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Todays project was to rebuild and lengthen the Spartan trailers tongue and install the power jack.  Why I haven’t used these on every other trailer we’ve done is a mystery, this thing is the bomb!   Instead of cutting the tongue off and making an entire new one, I simply “sistered” a length of 2×5 mild steel tubing onto the existing tongue, lengthened it about two inches, didn’t have to change the angle or alter it in any way.  I’m happy with the result, it’s long enough to use the Reese load level hitch bars, and the power lift is really, really nice.

IMG_9095I assembled and welded the new legs onto the new coupler before I welded anything on the trailer tongue, which was a bit of foresight I usually don’t have.  The bottom has strips of 7 gauge steel strips welded to the new legs, which I welded (from above) to the inside of the original channel.  The top is welded solidly, as well as the ends.  I’m proud of the stick-welded job, it looks good, and the ancient coupler/jack is headed for the scrap pile.

IMG_9091I temporarily wired up the thermostat/control for the roof mounted A/C-heat pump, and like everything else, it fired right up and works AMAZINGLY well.  The A/C is ice cold, the heat works, and it’s all controlled by the wall mounted ‘stat.  Pretty high tech for me!

12670494_10209728838480345_1409778006787131956_nI had gotten the fridge vent stack installed as well, and wired up the 12V feed to it, and started it.  It cools down as it should, and while I had no doubt it would, it’s nice to verify it works after all that effort, and trading a really nice vintage camper I bought last winter for it!  The water heater is also vented, the cap is on the roof covering both vent stacks, all that remains to be done is to plumb the 3/8″ soft copper line to them both, and the kitchen stove.

I’m getting close.

On the ’34 Roadster front, some progress too.  I put together the body cradle I’d made for the ’36’s body, and got the ’34 body safely setting on it instead precariously perched on jack stands and a jenga-like stack of 4×4’s.  The rear end is mocked up, and I decided the flimsy looking hairpin radius rods that came with the project weren’t going to cut it.  Instead, I started making a set of really beefy, and traditional looking, hairpin rods from a seat of ’36 front wishbones I had.  I like how they look, and once I get the spring clamps I ordered from Mac’s Antique Auto, I can mount the rear axle and set the chassis on it’s wheels.  Big step!

Stay tuned, summer is coming, I want to get the Spartan done in time for our July 4th stay at Gun Lake, so I’ve got a lot to do!

IMG_8821.JPGIt seems like a long time since I worked on the trailer, in reality, it’s only been a couple weeks.  I’ve decided that the goal of making Camp Dearborn and the Tin Can Tourist Spring Rally isn’t going to happen, so I’ve slowed down a bit, but I’ve still gotten quite a bit done.

IMG_8799The new axle is under the trailer, and the Dodge 17″ 8 lug wheels and Michelon 24575R17 10 ply rated tires are on.  The trailer now looks like ours, it looks good and feels good having that chore done.  In addition, both waste tanks are under the trailer and the plumbing is 90% complete, so there are three things (almost) checked off the list.  Most of the trim is done inside, I have to steam and bend a couple pieces of quarter round, and cut the hole in the roof for the fridge and hot water heater vent, finally get the interior varnished, and a thousand other little jobs that I haven’t even thought of yet.

IMG_8800I’ve taken advantage of the lack of a rush on the trailer, to finally start organizing and working on the ’34 Ford roadster project I bought last fall after selling the ’48 Pontiac convertible.  I lifted the body off the frame, and made a (sort of) frame table/jig using two Stanley Work-Mates and some steel rectangular tubing.  I have the frame leveled, squared, tacked together, the engine mounts are in, and the front axle is hanging from the crossmember.  I’ve started welding the center section in,  and will get the  ’40 Ford rear crossmember flattened and in tomorrow.  At least, that’s the plan…

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So, that’s what’s happening here at Cool McCool’s Garage, progress on two fronts!

 

 

A Facebook friend in California just relayed that he’d found a cool old bread loaf style trailer near his home.  Prewar, intact, fairly priced, but a total rebuild.  He was torn, because he has a very cool, very rare trailer now, and this other one would be a  nice compliment to their current one, and his vintage tow car.

He passed.

I should take a lesson from that.  While I’m making good progress on the ’47 Spartan, it’s down to the fussy finishing and detail work that I’m not fond of, not patient enough for, and takes more time than I want to spend.  It’s also clear I’m in no way going to meet my (self imposed) deadline of having the trailer done by the third week of may for the Tin Can Tourist Spring Rally in Milford to debut. I could have it usable, but not finished, and I don’t think it’s worth taking it uncompleted, not polished or finished to the level we want.  It’s disappointing, but not we have two others to use, and lots of events coming up this summer where we can “debut” in style.

I have the plumbing done, the fridge is in and the vent system roughed in.  Had to order more Olympic rivets before I can cut the vent hole in the roof and move the original stove vent blister to that space, so that’s a bit of a hold up.

The plumbing is done,  mostly.  The grey water tank has to be hung and the sink drains run to it.  My good friend Mike Greene of Sierra Custom Interiors gave me a bunch of PEX tubing drops, crimp rings, miscellaneous fittings and the crimping tool, I’m indebted to him for that.  It went well,  it’s always good to add another thing to my skill set.

The trim work is also 90% complete.  I steam bent the curved pieces with a home-built steamer set up, my first attempt at bending wood.  It went pretty well, and I have a few little pieces yet to go that can’t be done till some other things get done, like the fridge cabinet.

We have the interior fabrics, thanks to another friend who’s an upholsterer and let us buy the fabric on her account for half what it’d have otherwise cost.  The foam we have to order, but she’s helping us out with that too.  Kim will make the covers and curtains.  It should be very dramatic, we’re excited about our choices, no peeking until we’re done!

All this is good, and I have to admit I did feel relief whenI decided the other day not to try to have it ready for May.  It was like a weight had been lifted.  Not that I’m not working on it, but the pressure is now off.  I was feeling a bit overwhelmed by that project, and seeing my long neglected Thunderbird, the half-completed ’63 Riviera I started last year, and the “new” ’34 roadster setting in pieces, all of them covered with a thick, soft layer of wood dust, was a bit overwhelming.

These three cars are cars I’ve loved since I was a kid, and always wanted.  The fact that none of them are completed and drivable doesn’t really matter, because I love having a project, but three at once, along with normal maintenance on our other cars, not to mention household chores, lawn care, and so on, takes tool on my “free” time.  Part of my rationale for having all these projects is to provide activity for my upcoming retirement, so the fact that they’re not finished shouldn’t be a stress factor.  It seems a long way off, but I know that 4 years from now I’ll look back and wonder where the time went.

And what I was worried about.

I’m picking away at the Spartan project, slowly but surely. We had our grandson Milo this weekend, but in between Grandpa fun, I got a little done.
I re-did the kitchen lights, in the usual “…build it twice to make it nice…” manner, finished the bed base, made some adjustments on and hung the rest of the cabinet doors.
Theres much yet to be done, but the to do list is getting shorter!

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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.

I have been stressing about whether I ‘ll have the Spartan done for this summer,  feeling frustrated that I can’t seem to get anything done.  Then, it occurred to me, as I drove the GMC to the hardware store, that I DO get things done, it’s just that some of the things I do are silly and and take up too much time, and that I may underestimate the time and expense a project will gobble up.

A case in point, and one of the reasons the Thunderbird  and Rivera aren’t  done, and that my Hot Rod Fund is now empty, is my ’76 GMC dually.  This thing has eaten up spare time, project money, more time, and more money, than I care to think about.

It started 4 years ago when I sold my rusty ’00 Silverado, and decided to unearth the GMC from the barn at my dad’s where I’d abandoned it 20 years ago.  We bought the truck, with a 23’ Diamond REO camper on the extended frame when I was selling cars in ’83.  Some guy traded it in on an Escort, and I bought it.  We camped in it, my folks drove it to Florida, but we stopped using it in the mid 90’s, and it had been driven in the barn and forgotten about.  I needed a pickup, to haul stuff in, pull things with, and here was one, all I had to do was dust it off and go

Easy, right?

When I got it out, it started on 20 year old gas, although it ran pretty poorly and smelled awful.  The camper came off, the frame was shortened, I bought a box from Texas, a new hood, patched up the cab corners and shot a unifying coat of Arctic White enamel.

This summer,  after three years of abuse, it got 6 new 16″ tires, new wheels, stainless hubcaps, a new stainless exhaust, and a 3.75:1 rear end to replace the 4.56’s (in a futile attempt to help the abysmal fuel consumption).  The 454, with 22,000 miles runs like a watch, the transmission (after a new governor gear) shifts crisply, I’ve got a plow for winter and camper for summer, so I should be all set for a hauling needs for another 2 or 3 decades.

Maybe now I’m done spending money, and it’ll last another 2 or three decades…