“Trailer Talk” Makeover Series: The Green Machine…The Exterior Updates Continue…

Nope we weren’t off on another adventure…Unfortunately we were home bound due to work and grown-up responsibilities. (Kids, when you’re parents say “don’t be in a rush to grow up” listen to them

That doesn’t mean we didn’t enjoy our home town, baseball games, windsurfing at local lakes and visiting our city’s newest breweries… 

   

We also tried to squeeze as many trailer repairs as possible into two very busy weekends. 

The first exterior update was to replace the infamous bunkend weather stripping. Reading the Apache websites and group posts, the weatherstripping is always the first and most necessary to be replaced as it helps prevent leaking. However issues arise, it’s not always easily available and each strip can cost up to $30 each. Luckily the seller of our trailer had already purchased these parts and threw them in for free. Here’s a before pic of the cracked and missing weather stripping after removing the aluminum trim…

 Pretty gross, that’s another 37 years of dust and grime. Once the old rotten stripping was removed we had to gently, and meticulously scrap away the glue from the ABS roof with a razor blade and steel wool.  

   After the surface was clean of gunk we replaced out the vinyl (even though our weather stripping was purchased from an Apache parts store) I still had to cut/shave down the “T” end of the stripping by hand with scissors. This allowed the stripping to slide perfectly into the groove of the roof line.    

 

Next up was replacing out all the rusted screws of the Apache exterior with stainless steel ones. Some quick before and after pics… 

   As for follow-up from our last blog post, I did test the combination of Rustoleums Rust Reformer spray (matte black), followed by two coats of Rustoleum “painters touch” semi gloss black enamel spray. The results were fabulous and used this combo both on the trailer frame, and stabilizing jacks after another round of wire brushing rust… 

   

Lastly I attempted to remove the stubborn 1978 cracked decals. The heat gun method did not work, and rather burned the paint in my last blog post. I did some internet research and Roamin Fam’s blog had a cheap solution of just removing the decals with MEK solvent and a few hours of scraping. However their intention was to repaint the entire aluminum body, whereas I’m partial to the original green color. Also our paint is not in too bad of shape, probably just needs touch up paint and a good waxing. 

Reaching out to a couple auto body experts, the secret to removing decals, crud, etc from your car/trailer without damaging the paint is using a 3M eraser attached to a drill (FYI with cord, because you will kill your battery on a cordless, nor get the sustained 2700 rpms you need) However just be aware the price was $47, because I needed enough eraser for such a large surface area. 

  And what do you know it worked! 

FYI, my drill did get hot and the bit did not want to latch in at times. Therefore it was imparative for safety glasses, leather work gloves and most definitely a face mask. (Guaranteed you will be covered in rubber particles and old decal flakes!)  I also had to take several breaks to cool off the drill and my arms. One last tip, so as not to kill my back I sat on a bucket and used my knees to prop my elbows and support my arms working laterally down the trailer. 

The decals were stubborn, and it was a crazy amount of work, but I’m really glad I used the eraser method… 

   

I’m also really digging that teal/ blue stain leftover from decals against the lime green paint… 

  

 Maybe repaint the areas by hand in the same shade? Since  I don’t want to lose the originality and character of our vintage trailer. Also this color combo really captures the colors of that era. Would be interested to know if others used the eraser method and/or have repainted emblems? More to research…

All in all another weekend of “jello” arms but we’re getting closer to a rehabbed trailer, ready for the road. Hubs has promised me wine, dark chocolate and a back rub for all my hard work😉 

We have a deadline this summer to not only complete the trailer, but also haul it back to our own house. The to- do list has definitely gotten longer as we work on it each weekend. 

Hopefully next Sunday I will have mastered the finer points of ABS repair, rewiring tow lights and attempt to color match the panels and roof. I’m still biting my lip and waiting very patiently to rehab the interior of trailer. This girl wants to talk fabrics, color combos, and getting it “glamp” ready!👏🏻(So tired of boring maintenance work! 😫 I can be a “girly” girl sometimes people!)

More to come and thanks for hanging in (I know it’s not home renovation and dog friendly travel) but it’s a learning experience and a portal to future adventures. Happy Sunday everyone!

“Trailer Talk” Makeover Series: The Green Machine…Exterior Updates

Where were you two this past weekend? Here…  Here… And of course every dog friendly beach in between.   We were out exploring California’s north coast to Mendocino. If you follow us on IG you’ve probably seen some of the puppies living it up. (and then crashing…its a hard “dog” life for us) 

 We fell in love hard, (like with every California coastal community we’ve explored) Maybe it was the redwoods and multiple rivers merging with the sea, but the scenery is dramatic and breath taking. I think the hubs liked it better for lack of cell phone service and the solitude at times. (With our jobs we need that disconnect more often then not.) 

In the meantime we can’t wait to explore some more, which is why I kicked it into high gear on rehabbing our vintage Apache Pop up trailer yesterday.  First up removing all the rusted out screws of the exterior and replacing them with stainless steel. 

 Yet replacing the screws wasn’t hard, it was sanding away all the leftover rust stains, with steel wool by hand that made my arms feel like jello today.  

 

Here’s a perfect side by side to see the before and after: 

 

Second project up was grinding and wire brushing away years of rust from the trailer bumper, hitch and step… 

     

After a few hours, (and a metal shard embedded  into my shin- I never complete a project unscathed) I sprayed painted the areas with Rustoleum Rust Reformer in matte black. 

 I sprayed two coats and this stuff seemed to work like a champ, completely covering, and creating a pretty flawless finish. (I still don’t know if it is just a primer and an additional paint is needed? More to come after further research…) Here are some before and afters:  

       Quick FYI- I hurriedly snapped “after” photos before the paint cured, however once dried the finished product is pretty flawless.

Finally, around 9pm at night I made a first attempt to remove the old Apache decals with a heat gun and failed miserably… 

  I barely got 5cm of the decal removed, burned an inch of paint and called it quits. I belatedly realized I need to research this further and 1978 decals were made of stronger stuff than our whimpy modern day decals. 

We may even have to call in the professionals for the bodywork. However, since professional paint jobs are not in the budget I don’t know what we’re going to do?! I wish there was an auto body fairy who would magically grant me a $200 bid😉…More to come as the Green Machine saga continues…Happy Sunday everyone!