Monthly Archives: January 2007

Furnace vent covers

I have three blowers for the Twintemp heater mounted throughout the trailer.  I have them in the cabinets and simply cut out an opening in the cabinet face.


I needed a way to cover these so they look nice but not stand out.  I first purchased a standard home heating register, but it was white and bulky.  I did not like the way it was going to look.

So I decided to build my own.  I got this metal screen stuff from Ace hardware.  It closely matches what was in the trailer for the kitchen cabinet doors.  I also purchased some wood trim.


I got out my miter box and started cutting away.  Here’s what I ended up with.


Not bad for an amateur.  Only two more to go.  Here is a shot of the kitchen one installed.



Here is a shot of the one under the twin bed.


And the last one in the bathroom.  One more job completed.  Many more to go :-(.


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Ask the Story Stick

I already made a new shower wall out of the plastic wall board.  But it was a sorry fit around the curved edge of the bulkhead wall.  I decided I needed to redo it.  But how?  Making the curve is a very difficult thing for a rookie carpenter.

So I asked around on the Airstream forums site and got some good tips.  Here is my favorite.

The Story Stick

I needed to know *the trick* to doing this kind of work.  And I found it to be the Story Stick.  Basically to teach the stick the story of your wall so it can tell it back to you when you need it 🙂

First step, get a stick.  It needs to be similar to the one shown in the photo with a sharp point for accuracy.  I used a 5 gallon paint stick and made a point on it.

Next you tape some paper along the wall where you want to copy the shape.  You line the point of your story stick with the edge of the wall and trace the end of the stick on the paper.  You continute this process until you get the entire shape of the wall on your paper.


Once completed, take the paper out to your panel and tape it on to it.  Using the stick, align the end of the stick with the markings you made on the paper and put a small tick mark on your pannel.  Continue around until you have reproduced all of the story stick points.  Then connect the dots.  The more drastic the curve then the more points you should make with your story stick.


Then using my electric shears, I simply cut along the line.


Although not a perfect fit, it was much better than my first attempt.  I probably could have used more point markings along the drastic curves to more accuratly reproduce it. 

So I had to pull down the previous panel and glue up the replacement.  Added the oak trim and some silicone and its finsihed.  I also installed the original aluminum trim after cleaning it up a bit.  I put putty tape behind it before securing it to the wall.


So here is a photo of the bathroom when I bought the trailer.


And here it is as of today.  Big difference if I say so myself…. and I do! 🙂


Well that’s it for today.  Tomorrow I’m going to see if I can get new seals for the shower faucet.  The original faucet seems much nicer than what I can find at Camping World.  But I also have to see how much it cleans up.  After I get that mounted all the plumbing supply will be done, execpt the fresh water tank.


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Toilet time

Decided to mount the throne today :-).

First I had to trim it out with the original aluminum edging and add one to the front.


Next was added the eight stainless steel screws into the toilet flange.  Very important thing to remember! :-)  Also you can see the rubber gasket that came with the toilet.  I just set it here for the photo.  When I mounted the toilet I put the gasket on it first.


Next is the supply line.  I used the same stainless flex hose I used everywhere else.  Note the shut off valve.


And after I tightened the mounting bolts… wala… new toilet.  Perfect height for a comfortable sit.  All I need is a newspaper and I’ll be all set :-).  Well maybe I should wait until I put in the dump valves….


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Stacking the stacks

Took a few minutes to glue together the vent stacks for the plumbing.  Everything worked out good.

Here is the vent for the black tank.


And here is the vent for the grey tank and kitchen plumbing.


Here is the way it looks in the street side closet.


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Drains and quack stacks

Today was all about working on the drains.  The first stop was the getting the kitchen drain down into the grey tank.  Note the rubber coupler at the tank inlet.  This will hopefully allow for some flexing down the road.


Next was finishing up the bathroom drain.  First thing I did was secure the counter top.  With that done, I hooked up the faucet suppy lines and the drain piping.  Again the trap is down below against the wall.  I drilled a hole through the floor so the sink drain can meet up with the tub drain on its way to the grey tank.


Under the trailer near the back which is under the bathroom you can see where the sink drain comes down to a 90 and the special tub drain/trap on the left.  The ABS pipe running forward goes into the grey tank.


Here is the same shot with all the plumbing glued in.  Note the two white pex lines are the rear hot and cold drains for winterizing.


Back at the grey tank you can see the ABS line connecting to it.  Again via rubber couplers.


Next up was adding the vents for the black and grey tanks.  These will run up through the closets on both sides of the trailer.  So I had to drill some more holes in the trailer :-).  Here is a hole going up through the street side closet.


Next I had to size up the pipe to see how long it needed to be.  Looks like a periscope!  Humm…. not a bad idea.


I cut it down to size so I could fit the vent cover that I purchased from Vintage Trailer Supply on it. 


Next up was to use vulkem around the base and add a screen to keep the bugs out.


Add a little vulkem in the rim and base and rivet her on!  Not too shabby.


Here’s one final shot showing my twin stacks!


For some perspective, here is what it looks like from the ground.


Just a few more connections on the inside to these vent pipes and the interrior plumbing will be done.  Less the fresh water tank that is…. 


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Non-glamorous work

Not a good day to be working on the cold cement on my back all day.  It was about 28 degrees out this morning.  Yet some reason I penciled in today as getting the grey tank finished.  It needed a couple of more mounting straps and the lines running into the cross members needed to be lined with rubber.

First thing I needed to do was raise the trailer.  It sits too low to crawl under and I have a lot of work to do down there.  So I hitched it up, first time in many months.  I was able to check out the eletrical connections to the truck and everything worked great.  Brakes, lights, the charging circuit as verified by the Tri-Metric.  This was cool.

Next I pulled it forward a few feet and put some wood under the wheels so I could have more clearance underneath.

I added two 3/4″ angle iron straps to give better vertical support for the tank.  Now it has four straps total.  All tighened down securely.  I also lined the piping going through the cross memebers with some rubber hose sliced down the side.  Here is a picture.


While I was under there I driled through the remaining cross memeber as needed to get my piping back to the bathroom.


Here’s another shot so you can see the tank mounting.


That black abs pipe is just there for a test fit.  I will be using rubber couplers at the tank connections for some wiggle room.  Although the tank is in there pretty solid now :-).

You won’t believe how long it took to do all of this.  Lets just say, forever!

I did manage to get the kitchen drains in place and a main drain line run back toward the tank input inside the trailer.  Here is a shot under the kitchen sink.


Yes, there is a trap.  I mounted it at the wall instead of directly under the sink so it would not take up vaulable storage space.  Here is the trap from below the shelf.


The white pipe running off the photo toward the left couples to a 1.5″ black drain pipe which runs toward the tank.  It will tee off there and continue toward the street side closet for the vent stack.

Now that the holding tank is secure, I can finish up my drain lines.  After that, maybe hookup some water to the trailer and see what happens! 🙂


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Working the bathroom

Spent today working on the bathroom. 

The shower wall had this original green plastic wall paper.  Probably very nice in 1960.  But now it’s not too attractive.  I ended up using a poly wall board to cover it up.

It was quite a challange to make a template to match that pattern of the wall.  Turned out ok, but I need to hang out with a boat builder for a day to learn how to do this right. 🙂

Here is a before photo of the shower.


Here is the after shot with the new wall board in place.  I still need to caulk the wall side.


Next it was time to clean up the original aluminum trim.  I sealed behind it the same way it was originally with butyl tape.


I moved on to the sink and countertop in the bathroom.  It is much easier to install the faucet and drain with the countertop on the work bench! 🙂


I used some rubber edging that I stapled to the side of the countertop to give it a clean installed look without having to use silicone, since that tends to crack and come apart in a trailer.


The countertop is set in place on the vanity.  I have not screwed it down yet because I want to hookup the waterlines etc.


More to come…

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Inverter Transfer Switch

I got the inverter transfer switch done.  I was originally going to go with two outlets and manually switch a plug back and forth depending on if we wanted AC or inverter. 

After thinking about it more, I decided to make it automatic with a 30 amp DPDT relay.    When the inverter is off, all the curbside outlets get power from the regular breaker box.

When we are not hooked up to AC line power we can turn the inverter on which powers the relay and puts inverter power to all the curbside outlets.  The main reason is this is where I intend to mount the LCD TV’s and we want to be able to use them if boondocking or dry camping for the night.

Here’s a shot of the relay installation.



Turned out pretty nice and works well.  For a test, even though its an 800 watt inverter it can surge higher and has overload protection, I plugged in a 1500 watt space heater :-).  It ran it for the 30 seconds I left it on.  And it drew 92 amps from the 12vdc battery according to the Tri-Metric! 🙂

I also was able to get the curbside bed mounted.  The wall side had to be raised about 3/8″ because of the floating floor.  So I got it all screwed back together and ready to go.


That’s it for now…

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More windows, more electrical

Only had a couple of hours today to tie up some loose ends.

You might recall the original 12vdc fuse box in this trailer….


Two 20 amp glass fuses and a bunch of unmarked wires everywhere.  What a mess.  With some help of my meter, and the guys on the Airstream Forums site, I got all the original wires figured out.  This was the final stop for my rewiring plan for the trailer.  Tieing the the new with the old.

I had run two #8 wires up front from the street side where I had a junction box that has two #6 wires running back to the battery.  This method basically gives me high current access on both sides of the trailer.  Since I never had all the interiror walls off to run all new wiring in the walls, I had to tie into the original 12vdc distribution.  The original wiring in the trailer runs the 12vdc lighting and the two Fantastic Fans I installed.

So here’s a shot of the new fuse box in place.


  • The two black wires are the #8’s that feed power and ground to the fuse box. 
  • The upper left wire coming out of the fuse box is the tow vehicles charge line, that also runs the future power tounge jack, and the emergentcy breakaway switch. 
  • The second wire down is the feed for the original 12vdc in the trailer for the lights and fans. 
  • The unused wire on the bottom left is the original battery wire from the battery box on the front of the trailer.  I just put it on the fuse box until I decide what to do with it. 
  • Likewise the two wires on the right are for the original water pump switch.  I just put both on the block for the time being.

Finally I can run the fans again and of course the 12vdc lights.  Any new devices that need power such as the TwinTemp Jr., the water pump, the radio, etc. will all come from new wiring from one of the fuse boxes.

I also took the time to check my rewire of the 7-way plug on the front of the trailer.  I jumpered wires across to check the running lights, and breaklights since I had worked on all of those items.  Nice to report they all check out fine.  Same as the charge line I added to the plug because it was not originally on it.

Next I decided I’d like to have the converter off the floor and moved it up next to the inverter.  I cleaned up the wiring a little.  Still more work needed there.


I ended up having to do a semi-suprise window removal and reinstallation.  I say semi because I suspected the glass was only held in with the the 47 year old dried up weatherstripping.  And I was right.  As soon as I removed the old stripping the window fell right out.  Of course I caught it! 🙂


I cleaned up the window and the frame and got my bedding tape ready.  I also wiped the window frame edge and the glass edge with alcohol to help adhesion.


All that’s left is to pop the glass back in and trim it out.


There ya go, another project done.  Even if this window never fell out, it would have surely leaked.  Now I don’t have to worry about it.

After tying up some more loose ends, it will be off to finishing up the bathroom…..

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All things 12V

I decided to get the 12VDC stuff done as much as possible today.  But before I could get started on that, I had the gas line on the cook top to finish.  I thought I’d photograph each step for those who have not made a gas flair connection.

Step 1.

Cut the gas line to length with a tubing cutter.


Step 2.

Push the nut on the pipe.


Step 3.

Get the flairing tool ready.


Step 4.

Tighten the flairing tool down until the end of the pipe is at a 45 degree angle.  Hint: Practice a bit first on a spare pipe.


Step 5.

Tighen the connection with two wrenches.  Test connection for leaks with soapy water.


That’s all there is to it!  Of course I could not test mine as the gas lines are not finished being plumbed below the trailer yet.

I had to pull the battery out that I had installed before and rewire everything because I had forgotten to wire in my 800W Astron inverter into the system.  These inverters take a lot of power when used at the max wattage.  This means that large wiring is needed.  So I had to basically rework everything I did before with beefier wire, #4 for the inverter.

Here is a photo of the rewiring.  You can’t make it out to well, but I wired a #4 to the ground shunt input and a #4 from the shunt output to the inverter.  I also ran a #6 to the trailers ground bus.  This way the Tri-Metric can measure all current used in the system including that of the inverter.


The black box with the red button is a 125 amp 12vdc breaker.  I have it wired inline with the inverters #4 positive wiring.  So I now have high current wiring to the inverter for maximum efficeintcy.

The inverter allows for an internal wire hookup for the inverted 115vac.  I hard wired a romex wire into the inverter and ran it back into the closet until I come up with a nice transfer switch system.


Here is the inverter mounted and wired.  Note the white romex wire running out the back and into the closet.


Here is another view so you can see where its mounted.  I still need a key for that hatch door!  Colin…… are you listening?! 🙂


Here is the battery back in place.  Charging up it’s merry way.  You can see the three romex wires in the background.  The metal one is from the breaker box and has line AC on it.  The white one is from the inverter.  And the yellow one is from the outlets on the curb side of the trailer.  The idea is that I will have a system switch the curb side outlets between the inverter and the AC panel as needed.


And last a quick shot of the Tri-Metric.  If you look closely you can see it reads full 🙂


All in a days work….


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