Posts Tagged ‘station wagons’


Last week when we out to the little Shelter-logic garage to get something for the Del-Ray, I noticed with horror that the fiberglass “Filon” skin on the Tini-Home trailer had split above the front window on each side, from the corners to the outer edges.  Evidently that stuff shrunk so much in the bitter cold last winter that it contracted as far as it could, then simply tore at a stress point.


What to do?  I don’t want to re-skin it, simply because it’ll be a lot of work and I have several projects that are a lot of work, and I’d rather work on them.  I didn’t want to do a funky patch, although simply taping them off with duct-tape or Gorilla tape would have worked, and I couldn’t just leave it because it would have leaked like a sieve.

The answer came in the form of some .030 polished diamond plate used for gravel shields on new little RV’s from Bontragers Surplus.  I made a gravel shield of a half sheet drop over the window, after sealing the tears with self leveling RV roof sealant and HVAC tape over that, and today I made lower gravel shields of some scraps to flank the diamond plate tool box already on the tongue.

I think the result is actually an improvement.  It looks like it was always there, it all matches, and, it was easy, the key to a good cobbled up “repair”.  A buddy offered to help me re-skin the trailer, which I may do when after the T’bird, the Riviera, the ’47 Spartan and the Chris Craft are done.

If we’re both still living, that is…

IMG_5280 IMG_5279 IMG_5281

Wow, its  been awhile since we’ve updated the blog, and LOTS has happened here!  We’ll take a moment to recap the excitement that’s gone on in the month since our last post:

Old Faithful.

Old Faithful.


Get the wagons lined up!

Get the wagons lined

We went on our first camping outing of the year, with the Tin Can Tourists in Milford MI, at the TCT Spring Rally the weekend before Labor Day.  Although the weather was NOT good for the first half of the weekend, we had a great time with all our friends.  The ’51 Pontiac got to flex its muscles a bit and tow the Spartan over, Kim and I both commented on how comfortable it is, compared to the one ton Diamond T truck.  We had an impromptu “Station Wagon Parade” around the grounds of Camp Dearborn, with all our wagon owing pals, and had a ball.

On the project front, the ’59 T’bird has seen no progress at all.  I don’t feel very good about that, but, it’s not like other things haven’t happened.  My friend Ron’s Edsel wagon got an initial spruce up, to take care of the rusty roof, and is now back for repair of all 4 doors, and a little quickie fix of the left rear quarter.  The doors present a challenge, but with a little tack welding, and the use of 3M “Panel-Bond”, we think we have a very acceptable repair for a driver.  The quarter would be better repaired with a patch panel, but Ron is suffering from sticker shock at how much effort (and therefore how much money) the roof and doors are taking, so a correct repair can wait.  It’ll look good, and we’ll take care of the rest when he’s ready.

Lacey door corners.

Lacey door corners.


Tack welding patch panels in.

Tack welding patch panels in.


Welding completed, 3M Panel-Bond over the weak to seal and waterproof.

Welding completed, 3M Panel-Bond over the weak to seal and waterproof.


A good afternoons work.

A good afternoons work.



In a moment of weakness, last week, I brought home a late 80’s Starcraft motor home.  This brute has only 14,00 miles on the clock, and sports a 454/400 Turbo combo that amazingly fired up instantly on the 12-year-old gas in the tank.  After a lesson in the reliability of 25-year-old tires, I was able to pull it out of it’s resting place and drive it home.  I enlisted the senior “Cool McCool”, my dad Rex, to come along, drive the chase truck, a real treat for him on his 90th birthday!

After getting my eyebrows singed  off seating two tires back on the rims using starting fluid and a match, and changing the right front tire which blew after rolling about 50 feet, we got home with no issues.  The coach has an Onan 6.8KW generator, two slimline roof air conditioners, a big two-way fridge, convection oven, holding tanks, water pump, fittings, lines, fixtures, etc. that we can hopefully use in the soon to be started ’47 Spartan Manor project.  Meanwhile, it’s hidden from view (at least from OUR view) in the back of the lot, and I’m trying to figure out what to do with the fiberglass body once I start cutting it up.  The entire roof is rotten, and much of the left sidewall, from a leak in the rubber roof, so it’s not salvageable,  Kind of a shame, but hopefully it’ll be worth all the effort dismantling it for the parts.  Now we have to decide what to do with the chassis, it’s air suspension, hydraulic leveling system, cruise control, air conditioning, and miscellaneous.

COE ramp truck maybe?

The original "Cool McCool"

The original “Cool McCool”


It's home, now what will we do with it?

It’s home, now what will we do with it?


Garage wall art...

Garage wall art…


You can almost smell it from here...

You can almost smell it from here…


So, that’s it for now.  Stay tuned for updates on the motor home project (or come over with your Sawzall and maul and help tear it apart), get ready for updates on the T’bird and the rewiring of the dash and steering column, our latest camping expedition, and all the other activity here at Cool McCool’s Garage!

Booty call.

Booty call.


I can’t spoil Ron’s reveal for the car in a couple weeks, but the Edsel wagon, while not completely finished, is now ready for it’s inaugural show.  He’s towing his ’59 Easy Traveller trailer to the Tin Can Tourists spring gathering in Milford Mi, May 17-20,  and I don’t want to give too much away.  It looks great, but still needs some attention on the doors and left rear quarter that I didn’t have time to get to.  So, it’s coming back later on for some additional work, but for now, here’s a little bit of the “after”.


No more holes!

No more holes!


Next time you see it, it'll be towing a trailer.

Next time you see it, it’ll be towing a trailer.

It doesn't LOOK very rusty...

It doesn’t LOOK very rusty…


My friend Ron recently bought a ’59 Edsel station wagon, which looked as if it needed a little body work from the pictures he sent me.  (Fully admitting responsibility, I urged him to buy it based on the photos and his description).  For reasons which are not clear to me right now, I broke my rule about working on other people’s cars, raised my hand and offered to do some quickie straightening,  paint the mis-matched tailgate and lift gate and take care of some little blisters here and there.

What was I thinking?

The extent of the problem was apparent when I raised the lift gate, and the entire back of the roof skin flexed.  A little further investigation revealed the drip rails didn’t seem to be actually attached to the roof for most of their length, and there was something funny about how the rear window stainless trim seemed to have what looked like window caulk oozing out around the edges.  That, and the front of the roof at the corner of the drip rail and windshield also had window caulk smeared on it.

I shoulda known…

Turns out the roof skin was rusted through all along the edge above the drip rail, the rear of the roof skin was completed loose from the drip rail under the lift-gate, and when I pulled the side windows and removed the stainless trim, there was NOTHING there.  The top of the body and window frame was completely rusted away, hence the globs of caulk smeared on by the PO to try to stop the leaks.

Of course, I could have bailed right then, but, since I’d encouraged him to buy it, and had offered to fix it, I dove in, with a two week deadline to get as much done as I could and at least in primer.

It’s going pretty well, thanks to the recommendation of another builder friend of mine to use 3M “Panel-Bond” adhesive instead of trying to weld patches in.  On a roof, welding anywhere usually causes huge warpage problems, that I didn’t want to tackle.  New cars have their fenders, door skins, roof skins etc. mounted with the stuff, so it works.

Turns out, the stuff is just the ticket for repairs like this.  I’d like to be a little further along, but I should still be able to get primer on everything, even if the tailgate only gets dusted with it to rather than color.   Because I didn’t think I had enough to do, I also replaced both rocker panels and did a quickie, temporary fix on the rusty right rear quarter panel until Ron gets some patch panels for the rear fenders.

It’s been a challenge, and I feel like I’m in one of those stupid “reality” TV shows, with ridiculous deadlines, unexpected problems, set-backs, budget constraints and delays.  If I had some contrived drama, I think I”d be ready for my own show.

Here’s what’s happened this week on “Cool McCool’s Garage”


There is supposed to be metal there.

There is supposed to be metal there.


Look! this is better!  Hammered over the edge of the wood stove in the shop.

Look! this is better! Hammered over the edge of the wood stove in the shop.


Window frame profile.  Both sides had to be replaced.

Window frame profile. Both sides had to be replaced.


"Uh Ron, we have a problem..."

“Uh Ron, we have a problem…”





Even better...

Even better…


Roof edge and lift gate drip rail repaired.

Roof edge and lift gate drip rail in progress.


And done.

And done.


Body work almost completed on the roof and drip rails.

Body work almost completed on the roof and drip rails.


Temporary "fix" of the right rear quarter.  Needs patch panels, but we'll do that later.

Temporary “fix” of the right rear quarter. Needs patch panels, but we’ll do that later.




Just got back for a short drive with the wagon, and WOW!  It’s a different car with new ball joints and the front suspension raised an inch.   No more “darting”, no more bottoming on the bump stops, and the speedometer reads 54 with the GPS on a steady 55!  I couldn’t be happier, it’s great, and well worth the time and expense of swapping rear axles.

And the old axle?  Going to the recycler on Monday with a load of other scrap metal, it’s spring cleaning time!