Sunday, September 27, 2009

The waiting game...

I ordered a lot of parts for the trailer such as windows, vent fan, stabilizers, and lift brackets to raise it up. They aren't here yet, so I am stuck waiting for them to show up. I decided to not build up the bed until I get the windows, wiring, and insulation installed. Otherwise, I'll have to tear it all back out later, and it is a lot less work to do it once!

Stay tuned,


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Peelin' and Stickin'

Today, I put the floor covering in the trailer. It came with a thin coat of industrial gray paint, so we (I should say "Willa") picked out some more residential looking vinyl peel n' stick. I had some reservations about peel n' stick, but my sis put them in her RV, and she said they stopped sliding around after a while, so what the heck, it was fairly easy to install, so we will check them out to see if they stabilize, or not.

Here is a photo of the stock interior before any mods:

And here it is after I installed the vinyl:

And, a little closer view of the tile pattern:

I decided to just run a bead of caulk around the edges. That will keep them easier to clean than baseboard or cove strips. Also, it preserves the full width of the floor for hauling and installing other modifications.

Tomorrow, I hope to start the install of the bed. Stay tuned!


Monday, September 21, 2009

Peelin' Away

I couldn't wait to change the moving billboard trailer into a more stealthy version. I negotiated a good price on the trailer because the full vinyl wrap on it could be a real mess to fix. According to my cousin, Bret, it could be a big problem peeling off the vinyl. Possibly, it could take paint along with it if the paint is not a good job.

I was anxious to get out this morning and start the peeling process. The peeling went very well, especially when I started cutting the vinyl into smaller strips to pull off. It seemed like a 5 to 6 inch strip was the quickest way to pull it off. Here is a photo of cutting the vinyl into strips.

Once you make a small cut at the edge of the vinyl, you can pull the vinyl smooth and steady across the side. Too fast will tear off the vinyl or leave more glue behind on the paint. Slow is better. It was easy to go slow with this vinyl, as both the glue and the vinyl are tough customers. Here I am putting my weight into pulling the stip off, and barely able to get it to move.

After pulling off all the vinyl, the driver side had a lot of glue left.

Fortunately, my cousin (Bret) is a distributor of vinyl sign supplies and equipment, and he sent me a quart of adhesive remover. If you ever have to remove any bumper stickers ("Obama/Biden" 2008 comes to mind) you should get some of this stuff. It still wasn't quite as easy as the label suggested, but much better than any of the other solvents I have tried through the years.

After spending several hours peeling and then a few more removing the adhesive, the trailer is looking pretty good, jus a few more spots to remove adhesive tomorrow, and I can start with building the bed.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The build begins

Today, my sister Tess brought down the project to get started. She towed it behind her land yacht (Suburban) and we met at Fillmore, which is the original capitol of Utah. Eventually, the Utah government thought that the best place for the capitol would be the center of the state, but eventually they figured it was a long horse ride from Salt Lake City to the capitol, so they moved the capitol north to SLC. Smooth move, since 90% of the population and business growth was in SLC.
This was actually my first chance to view the "project". I am very pleased with the unit. It is very pristine for a used unit. Probably, because it has been wrapped up since it was first purchased. On the way back, I took a picture of it.

So, here is the "project". It is a 5x8 cargo trailer, which I am planning on converting to a small, lightweight back roads camper. It is a 2007 Wells Cargo V Force Cargo Trailer, Model 581-V to be exact. It is in really good shape inside and out, mainly because the fellow I bought it from used it as a storage unit/advertisement for his business, which is water brooms for sweeping out shops.

Here are the goals that Willa and I have for this trailer:

1. Lightweight (able to be easily towed by the Jeep

2. Small (will fit through anything the Jeep will fit through and able to follow in the tracks)

3. Rugged (has to stay in one piece when travelling over washboard and hi clearance roads

4. Solid (no tents) and ready to jump into and grab some lunch or a nap while travelling.

5. Comfortable bed big enough for both of us.

6. Room to stand while you get dressed.

So, here is Phase 1 of the project plan to modify the trailer to meet my goals:

1. Find a suitable trailer - Done

2. Remove the full vinyl wrap

3. Build a suitable bed

4. Install windows

5. Wire for 12 volts to vent fan, lights, and inverter

6. Install a vent fan

7. Install a battery

8. Lift the trailer enough and install 32" Jeep tires

9. Build a cabinet in the V nose to store gear and provide a shelf for a laptop

10. Wire for AC/charging circuit for the lights and TV

For phase 2, I'll be evaluating heating, insulation, and air conditioning. Also, I plan to extend the hitch, so that I can maneuver more without hitting the nose of the trailer. I hope to reinforce the frame while I'm at it, by running a 2" tube from the hitch to the rear end, in case I need a tug to get back out of a bad spot. As it is, it would not be possible, since there is no hooks or hitch on the back of the trailer.

When I saw the trailer had a full wrap, I called my cousin (Bret) to see how hard it would be to remove the wrap. Bret and his wife (Tanya) run a business selling supplies and printers for vinyl signs, and ran a sign shop for several years before that.

Bret said it was a 50/50 deal, because removing a wrap can be horrible, or it can be ok. It all depends on how well the vehicle is painted, how well it is cured, and if the sign company used the correct material when they did the wrap. "After you pull off a small piece, you'll know how hard it is going to be." He said to use plenty of heat, and then use a solvent to remove the remaining adhesive once the vinyl is removed.

So once I brought the trailer home I immediately peeled back a small corner of the vinyl. "Yeahhh!" it came off smoothly and in one piece. I managed to pull off all the wrap on the side door before the sun went down. In order to help make the job go well, I am only going to peel it off when the hot sun is beating down on the trailer. I could use my heat gun, but I figure the sun is hot enough here in St George in September (98 degrees today) that I will be able to get the job done without using the gun. I just have to wait until the sun heats up the surface and then peel away. East side in the morning, front at noon, West side in the afternoon. I will probably pull out the heat gun to do the back doors in the morning while waiting for the sun to heat the East side.

Here are some more shots of the trailer:

Backside, showing barn doors

Driver side

RV Door on curb side

Inside, from the back doors

Stay tuned for the peelin' and grinin' report tomorrow!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Changes all over the place.

I guess the short version would be:

We moved into our investment rental in St George, sold the RV, and now are happily residing in Southern Utah.

Pretty terse for 3 months of pandimonium, eh? Since the last post, we have loaded all our worldly belongings in a UHaul in Spokane, then hauled it to St George, Utah and unloaded it. Of course, it wasn't ALL of our stuff. It never is. The last time I had my "stuff" all in one location was when I was in the fifth grade, and it seems to have gotten more dispersed over the decades since then. However, it is finally all coming together... at least I think it is.

It is probably coming together because I am now almost as poor as I was in the fifth grade. Back then, my worldly goods all fit in a few boxes. Now, it fits in one home. But, afterall, this is two people's stuff, so it should take more room, don't you think?

As of this moment, other than a couple of items stored in Mom's shed in Boulder City, it is all back together. I haven't yet decided when to do the final meld of the last remnants outside the home, but I feel it is eminent. Probably because I have my jumper cables in her shed.

You never know when you may want a jump, and when you do, it is so embarrassing to have to borrow them. When I realized I had stored them in Mom's shed, it was the morning I was in Missoula on the way to St George and I left my 12v cooler plugged into the U Haul all night. No problem! Just use the Jeep to jump the U Haul and we are off... Oops! Problem is the cables are 1,200 miles south in Mom's shed.

So anyway, I'm going to go get the last stuff in Boulder City, bring it to my already over-stuffed home in St George, and then I will finally have all my stuff together.

Now that the RV is sold, I have a new project. Not a bigger, better project. Just a smaller, neater project. I'll lay it all out for you as soon as I have some pictures. It is gonna be worth the wait. Trust me!

Don't you love secrets? I do!