Monday, 25 April 2016

Starting the skin removal...

This was my first day of stripping down the trailer. All of the aluminum skin needs to be removed from the frame so that I can assess the damage, and make repairs etc. So I arrived at the dealership ready to do that this morning, only to find a surprise. I was locked out of the trailer! It turns out that the vintage handle on the door "locks" simply by moving the handle to the down position.

Not only did I not know that, I don't have a key. I did not want to have to take a window off right away, so the only way into the trailer was through the back hatch, which I had removed last week.
I felt pretty squeezed going through there, but I got the door open and a lesson was learned.

Then it was onto the skin removal. Most of the screws on the trailer are 1/4 inch hex, and my dad gave me a special drill bit to remove them. However once in a while I would find a 3 or 4 inch screw that the previous owner had tried to use for repair.    

When you take the aluminum skin off of a vintage trailer, the first step is to remove the trim along the edge, also called the j-rail. This sits over a layer of putty, that was used to seal the seams. On a trailer  this old, the putty is degraded and dried out. It is no wonder these old trailers have water damage.
I won't know the extent of the damage until I remove all the skin, but it is likely there is some.

                                                                                                                                       Once the j-rails were off, I cleaned the putty off of the inside, carefully labeled them and then scraped all the old goop off of the edge of the trailer. You can see a close up here of the seams after the rail is off. There was even one small spot on the trailer (shown below) where the aluminum had a small piece missing. You can imagine how easy it is to damage the interior if any water gets past that. I will be very carefully sealing that hole on the reassembly. 

By the end of the day, I had all of the rails off, the sides scraped and the front window guard removed. Next week I will
start the windows. 


  1. Fun times! Hopefully there will be minimal rot underneath.
    Rin Tin

  2. Step one, I know the feeling. The enthusiasm is always high on step one. The trick is to keep that spirit up when you are at step 500. Keep the final vision in mind.