Sis' Compact Jr. winter rework/repair 2011 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 12-01-2011, 11:51 AM   #1
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Sis' Compact Jr. winter rework/repair 2011

My Christmas present for my sister is labor on her little Compact Jr.; she uses it all summer, compiling a list of stuff to be done, and I get it all winter, doing the stuff.

She has poor circulation in her hands, and sticking them under a faucet running cold water is very uncomfortable. So last winter I bought a 2.5 gallon water heater and rigged up a "heater-in-a-crate" setup so she could get warm water out of her faucet. She lugged the crate outside, set it near the trailer, then hooked up some hoses, plugged it in, and it would heat all the water entering the trailer.

http://i193.photobucket.com/albums/z...t/DSCN3593.jpg

She was delighted; but the crate got to be a bit heavy, what with the heater full of water and all; so one of the things on the list for this winter is to permanently install the water heater inside the trailer. Complicated by the fact that every single cubic inch of space is absolutely totally completely full.

However, after prolonged discussion , we managed to free up a location in a cabinet under the stove. First order of business was to install the wiring. I installed another breaker in the breaker box, with a separate cord (so now she has one hookup cord for the outlets and lights, and a separate one for the water heater), and then put a switched outlet just inside the cabinet door opening. An indicator light tells her the heater is switched on--so that she doesn't switch it on inadvertently without water in it.

Here's a picture of the new outlet. You're inside the cabinet looking forward; the door opening is at right.

http://i193.photobucket.com/albums/z...t/DSCN3758.jpg

I also had to modify the water heater so she could adjust the water temperature. In this picture, the phillips-slotted white pointer thingie is attached to the thermostat shaft; you can see the high-tech scale indicating temperature . Hopefully, it'll be a set-it-and-forget-it thing, since it won't be very accessible once the heater's installed.

http://i193.photobucket.com/albums/z...t/DSCN3763.jpg

Next is the heater mounting and the plumbing. It'll be a while until my next update; the weather is cold and I'm also working on a complicated model project .
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Old 12-01-2011, 12:21 PM   #2
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nice job
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Old 03-10-2012, 08:50 PM   #3
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The water heater installation is complete; here's the heater with all its plumbing. The sink and water inlet are offstage to the left. I zip-tied lengths of slit heater hose over the water hoses as a chafe guard.

http://i193.photobucket.com/albums/z...t/DSCN3800.jpg

Just forward of the heater the drain valve exits through the floor:

http://i193.photobucket.com/albums/z...t/DSCN3801.jpg

She'll be able to drain it using her air compressor; there's a air fitting on top of the tank, visible in the left foreground of the first picture. Close the faucet, open the drain valve, put air in through the air valve, and whoosh, the water is expelled. It's quite an exciting process.

Another thing Sis was complaining about was a "jiggly" ride; she was seeing things disarranged when she stopped for the night. Recently she just got new tires, so that might be part of it; but I thought I'd take a look at her suspension to see if some old hot rod tricks could be applied.

I took apart the suspension and then dismantled the springs, only breaking one irreplaceable bolt as I did . I bought a roll of polyethylene spring liner material, as used on street rods to reduce interleaf friction:

http://i193.photobucket.com/albums/z...t/DSCN3880.jpg

and reassembled the springs with the liner between the leaves:

http://i193.photobucket.com/albums/z...t/DSCN3881.jpg

I also rounded off the end of each leaf with my grinder, so it wouldn't dig into the leaf above it:

http://i193.photobucket.com/albums/z...t/DSCN3882.jpg

Hopefully, that'll give a bit smoother ride.

The eyes on the springs had plastic bushings inside, which were worn (imagine that!); I pounded them out and made new ones from Delrin rod. The Delrin is filled with Teflon, and is supposed to be low-friction and strong. In this picture, the old bushings are on the left ( dirty white), a piece of the Delrin rod is in the center, and two of the new bushings (brown) are on the right:

http://i193.photobucket.com/albums/z...t/DSCN3883.jpg

They pressed into the spring eyes with no trouble:

http://i193.photobucket.com/albums/z...t/DSCN3884.jpg

And then I took a look at the bolts which went through the springs and the spring shackles. The shackle bolts were very badly worn:

http://i193.photobucket.com/albums/z...t/DSCN3887.jpg

...so now I'm trying to get new bolts. Between the time that I bought bolts which seemed just right (but which I later determined to be too short) and today, two weeks later, when I went back, Lowes got rid of all their Grade 8 9/16-18 bolts. What the heck? I guess they were trying to defend their company motto "Never what you need".

Fortunately, we have a REAL hardware store in town, the superlative McLendon's, and I'll drop by there Monday after work.
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Old 03-11-2012, 07:28 AM   #4
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I miss the local hardware stores, you could always get help in finding what you needed. Nice job on sis's unit, I'm sure she will enjoy it.
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Old 03-11-2012, 08:52 AM   #5
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Sure wish you were my brother Steve! What a wonderful Christmas gift for Cory, I'm sure she'll love each and every improvement.
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Old 03-17-2012, 07:47 PM   #6
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A little update: Sis was complaining that one window screen didn't want to stay in. That's easy, I thought, look at it: it's obviously bent. So I took it apart and straightened the frame. Before I put in the screening, I did a quick check with a tape to be sure it was square--and one long side was half an inch shorter than the other! It wasn't anywhere near square! No wonder it wouldn't stay in. I'll bet it was that way from the factory, forty years ago.

Of course, the frame stock (5/16" x 5/8") isn't available anywhere normal; but I finally found some at R&G Mobile Home Supply, who were very helpful, and now she has a new, straight, square, window screen installed.

The suspension work is also progressing. McLendon's had just the bolts I needed, and now I'm debating whether to make new shackles or not; they're a bit worn. They wouldn't be hard to make, if I knew where to buy 1/4" thick by 2" wide mild steel strip. Even McLendon's only stocks up to 1 1/2" wide. Curses.
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Old 03-17-2012, 08:10 PM   #7
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Do you have any pix of the entire trailer?
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Old 04-28-2012, 04:42 PM   #8
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Just a quick update; Sis is coming by to pick up the trailer tomorrow. The new shackles are finished; I built a little retainer to keep the shackle bolts from rotating:

http://i193.photobucket.com/albums/z...t/DSCN3921.jpg

I thought about just welding the bolts, but given the flexibility of the frame, the inevitable misalignments, and the fact that the Delrin bushings, unlike the rubber bushings used on cars, don't have any give, I wanted to allow the bolts to move a bit if they wanted to.

I also rebuilt her taillights by grafting in proper sockets, purchased from NAPA; hopefully that'll make her taillights a bit brighter.
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Old 04-28-2012, 04:43 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by melissab View Post
Do you have any pix of the entire trailer?
Well, here's a link to the Photobucket album where I keep my trailer photos; feel free to look around:

Trailer project pictures by hilbyf - Photobucket
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