Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Way Beyond Bad

It's been almost a week since I last reported in, so I thought I'd catch you up on the latest happenings here at the Green Acres Garage. Gary hasn't spent a lot of time on my repairs. There are lots of other things to be worked on around here besides me, so he's been doing a little of everything. I haven't been totally neglected though, so let me explain what you're looking at in the pictures above. As you can see in the first picture, the plywood behind my door that the door frame attaches to is in two pieces. It's not a crack in the plywood, but simply the way I was made at the factory. A combination of the door frame being screwed into the plywood, and the million staples that the factory put into my original kitchen cabinets, kept these two pieces of plywood in straight alignment. Well, when Gary bought me and tore out all of my old and damaged kitchen cabinets, that took away some of the support that held the plywood in place. There was no problem with that for several years. The door frame by itself was enough to hold the plywood firmly in place. But, when my door swung open and ripped the screws completely out of the plywood, that eliminated the support. My upper kitchen cabinet and it's contents added weight to push the upper section of the plywood outwards. It is necessary for the plywood to be in alignment so there is no gap at the top of my door frame. With a gap, my door didn't close properly either. Am I making sense? If I wasn't here experiencing all of this, it wouldn't make sense to me. I'm hoping that all of my readers are more mechanically knowledgeable than I am. Anyway, Gary had to remove my upper kitchen cabinet to eliminate the weight on the bulging plywood, and to have access to the problem area for repairs. He temporarily got the pieces of plywood in alignment with a 2x4 and some clamps. They can't stay there, of course, but the goal was to see if alignment would be possible without having to go further. Going further would make things much more complicated, so I won't even go into that. As you can see in the second picture, the 2x4 and clamps made alignment easy. Since the door frame alone will no longer keep the plywood in alignment with the screw holes ripped out, the plan at the moment is to sandwich the plywood between the door frame and a piece of thick aluminum angle. Machine screws will be put all the way from the outer door frame, through the plywood, and through the angle aluminum to achieve the desired alignment. My upper kitchen cabinet will be modified or totally rebuilt to hide the angle aluminum, and to add some additional support to the two pieces of plywood. Now that I've attempted to explain all of that in a way that I hope you all can understand, I'll move on to another problem, my door frame. The four pieces of the frame were originally welded together. The bottom piece has been broken off since before Gary bought me. The welds on the upper corners are barely hanging together, and there's a large crack across the top edge. So, Gary cleaned up the frame, and took it to his buddy at the welding shop this morning for repairs. While he was out, he also went to the A/C fabrication shop, and ordered the aluminum panels to build my new door from. He has cleaned all of the old butyl tape off of my skin, and will strip the remains of my original aqua and white paint off from under the area where the door frame mounts on. Nobody will ever see this area, but Gary won't be happy until I'm ALL silver. That's about all I can tell you for today. Once my parts are back, I'm sure I'll get worked on from time to time between all of the other things that Gary has going on. And whenever something happens, you'll know about it almost as soon as I will. Thanks for reading, and check back often.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

You've Got Your Troubles, I've Got Mine

Gary got to work on my door renovation today. Things were going pretty well for awhile, and then he found some additional issues that he didn't know existed until he removed my doorjamb. I'll go into that on a future post. For now, let me tell you about what happened today. With the eyebrow above my door removed, the damage suffered during that horrible day (see my last post entitled "When One Door Opens....") is more evident. The door jamb is pulled away from my sheet metal at least three-quarters of an inch on the upper left corner. The screws holding the door jamb have been pulled right out of the wood in that area. After removing the remaining screws holding the jamb, it was pretty simple to remove the jamb and the door as an assembly. You can see my original aqua and white paint that was hiding under the door jamb. Gary knew of one split in the sheet metal above the door, but there was one on the other side as well. Not good, not good at all. The good news is that my plywood around the door jamb is in great shape. Thankfully, I wasn't rotted or Gary would have been SUPER mad. He took the other issues that he found pretty favorably, and vows to fix me up as well as he possibly can. He's never lied to me, and I know he will do exactly that. For tonight, he reattached the door jamb and my original door back onto me with just a couple of screws to hold them in place. Then, he began assembling the temporary door that he cut out most of the parts for yesterday. What you see is the "innards" of the door. It will eventually be sandwiched between pieces of sheet metal. This temporary door is made entirely of recycled and scrap wood. As I mentioned in my last post, my new permanent door will be made of all new rot-resistant materials, and will possibly be lightened up a bit. This one is pretty heavy. Since these recycled materials are disposable, Gary wanted to experiment with them and make any mistakes with them instead of the fairly expensive ones he plans to buy for the permanent door. After he assembled the temporary door, he used up some very old red paint he had to make it look a little better. I LOVE the red. As you all know, it's my FAVORITE color. Too bad most of it won't be seen once it's in the middle of the "sandwich". I also love that framing for the porthole window. That is TOO cool. Well, I told you I'd keep you informed on the progress. My mission is complete, at least for now. More soon.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

When One Door Opens.....

Over a year ago when we were cruising down the road in the Florida panhandle, my door mysteriously flew open. We were going about 60mph at the time. I was trying hard to get Gary's attention, but it was several miles before he noticed the problem. As a lot of you probably know, the entry doors on a lot of the Serro Scotty trailers are known as suicide doors. The way they are hinged, the wind catches them and whips them into the side of the trailer if they happen to open while moving. That's exactly what happened to my door, and to say it hurt when it happened is an understatement. As badly as I was hurting at the time, I think Gary was hurting almost as much. He was sick when he realized what had happened and saw the damage to me, his best camping buddy. He straightened out the bent up door as much as he could so that it would close and lock. Although my wounds from way back then are still clearly evident, at least the pain was over and done with at the time. Gary has tweaked on my door ever since, but it's never been anywhere near as good as it used to be. These pictures don't show the extent of the damage, but they will give you an idea. When the door opened, the wind caught it and slammed it into various parts of me. You can see the impression of the door knob in my sheet metal. The door itself has various dents from hitting my water inlet and outlet connections. The door lock is pushed into the door, and the area all around it is bent. The impact broke the weld at the top of my door frame, and pulled the screws completely out of the wood they were attached to. The sheet metal is bowed out over the door frame, and even the eyebrow over the door is loose because the screws that attach it no longer have anything to hold onto. My sheet metal has a small tear in it near the top edge of the frame as well. Because of the frame being askew, there's a wide gap visible when the door is closed. Gary promised me that he would fix this mess this summer. He just hasn't had time since all of this happened. The plan at the moment (it's subject to change), is to remove my door and frame, repair everything that's damaged, and build me an all new door. He tells me I'm going to have a deadbolt installed in my new door, and that will serve as an added safety feature so that this kind of thing will never happen again. I'm also supposed to get a porthole window instead of the old rectangular window one I have now. I LOVE porthole windows! My screen door will need modification too so that the deadbolt can be locked from the inside. I have no clue as to how to do any of this, but I'm sure that Gary does. He's always managed to fix me up with whatever I've needed. Work begins on my new door tomorrow. Gary wants to build a temporary door out of scrap wood first, just to make sure that everything will fit the way he wants it to. Once he works out the bugs, he will build a permanent door out of new rot-resistant wood. I am REALLY excited about this, and cannot wait until I'm back to the way I was before the accident, and possibly even better. I'll keep you posted on the progress.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Farewell, "Sweet Kiwi"

Oh, happy day! That huge old Terry trailer (now named "Sweet Kiwi") that took up space in my garage and lots of Gary's time, is now on it's way to it's new home in Alabama. As pigged up as this garage is with all of Gary's clutter, it actually seems empty with the Terry trailer gone. I haven't smiled this much since our last camping trip! Here's what's happened since I posted last week. Cindy ("Sweet Kiwi's" new owner), and her dog Zeva, came to stay with us for a couple of days. They camped in the trailer and got organized, and prepared for their long journey. Cindy had limited towing experience, and no experience at all with a trailer as big and heavy as "Sweet Kiwi". A test towing session took place, and Cindy gained confidence. She was ready to hit the road. Wednesday morning was upon us, and the time had finally arrived for the girls to head west. No tears from me as Cindy pulled "Sweet Kiwi" out of the garage, through the gate, and out of sight. As you know, I've never been fond of that big hulk of a trailer. It's size was just too intimidating for a little guy like me. I do miss Cindy and Zeva though. They are GREAT girls. Cindy checked in from the Florida panhandle on Wednesday evening. They had travelled almost 300 miles, and had no problems at all. They were safe and sound at a private campground. They plan to go to a state park near the Florida/Alabama state lines next, and will camp there for a couple of days before heading to their final destination. As for Gary and I, things are getting back to normal around here. He is working on cleaning up the garage, and I'm constantly bugging him to change the TV channels for me so I can watch my favorite shows and relax. Life is good! We wish Cindy and Zeva and "Sweet Kiwi" safe travels for the rest of their trip, and much happiness in their new state. It's almost time for "The Price Is Right", so I gotta fly. Catch you later!

Friday, May 2, 2014

A Week Of Work On The Terry Trailer

While I sat idly by and watched the action, Gary has worked this entire past week on the Terry trailer. Cindy (the new owner), will be taking it over 400 miles away, and Gary wanted to make sure that it's as roadworthy as he can possibly make it. He has done far more work on it than I was expecting. It all started with a new pair of tires to replace the old ones that were 16 years old. I'm surprised he didn't paint the wheel rims too, but I guess he's leaving that up to Cindy. While the tires and wheels were off, he checked out the non-functioning brakes, and cleaned and re-packed the wheel bearings and all the related parts. He determined that one wheel bearing was bad, so he replaced it with a new one. Those bearings were NASTY!!! It took several cleanings to get them looking good and ready for the new grease. He packed them with red high-temperature grease, just like he uses on me. The wires were cut for the electric brakes, so he spliced them back together and checked for function. They work! After LOTS of cleaning, everything brake and bearing related was reassembled. Then the new tires and rusty old rims were put back on. Next, he worked on the roof. There didn't appear to be any leaks inside the trailer, but the old sealer on the roof seams was cracked and missing in places. So, he scraped off the loose stuff, cleaned the roof, and during the course of the week, he applied four coats of fresh sealer to all the roof seams. Cindy is planning to paint the entire roof with Kool Seal, but the important thing for now was to seal it up from any possible leaks. Mission accomplished. The Terry hasn't had a tag bracket or tag light since Gary has owned it, so a combo unit was installed. The light was wired in to the running lights. Next up was something that Gary doesn't do....weld. There was extensive rust around the tongue jack, and also on top of the frame rails in the area where the propane tank holding tray used to sit. Gary called on Aaron at B&B Trailers to access the damage, and give his opinion of the best way to fix it. Aaron has done several jobs for Gary in the past, and he always does great work. Four hours after Gary dropped the Terry off to Aaron, he was hauling it back home again, all fixed up. Aaron welded some angle iron to the top of the frame rails to strengthen them, replaced the rusted out coupler with a new one, re-mounted the tongue jack, and welded on a pair of safety chains. With fresh metal in place, Gary cleaned up the whole tongue area, sprayed on a couple of coats of Rustoleum primer, and then painted it with two coats of Rustoleum gloss white. Lookin' GOOD!!! In addition to all of this work, there were lots of small things done that I didn't include pictures of. For example, the broken roof vent was replaced with a new one. He also installed a lock in the electric cable hatch. Sometime during the week, he also had keys cut for the Bargman door lock. The Terry is supposed to be hitting the road in just a few days. All of the essential things that needed to be worked on are done, and Gary feels confident that the voyage to it's new home will be a trouble free one. That's the news from this past week. I'll talk with you again soon. Your Pal, Toaster.