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Thread: Travel Trailer Electrical Upgrade

  1. #111
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    Hoo boy - got into the trim a bit. My plan was to sand all the rust off, leave the existing paint where it's still good, and paint over everything. You know how they say no plan survives first contact with the enemy? Or how, if you want to hear God laugh, tell him your plans? As I started sanding, I started seeing little "bubbles" emerge in places where the paint was seemingly intact. Sanding further, eventually these bubbles "pop" and reveal a tiny spec of rust underneath. What? The paint had appeared perfectly intact there before I started sanding. After I experienced several of these bubbles I determined to break out the paint stripper and get all the paint off just to see. Once I had the paint all off, it was flabbergasting to see all the tiny freckles of rust under what had been perfectly "intact" paint. Not sure if they were there before the metal was painted... or maybe somehow moisture and oxygen somehow actually penetrated through the paint to the surface below. No, these are not "rust through"... the metal is solid, just a tiny freckle of surface rust.

    Well, that will never do boys and girls. I'm not going to the trouble of painting just to have to strip it all off AGAIN 5 years from now and re-do it when the rust starts to re-emerge. All the paint is going to have to come off and Cav, I am seriously looking into the "rust-converter" treatment thing... I haven't seen the brand you mentioned on the store shelves here but I'm looking into it. When it comes to stripping, sanding, priming and painting, I'd rather go to "too much trouble" than to have the "double trouble" of having to do it all over again in a few years. One and done. Probably going to take me an extra weekend now. Ah well.
    In a crazy world, it's the crazy man who can get by - and it's about to get cray-cray up in here.

  2. #112
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    Took me 4 years to figure out this trailer is NOT a 1996 as it was sold to me... more likely 1986.

    Not happy with the seller but if confronted he'd likely say that's what it was sold to him as. It is difficult to track down official make/model/year via vin number because for trailers the rules weren't really standardized until recently. And the company that made the trailer is out of business (though there is a company by that name that makes motorhomes exclusively, they deny any connection). I'd like to update the registration but need more than a guess to base it on. There is a trailer dealership sticker near the door... if the place is still in business I will give them a call and see if it's in their records.

    In other news, a light finally dawned as to why the paint on the trim went to hell the way it did... in the process of stripping the paint it became obvious that it was all one color.... they basically just painted the finish coat right onto the bare metal. No primer and probably no surface prep. That's a shortcut/mistake that won't happen with the re-painting. It would have been a REAL mistake to just paint over the top of an already inferior paint job. It's likely it would start flaking/peeling in just a couple year's time. The stripping is a real hassle, but there is no way to do this job right without it.

    Before the stripping started I went to work on the factory label... actually got it off all in one piece. Going to hang onto it but there is so much discolorization it's barely legible or illegible in places, so I don't think I will put it back on. Maybe I can label it myself somehow so a future owner will know what they've got.



    Cleaning up all the rusty metal would take more time and sanding than I want to do and still leave me with questionable results. I'm going to try an old trick auto restorers use... soaking in wood bleach (oxalic acid).



    Starting with a mix of 4 tbsp per gallon i'm going to soak the parts overnight and tomorrow. Here goes!

    While I was waiting on other issues I managed to locate a package of replacement appliance trim screws... stainless steel. They'll be replacing the old rusty ones.
    Last edited by bruss01; 04-16-2017 at 10:14 PM.
    In a crazy world, it's the crazy man who can get by - and it's about to get cray-cray up in here.

  3. #113
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    Checked on the marinating metal... I'm impressed with the results so far... going to continue to let it soak until this evening, then post some before/after shots.

    This is a heck of a lot easier than spending hours sanding. I would definitely recommend this process especially for items with nooks and crannies or intricate/deep patterns that make it a poor candidate for sanding. I am doing mine after removing all paint because of the rust flecks I found under the paint, but you can find online photos of people who treated painted objects... it removes the rust, leaves the paint. Great for antiques. But beware, if you use this on guns, it will remove the rust, but also any bluing - bluing is a form of oxidized iron (controlled "rust" if you will) and oxalic acid/wood bleach will strip it all off. In a heartbeat. So you will end up re-finishing the gun if you go this route.

    ETA: Still soaking this evening... looking good but not 100% yet... overnight tonight should get the job done.
    Last edited by bruss01; 04-17-2017 at 10:09 PM.
    In a crazy world, it's the crazy man who can get by - and it's about to get cray-cray up in here.

  4. #114
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    Good info. Thanks
    Prepare for the worst, hope for the best

  5. #115
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    Ok. After 36 hours soaking with pulling out once in the middle to rinse and wipe down, here's the progress:



    Before/After

    You can easily see that 9̶5̶%̶+̶ 40% (eta: thought the black was just pitting - it is, but there is black rust in the pitts) of the rust is gone, and this was the piece with the worst corrosion. The dark grey areas are rust free but deeply etched as all the steel that was once rust is now disolved and gone. There are a few traces of brown still left and that means more time in the tank. There were places on this piece where the paint was intact but the metal was shiny underneath the paint once it was stripped. Those shiny places are now all slightly etched (light grey) and hopefully that means the paint will adhere better. Another 8 hours in the tank should finish up the two short pieces. If not, I may need to change out the solution because dissolving the rust and etching the iron are both chemical processes and the OA in solution is consumable - it gets "used up". The long pieces will take a few days because I will have to rotate the ends because my "tank" is only so deep.

    Speaking of the tank, here's a picture. This is made of ABS drain pipe with a sealed end cap. It holds about 1 gallon of solution. I made it to soak a gun barrel where there were bluing salts trapped between the receiver/barrel threads. It was a "scrap" the hardware store had left over after cutting a piece to length for another customer. A few soaks in boiling water followed by baking in the oven (low temp only) to drive out any moisture fixed that problem. Just had this gun out for a shoot this past weekend on a friend's property. It's a Swiss Schmidt-Rubin 11/96 that some "gunsmith" had sporterized long ago and converted from 7.5 Swiss to .308 Win. - Unfortunately that pressure spec is too high for this receiver and over time the rifle developed headspace issues which is how I acquired it. I chose to rebarrel it in .300 Savage which is well within the pressure spec for this metallurgy... that was a fun summer project, as was mounting iron sights on it. Where was I? Oh, right... here's the tank:



    Red thing on top is just a funnel that makes it easier to fill. I used an old milk jug to mix the solution - a cup of hot water in the jug, put the funnel on the jug, 4 tbsp of oxalic acid powder (wood bleach) in the funnel, another cup or two of hot tap water to wash it down, then put the cap on the jug and shake shake shake your booty (er, the jug I mean) and then top up the jug with warm water. Put the metal in the tank, fill up the tank, let sit until done. Easy peasy.

    SAFETY NOTICE: Oxalic acid is not the most toxic substance on the planet but it is listed as a poison. It's actually present in rhubarb leaves, which is why you ought not eat them. I've gotten it on my hands (casual contact) with seemingly no ill effects although I am mindful to wash my hands promptly thereafter. If you are the cautious sort, you may want to wear rubber gloves when working with it, but I am dubious of the benefits for momentary exposure. It is ok to dump down the drain after neutralizing it with some baking soda - can't vouch for septic system compatibility though. If you drip some on the floor it's probably a good idea to wipe it up before a dog or cat steps in it, then later licks their foot. My personal assessment from a cursory bit of research - don't drink it or engage in long-term repeated contact, this stuff is probably less harmful than most of what's under your kitchen sink.

    Side Effects of Oxalic Acid
    http://www.livestrong.com/article/47...f-oxalic-acid/

    Cav - I did locate a place locally that carries the POF-15 that you mentioned. I'm going to see how difficult it is to use in a spray-on application. I'm usually a rattle-can guy and as such don't have a sprayer - and I definitely don't want a "brush on" finish for this.
    Last edited by bruss01; 04-20-2017 at 03:25 PM.
    In a crazy world, it's the crazy man who can get by - and it's about to get cray-cray up in here.

  6. #116
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    It's looking better!
    Prepare for the worst, hope for the best

  7. #117
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    There is a kit, the one I had comes from Ace hardware. It turns any paint into spray paint, there is a canister you put the paint into then screw on the aerosol can. Works great for small project like yours. I'll search for a link or at least a name.

    Found it! It's called preval paint system. Here is a link for home depot.

    http://www.google.com/aclk?sa=l&ai=D...Qwg8IIA&adurl=
    Last edited by flock6; 04-18-2017 at 02:22 PM.
    Don't bring skittles to a gun fight.

  8. #118
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    Looks perfect Flock! I'll have to ask around and see if I can find it in the store.
    In a crazy world, it's the crazy man who can get by - and it's about to get cray-cray up in here.

  9. #119
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    I swear Bruss, most of your "before" pics look better than my "after" ones. We've got a 1950's Servel (propane only) frig at the BOL I'm afraid to touch for fear I'd kill it with kindness, plus "if it ain't broke" lol. Other than having to 'burb' it once about 15 years ago to clear a clog (air pocket?) it's been a stalwart. The much newer propane frig and chest freezer at the house have been reliable so far, although defrosting them about every 3-4 months is required. With little more than a pilot light of flame on the newer models (about 1.2 lbs of propane use per day IIRC) we'll get ice chips in the milk and crack eggs if we adjust it too high.
    Everything marked, everything 'membered. You wait, you'll see.

  10. #120
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    I can't believe I'm posting more about a damn paint job than I did about the whole solar panel installation. As they say, "The Devil is in the Details".

    Two days of soaking in oxalic acid bath made some noticeable improvement but I saw a marked drop off in effectiveness after 24 hours. After 48 I pulled the worst piece, rinsed it and gave it a once-over with a wire toothbrush. What I had earlier thought to be just dark pitting, I then started to think was still actual rust even though it was black instead of brown. I took it out to my saw table and gave it a good going over with a stripping wheel on my power drill. Boy howdy was I surprised to see some real progress and SHINY METAL starting to come through. I think the acid bath loosened and softened the rust a good bit because I had tried sanding previously with meager results. There was still a little darkness left in the deepest pits so after I was satisfied that all the rust I was getting off, was off, it goes back in the tank for another bath with fresh solution.

    So, couple things I have learned from this experience so far:
    Oxalic acid is GREAT for getting light surface rust off. Basically soak and rinse. Especially if there is detail (like paint) present you need to preserve, or deep recesses that are impractical to sand.
    When it comes to heavy rust and deep pits, it's going to need help - wire brush and stripping wheel, maybe a bit of finish sanding to pretty things up.
    With larger pieces - if at all possible try to immerse the entire piece. If that's not possible, you need to get significant overlap. After doing the first half, you have to rinse the 2nd half to prevent a scum layer from forming (which is easily removed later but it's avoidable).

    Here's the kick-plate getting the same treatment. Cleaning up pretty nice. You can see the pits if you look close - they're pits, but clean all the way to the bottom. This will be ready to paint when it's finished on the table here. This is my "case in point" about the scum that forms if you don't rinse after soaking. It comes off pretty easy with the stripping wheel, and a light finish sanding with a finer grain sand paper makes it look quite nice.





    Marked - hey man, it's all good. If your Servel is working for you - hey, don't mess with success! I would be disinclined to tear apart a working fridge just to gussie it up. The only reason I'm into it this far was that I had to take the old girl out of the enclosure and half apart anyway to get the new electric element in. Then there's the whole burner assembly that had to come out to get at the flame sensor. Oh and the ignitor board replacement... as long as it's out on the floor there will never be a better time to replace that light fixture that's a booger to get at when the fridge is installed. Oh, and finally - gee that's a lot of nasty rust, wonder what we can do about that as long as we've come this far... LOL - damn snowball effect, "mission creep".

    As long as it's cutting into my spring project time anyway, I just want to fix everything that could possibly need fixing, and then be able to FORGET about it and take it for granted for a few years without having to worry about it going down on me in the middle of a trip somewhere on my precious time off. I'm sure you can relate!

    This whole trailer project has been an "education" from day one. I had no idea as to the depth and breadth of my ignorance LOL. The knowledge and experience are wonderful things to have. Even if it's a process sometimes acquiring them!
    Last edited by bruss01; 04-19-2017 at 06:49 PM.
    In a crazy world, it's the crazy man who can get by - and it's about to get cray-cray up in here.

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