was not used much.. as everything is like new.
The dinette is small.. but there is only two of us.
This is all we need for a kitchen.. just make coffee and never use the oven. There is a nice microwave though.
Full size fridge, and plenty of cupboards. More if we remove the TV.
So the Fun finder is winterized and stored for the winter… early because there won’t be a chance to use it this year.. It takes up very little room in the RV carport. A few things are on order , like new LED tail lights, LED interior lights, and the 2 20lb propane tanks are expired, so we will exchange for new ones.
Soon …very soon I will be moving the Frontier to the driveway in front of the garage and start working on the list. But for now I’ll pre – – build some of the panels so they are ready to install.
Here’s the charging / info panel that will mount below the thermostats and the existing panel. Powering this on will give me an accurate battery level. I also made a smaller USB panel to mount near the dinette for charging and powering electronics. I’ve checked out the wire routing and I can do this.
The Frontier is in front of the garage now and I stared work . One of the first things was to get the “tuck” tape off two of the hatches. Yes that was the fix for doors that would not stay closed ! My fix was to install new latches… done. And I’ll stick to working on the outside for a bit.. Removed the bush bar Spare tire mount from the van. It’s getting a new paint job in the shop.. And with a color matching the van.
I can use the same paint to touch up the rust spots on the van. Oh and the Frontier got a bath… a good scrubbing for sure..
These photos don’t really show the difference. Maybe this one does..
Yup looking spiff. When the weather warms up I’ll do some wax too. In the mean time I really needed to get the roof and the vents sorted out..
This will be part of that work. A new Max Fan for the rear vent opening.. And vent covers for the other two. In fact everything on the roof is getting attention. It’s taken two days but I got the roof to where I can say it’s leak proof. New vent covers , New fan, New plumbing vent cover.. and the TV antenna is removed and nicely patched. Let it rain !
time to investigate more of the secrets inside the cabinets.. First off the mystery Bus heater.. It runs constantly when the ignition is on.. There’s a thermostat on the wall that is suppose to control it. Not working.. So I took the panel of.. and found this green thing ..
Well it’s an aux heater.. plumbed into the motor coolant lines. And it appeared to have a small leak ! And the control box was most likely the cause of the control not controlling stuff.. I thought about it and I really don’t need this heater.. So here it is .. and the long hoses connecting it are gone. Now I have a power wire I can use for something else. and more storage.
Nice day today.. So I got to work installing new Led lights.. Then I could get the vent trim back in place.
This new light takes care of the holes left from the TV antenna. Over the table it could be handy.
This one is just a bonus… wires were handy. Next the light over the sink.. The lights over the couch and the dinette are remaining the old ones they are cool and work good.. just changing the bulbs to LEDs. Because of the circumstances in the world and here in BC going camping is not happening for awhile.. so any more work on the Frontier will wait till other things are done. I have a list..
It’s May… the weather is getting warm.. but the camping season will be delayed till the Government opens up the camp sites. My work on the roof has allowed the Frontier to stay out in the driveway ready to pick away at some odd jobs. Like the rusty patches on the front of the hood. And the paint chips .
I matched the paint very well and hard to tell unless you get very close. Once this job is done I can re mount the guard on the front..
Done! The real purpose of this is to hold the spare tire. I’ve taken the dash apart and wired the new stereo properly. But I still have more wiring to do.. like running lights.
Some things won’t get done.. but new things have popped up like the power converter. And it had to be fixed.. Luck for me we had a spare.. newer one too! While doing that the closet floor had to be removed …So all those issues got fixed. Also the USB / power center got installed . The whole interior got a good cleaning and all the appliances tested.. Ready to go.
Now that the painting is done and had time to cure … it’s time to get this puppy buttoned up… Spring is here and I need the shop for other things. And I’ve decided too sell the Acorn without doing anything to the interior. The decor is a personal thing.. I provide the solid “like new ” trailer and someone gets to personalize it.
The windows are going in.. and the door is next.
Also the fridge vents are painted and back…
Today was a very nice day.. Perfect for putting the body back on the frame… and we did just that..
Now I feel confident enough to mount the door and adjust it properly. Once that is done then just need to wire up the running lights and install the roof vent and it’s good to go..
Well and bit of a snag.. the door is not fitting ! When I bought the trailer the door was mounted but hanging down because the floor was cut away on the hinge side.. So there was no way to see the fit.. It’s obvious the door in a newer one and not the original. The problem is there’s not enough curve to match the door opening. Now it could be taken apart ..a template made and the curve changed..
Here you can see the gap at the top….
And the bottom too ! When I formed the body I was careful to keep the door frame parallel and straight .. But the curve is molded into the body.. and the steel brace behind the hinges is pre-bent to the proper curve.. ? So what to do.. I have an idea.. temporary but will keep the rain out .
Well the Scamp is done ! Outside and for sale. Looks good with the moons on the wheels.
The ride height is good. The lights all work as they should. I’m putting all the cabinets back in place..
So now we will see if someone wants a bit of an interior project..
There is not near as much body work needed as was for the Boler. No pool paint to sand off.. While the body is still laying on it’s side I’m going to fill the holes in the roof and modify the roof vent..
And then with a little help.. The Acorn is back on it’s feet (wheels).
Ya we rolled it inside the shop.. Only a little grunting.. Now I can get the body ready for paint.. That requires filling holes, cutting the side windows bigger, and finish up the roof vent. I have already fixed the lower skirt in the rear of the trailer… so we are part way there.
I’m almost ready for paint ! just cutting the openings for the three replacement windows.
Slightly larger radius windows.. Good thing we are doing this now … I realized the holes in the corners needed filling.
This was the only crack I needed to repair. And I believe it was caused by the weight of the door without any floor or any thing to support it. But !
There was a hole for the heater that I don’t have.. So I patched it..
Now ready for painting…..
First step is the primer… Bushed out the places the roller won’t go and all the patches.. so I can see how they look and if a little touch up is needed before the paint.
And there you have the primer… just the first coat….
And moving right along.. After the second primer coat was dry.. and sanded.. I’ve got a first coat of the white & the gray .. I’m needing more of the whit so it’s off to Kelowna for more..
Still needs a second coat on both top and bottom.. but you get the idea.. Scamp’s were normally all white.. but not in my shop.. I figured the gray would balance the trailer and it’s neutral enough to be pleasing.
And now with the second coat.. the Scamp is not looking shabby ! So on to the interior painting. I got some really good paint for that.. But first I’ll need plywood glued behind some of the things like the fridge vent covers, water fill and drains and the electrical hatch. Reason… no more rivets.. I’m using stainless steel wood screws. And they won’t hold in just the fiberglass walls.
Now it’s time for putting things back together… New post
Well it’s December… it’s cold and time to get to work on the Acorn…
Just like “Scrat” here the Acorn trailer is a lot of work… And replacing the floor was no easy task. The body is held up by the floor and the floor sits on the frame… All three must be strong, it’s the integrity between the floor and the body that is key to the trailer’s life expectancy. The floor completes the “egg shell” . Now that the floor is installed and glassed to the body on the top side… I need to do the same under the trailer too. Only one way I see to do this is to lift the body / floor off the frame and roll it on it’s left side to have access to the whole bottom. Without the windows and no door the body is light.. but i will need to install some braces inside to keep away any sagging . First thing to do is build a dolly that will cradle the body on it’s side. With wheels so I can roll it into the shop.
So I built this dolly… We lifted the Acorn from the frame ….rolled it over… and!! It was too tall to fit through the Shop door ! Fine… Got a piece of carpet and we slid the Acorn off the dolly and into the shop. Good thing it’s not too heavy..
And there we have it.. Looks like it fell over and died.. Nope all is good.. Easy to work on the underside now.
Got up this morning and SNOW… boy did we get the Acorn inside on the right day ! Not a lot of snow …just an inch..but makes it hard to lay on the ground and jack the body off the frame. Going to leave it in the shop for a few days to warm up and dry out .. Seems the tarp was leaking a little but no damage done..
Here’s a small video I made…
I don’t seem to have a lot of ambition around this time of year.. but the Acorn is there when I do…
It’s into February now and I’m doing my best to get this bottom all done…
Here I have all the glassing done.. It’s taken weeks and a lot of resin.. But I got R done… And then came the decision of what to cover this with… I want it black.. And i want it to further protect the underside of the floor. I thought about epoxy truck box liner.. But the price was very high.. This is more area than a truck box.. So it takes two kits.. I settled on good old enamel.. same as the frame. and it was easy and quick to roll that on.. Two coats and we are done.
Next is to attach a dolly to the underside .. and while the roof is easy to get at I want to enlarge the vent to a 14 x 14 normal vent size. And I want to glass a wood frame on the roof so the vent is raised and some stiffener added.
Here I have the dolly.. taken apart and mounted to the underside.. Mounted only through the holes for bolting the frame.. NO new holes ! When it’s time to put the body back on the frame. I just lift it and remove the four lag bolts and the wheels will fall away..
Frontier Class B Wide Body Van Conversion, Model XL820
Here it is! It’s not new.. and could use a bit of love. I’ve only had it for a day or two.. The love will have to come next spring, it’s getting late in the season.. And please remember we are 38 years old.. A senior citizen in the world of RV’s. So you have to excuse the rust.. and the retro decals.
Where do I start….. Not expensive I bought it with cash.. And yes this will mean we have two RV’s.. But this one has a hitch and I can tow my ATV… or a boat… or anything.. It’s very compact for all the stuff it has… 21 ft from the front of that cow catcher to the back of the bumper. It’s like a LeSharo that you can actually use / drive.. With a real motor ! In fact we had a heart transplant 30,000 kms ago.. With lot’s of new parts.. It now has new tires too. and drives great
And here’s the door ! Different ! but it’s a design that works… I like it. The Frontier was made in the Vanguard factory Winfield, BC.. And you will see more of the Vanguard version on the roads .. Rare yes.. They only made these for a few years before the recession hit the RV industry. It’s hard to find any info on the web for these… That will all change with this post.
Here’s the interior.. very typical color scheme for the year BROWN ! The fridge has been replaced.. and the lino is newer.. but the rest is original.. And all in working order.. Just needs a good cleaning..
The floor steps a bit lower in the rear of the camper.. and that’s where you find a small kitchen and a wet bath on the drivers side. There’s a extra counter top you can lift up if you need it. No oven .. no microwave.. Who uses those things when camping anyway ? We cook outside. BUT you do make coffee inside in the morning.
Here’s the biffy.. Works for me.. I’m not likely to use anything but the toilet. But you never say never. It’s very clean ..so nothing to do but change the light to LED.
So lets talk about the Van part of this camper.
That’s typical motor home fair …. except !! just a 350 motor. Yup it’s the tried and true good old 350… but this is duely ..so heavy duty trans… and stuff. And like I said earlier… new motor 30,000 kms ago.. Work done in Ontario ! It’s been places for sure… This summer it drove out to Sask and back with no issues. And it just passed a BC inspection.
Look at the interior … it’s almost perfect.. I have not cleaned any of it.. Power locks , power windows, A/C that works.. cruise control, new stereo.. You know I’ll add to that list.. I’m thinking remote locks.. more power plugs… back up camera…a digital volt meter for battery condition.. just to start..
Nov 17 th 2019:
Today I gathered up some ambition and plugged the Camper in to my 30 amp. Everything works as it should.. But the extra furnace is a bus heater that works from the motor heat. And I think works using the wall thermostat. For sure it powers up when the van is running. The RV propane furnace works great.. As expected the new 2 way fridge works.. I found the pump and water tank under the sofa.. Tank is empty and there is antifreeze in the water lines… But just to be sure I ran another jug through…. No problems. No leaks ! It’s all good and it’s time to put the Frontier away for the winter.
The tarp is extra insurance. Not really needed but what the hey.. I feel better with it on cause I did not install the vent covers.. One or both of the vents will be replaced in the spring with better quality ones.. The current ones have plastic frames. And I’m thinking a power vent will be a good thing to install. The Frontier (like most) is wired for a rooftop A/C unit.. I have one, but I don’t think it’s needed. Going to find out this coming summer.
I’m going through all my collection of stuff for RV’s, And making a war chest for the Frontier for next spring.. Here’s some of the stuff:
What do ya know I have the remote locking stuff… with two fobs! I have lots of LED lights , switches, USB charge ports, and a host of other goodies to make life easier while camping.
I’ve had the motor antifreeze beefed up and checked.. Last thing I want is for that to freeze over the winter. As soon as I get my new GoPro camera I’ll be posting some videos… if we are not buried in snow. But first one made with the old camera….
And it looks good.. I expect the new GoPro to be even better. There’s a screen on the back so stuff won’t be missing from the shot.
We were thinking about the sleeping arrangements .. So I went out and pulled the sofa into the bed. Not big enough for two.. so the dinette will be used as well.. and what do you know! There’s room to walk between.. nice The spare tire was blown… really bad.. So I have a new tire coming.. and because the other six are new this year too.. it will be a perfect match.
Now I have a rim with no tire… And you betcha I got to paint it.. One hubcap is missing …and I’m not crazy about them.. Kinda feel like I would loose more over time… So I’ll paint the rims instead.
And NOT RV white ! This is my concoction I mixed up.. Half Aluminum half grey… and a dash of black. Nice! This is the only wheel I can paint this year.. The others will get this treatment next spring… And here it is with the new tire installed.
And that’s all till spring when the time is right for fixin up…