Teardrop / Trailer

Zen and the Art of Trailer Maintenance (and Repairs and Upgrades)

The arduous task of trailer work begins.

Nik’s gettin’ ‘er done!

Of the many tasks that need to be completed before June (I’m totally making a stressed out “holycrapIhopewemakeit” face right now), the fenders were some of the easiest/first. They just had a bit of rust, and needed to be sanded and sealed. So, we started by staring at them, poking at them a little, and finally deciding they just needed to come all the way off. If you’re going to do a job you might as well do it thoroughly and do it right the first time.

Initially we thought we might be able to get away with not taking the tires off in order to remove the fenders, which, of course, totally didn’t work. Nik spent a good 20 minutes squished between the wheel and the fender before his wrench got stuck and we went digging for a jack to get the tire off. The guy that put them on did an excellent job. They were on snug as a bug in a rug and sealed very well. Sealed with what, we have no idea. Semi well-informed lucky guesses: Go!

We first tried sanding the rust off with a hand drill with a sanding disk attached. It worked, but it was tedious and would have taken hours. I did a quick Google to see if there were any better, cheap options and came across several posts about using aluminum foil and water. Which also worked, but was also tedious and slow. Finally, Nik ended up getting a flap disk grinder and managed to get them all shiny and new looking way faster than all of our other attempts.

Sanding away at the furnace box.

Next is the front box thingy. By which I mean, the box in which the furnace lives. Because this teardrop trailer came with a furnace in it (baller!). Basically, the front is starting to develop some small cracks and we’re pretty convinced that it’s not going to remain watertight for very much longer. Therefore: it needs to be sanded and stripped and covered in a fiberglass cloth and then refinished. Not the whole thing – just that furnace box. Which will also soon be a furnace + air conditioning box, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

So Nik’s working on gathering up all of the appropriate materials to get that all situated, too.

“Hidden” lights in the galley. They’re actually LED tape covered by a lightweight plastic diffuser.

Then there’s the lighting. Lighting is Nik’s favorite. You might say that he’s obsessed with it. He can frequently be found holding up his hands at dusk to the fading light to watch how the colors change against his skin. He was a lighting technician for theater/entertainment in New York City in another life. Basically, he likes light and he’s very good at it. So the project that he’s been the most enthusiastic about and the most on top of has been the lights. He’s on that like white on rice.

Rather than having your standard ceiling light, we got a bunch of LED tape lights and Nik’s been installing them with diffusers in strategically recessed  locations throughout the trailer – so that it lights up extremely well, but you can’t tell where any of the light is coming from (well, you can, but it’s easy to pretend that you can’t cause you can’t see the lights themselves).

Toggle switches! Or, airplane switches perhaps?

Thus far, he’s got them setup on the back hatch, and a little bit throughout the interior. And he found some slick little mini toggle light switches that makes me feel like I’m turning on and off important things in an airplane.

Also, we’re installing solar panels. That’s just a whole other beast. I don’t have the slightest idea how to get them all setup (in my defense, I also haven’t researched them at all – Nik’s been all over that, too). We have all of the parts now, though! It’s just a matter of assembly. And we’ll be getting deep into that this coming weekend.

For now though, it’s lights out.


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