Sunday, April 29, 2012

And then there was light!

Yes SIR!   LIGHTS!!!!  Trailer lights!!!!!  Now I could actually tow it somewhere if I wanted.  (I'm sure my neighbors would love it if I towed it............somewhere else!)

I did a complete re-wire of the entire trailer light system.  It actually wasn't too hard, and I kinda enjoy doing that sort of stuff.  Although, there was one problem that frustrated me.  Basically I was paranoid that I would get them all hooked up and they wouldn't work.  SO, after every step, I mean EVERY step, I would connect my 12volt Dewalt cordless battery to it just to make sure its still working.  So it went a little like this.....

Install front curb-side marker light.......Test------OK!
Install front Street-side marker light......Test----OK!
Install rear curb-side marker light........Test-------OK!
Install rear street-side marker light.......Test-------OK!
Install License Plate light.........Test-------OK!
Install rear curb side running/brake/turn light.........Test-------OK!
Install rear street side running/brake/turn light.........Test-------OK!

Run final test of entire systems lights..........Test---------NOT OK!

I tested everything and at the final step, everything quit working.  UGH!  Then it took me an hour to track down the problem.  Which was......In the License plate light, someone had tried to repair the wiring in the socket.  But it wasn't done properly so the 12v lead was contacting the outside of the socket thus grounding out the circuit.  (sorry for the techno-babble)

But now I'm glad to report that they are now ALL working!  I need to decide if I'm going to hook up the electric brakes too.  But that's a whole new can of tuna....

I KNOW it seems that I always say, I'm nearly done framing!  But, I am 99.9999999% done.  Now its just putting in chunks of plywood so that grills, lights and other accessories can be screwed into something secure.

Brandi and I also decided after a long heart-to-heart.  That we were going to remove the ceiling vent, reseal, and put back in.  I initially wanted to just slop on another layer of sealant on the outside, but it seemed that if it leaked later on down the road I would be kicking myself.   I also read on the shasta forums, to "shim" up the vent to make sure its the highest point on the roof so that water doesn't sit on the seals.

Here are the wires coming inside the trailer.

So here I had to make a channel for the wire to go thru to get to the light.
I can hear Chuck Meeker laughing at my not so strait router skills.  :)
A little credit though. 
1.         I was using it on the wall because the board was already installed.
2.             I haven't used a router since freshman High School shop class!
Oh, and when you use a router in a camper like this, its like being in a tin can.  NO amount of hearing protection can prepare you for this!

Re-attached rear light.  Not sure why these have 2 sockets.  But the top one was bad.  Gladly, the bottom light is a dual, so it works just fine.

Here is the before picture of the roof vent.  If you enlarge the picture, you can see the rotten wood from it leaking.

And the AFTER picture.  Looks much better! 

Here is the new roof piece.  You can see the steel that I laminated along side to add strength. 

And finally, Brandi started looking into fabric for the curtains.  I believe she said she wants,
"Rustic Retro modern-cabin".  If anyone knows what that means, please let me know!

                          Heres a couple of samples we picked up, we want your true thoughts:

                                             Not to be used together, just pic taken together:

We liked this combo in the store, but when we got it home, it was too much "Camo", and not enough
""Rustic Retro modern-cabin".   (Again...???)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Propane to electric light conversion.

Tonight I spend some time on a "fun" project.  We are not planning on running any propane in our shasta when its done.  But I really liked the look of the propane light that is mounted above the dinette.  I thought it adds a lot of character to the interior.

So I converted it to electric!  It wasn't too hard and I'm super happy with the results.

Here is how I did it...

First I disassembled it, and also opened the valve all the way.

Then I used a drill to widen the channel the gas originally travel through to make room for the 12v wiring.

I bought this light from my local RV store for around 8 bucks.
I removed the socket from this light to use in my converted light.

I ran the wires through the now wider housing.  Next, I re-assembled the light.
Then I soldered the new socket on the wiring.

Pulled the slack in the wire back until I thought the bulb was in the middle of the glass globe and tested!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


Or that's what I keep telling myself...
I'm looking forward to starting in on the electrical, plumbing, and rebuilding the interior.

Sorry I haven't kept up on the blog very well, I was sick last Friday-Sunday and didn't feel like posting anything.

I'm soooooo tired of butyl tape, and windows, and aluminum skin, and worrying about leaks, and framing.  But we've made great progress over the last week or so.  I will be happy to start on new things.

I think Menards is taking every cent I have 5 bucks at a time.  Every time I need something, I think, "Its only like 5 bucks", but those 5 dollar trips to Menards add up!!!  Kinda like going to Ikea!  I remember our first visit there like it was yesterday......

Walking around seeing all this SUPER CHEAP cool stuff.  "WHAT?!?!?!?  A cool wooden cooking spoon for 2 dollars! OH YEAH!"  Take that times a few thousand items and it leads up to me at the cash register gripping my chest in fear of an impending heart-attack, then frantically looking for the credit card with the highest spending limit.  Then the shameful 4 hour drive home thinking about how we just spent a ton of money of lamps, bowls, and of course..... spoons.

Whoa, sorry I got a little off subject!


We've have all but 1 window installed!  Looks fantastic!!!!  We even did the front Dinette side windows.  Those boogers are reeeeally tricky.  We learned a lot on the 2nd one we put in, so I think we'll go back to the first one and make a few adjustments.  Also, framing 99.99% done!

Tonight, I put in the bottom plates on the front and rear.  It made a huge change in the stability of Bob.  Now it really seems rock solid.  So the only framing left now is the ceiling pieces that I laminated with steel to make them stronger.

OH!  And I ordered a few toys!  I got my AC/DC panel, Air conditioner, and the fridge. 

Finally, I need to make a decision on the roof vent.  I notice that its leaking now.  But there is a thick layer of this silver coating on the roof.  Its' so thick that I can't even see the screws to get the vent off.  So, I'm not really sure on how to get that off so I can re-seal it.  Hope to get that figured out soon.

So clean you can't even see the glass!


Here is a before and after of Brandi removing the old screw, cleaning the aluminum, sealing and installing a new screw.  Looks GREAT!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Cheap labor is always welcome.

We had another productive weekend on the camper.  Mostly because we were +1 person!  My mom came and helped out!  It was a lot of fun having her along for the work.  It was just like the good ol' days when I was living at home.  She would sit in her beach chair with the large umbrella casting cool shade from hot sun, sipping a Mai Tai in the picturesque "corona commerical" like fashion, all while telling me where to put each 50 lb limestone block for her one of many landscape walls.   Oh yeah, NOW i get it!  Cheap/free labor is ALWAYS welcome!!!!!!

 I'm glad to say that we are finally starting to get the windows back in the trailer.  Although, I didn't really think they would be very hard to do, we found the opposite to be true.  Many of the old gaskets and seals were hard to remove and it was usually hardER to get the new ones back in!

Another thing to cross off the list, we got all the J-rail and skins re-installed with new Butyl tape.  All I know is...... if this thing leaks when I'm done, I am going to set it on fire and cook the yummiest hotdog of all time on it.  That way, at least something good comes from all this work!

Here is one of the windows back installed with the drip cap too.  Brandi and Mom did a GREAT job!

Here is the front windows reinstalled.  Also the far right glass is has been replaced.  THANKS MA!

Here is a close up of the drip cap.  All the butyl tape is oozing out, so I think we can cut it off to make it look better.

Here is our solution to replacing the weather striping pile on the edges.  We put some oil in the track first and pushed it as far as we could.  Then I put the hook in the pliers and would "stab" the pile, and slide it up little, but little. 

Here's my lil' helper....

The door is next on the list too, the whole bottom is rotted off.

Monday, April 2, 2012

The framing continues.....

Just like all the zillions of nails and screws I talked about earlier, the amount of rotted framing that I find is getting right up there too.   Every time I take something apart, I find more rotted wood that needs replaced.

The most recent example is all the framing under the entrance door.  There is virtually nothing behind it.  In fact, the only thing really keeping the door on is the aluminum skin.  So that's next on the list...
The very, very, very long list.

Thus far, I've continued to repair the framing on the front side.  Its looking much better and I'm almost done.  Also, I started replacing the "rafters" on the ceiling.  I've put some up but the main ones I'm going to sister a piece of steel or aluminum to add strength.

Over-all the project is going well.  But I am starting to get burnt out.  I could use some help one of these days to hit it hard and get a TON done.  (Consider this your warning Dad & Mom.  And no I'm not going to tell you the date I'm going to ask for help so you can't pre-plan to be "busy".   :)

I also bought one of those magnetic nail-picker-upper-thingys.  I waved it above a pile of debris and, "WOW", I can't believe we haven't gotten a flat tire yet!  I'm mean look at all these NAILS and SCREWS!!!  It won't take long for one of these bad boys to end up in a tire!

I also added support for the front floor.  Not much considering there could be two people sitting on each side of the dinette.