The Creation Begins with Destruction

The trailer has been re-located down next to the cabin. I've got the pressure-treated lumber to build the base. And if my motivation keeps up, I should have it framed in by the end of the summer. Hopefully.

Nov 19, 2011

Tub/Shower Unit Purchase

     In rebuilding the camping trailer, we wanted to replace the bunkbeds in the back left corner with a tub/shower unit.  The original tub unit was so small that when sitting in it, your chin was on your knees.  And someone had to pull you up out of it ... impossible to get out on your own.
     Anyway, yesterday on the way to pay the utility bill, my wifes says that she wants to go to some yards sales to get some things.  I pass a yard sale sign.  Then a little further down the street, I turn and backtrack to connect up with the yard sale signs.  It didn't look like your typical yard sale ... almost no clothes, no toys, etc.  There were light fixtures, switches, door stops, a bay window, refrigerators ... It was like somebody had been remodeling and had all the leftover parts for sale.
     The prize for us was a tub/shower unit.  Brand new.  And for sale for way less than 1/3 the normal price.  We bought it.  And they delivered it to our place while we continued on to pay the utility bill.
     This was so fortuitous, I give praise to the Lord.  This had nothing to do with my normal lack of brilliance ... I'm usually quite bad at heeding promptings of the spirit.  But in this case, I overcame my normal rebellious nature and just went with it ... and the result was so fantastic!  Thanks Lord.
     The first thing after building the floor/base ... we will need this tub/shower unit so we can plumb to the waste water tank ... before the floor/base becomes a closed immoveable unit.  Then we'll have to build the walls up around the tub/shower unit ... because there would be no way to get it inside through the doorway or a window.
     I am so excited that things are ever so slowly coming together.  Framing and walls can go up pretty quickly.  It's the foundation work and the detail work that take so much time.

Nov 4, 2011


I leveled the frame ... side-to-side and front-to-back.
A few more 2 x 4's and I can build the floor base.

Sep 19, 2011

Well ... uhhh

The front axle has a weird bump in it near the left side ... it HAS to be replaced.  But the measurements I'm recording of the bearing seats and axle are different from what is available online.  Nuts.  Well, I may as well by some flashing, 12- 2x4's, and a few sheets of plywood and at least make a base.

Jul 2, 2011

Monetarily Broke = Slow Progress

This is the front axle.
You see the dent (arch) in the axle towards the left side.
Bad news.
My wife wants me to replace both axles with new Reliable 3500 lb. axles.  
May be a delay getting around to that due to money shortage.  In the meantime, I need to put jackstands or scissor jacks under at least 3 points on each side and level the frame to construct the sub-floor/ foundation.

I've removed the springs and shackles.
Due to rust, just attempting to unbolt them didn't work.  I used the wire wheel in the drill to clean out the threads, then oiled them, and after that it wasn't so difficult to get them off.  I need to totally wire brush them and paint them. 

Jun 7, 2011

Brakes & Hubs

There was spider egg-sack and cockroach casings inside.
I brushed all that out.
The brake shoes still had plenty of lining on them
and the drums didn't show any signs of wear. 

After it was all brushed out ...
here's a view of the spindle.
Notice that the inner and out bearings are different sizes.
1-1/4" & 1-1/16"  respectively.
New axles have 1-3/8" on the inner bearing ... 
which is 1/8" larger than mine, so my hub won't work on them.
although new axles would be nice, I don't want to have to replace everything.

May 30, 2011

Tanks Back In

The support pieces have been fitted and bolted back in place.
The tanks are back in. 

Tanks viewed from the rear.
Next up are the axles ...

Just cooking in this heat ... nearly 100°F
very exhausting.
After this was done, I took the steps rod to the shop
and spent the remainder of the afternoon watching O.C.C.
(Orange County Choppers - NY) 

May 28, 2011

Camping Trailer - For Sale

I saw this recently and it is still for sale ...

I think that is in area code 334 ... 
call 334-405-9247 
They may have plugged all the leaks, but not before the damage was done to the frame ... believe me, there is wood rot ... but a 21 ft metal trailer with 18 feet of usable space for a tiny home (3 feet of the trailer is the tongue). 

front view 

rear view 

This was the bed area ... just around the corner to the right is a water heater 

I'm just showing one pic from the bathroom ...
Notice the rotted ceiling coming down over the toilet? 

The front dining area that can also be made into a bed.
ripple-warped paneling is also a sign of wood rot. 

They ripped out the kitchen sink and plumbing.
But hey, they left the stove.
And all the knobs are on it (those knobs are hard to come by) 

Yeah, the refrigerator is missing ...
but the dining table is still there. 

You can save the windows, dining area, the stove, the water heater tank, and whatever you want to keep from the bathroom.  There is one tank under the trailer.  And the metal frame needs wire-brushing or sanding or sandblasting before you re-paint it.

May 27, 2011

Black Frame & Rusty Axles

There it is!!!
A fully wire-brushed and painted frame. 
Top, sides, and bottom. 

Here's looking at the back section ...
which is finally done! 

Then my wife came outside ...
admired the beautifully done frame and said,
"The axles are rusty."
So true ... but they are next up. 

This is a major accomplishment.  I'm exhausted.
De-constructing it was Milestone 1.
Wire-brushing and painting the frame is Milestone 2.
The axles will be Milestone 3.
There is some discussion  about replacing the axles (I have no idea what these are, but I'm guessing 2500 lb 4" drop axles) with 
3500 lb. 4" drop axles. (I have the electric brakes and hubs)
Even if the axles I purchase aren't plumbed for electrical brakes,
I'll just run parallel wiring down the other side of the frame.

Milestone 4: 
The sub-floor framing  with the plumbing to the tanks ...
which means I'll have to tentatively place the tub ...
in order to figure out how to route the 1-1/2" tubing 
up through the sub-floor  ... with 2 vent tubes. 

(I'll worry about that later) 

May 24, 2011


I finally decided that I needed to remove the tanks to effectively de-rust and paint the frame. 

The only things left are the angle-iron tabs that the supporting metal bolts to, in order to support the tanks. 

These supporting angle-irons were originally left bare and never painted.
I'll wire brush them and paint them before putting them back.
The tanks are stacked under the siding.
A token mention of what the trailer originally was - Shasta. 

May 21, 2011

Not Fast Progression ...

Tires are off.  Working my way back on the frame.
Used a high-pressure nozzle to clean out the two tanks.

From the rear - perhaps you can see the white screw-in caps that I purchased to plug the holes in the tanks so that I don't get anymore leaves and junk inside.

This is toilet paper ... it's been in the black-water tank for a good ten years.  You can still see the hearts, sun, flowers and other designs on it.  
It has yet to bio-degrade.
But now the tank and lines are clear of any impurities.
I can probably use this tank to empty a tub into.

May 19, 2011

Wheels Off !!

The axles and hubs without the wheels.
I had to remove them to sand the rails ...
fix the wiring ...
grease the hubs ...
and work on the brakes.

This is evidence of dog chewing ... or rodent.

This is the worst of the rusted rims.
I have to replace at least 2 rims due to rust.

This is the backside of the same rim.
Both paint and rust are flaking on both sides.

While I was at it, I pressure hosed out the two waste storage tanks
got out the leaves, manure, and glops of old toilet paper.
I'm debating on keeping the largest tank to drain the shower/tub.
The smaller tank will be for the sinks.

May 17, 2011

A Little More Black

Front end view
Ok ... So I have been lazy.
Just doing my regular job combined with the necessary paperwork.
Just not motivated.
Time to get back at it again.

Kind of a side view
Time to take the wheels off to work in that area.
Making some progress.

May 7, 2011

Still at the de-Rusting

Significant rust spots get scraped with a putty knife 
and then I use this wire wheel on them.
I use safety glasses that have a magnifying reading lens in them ...
so I can see up close what I am doing.

May 1, 2011

Fighting Rust

You can see by the black overtaking the brown ...
that I am fighting the rust.
Some spots were very bad and I went at them first with the putty knife to flake off the rust scale.  Then I used a wire wheel powered by a drill to generally remove any other rust.
I've been spray painting with flat black Rustoleum.
I'm going to need at least another 4 cans.

Apr 26, 2011

Repair Work - Axle & Wheel-well

Spent yesterday morning taking the upward bend out of the front axle on the driver-side.  And hammering out the folds and creases in the wheel-well.

I hammered down on the top of that front tube ...
which brought the top of the front wheel inward - 
more aligned with the rear wheel. 

Here's what it looked like when I removed it.
This is NOT the way it is supposed to look.
So a LOT of hammer-work is involved to flatten and straighten it.

Look at all the crinkles in the metal.
This thing was in two pieces and folded up somewhat severely. 
Using a plastic hammer, I managed to straighten most of the that out. 

Although you can see it isn't perfectly smooth ...
it is flat enough that it went back into shape
and I connected the two pieces of seam back together. 

Here's what it looks like from the tire side of the wheel-well.
Lots of work hammering it "flat" on a 2 x 8. 

Zoey said it was a good thing she kept her wheel-well covers.
So I had to fix this one up.  In order to re-use mine. 

Apr 20, 2011

While I'm sanding & Painting

I'm looking at things like this materials list from the Sonoma Shanty plans that I purchased a year ago.  I'm looking at the stick-built version ... instead of buying more expensive plans.  Particularly since I don't need to run this past the Planning Commission. 

The Sonoma Shanty plans are for an 8' x 15' and I'm building an 8' x 20'
but they are really helpful.

As are the 8x20-tiny-solar-house-plans.pdf

They don't cover plumbing, electrical wiring, cabinets, etc. I can get books at Home Depot, Lowes, or Camping World for those.  But they do help in the basics of getting it framed up and dried-in.  And give me an idea of how much of what I'll need to buy to do exactly that.

Feb 10, 2011

More Aluminum ... and Troubles to Ponder ...

There's more in the trailer ... still a bit more to clean-up.

Once upon a time ... 
a previous owner was towing the trailer behind his car
and forgot all about it being there ...
and drove around some tall hard object just like he was only driving a car by itself.  There was a mark on the siding up near the top, below the air conditioner, where a pole has scraped.  

And on the driver-side just in front of the front axle, the trailer was damaged.  This let water in to damage the wall behind the sink & stove and rot the bottom pan under the floor.

 It may have done other damage as well ...
are the wheels lined up?

Or does the one on the front axle tilt left at the top?

Notice that the front axle looks a bit more arched than the rear one?
That's the one that was involved in the wreck.
Just one more thing to ponder while I clean up around the trailer.

Starting to rake up all the flotsam and jetsam left from the deconstruction.

Feb 5, 2011

Scrap Metal

Cleaning up around the yard.
The top square is the aluminum roof from the trailer.
The bottom squares are the tin from under the floor.
There were several rust holes in the tin.

This is the siding - still needs cleanup.

Jan 28, 2011

Gettin' Down to the Bare Trailer

After it was all unbolted, it was still too heavy to lift the floor off by myself.  So, I borrowed a skill saw and cut the OSB flooring wood just inside the 2" x 4" frame work.  There were red chalk lines marking the framing,  along with a trail of nail-heads.  So I just guessed based on the width of a normal 2" x 4".

These are the OSB rectangles all stacked on a pallet.  
As you can see, some of them had wood-rot ...
OSB just falls apart if it gets soaked with water.

These are the sections of 2" x 4" lumber all stacked up.
The really dark ones have wood-rot.

Here we are down to the metal bottom pan.
I had to knock out the remaining side boards
and then just rolled the thin steel up.

The steel frame is in surprisingly good shape.
This is going to require a lot less sanding than I expected.

Looking from the rear towards the front.
The very back tank is for "black water" ...
Since I will be using a composting toilet,
I will probably just remove this tank.

Next up:  
1) clean up all the junk from the yard.
2)  sell the scrap metal.
3)  Sand and prime trailer as needed.
4) Check out brakes and grease hubs.