72 Trail Mite Rebuild by The Egg Plant - Fiberglass RV


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Old 11-23-2013, 07:32 PM   #1
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72 Trail Mite Rebuild by The Egg Plant

We have a new project in the shop: 1972 Trail Mite. Very clean, with no damage or serious issues other than being very old and tired, of course.

Owner wants it modernized, so that means new paint job to the shell as well as the fiberglass interior. New frame and suspension.

And there's the rub...

Anybody know how the plywood floor is fastened to the frame?

All I can find so far are a bunch of nails!

If you know the answer, please let me know before I break something! Thanks.
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Old 11-24-2013, 03:45 AM   #2
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looking forward to watching the application of your skill!
The door looks to have an interesting pocket that probably also helps it maintain it's shape. are the door hinges similar to Boler?
The body shape above the front window is different, I think it would look better at the back,,,
Fred
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Old 11-24-2013, 09:32 AM   #3
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I did a frame-off resto on ours and our rotted floor was attached with sheet metal screws.

One thing you'll surely want to do is replace or at least reinforce the tongue. Ours was bent and nearly torn off by hitting a sharp dip in the road. Looking at the sheared metal it was apparent that it was made of thinner-walled material than you'd expect.

The hinges are the same as used on current Scamps.

The suspension is an odd design. It uses a swingarm that looks like some of the torsion bar systems found on other eggs, but instead of a torsion bar contained in the pivot it has a pair of very small leaf springs. I ditched this in favor of a straight axle and some beefier leaf springs. And since we frequently travel dirt road I added a bit more suspension travel to ours.

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Old 11-24-2013, 11:14 AM   #4
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Thanks, Vic.

Weird... I can't locate any screws through the floor yet, but I'l keep looking.

If I can separate the shell from the frame, I'll have a completely new frame built. And I'll address the suspension with the rebuild.
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Old 11-24-2013, 06:04 PM   #5
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Thanks, Vic.

Weird... I can't locate any screws through the floor yet, but I'l keep looking.

If I can separate the shell from the frame, I'll have a completely new frame built. And I'll address the suspension with the rebuild.
Nice!

And since it seems that you're going the new axle route I highly recommend brakes. I've never been in a full panic braking situation with our Trailmite, but it's good to know they're there and they definitely add more control to everyday braking needs, especially on mountainous roads.

I'm anxious to watch this project's progress.

Vic
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Old 11-25-2013, 05:32 PM   #6
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This and many, many more is what's holding the plywood floor to the frame/chassis:
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Old 11-25-2013, 08:02 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Johans View Post
This and many, many more is what's holding the plywood floor to the frame/chassis:
That's really strange!

At least they're screw shank nails!

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Old 11-26-2013, 09:46 PM   #8
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I think Trail Mites have one of the more interesting shapes, especially the overhanging 'brow' in the front
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Old 12-01-2013, 05:52 PM   #9
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The good news is that the floor of this 1972 TrailMite is intact. Bad news: gotta pull up 42 year old vinyl flooring still stuck real good after all these years.

My favorite helper the Multi-Tool makes the task a little easier!
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Old 12-01-2013, 05:54 PM   #10
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Pam, like your U-Haul, the TrailMite is put together vertically, which allows the mold to feature the eyebrow in front and the "finned" taillight forms in back.
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Old 12-01-2013, 08:49 PM   #11
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The good news is that the floor of this 1972 TrailMite is intact. Bad news: gotta pull up 42 year old vinyl flooring — still stuck real good after all these years.

My favorite helper — the Multi-Tool — makes the task a little easier!
Looks like you're going to need the multi-pack of Multi-tool blades.

The vinyl did good, though, protecting the wood underneath.

How will you deal with the glue residue?

Thanks for posting your progress; It's interesting to watch your trailer transformations.

Fran
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Old 12-14-2013, 05:51 PM   #12
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Got a lot on my plate lately, so updates to the Trail Mite have been slow in coming...

That said, today I was finally able to pull the last of the nails (!) holding the plywood floor pieces to the frame. I'm guessing about 60 nails had to be exposed and yanked.

Except for the galley cabinet I also had to pull out all furniture components. These were originally FG'd and riveted in position. But 40 years of dirt, etc., had found its way into all the nooks and crannies. The only way to get the trailer really clean is to remove the components. After everything is again super clean, I'll glass the components back into place.

Though beat up, the original plywood floor is solid, so I'll keep these pieces in front and back in place. I'll glue and anchor fresh layers of ply over these when I begin the interior work. The original plywood in the "well" area between the door and the galley was also okay, but replacing it will make things easier for me later.



Next step: jack the body up and pull the frame out from under.
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Old 12-18-2013, 10:53 AM   #13
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This and many, many more is what's holding the plywood floor to the frame/chassis:

Those appear to be old concrete nails.
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Old 12-18-2013, 02:53 PM   #14
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Actually, they are called "spiral shank" nails, evidently first developed by the Maze Nails Company specifically designed for use with hardwoods and dense materials.

However, I can find no details explaining their application here in this Trail Mite, mounting plywood to steel. I have to assume that holes were pre-drilled into the steel frame before the nails were driven.
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Old 12-20-2013, 06:36 PM   #15
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Cool Nails?

Actually, ring shank nails hold better. Even sheet metal screws let loose after a few miles. Bolts would be better.
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Old 12-20-2013, 07:09 PM   #16
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No, no... Don't get the wrong idea! (Read the entire thread...)

I NOT using nails, I'm pulling them out!

Of course, the new floor gets bolted to the new frame.
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Old 01-06-2014, 11:00 PM   #17
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Hi Robert (and "Iggy" the '72 Trail Mite---or does she have a new name, now that we've sold her to you?) We are delighted to see the pictures of the renovation, and to read about your progress---we had no idea what was under her shell, until now! Thanks for taking such great care with her---we wish you and her new owner well, and we hope Iggy has many more wonderful miles of traveling in her!

P.S. For those of you who met Iggy at the Oregon Gathering in years past, she stayed in Oregon with Robert when we sold her, prior to our move back to MN. We remember her, the Oregon Gathering, and all of you fondly, and wish we were there right now (the wind chill is -45 degrees here right now, and all the schools in MN were closed today because of the cold...brrr)! Take care---Lynn and Teresa
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Old 01-07-2014, 06:42 AM   #18
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Great project Robert
I always find it facinating what companies/people use to hold thing together.
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Old 01-17-2014, 06:26 PM   #19
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I now have the shell body separated from the frame. On close inspection, I discovered a few cracks and weak areas. So I'll be building a new frame for the new owners.
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Old 01-25-2014, 11:22 PM   #20
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Hi Teresa - We are working with Robert on the Trail Mite rebuild, and are looking forward to meeting Iggy sometime this late spring. We have tentatively started calling the Trail Mite Diego since he's a replacement to our "Dora" VW vanagon that we sold this fall. Glad you posted your note!
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