Phase II Silver Streak interior demolition.
It's January 11,2016 and I have started tearing out the ruined interior of the streak. Now that I have recovered from rotator cuff surgery and I'm able to get back to work, I have, in the last few months, finished screening the back porch, built new shop doors, built a new dining room table just before Thanksgiving, and finished the TV wall in the family room in time for our Christmas party, and built a new sewing machine table. My wife is happy for the time being and commitments completed, I'm free to get back to the trailer project. I'm retired, so my plan is to work pretty much full time on this, now, and have it completed by next fall.
I got the whole Kitchen removed today. I can't say how much I hate doing demo on old dirty stuff. This took a while as there is plumbing, gas, and electrical, not to mention, that taking the woodwork apart is like working a puzzle backwards. I'm so glad I didn't have to be all that careful.
It's Monday now and Wednesday I will remove the bed area. I'll do the bath last. January and February I'd like to get the floor removed, the frame modified for a new gray water tank, get the pluming back in order and install a new floor. That's probably ambitious, I may need March too. but that's the plan, if I can make it work.
I may have to stop and do some paying work along the way to keep this financed too.
I'll post more later.
Its the first of February now and although progress has been slow, I am moving. I was still having to work on a few house projects. Those projects are getting smaller all the time now, though. So working a few days a week on the trailer, I have managed to clear almost all of the interior. As you can see I still have to remove the black water tank from the rear. There are still a few odds and ends to remove before I can start taking down the wall panels. I very much want to start removing the floor this month. I have discovered at least 5 areas with substantial rot, so it really "needed" to be replaced at this point.
I'm trying to decide what to do about the black water tank. The mounting flange on top seems to be glued into the tank making it very difficult to remove. this may mean that the valve on the other end is also glued in. It seems to be difficult to find a replacement tank, as it fits into a rounded corner on top of the floor. so I'm looking at the possibility of getting a Natures Head, composting toilet.This question has to be worked out soon, as I get the new floor in. Also the shower stall will not go through the door, so It looks like I will just have to work around it as I take out and replace the floor.
This is my work through January, 2016.
Still a lot of little things to remove so I can take out the aluminum wall panels and get down to the bolts, that go through the floor, holding the body to the frame.
One has to remove all that to get the floor out from under the body. The wall aluminum is all riveted on, by the way. They all have to be drilled. Hundreds of them.
You can see that old vent pipe in the upper left of the left photo. I've knocked my head on that several time today and it has to go, now. Removing it left this giant hole in the roof. above photo. As you can see the PO has once again used great gobs of silicon to try and seal the vent to the roof. Funny thing is, most of it does not touch the vent so it did not seal and another attempt was made on the roof, with what looks like a proper sealing material. So now all I have to do is clean it all off and do a proper patch, as I no longer need a hole in the roof.
It's a big day today. Feb 10, 2016. Today is the start of the Houston RV show and I will be going to that later. It's Wednesday and a new episode of Flyte Camp trailers is on tonight.(sort of exciting, for me) And the black water tank is leaving the trailer today, I don't care how, but it's leaving. It's so nasty I've been avoiding thinking about it, but now is the time, so here goes.
Problem is the flange is stuck on somehow and that is holding the fiberglass floor down. So I decided to stick a pry bar under it with the help of a big hammer, working it around and, low and behold, the flange lifted off. Just stuck on with some pooky and about 8 screws that were under the wax seal. They pulled out of the rotten plywood easily. I won't say it came off easily but it showed promise from the start.
I went under the trailer and removed a belly pan access panel and used the saws-all to cut the plumbing, going into the tank and pulled it out from the inside. Tank is in OK shape and might even be reusable but I'm really thinking about going with a Natures Head composting toilet.
So, the black tank has left the building, and not a moment too soon. I'm sorry for all the gross pictures but if you're thinking of doing this yourself, this gives a little view of what it's like to demo a 50 year old trailer, and what one runs into, along the way.
It's about the middle of February, and as you can see I have almost everything out, step one. Step two, I have chipped up all the floor tile and for some reason it really smells musty in here now. It's almost making me sick, but I am now down to the plywood subfloor. I've made one cut into the floor to see how that is going to go. Slow I think. Of course to add to my time line problems I have jury duty for a whole week now.
Jury duty ended and I now have the floor out. I used a hole saw to cut around the floor screws and then cut the floor over about 3" from the edges, with a skill saw, and lifted out the pieces. Once you find all the screws and cut around them it's fairly easy. Getting the edges removed from under the body was a real struggle though. I eventually had to buy a new saws-all just to cut through a lot of the screws holding the body to the floor. My old one was junk and had to be replaced. so here we are, flooring out, except for the last piece in the rear. I still have the shower enclosure sitting on it, I'll work on the front for now and move the shower forward and do the very back.
I got a little lucky, and the frame is in pretty good shape, with only surface rust. I'll remove scale with a wire brush tomorrow and coat it with rust incapsalator then re paint it some. Moving very slowly, but still moving, I guess. This is the end of February and I had hoped to be further along but losing a week to jury duty didn't help at all.
I found this little saws-all to work pretty well cutting the screws I couldn't remove from the c channel, and that was a lot of them.
You only use the tip of the blades though, and it takes a number of blades.
My wife walked past the trailer yesterday and looked in for a second, (She really doesn't want to see it until it's much cleaner) and asked if this was the worst part? Yes, this is defiantly the worst part, and it is a real struggle removing all the floor with the body still on the frame. It's a real job removing the whole body too, though. Up to now, this has really not been fun. I can't wait to start replacing the interior as this is what I do best. I also discovered that the belly pan is barely hanging on because most of the rivets have pulled through and I will have to re screw it all back up before I can replace the floor. It's easy to see what I'm doing with no floor.
This is a gig I made to guide the hole saw without a center bit in it. It's 1/4" plywood with a couple holes drilled, one for edge work and the other for screws out in the open. It's big enough I can stand on while I use the drill. That white spot in the hole is a screw covered with putty. That screw is self tapping and goes into the frame. they are very hard. In the lower left corner is one I just drilled. When the panel is lifted the plugs and screws stay behind.
Here's the rear panel all drilled out. In theory, it should just lift out, when the edges are cut. Of course, it didn't just lift out. I still had to find 6 screws that were better hidden then the rest of them.
A couple hours later, after finding all the screws, and making a few more cuts with the saws all, it did indeed, "just lift out". LOL
And after removing all the nasty mouse infested insulation this is what I'm left with. I can't believe all the dirt in there. You can see the belly pan hanging free. It needs to be screwed back to the frame from underneath. The frame looks rusty but it is actually in pretty good shape. I've been using an old straight claw hammer to knock off the wood plugs from the screws then my grinder to cut the screws off. My next step is to cut that lower cross rail out and mount my gray water tank, redo the drain plumbing, insulate, then close up the floor, nothing to it. I'll spend tomorrow removing the last 3 inches of flooring from under the shell, and cleaning up all that dirt.
This trailer is a 67 model so just about 50 years old. I believe, unless a trailer has been kept under cover most of the time, this is about what one can expect after 50 years. This is just the rear panel. I found places like this all over the trailer's edges. Most of it was covered by woodwork and floor tile and the edge of the shell it's self. It's not visible until one gets in there and removes things to actually look. Don't let any seller tell you it doesn't leak. They all leak.
I will state again that almost all of the floor rot will be hidden in an intact trailer. A quick inspection will not find much of it at all. When shopping, Don't let people kid you about the floor being in good shape with no rot.
Not likely! At least at this age, and not the best of care. You can usually tell if a trailer has been cared for well. If not just assume there will be lots of floor rot.
This is a huge job, not to be taken lightly, but is the first step to restoring most older trailers, Silver Streaks, Airstreams, Streamlines and several other aircraft style trailers are usually in this shape. They are all built in a similar manner, with the same design flaw that allows leak water to come in contact with the plywood floor.
I'm not sure about a shop, but I would charge "a lot" to do this for someone. I can't think of any other job, on the trailer, that is this unpleasant.
I got a little break and the plywood was so rotten around the rear section I was able to use a flat bar and just pry out the wood from under the shell. I didn't have to cut any screws with the little saws all. That screw cutting is slow going.
It's now March 19, 2016 and I have finally got the last of the old flooring out of the trailer. Tomorrow I'll wire brush off the scale and treat the rust on the, now exposed, rear frame rails.Then paint with POR 15.
Demo complete. In just 8 months.
Writing this later, it did take all of March and most of April to get all of the interior out.