Thrifty Alternatives ..Building Foam Campers

Canvas covered foamies (Thrifty Alternatives...)

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RE: PopTop TeeterTotter

Postby mezmo » Sun Sep 18, 2011 1:49 am

Hi chartle,

Your poptop 'TeeterTotter' story brought back a memory for me.

When I was a kid in the 1950s, my Dad was a heavy equipment operator
for a pipeline company in WNY and WPA. We lived in house trailers and
and traveled around from job to job. Dad pulled them with either a Chevy
PU or, the preferred, Caddy sedan. One cold drizzly November day we
moved from PA back to NY. The one trailer park we had a reservation at
turned out not to have the site available when we got there, so we went
to another about 20 miles away. By the time we got there it was dark but
there was a street light near enough to help at the spot we had. So Dad
backed in the 8 x35 foot Marlette, that was our mobile home, into position
and unhitched it from the Caddy. While he was doing this we got
company! A friend from the pipeline knew we were in the area and just
stopped in with his wife and kid. In the meantime, Dad had hooked up
the electric and turned on the propane so mom could cook supper and
we 2 kids + 1 company kid were shooed into the the middle walk through
bedroom to get out of the way while Mom started to get supper and
yakked with the lady friend. The trailer was unblocked, resting only on the
tongue jack and tandem wheels. In the course of entertaining ourselves,
we three kids went back into my parents rear bedroom. As soon as we
did that, the rear of the Marlette went down, the front went up in the air
and stuff started to fall out of the bathroom cabinets onto the floor. After
exchanging "Oh Shhht!" looks amongst ourselves, we started forward out
of the rear bedroom and the front of the Marlette went back down in a
nice smooth motion and went back to level, to rest again on the tongue,
jack and four wheels. Needless to say we were 'admonished' by Mom Not
to do that again and stay in the middle bedroom until we were called. We
all thought it was sort of neat when it happened as we didn't know it would
happen when it occurred. Now how many times can a kid say they had
'tilted' their 'house'? Anyway, my Dad got it secured enough for the night
and fully leveled and set up the next day.

We later used this new-found knowledge when we went to visit some
cousins at their dairy farm. We and the cousin kids came across a single
axle farm wagon sitting next to the tractor shed. Since we had told our
cousins what had happened with the Marlette, we all wondered if it would
happen with the farm trailer. So we held on to the stake sides and walked
towards the rear of the trailer bed and Whee! Hee! It did the exact same
thing! After a few 'rides' of that, we went on to check out other things
inside the barn.

We were familiar with Teeter Totters as kids, but didn't know a trailer and
its axle placement and its weight distribution would act the same way,
until we 'discovered' it firsthand!

So I'd vote to always have stabilizer jacks mounted to your trailer and
deployed when it is unhitched and in use. No need to turn it into an
unexpected carnival ride when you least expect it.

Cheers,
Norm/mezmo
If you have a house - you have a hobby.
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Postby GPW » Sun Sep 18, 2011 6:19 am

CH, the ply goes on the inside and serves to spread the load across a large area of the surface...

Norm I can see the necessity on a larger trailer for stabilizers... On these small ones , it may not be needed ... Maybe !!! Or maybe just one ... if you’re trying to save weight ... and you’re planning on unhitching the Trailer .. :thinking:
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Postby eaglesdare » Sun Sep 18, 2011 12:13 pm

off topic: we went to an apple orchard yesterday. anyone want some applesauce? :lol: i know have that coming out the ..well you know what. making apple butter now, and in a little while, pie filling.

love having this stuff in the middle of winter.

ok back to the topic. :lol:
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Postby GPW » Sun Sep 18, 2011 12:54 pm

Apple Butter .... Mmmmmm!!!!! 8)
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Postby chartle » Sun Sep 18, 2011 1:17 pm

GPW wrote:1. CH, the ply goes on the inside and serves to spread the load across a large area of the surface...

2. Norm I can see the necessity on a larger trailer for stabilizers... On these small ones , it may not be needed ... Maybe !!! Or maybe just one ... if you’re trying to save weight ... and you’re planning on unhitching the Trailer .. :thinking:


1. I'm thinking I would route out 2 1/2" channels maybe 3" wide inside the foam going from the cabinet to the floor to transfer the load down with a 1/2" piece of plywood.

Now I may be over thinking this, but I have a concern about shearing forces as the trailer is towed stopping and starting particularly if there is window AC unit up there. Maybe I could use a full piece of ply under it or add a cross brace of some sort.

2. Well the trailer will be unhooked. Maybe I can make lighter ones out of aluminum stock instead of the off the shelf ones that are designed for much larger trailers.
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Postby GPW » Sun Sep 18, 2011 1:38 pm

You mean like insetting /flush mounting the ply ?? That would be very Nice ,and you could cover over it with the inner fabric ... Thinner ply might work well as the foam does assume some of the load , but deforms around high stress areas left unsupported ..
Example ,if you just drilled a hole in the foam , glued in a dowel and put a load on it , it would eventually sag around the hole and fail ... Supported with some thin ply in the area , it would be able to take Much higher loads safely ... Here’s a pic of my “hard point “ attachments , you can see how the ply spreads out the load at the surface where it receives the most downward force... Image

Thinking for the AC , just mount it on a slide attached securely to the floor ... no stress on the walls that way ... or just carry it along in the TV and stick it in there when you need it ... No use dragging around a permanently mounted AC around half the year ... A small “door “ the exact size of the AC fit would be perfect ...
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Postby chartle » Sun Sep 18, 2011 9:28 pm

GPW wrote: Thinking for the AC , just mount it on a slide attached securely to the floor ... no stress on the walls that way ... or just carry it along in the TV and stick it in there when you need it ... No use dragging around a permanently mounted AC around half the year ... A small “door “ the exact size of the AC fit would be perfect ...


Where on the floor? the sleeping area is one big mattress.

As for a door that would open like a shelf, the only open wall area is in the front. Which means I would have to have a super sealed door and also have the thing 6 " from my head.
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Postby Miriam C. » Sun Sep 18, 2011 9:54 pm

You can put the air conditioner on the tongue and add some hoses to carry the air in and out. Plumbing fixtures will make good water tight openings.

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Postby eaglesdare » Mon Sep 19, 2011 7:04 am

GPW wrote: Thinking for the AC , just mount it on a slide attached securely to the floor ... no stress on the walls that way ... or just carry it along in the TV and stick it in there when you need it ... No use dragging around a permanently mounted AC around half the year ... A small “door “ the exact size of the AC fit would be perfect ...


:thumbsup:

i added a piece of foam inside my passenger side door. cut a hole in that for the a/c. worked perfectly.
now with the weather getting cooler, i can take that piece of foam out and store the a/c til next year. no need to carry that extra weight.
and i did not have to modify the foamie for the a/c.

i will be buying a different heater this year i think. when i go by myself, the heater i have is ok. but with more than 1 in there, the heater is in the way, so i need a smaller unit.
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Postby GPW » Mon Sep 19, 2011 7:58 am

Eagle , Shouldn’t need much of a heater with all that insulation and body heat huh ? .. Maybe an itty bitty one ... I have several 1500watt “milkhouseâ€
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Postby chartle » Mon Sep 19, 2011 9:21 am

[quote="GPW"]CH, With the bed taking up All of the TD space , it would seem possible to reinforce the wall with a plywood “plate" with the appropriate cutout for the AC , and maybe better , a small platform to support it , with angled shelf braces transferring the load to the floor/wall , the bed space un affected ... Just another “alternativeâ€
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Postby tinksdad » Mon Sep 19, 2011 9:53 am

[quote="GPW"]Eagle , Shouldn’t need much of a heater with all that insulation and body heat huh ? .. Maybe an itty bitty one ... I have several 1500watt “milkhouseâ€
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Postby GPW » Mon Sep 19, 2011 10:47 am

Dad , that’s what I was thinking too ... It’s not going to take much to heat or cool inside these virtually "ice chestâ€
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Postby chartle » Mon Sep 19, 2011 11:32 am

GPW wrote:1. Ch , Hotel ??? :o :shock: :? Dude , where there’s a need , there’ll be a way to fulfill it ... But a Hotel ? :roll:

2. There’s gotta’ be some place to mount it ... i don’t think you’ll be happy with the ducting business ... :thinking:


1. At the campground at Walt Disney World during certain times of the year a when they offer free dining its cheaper to stay in their on site value hotel rooms then it is to stay at their standard campsite (because they don't offer the promo to campsites)

2. As for ducting it solves two problems.

a. The unit is outside so less noise.

b. I can place on the tongue and run the output up a chase built into the front of the TD and since my bed platform is elevated above the trailer chassis I can run the return duct under the bed platform and have it at my feet for good circulation.
Last edited by chartle on Mon Sep 19, 2011 11:42 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby GPW » Mon Sep 19, 2011 11:37 am

Ch, Just have to do what’s Best for you !!! :thumbsup: No rules eh !! :D
Good Luck with that , and of course we‘ll want to see the pics too ... :thumbsup:
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