1973 Compact Jr - Page 3 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-18-2009, 02:22 AM   #29
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Name: Dana
Trailer: 1973 Compact Jr
California
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The top is dished instead of bowed.

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The rubber channel in the windows has cracked and shrunk tremendously.

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Looky what I found underneath the swing jack and layers of paint!

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Old 07-18-2009, 02:28 AM   #30
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Name: Dana
Trailer: 1973 Compact Jr
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I pulled off the curbside window and discovered several things. One is that the screws along the top are very close to the edge of the fiberglass, and one isn't even in the fiberglass at all!


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How do you like the original color -- robin's egg blue!?

For where I'm going I think the mud brown is a better choice...
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Old 07-18-2009, 09:40 AM   #31
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Wonderful photo documentation. It would appear that the quilted insulation was added in 1973 models. I have the same issue of screw holes for the curbside window very close to the edge of the cut out. I am trusting the sandwhich effect to hold all in place.
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Old 07-18-2009, 04:43 PM   #32
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I think all the Jr windows were cut the same because mine were that way. I just made sure the screws were in the wood trim and every thing has been fine. Keep posting pictures on your progress and good luck with your trailer. A couple owners have done ground up restorations which are a great help when working on our trailers.
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Old 07-19-2009, 12:41 AM   #33
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Hi Kent, I also decided it was better to leave things alone regarding the screw holes right at the edge of the fiberglass and like you am also depending on the fact that the aluminum window frame and the new wood frame I built adequately sandwich the fiberglass. The somewhat scary part is that the waterproof seal at the top of the window is less than a 1/16" in width -- it doesn't leave much margin of safety!
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Old 07-19-2009, 12:44 AM   #34
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Trailer: 1973 Compact Jr
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Thank you for the kind words, Rick.

Yes, I have been reading the other threads about refurbishments to get ideas for my own. And I'm not limiting myself to only Compact Jr threads either! There's lots of really great stuff here.
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Old 07-19-2009, 01:00 AM   #35
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Name: Dana
Trailer: 1973 Compact Jr
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The original wood frames for the side windows were completely rotten -- I pulled them off without having to bother removing the screws.

So I made new ones out of poplar stock I got at Home Depot.

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Some previous owner had decided the way to stop the leaks was to tighten the screws some more. Of course this only succeeded in bending the frame so the points halfway between the screws stood even further from the trailer body with the result that the windows leaked even worse than before.

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This is something my father taught me when I was replacing the thick cork oilpan gasket in my mother's Nash -- only tighten the studs as much as necessary to make good contact. If you tighten any more than that the pan will distort and it will leak worse than if it had no gasket at all.

After careful hammering and flexing I got the frames pretty well straightened out again.

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I used the windows themselves as the jigs for squaring up the wooden frames when I glued the joints. I did it this way so if the frames were not square it wouldn't matter -- the wooden frame would match the window anyway.

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Old 07-19-2009, 01:15 AM   #36
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Name: Dana
Trailer: 1973 Compact Jr
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While the window frames were setting up, and then being varnished, I attacked the cushions. I pulled off the current covers and was greeted with the original fabric -- it was so choice that I had to set them in the trailer so we could enjoy them in their full glory:

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Here's the label which tells us the foam is urethane foam:

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The original covers were badly sun-rotted, and the foam itself quite moldy, so I ripped off the covers and this is what I saw:

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I washed each foam block in the bathtub with Clorox water and lots of rinses, drained overnight, then I used a wet/dry shop vacuum to pull out most of the water that was left. Even so, each cushion took several days to dry because the humidity is high here near the coast. So it took about a week and a half to do all four cushions. They do look quite a bit better now:

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The reason I didn't just toss them and buy new foam is that my wife and I are not sure how much camping we will want or be able to do. This way we won't have a whole lot of money sunk into this project if it turns out we need to abandon it.
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Old 07-19-2009, 01:42 AM   #37
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Name: Dana
Trailer: 1973 Compact Jr
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While the varnish was drying on the window frames and the cushions were drying out, I cleaned up the walls and floor of the trailer. Fortunately that quilted vinyl will tolerate some pretty agressive cleaning to rid it of the accumulated dirt and mold.

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I also had to tear out much of the upper framing for the dinette seats because it was pretty rotten, especially on the curb side.

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So, I could make seat slats with wood from Home Depot, or something I found at our local ReStore -- the Habitat for Humanity store. I found some really nice maple cabinet doors for only $1 each, which was quite a bit cheaper than buying the same amount of poplar at Home Depot -- and the wood in the cabinet doors was better too! Well, when I came time to cut them up I just couldn't -- they were too pretty. So I went back to the ReStore and bought some doors that were in a hideous color that I wouldn't mind cutting up. As I was walking out one of the volunteers looked at the doors and said "Ooh, that's my favorite color!" Because it wasn't my favorite color, I happily sliced them up to make the seat slats.

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Another piece of wood I found at the ReStore was a very nice 3/4" birch plywood sheet 34" x 48" -- just right for the table top (2' x 4') with two 10" x24" pieces left over to fill in the aisleway slats when the dinette was made into the bed. I got that for the grand total of $11 + tax!

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Old 07-19-2009, 01:48 AM   #38
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I finally got the table in and the foam cushions dried out and back in their covers, so it was time for the acid test -- is the trailer comfortable?

On July 3 my wife and I camped out in our back yard, and slept in the trailer. We wanted to know whether the foam cushions were adequate -- and they were! We did lightly bottom out on them, but not so much that it was annoying and it certainly did not impede sleeping.

The trailer had passed it's first major test!
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Old 07-20-2009, 11:53 PM   #39
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Nice work, Dana! You really must have scrubbed the inside; it looks so much better than the 'before' pictures.

I did the same thing with my foam cushions- lots of bleach and many days in the sun.

You really fixed the windows nicely; the woodwork on the frames is very cool.

Great finds at your Restore- wow, that's nice thick birch ply. Good show!

Keep up the nice work; looks like you've gotten a lot done so far, in not much time.

Fran
74 Compact II
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Old 07-22-2009, 12:50 AM   #40
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Trailer: 1973 Compact Jr
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Hi Fran, I'm just trying to keep up with you!

In comparison to your thorough renovation my little dibs and dabs are quite picayune. The "woodwork" in mine is pretty pathetic, with the contact paper peeling off and the drawers askew, but I'm leaving that alone for now because I really want to take the trailer out and use it this summer. My wife has some time off in early August so I had better have things buttoned up by then.

A funny thing is that the broken rear window is the first thing I started to fix, but only got done a couple of days ago. Other things, like mold eradication, took priority. Oh yeah, "done" is a relative term -- it's good enough to use, but it would be nice to fix the latches as well.
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Old 07-22-2009, 01:25 AM   #41
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Trailer: 1973 Compact Jr
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As the next test of the trailer we wanted to cook and eat a meal in it. A three-pot dinner sounded like a good test.

On the morning of July 12th I tested all the propane connections and the cooktop valves to make sure there were no leaks. I also lit the three burners (one at a time) and made sure the valves still did not leak. Everything was fine. So I told my wife to plan on cooking in the trailer that evening. Then she left on errands.

In the meantime, I thought I should really take a good look at the propane tank to see how badly rusted it is, and also to measure how much we had. When I took it loose the O-ring on the POL (Prest-O-Lite) fitting gave up the ghost. After all those years of outdoor exposure it had dried out and shrunk, and the act of taking the fitting loose was the final straw.

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Now I was in trouble -- there was no way of using the propane system without that O-ring, and it was late afternoon on a Sunday. And our town doesn't have any RV places at all. All our good local hardware stores are closed on Sunday, so that wasn't an option. I tried Home Depot but all they had was faucet repair kits, and none of them seemed to have the right O-ring.

I then went to OSH and, wonder of wonders, they actually have O-rings, neatly packages by size. And they had exactly one package of the size I needed!

I scampered home and slipped on the O-ring, buttoned things up, tested for leaks -- oh dear, the POL fitting was leaking slowly -- reseated the POL, retested, and everything was fine.

Oh yeah, the tank is going to need to be recertified in 2 years and the rust looks bad enough that I don't want to do all the scraping and painting for such a short lifetime. Especially after I bought another empty tank in excellent condition for $5!

So we'll use up the propane that's in the tank (it's nearly full, BTW), then turn it in to be scrapped.

This little escapade put me in mind of Frederick L. Simson's age-related failure of the propane tubing on his refrigerator, (see Refrigerator Fire) and how a small, inexpensive part can cause drastic changes in plans.

Oh yes, dinner was yummy, and the trailer passed it's second major test.
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Old 07-22-2009, 01:40 AM   #42
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Name: Dana
Trailer: 1973 Compact Jr
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I think my wife is getting into the spirit of the hunt -- when I said I had exhausted all the stores here in my endeavors to find suitable lightweight but pleasing plastic dishes and wanted to drive to a town that had quality stores like Walmart, Target, Pier One, and etc., I found I was talking to empty air as she ran and jumped into the car.

So we drove down the highway, watching for small trailers on our way, and stopped in at said stores. I was looking for good quality but inexpensive stuff. My wife's scale was definitely above mine. I knew she had bonded to the idea of camping with the trailer when she said "We'll need sets of four so we can host Charlie & Susan, or Mike & Linda." What really cinched it was "Don't forget the wine glasses!"

Hmm, the Tiltin Hilton is definitely in her plans for the summer....
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