"My Compact II history" - Fiberglass RV


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Old 05-14-2003, 02:09 PM   #1
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"My Compact II history"

I will start my history by giving a little background of my motives for looking for a lightweight trailer. As a boy growing up in Idaho my family did a lot of camping, hunting, fishing and river rafting.
Now that my family has grown and I'm close to retirement I decided I would persue some long term dreams to go bact to my roots.
I found a 1974 Bronco as a start for my Mountain Paradise persuits and having restored it to pristine condition it was time to find a way to do a little mountain camping. I'm getting too old for tents and groundcloths so I decided to look for a small trailer i could use for my Mountain Mansion. I checked with all the normal trailer sources and found all of them were too large for my early Bronco to handle. I ruled out tent trailers because of the canvas deterioration.

I started noticing small fiberglass Scamps Burros and Casitas so i looked at them. I came really close to ordering a Casita after checking them all out but the Price tag scared me away.

I kept looking for aptions and then while helping my daughtor move I spotted the trailer in a neighbors yard. I had never seen one like it before but I knew it would be just the ticket for my project.
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Old 05-14-2003, 03:59 PM   #2
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history continued.

I made the first contact a fiew weeks later. In my mind I had already completely restored the trailer and painted it blue and white to match my newly painted Bronco. When the owner turned my offer down I thought that was the end of the road for that trailer. He did let me look the trailer over and if I could paint a picture it was a total mess. Glass broken out of all the windows but one and trash stored in and around it. The tires flat and weatherchecked, dirt a quarter inch thick inside, Upholstry shreaded on the seats with foam sun rotted and shedding. The curtains flapping out of the broken windows and graffitti sprayed all over the outside of the body. It really looked bad and a more fainthearted person would have walked away from it as a lost cause I however undaunted by the looks could see some great potential with application of a little elbow grease and t l c.
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Old 05-14-2003, 06:13 PM   #3
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History continued

Every time I visited my daughter I would drive past the trailer to see if it was still there. I kept looking at other options but nothing seemed to fit like that one. I dont know if it was the bright red finish with the white accent stripes or just the shape of the little trailer, I kept picturing this thing behind my Bronco and how good a match it would be as the same vintage model as I towed it to my mountain retreats or the occasional vintage car shows.

Fast forewarding a year I had just washed my Bronco and was driving with the top down on a great saturday morning in May 2002 and I thought to myself, "Self we have to try one more time to make an offer on that trailer." I immediately went to the mans house and found him home. I started visiting with him and discovered that he was ready to take the frame off the trailer and i think he was glad to get someone to pay to haul the body away. We made the deal on a handshake I gave him 25 dollars cash with a plan to come back that afternoon with the other 25 dollars. He said I could pull the trailer home and then take the body off the frame. When I returned he had aired up the tires cleaned out most of the trash and moved the trailer onto the street. He had placed some parts and pieces including some window screens and an old porta potti which turned out to be broken beyond use.

When I hooked up no, lights worked and the back bumper was 2 inches off the ground because my bronco hitch was so much higher. I told him that I would bring the trailer back to show him all of the changes I had planned.

I took my chances with no licence and carefully traveled the 10 miles home on back streets. No incidents and safely parked in my driveway, I now had my Mountain Mansion.

My wife said What have you dragged home now. Needless to say during the next fiew weeks my acquisition receive a lot of attention. It was dubbed the Dog House because everyone thought after bringing it home that was where I was going to be staying.

I was undeterred and began cleaning the grafitti and dirt. I soon found that the dirt and trash needed deep cleaning so after getting the surface dirt off I started stripping furniture and fixtures down to the bare bones. That is when I found the mummified cat. I guess it had got in and wedged itself between the water tank and wall of the trailer and couldn't get out.

After this deep cleaning I was better able to determine the task I was up against.
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Old 05-14-2003, 06:51 PM   #4
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History

This is so cool. So, what kind of trailer are you going to put your little mansion on? Are you going to have it built? Are you going to have it put on before, during, or after the restoration?

This is going to be so interesting!
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Old 05-14-2003, 07:42 PM   #5
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:wave
Darrell:
I'm following your every step and wishing it was me. I even wish I was close enough to lend a hand, or at least take a look from time to time. Boy O boy O boy. I have printed off all "The History", thanks.
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Old 05-14-2003, 07:58 PM   #6
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OK.

That is enough.

STOP!

Don't do anything else.

We are missing all of the excitment of seeing the changes. You have got to post pictures as you go along with this project.

Beg borrow or steal a digital camera.
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Old 05-14-2003, 11:28 PM   #7
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history continued.

Hi and thanks for following my history of my Compact II frameless restoration. I am sorry about no pictures. I hope Bob Martin won't mind if I refer you to his pictures posted in the Care and feeding section under Hunter I or Compact II thread. Bob's trailer looks like mine only white with no accent striping. Mine is bright red with a white accent stripe starting just above centerline in front sides and and widening as it goes back to and following the accent upsweep just behind the side windows then up over the top of the raised roof section. I promise I will get pictures as soon as possible. I have a friend with a digital camera so will try to set up a camera session with him. Remember I started this project a year ago so my progress will have to be documented verbally. I will try to depict the events as closely as possible. in the meantime I will give updates as often as I can.

Suz you asked about the frame. I have done most of the restorations off the frame. I have had a frame built and ready to install. I will give more detail about that as I continue my history.
Thank you again and I will give more history updates soon.
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Old 05-15-2003, 12:17 PM   #8
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History continued

Hi again.:wave

I want to explain a little more about why I wanted to change out the frame an my Compact II restoration before I continue with my history.

The very first problem I noticed with the origional frame was that the trailer tongue was too short. The trailer has an aerodynamic nose which has a one foot overhang from the front frame crossmember. The origional tongue is three feet from the crossmember to the hitch but with the nose projection that only left two feet for turning. I noticed some rubstrip and fiberglass damage at the front corners which ment that was a problem area. My new frame has a four foot tongue which allows for a tighter turning capability with a wider vehicle.

My second concern was that the origional frame was built from 1x2 structural channel and 1 1/2 inch angle iron which I'm sure was intended to keep overall weight down. Also only three angle iron crossmembers were used for structural integrety. I felt these problems would cause too much flex during my planned offroad trecks resulting in body stress. Being an avid off roader I also knew the standard 2 inch coupler would limit articulation in off road situations.

I solved these problems on the new frame by building it to the same dimensions and mounting points as the origional. Unlike the origional I increased the strength and rigidity by building the main frame rails tongue. front crossmember and rear bumper from 3/16 x 2 x 3 rectangular tubing. I also lengthened the tongue and underslung it to add increased strength at the attachment points. I increased the frame middle crossmembers to five i x 2 rectangular tubing which extended to the outer body attachment points. I added angles braces at the strategic corners for inboard atacment points and increased structural stability. This added to the weight of the frame but I was planning to add another propane tank dual batteries and additional creature comforts in the trailer. The origional axle was only rated at 1500 pounds capacity and no brakes but my new axle is rated at 3500 pounds with 5 lug hubs for mounting larger tires and electric brakes.

My last upgrade on the frame was to use an offroading trick to increase coupler articulation. I welded a receiver tube like the one on the tow vehicle and then adapted a receiver coupler with a changable attachment for highway and off road towing. This allows me to get the trailer to the top of the hill without breaking anything. I also mounted a swing away tongue jack so it wouldn't drag. the extended tongue allowed me to mount the jack inside the frame so it could swing up under the propane tanks and not get hung up.

When looking for a durable paint I found that I could spray urathane finish for a little more than a good paint. So I had Line X of Henderson spray the bare metal with a lifetime urathane finish.

This frame is very sturdy and nearly bullet proof. I feel the body will not flex at all while off roading. I see it now sitting on top of a mountain peak with me sitting out front looking down over the hills and watching the sun set behind a shimmering lake.
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Old 05-15-2003, 04:52 PM   #9
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History continued

Hi good news:banana

I have lined up a digital camera for this weekend and will give some good pictures to bring you up to date on my Compact II frameless restoration.

I will continue with another segment in my Compact II restoration history.

I first removed the grafitti from the outside so my wife would let me park in the driveway. It really looked pretty good once the urban camoflage(grafitti) was taken off. The gelcoat is weathered a little and has some stress cracks but overall sound. Some damaged areas in the fiberglass have been repaired and will be unnoticeable when I repaint.

After dismantling and deep cleaning the trailer and having removed the origional frame, I set the body on two heavy duty dollys so I could move it around more easily. I worked on the trailer outside in my driveway while stripping and cleaning. I took off all the cabinet doors and table stand and removed the drawers. I removed the wall panels and flooring in the closets and storage areas. I then pulled the water tank and removed the front seating framework down to the floor. The seats and framework took most of the deterioration because the broken windows were right there. I also removed the seats because they were coinfigured in a u shape. This small trailer would not let an adult sit in the front which limited the seating. I planned to change this to paralell seating to give more room and up to six adults could fit. I left the cabinets in tact because they were supporting the roof and was able to clean around the Ice box, cook top, and sink. After removing all of the framework I found a lot more grit and grime so I did another deep clean.

I could now really see what needed to be done to make the trailer user friendly.

This is a list of items needing replacing or upgrading:

Complete frame and axle
All tires and wheels
Tongue jack (Went with the old frame)
Propane tank and lines
Pigtail and 12 volt wiring
Internal 110 volt electrical wiring
12 volt electrical light fixtures
7 out of nine window panels
All tail and marker lights
The thru the wall vent over the cook top
The gravity water fill fixture
The city hookup pressure regulator
All seats and cushions
Curtains and drapes including hardware
Closet and storage wall and floor panels
Vinyl flooring
Raised roof vinyl skylights and insect neting
Screws and vinyl centerline molding inserts

I was fortunate that the diamond vinyl roofing was in good shape and the cabinet frames were sound. The paneling was well faded and peeling in some areas but my upgrades will take care of that.The wood floor was also good.
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Old 05-15-2003, 05:39 PM   #10
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Wow! Darrell! I'm impressed with your "report" about your restoration project!

And I'm looking forward to the pictures of how far you've come!
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Old 05-15-2003, 11:16 PM   #11
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History continued

Well now that I had the "Dog House" stripped to the bone it was time to start to work.

The first project was to strip the old, dried out, stained cracked and curling yellow vinyl flooring. I tried to pull it up at the edges but the glue had laminated it to the wood floor. I was able to take it off in stages. The vinyl surface would peel off the backing paper so i got rid of that. The paper was a little tougher. I tried everything from scrapers to knifes hammer and gasket scraper. I finally used a wood plane and was able to shave it off that way. I also found that if wet it a little with a spray bottle the plane would cut deeper and take more off. I finally got all the flooring shaved to the wood in about three evenings.

My next challenge was to replace the window glass. I called several glass companies who said I needed to bring the frames in to get an estimate. All of the windows except the two door glass panels were rounded aluminum. This made all the bids fairly high at between 50 to 80 dollars per paine. I had 7 pains to replace so that was going to cost over 350 dollars for them to put in the glass and I was going to have to remove and replace the frames. I decided I would try to do it myself. I went to the internet and downloaded all the information I could on glass cutting and found that cutting curves in glass is not too difficult. The key as it turned out is to have a good glass cutter. I only had to redo one paine out of seven. My next challenge was to mount the windows back in the frames. The rubber glass locks had shrunk so I was short about 6 inches on each window. I compromised by using the locks on the criticle areas and using aluminum colored silicone to fill in the rest.
The three screens that covered the sliding windows had holes and torn areas so I went to Home Depot and purchased screen fabric, cord, and tool and set to work replacing the screens. The total outlay for glass screen and tools and supplies was about 100 dollars and about 2 evenings and a Saturday to finish cutting fitting and mounting the glass back into the trailer.

My mountain mansion was starting to take shape. No more desert wind and dust storms or occasional rain could get in now.

It was really surprising how many of my neighbors who usually only waved came over while I worked into the evenings to check on my progress.

My next project was installing new tail and clearance lights and redoing the 12 volt wiring. My plan here was to make the wiring much more user friendly and also add battery and brake wireing.
I found my tail lights and clearance lights at camper world and installed them in the same locations as the origional. The tail lights were a challenge because the lights I found were different size than the factory style. The mounting holes did not match up so I cut aluminum plates to fit the old light area and after riviting them to the body I mounted the new lights.
The front pigtail was a challenge as the old one was pretty far gone and really not usable for my application. The pigtail was removable from the trailer and had a male plug at both ends. I installed a new 7 prong rv female socket in place of the old five prong unit. I now had the external wiring done so now i moved inside. I purchased 7 wire shielded trailer cable and a seven wire junction box from my local Napa automotive store. I could have bought it at Camper World but was able to get a discount through my work. I installed the junction box inside the trailer where the female socket comes through the front of the trailer and mounted the cable along each side of the trailer to the back lights. I looped these from the seat anchor rails so they would be off the floor. .I hooked in all of the outside lights the inside 12 volt lights and had circuts for the battery and brake installations. I also looped wires for future installations of a three way fridge, heater and electric pump controls to the faucet With the junction box I now have plenty of access to and expansion of the wiring for Solar or generator power or anything else I may want to install. I also replaced the two twelve volt cabin lights with new low profile units from Camper world. One over the sitting area and one over the sink area. I will also install one in the porta potty closet before I am done.

Now that the twelve volt wiriing was done I started on the 110 volt system.. I replaced the single breaker panel with a four breaker unit from Home depot. I installed new four wire romex to each side of the trailer and hooked in the 110 volt lights. The aditional wiring will provide plenty of shore power for appliances or anywhere I may need . My final task was to replace the old frayed shore power cord with a new one. I made it removable so It can be stored until needed. I also intend to mount an outside plug recepticle at a strategic location before I am finished
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Old 05-17-2003, 03:00 PM   #12
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Here's my first picture practicing in getting my camera and my computer lined up. (Thanks to my son Logan)

My '74 Bronco
<img src=http://www.fiberglassrv.com/board/uploads/3ec693b94525amybronco.jpg/>

<img src=http://www.fiberglassrv.com/board/uploads/3ec694c1b8111mytoeingrig.jpg/>
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Old 05-17-2003, 07:27 PM   #13
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PICTURES

Well the time has finally arrived. :drums I now have pictures of my project. They shows an up to date work still in progress. So here goes.
<img src=http://www.fiberglassrv.com/board/uploads/3ed1b4a5632fdMymansion.jpg/> <img src=http://www.fiberglassrv.com/board/uploads/3ed1b4ed31988Mytrailer.jpg/> <img src=http://www.fiberglassrv.com/board/uploads/3ed1b515c6da012voltbox.jpg/> ]http://www.fiberglassrv.com/board/uploads/...rance.jpg/> <img src=http://www.fiberglassrv.com/board/uploads/3ec6d2de61c20Poptop.jpg/> <img src=http://www.fiberglassrv.com/board/uploads/3ec6d2ed6c3f9waterside.jpg/> <img src=http://www.fiberglassrv.com/board/uploads/3ec6d300a12d1grandentrance.jpg/> <img src=http://www.fiberglassrv.com/board/uploads/3ec6d319243edlonghall.jpg/> <img src=http://www.fiberglassrv.com/board/uploads/3ec6d32982a8dlonghall.jpg/> <img src=http://www.fiberglassrv.com/board/uploads/3ec6d33c9897akitchen.jpg/> <img src=http://www.fiberglassrv.com/board/uploads/3ec6d34cd5a0anew110.jpg/> <img src=http://www.fiberglassrv.com/board/uploads/3ec6d35c90f6aframe-hitchview.jpg/> <img src=http://www.fiberglassrv.com/board/uploads/3ec6d36a29f7dhiwaytowing.jpg/> <img src=http://www.fiberglassrv.com/board/uploads/3ec6d376d3b90offroadtowing.jpg/>
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Old 05-17-2003, 08:10 PM   #14
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like the fire engine red

how long before you expect to have it out camping?
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