Sunday, November 7, 2010

vintage travel trailer-part2-teardown

I've been doing some research. These little travel trailers were frugal in construction and weight. 1" by 3/4" strips of locally available wood were stapled together to form the structural framework. 1/8" or thinner plywood birch was nailed and/or glued to the inside of the frame, and sheet aluminum was stapled and screwed to the outside. Sometimes insulation was installed, and sometimes it wasn't. It's apparent that the interior cabinetry also doubled as additional structural support for the framework as well.

Simple, but effective.

I decided that I could rebuild the trailer using what wood was left as templates and reusing as much of the original aluminum sheeting, cabinetry doors, and original fixtures as possible.

So, I arrived early one chilly Saturday morning at my father-in-laws cabin and began the tear-down.

My plan was simple. Carefully dis-assemble the trailer piece by piece down to the basic frame and floor. Then, lay all the rubble back onto the trailer bed and strap it all down with a tarp for transport to my house down in the valley.

With the help of one of my father-in-law's buddies, we were able to completely tear down the trailer by sun-down.

I took lots of pictures as I tore down the trailer. We tossed all of the rusty screws, nails and staples into an 5-gallon plastic bucket. I'll use stainless steel fasteners when everything goes back together.

The dry-rot damage was catastrophic. Virtually none of the interior birch plywood was reusable. It was all I could do just to try and keep as much of the walls together as possible during the tear-down. I tossed all of the overly rotten wood, broken glass, and insulation. I did manage to save several of the cabinet and drawer doors. Sanded down and refinished, they'll look very nice. I was pleased to find the iron rings for the stove in one of the drawers.

Like I said, we took LOTS of pictures. And I made several sketches of the shape and character of the trailer profile. Taking note of the location of access plugs and recessed hatches... etc. I also made lots of measurements with a tape measure before the tear-down began. Adding the dimensions to the sketched drawings as I went.

I used a black, permanent marker to label and identify the purpose and location of every piece of aluminum and wood I hoped to re-use later.

I discovered that this trailer had a thick grounding cable from the fuse box to the frame. I'd thought that most manufacturers of these trailers just used the aluminum body itself as a ground. Was this grounding wire a safety redundancy? Is that better?

No comments:

Post a Comment