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Thread: Cargo trailer conversion (somewhat)

  1. #11
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    Mar 2007
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    Quote Originally Posted by marked View Post
    Thanks for the ideas guys. Still looking around for the door hardware, was thinking the same thing about locking the outer side open while we were inside. Having a hard time finding a slide bolt with enough length/throw online, would like to have about a 4" throw to be sure I have enough room to mount it. Going to check out the local Amish hardware store this week to try to find something (even if just an idea what would work if they don't have what I need). Hadn't thought of putting the batteries on the tongue, that'd have some advantages and requires more thought. Thinking about a roof rack too, want to put a coat of rubber sealant (or similar) on it first.

    Built a list of all the auto salvage/junkyards within 50 miles and need to give them a call today to see if any might have camper/RV parts. Was pricing stuff online and it'd get really expensive real fast buying everything new. Was thinking of a smallish window on one side, but maybe also a couple small vent-type windows near the ceiling too. 4 inches high by 2 ft long or something close to that for a little more light and ceiling ventilation. Thinking what I end up doing will largely be decided on what parts I can acquire inexpensively.

    Got the new tires ordered anyway, and supposed to be nice weather again this weekend so hoping to get it up on blocks and get the tires off and hopefully get the door figured out if not installed/working.
    I remember when I first got my camper, it was very much a "project" on wheels. First up was to get new tires and brakes (both were shot). That was some heavy expense right out of the gate because I had thought both were at least "usable" - nope. Wife wouldn't have it, and in retrospect I am glad of her insistence. Should never take a chance on safety out on the road. And a set of deep cycle batteries because it came without one. I've enjoyed working on the old girl but it has sure taken up a lot of my time and money getting to where we are now. But I've got to say it's one of the most satisfying of my prepping efforts because I actually get to use it and enjoy it... and I have learned so, so many things in the process.

    Check out your RV repair places for spare parts. They are the ones that usually end up with salvageable parts or whole rigs. For whatever reason you don't often see them in junkyards.
    Last edited by bruss01; 04-06-2017 at 03:26 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.

  2. #12
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    May 2011
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    Central Texas
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    Why don't you post an ad on Craigslist? Junk TBs wanted, cash paid. There was an old slide in camper at our lease several years ago that had been abandoned a good 10 years prior. It was in extremely sad shape and was home to who knows how many critters. My dad and I took MANY useful parts off of it including the oven which is working good to this day.
    Prepare for the worst, hope for the best

  3. #13
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    Jan 2014
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    There's an RV dealer about 40 miles away, will have to stop in next time I'm headed that direction. Thought about posting an ad on Craigslist, but didn't want to deal with the leftover camper after I was done cannibalizing all the pieces I wanted off it. On the bright side, it's almost yard sale season here so hoping that'll be another source for cheap parts.

    Monday update... Wheels off and in the shop being mounted on the rims now. Having issues getting a good seal on the cargo door, still working on that. Thing might end up having more locks than the Panama Canal by the time I'm done lol.

    Installed the register vent, ended up putting it in the floor instead of the wall as originally planned. Used two vents actually, one inside the trailer and the other underneath (sandwiching the hole between the two register vents). The one inside can be closed, and the one underneath has the screen attached to keep bugs out. It's behind the mud flap and somewhat protected from the splash of the tire by the trailer frame so hoping it won't get clogged with dirt or sprayed too badly by water. The placement just made sense as it's about the furthest from where the roof vent will be so it should draw air across the whole length of the trailer, and the trailer frame and a steel plate underneath in that spot left just enough room to mount it so there's plenty of support there without weakening the floor with the hole. Just some clean-up work underneath the trailer needed and I can cross that off the list.

    Still waiting on the toilet/roof vent/shore power plug, they should arrive this week. Spent half the day Sunday deciding on the power solution, and trying to figure out why the "camper battery charging" circuit on my 7-pin trailer connection isn't working from my truck. 2012 F-150, and have the relay and fuse for it installed. Think I have the problem narrowed down to either bad grounding through the ball-hitch or a "too smart" truck that wants to see a working brake system before it turns that relay/circuit on (trailer brakes on mine are shot and disconnected). Digging around the F-150 forums this battery circuit seems like a common source of problems, even more frustrating since I had the tow package installed by the factory. Have a few ideas for testing which the problem is, but waiting until I get the tires back on as I'm not comfortable crawling around underneath while it's supported on the jackstands. At least for now the power solution will be to install batteries that will be charged off the truck when it's running, or from a battery charger when the generator is running.

    No pics since the trailer is just more of a mess than the earlier one with tools/parts lying all over inside and up on jacks on the outside.
    Everything marked, everything 'membered. You wait, you'll see.

  4. #14
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    Mar 2007
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    I'm sure you already thought of this but a heavy rubber welcome mat or something over your floor vent may be a good idea for protecting your interior from road dust while in transit. When it comes to vents sometimes there is a diff between "closed" and "airtight" . Five miles on a dry gravel road could illustrate the difference in an unforgettable fashion.
    Last edited by bruss01; 04-10-2017 at 04:07 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.

  5. #15
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    Sweet Tennessee
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    Not meaning to hijack your awesome thread as I do enjoy the progress of someone's solutions..... I too have a 2012 F150 (supercrew 4x4 with eco boost) I've never hated a vehicle so much as that one! I'm a Chevy man at heart so.......
    Don't bring skittles to a gun fight.

  6. #16
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    Jan 2014
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    Quote Originally Posted by bruss01 View Post
    I'm sure you already thought of this but a heavy rubber welcome mat or something over your floor vent may be a good idea for protecting your interior from road dust while in transit. When it comes to vents sometimes there is a diff between "closed" and "airtight" . Five miles on a dry gravel road could illustrate the difference in an unforgettable fashion.
    I was thinking just a rug, but think I like a heavy rubber door mat better now. Move it out to the tongue after stopping to wipe your feet off. Thanks Bruss.


    Quote Originally Posted by flock6 View Post
    Not meaning to hijack your awesome thread as I do enjoy the progress of someone's solutions..... I too have a 2012 F150 (supercrew 4x4 with eco boost) I've never hated a vehicle so much as that one! I'm a Chevy man at heart so.......
    Always get Fords since I get them A-Plan (discount) through family. Never owned a Chevy so can't honestly compare, but I like generally like the F150 (ecoboost too, but just the supercab). FX4 offroad model, but don't get me wrong cause I think it's a mostly poor design for an offroad model (stock clearance should be higher, should come with better tires, and the transmission cooler down at stump level is questionable at best). I mostly drive it like an old-man anyway tho lol. Most of my gripes about Ford trucks in general are I always seem to have electrical problems with them, like right now on my '99 F150 with both the brake and turn signal lamps on the right-rear not working (diff lamps, and reverse lamp on the same side works). If it turns out to be more than a bad bulb (which? or both? lol) it'll just be the latest of many electrical problems with that truck, although it always starts and gets me home (even if it's raining and the wipers don't work or the window won't go up).
    Everything marked, everything 'membered. You wait, you'll see.

  7. #17
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    Slow going, more so with shipping delays and the weather not really cooperating. Picked up a new puppy on Good Friday that is taking up a lot of time as well.

    Got the tires back on. Installed the shore power plug/socket and got it wired in. Finished the floor vent work. Still not happy with the seal on the top of the entry door (when closed from the inside), some more work required there. The battery charging circuit from the truck is working (added a new ground connection but not sure the old one was really bad), no clue what logic the truck has before it turns that circuit on as no matter what I tried in the driveway would work, but a 12 mile trip to town and the battery had more voltage than when I left. I did have to wire up one of the magnets from the old electric brakes before it would sense a trailer connected and turn the circuit on. The magnet currently cable-tied to the frame near the wiring junction box until I can secure it with baling wire lol.

    Installed a couple bus bars that will be the + and - for the 12v power and battery connection, still need a proper battery - debating on a couple T-105 Trojans or just a deep cycle marine battery as we're not likely to be using this trailer/camper very often anyway. Might just go with the marine battery since the trailer won't be stored where there is power nearby to keep the batteries topped off, and will have to bring the batt(s) in the house over the winter anyway (or keep the snow off yet another solar panel to keep it trickle charged). Other than that, wire brushing off years of rust (and neglect) but not near close to being ready for priming/painting yet. They sell that wood acid by the 55 gal barrel Bruss? lol Next up is the roof vent, weather (and work/puppy) permitting. Have to get some pics I suppose, not to show off my handy work but maybe just for a picture diary of the evolution of Oscar.
    Everything marked, everything 'membered. You wait, you'll see.

  8. #18
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    Yes, we need some pics of the work, but more so of the puppy.

    I think you should just go with deep cycle.
    Had 3 in my boat year round for some number of years.
    They came from walmart, don't remember brand. One of the larger available sizes in amp/hours.
    Never a problem out of them.

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nicor View Post
    Yes, we need some pics of the work, but more so of the puppy.

    I think you should just go with deep cycle.
    Had 3 in my boat year round for some number of years.
    They came from walmart, don't remember brand. One of the larger available sizes in amp/hours.
    Never a problem out of them.
    Agreed, need pics of your new MAG member!

    Batteries - yeah, not being able to keep the battery at full charge will be an issue. Lead-acid batteries do self-discharge slowly when not being used and running them down due to just sitting will reduce their life over time. Have you thought about getting just a single solar panel for the roof? And a small charge controller of some kind? I know they are not the greatest but the Harbor Freight panels would work if you have some laying around, just to keep a charge up. (I don't recommend buying these new as there are better bang per buck options but lots of folks have some laying around - I do) You may want to start out with a marine deep cycle, but if you do, it's probably a smart call to make your battery enclosure large enough to accommodate a pair so that you can have the option to run two 12v marine batteries in paralell or two 6v Trojans in series. Those batteries are going to off-gas a mixture of hydrogen and oxygen when charging (even if just from the truck connection) so keep in mind that explosive gas needs a way to vent... I've read it can be explosive in concentrations as little as 1-2 percent.

    Just took a quick look and found this:

    https://www.amazon.com/ALLPOWERS-Con...GT/ref=sr_1_1?


    Jumpin' Jehoshophat! $21.99 ?!! (normal price $60) At that price, I could see snagging a couple of these to stick away in an ammo box for EMP redundancy. "By Grapthar's hammer... what a savings!"

    Or this (similar) $16 - wow.
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...c_act_title_1?

    I also took a quick look for panels (my previous supplier seems to no longer offer panels... hmmm...). Found 150w 12v panels for around $165

    150 Watt 12 Volt Waterproof Monocrystalline Solar Panel Charger (Walmart)



    So, for under $200 (plus a bit of wire to hook it all together) you get a way to keep your battery charged up and protected, and have some off-grid power on the go. If it was me, I wouldn't think twice, but you know your needs and goals better than anyone.
    Last edited by bruss01; 04-19-2017 at 04:22 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.

  10. #20
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nicor View Post
    Yes, we need some pics of the work, but more so of the puppy.

    I think you should just go with deep cycle.
    Had 3 in my boat year round for some number of years.
    They came from walmart, don't remember brand. One of the larger available sizes in amp/hours.
    Never a problem out of them.
    I'm thinking the same on the deep cycle... The larger name brand ones are going for about $100 around here, but was just checking the prices and not the capacity until I made a decision one way or the other. Walmart most likely has the same ones (or comparable) for less but it's an hour drive either NE or due W to the nearest one. Think for the use it'll get that's the best idea. Don't need this turning into a bigger money pit than it has been already lol.

    Quote Originally Posted by bruss01 View Post
    Agreed, need pics of your new MAG member!
    Check the "official dog thread", and prepare to be impressed! lol Thought about calling her Ensign, or even Minor for a minute.


    Quote Originally Posted by bruss01 View Post
    Batteries - yeah, not being able to keep the battery at full charge will be an issue. Lead-acid batteries do self-discharge slowly when not being used and running them down due to just sitting will reduce their life over time. Have you thought about getting just a single solar panel for the roof? And a small charge controller of some kind? I know they are not the greatest but the Harbor Freight panels would work if you have some laying around, just to keep a charge up. (I don't recommend buying these new as there are better bang per buck options but lots of folks have some laying around - I do) You may want to start out with a marine deep cycle, but if you do, it's probably a smart call to make your battery enclosure large enough to accommodate a pair so that you can have the option to run two 12v marine batteries in paralell or two 6v Trojans in series. Those batteries are going to off-gas a mixture of hydrogen and oxygen when charging (even if just from the truck connection) so keep in mind that explosive gas needs a way to vent... I've read it can be explosive in concentrations as little as 1-2 percent.

    Just took a quick look and found this:

    https://www.amazon.com/ALLPOWERS-Con...GT/ref=sr_1_1?


    Jumpin' Jehoshophat! $21.99 ?!! (normal price $60) At that price, I could see snagging a couple of these to stick away in an ammo box for EMP redundancy. "By Grapthar's hammer... what a savings!"

    Or this (similar) $16 - wow.
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...c_act_title_1?

    I also took a quick look for panels (my previous supplier seems to no longer offer panels... hmmm...). Found 150w 12v panels for around $165

    150 Watt 12 Volt Waterproof Monocrystalline Solar Panel Charger (Walmart)



    So, for under $200 (plus a bit of wire to hook it all together) you get a way to keep your battery charged up and protected, and have some off-grid power on the go. If it was me, I wouldn't think twice, but you know your needs and goals better than anyone.
    First, +2 for the Galaxy Quest line

    Have a 30 watt solar panel and 10A charge controller packed away, just not sure I want to go that route. I paid a lot more for them, comparatively, than those prices though! Still debating on how to keep it charged so I don't waste cycles (and cause possible harm) by letting it get too low when not in use for long periods. Over the winter an in-the-house trickle charger maybe, for the summer months maybe just topping it off from the genny in the polebarn in the background of the first pic below every 3-4 weeks. Although, a small 5w panel just propped up temporarily and I wouldn't even need a charge controller with a 100 aH battery either. That's a thought...

    Meet Oscar, in all his faded/rusted/dirty glory:



    Shore power, to power the 110vac outlets and lights that are already installed, plus a battery charger once I decide which existing one I want to use and where/how to mount or store it:



    Bus bars (pos and neg) for battery power, the romex is from the battery charger circuit from the truck/trailer hitch. Have the 12vdc wiring already done for the existing 12v lights (incandescent auto bulb type - have to see about changing that to LED), the other set of wires goes to the battery. 12awg mostly, with the battery connections being 10awg - just stuff lying around:



    Floor bolt lock for the entry door (right side sealed shut), trying to use the existing bolts as much as possible to avoid additional holes in the door - but going to need at least one more carriage bolt there anyway:
    Everything marked, everything 'membered. You wait, you'll see.

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