1973 Compact II by Hunter - Fiberglass RV


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Old 11-23-2005, 04:17 PM   #1
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Name: Darrel
Trailer: 73 13 ft Hunter Compact II
Nevada
Posts: 125
Hello

I am very glad to see the new format in place. My thanks to Michael.

I have been waiting for the new secure site to start my repost. so here goes on the first of several as I have time to redo my lost posts of my aquisition story and remodel experiences of my 1973 Compact II by Hunter.

The older I get the harder and farther away the ground is getting in my tent camping. I own a 1974 early Bronco and wanted to find a lightweight trailer which could tow easily. I first started looking for a lightweight utility trailer which I could convert to a camper. I found a Wells Cargo 5x8 enclosed trailer and started to convert it.

It is interesting how you start seeing things you havent seen before when you are thinking about it. I started noticing small Scamp and Burro trailers in my travels and finally found a Casita for sale at a local RV sales company. They wanted 12000.00 for a 13 foot front bath unit which was too steep for me. I got the information for the factory and called to get info on new.

I was nearly ready to order a Casita when I spotted an old red fiberglass trailer down the street from my Daughters house. I didn't inquire right away but several months later I talked to the owner. He was not ready to sell the trailer.

I continued looking at other options but the more I thought about the red one I felt it would be a perfect match for my early Bronco.

About a year went by and I was driving my newly painted Bronco with the top off an a beautiful spring saturday and said to myself "self" check on the red trailer so I did. I talked to the owner and he said he was ready to trash the body and use the frame for a utility trailer. I had determined the light channel frame was not strong enought for my off road travel plans and was going to change it anyway so I told him I would buy the body. 50 dollars later I was towing the trailer home with an agreement to remove the body and return the frame at a later time.

I have to go now but will continue as soon as I can with my Frameless Restoration. I "will" post pictures in future posts.

Thank you
Darrel
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Old 11-23-2005, 08:36 PM   #2
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Darrel,
Is this a photo of your Compact II? Tom Trostel
http://fiberglassrv.com/albums/view_photo....id=5_Compact_II
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Old 11-24-2005, 09:10 AM   #3
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Name: Darrel
Trailer: 73 13 ft Hunter Compact II
Nevada
Posts: 125
Hello Tom

Yes that is my trailer with the new frame installed but no axle yet. Thank you for posting it.

Darrel
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Old 11-24-2005, 10:08 AM   #4
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Name: Darrel
Trailer: 73 13 ft Hunter Compact II
Nevada
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Hello again.

I have a little while before things get rolling for our turkey day activities so I will repost some more history.

The trip home with the trailer was interesting. Kinda reminded me of Ma and Pa Kettle (those old enough to remember) or the Beverly hill billies for those of the younger generation.

I had to take back roads so I wouldnt meet a policeman, because I was totally illegal. No plates, no Lights, my hitch was too high which made the back so low that the back bumper would drag on high spots in the road and the tires looked like they were going to explode from old age. Fortunately it was only about ten miles to my house and I could see traffic behind through the large front window and the rear door. Well the tires didn't explode and I made it home without incident.

Well the trailer is in the driveway and is quite a sight. My wifes first words were "what have you dragged home now". The tires were rotten, seven of the nine windows were broken,curtains and cushons were sun rotted, lenoleum is curling, wood cabinets are faded, the red fiberglass has a white tint from the oxidation, and grafitti paint was sprayed on the outside and inside. The good thing was that it was fiberglass and I had a signed clear title.

My wife named it the doghouse because i would need somewhere to go for bringing it home. Several neighbors came over to see the new neighborhood eyesore but I was able to ease their fears.

A little background on the trailer. It was manufactured in September 1973 and purchased new in california in 1974. The first owner used it a half dozen times for the first fiew years before it was parked. The second owner purchased it in the late eighties and never used it. It was parked in california for about 5 years before he moved to Las vegas and it was parked there for ten years where it was vandalized and deteriorated before I "found" it. I first saw it in 2001 and purchased it as the third owner in May 2002.

I do not have pictures of the "doghouse" when I first got it. The trailer title said it was a 13 foot but as much as I could stretch the tape it would only measure 10 foot long and 6 foot wide at the widest part of the body. The height was 5 foot at the main roof line. A roof extension raises about a foot in the main isleway and work area to give a little over 6 food total headroom. The entrance is at the rear and has a u shaped seating in the front dinette layout which makes into a queen size bed by placing the table top between the right and left benches. There is a three burner cook top and a small sink with a hand pump on the left rear cooking area and an icebox about mid way on the right side. A16 gallon water tank is mounted under the right front dinette seat. A closet for a portapotty and storage is on the right rear as you enter the trailer and a small cloths closet is between the gally and the front dinette on the left side. Two drawers and two storage access doors are located under the sink/stove area and two drawers and one storage access door is under the icebox between the portapotty closet and the front dinette on the right. The front window is a large 3 section solid window and two side slider windows give cross ventalation. The rear window is mounted in the door and is a two way slider. The trailer tongue had one old propane tank and a jack. It has two 110 volt lights One over the left dining area and one over the gally. It also had two 12 volt lights one in the gally and one over the right dining area.

well I need to get started with t-day prep as we are expecting about 30 to grandmas house in a fiew hours. I will try to post some more of my saved pictures on my next post session. Thank you again Tom for helping with your picture contribution.

Thank You
Darrel
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Old 11-24-2005, 12:24 PM   #5
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Minnesota
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Darrel said:

"The trailer title said it was a 13 foot..."

Measure the trailer from the tip of the tongue to whatever sticks out the farthest in the back. I'll bet it's about thirteen feet.

-- Dan Meyer
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Old 11-28-2005, 09:18 AM   #6
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Trailer: 73 13 ft Hunter Compact II
Nevada
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Here is the first picture repost showing my trailer.

Sorry no picture. I'm not sure if it is me or the web page. It says the upload failed because suitable permissions have not been enabled on the uploads directory. Please contact the board administrator and inform them of this error.

I will try posting pictures again later.
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Old 11-28-2005, 09:32 AM   #7
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Name: Darrel
Trailer: 73 13 ft Hunter Compact II
Nevada
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Dan thank you for the info on the trailer size. I removed the origional frame but measured it from tongue to rear bumper and it only measured about 12 feet. I think part of the problem was the tongue sticks out three feet from the bottom edge of the body but the shape of the body slopes foreward and extends about a foot beyond the lower front where the tongue meets the frame. I found some body damage on the extreme front corners of the trailer which was apparently from turning too close to the tow. With only two foot overhang beyond the body, the design of the tongue would not allow a full turn execution without hitting the body. This was another reason I wanted to change out the frame on the trailer.

Thank you

Darrel
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Old 11-28-2005, 10:44 AM   #8
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Name: Darrel
Trailer: 73 13 ft Hunter Compact II
Nevada
Posts: 125
Repost history continued:

I decided the first step in my restoration was to do a deep clean. I felt a good cleaning would also help me determine what repairs or changes were needed as I began my restoration.

I first swept layers of several years worth of dust dirt and trash from the windows being broken. I threw away the sun rotted cushons and curtains, and the cracked Sears portapotty. As I was cleaning I noticed larve shells everywhere. When I removed the boards from the left dinette seat, I discovered the petrified remains of a cat wedged between the water tank and the front wall of the seat. I continued cleaning using bleach to disinfect the trailer.

Once I had thoroughly cleaned, I began to plan my restoration. Because the windows had been broken, water had ruined the dining area wood so it had to go. The back door windows were also broken so the lenoleum and flooring was deteriorated and showed signs of rot.
The electrical system was old and the 12 volt system was not working at all.

Well to make a long story short this is the list of things that had to be done:

Remove body from frame
Build new frame
Replace broken glass
replace screens
reseal all windows and openings
remove grafitti from body
Polish outside of body.
replace axle and tires
upgrade 110 volt electrical system
replace 12 volt electrical system
replace tail and clearance lights
repair or replace water pump to sink
flush and sanatize water tank
repair/replace windows in pop up
repair fiberglass as needed
replace dinette seating
replace flooring
replace/upgrade propane system
replace jack stand with swing away
refurbish cabinet woodwork

My first priority was to clean the grafitti from the outside and polish the fiberglass so it would not looks as offensive to the neighborhood or more especially my wife.

The grafitti came off using goof off and some elbow grease. The fiberglass was tough to polish as it was pretty badly oxidized. I cleaned as best I could using several fiberglass cleaners but it would not shine. I finally used a Protectant product which gave it a little sheen. It passed the wife test so I was on to the next project of removing the body from the frame.

I raised the frame on jack stands and removed 16 5/16 bolts holding the body to the frame.
All of them were pretty badly rusted and several broke off. I then blocked the body using plywood to spread the support so as not to crack the fiberglass. I then lowered the frame down. I then used two 4x4x8 beams which I positioned on the jackstands at the front and rear of the body, between the body and the lowered frame. The frame still would not come out so I removed the tires and axle from the frame. I placed a flat 4 wheel dolly under the frame and was able to then roll the frame out from under the trailer. I set the frame aside so I could use it later as a pattern for the new frame. I then adjusted the body on the 4x4s so it would be level on the driveway while I was working on it.

My next project was to get new glass for the windows. The front window frame had been removed by the previous owner so I took the frame to a local glass shop for a bid on replacing the glass. They quoted almost $100.00 for three 16"x16" windows. I decided to look on line for a web site giving glass cutting information and decided to try my hand at it.
The key to glass cutting is to use a good sharp tool and a large flat serface to work on. I was able to cut all seven windows including buying the glass cutting tool for about the same price as the first quote. Four of the seven window panels I replaced had radius corners and and I was able to cut them out ok. I then remounted and sealed the window frames to the body. The glass cut and install took about two weekends to complete.


I will close this repost for now and continue later when I can try to post pictures.

Thank you
Darrel
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Old 11-28-2005, 02:24 PM   #9
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Name: Darrel
Trailer: 73 13 ft Hunter Compact II
Nevada
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Repost continued:

Sorry about pictures. I will add them as soon as I can.

Now the trailer was water proof after fixing the windows I next started on the inside.

My first task inside was to remove the dinette. I also removed the water tank, propane line, 110 volt wiring and 12 volt wiring. I unscrewed the seat bases from the floor at the front panel and the fiberglassed in ferring strips at the back. After these were removed I cleaned and sanatized the areas under the water tank and seat base. I also discovered some loose ferring strip at the back of the bench on the left side. This allowed the seat to sag in that area. I bought a figerglass kit and new 1x2 wood ferring strip and reglassed it back in place. I also found some fiberglass damage at a body to frame mount hole so I repaired that also.

The original floor covering was installed before the seats were installed so I decided to remove the floor covering while the seats were out. The task turned out to be harder than it looked. As I pulled the flooring up the old glue was so solid the top layer came off leaving the underlayment firmly stuck to the plywood. I tried scraping it off and in many places the plywood came up with it. I finally resorted to a hand plane and peeling the residue off one strip at a time. I was sure glad to get that done three evenings later. (It was summer at over 100 degrees.)

Before the dinette went back in I replaced and upgraded the wiring. I installed a junction box for the 12 volt system at the front inside where the wiring connection to the tow entered the trailer. I than ran upgraded 7 wire cable from the junction box inside the trailer under the bench. I suspended the cable from the seating ferring strip to keep it off the floor. I used 7 wire along each side to provide for all current and future light, brake, and power upgrades. I also replaced the tail light and side marker lights and connected them while I was installing the 12 volt wiring. I made a new connector pigtail for the tow while I was at it.

I also ran new 110 volt wiring an both inside walls of the trailer. I upgraded the stock single breaker box for a new 4 breaker unit to provide for current needs and future upgrades.

The propane lines were next with leads going to to the cooktop on the left side and to future fridge, heater and water heater upgrades on the right side. All of these were suspended from the ferring strips also to keep them off the floor.

I now built the new seat bases and front kick panel between the two bench fronts which hides the wiring and propane lines . The original was u shaped and could seat 4 adults and maybe one or two small children. My calculations showed that I could seat up to six adults by making the benches straight. The seat basis were also about two inches narrower on each side creating a dirt trap in the small corners left with that transition.
I cut four 3/4 plywood boards to support the cushions to complete the seat base. I calculated the size for the new cushions and had them made. I was able use the seat back cushions to fill the isleway between the seats to make the bed. For a table I purchased a thrift store solid oak unit and cut two table tops from from the laminated top to fit the space for the bed over the isleway. I decided to use two tops to provide various seating options.

Well still no pictures yet so will post again later.

Thank you
Darrel
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Old 11-28-2005, 03:21 PM   #10
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Oregon
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Wow Darryl....even reading about all the work makes me tired...great job, can't wait to see some before and after pics.

Dead cat
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Old 11-28-2005, 04:54 PM   #11
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Name: Darrel
Trailer: 73 13 ft Hunter Compact II
Nevada
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Thank you Donna.

It is a lot of work but fun planning and upgrading as I go. I have found that the more mods I make the more I can think of doing. In fact after completing the repost I will be showing some new mods I am working on.

Thank you
Darrel
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Old 11-28-2005, 05:19 PM   #12
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Name: Darrel
Trailer: 73 13 ft Hunter Compact II
Nevada
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Repost continued:

At this point I was ready to build the frame. I chose to use 2x3 tubing instead of 1x2 channel used on the original frame. This would prevent flexing off road and keep the body riged thus preventing stresses on the body. I also planned extend the tongue for more turning clearance with the tow. I previously mentioned the two foot tongue clearnace with the forward slope of the trailer body limited tow turning clearance causing corner damage to the trailer.

I had a friend help me weld the frame to match the original frame with the addition of extra reinforcement on the tongue and other key areas. I had a receiver welded on the tongue which allowed use of adjustable and removable hitch configurations for on road, off road , camp site, and security options. The tongue is actually over 4 foot long at the ball mount. I then had the frame line-x urathane coated. I then mounted the body to the frame. I replaced the original drop axle 4 bolt 4" hub mount for a straight axle 5 bolt 4-1/2 hub mount axle. I then mounted new tires and rims on the axle. I put a swing away wheeled jack, and safety chains on the extended tongue. I set the hitch coupler at a good tow height and was then ready to take the trailer to get the registration inspection.

My wife sewed new curtains which I mounted using stainless wire to minimize protrusion into the trailer.

I was able to finish the trailer to in time to take it camping for the first time. I did not complete all the systems but was able to use the bed on the first outing.

This completes the repost to date except for the pictures which I will post as soon as I am able.

I will continue my continuing upgrade posts and updated pictures in the near future.

Thank You
Darrel
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Old 11-28-2005, 07:34 PM   #13
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Alberta
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I have not even finished reading the whole story-to-date yet, but I just have to post this observation:

To complete just one task of this project, Darrel learned to cut glass, and successfully created radius-cornered panes for his windows on his first glass-cutting project. I am in awe... Unfortunately, now I have no excuse if my Boler glass needs replacing.
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Old 11-28-2005, 10:33 PM   #14
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Name: Darrel
Trailer: 73 13 ft Hunter Compact II
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Thank you bryan, it has been fun learning new skills. I have done it out of necessity because of limited budget for this project. Im sure you could cut glass also. The web site I got my information from was one on decorative window glass cutting. My windows were mostly straight with radius corners.

Thank you
Darrel
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