Not here for a long time but here for a good time!
- Sep 9, 2015
Here's the owners manual which has a picture of the kitchen top that may or may not help you visualize your reno.
I had an older Coleman and experienced the same shear pin problem. I'd suggest going to the expense of a new axle with brakes may be overkill. I towed my Coleman, fully loaded, for over 35 years and never felt I needed brakes. Later in it's life, I installed an axle flip kit to get the body higher with added ground clearance. That was worthwhile. We added what I call egg carton padding, like used in hospitals, under the bed mattresses. Helped a great deal. We don't heat while sleeping and have a kerosene heater and 2 old white gas, Coleman lanterns which made it comfortable during times inside. The trailer was used to hunt elk and mule deer above 9,000' and we experienced temperatures to -10 degrees F. We remote hunt and use a small popup hunting blind as a toilet shelter and have a hospital commode style chair and suspend a plastic bag into a hole in the ground to catch the droppings. Got rid of the water tank after it froze solid and went insulated Igloo 5 gallon jugs. We wrapped the awning with plastic tarps to create a dry enclosure to store our gear in plastic tubs. The trailer was small but, served well for many years. Upgraded to a 12' Fleetwood a few years ago and am very happy with the larger, better equipped, trailer.I just got this old Coleman. It's really cool and pulls well behind my Vanagon but needs a lot of rehabilitation before I can take it camping. I just posted an intro thread here.
It's cool that it's so old that the roof is just a metal frame with a single layer of aluminum, so there's nothing to rot up there.
The first order of business is to make it less of a hassle to use.
1. The door hatch was a pain to use -- you had to wiggle the key just right for it to turn and then if you twisted the handle all the way open, the lock bar would get stuck inside the door until you teased it back out because it was just a little too short. I took the hatch apart and replaced the slightly-too-short lock bar with a piece of scrap steel I had in my garage. I also pulled all the tumblers out of the lock cylinder so it turns with a screw driver -- I figure if someone wants to break into my trailer bad enough to jab a screwdriver into the keyhole, it would probably be in my best interest to minimize damage. After pop-riveting it back together it works great. YAY!
2. The top was REALLY hard to crank up -- Like the top crank wouldn't move around at all, and I could only raise the top using the bottom crank, pulling hard enough to drag the trailer tongue around, and that couldn't be right. I checked the cables (all OK) and gave the wiffletree some much-needed grease, but it was still really hard to crank. I figured it might be the bearing so I took it apart again to disassemble it and realized this pin (#8) was sheared off:
So as I cranked up the top, the threaded rod wasn't held back by the collar (#5) or spinning the bearing (#6) and the threaded rod (#10) was just pressing into the frame crossmember at the rear with the whole weight of the top. I removed the bearing, dug out the solidified 1960s grease, cleaned it in lacquer thinner, repacked it, and replaced the split pin with a new one from the hardware store. Once it was all back together, it cranks up pretty easily with the faster upper crank (which I couldn't even turn before). YAY!
I kind of like how this camper is built to be totally torn down with the "1960s guy tool kit" (pliers, adjustable wrench, hammer, drill, punch, and pop rivet tool).
I also pulled off half the canvas, washed it, and attempted some repairs...the canvas doesn't look so bad in the pics, but the string holding it together is turning to dust and it has some significant rips. When I'd attempt to sew them up, the canvas wanted to rip where I placed the threads (and sewing it with my home sewing machine was way harder than any other upholstery project I've tackled before). I'll probably end up ordering a new canvas.
I'm hoping to get at least 1-7 done by mid-April so I can use the camper as a basecamp for a backpacking trip I'm planning in Utah, but time will tell! I'll try to keep this thread updated with my progress!
- Tape over the seams on the top and repaint it.
- Fix the broken wheels on the bed slides (which cause them to sag and drag over the stored dinette cushions, ripping the upholstery)
- Paint the body
- Replace the cracked old wiring to the tail lights to make them actually bright enough to do anytihng
- Order, receive, and install new canvas
- Clean the inside and prime everything with Killz, followed by new paint
- Reupholster the dinette cushions
- Build a new swing away kitchen
- New tires
- Maybe a new Dexter Torsion Axle with electric brakes
- Add a 20mm ammo can tongue box
- Solar panel, battery, interior lights, and a diesel heater
- Add a Port-a-potty
Johneliot said:Looks great! Make sure you let us know when you get the email telling you to send the old canvas.
Warfarin said:Watching. Where in Utah are you planning your trip?
Johneliot said:It cost me about $70 to send mine and it was only a single slide. $70 to ship the new one back. Totally worth it!
Holy cow that's a lot of work!I’ve been working like crazy on the trailer and am starting to get a little burned out on it, so I figured its a great time to document the progress so far, close it up, roll it into the driveway, and take a little break.
I started to remove the nasty flooring.
The linoleum layer came up pretty easily, and the paper backing and adhesive came up easily from the sides but was stubbornly stuck in the middle.
As I was working harder and harder to remove the backing, I had a horrible realization: this trailer is from 1968. I bet the flooring and adhesive used asbestos.
After getting kind of wigged out, I stopped scraping, donned my respirator, bagged and trashed the flooring I’d removed so far, and primed the subfloor and what was left of the paper backing with Killz
Then I got 9 feet of vinyl sheet wood-look flooring from Home Depot and a tub of adhesive and glued that sucker down! Any asbestos dregs are fully encapsulated now
Since it was exposed, I cleaned and lubricated the top crank chain with motorcycle chain lube. Then I cut new wall panels from hardboard(replacing the 55-year-old, deteriorated 1/8” plywood), and sealed the seams with my leftover Eterna-Bond tape from the roof to keep out dust/water/critters
I was able to tape up the gaps between the walls and wheel wells too:
Then I spent what felt like an eternity priming every face of every cabinet with 2 coats of Killz, followed by 2 coats of Rustoleum gloss white. I didn’t take many pictures because watching paint dry isn’t very exciting…but what’s amazing to me is in my mind I felt like that step should take 10 minutes, instead of days and days and days. At least its done now
I cut new seat backs from sanded 1/2 ply and covered them with a couple of coats of clear gloss varnish (here’s new vs. old and nasty)
I also built a new pop up kitchen cabinet from 1/2 sanded ply. I cut the panels out with my jigsaw and screwed and glued them together with Tightbond wood glue. It was trickier to make than I first pictured because it needed a cutout to clear the wheel well. I made latches for it out of hinges and round stock. Here’s a pic of it being test fitted:
I built sliding doors for the front out of hardboard (so they can open/close even when stowed). It isn’t fine cabinet making by any means but I’m happy with it…its light, strong, fits properly, and looks WAY better than the half-assed exterior plywood “vanlife” conversions I see all the time. I’ll post more pictures once it’s fully complete
I also wrapped the counters with some wood grain countertop contact paper. It looks really good, but time will tell how durable it is.
I also replaced the weatherstripping between the walls and roof and bought a porta-potty that stores nicely in a cabinet.
Remaining To Dos (after I take a break and feel less burned out on this project):
1. Get a 2nd roll of counter contact paper and wrap the pop up kitchen
2. Buy and install a drain for the sink.
3. Buy propane fitting to hook up stove to tank
4. Reupholster dinette cushions
5. Fix one stripped lug bolt
6. Install new tent (once Bear Creek makes it!)
7. Get nice curtains and bedding
So, it’s coming along and it will be great when it’s done (hopefully toward the end of the summer). I’ll post more updates once I dust it off again.