How not to build a teardrop - lessons learned the hard way

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How not to build a teardrop - lessons learned the hard way

Postby johndep » Sun Apr 03, 2016 6:24 am

Ok, here is an opportunity to confess and admit the mistakes we have all made or regretted in our builds. Hopefully others learn from our mistakes, so please feel free to add yours to this thread.

My screw ups include:
1) forgot to run one last line of electrical wiring in the wall before gluing it together.
2) Underestimating the total cost of my build by 30%.
3) I needed to add bolts through my finished flooring rather that putting bolts in first and covering with flooring

John
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Re: How not to build a teardrop - lessons learned the hard w

Postby daveesl77 » Sun Apr 03, 2016 8:23 am

Even though mine only weighs 1,340#, I way overbuilt my floor panel. I made a 1/2" ply - 1" inside-1/2" ply sandwich, foam filled with 1" internal framing. It weighed about 200+ lbs (if I remember right). I did it because I knew I'd be overhanging the trailer sides and rear. Once I got it built and attached I realized I could easily have dropped the ply size by half.

I wish I had made my bed platform and slide out galley 2" less in height. Once the mattress was put on, while I can sit up on the edge of the bed, the very top of my head does touch my ceiling. I think I'm probably going to go with my idea to make the foot of the bed frame adjustable, so we can turn it into kind of a settee, as I was going to originally do.

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Re: How not to build a teardrop - lessons learned the hard w

Postby Robot » Wed Apr 06, 2016 1:50 am

For all of my reading and planning, I put the door on the street side. It made sense the way I was building in my driveway, but every campground is set up for curb side door.
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Re: How not to build a teardrop - lessons learned the hard w

Postby johndep » Wed Apr 06, 2016 7:02 am

If I had just one door, I would have done the same as you. Great tips guys!

John
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Re: How not to build a teardrop - lessons learned the hard w

Postby pchast » Wed Apr 06, 2016 8:37 pm

Planning and Budget.
:oops:
All the pretty things I saw here...
:D
After starting to build.
Some I added that I could have
done without.
Some I purchased I did not use.
:thinking:
I could have been lighter,
simpler,
some cheaper...
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Re: How not to build a teardrop - lessons learned the hard w

Postby pchast » Wed Apr 06, 2016 8:45 pm

ARRRGH!

duplicate. sorry
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Re: How not to build a teardrop - lessons learned the hard w

Postby ocasioc25 » Wed Apr 13, 2016 8:09 pm

My biggest mistake was making the door on the same side I will place my AC unit. Now if the AC unit is installed the door will swing towards the AC unit. But, the AC unit won't be mounted permanently, only on hot summer days. I have a door where I'll slide it in once I'm at the campsite and slide it out for travel. It's a 5btu small window unit.
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Re: How not to build a teardrop - lessons learned the hard w

Postby jonesnforcampin » Fri Jul 15, 2016 11:54 pm

Probably would have bought my main door. My door is just about done and looks decent, but overall I'm not too happy with the door. Guess I know if there is a next time to either buy my door or learn from the mistakes on the current one.

Also, instead of building a front box for batteries and what not I would just make the camper that much longer with storage in front. Bottom half accessible from the front outside of the camper and top half accessible from inside.

Probably also would have gone with thinner walls. I built using .75" plywood glued & screwed to .5" plywood. It's overkill.
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Re: How not to build a teardrop - lessons learned the hard w

Postby Graniterich » Sat Jul 16, 2016 2:09 am

What went wrong with the doors?
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Re: How not to build a teardrop - lessons learned the hard w

Postby KCStudly » Thu Sep 15, 2016 2:01 pm

I would have built 60 wide instead of 64. I don't recall getting the advice not to worry about fitting a true queen size mattress before I had committed to this, but if I went back and looked I'm sure it was probably there.

I probably would have used a whole lot more epoxy from the beginning (like Doug Hodder suggested... when DH suggests something consider it a little harder). I used a lot of polyurethane on the inside wood and it took a lot of work to get the finish I wanted. Now that I have been working with epoxy a lot more, I can see where his advice to use epoxy instead may have been easier (although more expensive, even more so for the special clear hardener).

I originally planned to use PMF (Poor Man's Fiberglass = glue/canvas/paint) for my outer skin, but switched plans part way and am now using epoxy and real FG cloth. To that end I sealed under my floor with TB2. If I had used epoxy I wouldn't have had to sand back the edges where the FG wraps under from the walls, and I probably would take the extra effort to flip the cabin over and glass the whole underside. But now it's not worth stripping all of the TB2 off so the underside will just get painted along with the rest of the cabin.

Once I decided to switch to epoxy/FG I wished I hadn't spent so much time fairing the foam with light weight vinyl spackle; there was a question and advice about future compatibility/adhesion between the epoxy and vinyl that still nags at me a little, and it would have been much easier to give the foam a hard coat of epoxy and then build up with fairing filler and glass from there. Instead I spent a bunch of time chasing the much softer materials trying to get it "right". This was another piece of advice that I considered, but decided to do differently... tho I suppose it may be a case of "the grass is always greener" and hindsight.

I stopped adding up receipts after roughly 125/ct of original budget, but if I had to guess I'd say I have another 15/ct in receipts stashed away to add to that... and we're not done yet. Maybe at the end I will add the rest up. I am skeptical of the real cost of most budget builds and like to say, "the only way to build a TD on a budget is to not keep track".

So for some of my regrets, I have to admit that advice was given early on but I either didn't hear it, or tried to find my own way; whether it was due to fear of using new and different materials and/or techniques, or for perceived budget reasons (I say perceived because sometimes the "more expensive" option ends up being worth it in the end and not that much different in cost). Do overs cost more money than doing it right the first time, so if the difference between getting it right or wrong is using more expensive materials in the first place, then that is the more economical choice.

I am still struggling with this type of decision making process today. The West System says to use epoxy and fairing filler to fill the glass weave, then seal with more epoxy, prime and paint. Another option that has been suggested is to spray HBP (high build primer) and fill the weave that way. I've never done a major paint project like this before where a lot of bodywork is needed, and am less than comfortable with the idea of turning my buddy's loft into a paint booth, or for learning how to make that all work, so I find myself struggling to decide if I am making more work for myself by being stubborn with my less than perfect filler spreading skills and all of the sanding effort that follows. Spraying HBP is the unknown for me, but then again so was laying up FG before. I'm not an expert at that either, by any stretch of the imagination; but I would say that I have miles more experience with it now and am no longer intimidated by it, so... whether or not I got it right, it has been a learning experience that I would not change.
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Re: How not to build a teardrop - lessons learned the hard w

Postby 3GKnight » Thu Sep 15, 2016 3:00 pm

KCStudly wrote:"the only way to build a TD on a budget is to not keep track".


Sweet. Now I can say I built it on budget! :beer:
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Re: How not to build a teardrop - lessons learned the hard w

Postby Tomterrific » Thu Sep 15, 2016 3:20 pm

I like allot about my light weight camper but I wish I had made it 60 inches wide just like I read everyone says.

The other thing is, I wish I had more top vent. I could have designed in a big self made vent from the gitgo. I suppose i could retro fit in a large top vent but it will be more work and difficulty now. There is no such thing as too much vent.

I made my own doors. It would have been easy to cut the door top for dutch doors. Looks cute, more vent area. Speaking of doors. I made the will too tall and it is hard to get out. The bottom of the opening hits our legs.

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Re: How not to build a teardrop - lessons learned the hard w

Postby MrDan » Wed Jan 04, 2017 6:19 pm

I am ready to build another one on a 5 foot by 8 foot trailer or wish i could find a 6 foot by 10 foot trailer. OH WOW>


just finished in sep/oct 2016 and tagged
http://www.customteardroptrailers.com/p ... adventure/
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