Paint, Waste Tanks and Flooring!

Progress on the Safari is painfully slow at times but, we HAVE made progress!

We scrubbed the inner skins several times and patched the old ceiling light holes and other unused holes.  With the inner skins back up we primed and painted using Sherwin Williams primer and paint. The color is “Stucco” and a close match to the original. We had an issue in the Overlander with the vinyl off-gassing and becoming a little tacky in the heat.  We decided to not take the “wait and see if it happens again” approach and go for the “better safe than sorry” one instead! We used Minwax Polycrylic to seal the paint in the Overlander with excellent results so while everything was taped up, we sealed the paint on the Safari with it as well. The results are a super tough finish with a nice satin sheen. Done!

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Next, we moved back down to the tanks and waste lines. The location for the toilet, vent pipes and tank heat ducts were marked on the floor. We raised the tanks up temporarily so we could drill a marker hole through both, then lowered the tanks, drilled the correct size holes and installed the correct fittings in the tanks. Next, we ran a wire from one tank to the other in pex for the  SeeLevel Tank Monitoring System and installed the tank sensors on the tanks. The new dump valves were installed, plumbed together and out to the new bayonet fitting.

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We chose to use Armstrong VCT tile again for the flooring.  We loved it in the Overlander and had no problems with it whatsoever. It comes in a million colors but we chose…of course…GREEN. Kiwi to be exact. It’s bright, fresh, clean, happy, and we love it! I’m sure there will be haters but you gotta go with what makes you happy! We took the screen door to Wise Powder Coating in Chico, Texas and had it powder coated to match. It’s GREEN! 🙂

Up next….new laminate for the bath walls! Sneak peek…..

New Belly Pan!

The old belly pan aluminum (along with the old wiring) has been taken to the scrap yard for recycling and the new one is up! We used the old pieces for a pattern, for the most part. The space behind the axle with no aluminum is where the grey tank and pan will go and the black tank and pan will be at the rear.  After popping a million rivets by hand on the Overlander we splurged on a cheap air rivet gun from Harbor Freight. BEST TOOL EVER! We had aluminum left over so went ahead and replaced the side wrap pieces as well. She’s looking good!

 

Ready to Roll!

Our Safari may be in a million pieces right now but…she looks good sitting there! We took the wheels to Wise Powdercoating in Chico and had them powder coated black. They did an excellent job, were very reasonable, and fast!  The original babymoons were re-chromed, and for tires, we went with a Yokohoma P235/75R15 truck tire.  WooHooo…Let’s go!

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Back on track!

After several months of being derailed by work, we are back on track!  We have made a little progress here and there over the last few months, but it doesn’t seem like much. Although, when I finally uploaded our pictures starting in January, yes…January :/, we have accomplished more than I thought!

Our trailer never had an A/C unit. From what we understand the proper placement of an A/C unit, if you wanted to add one, was to cut another hole between the two rear vent holes.  To us this seemed crazy. Why wouldn’t you just put it in the center?  Then we realized the ribs  weren’t continuous at the center vent hole.  They stopped half way up on either side.  To fix the problem, Dan riveted aluminum channel to the existing ribs and buck riveted it to the outer skin.  Now the vent hole will be strong enough to hold a new A/C unit and it will be centered on the roof. I’m happy!

We used Trempro to seal all the seams from the inside, installed all the new wiring, got the new 7-way plug wired up and installed new seals on the two front stationary windows.  We insulated behind the end caps and got those big boys back up! It was a challenge for two people so we used some big wood closet rods we had to help support them.

That brings us up to date on our progress since the Holidays! Sure doesn’t seam like much but…we are BACK ON TRACK!

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Shell ON!!!!

Over the Thanksgiving holiday we had a few days to work on the trailer and made some major progress….finally! Dan cut the wood for the new floor, using the old floor as a pattern. After some tweaking, we were satisfied with the fit and bolted it down. We positioned the trailer frame under the shell by hand, using a floor jack. With the frame level, we started lowering the shell back down using the same method we used to raise it. On this trailer, the front and rear banana wraps were installed first, and then the shell over them. When we were within a few inches of the floor we did a test fit of the front wraps. They were pretty beat up and Dan did a great job hammering the dents out of them using a sandbag and an auto body dolly.  We cut new aluminum for the rear wraps from the old patterns, making sure to cut them exactly as they were. Fitting them was definitely a two man job and difficult. It took awhile, but we got them on.   Once the shell was all the way down we noticed something just wasn’t quite right at the doorway. The shell seemed to be pushed out at the threshold and the fender wells weren’t lining up perfectly with the shell. Then Dan remembered reading a post on the forums that said something about the floor being notched out at the threshold. Our floor was rotted away in that spot so with no pattern to go by we had no way of knowing that. Once again, great information obtained from the Airforums! We raised the shell back up a little, notched out the floor a 1/2″ the entire width of the door jamb, lowered it back down, and…PERFECT FIT! The rivet holes lined up everywhere…amazing! Rivets are all bucked and our “honey” looks very happy to be back together again. The new axle gave the old girl some lift and she looks like she’s ready to hit the highway! Of course we have a few more things to do…just a few. 😉

The Christmas campout with the HOTCU is this weekend…see you there! Merry Christmas!

 

Phillips window latch refurbish

Our trailer has the beautiful, frameless, curved Corning glass windows; and Phillips window latches. The first time we cranked them open, we wondered how in the world they had survived this long. The windows are very thin and the way the latches grab the windows and pull them in is just plain scary. However, after cranking them in and out a few times we are somewhat less intimidated by them!

After all the latches were removed from the trailer, I used our die-grinder with a Scotchbrite pad on it. This is the best way we have found to quickly clean up rusty metal and remove corrosion. Once they were all cleaned up, I primed and painted them and replaced the stop screw. They look as good as new, and after checking prices for new ones, I am THRILLED!  I used the same air tool to remove the corrosion from the window screens. Next, I wiped them down with lacquer thinner and sprayed them with clear acrylic lacquer. They look great and ready for the new screen and spline.

We are hoping to get the new floor down this weekend…one step closer to getting the shell back on…woohoo!

Winter has arrived early in Texas…stay warm!

The frame is ready!

With the shell off, the next step was to remove the old floor and start on frame repairs.  We knew this trailer had spent some time in the Florida Keys so we were holding our breath and expecting the worse. What a pleasant surprise to see that the only bad area was right at the front door.  The floor was bad there so this was no big surprise. We originally thought the door was leaking and causing the problem but after we took off the inner skins we could see that the door hinge was a bad leak source too.  We ordered two new outriggers and the right hand step outrigger from Out of Doors Mart. We replaced all the belly pan strapping that runs between the outriggers also.  Dan welded some angle iron in the frame section behind the axle to attach the pan that will hold up the new grey tank and in the back section for the new black tank as well.  He also added a piece of angle above the black tank in front of the toilet area. This was a pretty large unsupported area of the floor in a heavy traffic spot so we decided it was worth the extra weight. We did the same across the front to support the weight of the fresh water tank and the new location for the battery.  When the welding was complete, we used a wire wheel on the frame, cleaned it, and used Metal Prep everywhere. After a day in the sun drying we pulled it back under the car port and brushed on the POR-15. We love this stuff! It covers great, levels out, and dries rock hard. Next we brushed  Sterling Silver Topcoat on the bumper, steps, and A-frame. We weren’t exactly thrilled with that though. It dried really fast making it impossible to get a smooth finish. The next day we sanded it all and tried spraying it. The good news was no brush marks but, once again, it dried too fast and has a rough finish. It’s not great but we are calling it “good enough” …for now anyway!

The new 5000 lb. axle and the new waste tanks should be here in a week or so. In the mean time, we can get the new floor cut and ready to install, run the new brake wire, clean, repair, and paint the inner fender wells; and start making an electrical plan. Our initial plan to keep this trailer original has been scrapped. We want to make it better than original! Someone once recited  a Wally Byam quote to me that was something like, “Don’t make changes, only improvements”. That’s our plan…to make the improvements that we feel we need to do to be comfortable, and to make the necessary upgrades to keep our ’66 Safari on the road for another 48 years!

Hope to see you all at the HOTCU Halloween Camp Out at the LBJ Grasslands! We, of course, won’t be camping (BOO), but we will be visiting all weekend. Trick or Treat!

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