Sunday, February 24, 2008

Wintertime Forward Motion

Winter improvements have been tough, due mostly to work that keeps me 130 miles away from home on weekdays (and a life that has kept me spending most weekends attending funerals)...

But things are shaping up (and thankfully fewer people are dying).

My biggest token victory came Saturday morning. An incipient leak was finally blocked (yeah!) after years of effort. Over several weeks, I took spare moments to clean out old caulking out of all the seams between panels at the front of the trailer, using a dremel tool and a nylon brush attachment (it was just small enough to get at the caulking with minimal impact to the aluminum). I cleaned all the channels up to just above the roof curve (that's all I could reach). I washed out the channels after that. Finally, I refilled the crevices with parbond. Saturday I woke to a rainy morning. I ran out to check. My leaky spot was cold--but quite dry. Victory!

This morning we went shopping and measuring. I realized that while we had the pieces of wood cut to fill in the floor, we had to finish up odd jobs that we needed to complete before covering it. Ironically, the shopping was sort of a waste--we ended up buying a harness that we didn't need and both of us decided the power jack we bought was just too flimsy for the cost. They will get returned to Camping World.

So, here in order is my checklist of priority actions I need to take on the front tongue of the least as I see it today:
  1. patch battery hole
  2. weld in cross member for spare tire holder
  3. remove crappy old deadman switch
  4. weld new tank holder
  5. paint new tank holder
  6. attach new harness, connect to interior electrical 110 volt system
  7. wire in 12v connection
  8. drill hole and install new deadman switch
  9. paint any exposed metal
  10. finalize underfloor wiring and install flooring (already cut)
All of this will require a couple of supplies. I need a new deadman switch. I need a crossbar and tire carrier. I need more paint & aluminum tape. I need insulation. I have a tank holder, though. I figure I can order the steel that I need cut from a local metal supplier, so my last task today will be drawing up a mockup for it.

On the inside, I will also need to get some insulation for filling in the holes in the floor. We're also considering wiring some low voltage lights up into the overhead rack before replacing the inner wall. Finally, I need to build a big patch for the hole where the furnace used to be (and if I can hammer the old vent cover, it will go back in its place). Then I can put in the flooring.

Barring replacing the axles (I don't know quite how I'll get that done), what is ahead of me all seems fairly reasonable. I can accomplish this stuff with minimal assistance from Rick. Then I can put the furniture back into the trailer and maybe get some use--though non-urgent jobs will continue. With axles and this work, the trailer should be minimally roadworthy. We do need to work on the rear end, but honestly, it doesn't feel like the situation there is nearly as dire as what we faced up front. And, since we've been down this road before, it's not nearly as tough to fathom taking on the job. I just want to use my trailer first!

Recent activity, I have to admit, comes from prodding from Frank, the bathroom rebuilder of VAP fame. We went to view his efforts over the holiday season. To my surprise, Frank in person is quite different from the Frank I hear on the podcast. He is, by training, an artist. When I saw an antenna holder he fabricated by hand out of sheet metal, it clicked in my brain...his background in sculpture means metalworking training. It shows. Also, in person, he's much more serious. This guy has oodles of focus, which he manages to hide when he appears on the podcast. I don't doubt for a second that his trailer is going to be a showpiece.

Ending up the day, I just finished measuring and making up a template for a cross bracket for a tire carrier. Rick and I agreed on L bracket and I'm still figuring out what to do for the carrier itself. I still have 130 more miles to go before I rest tonight. With any luck, by next week, I'll be welding!

No comments: