Surfside Refit Saga - Page 3 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 10-05-2013, 09:24 PM   #29
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Trailer frame back from the welder.

After staying up late on Tuesday and starting early on Wednesday getting the metal parts for the trailer frame cut, we drove/drug the trailer frame and metal work I'd done to Lynne's Dad's shop on Wednesday.

Lynne's Dad can weld and has good equipment. I play with metal and have the cheapest wire-feed welder Harbor Freight sells.

Lynne's Mom and Dad showed up with the frame this evening (Saturday). The frame repairs are done, new bumper on, a new propane/battery rack installed, one new cross member has been added and another moved to accomodate our new grey water tank (which I've tucked into it's proper spot in the picture), and we have added little "wings" that double the width of the frame the shell rests on in key places.

The axle will get replaced soon, too. And the last of the exterior Fiberglass work we need to do before we get to painting the shell will be finished today!

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Old 10-06-2013, 01:34 AM   #30
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And the refit saga continues . . .

Many, many holes were patched, sometimes moved, and often repaired in our Surfside. Some of the larger repairs (after replacing the floor) were fixing the rips in the wheel-well fiberglass. My how-to for this repair is posted here.

Before:


After:
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Old 10-08-2013, 03:00 PM   #31
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Fianally getting to paint.

Yesterday we put primer on the bottom half (below the belly band) of our Surfside. Today we'll get the top half. We're using Rustoleum marine primer for wood and fiberglass above the waterline. Top coats will also be Rustoleum's "Topside" marine paint.

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I haven't talked much about how we did our "frame-off," which was a minor hassle that others have discussed at length. Something we have done that's different is construct a dolly to support our trailer while it's separated from its frame from 2x4 lumber with heavy-duty caster wheels at each corner.

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When we want access to the bottom part of the trailer, we jack the dolly up with a floor jack and put it down on four jackstands. When we want to work on the top or move it around in the shop, we drop it down to these 250 lbs capacity caster wheels.
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Old 10-25-2013, 09:50 PM   #32
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Gotten a few more things done. The shell and frame have been primed and painted, installed rear stabilizers and a gray tank on the frame, and moved the frame under the shell.

YES! The shell now sits on (but has yet to be bolted to)its frame. Finally!

THe paints, by the way, are all Rustoleum. Rustoleum metal primer and paint for the frame, Rustoleum Marine Topside primer and paint for the shell. I'm fairly impressed with Rustoleum Topside; there primer plus three top coats on the bottom, primer plus four four top coats on top, all applied with a foam roller.

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Old 05-28-2018, 01:31 AM   #33
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We haven't posted in a while. Life got very busy -- crazy busy -- for me. Some health problems, my Dad died, and a few other complications . . . all while I was running for Congress. My plate is still pretty full, but endorsing another candidate and pulling out of the political race freed up some time for dealing with my (surviving) Mom's finances and estate issues.

Anyway, leading up to all that several things moved forward on the Surfside. We embedded two fractal TV antennas inside the shell, installed Reflectix insulation and rat fur (er, marine headliner) on the walls and ceiling, trailer-long LED lighting tracks, built a bed platform, roughed in the cabinets and dinette seating and installed the upper cabinets. That's where the trailer stood at the start of March.

More recently we built and installed the upper cabinet doors, ran the gas piping for the 'fridge, furnace, cooktop, and "instant on" water heater, and are now working on the kitchen counter, backspash, and stovetop hood. I've also been teaching Lynne how to do basic cabinet making. She built most of the doors, and did much of the work on a knife block and spice rack.

I have a picture to share with more on the way . . . It's nice to be back.
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Old 05-28-2018, 01:50 AM   #34
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A few more pics. From the front window toward the back with the LED lights on, two pics of the exterior setup lights and lights in the under-bed storage, and the alpha version of my TrailerLevelHelper electronics project, where you can also see the water filter install. More on LevelHelper as it gets to the Beta version.
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Old 05-29-2018, 01:42 PM   #35
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I love the hatch. Can you tell me what the size is? I have a SurfSide as well and adding hatches to access the back benches will be the most useful modification I can think of.

And did you build a wooden frame to support it on the inside? Or how did you attach the hatch?
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Old 05-29-2018, 05:51 PM   #36
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Peter, I am sorry to hear about your dad, I hope your mom is doing OK.

It is good to have you back! I love what you are doing with your Surfside. Can you tell us more about the LED strips you are using? I gota think that the setup lights are in for a rough ride. How are they supplied with power? Did you use any fittings to go through the shell?
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Old 05-29-2018, 08:22 PM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Evelyn View Post
I love the hatch. Can you tell me what the size is? I have a SurfSide as well and adding hatches to access the back benches will be the most useful modification I can think of.

And did you build a wooden frame to support it on the inside? Or how did you attach the hatch?
There are two different T&H marine locking hatches. Both are 13" high at the face (about 2" smaller for the opening through the fiberglass), the driver's side hatch is 24" long and the curb side 30" long.

Yes, both connect into wood frames on the inside but, even more important, both required that I build up the fiberglass using Bondo at the lower rear corners and along the lower edges of the openings. The Surfside natural curvature doesn't fit the doors.

The same goes for the opening for the instant water heater I installed. The Surfside natural curves are just a bit too sultry, so the old girl had to put on a bit of weight in a few places. You could install hatches that aren't quite as tall, but then they would also make accessing the storage area harder.
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Old 05-29-2018, 09:04 PM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Tilston View Post
Peter, I am sorry to hear about your dad, I hope your mom is doing OK.

It is good to have you back! I love what you are doing with your Surfside. Can you tell us more about the LED strips you are using? I gota think that the setup lights are in for a rough ride. How are they supplied with power? Did you use any fittings to go through the shell?
The exterior setup lights are self-stick "12v IP65 waterproof cool while LED 5M strip" (quoting the search you use to find them) lights for about $8 from eBay. They come on 5m reels, more than enough to install a strip over each wheel well, across the back of the trailer, two shorter strips on either side of the tongue, with a few feet left over to light the storage area under the bed where the trailers dinette used to be. I also installed setup lights behind the exterior refrigerator door to make it easier to see that area and light it at night. Once the trailer is road-ready they will light when the tow vehicle backs up and the back-up lights come on, bu there's also a "setup-lights" switch just inside the door.

Installing them requires some patience in trimming the waterproof covering back from a segment cut to the desired length and some soldering skills. The downward-facing holes for the wires are plugged with hot-melt glue. I may have to up my game on the sealant to an RDX or marine sealant product.

The adhesive on the back of the self-stick strips is kind of wimpy. I'm expecting it will fail and have already bought some 1/4" 3M VHB mounting tape to more permanently attach it.

The interior lights are "12v warm white non-waterproof LED 5M strip," and are mounted to a white plastic 90 degree molding piece from a hardware store that I've painted to match the rat fur. 5M is enough to run one continuous 8' strip down either side of the ceiling. I attached them to strenghener/formers made of 3/4" PVC irrigation piping that have been fiberglassed into place every 18" across the center part of the ceiling to combat roof sag. I'm not sure where my posts about how I did that have gotten to . . . It's been, quite literally, years since I fixed our sagging roof.
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Old 05-30-2018, 06:36 PM   #39
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Kitchen counter starting to take shape

The cabinet below is a skeleton, there are trim pieces missing and the sink isn't plumbed in yet, but the kitchen is starting to take shape.

We made the knife block, (magnetic) spice rack, and stove good. More on the last two later.
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Old 05-30-2018, 07:00 PM   #40
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New magnetic spice rack

I built a spice rack for our Scamp 5er (Warning: Beware of large pizza pies), and Lynne and I really like having a bunch of spices at hand when we cook. Problem is, we can't find those short, stubby metallic cans anymore, only similar, taller ones, and the craft-store self-adhesive magnetic strip we used in the Scamp lost it's oomph. It used to be it took a really rough road to knock even one spice loose. Nowdays it takes a minor bump and everything comes loose. (SOmething I have to fix before we sell it.)

Either way, it's time for a new design for a our Surfside's spice rack.

The trick this time is to buy 10mmx2mm Neodynium N-52 magnets and install them in a groove, one behind each spice container, and alternating their magnetic poles (N-S-N-S-N-S-N-S-N-S), then put a strip of iron metal (a hacksaw blade was the exact right size) to amplify the magnetic face outward toward the spices.you can sake this thing really hard and nothing falls out.

I used a router to cut a 1/2" groove down the back of the 1/8" thick birch plywood back and mounted the magnets using Gorilla urethane glue. Clamping was easy. I just put the metal ruler from my combo square across the front side.

Because magnetic strength deteriorates at the square of the distance, you want to cut a grove for the magnets if you possibly can to keep the magnets closer to the thin metal of the spice cans.
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Old 08-13-2018, 10:36 AM   #41
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Name: Norm
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surfside rebuild ?front dinette

Hello Peterh ,, Judy & I also have a 1981 surfside, In pretty good
shape , we think !! At least the door didn`t fall off !! We installed
a Fantastic 3 speed reversible fan but would also like to reinforce
the roof .. NONE of these earlier fiberglass trailers were ever intended
to have anything like that in the roof ,let alone an A/C unit.. Ours and
others never even had electricity up there... I was wondering what you meant by using PVC pipe to reinforce your roof ??

We did move the battery from under the front bench /bed out onto the front tongue in a locked box. We also are in the process of removing the front bench/bed and building in a front dinette that also can drop the table down to make a bed.. The porta-potty we plan to store
under the seat just to the right of the door.. We bought that in 2010
when we bought the trailer but has never ben used !!

We are also changing the front coupler as it is not adjustable .

That is really nice work your doing on your unit

many thanks

norm wright

81 surfside 14 ft
84 bigfoot 17 ft
milk river , alberta
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Old 08-14-2018, 02:01 AM   #42
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Hi Norm,

There are a number of ways to support a fiberglass trailer roof. The thing many people forget when they add roof supports is those supports transfer the stress on the roof to the sides of the trailer, so you have to support the sides, too. I don't know your trailer layout, but that's something you should consider, too.

Our roof was badly deformed by a snow load on the roof. To fix it we spent weeks jacking the roof up from the inside by 1/4 inch (6mm) or so at a time, then using high-heat hot air guns (think hair driers on steroids) to heat the resin in the walls and and ceiling of our trailer to soften the resin. When the resin cooled, that part of the trailer structure took a slightly new shape. This process was repeated over and over again as we worked from the front to the back of the trailer multiple times until everything was as it needed to be.

From there, I created fiberglass formers from 1" thin-walled PVC pipes cut in half on a table saw and fiberglassed lengths to the ceiling with two layers of fiberglass cloth. The PVC pipe is non-structural; it's only there as a form over which the fiberglass cloth forms a sturdy "U" shaped structural rafter. (Pics attached.)

Because we took the floor-to-ceiling cabinets that supported the sides of our trailer on the street side at the front of the kitchenette and just aft of the door out, we also needed to add formers to support the sides of our trailer. Those we built out of pine boards fiberglassed to the shell. (more pictures)

Hope this helps. Let me know if you have questions.

--Peter
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