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Old 12-01-2018, 07:02 PM   #41
Senior Member
Name: Kelly
Trailer: Trails West
Posts: 2,968
Originally Posted by Jeanette P. View Post
In the last 3 months we have installed the side windows, they went in easy and operate well. Painted interior shell.

Last week I applied 1/8 plywood to the interior of pop top, replaced handles, bolts and nuts for hold down latches. We rebuilt bottom frame, attached original lift mechanism.

This weekend we Stapled repaired canvas to frames top and bottom. Applied VHB tape to bottom edge of frame before setting in place. It was a snug fit.
Looks fantastic up top!

Just a quick note to let people know that if you are going to use VHB tape on wood then you need to first seal the surface of the wood or else you won't get proper adhesion of the VHB tape. The 3M company recommends sealing wood with their 3M Rubber and Vinyl 80 spray adhesive before applying VHB tape to wood or any other porous surface.

I did not put any VHB tape or gasket under the lower wood frame on my Campster. The reason I did not do that is I wanted any water that might have reached the canvas and run down the surface to be able to escape from underneath. There is not a watertight seal between the canvas and the wood frame, that means that water can indeed get between those two materials and get trapped. That will lead to wood rot. In these situations what gets in must be able to get back out. The pine you chose is unfortunately not a rot resistant wood. I chose to use Ipe wood which is a dense hardwood used for long lasting, high end, exterior decking. Fortunately many lumber yards do stock this wood. It is moisture, rot and bug resistant. You do not put a finish on it, the wood itself is oily and finishes do not stick well to it. VHB tape and caulks also do not stick to it. But as mentioned this is a situation where you would not want to use caulk or VHB tape as you do need to let the moisture get out from between the lower wood frame and the canvas as well as from underneath the wood frame.

The lower wood frame is held in place by the screw that go into through the fiberglass flange coming from the interior. Those screws need to have a good strong wood to grip into which is why I chose a rot resistant hard wood for my lower frame. I can understand why you would want to add extra security for holding the wood frame down to the surface of the trailer but doing that creates more issues of rot which of course means the VHB tape won't have a good adhesion and the fasteners will also tend to rust out which also means a loss of ability to hold the top onto the trailer. It requires analytical "what if" thinking when you make a change to how something is designed. Sometimes the use of new products can make things better, other times they introduce issues.
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Old 12-18-2018, 11:07 PM   #42
Junior Member
Name: Jeanette
Trailer: Trailswest Campster
Posts: 23
Ice box conversion kits

Originally Posted by k corbin View Post
If you ever decide you want to have a refrigerator instead of a cooler

There are kits around for changing an icebox into a compressor run 12v/110v refrigerator/freezer. The compressor is a remote mount with tubing to a plate or even a freezer compartment that you put into the cooler. You will also have a temperature controller unit with the kit.

Various companies make these kits. Often on boats people build their own top opening refrigerators because they require a custom size to fit into tight spaces. Keywords: Icebox conversion kit compressor

Engel makes one although they might need to be special ordered. Here is the model # to keep in your files: Engel SCOT 4408F-U1-I

Dometic, Isotherm and Norcold also make these units.

The conversion kits cost much the same as buying a new fridge/freezer as it is the compressor and cooling plate and control unit that are the most expensive parts of any fridge/freezer. But at least you won't have to try and shop for a unit that is an exact fit for the existing space. Plus remote mounting a compressor can be handy in an small space and you can get the compressor further away from where you sleep to help reduce the noise.

Someday I might even end up buying one of these kits to build my own custom top opening fridge/freezer to fit in a pullout drawer. But for now I will be testing out a used portable fridge/freezer that I was given as a gift.
Good to know I can use existing unit. Thanks for the information.

I have service appointment with the trailer shop in the morning. We put in a few hours getting road legal this week. New trailer lights work and look great. Putting on new DMV plate was best feeling ever!
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Old 03-28-2021, 02:16 PM   #43
Junior Member
Name: Jeanette
Trailer: Trailswest Campster
Posts: 23

I haven’t posted in quite awhile. Shortly after my last post my husband was diagnosed with throat cancer. Our whole lives were turned upside down. He survived the brutal treatments and is still cancer free.
Yesterday I screwed on the last cabinet door that had been sitting for the last 2 years. It really turned out nice.
We have decided to gift the trailer to a good friend with a young family who camps often in a Jeep with rooftop tent. He has the resources and plans to replace trailer raising it for off-road capabilities. He is very surprised and excited.
I feel so good to give to someone who has done so much for us, and I thought I wouldn’t be able to ever begin to pay him back for his kindness an generosity he has shown us.
We never took out the Campster like I dreamed about while restoring it, and as time passed it only brought me sadness. It brings me much happiness to know it will be used and improved!
Much Thanks to those on this forum, I learned so much and enjoyed the work.
My husband and I look forward to planning different adventures together in the future.
My next post will include the completed photos 😀
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campster, trails west

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