Sunday, April 24, 2016

The end is near

I mean this in a much more positive and light-hearted way than the guy waving the sign down at the corner does.

Look where we are now:

The hatch went on smoothly a week or so ago, which was kind of a nice surprise.  Sealing the doors was a bit of a struggle, but I think I've got it done now.  It was tough to get the right tension, so the seal was getting "squished" a little without needing super-strength to open and close the doors.  I had to adjust the latch to "give" a little more.  The hatch still had a perfect 1/8" gap, just enough for the right seal without pushing too hard.  I'm waiting for the final "closers" to come in the mail.

I could happily go without caulking for the rest of my life, but I realize this probably isn't an option.  I've done kind of a lot of it recently.  I dislike how easy it is to make a smeary mess, though I'm getting better at keeping everything in a straight line.  Damn to the 7th circle of hell the people who allow those little air bubbles to show up in tubes of caulk, splattering my nice neat line all over!


Here's the hatch again, all white and majestic.  The fenders are fresh, as of today at around 2:00.  They were quite easy, apart from having to take the wheels off to access the cramped screws at the very back lip:

Overall, it's becoming quite a handsome little trailer, biased though I may be.  It's got quite a formal "black and white" look to it, with some silver and chrome accents.  Not much of the look was thoughtfully planned, but I always take credit for any happy accidents.

I repainted the trailer frame too, because it got a little rusty driving home 2 winters ago in the salt and sand.  I think the paint was quite new and soft then.  I expect it would have stood up a little better if it had cured for 6 weeks or so first.  But I wasn't going to wait all that time, was I?

I'll say this for the standard "anti-rust" spray paint -- it sure it easy to use!  I roughed up the surface a bit (all the spars underneath too: I spent a fair bit of time on my back), washed it, masked off the clean white trailer with cardboard, and sprayed away!  You can recoat in 5 minutes, and 2 coats does it nicely.  I was left wondering why I didn't use spray for the rest of the trailer too.

I know spray paint is considered an environmental catastrophe, but I do wonder.  Today's paints don't have the CFC agents of yesterday, and one major plus is this: you get to use all the paint.  It doesn't skin over and go bad in there like it does in a can.  I'm often left with half a can of paint after many projects, and if I don't use it right away for something else, it's toxic waste.  I think I should be able to keep the 1/2 can of spray paint I have left for as long as I want.  I tried filling the void space in my paint cans with propane to limit contact with oxygen, but it didn't help much.  I'm sure my 1/4 can of Brightside is unusable by now, as is the 1/2 can of primer and the 3/4 can of interior blue.

Oh, stop ranting.

Being finished all this stuff means other things can happen, like putting all the peripherals back into the kitchen:

You can see a bit of the sealing technique here -- a rubber gasket along the outer edge, pinching onto a right-angle aluminium rail.  The rail encourages drips to flow along it to the bottom, where there's a gap for water egress.  This is different from the doors, where there is a wooden rail to pinch the seal sideways, like a car door.

Ooh -- and there's a light in the hatch now!

In fact, there is less and less that really needs to be done!  I'm installing tongue box and battery now now, and there is a small amount of this blessed caulking left to do.  I need to install the spare tire somewhere sensible, hook up the trailer running lights (I recall one of the signals didn't work a year or so ago, so that may be a fiddle) and do some other odds and ends.  This will leave us "substantially complete" ... or, similar to how a manufacturer might sell the thing.  There will still be curtains to make, some small tweaks and customizations ... but it's getting close!

Hard to believe.  It feels like I've been out there for years.  In reality, I started major work in November / December 2014 -- so by end of May (expected completion) it'll have been about 18-19 months.  Of course, there were about 3 months of planning, design, and minor prep before then ...

Oh, hell with it.  I didn't do it to save money, and certainly not to save time.  I did it to build it, to show it off, and to have fun camping in it.  I even said so, right in my very first post.  I may have gotten carried away with some things, but I think I've stayed pretty true to the original goals.

I'll do a few posts coming up, after completion.  I'll skim through the whole process in photos, just a quick summary of the last 1.5 years.  I'll go through what I learned, what I'd do again, and what I certainly wouldn't.  I'm not one of these people that is going to build another one of these -- one is enough, thanks -- so I may as well pass on what I've learnt.  I'll go through the tools that I've needed, the ones I wished I bought, and few I never used.  And finally, there will be some glamour shots!

Stay tuned!


  1. looks amazing Mark - congradulations on a long but fruitful journey! when do we get to see the main interior? and where is the stereo?

  2. I am so awed! It looks incredible Markis! Now, you said you were painting it neon pink camo, right...gotta add that to the list too :-) hope you all can join us on your maiden voyage this weekend!