Devils Tower

Devils Tower

Sunday, December 18, 2011

I think I need to vent......

Today was a pretty good day to vent.

I'll start with the vent under the bed that will allow the air out from the a/c.
Basically, as you can see there is a wooden channel under the bed.  This was a factory support under the bed, that just so happened to work out for us as a place to hide the a/c when it is retracted.  So, I made a few marks, figured out where I wanted the vent and started hacking.
So, with my trusty hole saw in hand, I made an entry point for the jigsaw.  See exhibit A.
Exhibit A

This was the grate I chose.  It is actually a return air vent, but it will work ok for what I have in mind.

I want to make sure that once I remove a large chunk of structure, the bed won't be weakened or flimsy,  so I added a small frame around the inside of the bed.  I just used some 1"x 2" lumber and shot it on with some finish nails.

So, I spayed a little satin brown spray paint on it and screwed it all down.  Scratch that off the list.
So, just to keep things interesting, I figured I would tackle something that I have been dreading.  The roof vents.

Now, one of the main reasons I have been dreading this is the fact that Sir Slopsalot has been up on the roof, with a mop and some Kool seal.
Here is the carnage he left behind.
This is ridiculous.

I used several different approaches to removing this stuff. The heat gun helped. The thing I found most interesting was this.  If you pour Enamel Reducer on the silver kool seal type stuff, look what happens instantly.
It turns a dark brown, almost black color.  It starts deteriorating and wipes up fairly easy with a rag.  If you can get a few rags soaked and let them sit, it might work pretty good.  This was the opening after several hours or scraping etc. to find the rivets, just so I could drill them out.

    I am curious if other products have the same effect.  I want to experiment with lacquer thinner, mainly because it's cheaper.
He painted the entire roof with it. There was no point.  You can see the only 2 seams in the picture.They are the darker stripes.
I finally got it cleaned up enough to install the vent.  I'll have to come back to the roof another time.
I put down a couple of rows of putty tape, riveted the vent on and then trimmed the excess.  
Then I taped off a small seam and sealed it up.  It doesn't require covering the whole roof in sealer, just a little around the edge and a few dome sealed rivets to ensure they don't leak.

One trick that might be helpful is spit.  Yep, spit.  Spit on your finger and use that to slick up your sealant.  Since 80% of my followers are women, I just heard a collective " OH... My... GAWD...i am not spitting on my finger.  Come wipe your kid's face with it.
OK, here's another alternative, you can use Windex or some other type of window cleaner.  Just spray it on your finger and don't press too hard.  It works magic.
All finished.  I still have the front one to do, but that will have to wait for another day.  Christmas party tomorrow at the no work on the camper.

Monday, December 12, 2011


Well, I am starting to feel like I may be approaching the top of the hill.  I am almost to the crown and the backside of the hill will be much easier and should pick up speed exponentially.  Wow, that sentence needs a comma somewhere........I just can't remember where.  It's been too long.  That's why I am not an Editor I suppose.  My dad always told me I would work where it is hot and loud.  Guess he saw it coming......

Anyhoo, back to the task at hand.  
 I need to get the back wall together, because it is impeding progress.  All of the wiring is done, now to re-insulate the back wall and try and get the inner sheetmetal back on.

So, I did a couple hundred one armed push ups and gathered my tools in preparation for "Rivetpalooza 2011."  I went to Harbor Freight and bought a pneumatic rivet gun since I had a several hundred rivets to pull.  This particular one is a Chinese knock off of a Cherry Max gun.  The differences are, I am only pulling aluminum stemmed rivets instead of steel and this one is $69 versus $1000.  The other essential tool is a Route 44 Dr. Pepper, which is Jesus' favorite drink I am pretty sure.
With bladder empty and tools in hand, I head to the shop to meet my Dad.  We have a vacation planned next summer with our travel trailers.  I assume he is thinking I am behind schedule, since he is asking me to help every weekend. He thinks I blog more than work.  He's probably right.
We had to make all of the insulation fit the cavities in the wall, so we starting cutting. I love itching for days afterwards.
Here is a picture of "THE WALL".  I added a piece of Romex wire that will be used to add an electrical outlet for the A/C under the bed. 
Make sure that anytime you do something like this, that you add grommets to prevent the metal from chaffing through the insulation and causing a fire.
It's a tight fit and it will make for a rough time installing the back wall, but it will be full.  I figure over time it will relax a little.
Before installing the back wall I am going to have to make some relief cutouts.  These are due to not listening to my wife.  She told me that the tail lights would not fit and I told her they would.  Things always appear bigger to husbands I suppose.

So with hole saw in hand I punch a couple of relief holes in the wall and one for the electrical.
So, I started on the side walls first and clecoed them in place.  Ok class, does anyone remember clecos?  There will be a test over this material.......
I am going to have to fabricate a cover to protect the terminal end of the tail light.  It is actually centered in the hole, but I wanted the  plug to be centered, since it is mounted offset on the tail light.
Sticks through about an inch or so.  I want to be able to unplug it if I ever have to change the light.
Here is the aftermath of "Rivetpalooza 2011".  I may try and clean it up some time this week to get ready for the next phase, "Operation Mammary Gland Pink Reduction."

Also, I fixed a minor issue with the exhaust fan over the stove.  It has a pull chain that releases the outside cover, which in turn releases a momentary switch allowing power to the fan.  Well, mine didn't do anything.  Even though the previous owner told me that everything worked.  So far nothing has........I kinda figured that.

The suspect. 

I pulled it out and I think the innards must be fused together, because there was no moving this bad boy.  It was completely locked up.  I looked all over town and finally found one at Grainger's.  It is an industrial supply house.  
I installed the switch and that remedied the problem.  Scratch that one off the "to do" list.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

I can see clearly now........

It's been a while since I posted last.  A lot has been going on, but not much worth posting.  A lot of things that take up a lot of time and are hard to see progress on.

  Probably the biggest landmark would be the rear window install.  I called several manufacturers and they would re-create the original roll out Jalousie styled window for ummmmmm......$600.
It's the big one Arthur........I can feel it!!!!

  Not gonna happen.  If this thing were some sort of a museum quality pice maybe, but at the end of the's still an old travel trailer.

So, go to plan B.  Make something happen.  This really doesn't warrant a step by step illustration.  Basically in a nutshell, I bought some aluminum U channel to use as a frame for the glass.

  I stopped by and saw a buddy of mine that works for a glass company.  He cut a piece of automotive  safety glass that would fit the frame and wrapped the edges in cork glass tape.  I sealed it in place and added a piece of aluminum angle to finish the outside edge, where it looked kinda funny.  Then I attached the angle with solid rivets to match the rest of the window. 

I installed all new putty tape when I reinstalled the window and then sealed it up with a silver silicone caulking to ensure it never leaks.

I was going to reinstall the window with solid rivets like the original, but I was afraid I would crack the glass, so I wussed out and used pop rivets. Is "wussed out" a word?  I have used it my entire life, it must be.

 Here's the final outcome.
The next thing I did was start on the trailer wiring.  This is holding everything up because, I can't do crap until I get the back wall reassembled.  I have most of the trailer lights in the rear of the cabin, so I figured that should be next.

Since 95% of all wiring problems end up being a ground, I did the thing that all over achievers do, run a ground for every light.  This made for a lot longer project and most people will say that it is unnecessary. 

 Well, who cares?  I don't want to have to be troubleshooting on the side of the road, when all I have is a coat hanger, an empty 7-11 Big Gulp cup and a broken shoe string.

Here's a bad picture of the harness.  

I bought 25' of wiring that is neatly wrapped in an insulation.  This makes it really easy to route the length of the trailer.  Since most everything is now LED, this wire will be overkill, but that's my middle name.
These all run to a junction box that is located under the bed, which is easily accessed through the outside baggage door.  I bought this thing for $15 off of E-trailer's website.  It has a lid that is weatherproof and seals up nicely.  This is out of the weather , so it should last forever. 

This thing has several rubber grommets you can remove, depending on how you want to mount it. 

This thing is cool.  This will allow me to troubleshoot at a junction point rather than trying to guess if the problem is downstream of the connection at the trailer.

It also will allow you to move terminals around for troubleshooting purposes.  It definitely gets the Hillbilly Jim thumbs up.
OK, so the lights are all working now and the wiring is tidied up. So now I need to insulate the back wall and re-rivet the interior walls.  This will allow Mama Root to paint the interior and get rid of that, let's call it,  "mammary gland" pink,  and no, I am not posting pics to illustrate...that takes a different kind of license.

The goal is to get most of the outside work done, so that we can work inside the trailer all winter.  The trailer is in the shop, but said shop has no heat. So we can heat the inside of the trailer way easier than the entire shop.  It doesn't get really cold here in Slackerville, but it does get down in the single digits for a few weeks. 

We have to stay focused.  The maiden voyage will be a 3,000 mile round trip adventure to Yellowstone this summer. 

Time is ticking......