Monday, May 31, 2010

Pour on the Por... fifteen that is.

Rosie's frame was painted with two very solid coats of Por 15, the ultra special rust preventative paint. I had intended to do three coats, but realized during the second coat that it was totally unnessary. The way the product covers makes one feel confident it is working to protect the metal like nothing else would.

The areas that are most exposed did get a third coat just to finish off the can. The Por 15 does not hold up well once exposed to air. The tongue will next be painted it's final color using an industrial oil based paint.

That will happen as soon as the weather allows me too and my rally hosting stops getting in the way. The plywood will be going on tomorrow and things will progress rapidly now.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Taking it to 11... ELEVEN MAN

One of my all time favorite movies is the 1984 cult classic This is Spinal Tap. The movie is one of the earliest mockumentories made. In the movie you learn why a amplifier that goes to 11 is so much better than one that only goes to 10.

For years I have been saying "I am going to take it to eleven" in describing tasks I am about to preform. Rosie has been taken to ELEVEN folks.

She has been striped down as far as she can be. The only removable item now is the tongue jack. I might remove that too so that I can treat every single square centimeter for rust. Having gone this far, I might as well right? All the compromised metal has been cut out and new steel has been welded in. The restraining system for the new grey water tank has been fabricated and also welded in. The entire frame was aggressively wire brushed to remove all loose rust and original paint. She is bare bones folks, naked as the King in his new clothes. My next move will be to use a metal prep product by Por 15 then three, yes three, I am taking this to ELEVEN, coats of Por 15 frame treatment. All this material was supplied to me super fast by the very fine people at Vintage Trailer Supply. I will then follow up with two coats of oil based paint on the visible frame areas. Rosie will never be back for rust issues I can promise that. The weather is always in control, so I need to make sure I have two nice clear days to do this next step...

Scattered Thunderstorms
73°F | 62°F
Mostly Cloudy
75°F | 63°F
Mostly Cloudy
80°F | 64°F

But lookie here... Rosie, ya ready for a new set of underwear? Monday they are being put on you. That sounded kind of dirty, but the frame coating is a lot like under wear. You get the idea...

To jump forward and not let the weather hold me up I have obtained the new sub floor. I have cut all the sheets to width and length, but not cut out the curved ends, wheel wells, or plumbing access yet. I am using a marine grade plywood called Aquatex. This is an 18mm sheet made up of 15 ply of wood. The glue they use is 100% water proof and because all the ply it is very stable and flat. The wood they use for the plywood is a tropical species called Meranti. Though a marine plywood is a bit more costly than the CDX plywood most people use, it is worth the few extra dollars in the way it performs. Just to take it to ELEVEN, I then went on to seal all the edges and faces with a special sealer. Not telling what brand because they do not offer me any special service. Once the curves, etc, are cut those edges will be treated also.

Hope you liked this update, stay tuned for more progress this week.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

I continued on with Rosie by drilling out the all the rivets holding the shell down in preparation of lifting it off.

At the rear I started to get a little concerned with the condition of the skin. There were many signs of serious corrosion. There are a few pin holes in the rear. It is all behind the belt line, much of the skin has been eaten away.

As the rivets were drilled more and more chunks of both aluminum oxide and iron oxide began falling out. This is a clear indication of water, dissimilar metals, and a slight electric current having mixed together. Behind the skin is a plate that aids in firmly attaching the shell to the frame.

I did manage to lift the shell off and roll the frame out from under.

There is that steel plate in the bottom left of the photo. You can also see a good deal of compromised plywood. I next removed all the "C" channel off the deck and pulled up the plywood.

This is what I found under the rear angle plate. Real nice blue color to that oxide.

And this is what remained of the top of the bumper hatch. I wonder if that kept the water out...

So here is the frame without the plywood. There is a lot of cancer in the frame. Fortunately the main frame rails are all fairly solid. Well time for some surgery...

Out comes all the bad metal.

A new cross member and seven new out riggers put back in. Hopefully the rain will stop here soon and I can finish wire brushing and get the whole thing painted again.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

My truck ran over my Dogma

The real saying is "My karma ran over my dogma" which is probably a good fit too. I have had a trying 10 days is where I am going with this. First there was the flu that came to visit. I was laying in bed with fever and I kept thinking about this prank call I had heard on Howard Stern a number of years back.

It was me though, laying in bed muttering "shoo, shoo retarded flu, you ain't gonna get me..." But folks, I was got. Once I felt well enough to work again, I jumped right back in and had a killer full day of work, as you will see in the photos to come. Where does the truck come in to this post? Well, I will explain soon.

The first thing I did was tie up all the wires that were hanging down. With all that cleaned up the interior looked so much better and the possibility of strangulation was minimized.

Then I began drilling rivets. It all begins with a single rivet...

... and removed the belt line all the way around the trailer.

Next the belly pan was drilled off and it was slowly taken down too. Each piece was labeled so it can be used to make a new panel. Many of the sections have many holes from dissimilar metals and making new ones is the way to go.

Kind of hard to put something like that back in. The steel out riggers just ate their way through.

Water has been eating it's way through various elements of the frame too. I made Rosie's owner sit down before I sent her the following photos. Maybe as her support staff you might want to sit down also.

Virtually every out rigger is bad. The ones that hold the steps are fine and so are two others but all the rest are seriously compromised.

The floor we already knew about.

Unfortunately most of the outriggers will need replacing. Fortunately I LOVE to weld.

A very cool find though was taped to the bottom of the black tank. April 4th 1973 was when I am guessing the tank went in. I love these little tidbits of construction archeology.

So where does the truck come in? The following morning I needed more drill bits. As I pulled out of the driveway my 9 year old Dodge was running more rough than usual. For the past year I have been having issues with it running rough from time to time. My mechanic could not seem to put his finger on the reason. I was so tired of this intermittent problem I opted to pay through the nose and go to the dealer. Turns out I drove out to Madison Wisconsin last summer (2442 miles), three times to Central New York(666 each time), to Connecticut(870 miles), and a few 1000+ miles recovery missions for clients on a cracked cylinder head. No wonder I was using a quart of oil every 6000 miles. So two days were dedicated to finding a new truck for Frank's Trailer Works. I am now driving a gently used 1 ton Dodge.

Turbo deisel, heavy duty tow package, 4 x 4 should handle just about any situation it is put too. I will seriously miss my old red truck. She has been a good tow vehicle and towed many miles with out any complaint. I hope this new girl can fill her shoes.