Karen's Burro fix-up - Fiberglass RV


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Old 03-07-2008, 07:44 PM   #1
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After the fiddling around with my sister's trailer was all complete,
I found myself looking around for something to do. My sister's friend Karen has a Burro which has a lot of rough edges, so I offered to do a bit of fixing up if she paid for materials. So for the last couple months it's been sitting outside under the carport while I've been making innumerable trips up and down our basement stairs. ...And I get to go to the hardware store a lot. I like the hardware store.

The first order of business was to try to firm up the door hinge mounting points and get the door hanging straight in its opening. The lower hinge's wood backing was pretty much gone, and I could get to the backside of it easily enough, once I took out a little two-drawer unit:


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So I cut away the fiberglass over the wood block with a cutter chucked in my Dremel, and chipped out the rotted remnants:


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... then glassed in a new block with embedded tee-nuts. The other screw holes were trickier, because I couldn't get to the wood blocks (thanks to the Burro's double-wall construction). Eventually I ended up at the Rot Doctor site, and I bought their penetrating epoxy sealant and some of their epoxy resin. I pumped plenty of the sealant into each screw hole using an eyedropper, waited for it to harden (about two weeks in the cold weather) then filled the holes with the resin. It seems to have worked; the screws bit nicely, and I was even able to revert to the original #10s, instead of the grossly oversized screws the last fixer-upper put in.

While I was waiting (and waiting) for sealant and resin to harden, I worked on little stuff. I rebuilt the interior of the coat closet:


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...and now I'm out of room; I'll continue on another post--
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Old 03-07-2008, 07:48 PM   #2
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The closet lining panels are screwed to wood blocks held in with Bondo. Bondo makes a great adhesive, and Iíve been using a lot of it. The finish is Deft, a fast-drying, forgiving, and extremely (!) stinky varnish.

She had an opening below the closet, with a rather crude shelf in it; so I built a new cabinet interior for that space, using the volume behind the heater more efficiently:


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Iím still working on the door (more about that later).

A lot of her cabinet catches had become non-functional, either because the catch broke, or the wood it was screwed to came adrift. I glued new wood into place (using Bondo, and scuffing up the fiberglass first with sandpaper) and installed new catches:


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I then got started on the water system. Surprisingly enough, her ancient electric pump worked! I bought a rebuild kit from Dyerís and rebuilt the three-way faucet, and then replaced every piece of tubing and most of the (crumbling) (sigh) plastic fittings.

With the door hung (the resin being finally cured), I could start the second big project, a new floor. Karen had some nice peel-and-stick tiles she wanted installed. The original fiberglassed-in plywood floor seemed sound enough, so I made some cardboard templates and cut and fit a 3/8 ACX plywood subfloor. Its primary purpose was to give a nice level surface by covering the cabinet flanges where the cabinets were screwed to the floor; I had to thin down the plywood over the flanges. After a lot of wishy-washyness, I decided to glue in the subfloor with a screw every now and then to keep it from wandering around or squeaking. The subfloor sections were rabbeted together with plenty of glue. I peeled-and-stuck and trimmed, and hereís the result:


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...and I'm out of space again. More in another post...

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Old 03-07-2008, 07:54 PM   #3
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The next big project was the table. I decided to make a new hollow-core table like I had done for Sisí trailer. Hereís the framework, made of half-inch thick wood:


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1/8 plywood was glued to each side, and then Formica on the top and an aluminum edge, and here it is:


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The toughest part was deciding where it should go; Karen was having trouble squeezing in past the corner to get to her seat, so I slid it aft about eight inches from the stock position. You canít sit at the aft end, but thereís a chest of drawers using up all the footroom at that position anyway, so no big loss.

And there have been a bunch of little things. I got the heater working, thanks to Arnie Lind at Platcatt, who was very very very helpful. I replaced coathooks and rebuilt taillights and built a drawer for under the stove and trimmed and repaired some ill-fitting drawers and cleaned glue residue off the walls and repainted the tongue and tidied up the wiring and unclogged the sink drain fixed the interior light fixtures and put in a new electrical passthrough fitting and replaced rusty screws and just generally fixed little things that were wrong.

Right now Iíve just finished a door for the cabinet below the closet, and I'm thinking about a new chest of drawers to replace the ones I pulled out earlier (the old ones were heavy and beat-up). I was able to pull the Formica off the old table (pry loose a corner with a box cutter or a putty knife, then bathe the crevice with plenty of acetone using an eyedropper, and you can peel it off, adding more acetone as necessary) and from the old drawers, and I think Iíll have just enough to cover the new cabinet door and the new drawers.

The fridge isnít working. After some work with an ohmmeter, I think that the 110V heating element is burnt out. At the least. For all I know, there might be something amiss with the propane part, too. So Iíve gotta fiddle with that a bit. As far as the sealed ďcooling unitĒ goes, Iíve been looking at Dometic manuals posted to the Web, and I have to admit, despite my Engineering degree from Washington Stateís finest institute of higher learning, I havenít the foggiest of how the ammonia cycle works. Thereís some pretty subtle engineering in that thing.

I also think the axle is sagging. Karen and Sis have a mission for the Northern Oregon Gathering: Theyíre to ask people to step in and out of their trailers and measure the suspension deflection. So if anyone cares to volunteer, let me know your campsite!
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Old 03-07-2008, 08:13 PM   #4
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<span style="font-size:36pt;line-height:100%">WOW!</span>

Wish I lived closer, I could keep you plenty busy for a while!

Less than two months to NOG and I'll gladly open the door to my Hi-Rise trailer if the gals care to check it out.
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Old 03-07-2008, 08:45 PM   #5
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I DO live closer... in the summer, anyway...

Do you have any good ideas on how to make a small table that would sit just past the kitchen and maybe swing out for use?

Bobbie
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Old 03-07-2008, 10:43 PM   #6
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Nice work Steve! And a very nice posting with great copy and photos.
I was curious about the table you made. It ends up being about 3/4" thick but weighs less than solid wood. Is this why you built it like you did?
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Old 03-07-2008, 11:02 PM   #7
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Quote:
Nice work Steve! And a very nice posting with great copy and photos.
I was curious about the table you made. It ends up being about 3/4" thick but weighs less than solid wood. Is this why you built it like you did?
Yep. The old tables, in both Sis' and this trailer, were darned heavy. The hollow-core construction makes them about a third lighter, I figure. With the Formica, it's a tad less than 7/8 thick, but plenty strong enough for use as a bed.
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Old 03-07-2008, 11:21 PM   #8
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Steve, I think you should snap this Trailorboat shell up and finish it.

http://www.fiberglassrv.com/board/index.ph...c=28271&hl=

Think what you could do with a "blank canvas!
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Old 03-08-2008, 11:05 AM   #9
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Steve, I think you should snap this Trailorboat shell up and finish it.

http://www.fiberglassrv.com/board/index.ph...c=28271&hl=

Think what you could do with a "blank canvas!
It's pretty cute, but I don't think so.

I'd end up with a boat, and you know what they say about boats being holes in the water that you pour money into, and a trailer that I couldn't stand up in (even short as I am). Plus I think outfitting a bare fiberglass shell is a bit beyond my abilities...

But thanks for the suggestion
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Old 03-09-2008, 10:12 PM   #10
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PSSSST..... I need a new table
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Old 03-10-2008, 12:42 AM   #11
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Quote:
I DO live closer... in the summer, anyway...

Do you have any good ideas on how to make a small table that would sit just past the kitchen and maybe swing out for use?

Bobbie

Bobbie: I'm going to see if my brother is thinking about how to answer your post. It's right up his alley, really! I mean, he's not a professional table-designer, but he IS an engineer!

Donna D.: You're on! I'll be measuring your trailer axle as it bounces up and down at the "egg NOG"!

Cory (Steve's lucky sister)

P.S. I'll try and attach a photo of MY new table (proud sis says, beaming)
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Old 03-10-2008, 03:48 AM   #12
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I feel like one LUCKY DUCK! I can hardly wait to see my Burrito!! I really appreciate all Steve's doing!! I told him he has a second calling for when he decides to leave his REAL job!!!!
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Old 03-10-2008, 07:15 AM   #13
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I had an idea about my table- I have a space above the microwave with a shelf. It would seem possible to have a table rotate out from that space when needed. I'm not sure what kind of hardware would be needed, though. Rotating out would be easy to figure out, but rotating out and then remaining stable might be more of a trick.


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I'll tell you what, Karen and Cory, you should bring your trailers up for a weekend on Whidbey this summer. You can park in my "driveway" and hook up to the house and I'm right across from the beach. (Oh, and of course, bring Steve! Although I'd really like to just see Cory's Compact Jr. even without her talented brother.)

I'm eager to hear how the icebox insulation works, too.

Bobbie

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Old 03-11-2008, 01:09 AM   #14
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Quote:
I had an idea about my table- I have a space above the microwave with a shelf. It would seem possible to have a table rotate out from that space when needed. I'm not sure what kind of hardware would be needed, though. Rotating out would be easy to figure out, but rotating out and then remaining stable might be more of a trick.


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I'll tell you what, Karen and Cory, you should bring your trailers up for a weekend on Whidbey this summer. You can park in my "driveway" and hook up to the house and I'm right across from the beach. (Oh, and of course, bring Steve! Although I'd really like to just see Cory's Compact Jr. even without her talented brother.)

I'm eager to hear how the icebox insulation works, too.

Bobbie
Bobbie:
Were you at the 2007 Oregon Gathering in Bandon? Did you see the swing-out fold-out table in the Geographic?

Oh, Karen will be thrilled when she hears of your invitation! I myself used to visit Whidbey each summer with my family as a kid, so it is beloved (as an adult the low rainfall compared to Seattle ALSO makes it beloved)!

Cory
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