Bubbles version 2.0: DONE!!!

...ask your questions in the appropriate forums BUT document your build here...preferably in a single thread...dates for updates, are appreciated....

Re: Bubbles version 2.0: The Buildup Begins!

Postby jfocallag » Mon Apr 08, 2013 11:29 am

I can't contribute to the build discussion but I do have to say that Bubbles is looking better with the lower profile.
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Re: Bubbles version 2.0: The Buildup Begins!

Postby Junkboy999 » Mon Apr 08, 2013 1:51 pm

Allways good to see an old Teardrop brought back to life.

Keep it up
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Re: Bubbles version 2.0: The Buildup Begins!

Postby Martinjmpr » Mon Apr 08, 2013 8:36 pm

Corwin C wrote:
Martinjmpr wrote:Can anyone point to any on-line guides or Youtube videos of this process?


This is from West Systems (another good manufacturer). The system that they are showing is not their clear coat. They do have one, however, and the process is the same.

There are lots and lots of videos on youtube ... feel free to look at them, many have excellent ideas/techniques.


Very interesting! Thank you for posting that!

They make it look easy, but isn't that the way it always is? Still, I think we might be able to do it.

Here's a couple of dumb questions:

1. Does anybody know of a place in the Denver area where I could take some kind of class in this? I would really like to learn under someone's instruction, and

2. Failing that, are there places that do this commercially? Anybody know of one?

Just exploring all the options. Obviously I'd like to do it ourselves, but if the cost is reasonable, I'd pay to have it done right!
Martin and Liz and our new T@B Clamshell "Livia"

Our old Teardrop "bubbles"
Bubbles version 2.0 build thread!

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Re: Bubbles version 2.0: The Buildup Begins!

Postby Martinjmpr » Tue Apr 09, 2013 9:01 pm

The process continues:

So on Sunday Liz started sanding the side with the orbital sander to get the old finish and poly off.

Image

I can tell already that it's going to be a laborious process!

I also fixed the hole in the galley that caused so much trouble:

Image

Image

Plugged it with a piece of PVC pipe cap and surrounded it with silicone sealer for good measure.

Then we went to Lowe's and picked out some floor tiles to deck the galley area with. Liz liked this one so of course I said "yes dear!" :lol: I'm no fool!

Image

I think it complements the wood nicely. I also started building some storage cabinets for the back, while still leaving enough space to put our coleman stove.

Last weekend I picked up this guy at Harbor Freight:

Image

It will go on the tongue....once we get the jockey wheel moved.

Image

Image

As you can see, the jockey wheel is mounted to a piece that is welded on so I guess I'll have to grind that off (ah yes, an opportunity to buy another tool.... :twisted: )

The original plan was to put a battery in the tongue box and then run the electrical from there to the underside of the trailer so we could have electrical with no visible wires and (best of all) no way that rain could get in. But the more we thought about it, the more we think we're going to try and get by with batteries and solar. After all, Bubbles is not so much an "RV" as she is a "hard sided tent." We don't need home-like accomodations!
Martin and Liz and our new T@B Clamshell "Livia"

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Bubbles version 2.0 build thread!

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Re: Bubbles version 2.0: The Buildup Begins!

Postby wagondude » Sat Apr 13, 2013 1:49 pm

Martinjmpr wrote:Here's a couple of dumb questions:

1. Does anybody know of a place in the Denver area where I could take some kind of class in this? I would really like to learn under someone's instruction, and

2. Failing that, are there places that do this commercially? Anybody know of one?

Just exploring all the options. Obviously I'd like to do it ourselves, but if the cost is reasonable, I'd pay to have it done right!


As far as getting glass and epoxy skin, You could look into shops that do fiberglass repair on boats. You might also look to see if there is anyone in your area building canoes. Those would be your best bet for finding professional help. They would also probably be able to get you a better price on materials even if you DIY as they buy in bulk. Someone at a body shop would be another option, but they would be more familiar with polyester resin ( you absolutely do not want to use that). Other than the resin, the process of lay up is the same, so that would be an option.
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Re: Bubbles version 2.0: The Buildup Begins!

Postby nevadatear » Sun Apr 14, 2013 11:20 am

Watch out for the silicone! Nothing sticks to it, including epoxy and varnish. If this area you fixed is part of the outside, you may find yourself removing the silicone and replacing with something paintable
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Re: Bubbles version 2.0: The Buildup Begins!

Postby Martinjmpr » Mon Apr 15, 2013 9:47 am

Well, this weekend we made a list of places to contact that might be able to help us with the skinning.

There's one place in Wheat Ridge (West Denver suburb) that restores classic trailers like Airstreams. They were closed on Saturday but we visited their location, lots of beautiful old trailers out there!

http://www.timelesstraveltrailers.com/
Martin and Liz and our new T@B Clamshell "Livia"

Our old Teardrop "bubbles"
Bubbles version 2.0 build thread!

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States we've visited with Bubbles and Livia: Image
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The buildup continues...

Postby Martinjmpr » Mon Apr 15, 2013 9:59 am

We spent (really wasted) a whole day looking at RVs, hoping to find a place in the Denver area that sold teardrops, just so we could compare them in terms of price and features to Bubbles. Unfortunately, the only place I could find that actually sold teardrop trailers was in Loveland, 40 miles to the north, and was closed when we got there.

Sunday, Liz worked on sanding off the finish on the driver's side. She wants to re-stain it with a leaf-type design (she's going to try it out on some scrap wood before we commit it to bubbles.) We picked up the stain we need at Lowe's.

Image

Liz also put new tiling down for the deck in the galley area. She picked out a dark brown pattern that will look a lot better than the washed out white tile that the builder used:

Image

Meanwhile, I worked on the cabinet that will be in the galley. I should point out that in our trips last year, we had a large metal "chuck box" that carried all of our cooking essentials. For reference, here's a (fuzzy) picture of the chuck box. It was about 30" wide by 16" high by about 8" deep and weighed probably 25lbs empty:

Image

Getting rid of the chuck box was one of our goals and we were happy to note that almost everything that was in the chuck box fit into the mesh bins and into our cabinet. Originally, the galley only had the AC unit in there, and it was difficult to put anything else back there because of the slope of the hatch. With the AC unit out and the electrical box out (which also took up room in the galley) we have a lot more space. I had some scrap plywood so I built a simple cabinet that will cover most of the width of the galley, but will leave enough room for our camp stove. We then decided that rather than drawers, we'd go to the container store and get some metal mesh bins and see if they would work. We then mocked up the whole arrangement to see what would fit:

Image

Image

When we are "under way", the bins will be secured by a bungee cord or chain. Liz wants to find something "decorative" to use, I just want to make sure they don't go sliding around. Of course, the cabinet will be sanded and stained before it's permanently installed.

Liz then spent the rest of the afternoon putting a tile wall on the back of the galley area. We re-modeled our kitchen last year and Liz got a taste for installing ceramic tile. She's really good at it! She wanted to go with an irregular, funky pattern, so she bought some tile and spent about 4 hours installing it. The result is pretty spectacular!

Image

Image

We also got this very nice solar vent/light from Amazon. Looks like it will work well and no wiring is required. We have not yet installed it since we're still trying to figure out how we're going to skin the roof.

Image

With much of the side finish sanded off and another big spring snowstorm coming in, we decided to put Bubbles into the garage and leave my SUV outside. Bubbles will probably remain in the garage until we get the roof finish done.
Martin and Liz and our new T@B Clamshell "Livia"

Our old Teardrop "bubbles"
Bubbles version 2.0 build thread!

Our Facebook group:
Colorado Teardroppers and Tiny Trailers Camping Group (FB)

States we've visited with Bubbles and Livia: Image
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Re: The buildup continues...

Postby S. Heisley » Mon Apr 15, 2013 10:25 am

Martinjmpr wrote:We spent (really wasted) a whole day looking at RVs, hoping to find a place in the Denver area that sold teardrops, just so we could compare them in terms of price and features to Bubbles. Unfortunately, the only place I could find that actually sold teardrop trailers was in Loveland, 40 miles to the north, and was closed when we got there.

Sunday, Liz worked on sanding off the finish on the driver's side. She wants to re-stain it with a leaf-type design (she's going to try it out on some scrap wood before we commit it to bubbles.) We picked up the stain we need at Lowe's.

Liz also put new tiling down for the deck in the galley area. She picked out a dark brown pattern that will look a lot better than the washed out white tile that the builder used:

Image

Getting rid of the chuck box was one of our goals and we were happy to note that almost everything that was in the chuck box fit into the mesh bins and into our cabinet. Originally, the galley only had the AC unit in there, and it was difficult to put anything else back there because of the slope of the hatch. With the AC unit out and the electrical box out (which also took up room in the galley) we have a lot more space. I had some scrap plywood so I built a simple cabinet that will cover most of the width of the galley, but will leave enough room for our camp stove. We then decided that rather than drawers, we'd go to the container store and get some metal mesh bins and see if they would work. We then mocked up the whole arrangement to see what would fit:

Image

With much of the side finish sanded off and another big spring snowstorm coming in, we decided to put Bubbles into the garage and leave my SUV outside. Bubbles will probably remain in the garage until we get the roof finish done.


You are wise to garage Bubbles until you have her roof and sides done! I doubt that it will hurt the car to sit out for a few weeks. The leaf stain sounds like a clever idea. Will you cut a sponge or sponges into the shape of leaves for the stain application or use a stencil or...?

The galley is coming along nicely. Liz did a great job of matching up the design in the tiles...nice tiles, too. I like those mesh bins
How will you secure those mesh bins when traveling?

You two are working hard on something that should last a long time, both physically and in the memories that you are making together. Years from now, long after Bubbles has moved on or gone to the campground in the sky, you can look back and enjoy the pictures of all your trips and the efforts you put forth. :thumbsup:
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Another weekend, a little more progress!

Postby Martinjmpr » Wed Apr 24, 2013 1:02 pm

Well, it was another sunny and productive weekend as we worked on Bubbles! :D

Liz got a jump-start on my by grouting the tile she installed last weekend. After she grouted, she had to take a fine paintbrush and brush in some turquoise paint so the tile would look good!

Image

While Liz was finishing that up, I started to stain the shelf I built for the galley area.

Image

It came out pretty nice with a cherry stain, and then Liz came up with one of her cool ideas to "dress up" the ugly exposed edges of the plywood with some extra tiles:

Image

Now that the grout is in and sealed, and all the painting is done, it's about time to install the shelf with some L brackets. So I set it in place...

Image

Image

...Only to find that the 1" brackets were going to be too short! So I had to put 2" L brackets on my shopping list.

Next I tried to figure out how to install the new double-bar lock mechanism (which I got here: http://www.teardroptrailers.net/category_s/41.htm ) No pics of that, we're still trying to work out the details. Liz gave me some great ideas which we're going to try out, so stay tuned!

Other than that, Liz sanded a bunch more of the old finish off the side and we are still trying to figure out a good "sponge" staining we can use to give her exterior a "unique" look.

This week will be pivotal: I'm taking Friday off work and will drive Bubbles around to 3 different shops to find out if they can do the 'glassing, gel-coating or aluminum skinning (we'll get estimates on all 3 and then make a decision.) This will be the biggest (and most expensive) part of the buildup.

Additionally, I ordered tires this weekend from Coker Tire. Some beautiful wide whitewalls that will perfectly complement our retro fenders and baby moon hubcaps! Wheels should be in today, in fact, although the tires aren't due until the 10th of May.

Stay tuned! 8)
Martin and Liz and our new T@B Clamshell "Livia"

Our old Teardrop "bubbles"
Bubbles version 2.0 build thread!

Our Facebook group:
Colorado Teardroppers and Tiny Trailers Camping Group (FB)

States we've visited with Bubbles and Livia: Image
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An eye opening weekend!

Postby Martinjmpr » Mon Apr 29, 2013 9:06 pm

Weekend started with me taking Friday off to take Bubbles around to three different places to find out if they could help us with the roof sealing issue.

Image

This was something of a "milestone" because it was the first time Bubbles had been hooked up since I put the new axle and lower spring arrangement last month.

I have to say, she pulls nice! Such a difference having lost a hundred pounds or so, not to mention being so low. I've been used to running a "drop" hitch upside down to raise the hitch point, but this time I actually got to run it as a drop.

Taking the trailer to some professional refinishers, OTOH, didn't turn out so well. Suffice to say, the cost to have it done "professionally" is well beyond what we are comfortable spending (for the cost of having the roof covered in aluminum, we could probably just buy an off-the-shelf TD.)

So it was back to the original plan, refinish her ourselves as best we can and just live with it.

While I was out running around the FedEx truck showed up with our next big delivery: Fenders from the Teardrop Fix-It Shop in Montana. Here they are compared to Bubbles' "original" orange fenders:

Image

Image

They're narrow, but long. How long? Well, they'll fit in the area between the back of the door and the rear of the trailer, but only JUST!

Our wheels and hubcaps arrived last week, now we're just waiting for our retro-style whitewall tires to complete the look!

Then I used L brackets to attach the shelves to the back of the galley. We also came up with a way to keep the baskets in place when we drive, using an adjustable bungee cord and a couple of nice looking chrome handles.

Image

Image

After that, it was back to the grind. Literally, as in, grinding off the old polyurethane and stain so we can put a new coat on, hopefully this weekend. It's a long, tedious process even with a power orbital sander. But it's getting done!

Image

Saturday afternoon I took a break and got a 4 1/2" hole saw.

Image

I'd never used a hole saw before, and this is the first time we'd ever really done any permanent modification on Bubbles' exterior. My stepson Daniel has done a lot of home improvement work on his house so he gave me some pointers, and Voila - a nice round hole in the roof...

Image


The perfect place for our solar powered vent/light:

Image

Slipped right into the hole I put in the center of the roof, at the highest point

Image

Controls are all on the inside, easily accessible. Has a solar or battery powered fan and light. Fan is also reversible - will be an intake or exhaust fan, depending on what we want.

Image

Not even very intrusive. It's nice that we have a high ceiling, too!

Image

Following that it was sanding, sanding and more sanding. Still have some to do, but we are getting there. Fingers crossed, we hope to stain and poly this weekend. After the stain and poly are dry, the vent will be permanently mounted and sealed with silicone caulking.

Bubbles is in the shop now for some frame work - stay tuned, we should have her back by Thursday, if the weather clears up by then (with no finish on her and a hole in the roof, we can't risk moving her if there's a chance of rain!
Martin and Liz and our new T@B Clamshell "Livia"

Our old Teardrop "bubbles"
Bubbles version 2.0 build thread!

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Colorado Teardroppers and Tiny Trailers Camping Group (FB)

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Re: Bubbles version 2.0: The Buildup Begins!

Postby Corwin C » Mon Apr 29, 2013 9:48 pm

Let us know how you like the solar vent/fan. I've been pondering using it for my build as well.
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A mid-week update...

Postby Martinjmpr » Fri May 03, 2013 10:22 am

Even though this wasn't "our" work, I'm so thrilled about it that I just had to post it!

So as I'd posted before, we never liked the configuration of the tongue and the braces that were on the trailer when we got it:

Image

Image

As you can see, the braces were damaged, and looked like crap. They are also welded on in the wrong place - notice that at the rear they are at the bottom of the frame (which makes them level with the TOP of the tongue itself) but by the time they get up by the hitch, they are at the BOTTOM of the tongue, which results in a less supportive connection and also bends the tongue upwards. Sloppy and ugly, just one of the many corners that the builder cut, and one that really bugged us both.

Not only that, but the location of the (welded on) jack wheel prevented us from putting a tongue box on, which would give us a great place to store our jacks and other items we don't want to keep inside.

Image

(I should point out that the black tongue box in the picture above, which was a very heavy one made of steel, eventually went into Liz's Jeep to be a 'trunk", while we purchased a much ligher wieght aluminum box for Bubbles.)

So, I went down to the same local trailer shop, Vital Parts in Englewood, CO, to see what they could do. Talked to a very nice young guy named Ryan who assured me he could remove the jockey wheel, make room for the tongue box, and cut off the old support braces and put new ones on, that would both look better and make for a stronger trailer.

Yesterday after work, I went by to pick up Bubbles, and I have to say, I was quite impressed with the way she looked:

Image

Image

Image

Not only is it "cleaner" looking, it's stronger, better braced and welded on in such a way that the tongue doesn't curve upwards nearly as much.

You can also notice from this picture:

Image

That while the old brace ended at the front of the frame, this one actually goes under the front of the frame and is anchored at the first crossbar behind the front of the trailer - meaning it's supporting more of the trailer's weight and should be much stronger.

But looking at Ryan's work, I also noticed that he cleaned up my messy wires...

Image

...and also shortened my safety chains so they didn't drag on the ground! I didn't ask him to do those things, he just did it because he knew it needed to be done. And the price for all this was surprisingly good, under $300 for everything.

I definitely have to give the guys at Vital Parts a big :thumbsup: from me and will be going back there when I have other welding that needs to be done.

Incidentally, this is also the place where we got the new axle. A great place to do business with.

The Tongue box should work out great, and it's just bolted in, so we can remove it when it's time to refinish the outside of Bubbles, which should be soon!
Martin and Liz and our new T@B Clamshell "Livia"

Our old Teardrop "bubbles"
Bubbles version 2.0 build thread!

Our Facebook group:
Colorado Teardroppers and Tiny Trailers Camping Group (FB)

States we've visited with Bubbles and Livia: Image
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Re: Bubbles version 2.0: The Buildup Begins!

Postby KCStudly » Fri May 03, 2013 2:46 pm

That is a very good upgrade that needed doing.

Smart move, and I'm glad you had a good experience with the :thumbsup:
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Re: The buildup continues...

Postby nhstt » Fri May 03, 2013 6:03 pm

Martinjmpr wrote:We spent (really wasted) a whole day looking at RVs, hoping to find a place in the Denver area that sold teardrops, just so we could compare them in terms of price and features to Bubbles. Unfortunately, the only place I could find that actually sold teardrop trailers was in Loveland, 40 miles to the north, and was closed when we got there.

Sunday, Liz worked on sanding off the finish on the driver's side. She wants to re-stain it with a leaf-type design (she's going to try it out on some scrap wood before we commit it to bubbles.) We picked up the stain we need at Lowe's.

Image

Liz also put new tiling down for the deck in the galley area. She picked out a dark brown pattern that will look a lot better than the washed out white tile that the builder used:

Image

Meanwhile, I worked on the cabinet that will be in the galley. I should point out that in our trips last year, we had a large metal "chuck box" that carried all of our cooking essentials. For reference, here's a (fuzzy) picture of the chuck box. It was about 30" wide by 16" high by about 8" deep and weighed probably 25lbs empty:

Image

Getting rid of the chuck box was one of our goals and we were happy to note that almost everything that was in the chuck box fit into the mesh bins and into our cabinet. Originally, the galley only had the AC unit in there, and it was difficult to put anything else back there because of the slope of the hatch. With the AC unit out and the electrical box out (which also took up room in the galley) we have a lot more space. I had some scrap plywood so I built a simple cabinet that will cover most of the width of the galley, but will leave enough room for our camp stove. We then decided that rather than drawers, we'd go to the container store and get some metal mesh bins and see if they would work. We then mocked up the whole arrangement to see what would fit:

Image

Image

When we are "under way", the bins will be secured by a bungee cord or chain. Liz wants to find something "decorative" to use, I just want to make sure they don't go sliding around. Of course, the cabinet will be sanded and stained before it's permanently installed.

Liz then spent the rest of the afternoon putting a tile wall on the back of the galley area. We re-modeled our kitchen last year and Liz got a taste for installing ceramic tile. She's really good at it! She wanted to go with an irregular, funky pattern, so she bought some tile and spent about 4 hours installing it. The result is pretty spectacular!

Image

Image

We also got this very nice solar vent/light from Amazon. Looks like it will work well and no wiring is required. We have not yet installed it since we're still trying to figure out how we're going to skin the roof. Liz, How much was your solar vent and what was it called ?I need one of these! Bubbles is coming along great! :thumbsup: Karen

Image

With much of the side finish sanded off and another big spring snowstorm coming in, we decided to put Bubbles into the garage and leave my SUV outside. Bubbles will probably remain in the garage until we get the roof finish done.
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