As Moe prepares to take to the road, it became apparent early on that some sort of a trailer would be needed. Spurred on by the knowledge that amateurs built the Ark and professionals built the Titanic, we figured that we would just sort of put together our rolling road show from scratch. I mean, what could go wrong?
First step was to find a trailer. Not that it wouldn’t be oodles of fun to stack everything in a pickup but space was probably going to be an issue and it would probably affect cornering.
So after perusing the local ads, we found a moderately-used Wells Cargo close by that seemed to be a good jumping-off point.
The body was in decent shape; it rolled well and the lights worked but it was, well tired. Trying to anticipate what we were going to expect from our project, the plan was to gut the interior, replace the lighting and wiring with something a little more up-to-date, patch up some of the war wounds and add some durability. This way we could bring everything we needed where it had to go easily and streamline the setup process – after all, if we can shave 30 minutes off of getting up and running, that’s 30 more minutes of donuts for our fans, right?
So first off we had Mike the Welder knock off the old coupler so we could replace it with something a bit beefier:
Then the well-worn lauan walls had to go. This exposed the old wiring and fixtures, which while not really bad were also yanked so that more modern and efficient LED lighting could be installed later on.
This also exposed some weathering, so cleanout was done and patches and foam sealants were applied.
With that done, it was time to get to work on the walls. The idea called for installation of our generator inside the trailer to speed setup and keep the noise levels down. At the same time we wanted to provide some environmental control and rigidity to the inside of the trailer so a trip to the hardware store got us some foil backed rigid insulation which cut very nicely to fit between the wall studs.
Once the insulation was up, cutouts were made for wiring and exterior lights.
Some of the door fasteners were replaced…
…and with that done it was time to take a look at the exterior. The trailer had already been painted once, and hopefully it did not cost the previous owners much money. There was some weathering along the bottom of the exterior (not unexpected) and it looked like at one point the trailer had been backed up in a less than graceful manner, resulting in damage to the rear right corner. So in the interest of speed, efficiency and durability, we settled on a sort of unorthodox remedy –
I mean really – what else could you apply over a surface quickly that would cover, seal and protect against the elements while not being too terribly ugly? Herculiner makes a liquid truck bedliner that brushes and rolls on, drying to a solid and durable finish that can handle harsh environments as well as physical abrasion. We got a gallon from Amazon (shipped free with Prime!) that included a brush and roller. We pulled the fenders, taped off the edges, patched over a couple holes and in a matter of hours had the sides done as well as the underside of the fenders and other odds and ends.
We ordered replacement LED lighting parts from our friends at eTrailer.com. They shipped the order super fast and installation of the new replacement LED’s was a breeze.
The lights were connected and remaining rigid insulation installed.
Then it was back to the hardware store for some 3/8″ plywood for the walls.
Gaps (yes, big and ugly, never said I was a carpenter) in the plywood were covered with 1×3″ PT which would give sturdy mounting locations for finishing as well as an attractive way to trim.
The project also involved a complete overhaul of the trailer electrical system. At the risk of oversimplification, we went from a 4-wire setup to a 7-wire setup. This would allow us to be able to run additional electrical systems such as a standalone 12V system for lighting and running the generator, reverse and outside area work lights. With the expertise of Jeff from EVS (THE ultimate vehicle aftermarket lighting and wiring guy in Western Massachusetts), conduit was installed to run the new wiring to an interior junction box. A new power feed cable and connector were installed to mate up with our truck. The trailer chassis and framework grounds were all tied together.