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groys02 08-29-2014 08:27 PM

Rebuild--rear-ended Uhaul CT13
4 Attachment(s)

My initial attempt at a build-thread on here. [warning: newby errors likely] Got back this afternoon with our new-to-us Uhaul CT13. Bought through the 4 sale side of this site, from another subscriber. The trailer got rear-ended mid-trip for prior owners, and was left with family near Cheyenne WY... 650+ miles from central IA where we live, but made the trip without any significant troubles. Towed with my old 95 Neon just fine. First pic from rest stop in western NE, as night came on...

2nd in my shop at home, with tarp and duct tape removed, and the square tubing that held the spare still buried in the fractured fiberglass...

3rd image... Five big bolts that held the tubular mounting arms for the back bumper have been removed [with 1/2" impact wrench--mighty thankful for that!], after which the whole assembly could be coaxed off the back end of the trailer. With some coaxing, surface are sort of lining up again, and almost no pieces of the fiberglass shell are missing!...

4th... same sort of results on the interior. Things line up pretty well. So, it'll be a lot of work, but not much of the fabricate-from-scratch stuff.
Now I just need to get things wrapped up again enough for it to wait outside for a couple months while I finish other folks' projects............


Donna D. 08-29-2014 08:41 PM

WOW, it's already looking so much better! We've seen much worse brought back to life.

Best of luck :thumb

Borrego Dave 08-29-2014 09:48 PM

Looking good Gary. Keep the pics of the rebuild coming as you go along. Good info for the rest of us.

groys02 08-30-2014 05:48 AM

Thanks for the positive feedback.

I'm fortunate to have the shop and tools to make this rebuild easier in some ways. And I've done SOME fiberglass work before, so that'll help. I read Dave White's really good write-up last night, and learned some more that should help:
Gotta get some f/g matt ordered. I was recently given a bunch of cloth and resin by someone who'd gotten them for a relatively minor repair on a fiberglass fishing boat... so I'd thought to just use them up. But Dave makes a strong case for the matt material, so.........................

mary and bob 08-30-2014 07:16 AM

Gary; are you aware that a rear window from Scamp can be made to fit by slightly widening the opening. About 1/2" each side. I put one in our Uhaul, it was the most affordable solution I could find.

Mikmay 08-30-2014 05:34 PM

Being a u haul and how strong there frames are I wonder if what hit it got the worst of it

mary and bob 08-30-2014 05:48 PM


Originally Posted by Mikmay (Post 480038)
Being a u haul and how strong there frames are I wonder if what hit it got the worst of it

I heard it was a big truck, so probably not

groys02 08-30-2014 07:30 PM

Thanks to Mary & Bob for the Scamp rear window suggestion. I'd heard that they were a close fit, so that was what I'd have checked out first... and still is.

Getting closer to a plan for proceeding with the skin repairs, but it's going to be a while before I can really start it. For now, I'm just going to align the pieces temporarily... clean up and seal up once again... and then order supplies, and make plans... while finishing up some customer work. Hopefully before the snow flies, it can be in its own corner of the shop to stay for a while... warm and dry and slowly "coming back".

Judging by how massive the rear bumper and support tubes are, it was one heck of a smack. Good thing it was pretty straight-on, I'm thinking. Got the bumper & support tubes disassembled this morning, but only by drilling down through the heads of the carriage bolts with progressively bigger drill bits until the bolt heads came off. Glad to be done with that(!)... not sure if the rear bumper can be straightened and re-used, though... it'd take some real impressive force to un-twist it. Have to think some more.........

mary and bob 08-30-2014 07:57 PM

Because of the wall thickness of the Uhaul I had to put the clamp ring for the rear window on backwards. That bumper is aluminum, which just makes straightening it all the more difficult.

groys02 08-31-2014 05:47 AM

Thanks for the tip on the installation of the Scamp back window--clamp-ring-wise. One of the members on the Uhaul Facebook site said another member had replaced nearly all the windows on their Uhaul CT with Scamp ones, so figured it didn't take superhuman effort........... but I did assume that it would take some "tweaking". Now I know 2 things about that process well ahead of time. [trimming opening a bit + clamp ring tweak]
Thanks again.
Family get-together yesterday, so nothing else done since yesterday's post...

mary and bob 08-31-2014 05:56 AM

Scamp side windows do not fit in a Uhaul. I attempted to do that and the Scamp side window is too small for the opening. I made a filler piece of 1/8" aluminum so that I could fit the Scamp jalousie window in. Since then another Uhaul owner found a source for custom sized windows at a very reasonable price, so that is the best solution for replacing the side windows. A couple Uhaul owners have installed Scamp rear slider windows in place of the front Uhaul window.

groys02 08-31-2014 06:12 AM

Thanks again, for the specific advice. I've been pasting detailed advice and tips like this into a Word file... anything I think has special significance to my own project's needs. [God only knows how long I might have to hunt for those details 3 months from now.]
When I was 26, I thought I knew everything... at 62, I have a much humbler outlook on life. Still lots to learn... but that can be fun, too...........

Donna D. 08-31-2014 06:31 AM

Okay remember when it comes to advice, you get what you pay for and this is mine. :loltu

While it looks like the tail light lenses are still in great shape, with all the work you'll be doing to the rear end, I'd get rid of those puppies and rework the area to fit a readily available tail light lens. It would be sad indeed to put tons of work into this trailer and then find out six months from now you need to replace those lenses with something else...


groys02 08-31-2014 12:23 PM


All advice is "grist for the mill". I'm grateful for yours as well as others'. Turned out both taillights were broken. And I agree that now's the time to change them for a different style--whatever that is. I've already changed my mind a couple times on what to go with.
[1] Make my own mounts for flat lamps facing rearward, like the aluminum units that used to be available, but I gather no longer are.
[2] Modify the current curved corners on the camper to receive new Bargman 86's--the curved, wrap-around kind. Maybe recessed into the curved corner a little???
[3] Modify the corners slightly to accept '86 GM pickup lamp assemblies.

And there's always "other", whatever that might be, between now and a couple months from now, when the skin repair starts in earnest. I just keep saving any ideas with appeal to me, and will make decisions as I get on into the project.
I'm grateful that I've had some opportunities to tackle car restorations, so I've been exposed to how much more complicated the process of rebuilding gets, once you start digging into it. Without that exposure, I'd probably already be overwhelmed. And with it, it's just, "OK... one more thing to put on the to-do list. I'll get to it."

Thankful for all the suggestions received so far. Still learning; still deciding how best to proceed.............

mary and bob 08-31-2014 03:35 PM

Gary; have you read through the "common problems" thread in the files section on the Uhaul Facebook page. We tried to put together a list of issues common to most of the Uhauls. One thing that is getting overlooked is the rusting away of the body mount bolts. Since some of them are located under the carpet area the time to replace them is when the floor is being redone. I'm finding many owners put down new flooring without being aware of this issue.

groys02 08-31-2014 08:37 PM

2 Attachment(s)
I have looked at that "common problems" post. Not studied in detail... but I had noticed references to the body-to-frame bolts rusting away. I definitely will replace all or most of them while going about the structural repairs over the winter. Perhaps with stainless steel, if there's no reason not to do that. [I noticed that the ones at the rear of the body broke loose from the impact.]

Got the back end pretty well tacked together between yesterday and today... cracks/tears relatively aligned and band-aided with peal-and-seal roofing repair stuff... back vertical seam bolted with 1/4" bolts every so often. Things look better now... and feel firmer. Ordered a cover for it from eBay, too, so I won't be too paranoid for the time it has to sit outside in the weather. A few pics should be attached...........

Donna D. 08-31-2014 08:41 PM

OMG compared to the first pics of the Bashed End Beauty... other than a plastic bag window, your U-haul ALMOST looks campable!

groys02 09-09-2014 06:16 PM

Getting closer... keyword "ALMOST" ready to think about camping! Only recent action is in regard to tail lights. A number of my old-vehicle customers are looking for "resto-mod" work to be done... not blatantly different than original, but upgraded somewhat for safety, or convenience, or cost, or functionality... something. That's been my thinking on the tail light assemblies for the U-Haul... something close to the look of the originals, but more readily available components, and ideally less leak-prone.

Yesterday, I got a pair of tail light assemblies, with sockets & wiring pigtails, from a local salvage yard (86 Chevy fleetside... I think Bob Griebe suggested on an earlier post that they were similar). $31.80 total. My plan is to fabricate a recessed mounting surface, with angled flanges on the sides, flat flanges on top and bottom, that come outward and are glued to the backside of the existing fiberglass. Then, a little sanding and rounding of the corners all around the new recess/opening to finish.
When done, the center of the Chevy tail light would be flush with the UHaul curvature, and the vertical edges slightly recessed.

Disadvantage(s) would be that I'd be slightly altering the stock corners of the camper--no handy way of going back to stock lenses. Also, I'd have painting to do--but I do anyway.
I think I'll like having back-up lenses present... and run a new wire for them, and/or just add a whole new trailer wiring harness kit from the local Northern Tools & Equipment or some such.

Advantages, as I see it, would be 'fairly' stock appearance... with inexpensive new lenses available for some time, as there were a lot of those pickups etc produced, so the aftermarket is likely to support them for quite a while... and ease of sealing against leaks in what's apparently a leak-prone area.
If my recessed-pocket approach works for me and looks good to others, I will have saved the wooden plug that I built the pocket around, and could make more. [No, I'm not trying to promote this approach for either fame or fortune... just looking for alternatives.]
I got what I thought was a good deal buying a used pair of assemblies locally, but all the pieces are available new via eBay or Amazon--lenses, housings, and bulb sockets. Probably also available as new aftermarket pieces via auto parts stores. $75 or so for all the new, aftermarket pieces???

I'll put some pictures up when I get the fabricating of the 'pockets' underway......

Donna D. 09-09-2014 07:30 PM

:bowdown I bow down to your decisions! (buy more of those "stock" Chev lenses and put them on the garage shelf!) They're close enough to stock...

It's not like the masses are ever going to say "Look Gladys, non stock U-Haul lenses"! Done with professional skills and professional results, no one would ever know... or CARE!

groys02 09-10-2014 06:56 AM

Thanks, Donna!

Your replies are always encouraging, as well as light-hearted. I'll keep y'all posted.........


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