Archive for the ‘camping’ Category

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It’s always good to lead with a pun, right?  The past month has been a whirlwind of activity, and life has gotten in the way, but finally I think I’m through the stress and have gotten back on the “fun” stuff.

The wagon, which you’ll remember I’d gotten the rust repairs done over a month ago, has been stalled.  We missed my (seemingly easy) deadline of having it ready for the Milford TCT Spring Rally (vintage trailer gathering), and the Muskegon rally last weekend, but today I finally got primer on it.  I’d thought I’d be shooting primer Monday, but found a soft spot on the drivers front fender, down low, behind the rocker molding,  made a patch for that, got the body work finished this morning and 4 double wet coats of high-build primer on this afternoon.

I’m happy with how it looks, although I discovered some pinholes in the filler on both sides, something I’ve never had happen before.  I bought high end, expensive finish filler, so maybe I’m better with the cheap stuff!  It’ll mean a skim coat of some polyester finish putty, but I have to block it all out, prime again, and then a guide coat, so it’s really no big deal.

I think the skirts are killer.

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In other news, we’ve given up on the  period correct Frigidaire fridge in the Spartan trailer, it just doesn’t get cold and stay cold.  We had it converted to propane, and it’s never done a good job.  Well, it’s cold as long as the ambient temps are below 70, but seldom can we rely on that in the midwest in summer, so, it’s going away.  In it’s place, will go an early 50’s GE fridge, that we’ll keep electric only, with it’s original compressor.  I bought it here in Kalamazoo from a nice hot rodder guy who follows me on Instagram.  Plugged it in when we unloaded it and in 2 hours the cabinet temp was 20.5!  I had it cranked WAY up, so I dialed the thermostat down, and it’s humming along a 34 right now.

New gaskets are on the way for the door, and I’ll fix some minor damage to the door tomorrow and get it ready for a new coat of shiny white enamel from Tractor Supply that I have on hand.  I put a 2000 watt inverter in the trailer last fall, so we can run it on the battery (the inverter converts 12V to 110V) while towing and the car or truck alternator will keep the battery charged.  A solar charger and one more coach battery would enable us to go entirely solar and still have the fridge, although we couldn’t use the AC.  It’s going to be a HUGE improvement.

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The ’34 has been running great, I’ve put about 700 miles on it, enough to have the cheap reproduction Harley speedometer (junk to begin with) stop working, the old SW vacuum gauge to stop working (hole in the diaphragm), and tonight, the brake lights to not work.  I also discovered the play in the steering, which I’d blamed on the cheap, reproduction Vega steering box, but turned to be the cheap, off-shore made pitman arm which was slightly thinner than the box was made to use.  That meant the nut didn’t tighten the arm down on the shaft completely, leaving some “slop” between the steering box shaft and steering arm.  Scary.

I “fixed” that with a couple of flat washers that were in the bolt bin, and the car drives like a slot car  now.  I’ll keep my on that Vega box, they have a reputation for being sloppy and wearing quickly, but for now, it seems like it’s all good.  There are always some bugs to work out, but overall, it’s great.

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Our son Craig and his wife Kathleen bought a ’65 Ford Ranch wagon earlier this  spring, and I helped them wire it for a trailer lights, installed a brake controller, fixed the power steering pump and put a new high performance radiator and new hoses in ahead of the sweet running 352.  It looks pretty nice as is, I’ll do a little rust repair this winter for them on the rear fenders and rocker panels, and blend the paint.  It’s got a pretty decent “used car lot” repaint from decades ago that polished up pretty well, and they want the car to be a funky, driver type car, so that makes it easy for me.

We gave them the little “Tini-Home” canned ham trailer, they’ve already used it once, we hope it’ll give them years of family fun, just like it has for us!

So, lots of activity here a Cool McCool’s Garage.  We’ve been to a couple of cruise nights with the roadster, and a weekend of vintage camping with our friends at Hoffmaster State Park in Muskegon.  June is half over, but summer has just begun!

 

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We just got back from a fortnight trip with out Spartan Manor to Pennsylvania and Mid Ohio, to test the A/C and fridge in hot, muggy summer weather.  The A/C passed with flying colors, the fridge, not so much.  We used it last fall, in cool temps, and it did fairly well, but it struggles to keep it’s cool in warm weather.20728230_10214593978665809_5666013374635989023_n

These gas/electric fridges need air flow over the cooling unit in order to operate, and the consensus was that I didn’t have enough airflow.  The exhaust stack was a 4″ vent through the roof, to which I added a small fan, which helped a little, but still left us with temps in the fridge cabinet in the low 50’s.  Then we added a fan to the cabinet, which makes noise but doesn’t seem to help at all.  In a last ditch attempt, I took the freezer door off the interior, which made the fridge compartment a little cooler, but a freezer that wasn’t below freezing and frosted up.

Yesterday I took the back of the cabinet off again, and made a new exhaust plenum.  This one is 3 1/2″ x 14″, three times the size of the old 4″ flue, and I kept the little fan, which is on a thermostat.  It turns on when the stack temp is greater than 100 F.  It certainly LOOKS like it should work better.

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This morning, after running all night, and with a case of (cold already) soda and 6 pack of beer inside, the interior is 46.  The freezer compartment is cold, the partial bag of ice and  inch of water that had melted from that is frozen solid  again in the Tupperware container I put it in, so the freezer is once again below 32.  I’d be happier if the cabinet temp were 40 or slightly below, but if this is as good as gets, we can live with it now.  We may resort to keeping a block of ice in the freezer, and one in the crisper drawer to help with getting the fridge cold, if we have to.

In retrospect, I’d have left the original compressor and coils in the fridge and simply run it on 110V, as I just got a 2000 watt inverter which would easily power the fridge while traveling.  Which was the only reason we had it converted to gas in the first place.

So, live and learn.  It has given me something to do this past couple of days, as opposed to working on the roadster, which I wanted to have ready for next weekends “Relix Riot” car show, but there’s always next year…

Addendum:  I discovered, via a Google search, and You-Tube video that there IS some temp adjustment these “automatic” control RV fridges.  Inside, on the fins of the cooling unit, on the fin next to the right hand wall of the fridge, is a little plastic clip.  In the clip is a little gizmo called a “thermistor”, which, by sliding the whole thing up, or down, the fin, lowers,  or raises, respectively, the cabinet temp.  This one was just over halfway up the fin, so I slid it all the way to the top.  If I’m fortunate, and have said the correct incantation, the fridge should get colder.  Or, I’ll be drinking warm beer…

One by one, the seemingly endless list of tasks is being completed in the Spartan.  Yesterday I replaced the grungy, noisy clock/timer in the Dixie stove with a little battery clock from my least favorite store, Wal-Mart.  It fit perfectly.

The counter top edging is DONE, and I used the rest of the Marmoleum to make a backsplash behind the sink and stove.  The effect is stunning.

Next up, Kim is doing the upholstery for the booth, and I’ll acid was the exterior.  It’ll ultimately be polished, but for this fall, that’ll suffice.

I’m happy.

More progress on the Spartan.


At this rate it may get done.

My friend Bill McGuire reminded me gently that I hadn’t updated my blog lately.  Indeed it’s been a while, I guess I felt as though I hadn’t gotten anything done worthy of writing about, but several of my hot rodder buddies this weekend at “Relix Riot” told me they don’t know how I get so much done.   So, here’s the latest:

I’ve gotten the counter tops and shelves all banded in aluminum edging done.  It looks great.  Unseen, the dump valves are installed on the grey and black tanks, and the inner door panels are back on.  Kim, my wife, has the curtains done and is starting on the upholstery for the dinette.  

We’ve been busy helping our son and his family with some home improvements in thier new home and moving, and spending quality grandparenting time with our grandson Milo, more important than working on old trailers and cars.  

Taking time out for some fun, we hung out at the Gilmore car museum this weekend with friends at “Relix Riot”, the biggest little car show around.  We got to combine that with some “Milo time” as well, it was a great time despite a wet Saturday afternoon.   Lots of folks attending the show have vintage campers, we combine hot rods and camping, and had a private party after the show with music by the “Moonrays” last night after the clouds departed. 

I guess I do get a lot done.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day from Cool McCool’s Garage, where we don’t just wear green, we DRIVE it!

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Good day of progress on the Spartan. Had an issue with the GFI devices, but with the help of my friend Butch Starner, figured out is just wired them wrong. Dinette booth done, wiring done, bed frame and its storage drawer done. Up next, plumbing, and we’re going to order fabric and counter tops.