Off-road teardrop scratch-build

ryanmcrist

New member
I got the door for the water heater all sorted finally. It took a little more doing than I had anticipated. I cut the rough opening in the front wall larger than the water heater. But once I put the trim for the door seal in place, the opening became too small. :oops:

I notched the case around a hinge to move it closer to the hinge side. I'll probably end up having to box that area back in somehow. I'll need to do some testing to see how hot it gets first.

Anyway, other than that, I'm really pleased with how it came out. We fiddled around with the hinges yesterday trying to get the panel gaps just right. They're really close, and as good as we can get them. Nothing gets hung up on opening and closing, and the door ends up pretty darn close to square and centered in the opening.

I also drilled then shaped the holes for the latches. That was more difficult than I anticipated it being. In the end, a piece of sandpaper wrapped around a threaded rod worked really well. I just kept repeating sand and check. Sand and check. Sand and check, until they fit in there snugly. Also, we spent longer than I figured it would take trying to orient them so that they're both righty-tighty and oriented the same in the lock and unlock position. But it was time well spent. The action of the locks feels very solid.





Awesome build! Can you share how much "added depth" was neccessary to accommodate the weather stripping? It looks like the door is the same thickness as the wall, but is the weather stripping recessed into the ring you fabricated?
 

andysgreenxj

Observer
The trailer look great bud! How is the poly, and monsterliner holding up? I'm in the middle of a trailer build, and working on what i want to use to seal/protect the wood.
 

rob cote

King in the Northeast
Awesome build! Can you share how much "added depth" was neccessary to accommodate the weather stripping? It looks like the door is the same thickness as the wall, but is the weather stripping recessed into the ring you fabricated?
Sure no problem. Let me explain a little, because I forget how much detail I gave on pages back. I created a ring like you said, that basically mimics the shape of the door opening, but it is smaller on the inside edge by the width of the gasket, and then the outside edge is large enough for it to reach to the interior walls that it's connected to. And the door is the cut-out piece of the front wall, so the thickness there is the same. The ring is set back from the inside face of the wall by approximately 1/4" if I remember correctly.

Whatever offset you might want will vary with the type of gasket you use. I used a foam rubber D-shape gasket with an adhesive back, pretty standard I think. I did some test runs with scraps of the same thickness, and cut a hole for the latch so I could be sure it would work properly. You just want light compression; if you have to squish the gasket flat, you'll never actually get the door closed.

I hope that helps but let me know if you need more info!
 

rob cote

King in the Northeast
The trailer look great bud! How is the poly, and monsterliner holding up? I'm in the middle of a trailer build, and working on what i want to use to seal/protect the wood.
The finish is great! It hasn't spent a ton of time outside, just because there's been space available in the garage. But it's been through rain and salt and we haven't actually given it a wash yet. I haven't spotted any issues like paint peeling or flaking or wearing down, etc. at all, except for a couple tiny tiny areas that I somehow missed when I was applying the coating. But that was my fault. I would definitely recommend Monstaliner. 1 gallon was enough for like 2 and a half coats, almost a full third coat. I didn't paint the bottom.

One thing to note, sort of tangentially related. There's a couple small pieces of flooring, approx 12"x16" or so, one on each side right above the axle. I made them out of standard birch-faced plywood from home depot. It was sort of a custom-fit piece, so I figured I'd make a cheap template out of scrap and transfer it onto marine plywood after, so I didn't accidentally screw up the expensive materials, you know? Anyways, I haven't gotten around to creating them out of marine plywood yet, and there's no rush, because they're in fine shape still. They're exposed to all of the wetness, sand and salt spray of driving on the highway in the snow, and there's no delamination or warping yet, and they are completely untreated. So, whatever that's worth. I know that you want to ensure you put the best finish on to protect your hard work for as long as possible, but I think that this small "experiment" (hardly scientific) shows that maybe it's not the end of the world if the woods not perfectly sealed.
 

rob cote

King in the Northeast
We recently had our first trip of the year. Great success. We did a little bit of minor work beforehand, that I didn't document with pictures. We had some rusting exterior hardware in places where we used low-grade stainless, so that wasn't at all surprising. We got actually-graded-stainless replacement screws and swapped them out. We also painted the hinges black for purely aesthetic reasons. I cut down some bolts that were too long by a few threads, which helps the rear storage door open a little bit farther. I'm still thinking it would help to switch to a half-height hex nut and trim the screws down further still. I'd love to be able to install a little door-holder-opener thingy so both hands are free to pull things out of the storage compartment.

Anyways, here's some pictures from the little trip we took to the White Mountains in NH. We stayed at Hancock Campground because it's one of very few open year round. There were a lot more people there than we were expecting.

We stopped at a rest area to cook dinner off the trailer, so we arrived around dusk Friday night setup just before a slight drizzle:


We woke up and the ground was wet, so Loki just wanted to stay in bed:


We eventually dragged him out of bed for a little hike. We turned back when we got hungry and we made a picnic alongside the Pemigewasset River. When we finally got back to cook lunch (or early dinner?), he was exhausted:


We packed up everything we didn't need, then relaxed around the fire before bed:

 

rob cote

King in the Northeast
Nice build, but this must be photo shopped...
No dog would be sleeping as breakfast is grillin'
:LOL: That's exactly why I took the picture! He was so pooped after our hike that I was amazed he'd sleep through the cooking. Normally he's outside when we're cooking, but the times when he's inside he's got his head out the window nearly licking the food off the griddle while we're trying to cook it!
 
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