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Night Shade: Adventure trailer build thread.

Discussion in 'RV / Trailers / Camping' started by gmanpaint, May 15, 2018.

^^Searches ExplorerForum.com^^





  1. gmanpaint

    gmanpaint It's Always Something! Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    Previously on................. Night Shade !


    The spare tire was fit snugly between the cabin wall and the Tongue box for storage, and bolted/locked, to a mount on the wall. The Tongue box was made to swing out on a pivot, to access the tire.

    box on pivot out front view.jpg
    T-box swung Dr side.jpg

    The box swings out far enough to cross over the main center beam in front of it, and needs a clear path in order to do so. Right now, with the Jack placement, it acts as a stop for the box when deployed. That's as far as the box needs to move to easily remove and install the spare tire.

    The wire tow harness was installed on top of the center beam, to keep it out of harms way. (Remember, trail use, and pinch points.) It is low enough to allow the T-box to swing over it, but barely. Center beam is 2"x2", while the trailer frame tubes are 2"x3", with a 1/2" exposure, top & bottom. The harness (and battery charge cable) is exposed like this, and I can see others stepping on it to climb over the beam, instead of walking around the vehicle while attached. Myself included.

    Silicone jacket harness on.jpg


    This brings us to tonight's Episode......


    As seen in the preview, just a bunch of random junk not making much sense. All will be revealed, right after this commercial break....





    A section of 1-5/8" Super strut was cut into 2 pcs. Mounting tabs was welded on, to bolt it to the center 2" beam. To get the tabs flush, two 1/8" plate squares was welded to the Superstrut on both sides, in 3 locations. After some 1/9" plate was welded to the top to cover the struts bolt holes, a hinge was welded onto both sections on top, making a front & rear section. Rear tabs had 5/16" holes drilled in them, and front tabs got 1/4" holes. The underside had some slots cut into it for weep holes for the J channel. Once it was all welded, it was cleaned, and 2 coats of self etch primer sprayed on.

    Harness cover primed.jpg

    A few coats of gloss black oil sprayed on, and left to cure for a day.

    Harness cover  paint job.jpg

    Since the T-box needed the clearance to swing out for spare tire access, that's the reason for the 2 pc with hinge on it. Before the box can swing out, the rear section of this harness cover needs to be lifted up and folded out of the way. Yes, I know, another step to get to the tire, but it only takes a second. Sheesh.....

    With the harness clamps removed, and the bolt holes now plugged, the front section is bolted on tight to the 2" center beam. The hinged rear section is held in with a 1/4" x 2.5" Clevis pin. I managed to mark and drill the holes perfectly, and once the pin is in, there is no play, no movement, at all.

    cover hinge.jpg
    Harness cover installed.jpg

    A grommet was added to the cable, and a little of the top plate was left short on purpose for the cable, as it rises to enter the security cog box.
    Both the harness and charge cables fit nicely up inside the Superstrut, and are not resting on the 2" center beam any longer.

    With the width and design of the Superstrut, it sits squarely on top of the beam along the entire length of it. It can now be walked on, stood on, and items dropped onto it, and the cables are safe and sound.

    Testing an idea out here......

    I have a couple of these Stainless chain re tractor devices. These are a little more stout with a heavier working load then the thin cable types. I attached one to the top of the cog box, and then to the out stretched battery charge cable. It will take up the cable slack when connected, and disconnected. Just an idea...

    Power cable retractor.jpg

    That's it for this weeks episode, Thanks for watching.
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2019
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  3. BKennedy

    BKennedy Elite Loser Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    Honestly, I thought the harness was secure riding on top of the tongue, but....awesome. Overkill comes in handy while off the beaten path.
     
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  4. gmanpaint

    gmanpaint It's Always Something! Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    It will serve another purpose when the XO off road Jack is installed. The mounting plate on it is about the same height ( bit taller) as these two tubes are. It has 2 bolts over and 2 bolts under to sandwich the tubes.

    The tongue beam sits at 25" off the ground. Stepping on it, while stepping over it, and I just wanted to keep it safe. Nothing says kill, better than overkill. Lol
     
    Last edited: April 26, 2019
  5. Mbrooks420

    Mbrooks420 High Voltage. Elite Explorer EF Vendor

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    Again, the controls guy says excellent wire work. One thing I’ve learned if there’s a weird, unlikely circumstance to damage your wiring it will absolutely happen. And will definitely happen when you are under the gun for other things.
     
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  6. donalds

    donalds Elite Explorer

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    So true .... this is why I love my weller shoot had the base since I was a kid been through like 3 heating element's
     
  7. gmanpaint

    gmanpaint It's Always Something! Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    Broke out the Ready Welder, and put a full 1 lb spool of Lincoln 35 flux wire in it. Made a set of 4 awg wires in case I ever need to use 3 batteries (450 amps) for HD welds. Hooked it all up to be ready for a trail repair. The case is just big enough to hold everything it comes with, and no room for anything else.

    So I have a couple of cheap HF welding goggles I was going to use, as they are small for storage, but never really liked the idea of using them. Figured I would find something better down the road.

    That day came unexpectedly. I have a client who is a regional manager for Miller welding. I did some Barter work, in exchange for a brand new Miller soft hood mask. It's bigger than goggles, but is small enough to store easier than a conventional mask.

    This thing has all the same bells & whistles as it's full size counterpart. Can use with or without the soft hood, as it slips on over it.

    Miller mask 1.jpg
    Miller mask 2.jpg

    It comes with a storage bag, but I need to find a hard case for it. Storage space is a premium in this trailer. The pelican cases are too bulky, and overkill, so I will be on the hunt for something more fitting for storage.

    Bonus from my client....They are sending me the Miller under the hood slim air mask and a good supply of replacement cartridges for it. No more sooty nostrils! lol

    Haven't had time or funds for this project lately. Hoping to get back at it asap, but might be some time. Crazy winter, crazy spring weather, has stopped production, which means no extra funds for anything. We are still flooding here, and the area is a mess. Going to take some time for these major rivers to recede, and then the dry out can begin. We are still 10-15' over flood stages all along the rivers, and cresting at least once a week. Funsville.
     
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  8. gmanpaint

    gmanpaint It's Always Something! Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    Hot water heater build Part 1: Storage case and heater install

    I bought a couple of 20" Pelican knock off cases a while back. They was on sale for $20/ea, and knew I would find a use for them eventually. I was researching how others have mounted their instant hot water heaters, and seen some had used these cases for storing the water heaters, with some modifications to them. All of these people just bolted the case to the sides of their trailers permanently, which I have no spot to do this. I needed a good way to store the heater, to keep it safe, and also use it. If I wanted to use this case to store the heater, I had to come up with a different way to use it. I did just that, but in this post, we will just go over the box build itself, and talk about the mounting of it in the following post.

    For those not familiar with these Pelican style cases...They have a deep side, and a lid side with strong hinges, 4 latches, 2 locking tabs, a water tight lid gasket seal, and a pressure release. Because they are air tight, the pressure inside of them changes with altitude changes. Say you travel in a plane, or drive over mountains for example. In order to open them, you have to turn these knobs to level off the pressure inside. They will suck in, or blow out, then the lid can open. I removed all the pluck foam, and the lid foam for this build, as it is not needed.

    The water heater I chose after doing a lot of research, was the Camp Chef HWD5 Triton series. It is a mid size heater out of 3 sizes offered. It is an automatic instant propane hot water heater.
    Some specs:
    • 72" shower hose and spray handle
    • 34,000 BTU burner
    • Maximum flow: 1.5 gallons/min - raises water temp 38° F
    • Minimum flow: 0.5 gallon/min - raises water temp 102° F
    • Requires at least 25 PSI water pressure from input hose for proper flow
    • Uses 2 D batteries for ignition (not included)
    The operating system:
    When you push/pull the handle trigger, it releases pressure, The 3.0 gpm water pump kicks on, water starts flowing, the heaters battery powered igniter sparks the 34k burner, water flows thru the coils, and hot water emerges from the end of the output hose. When you release the handles trigger to stop the water flow, the heater automatically shuts off. The pump will build pressure again, and then shut off. All this takes but a mere second to happen. On initial use, the water sitting in the output hose to the handle will be cold, so best to let it flow for a second before use.

    The top of the heater is a large vent where all the hot air escapes. The bottom of the heater is all business. This is where the intake/output water and propane connections are, the drain valve, and the double D battery compartment is. The face has 2 knobs, 1 for temp control, and 1 for water rate flow.

    To get this heater to mount inside the case, plus have room to hook all 3 lines up, and close easily, I had to come up with some ideas here to make it all work.

    Because it needs... A) Room to install & remove all 3 lines, open the battery compartment, and be able to open/close the drain valve.. B) The top hot air vent needs to be able to be in the open, the heater is installed on the lid of the box. With the heater flat on the lid, the lids lip was in the way of a straight shot at the line connections. To remedy this, I made a couple aluminum 3/4" channel mounts to lift it up higher. To figure out exactly how much space I had between the heater knobs, and the box when closed, I used modeling clay. A block of clay was set on top of a paint stick which sat across both knobs. Closed the box, smashing the clay. Open the box, and measure the clay/stick to get my gap measure. It had 7/8", and thus why the 3/4" channel was used. It leaves a 1/8" gap between the heater and box when closed.

    To mount the channels, to the heater, and then to the box lid itself, it was cut to length, then holes marked and drilled for 1/4" SS hardware. Channel is bolted to the heater first, using it's mounting tabs.

    Backside showing bottom mounts.jpg
    Side view showing mounts.jpg

    Next was to mount it to the case lid.

    There was really no room to get the nuts on the bottom half of the channel, so I opted for longer bolts, and ran them all the way thru it, then the nuts went on top easily. The alum channel is not as strong as mild steel, so I made some 1/2" long 1/4" spacers for the bolts. These sit inside the channel, and when the bolts are tightened, the channel doesn't collapse on itself. 2 sets per channel. Large fender washers used on the outside of the lid.

    SS bolts with spacers.jpg
    Bolt spacer in channel.jpg
    Top mounted.jpg

    As you can see the top of the heater is almost all vent, and needs as much open space as possible when running so it doesn't melt the molded case.

    Here is a better view of it showing it is completely clear of the case lid.

    Top vent view.jpg



    The bottom (back) of the heater is lifted far enough to get all the lines installed easy enough now.

    Water lines hooked up.jpg

    The Outlet hose on the left is a NSF drinking water hose with stainless ends. The Intake line is also NSF, but is a 15' coiled line with the quick connect end on it, for hook up to the water feed on the side of the trailer. I chose a front trigger Melnor XT 8 selection water handle, with thumb control for pressure out. Will be used for everything, showers, dishes, cleanup, etc....

    The Heater in the open case.

    Heater in box profile.jpg

    Ok, so now the heater is safe for storage, and while in use, I can now turn my attention towards how I plan on using this when camping. The removable mounting system is currently being built, and is almost ready to share. Stay tuned for Part 2 !
     
    Last edited: June 9, 2019
  9. BKennedy

    BKennedy Elite Loser Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    Man, can you organize my RV?
     
  10. gmanpaint

    gmanpaint It's Always Something! Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    How much does that pay? I need more mod Money!! :D
     
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  11. BKennedy

    BKennedy Elite Loser Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    It would be more of a charitable donation type of deal...
     
  12. gmanpaint

    gmanpaint It's Always Something! Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    Hmm.... I'll have get back to you on that. Kinda booked up currently.



    :D
     
  13. BKennedy

    BKennedy Elite Loser Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    Just out of curiosity, what do you think will be the weight of the completed trailer?
     
  14. gmanpaint

    gmanpaint It's Always Something! Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    Hoping around 2000 dry, but honestly I'm not sure as I still have a bunch left to add to it. Had a goal set to keep it under 2500 wet. The day I take it to the scales will be a nail biter. Lol
     
  15. gmanpaint

    gmanpaint It's Always Something! Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    Water Heater build Part 2: Mounting it to the trailer for use...

    To get this case close to the propane tank and water outlet, and high off the ground, I came up with a solution. The winch is stored on top of the trailer rack using a 2"x2" tube cross member. The winch mount is welded on, so there is nothing passing thru this tube. Tested a scrap pc of type "A" & type "B" Superstrut by putting them inside the 2" tube. They both fit. I had a long pc of the smaller Type "B", so I started with it. In the end, it wasn't strong enough and twisted under the heater case weight. I went and got a new stick of the larger type "A", and started over.

    I cut the Strut to length, leaving it 1.5" shorter then the length of the 2" tube. A bunch of measuring was done, a couple holes drilled in the sides of the 2" tube, and five 1/4" strut nuts was welded to the strut channel. The strut channel is inserted inside the 2" sq tube, and held tight with two turn knobs that bolt into the welded on nuts. The 2" tube end cap is put back on to close it all up. I installed a SS eye bolt to grab and pull the end cap off.

    I removed the blue plastic keepers on the 1/4" strut nuts and welded them on the strut. The end caps are for the smaller "B" strut, but I also had the larger "A" strut caps. The knobs are 1/4" studs with SS fender washers.
    Heater mount strut  hardware.jpg

    The case had some more stuff added to it, so the heater came off. Using some 2"x2" sq aluminum tube scraps I had, I bolted them to the case lid. These slide over the extended strut channel, and two knobs are used to secure it tight using the welded nuts installed.

    Also added a couple of rubber grab clamps to hold the hose & handle when not in use.

    After mounting the case to the extended channel, the weight of it, still twisted this larger channel, but only a little. Still enough that I didn't like it. So after scratching my head, and eyeballing everything I had, I came up with another solution. Not the best looking solution, but one that works well.

    I used a truck bed cargo bar for a leg. These bars are the kind that can collapse/expand, have feet on them, and after you get the ends touching both sides of the bed, you turn the bar to tighten it. The feet stay put and unscrew from the bar, making it longer. Perfect! I removed one of the feet, and bolted it to the case lid. I swapped out the bolt/nut with a 3/16" pull pin to be able to remove the bar from the case easily. Once on, I simply extended it, placed a 3/4" block of wood under the other foot on the ground, and turned the rod until it lifted up on the case, and made it true vertical. Offers awesome support to the entire system. I will get a real ground pad for it later.

    From start to finish on hooking it up from scratch took me 3 mins, and I was taking my sweet time doing it. The heater case and rod will be stored inside the trailer, and the small misc hardware (in a small nylon tool bag), plus the propane line stores inside the case.

    Had to remove some of the raised ribs on the case, for the fender washers and sq tubes to sit flush. Used a Dremel with a router bit, and zipped them right off.

    Topside of lid.jpg

    The SS eye bolt used to remove the end cap, and showing one of the knobs to hold the channel tight inside the tube. Remove them both, and slide the strut out of the rack tube. Secure it with 1 knob to the rack tube. Slide the heater case onto the strut, and secure it with 2 knobs.

    DR side knob on & cap on.jpg

    Backside of the case all mounted up.

    On with tilt fixed.jpg
    Final install backside.jpg

    Front view

    Final install front view.jpg
    Final install showing gas tank.jpg

    It looks like it's in the way, but it isn't. When the tent is opened, and the lower annex room is installed, it won't even be noticed where it's located. Those extend past the trailer by 8 feet. It is nice and close to both fuel & water supply. The shower enclosure itself will be about 8-10 feet away from the trailer itself. When using hot water for anything other than showering, the water hose/handle will reach to the backside of the trailer easily with plenty of extra slack to reach the kitchen area.


    I finally received all the Stainless trim bolts. Ended up getting the R2 Sq panheads. That is going to be a hell of a labor intensive job removing all that, clear coating the trim, and getting the first coat of wax on the black paint work. Some of the trim doesn't come off as it is permanently installed, so those pcs need clear coated while on, which means they get done before the wax/finish. I think I will wait until after the interior build is completed.

    Going to be long periods between updates on this, as work hasn't picked up as much as I hoped for, but per the usual, I will do what I can, when I can. I am not in any rush with this thing. Only been almost 2 years now, whats another few more months? lol

    Until next time folks.....
     
    Last edited: June 12, 2019
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  16. gmanpaint

    gmanpaint It's Always Something! Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    Things are about to get busy again at the ole trailer shop.

    5'x5' sheets of authentic sanded Baltic Birch Ply (13 & 17 ply, no filler) for the storage/kitchen build just got delivered. (Thanks Pugly!) Man that stuff is hard to manhandle alone. Getting them on/off a lifted rig only drew a little blood. lol

    5x5  BB on pugly.jpg

    Lowes had a sale going with the Kreg tools. I got the master joiner kit, and they threw in a 675 pc screw set for free ($40). I also got the slider jig, to make that job easier. They are a PITA sometimes, so this should make life easier for me.

    New Kreg tools.jpg
     
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  17. Dono

    Dono 347 V8 Limited turbo Elite Explorer

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    I'd love to just hang out with you to learn how you do stuff. I'd learn so much.
     
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  18. gmanpaint

    gmanpaint It's Always Something! Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    Most everything done so far is a first for me. I'm learning as I go!!

    I just decided that I would figure it out as I went. Had to go at it one thing at a time, and have no fear. Learn from mistakes, and celebrate the accomplishments, no matter how small.

    It's also why this is taking so long. That and finances. Lol

    Edit:
    Meant to say this before, but hit the post too fast.
    Dono, your welcome to come by and visit anytime you want. If you get bored watching me work, the drag strip is close by, and there is always something going on there in the warmer months. :D
     
    Last edited: June 13, 2019
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