Monthly Archives: March 2007

Electronics Central Part II

Started off this morning building my instrument panel for inside the pantry.  I went ahead and stained it along with my new improved stereo box.


While that was drying I had an idea about the DVD player.  I was originally going to put it in the pantry as well.  But that started taking up food space, and you would not be able to use the remote to control the DVD player.

So my new idea was to make an opening with a shelf in the cabinet below the TV.  This required removing the countertop and the cabinet door so I could run the router to make the opening.


Man, that router saw dust gets everywhere.  Anyway, I made a shelf out of 1/8″ oak, stained it and put it in.  I like the way it turned out.

This gave me an idea though.  I still was not really happy with my stereo box.  I just looked out of place and it took away valuable shelf space.  So…. I put it in the side of the cabinet as well, just under the DVD player.


I like it.  It sits a little low, but everything in a trailer is a comprimise anyway.  So now I don’t need my newly stained custom stereo box…  Only problem with moving the stereo here is that I had already cut the wires to length for it to be above the fridge.  So a little creative wiring is in order.

Speaking of wiring.  It was time to secure all those wires that I ran to the pantry.  I needed to start wiring all my devices but of course I did not label any wires.  I used my tone generator to hunt them out.  First you put the tone generator on one end of the wire.  And use the tracer on the other.  Makes simple work of it.



With all the wires sorted, I got the panel fixed up.  From left to right its the SeeLevel tank monitor, Tri-Metric battery system, and Xantech remote inverter switch.


The two red wires hanging there are waiting for a switch.  These will turn on the fans I put in the fridge chimney.

I’m pretty pleased with the way this turned out.  I can simply close the pantry door and all this high tech stuff goes away.  It keeps it from standing out too much, yet simple to get to when needed.


All the panels are now wired up and working.  The remote inverter switch turns on the inverter that’s under the curbside bed with the push of the button.  All the outlets on the curbside switch over to the inverted power automatically.   The DVD player and TV’s will be plugged into the curbside outlets so we can use them when we are not hooked to city power.

The tri-metric is hooked up and running as well.  I can monitor battery voltage, current to and from the battery, precentage of battery power available, number of days since fully charged, etc…  Its nice because now I can turn on any particular item and see how much power it’s drawing and decide if I need it or not.

The See Level gauge is wired up, but the tank sensors are not.  One neat thing about the gauge is that is has two switches.  One switch is labled heater, and another is labled pump.  I ran a two pair wire from the panel to the TwinTemp and another up to the front of the trailer where the water pump will be.

I wired the heater switch on the See Level to a relay located near the TwinTemp.  So now when you flip the switch on the See Level for heater, the TwinTemp turns on :-).  I used the second pair of wires in the cable to connect the Dometic Climate Control Center to the TwinTemp thermostat wiring.  So the CCC will now control the TwinTemp in furnace mode!

Here is the relay under the streetside bed that powers up the TwinTemp.


I also wired the same kind of relay up front near where the fresh water tank will be.  So the See Level pump switch, will control the Shurflo water pump.

Here’s a couple more shots of the entertainment center.  I still need to finish running the wires down to the stereo.



Overall I’m pretty happy about the days progress.  Stay tuned….

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Vintage Light!

The Ambassador had been missing the original sconces.  Through some help from some VAP listeners I was able to purchase a pair of 48 year old lamps :-).  I completely disassembled them, cleaned, and painted.  They turned out real nice. 

The real trick was finding the kind that takes two lamps.  Since the Ambassador is an International Landyaght, it has dual voltage everywhere.  So I have a 110vac light and a 12dc light.  These turned out to be a good match.

Here is a photo of the opening with two sets of wires like I talked about.


Here’s the light installed just like it would have looked in 1960.


Here is one with both a/c and dc lamps turned on.



I had a little time left to revisit the radio installation.  I agreed with Marc in the comments on the last post.  I don’t like the plasticy look after all. 

I also felt the many different electical panels looked too busy and modern for this 1960 trailer.  I decided to put most of the components in the pantry.  I’ll make a special panel for them up out of the way.

I do want the radio within easy reach though.  So I opted to build a small oak box for it which will sit in the same spot above the refrigerator.  Still needs sanding and staining but it should pass.  The top is removable to gain access to the wiring.



That’s it for today.  Maybe tomorrow I can finish the radio install.  Although I need to order some speakers still.  JBL are you listening…. 🙂 ?

Oops.. almost forgot.  Here are the new aluminum wheels from


Pretty sweet!  I’m going to try to arrange it so when the axle work is done, I’ll get the wheels swapped out at the same time just to avoid extra work.  I just thought you might want to see them.

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Electronics Central

Today the JVC HD car stereo showed up.  It was the last item I was waiting for so I could build the electronics panel.  Its an HD radio which is supposed to pick up the new digital broadcasts stations are now putting out.  It also has an auxliary input for the iPod and television.

The electronics panel is going over the fridge.  Here is a shot of the panel.


The idea is to leave the left side available for use.  Next I had to determine the layout of the electronics.  Besides the stereo I have the Tri-Metric, See Level gauge, and the remote turn on switch for the inverter.


I was thinking there was starting to be too much oak in the trailer so I decided to pick up a piece of plastic from a supply house and laminate the panel with it. 


It turned out like I expected, but now that I see it I’m not so sure I like it.  Here are a couple of shots.



Of course its not mounted yet, but you get the idea.  The other option is to make it in oak.

What do you think?

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To couch or not to couch?

Not much going on today with the trailer.  I did finish up the screens yesterday and they look pretty good.

I cleared out the front of the trailer and started measuring.  We are wanting to get a couch bed that will at least be a double in the bed position.  Funny how the front of the trailer gets really small when you start measuring it.

I’ve measured for a 74″ wide sofa that sits out at 32″.  When in the bed position it goes to 48″.  In this photo the solid tape line is the couch position and the dashed line is when its pulled out to a bed.




You can see it does not leave much room :-(.  I need to sit five people up here for watching TV at night and for eating as well.  So I will also need some kind of a table.

The tape measures are set to 25″ designating if I built a wrap around dinette from scratch.  That would give more seating area but utimately would not be as comforatable as a comercially built couch.

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Window to the World

I had a few windows left to replace the inner seals.  The originals were nasty and dried out, which makes them easy to remove.  The replacements were a contribution from Vintage Trailer Supply (tell them theVAP sent you 🙂 ).

Here is the before shot.


The new stuff just slips right it with an little help from a small flat blade screwdriver.


Just a few more to go and they are all done….


Now that the seals are finished, I had some time to replace some screens.  I knew I had a couple of bad ones that needed fixing.  I really like these 60’s Hehr windows.  The glass is flat so easy and cheap to replace, the hardware is still available and the screens just twist in place with 4 keepers.  My old ’71 each screen was rounded and had a million screws on each.

My first two are from the Joulise window.  I got the standard screen replacement tools.


Pushed the screen in with the spline tool.  I was able to use the original splines too.


Just trim the excess off and its done!


They turned out so nice and it was fairly simple to do, I decided to keep going.  My front door screen was shot to.  Here it is all fixed up.


I really was not planing on replacing them all, but since it was simple and they looked like this…..


I just kept going….



Until I ran out :-(.  I’ll pick up some more and finish them.  They really give the trailer a cleaner look.


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Clean up day

Not much going on today.  I’m actually in a small holding pattern waiting for supplies to arrive.  UPS should be busy here next week. 🙂

I took the opportunity to use the feed and wax on all the new wood I put in the trailer.  Here is a shot of the kitchen cabinet kind of dry looking.


Here it is again after the treatment.  Gives a richer look.


Next I decided to clean up and sweep out the trailer.  Lots of sawdust and screws all over.  And it won’t be the last time. 

Here are a few vanity shots.  Note my really flat screen TV.:-)




Its starting to look like a trailer again….

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Round 4

Decided to tackle the laminate problem again.  I need to get this counter top done!

I went ahead and started from scratch.  I got some more 5/8th plywood and got started.  Here I have it square with the bulkhead wall but its way off on the back.  So I used a compass to scribe it.


After I had that mark, which was just a slight angle, I cut it with the skill saw and it fit great.


I decided on about an 1-1/4″ overhang.  I added a 1/2″ x 3/4″ edge molding to give it some thickness.  Here are some steps I did to help not have the same problem as before which was cutting into the edge laminte as I trimmed the top.

  • Used the skill saw to cut the edges flush after I added the edge molding
  • Sanded the laminate edges between each piece as it was applied
  • Put double thickness of tape on the edges before trimming the top
  • Moved the router quickly and in a back and forth maner
  • Went wide on the corners and came back over them instead of hugging them close
  • Sanded the edges with a sanding block

In any case the results were worth the effort.  Who says 3rd time’s the charm…


I had some extra time to add some oak molding to the edge of the bulkhead wall.  You can compare this with the photo above.  Turned out nice.


Next I put some trim on the bathroom vanity.  Here are the before and after shots.



Not bad for an ameatur.  Besides the router the only woodworking tools I have are a circular saw and the jig saw.  It would be nice to have a table saw if I needed to make a straight cut. 🙂

Good thing it’s an Airstream. 

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Few hours here and there.

A few hours here and there and its starting to look like a trailer again.

I finished up the cabinet repairs today.  I’m not sure I really showed why I had to do this.  Here is a photo of the cabinet door showing the delamination.


The partial wall segment was poor too and actually broke off from the main cabinet.  Originally they were one piece.

Here is a shot with the cabinet stained an back together.


And with the door open…


Nice little closet.  Looks good with the flooring in there too. 🙂

Here is a shot from the outside. 


All of these shots had to use a flash since it was dark.  Kind of washing things out.   I still need to use the refinish/renew and wax on all the newly stained wood.  This will help match it up to the original.

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Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal is what the neighbor called the Ambassador the other day.  Actually he said that must be the Taj Mahal for the amount of time I work on it :-).

I’ve been having a problem getting my countertops just the way I’d like them.  I keep getting small *burned or scraped* areas on the edges when I run the laminte bit to trim the top.

I neglected to point this out on my kitchen counter because I’m trying to learn to quit pointing out the negative.  But the shelf I made above the fridge has a bad spot, and now this small top is giving me a fit.

What should have been quick hour job, turned into about three hours of frustration.  I’ve now laminated this top three times :-(.



I’ve already spent too much time working with this. I had to move on.  When I find some free time I’ll come back to it.

Like I mentioned earlier the door on the left side of this cabinet was pretty delaminated.  I had to build it up from scratch.  I picked up some 1/8″ oak and got started.


On the left is the delaminating door and the replacement made.  On the right is the cabinet wall that was bad as well.


Here is the cabinet dry fitted in place.  Of course everything still needs to be stained.  It turned out pretty well.  I should be able to stain and install it tomorrow.


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Refrigerator Cabinetry

Today was the day to finish working on the fridge cabinet.  I needed to install that bulkhead I had made, build a shelf for the top of the fridge and make a chimney.

I also wanted to build the electronics panel but I have to buy a stereo for the trailer still.

My dad came by to help carry an entertainment center into the house so he got suckered into helping build my shelf.

I did not bring the camera out this morning so I don’t have any during photos.  Basically we laminated a shelf for the fridge top, mounted the bulkhead wall, and made chimney with 1/8″ oak.

Here’s a shot of the shelf.  The wire coming through is the 12vdc fan lead for the chimney fans.  The whole right side of this opening is where I plan on having the stereo, Tri-metric, SeeLevel Gauge, and the remote turn on for my inverter.


Here’s a shot from the front and one from the back.



I was then able to get the original cabinet mounted back in to the left of the refrigerator.  I also built a top for it that still needs to be laminated.  I ran out of glue and time.

I was going to make the counter top curved like I did on the kitchen counter but it proved to stick out too far so I just made it like original.  Now I’m wishing I just made the kitchen counter square as well.  Because its kind of out of place now.


The little door on this cabinet on the left of the photo needs to be redone.  Its de-laminating.  Also the piece it closes onto is shot too.  I ran out of 1/8″ oak so that will be a project for another day. 

Oh, by the way.  The entire bulkhead wall has buytl putty tape running down where it meets the wall.  The chimney cover is glued along the sides and the tops and bottoms have a foam rubber gasket.  These steps should help keep the fumes out of the living area. 

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