Jim's Trail West Campster - Fiberglass RV


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Old 10-21-2007, 02:07 AM   #1
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Okay, it took me a while to figure out how to post pics. Then I had to do the resizing -- not hard, just time-consuming. (I make my living managing the computers for a school district.) So now I have an avatar, a personal picture, and these:

Here's the general idea...


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Here's the whole rig just after we had all the cancer taken out of the 1990 Eddie Bauer Bronco and installed a new engine and transmission (144,000 miles on that "new" Bronco). It shows off the trailer paint scheme nicely.


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This one shows the exterior results of some of the modifications I mentioned.


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My mother replaced the original windows in the 90's. I think the original trailer only had an icebox, so my Dad installed a propane 'fridge -- that's the louvered panel on the left and the "chimney" barely visible right above it. You can see the side-vent forced-air furnace below the window. The small silver metal square just to the front of the window is a 1/8"-thick aluminum "diamond" plate added to reinforce the strength of the fiberglass where the crossways bunk is mounted on the inside. Always remember to spread out the load! The green tent on the far left is a Cabela's shower tent. Where we camp there are no showers. It's equipped with a portable camp water heater and a porta-potty (which fits under the closet for travel).

I'll try to take some pictures of the other mods I've made over the years for another post.
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Old 10-21-2007, 02:48 AM   #2
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Oh, okay -- just one more picture. Here's a good shot of the crosswise bunk. We put just enough space under it to raise our knees without hitting them, sleeping with our heads toward the kitchen. When my wife and I are alone in the trailer, the bunk comes out.


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And some more "war stories." The shag carpet on the walls is because my folks very quickly discovered that they got "rained on" every night in the trailer because the condensation was so bad. They also added the bead-board insulation on the ceiling for the same reason. Um... the little holes in it were caused by that cutie sitting on the bunk, shortly after she was reminded not to do that and the lights were turned out for the night. Speaking of lights, I removed the original 12v lights (they used up a lot of battery life) and replaced them with doubled-up 12v fluorescent trouble-lights in home-made fixtures. You can see the end of one in the upper right corner of the picture (tube with the black cap on the end).
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Old 10-21-2007, 06:33 AM   #3
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Nice rig!
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Old 10-21-2007, 11:15 AM   #4
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LOVE the paint job!
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Old 10-21-2007, 11:59 AM   #5
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Very nice setup. I like the bunk idea. Looking forward to more pictures on your mods.
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Old 10-21-2007, 10:09 PM   #6
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I love the paint job. I'd like to hear more about ( and see more pictures of) the modifications.


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Old 11-04-2007, 03:35 PM   #7
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Jim,

Look forward to seeing the rest of the pictures.
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Old 11-07-2007, 11:39 PM   #8
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Okay, folks, it looks like the demands are for paint and bunks!

If you look at the existing pictures you can see the paint job. The wide dark red stripe wraps around the front and two sides of the fiberglass body following the body's natural lines -- the seam between the top and bottom, and the rolled-under edge that supports the seats on the inside. Of course, you can put your paint wherever you want. This just happened to fit really nicely with my two-tone Bronco's color scheme.

How To Do It: If you've never used automotive paint and a real body-shop style spray gun, and you don't have a properly-vented shop area and an appropriate breathing mask, take it to a body shop to have it done. WARNING! The materials used in automotive paint are poisonous if breathed!

If You're Still Interested: Go to a local auto parts store and buy a couple of sheets of 220-grit wet/dry sandpaper, a quart of automotive paint, a gallon of reducer (thinner), and a set of fresh filters for your breathing mask, and anything else they say you need (like "hardener", etc.)

From here on, everything should be accomplished in a single day! Wash the trailer with a good car-wash detergent. If there's any mildew, kill it with Clorox. Rinse thoroughly and let dry. Then go over the surface where the paint will be applied with a clean rag soaked lightly in the reducer you bought. You shouldn't need more than a cup of reducer to do the whole trailer. Turn the rag frequently. Let it dry again.

Mask out the areas where the paint will not be applied. Cover clear to the bottom and top of the body so that "overspray" won't settle where you don't want it. A body-shop-style masker with a roll of two-foot paper makes this go faster. You can use newspaper if you carefully tape ALL seams shut.

Once masked, use a folded sheet of 220-grit wet/dry sandpaper with moderate pressure in a circular motion about the size of your hand and go over the entire exposed surface. Be careful not to damage the masking tape. Once this is finished, wipe it all down with another clean rag with reducer and let it dry. Now it's ready to paint.

Mix the paint according to the manufacturer's instructions for your type of spray gun and your temperature and humidity conditions. (I'll assume that you have a spray gun and a clean, dry supply of compressed air. If your air hose has been used on an unfiltered compressor, it probably has oil in it that will mix with the paint at the spray nozzle, and make your paint job do strange and horrible things! If your system doesn't have an oil/water filter, it's not the kind that should be used for this. Go to a body shop.) Put the properly-thinned paint in the cup, assemble the spray gun, and put on your breathing mask.

Unless your shop has a ventilation system that can make a noticeable breeze inside it, I'll recommend that you do the painting outside. DO NOT do it in a closed shop without ventilation. The fumes can make you VERY ILL, and some effects can be permanent! I can't emphasize this enough!! So... assuming your fully-prepped trailer is out on the driveway and there's only a LIGHT breeze blowing (and your prized 1954 Cadillac is far, far away), connect the spray gun to the air hose and go have fun. The hard work is done!

I used DuPont products. It's been on there long enough that one side of it has water marks from being watered by the garden sprinkler for several years, and it shows absolutely no signs of peeling or cracking. If you know how to use body putty and have flaws in the surface, have at it. If a bug settles in your freshly-sprayed paint (because you're painting outside), well... don't try to remove him while the paint's still wet! Let it dry, then pick him out and use some touch-up paint applied with a fingernail polish brush. It's a good idea to wait for a warm spring day before the bugs hatch out, or a warm fall day after a hard freeze to kill the bugs! (Yes, you might have to wait six months for the right "window of opportunity".)

If there's anything here you don't understand, just post your questions here for everyone's benefit.

I'll have to take some pictures of the bunk, but will post them with instructions soon. Happy painting!
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Old 11-08-2007, 12:22 AM   #9
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Hey Jim,
GREAT RIG! hehe I'm always excited to see what another 'sister' of the Compact/Campster variations family looks like. So this is an heirloom trailer huh, passed down from your folks? That's really great too! And your paint scheme to match the Bronco, very smart looking.
All the modifications over the years sound great too, it sounds like it's better equipped accessory-wise than many brand new rigs!
The pics are great, would love to see a few shots of your galley area to see how everything fits together there too...
Joe
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Old 11-09-2007, 06:02 PM   #10
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Thanks, Joseph. My Dad never was able to settle for "off the shelf." Guess I inherited that along with the trailer, and am happy to carry on the tradition.

An afterthought for everyone on the previous post on painting. If the dangers and equipment described there scare you off, there's another way. It doesn't look as good as the automotive paint, but it can turn out well. Go to your local auto parts store and tell them what you're doing, then ask them for the right kind of spray-can paint (Krylon, etc.) for painting fiberglass. The only difference will be in appearance over the long term. You still should do all of the surface prep the same way. Ask the auto parts personnel what to use for a surface cleaner instead of the reducer. When it's time to paint, apply several THIN coats, allowing each coat to dry before applying the next. They may recommend a spray primer for the first coat. Three or four coats of the color paint should eliminate any areas where the light fiberglass shows through thin paint. Of course, if you're painting the ENTIRE trailer, this will come out looking like one of those redneck camo pickup jobs. Spray cans are less expensive than the auto body paints (even if you need five or six of them). It can work really well if you're just adding accents, like... uh... racing stripes?
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Old 11-10-2007, 09:11 PM   #11
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Well, friends, today was Saturday. I spent half the day taking pictures of 35 years of modifications, the good, the bad, and the ugly -- 42 of them. Obviously way more than anyone wants to scroll down to in this discussion thread. So I've organized the pictures into groups and put them on a website of my own where I can go into excruciating detail. I'll continue to put teasers here at FiberglassRV, and each time include the URL to the full article.



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The first picture shows the completed bunk and mattress outside the trailer. The second one shows it installed in the trailer and tilted up out of the way for daytime storage. There are fourteen more pictures on the bunk project showing many details with full explanations. On the way there you'll see a list of future topics. As they become available I'll notify you here. As always, if you have questions please post them here for the benefit of all. Enjoy!

P.S. - the images on the website are also available in much higher resolution. If you need them, just ask.
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Old 11-10-2007, 09:46 PM   #12
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I've already bookmarked the site; can't wait to see the rest of the mods. The cot is nifty, no need for one here, unless I decide the dogs need an upper bunk, but I like the idea.

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Old 11-10-2007, 10:14 PM   #13
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Bobbie, did you see big pictures or small ones? I accidentally loaded 200px and just replaced them with the 500px ones I intended a few minutes ago. Take another look.
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Old 11-10-2007, 10:53 PM   #14
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They are the same size as they were the first time I saw them.
I don't know if that is bigger or not! They are a nice size, bout 3x3 on my computer screen.

Bobbie
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