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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.

Crap.

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…

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With the Del-Ray firmly anchored in the box of the GMC dually, we headed for Milford MI last Thursday for the Tin Can Tourists Spring Rally.  We spent the the three days prior to that frantically cleaning, packing and getting ready, and spending all our allowance money on 6 new tires for the truck.  It seemed like a big expense, but the peace of mind riding on 6 new tires, opposed to 6 ancient, weather-checked ones was worth every penny.  On the plus side, I’ll never have to buy tires for the truck again!

At any rate, the truck and camper were a hit once we got there, much to my surprise.  We  had a line of people to see it Thursday and Friday, received many complements and what we think is a pretty serious offer to buy the camper.  All in all it was a successful trip, if you don’t count the the roof vent over the bed leaking (of course, it had to be over the bed…) during a torrential downpour on Saturday.  It’s cozy and comfortable for two people, although accommodating the six it’s capable of sleeping wouldn’t be nearly as much fun in the rain…

We answered a ton a questions about it, and I’ve compiled the top ten answers to those questions here, so you don’t have to ask:

10.  About 2500 lbs., empty.  We think.

9.  Yes, it rides very nice with the camper in the  back.

8.  No, it doesn’t seem tippy at all.

7.  We don’t know, but it’s older than 1967 according to the “Expo ’67” sticker in the rear window of the camper.

6.  Elkhart Indiana.

5.  Yes, that is 21,000 original miles on the truck.

4.  We’ve had the truck since 1982.

3.  Yes, it’s comfortable, and yes, the fridge works.

2.  7.9 mpg.

1.  7.9 mpg.

We had a great time, and happily, gas is cheap right now, although it’s only 110 miles from our house to Milford.  The Del-Ray attracts a lot of attention, and the whole rig is,  I must admit, eye catching in a really funky, kitchey sort of way.  We had lots of people relate stories of traveling with their grandparents or aunts and uncles as kids, riding in the bunk looking out the panoramic windows.  It’s rewarding to be complimented, and kind of fun to be reminded you don’t have to break the bank to have fun with vintage campers and funky old trucks.

Camp on!

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I’ve spent the past two days on the Del-Ray and GMC pickup. New tires on the truck, fender wells and exposed frame sandblasted and painted. Camper cleaned, birch paneling oiled and polished, counters and backsplash scrubbed, stove cleaned, floor scrubbed. We need to make the curtains and wash the windows, but it’s close to getting a big “DONE” stamp!

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IMG_4881 The Del-Ray tuck camper is officially DONE! Well, Kim is going to make curtains , but it’s “campable” now. New cushions , new water system , bathroom re-skinned, toilet working , new mattress, fridge checked, windows and roof re-sealed and caulked. The GMC, designated beast of burden has new dually hubcaps, there’s a complete new stainless exhaust waiting to go under it, so other than the steer horns going on and plow frame coming off, it’s ready to go. We’re ready for adventure!

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With help from my friend Jake who made spring spacers for another ‘ 63 Riviera he was bagging, I got started on the air suspension for Kim ‘a Riviera today.

Front is together, I hope to get the rear done tomorrow and get lines run . The goal is infinitely adjustable suspension for ride height, static display and trailer towing duty.

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Progress on two fronts today! Finished up the floor repair in the Riviera, got that all primed, And, got the Lincoln door buttons in the ’59 T ‘bird too! I’m super stoked about both projects, the ‘bird looks great with the smooth, handle-less Lincoln door buttons and it’s nice to not see the shop floor through the Rvi ‘s floor pans.

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On not settling.

Posted: March 20, 2015 in Buick, HAMB
Tags: , , , ,

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I came in from the shop day before yesterday, and announced to my wife that the engine was in the Riviera for the last time, a big milestone in this build.  Then, I added somewhat regretfully, that I didn’t use the 5.3 Vortec truck motors original cast aluminum oil pan, sectioned 2 1/2″, because I ran into difficulty likewise shortening the pickup tube for the sump.  I did manage to shorten it the needed amount, but I was having difficulty making the bracket that secured the pickup tube to the windage tray, and wasn’t really happy with how any of it went.  So, in frustration after nearly all day working on this, I put the GM engine swap oil pan on the engine, and put the engine/trans in the car, even though the sump on this pan still hung down below the front crossmember about an inch and half, making the oil pan the lowest part of the chassis.  Not a good thing, on a car with airbag suspension.

She looked at me with an expression of disappointment mixed with irritation (one husbands know well), and said, “I thought that was the point of having the other one shortened?  I thought was the whole point of the air bags, to get the car really low?”  She shook her had and walked away.

I slept on this, and yesterday, pulled the motor back out, took the pan (a GM engine swap pan for LS engines with a slightly shallower, narrow sump to fit these early chassis, to replace the REALLY deep sump truck pans), and with a clear mine, fixed the recalcitrant pickup tube mounts, put it all back together with the modified truck pan, and put the whole thing back in the car.  I also “fixed” the trans crossmember, and made a nice bead rolled panel to blank out the firewalls heater box opening.

I much happier with the modified pan, it’s the same depth as the front crossmember, and I won’t have to hang my head in shame and call a tow truck when I forget to air up the bags and drive off, or catch the pan on a railroad track or manhole cover.

Thanks Kim!

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