barry2952`s Spartanette mobile garage

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barry2952`s Spartanette mobile garage
barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
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Member ID: barry2952
Location: Farmington Hills, MI
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Last updated: Mar 24, 2009
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1956 Lincoln Continental
Page 5 of 9
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Monster Garage trailer project. Watch this 1951 35-foot aluminum travel trailer be converted into a
toybox. There will be 21 feet of garage space in the back and an air conditioned lounge with a
bathroom up front. Stay tuned for developments.
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1956 Lincoln Continen
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
2/8/10 9:01 PM
no reserve bargain
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Body sitting on rolling scaffold. Ready to be polished while new trailer is being fabricated.
This is what it will look like when it is polished
Trailer drawings
TRAILER PROJECT UPDATE
Now that the car show season is over I have started back on the trailer project in earnest.
I've decided to build a new frame that the old flimsy frame will sit on top of. This will allow me to keep
the original structure intact. To this end I stripped the old flooring off of the frame and flipped it over
and rolled it into the shop.
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
2/8/10 9:01 PM
The original frame has been stripped of all unnecessary metal and has been altered to accept new
structural steel 2" x 6" steel tubing sistered to the original 10 gauge "C" channel frame. Additional
lateral supports will tie the old frame in with the new.
Frame suspended for sandblasting. While they were at it I had them get rid of the rust on the bucket
truck.
2" x 6"x 1/4" wall thickness steel tube cut and welded to 25� to form the new trailer tongue.
Serious progress. All the steel is installed and welded. I hired a pro to weld the critical joints on the
trailer tongue but I did the rest of it myself.
I hadn't done any serious welding since high school. About 35 years ago. I had forgotten to protect
my neck while welding. Got a hell of a sunburn.
Waiting on axles from Dexter. 3 8,000 lb. axles with AirFlex suspension and stainless steel disk
brakes. Should arrive mid-January.
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
2/8/10 9:01 PM
new wheel wells. This will allow
The original perimeter angle iron will be cut away to create
me to expand the wheelbase from 72" to 102", the legal limit.
I've started primeing the structure. I'm painting it with Rust-Oleum industrial enamel and heavy duty
primer made for sand-blasted surfaces. The final color coat will be National Blue. Very close to the
color of my Mark II.
Test fitting stabalizer system consisting of 4 individually controlled screw jacks. Two to level and lift
the front of the trailer and two to keep the rear stabilized during loading and unloading.
In order to maximize the potential of each 8,000 lb axle it was necessary to design and fabricate
brackets that would allow the suspension to be placed as wide as possible while fitting a relatively
narrow travel trailer frame. This also eliminates the "boxcar" sway effect.
Test fitting the diamond plate aluminum underbelly. I marked the location of the struts on the back
side for pilot hole placement
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
2/8/10 9:01 PM
Test fitting the suspension and lifts.
Alcoa 16" 8-bolt rims and Goodyear RST 12-ply stell belted
system to be installed next week.
tires . Tire pressure /heat sensing
Dan came by to help me with final axle location measurements. Tacked the axle brackets in place. A
pro will do the critical welds.
Installed wheels to align side. Found 1/8" difference in widths. Electric stairs and SmarTire system
arrived today.
Installed KwiKee electric steps. Had to build substantial substructure to carry my weight.
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
2/8/10 9:01 PM
Test fit aluminum panels around suspension brackets.
Test fit retracted stairs.
Removed axles and lift system. Will mount aluminum panels to new struts installed on frame. Once
aluminum has been fitted and secured the panels will come off once more so that I can prime all the
new welding and paint the frame National Blue. The axles and lift system will be painted black. Then
I'll be ready to put the tires on and roll it outside for flipping upright again.
This is the latest design for controlling the air suspension.
The compressor produces 150 lbs of pressure. On at 110 and off at 150. The Pressure Reducing
Valve limits the air line pressure to 125 lbs.
The air pressure is then fed to the Automatic Ride Height Valve on each axle. This device will allow
me to custom balance the load by shifting weight onto any or all of the axles. Think of it as a
changeable fulcrum on a teeter totter. A slight difference in pressure will affect the tongue weight. In
transit this function will hold the load level at all times.
The air then passes through a Dump Valve that will allow lowering of just that axle. These valves will
be used to dump the air out of the two rear axles causing the front end of the trailer to raise up just
enough to allow gravity to pull the car out of the trailer controlled by a winch. To aid in this function
there are electric screwjack lifts on the front to stabilize the trailer at the proper angle. Identical lifts
are installed at the rear to prevent a nose tip- up when the vehicle exits the trailer.
After the dump valve is a Pressure Switch that would close a set of contacts that would illuminate a
warning light in the cab of the tow vehicle should there be a failure.
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
2/8/10 9:01 PM
I flipped the frame in the parking lot. The bucket truck couldn't lift the frame so I had to bring out the
fork lift to complete the task. I was going to flip it once more but I've decided to assemble it upright.
All the welding and priming is done. Finish paint starts tomorrow.
National Blue
It's alive! I jacked it up so I could finish painting underneath it.
Now I can see what I missed.
Kwikee steps move quickly. I predict some bruised shins.
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
2/8/10 9:01 PM
Finally, it can roll around on its own. It has a pretty neutral weight distribution. I can sit my 275 lbs. on
the rear and raise up the front.
Next is permanent wiring , air and brake lines.
This is the ride height valve. This device controls the air pressure in the rubber air bags. The final
position of the bar attached to the valve determines the ride height. The linkage is attached directly to
the swing arm of the suspension. The arms are pointing down now but should be level when the body
is reinstalled on the chassis.
By lengthening the linkage the bags will inflate to a higher pressure raising the chassis above the
axles. Each axle is adjustable to allow for fine tuning weight distribution.
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
2/8/10 9:01 PM
The Airflex suspension has a slight deficiency that allows the axles to drop to a point that the air bags
pull out of their seats. I used 24" 3,000 lb lifting straps secured to the chassis to restrain the axles
from overtravel.
Piping and wiring next.
I finished the piping for the axle controls and applied 80 lbs of pressure to the first set of axles. The
front end rose off the ground with ease. Inflating the rear set and deflating the front dropped tongue
softly to the ground. The leveling system works. Yahoo!
Installed the bottom diamond plate skins and started installing the wiring.
The piping for the ride height valves. Adjusting these rods will let me dial in the ideal tongue weight.
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
2/8/10 9:01 PM
Just thinking out loud.
That's a whole lot of stopping power when driven by a 1600 psi hydraulic brake actuator.
Both sets of Kwikee steps installed and operational. Note the location of the switch that controls the
electric step. That location will minimize shin damage.
The object on the right is a Viair 450C 12-volt air compressor. It feeds the 5 gallon tank. The
pressure sensor located at the tank inlet turns the compressor on at 110 pounds of pressure and off
at 150. One of the taps on the tank feeds a pressure regulator that maintains about 75 lbs of
pressure in the air bag system. The regulator in turn feeds the ride height valve mounted to the frame
rail by each wheel. The ride height valve controls the amount of pressure in the bags, adding or
deleting air as needed.
The valve mounted to the suport is the electric dump valve that allows me to dump air from the back
two axles for loading and all three axles for parking.
The dump valves are controlled from the control center near the rear door.
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
2/8/10 9:01 PM
The four black handled switches are the momentary contact switches for the four 6,000 lb. lifts
mounted fore and aft. The top center switch controls power to the compressor relay. The three bottom
switches are for the axle dump valves.
There will also be a regulator knob for adjusting the air bag pressure system for loaded and unloaded
conditions. There will be a socket for the winch remote control and an air chuck capable of providing
150 lbs of pressure. The tires on this trailer need to be maintained at 110 lbs.
This Dayton product is actually an S5000 Superwinch with 10,000 lbs of pull.
Completed the rough wiring for tail lights and running lights. Included Cat 5 cable for rear facing B/W
camera and back-up lighting circuit tapped into the tow vehicle wiring.
Nothing will stop you faster than red brake calipers.
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
2/8/10 9:01 PM
Finished up the trailer specific wiring which included the four electric screw jacks, the on-board
compressor, electric dump valves for the air suspension and both electric steps.
The "fuse box" is an ABS plastic access hatch cut into the underbelly near the control center. The
control switches will be mounted further up on the body which is why the wires are bulging behind the
temporary control panel.
Ordered the stainless steel brake lines today from Inline Tube. Each caliper will have it's own
stainless steel braided hose dropping from the side of the frame. This eliminated having a crossover
tube and related hardware on the axle.
I'm having the wheel wells made at a local fabrication shop. Once they are installed I'll be able to
finish the brakes.
Update 3-18-2005
Installed a secondary brake light circuit that is powered by the breakaway safety system. In the event
that the trailer becomes detached from the tow vehicle a set of electrical contacts closes and puts
power to the hydraulic brake actuator which clamps down the disk brakes bringing the trailer to a
screeching to a halt. The only problem is that the brake lights lose power when the trailer detaches
leaving some poor soul unaware that the shiny monster in front of them is stopping.
This sensor will be triggered by the activation of the hydraulic brakes illuminating a secondary brake
light.
This is an air pressure monitor sensor. This unit was made for sensing the pressure in air-bagged
cars. There would normally be one sensor for each air bag but I am using one to sense the air
pressure in the 5-gallon storage tank and one sensor in each suspension.
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
2/8/10 9:01 PM
I decided to run the brake lines within the frame to protect them from the weather. This allowed me to
use standard steel brake lines as the bottom of the trailer will be enclosed. The new suspension air
pressure sensor is just to the left of the dump valve.
These devices will send a digital signal to the cab of the tow vehicle so that a warning would sound in
the even of air bag failure.
I did use stainless where the line are exposed. The braided stainless lines drop to each brake caliper
from the frame so I could eliminate the crossover lines on the axles. Unfortunately, the lines will be
hidden behind the tires.
I haven't finalized the ramp/tailgate system yet but I'll use the available air pressure system to make
some type of assist.
Started installing the 120-volt wiring for outlets in the cabin and garage.
Almost done with the mechanical stuff. ordered the 3/4" T & G plywood cut to size to properly
overlap.
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
2/8/10 9:01 PM
Wheel wells arrived today. 3/16" mill finish aluminum. Beautifully welded.
Installed the new wheel wells and marked their location. Removed wheel wells so that plywood
would lay flat for marking of access cutouts and wheel wells from the bottom side.
You'll notice that I've induced a slight upward bow at both ends of the trailer. The plywood will be
attached to the 10-guage frame rails and 12-gauge crossmenbers with self tapping 1/4-20 deck
screws. The second layer of plywood will overlap by 50% and epoxied to the first layer.
Decking the trailer while bowed will leave the deck in "tension" aiding in keeping it straight.
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
2/8/10 9:01 PM
P.S. I finished installing and testing the air pressure monitor system for the suspension.
300 torx deck screws later the first layer of plywood is installed. Three panels will be marked from the
underside for access hatch locations. The panels will be removed, flipped over and cut out of the first
layer.
The second layer will be glued and screwed to the first. A router will be used to cut out the second
layer using a bit that will leave a 3/4" lip for the hatch cover to fit into. I remembered some earlier
lessons and use a drill stop to prevent damage to wiring, air or hydraulics.
The front floor hatches will contain 120-volt circuit breakers, inverter and battery banks.
The body and chassis poised for reattachment.
I used over 400 screws to attach the top layer of plywood to the base layer.
March 26, 2005
Big day! First time outside since November. Before and after.
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
2/8/10 9:01 PM
All set up for lowering. I used three scaffolds and my much younger helper used three ladders.
I used pieces of Tyvek as a wicking material to route moisture out of the base plate area of the walls.
Part of the Tyvek will be exposed but hidden under the new bottom trim panels.
About an hour later. Three clicks at a time on each of six comealongs.
One side down. Lots of wiring to make clearance for before the other side can sit on the frame.
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
2/8/10 9:01 PM
As it sits right now. The entire body/frame/axles is now suspended on the corner jacks. I had to do
this to get the wheels to drop low enough to clear the shell's apron. The edge of the metal is sitting
on the tires.
The next step is to create an inner structure for the trailer wall and cut away the wheel wells from the
body. The altered wall will be self supporting but will sit on top of the structural aluminum wheel well.
You can see from this picture that there is nothing supporting the front of the trailer. All controlled by
the ride height valves.
Started polishing the body. This is 4 hours work. I am polishing the panels where switches and the
control panel will go. It is much easier to polish a solid panel than one with a hole in it.
3-30-2005
This is the task I've been dreading. In a effort to stop roof leaks a tar sealant was applied to about
120 feet of roof seam. It must have been applied early on as the metal underneath is not corroded at
all.
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
2/8/10 9:01 PM
Unfortunately, the tar cracked along all the seams. Extensive use of a heat gun and repeated
washing with mineral spirits seems to be the slow but sure method. All of the roof caps will be
removed and sealed up as the trailer will be air conditioned.
The Spartan Aircraft Company built beautiful shiny airplanes. You would think that they would know
not to put a steel roof cap on an aluminum roof. This is actually the only real corrosion I've found. Not
bad for 53 year old trailer body.
This is the scariest thing I've ever done. Cutting into the body to create the new wheel wells made me
pay attention to the addage "Measure twice, cut once."
I cut away the aluminum outer skin and then cut the inner stud 2" above that line. I used a modified
pair of duck-bill vice grips made the bend neatly.
The structural inner fender well supports the wall above. I'm currently designing a decorative skin
much more in the style of the trailer.
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
2/8/10 9:01 PM
4-4-2005
Another big day. The trailer went for a 50-foot ride today. The first sunshine it's seen in 18 months.
Please note that the trailer is not propped up in the front. The air suspension returns the tailer to level
automatically
I don't think I've ever posted pictures of the driver's side.
I'm looking for several more of these marker lights. They are marked KD540 and are red and amber.
4-14-2004
Polishing, polishing and more polishing. This thing is huge.
This is the first pass of a three part polishing regimen designed to produce a mirror finish.
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
2/8/10 9:01 PM
What a difference!
Sample running light on trailer front.
The curved base fits pretty well
Before
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
2/8/10 9:01 PM
After 35 hours of polishing
Apparently someone had installed a window airconditioner in place of the center window. The unit
must have leaked back on the front of the trailer as the corrosion was extensive and had badly
etched the aluminum surface. This the best I could get out of it with normal compounding methods.
I used an orbital sander with 150 grit paper to smooth out the metal and then compounded the area
again. I probably should have used 220 as the 150 grit left some scratches that required additional
compounding.
Notice my arm in the reflection on the left and observe the unsanded polished area on the right.
I used my new Cyclo polisher to do the third and final polishing step and the surface shined like a
mirror.
I look rather short and squat in this picture. The front of the trailer is like a funhouse mirror.
5-28-2005
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
2/8/10 9:01 PM
Little to report due to car show schedule. Built a platform to allow for work on the roof. New front
window frame arrived. Went with three windows the same size as originals except with rounded
corners.
12-1-2005 Show season over. Obtained another Continental for the collection. A 1955 Porsche 356
"Continental" cabrio. Finished the season with a Best in Class at Greenwich and the Hilton Head
Island Concours.
In late October, Classic Car magazine editor Dennis Adler sent Len Katz, official photographer for
the Meadow Brook Concours to my home to shoot for an article by Dennis Adler. The magazine was
mailed to subscribers December 1, 2005. They also printed an article I wrote on the subject of the
Continental Star.
Tim Howley, editor of the Lincoln and Continental Comments magazine, has a Royal Spartanette that
he lives in while on his farm. It was the only object undamaged when fire swept through and
destroyed his car collection. He asked me to write an article on this project and he did. 6 pages and
15 pictures.
I started back on the project on one of the roughest tasks. The back sides of the doors were badly
pitted because the original door covering was a sheet of vinyl. Moisture was trapped and heavily
corroded the metal. I went at it gently using 320 grit sandpaper and got nowhere. I wanted to be able
to polish the surface but I was afraid to take off too much metal. The outer panels are Alclad which is
an aluminum allow covered by a thin layer of pure aluminum. I didn't want to sand through it. Turns
out the back side of the door is made from pure aluminum so I can sand the next one more
aggressively.
They sure look pretty polished.
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
2/8/10 9:01 PM
Every hinge I've ever seen on a 50 year old trailer is rusted. I sand blasted the rust off the hinges and
reassembled the pieces. I spray painted a zinc coating that's meant to be a finish coat. Unfortunately
the color didn't match the shiny surface so I covered the hinges with aluminum duct tape and they
look chrome plated.
My next step is installing the new front window frame and rain rail.
These are the reproduction door handles. The originals are zinc castings and break easily. The new
handles are cast in solid aluminum.
Very stylish. Blends in with the background metal. Nice reflection.
Look to the lower right of the door. It appears the previous owner would kick the snow off their boots
by kicking the trailer. I'm thinking of leaving it that way. Maybe.
Decided to finish the door and install it. You can see why I was so fussy about the door shine.
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
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Installed the front window frame using Cleco temporary panel holders. Disassembled and deburred
all of the holes and reassembled preparing to rivet the new panel and rain gutter in place. I polished
all of the new metal before installation. I installed a rubber tape gasket in-between the new panel and
the existing window opening.
I taught myself to rivet. I immediately found out that it didn't take much force to mash aluminum rivest
with an air impact. I found about 25 lbs of air pressure gave me the best control and tight seams. I
also found that selecting the right length rivet made the job go smoothly. I found that about 3/16"
poking through mashed nicely and gripped tightly.
The front visor was replaced with a substantial J-channel to stiffen the top of the window frame. The
old visor stuck out about 5" and would have ruined the aerodynamics and created a huge water trap
while moving in the rain.
The old visor was to protect the tops of the windows from getting wet at they were hinged on top. The
new front windows will be fixed in place and sealed.
The finished window frame. All that's left is polishing off the anodized finish on the rivet heads and
installing a clear sealant.
In preparation for spray foam installation I've completed the wiring for the cabin area. The lighting will
run off of the batteries directly while the 120-volt circuits will be fed through the inverter or directly off
of house power when utilities are available.
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
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Close up of the separated wiring system. All the 120-volt wiring is in armored cable and the 12-volt
system is in marine grade low-voltage cable. I would prefer to not use the trailer body for either
system ground.
The box on the right is configured so that I can use three rocker or toggle switches in the traditional
up-on down-off configuration.
The right hand switch will control the art-deco porch fixture. The center switch will control 12-volt
lighting for general illumination and the third switch will control a hanging fixture in the center of the
room, over a table.
In preparation for the removal of the upper half of the clamshell rear doors I have installed supports
the for rear opening. This significantly enhanced the rigidity of the opening but will require some steel
to properly stiffen it. My carpenter friend tells me that curved braces are muck stronger than those
cut on a 45�.
This was a big step. Cutting away the upper clamshell section let me know just how much rigidity I
had lost by cutting away the back. It appears that the upper section didn't add all that much to the
stiffness of the structure.
I believe the structural foam sprayed everywhere will significantly stabilize the structure.
Wow, what a difference. I can actually see the Mark II sitting in its portable home.
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
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The view from the inside changed significantly with the rear end gone.
Added a 2" light duty angle iron to the last 5 feet of both sides at the rear. It significantly stiffened the
structure and performs the task of tying the walls to the floor where ther was weakness.
Speaks for itself.
Still looking for more of these. They were used on trucks and trailers of the '40s and '50s.
Turns out that the guy that made the reproduction exterior handles also makes interior reproductions.
I bought the last two he had.
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
2/8/10 9:01 PM
Another dreaded project. I needed to install an access hatch to conceal the screw jack switches (4)
air bag dump valve switches (3), compressor switch, jack for winch control and an air pressure gauge
to determine suspension system pressure. The reserve tank is always held at 150 lbs but the air bags
will only need about 40-60 lbs.
Never believe anything you read. The instructions tell you to drill an 1/8" hole 1/2" in from each
corner. then you are told to expand the hole with a 1/2" bit which would put the edge 1/4" away from
the template edge. The 1/2" radius would have been distorted with tin snips so I used a 1" hole saw
in each corner to form the 1/2" radius.
Electric tin snips took care of the rest of the cuts and the new door fell right into place.
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
2/8/10 9:01 PM
When I got the trailer the front area was lined with about a hundred and fifty feet of 1 x 8, 10 and 12
which I've used to strengthen the rear of the trailer. I got some of the lights working off the battery.
The monster breathes.
This is the closest marker light I could find that matched the style of the originals. Unfortunately, they
don't quite cover the marks left by 50 years of corrosion under the fixture base. I've contacted the
manufacturer to see if they would make an adapter plate that would expand the base.
This is the finished control box. The coil of wire is the 25-foot remote control for the Superwinch. The
air gauge shows the air bag system pressure. The air storage tank is kept at 150psi. The two
switches on the left wall are to control the rear jacks and the switches on the right control the front
screw jacks. The three switches in the bottom of the box, on the left are the dump valves for the front,
middle and rear axle and the switch on the right is the compressor power switch.
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
2/8/10 9:01 PM
The reason that the switches are in the sides of the box are so that they don't intrude into the garage
space. There will be a removable panel on the inside wall that will allow for future access.
This is my design for the self storing ramps. The spare tire weights about 100 lbs and the ramp
material weighs about 150 lbs. The large section of ramp is 64" and the small section is 30". The
lever on the can be no longer than 7" to remain concealed in the belly pan.
What diameter 12" stroke cylinder will be necessary to lift this load at 150 psi?
TRAILER LIGHTING SAGA 1-22-2006
Since I bought this trailer two years ago I have been looking for original K-D 540 lights as one of my
amber lenses is missing. I also learned that I had better bring the trailer up to the current NHTSA
lighting standards.
The antique trailer craze started just about the time I got into this and the original lights were bringing
big bucks on e-bay. I saw a set go for $700.00. Nuts!
My problem was that the old lights had some type of gasket behind it that kept water out of the trailer
but trapped it between the fixture and the aluminum, leaving this mess.
I found a guy that supplys material for building new teardrop trailers and he had this light for sale. He
takes a lens off of cheap stamped aluminum lights used in the mobile home industry and mills out a
billet aluminum base and polishes the edge. Looks real nice, great quality, but too small to cover the
corrosion.
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
2/8/10 9:01 PM
Feeling some pressure to proceed I decided that sanding the metal to remove the corrosion was the
only way to go. I started with 100 and then 180, 240, 320 and 600 before compound buffing the
surface.
About 2 more hour of buffing and I had the surface passable, but not perfect. I was afraid to sand
any deeper.
About as good as it's going to get.
Not bad!
Looks good lit!
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
2/8/10 9:01 PM
.040 satin finish aluminum J channel as a finished lower edge of the trailer
Had to relocate the air suspension regulator and 150 psi air chuck due to poor planning. Oops.
Temporary fastening of trim using Cleco clamps. They insert into the hole and draw the panels
together for drilling and fastening. These are commonly used in aviation fabrication.
Update 1-29-2006
Polish, polish, polish. Interesting picture becuse the reflection of the floor appears sharper than the
picture of the floor itself.
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
2/8/10 9:01 PM
Real progress. All lower curtains are polished and installed on the door side. 200 SS screws hold the
valance in place.
Ramps and hinges came in. Ramps ar real strong. Rated at 7,000 lbs.
Carpenter installed dividing wall. It will be mostly glued in place with some type of catalyst glue. After
insulation the walls will be covered in 1/4" luan covered by Maple veneer. Something figurative. The
veneer will give a seamless appearance.
Cutting the rubber window gasket straight became an ordeal. I tried all types of knives and cutting
devices. I even set up a sanding jig to square up the ends. The problem is that the rubber always
wanted to move in the direction of the cutter leaving a crooked edge.
I ended up using a piece of 3/4" PVC tubing that barely slip fit over the rubber molding. I used a trim
saw witha 40 tooth carbide blade and cut the rubber just past the end of the tubing.
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
2/8/10 9:01 PM
3M black trim adhesive worked great for making the splice. Coat both sides of the splice, let dry and
jam both pieces together.
Sorry about the blurry picture.
First window installed. Super tight fit. The molding is that used on early Ford pick-up rear windows.
I decided to use scratch resistant polycarbonate for all the windows. It's UV stable and fairly flexible.
Plastics have gotten very expensive. I'll have about $2,000 in rubber and polycarbonate by the time
I'm done.
Update 2-5-2006
The good people at Dexter Axle agreed to upgrade my hydraulic actuator to accomodate the large
capacity of the 3 sets of 4-piston calipers (24 pistons total) used on my trailer.
The unit installed in the well is the new unit with the equivalent psi but three times the fluid capacity. I
would have run out of brake fluid at half brake pad wear.
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
2/8/10 9:01 PM
I've installed the ramp hinges using stainless fasteneners rated at grade 5. The hinge bolts are 1/2"
and the bolts holding it to the frame are (2) 3/8" passing through 1/4" wall tubing capped with angle
iron. The hinge rating is twice what is needed to support the car.
Front windows installed.
The four corner jacks are rated at 24,000 lbs total. They will lift the entire trailer off the ground for tire
or suspension work.
The brakes are complete. I used the hydraulic actuator to pressurize the system for bleeding. I was
able to simulate a breakaway which activates the hydraulic actuator. I uses a remote starter switch to
start the actuator as I bled each wheel.
The system used 1.5 quarts of brake fluid to fill it.
Installed the hubcaps and dress nuts and torqued the wheels down for an impending test drive. That
might be several weeks away as I want to wait until the winter salt washes away from our roads.
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
2/8/10 9:01 PM
Just need to add some temporary lights and hook it to the tow vehicle.
Update 2-12-2006
I wanted to complete the clearance and marker lights so that I could finish the wiring within the trailer
in preparation for spray foam installation. I ended up polishing almost the whole side and discovered
the only holes in this 55 year-old beauty. It looks like there must have been an awning bracket
installed here at one time. No amount of polishing made the holes go away. The hole are down near
the bottom and were simply too big to install fake rivets.
I backed the holes up with metal duct tape after cleaning away the tar in the area.
I used Lab Metal as a filler. The sample I saw looked just like aluminum, and it does, until you hit it
with a buffer.
The aluminum oxide seems to embed itself in the pores of the Lab Metal and turn it a dull gray.
Did a bunch of mock-ups on the spacing of the clearance lights and settled on 8" spacing.
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
2/8/10 9:01 PM
The marker lights make attactive clearance lights too. There are 20 of these in amber and red.
The curvature of the Indian Motorcycle replica fender light didn't fit the curvature of the trailer exactly
so I fabricated a spacer out of black acrylic and heat bent it to fill the space between the trailer and
the light base.
It's hard to tell that it's even there.
Front lighting just about complete.
Carpenter showed up for a few hours today. Took apart everything I did at the rear opening and
started over. Said I used three times as many screws as necessary and no glue.
I explained my logic as not wanting to make anything permanent as I've had to take things apart so
many times that I couldn't bring myself to gluing anything permanently. I am allowing him to glue his
work together.
Update 2-13-2006
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
2/8/10 9:01 PM
Energized marker and clearance lights and nothing happened. Found a bad ground connection and it
then lit up like a Chritsmas tree. One step closer to a test tow.
I believe I have finalized the design for the lift mechanism. I've gone through pneumatic, hydraulic,
linear actuator, screw jack and other various methods and I kept coming back to the same problem.
The forces required to lift 200 lbs off the ground with such a short lever is enormous.
Someone had recommended a pully and cable system activated by a winch. The problem is that
there needed to be a rigid connection between what was producing the force and the lever itself.
Someone else suggested a cable system similar to a garage door opener with drums on either side
of a solid shaft. At first this idea struck me as just another obstacle to trip over while loading the car.
The more I thought about it the better I liked the idea.
I have purchased a two spring garage door type pully, spring and cable system designed to lift a 200
lb trailer door. The counterbalance nature of the springs will allow me to move the ramp assembly
with little or no effort as the springs actually do the work.
With no effort required in either direction an air cylinder will provide the motion required to stow and
extend the lift.
This is the unloading configuration. The front is raised 36" dropping the rear to 18". Theree's an
identical set of lifts on the rear used for stabilizing during unloading.
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
2/8/10 9:01 PM
The trailer is tipped up 5� which is sufficient to let the weight of the car pay it out against the 10,000
front tire
lb winch. When the
is on the top of the ramp the front end of the trailer will be lowered
raising the rear end as much as 48" if needed. This will dramatically increase the gravitational pull,
allowing the vehicle to fully discharge from the trailer without a driver.
Test fitting the ramps to determine where to cut and install the heavy duty hinge.
Door hinges.
The original hinges were steel. Painted, they would never hold up to a buffer. Eventually they would
rust. I sought out someone to make me a replacement hinge but an order of two was insufficient to
peak anyone's interest.
The hinge is unusual in that one wing is 2" while the other is 2 1/2". Just a tad nonstandard. I found a
company that makes aluminum hinges but they only stocked up to 4" aluminum piano hinges. I had a
piece of .040 aluminum welded to one wing and it then duplicated the original. I also wanted to
eliminate the secondary hinges for the screen door so piano hinges were ideal.
One new hinge installed.
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
2/8/10 9:01 PM
This picture shows a final shine on the door vs. what I thought was shiny on the left. Look at the
clarity of detail in the door reflection. Look at the mess on that table.
The counterbalance springs showed up yesterday. They will fit exactly the way I envisioned.
In an effort to gain as much headroom as possible I fabbed up some 5" brackets in place of the 3"
brackets.
After test fitting realized that I could gain even more headroom by tipping the bracket upward to gain
another 2" of clearance. In fact, the assembly hangs no lower than the trailer opening.
I mocked up an attachment point for the cables and attachment of the spare tire so that I could adjust
the proper tension on the springs.
At the reccommended 10 turns on each spring the cables let the ramps hang in mid air. It takes no
effort to move. I may back the springs off a little. It tends to want to pull closed on its own. I'd prefer
that the actuator or air cylinder do that work.
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
2/8/10 9:01 PM
Ramps fully extended. With the spare tire mounted to the mock up, the tire hits the ground before the
trailer reaches the desired 5� pitch. The final design will have to have the tire fairly flush to the top of
the ramp to work properly. I feel another drawing coming on.
The original bracket held the winding drum straight out restricting headroom at the rear opening. A
new adjustment hole let me snug the mechanism right up against the ceiling.
The whole mechanism fits neatly into the area above the rear opening. It will be enclosed but
accessible.
My trusty 1976 Craftsman 10" radial arm saw came in real handy cutting the ramps. Three passes
with an 80-tooth carbide blade made clean work of it. After much thought and mock up I decided to
make the ramps a little more equal in length. The section that attaches to trailer is 4 1/2 feet and the
flipper is 3 1/2 feet.
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
2/8/10 9:01 PM
The full weight of the spare and extended ramps took 10 full turns of the springs. It took only 2 full
turns to suspend the shortened ramps. The spare must weigh more than I thought.
I'm going to need an idler pully similar to this mock-up to keep the wire rope from rubbing on the arch
support.
The movement of the ramp was restricted by the length of the hinges so I created a floor pocket for
them to rest in during transport. This gave me the additional travel necessary to tuck the ramps way
into the trailer.
Creating the 1/2" deep by 1" pocket moved the top of the ramps inward by 10" giving me all the
clearance I need for the upper clamshell door.
[b]Large aluminum hinge making with woodworking tools 101[/b]
I needed to fabricate two 14" x 3" hinges for the trailer ramps. The pivot for the hinge will be under
the ramp so the weight of the car will pinch the hinge closed.
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
2/8/10 9:01 PM
I got quotes from two local fabricators and $75.00 in material turned into $400.00 without welding. I
decided to give the trusty old Craftsman radial arm saw a go at fabricating them myself. Aluminumspecific 80-tooth carbide blades cut aluminum like a hot knife through butter.
Since I recently squared up the radial arm saw to cut the ramps I used it to cut the 1/2" x 3" bar stock
to length. Then I cut the 1/4" wall tubing to 1 7/8". This length allowed for the installation of a 1/8"
thick machine spacer in-between each hinge segment. This spacer will be replaced with a nylon
washer after welding.
Test fitting the pieces.
I used a laminate trimmer with a carbide 45� blade to put a 1/4" chamfer on the 1/2" aluminum plate
to create a V for the hinge segments to sit in. This creates more surface area for welding the hinge
together.
Test fit the assembly and determined areas where clearance was needed.
Used the 45� blade set deeper to cut away clearance areas using the C-clamp as a stop for the
trimmer.
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
2/8/10 9:01 PM
trimmer.
Hinge wings with clearance.
Everything seems to fit well.
Off to the welder.
2-24-2006
Actually, the welder came to me. I wanted to see if everything should be welded while attached to the
trailer. Apparently I have things jigged well enough to weld on their level welding tables.
I checked all of the clearance to make sure the spare tire would fit in-between the lowered bottom
half of the clam shell door and the ramp in its lowest position.
The plan is to have the bottom of the clamshell door pull up into position attached to the powered
ramp. The door would be held up in position by cables with spring tensioners pulling the door against
its stops.
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
2/8/10 9:01 PM
The spare tire rack will double as a lever for activating the motion of the ramps. I think I'm going to go
with a linear actuator to provide movement. I've found one with buit in limit switches that adjust
similar to those on garage door openers.
The lever you see sticking out under the ramps is the means of providing movement. The cabled
counterbalance springs so equally balance the load that it takes very little effort to fold and unfold the
ramps. The lever will be shortened significantly based on tests of the mechanism.
Finished installing the rear clearance lights after polishing the roof in that area. Test fit drip rail and
header
drilled holes for riveting to new 1/8" thick aluminum
. Finished the flexible wiring harness
for the lights and rear facing camera on the upper half of the rear door. Installed reversing switch for
linear actuator. More polishing.
Spent 6 hours at the welders today. It's a good thing that I stayed and helped/supervised. I had the
undivided attention of certified welders. These guys did beautiful work. National Tool and Die
Welding in Livonia, MI.
The hinge segments were separated by machine washers and will be replaced by nylon. The hinge
assembly was tacked in opposing locations to minimize distortion. The segments were deep welded
to the plates to ensure a solid bond. The residual heat didn't allow the hinges to open for close to two
hours after welding. The aluminum expanded against the washers and locked the hinge up solid.
We ended up leaving them outside (23�) for about an hour and they unstuck.
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
2/8/10 9:01 PM
During the cooling process the rest of the tire mount tubes and cross-braces were welded in place.
The bolts that held everything together were removed after the joints were welded and their holes
filled. After the hinges were separated the matched pairs were welded to the appropriate ramp
pieces.
The ramps stayed remarkably flat through all that welding. The hinged "flippers were installed and
folded back against the longer section. Another cross brace was installed to keep the ramps the
proper distance apart. The hinges were put through their range of motion and worked smoothly.
Set the ramps back in place and secured them to hinges.
Installed spare tire and hooked up steel cables to hinge pin.
After 27 turns the counterbalance allow the ramps just hang wherever I set them. There appears to
be very little pressure necessary to induce movement.
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
2/8/10 9:01 PM
The cable attachment points need to be extended for maximum width so this was as far as I could
fold the ramps in. The idler pully also needs to be extended further from the wall to be effective.
Kind of looks like a Praying Mantis
The hinge in operation.
Works like a champ!!
Update 3-6-06
A week of inelegant fixes. Installed the new 500 lb actuator. It seemed like it was struggling to lift the
ramps so I adjusted the counterbalance springs to assist the lift. Added so much lift assist that the
lever broke trying to get the assembly to move.
The arm was to be reinforced as it was made of aluminum rigid conduit. I wanted to make final
adjustments before finalizing its position. The more powerful actuator did it for me.
I fabricated a replacement out of 3/4" rigid conduit which fit perfectly inside the aluminum conduit. It
functioned properly but didn't look vey good compared to the rest of the ramp so I made another arm.
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
2/8/10 9:01 PM
functioned properly but didn't look vey good compared to the rest of the ramp so I made another arm.
This time I inserted a piece of rigid steel conduit inside the aluminum conduit and bent them
together. The third picture below show an inelegant but effective adjustment tools.
The next step was to attach the lower clam-shell door. The shape is determined by the external
butresses stamped out of aluminum. They were too long for the application so they needed to be
trimmed to fit.
I disassembled the rear panel and it laid down flat. I determined the exact length needed to make the
horizontal seam line up correctly and installed another aluminum-specific saw blade into my 7 1/4"
circular saw, clamped down my 8-foot level as a straight edge a zipped right through the metal. The
edge was razor sharp and straight as an arrow.
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
2/8/10 9:01 PM
Not recommended use of a radial arm saw.
All parts cut to size.
When I reassembled everything I realized the wood strips on the inside of the lower clam-shell door
were interferring with the placement of the spare tire. The 2" wood spacers were no longer necessary
as this was an insulated area in its former life. I removed the two-inch pieces of wood and replaced
them with 1/2" aluminum struts. This will be covered in the same fiberglass reinforced panel material
as the rest of the garage area.
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
2/8/10 9:01 PM
The lower door is pulled into position by wires attached to the hinge axle. As the ramps start to
extend and drop, the lower door simply drops to the ground on cables that go slack until the door is
pulled back up. I'll probably use some type of spring tensioner like that on a screen door. That should
provide firm mounting with some give for flexibility.
The wires are holding the door in position
There's about 3" clearance between the lower ramp section as it swings by the lowering lower gate. I
believe tht that was just dumb luck.
Lower panel snuggly in place.
Considering that the lower rear of the trailer had the worst corrosion it turned out pretty good. The
first picture shows the original condition on the right, steel wool cleaning in the second and buffed out
on the left.
Second picture is the finished assembly.
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
2/8/10 9:01 PM
Back in place. Check out the reflection of the spool of wire.
Started on the upper half of the clam shell by making a template of the curvature. Used dividers to
strike a parallel set of lines and rough cut with a jig saw. Used a sanding disc to smooth the outside
of the arc.
Once the outside curvature was smooth and accurate I used the sanding drum to make the rib a
uniform width along its length. I'll use this pattern to make two out of poplar. These will be attached to
the horizontal ribs already in place on he upper shell.
The template is in place followed by pictures of the arc that the door will take.
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
2/8/10 9:01 PM
3-7-2006
Fabricated two door bows from the template.
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
2/8/10 9:01 PM
Checked fit and installed with spacers to simulate 1/2" door gap. Door gap will be covered by an
aluminum strip and seal.
Removed wood lateral struts and trimmed aluminum tabs so that material will lay flat on new forms.
Installed door panel and scribed for trimming door gap.
Trimmed eges and secured panel to new arches.
Propped door open to determine length of lift pistons
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
2/8/10 9:01 PM
Checked for clearance.
This is what it looks like unloading the car.
Concept drawing.
3-10-2006
Reassembly of upper door after installing reinforcements. Metal was heavily corroded but yeilded to
massive amounts of elbow grease.
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
2/8/10 9:01 PM
The "eyebrows" over the rear windows are no longer necessary as the new window will not open and
are sealed with a rubber gasket. The holes were filled with rivets and polished to blend in with the
surrounding metal.
Outside for the first time since fall. It was 65� here today. I actually opened the bay doors to warm
up the interior.
Trying to find the right tail lights. The rear windows will be blacked out.
Still have lots of polishing to do.
3-12-2006
The garage area will be lined with Fiberglass Reinforced Panels. The panels are commonly found in
commercial kitchens and freezers. It is brilliant white and has a pebbly finish but non abrasive. The
standard moldings are white plastic but I'm leaning towards stainless or aluminum.
The existing wall studs were covered in tar sprayed on the rough interior as a means to deaden both
the noise and movement of the aluminum skin. No adhesive would stick to the tar nor would the
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
2/8/10 9:01 PM
the noise and movement of the aluminum skin. No adhesive would stick to the tar nor would the
width of the existing studs be sufficient to glue on the FRP.
I screwed the lumber to the skinny studs to create a much stiffer shell and to create more surface
area to apply adhesive. Since the wall stud layout does not match a standard 48" spacing layout I've
had to add interim studs to allow for proper attachment of the dividing strips.
The wall and ceiling cavities will be filled with foam for structural rigidity and temperature control.
3-18-2006
Created a curved finish molding for the door opening that will finish the edge of the FRP that will line
the interior.
The door seal will sit on top of this molding. The material slot is a little wavy but once filled with the
1/8" panel it will straighten out.
Ready for insulation.
3-24-2006
I've polished all of the skirting before installation.
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
2/8/10 9:01 PM
All of the aluminum exposed edging is covered in chrome door edge molding eliminating the creaking
typical of moving panels
The (4) 6,000 lifts easily raise the entire trailer 3 feet off the ground.
The very last of the sheetmetal work is done except for patching the various roof vents and plumbing
stacks no longer needed.The roof will be covered with a rubber membrane like those used on school
busses.
4-2-2006
The roof rafters on either side of the front roof vent had repeatedly been soaked and had sagged
about 1" in the center. This created a flat roof in this area where the rest of the roof is rounded fpr
rain removal. You can see how far they were off in this picture.
Newly installed roof rafter.
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
2/8/10 9:01 PM
There were seven holes in the roof that needed to be sealed.
Patches slightly larger than the opening were cut to fit. Cleco fasteners to temporarily hold the panel
for drilling.
Blind rivets were used as these patches will be covered with a rubber membrane.
Finished product.
I had enough parts to restore the two roof vents in the garage area but I had to get rid of the tar first.
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
2/8/10 9:01 PM
Here's an examole of why more is not necessarily better. There must be 100 rivets holding the vent
to the roof. Many of the rivets leaked.
Smooth as a baby's behind and ready for rubber membrane installation
Found another dozen rafters that were sagging from 1/4" to 3/4". It was easier to make new ones
than trim the old ones. This also restored the proper curvature to the roof.
Now it's ready for foam.
4-12-2006 FOAM DAY!!!!!!!
In preparation for foam I realized that I had not installed the new rain gutters above the doors.
I also installed the upper door pivots and installed the door so that it could be foamed in its proper
position.
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
2/8/10 9:01 PM
Installed all the wiring and the rear facing camera before the wires were foamed in place.
The crew from the insulation company masked off the windows and completely covered the floor and
ramps.
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
2/8/10 9:01 PM
I'm very glad I had this done rather than doing it myself.
Lots of scaping of overspray to do but the spray worked wonders in providing the structural rigidity I
was looking for.
I'm going to start paneling the garage area first.
4-15-2006
A couple hours of scraping off the overspray and I was ready to install the Fiberglass Reinforced
Panels.
Finally, finished surfaces! The FRP is very dimetionally stable but it requires a 1/16th gap in-between
panels to allow for expansion.
I wanted a very smooth appearance so I opted to glue the FRP to the wood studs and rafters with a
glue specific to fiberglass. The dividing strips were first fastened to the ceiling with glue and staples.
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
2/8/10 9:01 PM
I opted for 12-foot lengths which allowed for just one end seam. The sheets are very difficult to
handle, making this a two-person job.
The adhesive is slow cure so it had to be held in place, under pressure, for 1 to 7 days, depending
on temperature and humidity conditions. We've determined that 4 days is sufficient under the
manufacturer's guidelines.
The cut-offs of the side ceiling panels will become the upper wall panels. That's my carpenter-friend
Bill. A true artist.
The ceiling is completed. The wall will get covered with the same material.
4-16-2006
Found the perfect tow vehicle!
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
2/8/10 9:01 PM
4-17-2006
More progress
4-21-2006
Paneling completed.
After installing the paneling into the rear curved molding a little heat was applied and the molding
nicley conformed without any waves.
This material cuts very cleanly and easily.
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
2/8/10 9:01 PM
I'm planning on framing the windows in polished diamond plate aluminum.
Looking back through one of the front access hatches
The base luan paneling will start to go in the lounge tomorrow.
4-23-2006
Today the trailer went for a ride. I attached it to the hi-lo fork and pushed it out into the parking lot.
Starting to look finished, but it's not.
Plenty of light in the garage area.
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
2/8/10 9:01 PM
The lights in my shop are off center, on purpose. I turned the trailer around so I could see better to
finish polishing.
This picture is to show that the trailer is self-supporting without any lift assist other than the air
suspension. FYI, it is 18 feet from the ball to the center of the front axle.
With the air bags emptied the front end will drop to the ground with about 1200 lbs of tongue weight.
With the airbags filled to 80 lbs. I can stand on the tongue and make it drop about a foot. The extra
weight is offset by the automatic ride height valves and it will lift the trailer level again with my added
weight. (275 lbs). Hop off the tongue and the nose will bounce up about a foot and will immediately
return to level. I can adjust the tongue weight infinitely by adjusting the air suspension to match the
load, rather than matching the load to the trailer.
Turned nicely without too much tire scuffing. The side-slip bare side treads on the RST tires seems to
help the treads break loose in turning.
After spending half a day cleaning the shop we brought the trailer back in, facing the opposite way.
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
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The foam in the front cabin required some serious trimming to fit the arc of the new roof paneling. A
4" cup wire wheel made short work of the foam removal but static electricity made the foam chips
stick to everything.
The most flexible material we could find was inexpensive paneling made of high density particle
board. Installed groove up it will provide a form and attachment surface for a veneer finish. The
center joint was bridged by aluminum strips to ensure a stable joint.
The true curve of the ceiling is now evident.
I started installing some of the 1/4" luan wall paneling and ran out of staples. Time to go home.
I've made my final selection for the interior of the cabin. I've decided to go eco friendly and use
prefinished bamboo flooring for all of the interior finishes.
The 4" wide planks woud run the width of the cabin, starting at the ceiling of the back wall and
running all the way forward following the gentle curve of the ceiling. The sam planking would run in
the same direction on the floor.
The floor and ceiling would use vertical cut bamboo that is milled into rectangles and laminated to
look like plywood that is all one color and grain direction.
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The walls would get horizontally cut bamboo that shows the "knuckle" feature of the material.
It's harder than oak and more dimentionally stable. Quasi-treehugger that I am I feel good that the
planks are made of a renewable and plentiful material source.
Normally I don't particularly care for Avacado anything, but this seems to go so well with the bamboo.
The polished aluminum should fit right in.
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
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This Miller lamp has been hanging around my shop for years, looking for a new home
Flash
This the table that will be fixed to the floor hatch
5-3-2006 Progress
I hired two artists to aid in finishing this thing off right.
The 55 year old trailer wasn't exactly straight but the new interior material is. The framing you see in
the window took about 20 hours to create. Name every woodworking operation you know of. It was
performed on this assembly. The window opening will be a work of art by itself.
I hired another artist to replicate the original Royal Spartanette logo, almost twice the original size.
Nothing about this project is understated. The logo won't be either. Originally, there was only one
logo, on the curb side by the door. An obverse image will go on the street side.
Nick started off by making a template off of some drawings I got off a CD that a gentleman from
Germany sells. The template was applied after he thoroughly cleaned the surface with alcohol. He
applied the vinyl template and squeegee'd out the air bubbles. He rolled on one coat of "One Coat"
white sign paint, let it dry for about 15 minutes and peeled of the resist. He did it while the paint was
wet to ensure an undisturbed edge.
He's going to let this dry for 2 days and then apply another resist to roll on red paint, followed two
days later by black paint. The lettering will all be done by hand. He told me that people prefer vinyl
for modern trailers but he wanted to add some artistry to my project. He said that he had to rejuvinate
his brushes because he hadn't used them in a while.
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
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5-5-2006
Preparation for installation of finish surface. The walls are lined with 1/4" luan to provide a smooth
surface to attach the bamboo to. The ceiling is covered with 1/8" high density paneling. 1/4" luan
wouldn't bedt to the radius.
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
2/8/10 9:01 PM
Detail of the front window area.
Bill told me it wouldn't cost any extra if I completed the installation of the nailer strips that the bamboo
will be attached to on the ceiling. These are glued and screwed to the roof rafters.
The last 8" of the strips needed to be tapered for a perfect fit.
6-6-2006
The sign painter, Nick, Of Nick of Time, showed up with all the templates and paints necessary to
finish the logo.
The overlay templates went on and lined up nicely with the white base.
Black paint was applied.
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And then red.
And then disaster struck. Apparently the white paint never stuck to the polished aluminum. As the top
resist was peeled off it pulled the white paint with it, ruining the piece.
After much discussion I decided that everything would be replaced with vinyl, instead of paint. Nick
was very proud of his work and was very disappointed when the paint peeled off.
Bill showed up around 4:00 and started fitting pieces around the window.
Once these pieces we filled in the wall space below the window.
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
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The strips are pin nailed and glued with dollops of adhesive to the luan strips.
That's exactly what I envisioned.
4-7-2006
Had a visitor today that hadn't seen the project since the trailer body was hanging from the rafters.
He asked to see the suspension I described to him two years ago.
I fired up the compressor and the system filled with air. The trailer developed a nose down attitude
due to the 800 pounds of wood flooring added to the cabin area.
I had kept the system pressure at 80 psi. I bumped the pressure up to 100 psi and the nose came off
the ground. I adjusted the ride height valve on the front axle and the trailer leveled out, even with the
new weight in the cabin. I sat on the tongue and the trailer nose dropped about a foot and then
slowly rose level again proving that the system still has some untapped capacity. I was very happy.
Worked by myself today and got a lot accomplished. I was able to complete the ceiling installation in
about four hours. This material is incredibly straight and consistant in size.
I found an aluminum trim at a carpet supply shop that is quite flexible. It's installation on the curved
ceilong and walls will allow me to leave a gap for expansion and nicely trim the curve.
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The rest are just progress and detail pictures.
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5-14-2006
Not much happened this week until the weekend. Bill was busy making a living so he had little time
to spend on this project.
During this lull I ordered stainless steel piano hinges for the floor access hatch and the doors
between the cabin and lounge. I ordered the hinges from McMaster-Carr and they arrived by UPS the
next day.
I took the hinges to Lyndon Fabrication and supervised the modifications that met my needs.
They use huge presses to form metal.
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
2/8/10 9:01 PM
These two workers worked in concert to produce perfect bends.
The hinge on the left is for the floor hatch and the other is for the bulkhead doors.
Installed all the floring around the new floor hatch which is hinged at the front of the trailer.
The new flooring barely sticks above the door threshhold less than a 1/16".
We removed the ne hatch door and used it as a mandrel to bend the aluminum edging and then
installed it in the floor opening.
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
2/8/10 9:01 PM
We installed the hatch planking to line up with the rest of the floor and removed the hatch again to
install the hatch edge molding.
Reinstalled the hatch and stood back and admired our work.
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2/8/10 9:01 PM
Just wanted to see what the furniture will look like.
5-21-2006
Lounge area almost finished. I selected lighting that would mimic what was in the trailer and to
compliment the antique Howard Miller "Bubble Lamp".
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Installed aluminum trim around doors. Bill is gone for a week. His last task will be to trim the windows
in poplar and I'll do the finish trim. While he's gone I'll install the rest of the cabin windows and alter
and polish the rest of the furniture.
We added a horizontal band of the verticle cut flooring to the material on the back wall. It worked out
as a nice detail.
This was shot from my perspective of the space.
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2/8/10 9:01 PM
I really liked this shot.
6-25-2006
Since the failure of the paint to adhere to the shined aluminum surface I decided that a vinyl
application of the Royal Spartanette logo was the best way to go.
Since Nick hand cut the original mats and created the vinyl from the same pattern, the new logo
looks hand painted. The material he used is a bit thicker than normal and has the look of layered
paint. You be the judge.
I documented tha application of the three color logo. Note the face of the Spartan emblem. It is the
shined surface of the aluminum skin. I have some experience with the creation and installation of
vinyl lettering, but nothing of this maganatude.
The first picture is the white background of the emblem and the lettering for "Royal" in original script.
With the installation mask removed you can see the face and the base or the rest of the emblem.
This was the trickiest part. Lining up the second layer, black vinyl, was easy because each layer has
its own registration marks. The hard part was removing the mask from the lace-like black outline
without ripping it.
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Starting to look like something.
The red was applied as the last layer.
The final touch replicates the lettering that was on my original logo.
The finished product.
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
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Chair restoration project:
This is the rust remaining after cleaning with OXYCLEAN.
This is the remains after 4 treatments with WHINK.
The triple bench seat I'm using at the nose of the trailer has lesgs that are too close together to sit on
ither side of the floor hatch so I extended the width of the legs by 9" by adding to the center of the
chair support. I'll grind down the welds and paint it flat black. Unless you're looking for it you'll never
see the alteration.
5-28-2006
Furniture obsession.
I acquired a furniture grouping from an abandoned lobby of a CSX Railroad corporate office. I traded
an energy audit of the facility for the furniture. The lobby had been locked up for 20 years when they
remodeled and added a new lobby. It was like walking into a time capsule.
There was the triple gang seat with a long narrow coffee table in front of it. I'm using one of the sets
of legs fot the cofee table in front of the triple. There were also two single chairs on either side of
another coffee tablethat was a fiberglass drum topped by a spun aluminum disk cobered wit plate
glass. No room for that one.
I spent the last three days restoring and altering the triple as the legs were too close together and
would have interferred with the floor hatch so I widened the central support by 9 inches and repainted
it flat black. I had to drill two new 5/8" holes to reattach the seats.
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There are only two seat supports. The third seat is hung between the other two. All the aluminum
pieces had a highly polished finish when new and I found the finish easy to restore to a high shine.
The original fastener holding the chairs together were 1/4" roll pins at 8 critical attachment points.
Many of the pins were installe on an angle so they couldn't be driven through the holes, they had to
be driven back out. I had to fabricate some special tools to extract the pins. I replaced the roll pins
with 12-24 flat head stainless screws countersunk flush duplicating the original appearance.
I bought some vinyl convertible top cleaner. It was a slow process but you see the difference once
the crud was removed.
This is my new favorite picture. I spent three full days restoring the couch so I could finally put it in
position and actually sit in the space. The front legs of the couch will secured to the floor leaving
about a 6" gap behind the seating. Sitting in the space I was able to formulate how the rest of it
would be used.
6-3-2006 Early update. I usually post on Sunday but tomorrow I am participating in the Orphan Car
Show in Ypsilanti. It is the first year they are recognizing the '56-'57 Continental Mark II.
Bill was gone most of the week. I restored one of the chairs and started on the last one.
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2/8/10 9:01 PM
I installed the gas stut lifts for the cabin hatch. Now you can see why I widened the couch legs.
I also built a battery rack of galvanized Unistrut. There is room for 4 batteries up front and additional
space in the rear should I need to offset some front weight.
I needed a means to attach multiple wire rope cables to the hinge axle. I ordered a
cast
aluminum pully with a 3/4" keyway bore and tapped it out to match the hinge pin thread shaft
size of 7/8-14. This will allow mw to fine tune the width of the pullys.
The center pulley is gets the garage door spring cable, the inner gets the cable that pulls the lower
clam shell into place and the outer pully will snag the cables that restrain the opening of the upper
clam-shell and draw the door closed as the ramps come to rest. It's a little Rube Goldbergish but it
works consistantly.
Movies of that soon.
The piece of metal to the left of the pully is a stainless steel tube that decoratively covers the
threaded ends of the spring bolt. The axle is a hardened truck spring clamp rod but will rust. Can't
have that!
The piece of metal hanging off of the axle shaft is one of four supports that will attach to two "feet"
that will make contact with the ground and transfer the weight of the car off of the hinges and to the
ground. I made these with my cut-off saw with 80 tooth blade, router with round-over carbide bit ans
stationary belt sander for a finished appearance.
The roller device that the cable passes over is a McGyver-like use of parts. The plate that mounts to
the wall is an electrical fitting that is used to make a threaded 1 1/4" hub at the top of an electrical
box. I used an 1 1/4" to 1/2" reduction bushing to create a mounting surface that a garage door cable
pully attaches to.
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Bill is working on the mullions for the cabin windows. Tricky work as no two windows are the same.
I'm going to work on attaching the upper clam shell permanently.
6-11-2006
EUREKA!!!
After six months of pondering I happened on a solution for my extending ramps. I was inspired by the
movie "Back to the Future". My office manager came in Friday and told me that there was a trailer in
the movie that has ramps that are identical to the mechanized ramps on my trailer. I said, "No way!"
She was right! I rented the move and, sure enough, the large box truck lowers its rear door as a
seconsary set of ramps kick out as the whole assembly is lowered to the ground on cables attached
to the ramp hinge points, just like mine!
They never really showed any of the mechanism in the movie but they either made it work, or they
faked it. I went back and rethought the problem and found that the newly installed hinge support was
just the answer I was looking for.
I attached a compressed gas shock to the upper part of the ramp and pushed on the new hinge
support. It, in turn, pushed on the lower ramp section kicking it well past the angle needed to let it roll
out on its own.
The piston will attach to some sliding brackets to allow for fine tune adjustments to unlevel ground
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Bill built new window inserts. These will be painted black and trimmed in aluminum. In the front the
frames will be color matched and grained to match the bamboo.
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Before and after the repair of the vinyl surface. I had all the seating surfaces done to match each
other. I can't tell the fronts and backs apart. It was a fairly expensive repair, but the furniture is
certainly worth it.
6-13-2006
Found the perfect fabric for drapes, pillows, napkins, tablecloth and apparel. Since the minimum
order is 15 yards, you'll be seeing a lot of it.
Anyone have a source for a smaller quantity of "Big Kakuna Fabrics" products?
Udate
6-25-2006
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
2/8/10 9:01 PM
Found a store in California with a full bolt of "Beatnik". Bought 10 yards. My friend Dug came by and
measured for drapes and gave me an education on drapery construction and installation. We've
decided to have the pattern on both sides so that they look good from the outside, too.
I'm getting ready for a test run. I'm going to load my '77 Town Car as a test subject. It's about 18"
longer, but the same width as the Mark II.
Before installing the windows I wanted to finish the polishing. I did about half of the remaining
corrosion over a three day period.
This is the last patch of corrsion. I'm thinking of leaving it as a badge of honor.
The windows are scratch and UV resistant polycarbonate. The gasket is an Au-Ve-Co product used
as a gasket for Dodge truck rear windows. I'll have used 200 feet of gasket and almost 3 full 4' x 8'
sheets of polycarbonate.
Every window opening is different so each framework is like a wooden prototype. The window frame
up front is stained to match the bamboo and the frames in the back are painted matt black. The
windows in the back will be framed in bright aluminum trim while the aluminum trim up front is a dull
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windows in the back will be framed in bright aluminum trim while the aluminum trim up front is a dull
finish.
The street side of the trailer exterior is now complete.
Conspicuity tape. Required by DOT. Got my attention and I learned a new word!
7-5-2006 NEARING COMPLETION 44 days left
Today was a proud day. Warning, I took a bunch of pictures.
I pulled the trailer out into the parking lot for a near-completion walk-around. It seems bigger outside.
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The next two pictures show that there is no support holding up the front or rear of the trailer. It's not
just balanced. If I were to let the air out of the airbags the nose would touch the ground. Each axle
has its own ride height valve so I can select which of the three axles I want to be the fulcrum and
simply set the valve to have more air in that set than the others.
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
2/8/10 9:01 PM
This is the position that the trailer will be in for loading and unloading. The front is inclined 3-5� to
allow the weight of the car to pay it out of the trailer controlled by the winch.
The cabin is nearing completion. I hired and fired a painter. I did a much better job myself. I painted
the window frames and aluminum openings the same color as the bamboo siding. The black rubber
window gasket look great up against the lighter color. The light green composite window sills and
table to will be ready soon as will the "Beatnik" drapes. The windows are now all installed.
I found the ideal curtain rod. It"s 1/2" diameter stainless tubing that has a semi-shiny surface.
Many have expressed concern that the trailer will blind other motorists when the trailer crosses their
path. I've explained that the side of the trailer is a convex mirror and deflects light upward or
downward but bver straight ahead.
Notice the concentration of reflected light close to the trailer. It was a 4:00 sun with a pretty clear sky.
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That pattern also shows what would happen to intersecting headlights. Without the conspictuity strips
an intersecting car would not see the reflection of their own headlights.
It did turn out just like the conceptual drawing.
July 9, 2006 41 days to go
Upper clam shell door.
Reinstalled door to check fit and found that the shell of the trailer shifted slightly when it was foamed
and stuck in a position that is actually more square.
The gap was off by 3/8" and the rear door had to be disassembled after scribing correct gap lines.
It is starting to look finished.
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It took about an hour to remove the foam over-fill from unwanted areas. I had to remove the two
arced side rails that gave the upper door its shape. I literally had to cut the foam away from the wood
to release them. Once the side rails were removed the door retained its shape due to the structural
foam bonding everything together.
I flipped the door over and cut the new edge with freshly sharpened and adjusted shears.
Trimmed the wood supports and reinstalled the side rails to match the new door gaps. Filled in the
gaps where I had to remove foam to make the door adjustment. All four corners have been cleared
of foam as these are access areas for tail lights and door hinge and wiring.
The inside of the door is covered in FRP. I salvaged the old window frames. I'll probably powder coat
them silver.
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2/8/10 9:01 PM
Almost finished. Still need to add edging and finish sides.
Window sills. Bill's making a matching table top and countertops. The table top is the shape of the
bubble lamp. It's 24" x 36". Kind of an oval shape with the ends lopped off.
7-16-2006
Finished installing and trimming inside of upper rear door. Installed gas supports that smoothly open
the door with a very light touch. I'm trying to devise a way to pull the upper lid closed but I'm going to
install a latch system similar to that of a pick-up tailgate for additional security.
Bill cut and installed the aluminum trim. His joints are flawless.
I selected and ordered tail lights. They are red and yellow LEDs that mimic the shapes of all the
window and door openings. Round tail lights just wouldn't have looked right. The original puny tail
light was rectangular with radiused corners, too.
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I wanted to hide the original tail light holes. Luckily they were positioned where they could be
removed as part of the cutout. I made a cutout of the three lights and traced the shape onto the
aluminum. I drilled some relief holes and cut them out with a pair of aviation tin snips.
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Installed the stock black gaskets. They match the window gaskets perfectly. I've ordered black Lexan
for the rear window. It looks kinda like a prision cell through the rear windows. I can do some kind of
graphic on the black background.
DRAPES!!!!
My friend and fellow Lincoln Club member, Dug, took measurements and had the drapes made in a
sweatshop in Guatamala. They really turned out nice. I wanted the pattern to be consistant around
the room so Dug had the material worked in "pillowcase" fashion so the the pattern repated
horizontally.
I must credit my wife for finding the perfect fabric. She's got a great eye for style.
I installed the stainless steel curtain rods through the neat pocket in the drapes and installed the
tubing into holes drilled into the sides or the window opening. They are held in place with screws
concealed behind the aluminum trim. The pattern repeats on the outside to complete the look.
Nearly finished cabin.
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The rooftop heat pump/air-conditioner should be arriving in about a week, along with a light gray
EPDM rubber membrane roof. A house is only as good as its roof. Tail lights should be arriving soon.
I'll test the lighting system and take it for a spin.
7-18-2006 31 days to go
First test load. Loaded 1955 Porsche "Continental" cabrio. It only weighs 1,800 lbs. The winch pulled
it in like a breeze. No creaks, no moans. Found that the needed angle to get the car to roll out was
only about 3�.
I put the 90 lb. air conditioner on the tongue and put the Porsche about mid-point in the garage and
the trailer sat perfectly level.
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My favorite picture of the day.
7-20-2006
It was suggested that I post a picture of what the trailer looked like originally.
New tail lights lit and new black Lexan window.
Tail lights are clear until lit.
Front clearance light lit.
Cut hole for roof top heat pump/AC
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7-23-2006
Windows. They're done.
I used 250 ft of 3/8 foam backer rod in-between the aluminum frame and rupper gasket. This pushed
the gasket tight to the window material and gave the windows the correct shape.
I've learned that silicone is not the correct sealant, buytl is. I filled the gap and covered the backer
rod. I worked a smooth surface around the window leaving the excess for easy removal after the
material sets,
Everything in the back is finished, except the floor. I am seeking a 21 foot length of gray battleship
linoleum to cover the floor in-between the E-tracks I have on order.
The windows and ceiling vents were trimmed in bright anodized aluminum.
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The next step is to install the EPDM roof and air conditioner.
7-26-2006
I decided to restore the original mechanical doorbell, and I'm glad I did. The tone is melodic and the
shape is beautiful.
I eliminated two of the original roof vents and restored the other two. The vent mechanisms were
simply suffering from neglect.
In preperation for the installation of the EPDM rubber membrane roofing I mopped the dust and dirt
off of the roof and then hand wiped the surface with lacquer thinner to remove all remaining dirts and
oils.
The roofing came in one piece 9' x 26', 45 mil thick. It was heavy enough that the hi-lo became the
preferred method of putting it on top.
I spread out the material last night, at the roofer's request.
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
2/8/10 9:01 PM
At first I thought they had shipped the wrong material because it looked real white under my shop's
metal halide lights. It was only after comparing it to something I knew was white that I saw that they
did ship the gray material, as ordered.
I am extremely glad that I hired out this task. The roofer was not. He is a perfectionist and he wasn't
happy with his work because there are a few wrinkles in it. Had I done a glue down this big myself
I'm sure there would have been more than a few wrinkles. I am more than satisfied with his work.
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
2/8/10 9:01 PM
As soon as the rubber went on I installed the air conditioner, It really was a simple as the instructions
showed. The whole installation took about 45 minutes.
Next step is to acquire a 2KW true sine wave inverter to power the air conditioner and wine cooler
when off-grid.
7-28-2006
Layout of bar/storage center.
The lower cabinet will stick out 18" from the bulkhead wall while the microwave and wine cooler will
build in flush with the bulkhead and may be concealed completely beneath some doors. The heat
producing appliances will lose their heat into the garage instead of the air-conditioned cabin.
The lower cabinet will contain some drawers and storage. Built into the countertop will be a bar sink
and a copper lined ice bucket (with drain) on the right of the sink and a removable waste bin on the
left. The faucet will be gravity fed from a tank mounted on the back of the bulkhead wall.
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
2/8/10 9:01 PM
7-30-2006 13 days left
In order to make the rear hatch water tight I needed to bridge the gap of the clam-shell door.
I found one of the aluminum extrutions at a local metal warehouse. It's 1/4" x 3/4" and rounded over
on one corner.
The other extrusion is an aluminum edging commonly used on '50s kitchen tables. It's a hammer-in
"T" moulding. The short barbed section nrmally implanted in the plywood top served nicely as a finish
detail on the side of the door, when open.
The finished stacked molding gave me a 1/4" gap over the body. I've installed a test piece of 3/8" x
3/4" weather strip to check the fit.
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
2/8/10 9:01 PM
8-2-2006 10 days to go
Bill finished the table top and took measurements for the service area cabinets.
The bubble lamp casts an intersting circle on the tabletop.
Tha back end is just about done. The aluminum moulding turned out better than I expected. It almost
looks like it was part of the original structure.
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
2/8/10 9:01 PM
I installed the 2KW inverter/charger. For the uninformed, as I was. There are inexpensive inverters
and there are expensive inverters. True sine-wave inverters are necessary to run sensitive
electronics and certain types of electric motors.
I sized the inverter based on the actual load of the trailer and all its goodies. The A/C unit I selected
only draws 8 amps vs. 13-15 amps of a larger AC unit. At 7,100 btu this unit will freeze us out in no
time. Four inches of insulation and 5/8' of bamboo makes the cabin like an icebox.
I actually read the instructions and followed the installation guide (lots of pictures) and fired up the
unit. The LCD display lit up and told me it was charging the battery.
I disconnected the AC power and the inverter transferred power to its 120-volt output at 2,000
contant watts and 4,500 peak watts. That was more than sufficient to let the rooftop AC unit keep
running at peak output.
I have three new 650 CA Optima marine batteries and I have room for five more in the rack. I'll add
batteries as needed. I'm sure I'll carry a generator in the tow vehiclebut it will be nice to be totally offgrid if necessary.
Next project-front trim
8-6-2006
I took the trailer for its first drive Saturday and it performed beyond expectations. I hooked it up to
one of my heavy-duty work trucks and took it for a spin. The time leading up to the first run was filled
with trepidation because some jerk had planted in my mind that I had too much braking capacity and
that the trailer tires would lock up whenever the brakes were applied. He was dead wrong and the
drive went flawlessly. All of my hard work paid off.
I had an audience for the second, much further, trial run. I had been contacted by a Free Press editor
through my cardomain.com web site. Her note stated that she had been surfing the web looking at
travel trailer links and mine popped up. She said she was fascinated by the project and wanted to do
a mixed-media story on it. It seem our home town paper is venturing into the 21st century.
The newspaper sent out a photographer last week and she took a bunch of shots and stayed 4 hours
while she watched me work. She took shots of both of our show cars and went back to her editor to
expand the story. They sent out a video-reporter (whatever that is) and he interviewed me about the
cars and trailer. He followed us out to the Sunday cruise we frequent and interviewed a number of
the well-wishers and people that were fascinated with the project.
It was quite a day.
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
2/8/10 9:01 PM
8-8-06 Down to the wire.
The maiden voyage cross-Michigan is this Friday. I installed the e-tracks to secure the car. They
were installed so that the inner edge of both tracks are fastened to the frame with 1/4"-20 stainless
screws that are drilled and tapped into the 10-gauge metal. The outer edges are fastened with 1 1/2"
#14 screws with heads that match the machine screws. The deck is two layers of 3/4" plywood.
Before the first jaunt I installed a load distribution hitch with anti-sway. It probably didn't need it. I
drove it a distance without it and noticed now sway, just a little more porpoising.
The crowd at Baker's loved it.
Parked in front of the house and left the running lights on near sunset. See how it disappears at
dusk.
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
2/8/10 9:01 PM
Celebrated the weekend with a bottle of champaign while sitting in my air-conditioned, off-grid, silver
palace.
Bill built the cabinetry for the "refreshment center". The upper section is flush with the bulkhead wall.
It will be framed in the green window sill material or the aluminum strips I framed the windows in.
That's the 6-bottle wine cooler on the right. Next to it, and level with the top of the cooler will be the
microwave. Underneath it will be an open area for serving tray storage. The trays will be retained by
a stainless rod made from the leftover curtain rod material.
In typical trailer interior fashion, there will be a one piece door that will be top-hinged for the upper
storage area.
The lower cabinet will have a wet sink built into a countertop made of the same material as the table
and windowsills. There will be an ice bucket and a waste bin also built into the countertop.
There will be two drawers big enough for dishes and other serving utensils. The lower left divided
areas are more storage and the white object is the RV toilet. It will be concealed behind doors.
DISASTERS TEND TO HAPPEN IN THREES
8-10-2006 I carelessly damaged my Mark II as I pulled it out of the garage to go to a Press Preview
of the Willistead Classic. It's parked on a four post lift, in the down position during the summer as I
park the Porsche on top for winter storage.
I pulled too far over and took off the Mark II emblem and left a very nasty set of gouges in the paint
with the lift's support cable. I went to the Press Preview anyway.
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
2/8/10 9:01 PM
I loaded up the Porsche and had a friend, who moves cars professionally, tie it down for me for
transport. I had positioned the car so that it lent some noticeable tongue weight.
Friday 8-11-2006
My employees and I spruced up the work truck for travel. I had just had every system service and
checked on the truck. I wanted an uneventful ride. I drove home and packed and loaded the truck for
a fun weekend at a Concours that we helped develop.
We shortly encountered some construction that required some lane changes and the trailer handled
pretty well. We made it about 30 miles when disater struck. I had been traveling in the left lane of a
freeway and exited on a continuation of M-14. This is one of those left-entrance ramps and I wanted
to end up in the right lane. I had a clear shot at a lange change and moved over at about 45 miles an
hour. The road was crowned and slightly curved.
I felt the truck start to pull and I knew I had a problem. The trailer started to fishtail quite forcefully. I
had read, and I had pacticed, using the brake hand controller in the event of a bad sway to drag the
tow vehicle down in speed and straighten out the sway. I used the hand controller and it had no effect
the first time. Apparently I didn't leave it on long enough as it has to build up pressure in 24 pistons.
The second time I tried I got almost immediate results and the truck straightened out as I was
headed for the concrete median wall.
By this time the trailer had done about 4 wags. I pulled away from the median as the 4th wag
smacked the driver's side tail of the trailer against the median. That seemed to interrupt the pending
catastrophy and shoot us off across the sholder and two lanes of the e-way. I was no headed for
what I perceive to be a ravine. My wife remembers it as a large ditch. I was now somewhat in control.
At least I was headed in the same direction as the rest of the traffic.
The ravine was fitted with a guardrail that probably saved our lives. Unfortunately, that impact tore
the Porsche loose from its mountings and slammed it into the passenge side wall and rear door of
the trailer.
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
2/8/10 9:01 PM
The only thing that kept the Porsche from crashing ino the lounge was the spare tire for the trailer. It
wedged the front tire of the Porsche up against the winch.
The Porsches's pretty messed up, but repairable.
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
2/8/10 9:01 PM
The trailer suffered some structural damage, but also can be repaired. I'll have to find a donor trailer.
I believe what happen had to do with the newly installed load distributing and sway control hitch. One
of the torsion bars dropped out of its socket and hit the pavement as did the chain cinch it was
attached to.
One of the torsion bars, the one that hit the pavement, shows signs that it worked its way out of its
socket as its wear pattern shows.
I believe what happened is that the torsion bar fell out of its socket as we crested the crown of the
road. This is when there would be no tension on the bar. The hitch is fitted with a pull pin that must
have worked its way out or rolled over to reveal its tapered side. The conditions must have been just
right and allow the torsion bar to drop out.
The torque that the trailer went through was amazing. The 2" solid steel hitch insert bet to about a
20� angle. It looked like tubing that had bent. Very scary.
While this may have been an unfortunate couple of days I believe I am fortunate to be amongst the
living.
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
2/8/10 9:01 PM
BTW, I believe we have chosen the name for our trailer. It will be forever known as "The Phoenix"
Appropriate on so many levels.
8-12-2006
Now I'm angry. Let's see if you come to the same conclusion.
First, let me describe the way the system works. A round tube torsion bar system does work well
under normal circumstances.
The 2 x 2 solid steel bar that fits into the receiver on the tow vehicle is held in place with a hardened
steel shaft with a spring pin passing through a hole in the end of it, holding it in place. That shaft
becomes an extention of the vehicle as it is tied directly to the vehicle frame. I believe it was bent
when the trailer nearly jackknifed.
The 2 5/16" ball is mounted to the new equalizing hitch, not the hardened steel shaft, as is normal for
a non-equalized hitch. The equalizing hitch is attached to the hardened shaft through the vertical
shaft drilled with additional holes for height adjustment. A proper height is selected and proper shims
are installed to make the ball tip slightly toward the trailer. This angle is important because it will
change slightly when the torsion bars are put in tension.
The bars are put in tension by a cam device that snugs up the chains, transfering the load equally to
the trailer and the tow vehicle. You are suppose to level out the trailer and tow vehicle and then apply
tension to the bars by equally counting the number of links and setting the tension devices on both
sides. 8 links producedno tension. 6 links was nearly impossible for me set. & was just right.
Each chain tensioner is fitted with a safety device that heeps the tensioner closed. These parts did
not fail. The tensioner is fitted to the frame with a set screw. They supply different length screws for
various frame widths. These clamps are snugged in place, but are mainly held by the spring tension
pulling them straight down on the frame.
The objective is to make the trailer and tow vehicle a unified structure so that "porpoising" is
minimized. The sway control comes from the round tube connection. The torsion bar has a diameter
that is smaller than the tube it fits into. It is designed to move freely when not cocked in the opening
by the tension provided by the chains. The rubbing of the round bar in it's receiving tube is what gives
you sway control as that resistance is what makes the tube intentionally bind when needed.
There are many times that the tension drops and the round bar is free to move in its socket. It is held
in place at this time, on this model, by a tapered, spring-loaded pin that allows you to push the round
bar into place without pulling back on the pin.
That pin fits into a groove in the round bar that is designed to stay engaged with the groove, keeping
it from falling out of the socket.
After a sleepless night I went back to the shop and made a closer inspection of the mechanism.
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
2/8/10 9:01 PM
My first observation was that the pins were nowhere near as long as they could have been, based on
the depth of the groove. Even so, they should have stayed in.
I then observed that the beveled face of the pin didn't line up with the locating grooves that are
supposed to firmly position the pin.
If the beveled pin were allowed to rotate 180� the round bar would never stay in as it would simply
push the pin back by sliding down its ramp. These pins didn't rotate 180�, they only rotated about
20-25�, enough for the pin to work its way out and disengage the safety device.
To check my hypothosis I used two metal plates with straight edges inserted all the way into the
locating grooves. You can clearly see that they are not within any tolerances that I (or anyone else)
would find acceptable.
This manufacturing flaw wasn't the total cause of the failure though. The springs installed to keep the
pins in place are made of either very cheap or very thin spring steel. They offer little resistance to the
pin being pushed out of place.
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
2/8/10 9:01 PM
This is the last link in the failure. The top round bar is the one that fell out. The one that stayed in has
a nice crisp edge while the one that fell out has a ramp-like edge that would definitely shorten the
effective length of the pin.
In my opinion it was the cumulitive manufacturing flaws that led to the torsion bar dropping out of its
socket.
When that torsion was lost the torque of the remaining torsion bar put the trailer into a severe pull to
one side. It's indescribable how I felt at that moment as I've never encountered that effect before.
Instead of dimishing sway the remaining bar was inducing it. Had I not appled the trailer brakes the
trailer would have continued on its circular path clearly leading to a flip of either or both of the
vehicles.
9-13-2006
I've settled with the insurance company. I've decided to make the repairs myself. The Phoenix will
rise again.
As a caution to anyone with a round-bar weight distributing hitch. Since this accident I have found
numerous stories of similar occurances. The overall design makes mechanical sense, but suffers, in
my opinion, from a failure to be idiot-proof. There are just too many things that could happen that
would allow the round bar to drop out.
However, I take some responsibility in the crash. There is a trailer towing dynamic that I was unaware
of. Everyone talks about tongue weight as the most critical measurement in towing. I now believe that
inertia is much more critical.
I loaded the Porsche in the trailer right over the center of the three axles. That created too much
tongue weight. The rear of the F-450 sat down about 4". That produced an obvious overload. I
moved the Porsche back in the 21' space within 2 feet of the back end. This produced about a 2"
drop in the tow vehicle. As a rule of thumb, a 2" drop on an F-450 is plenty of tongue weight.
What I hadn't accounted for was mass. The Porsche is rear-engined. While the car has excellent
weight distribution, most of the mass is at the rear. In fact, the Porsche engine sits aft of the
transaxle, so all of the mechanicals are at the rear of the car. I had a 13 foot car in the rear of a 36
foot trailer. I has effectively set up a pendulum.
The pendulum effect was thoroughly masked by the new weight distributing hitch until one of the
round bars somehow disengaged. When it fell off it changed the towing dynamics so dramatically
that we started to spin.
The extreme "wags" of the trailer was apparently due to the position of the car, at the end of a 36foot trailer. Once it started, the mass of the car kept it going as a body in motion tends to stay in
motion. The side to side skid marks on the floor was evidence of extreme side forces which played
further into the mishap.
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
2/8/10 9:01 PM
further into the mishap.
I've entertained two schools of thought about the actual detachment of the round bar. The first would
be that the cumulative manufacturing errors contributed to the bar falling out of its socket. The other
school of thought is that the chain tensioner came up over the edge of the frame rail and disengaged
the tension on the round bar. The torsion bar could have rotated sideways 90� and then fallen out as
the pin can not hold the bar past 90�. It is my opinion that the tensioner should have been welded in
place but the unit is clearly marked that welding would void the warranty.
THE "55 PORSCHE CONTINENTAL
The Porsche suffered extensive body damage on the passenger side. It also suffered some severe
suspension damage on the same side. Both side wheels are bent, as are the extremely rare
aluminum brake drums. The front spindle is bent and both hubcaps are ruined. The rear axle appears
to be bent and the transmission may have suffered some internal damage.
The car is too rare not to repair. It was insured for a bit more than the anticipated damages and the
insurance company hasn't balked at anything.
The front suspension has been repaired but the engine and transaxle need to come out for repair by
another specialist. While the transaxle is being repaired the car will be disassembled for a complete
paint job. The windshield, top windows and interior will be removed and reassembled after the
bodywork and paint are done at Autometrics, in Pontiac, MI. I should get it back better than new.
THE PHOENIX
Was pretty banged up. The inner wall was pushed out about 4 inches. 4 wood studs broke and two
aluminum supports on either side of the rear door were badly bent.
The door is bent at the same angle as the trailer wall. The door was trapped closed by the guardrail
when the Porsche hit the wall from the inside. I couldn't figure it out at first.
The passenger side got the worst of it, just like the Porsche. You can see how the guardrail left its
mark.
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
2/8/10 9:01 PM
The driver's side took a smack that did some superficial damage but made a kink in the rear opening.
The inertia of the impact wracked the ramp system. I should be able to bend this back into shape.
The door frame took the brunt of the damage.
My first step will be to remove the FRP lining and remove damaged wood and foam.
9-15-2006 Back at it.
Stripped off the FRP from the damaged areas. Removed foam from wall cavaties. The foam stuck
very well to exposed surfaces. did not stick to tar.
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
2/8/10 9:01 PM
Found broken studs and bent door frame supports. Both simple parts to duplicate.
Once the bent supports were removed the door frame was simple to straighten but left some
cosmetic scars.
A little hammer and dolly work.
Coarse through 600 grit sanding.
Some compounding. I think it looks fine.
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
2/8/10 9:01 PM
I decided to replace the bottom 24" of Alclad in the damage area.
I measured a distance of 1 7/8" inch below a rivet line and created a stop for my circular saw with the
aluminum-specific carbide blade. This cut line will become the top of a lapped joint, matching the joint
24" above it.
I learned a trick I'll pass on. If you put a piece of masking tape across the cut line the edge will be
virtually burr-free.
I drilled out several hundred rivets and removed the damaged sheet metal, exposing the back side of
the broken studs. The damaged metal will be hammered flat and used as a template for new Alclad
material.
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
2/8/10 9:01 PM
This is the piece I'm going to have to have made, or sacrifice an entire trailer for.
I'll remove the foam several inches above the new horizontal seam for better access for riveting.
9-20-2006
Took the weekend off and drove the Mark II to the Glrnmoor Gathering of Significant Automobiles in
Canton, Ohio.
Back to work for a couple of hours. I decided that I wasn't going to sacrifice another trailer to repair
mine so I hammered out the damage to the factory formed radiused edge piece. I think it will turn out
just fine. I used an electrical knockou punch outer shell as a mandril to reform the metal. With a bit
more hammering and a bunch of sanding and some finish polish I think it will look just fine.
Kind of looks like I'm disecting an elephant.
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
2/8/10 9:01 PM
9-21-2006 Finished product. Good enough for me.
New .032 2024-T3 Alclad siding shipped today from Kansas. Check out Airpartsinc.com. Lots of cool
aviation supplies.
9-22-2006
Straightened the ramps by bracing the top of the ramp to the wall with a 2 x 4. Drilled a hole and
installed an eyelet through the outside wall. Hooked a come-along to the furthest point on the main
ramps and pulled them slightly beyond straight. Set the spring tension and the ramp system worked
perfectly.
9-23-2006
I figured out some of the dynamics of the crash by taking the trailer apart, piece by piece.
I couldn't figure out how the ramps got so badly bent. If you look to the upper left ramp you'll see the
pulley that the garage door springs attach to. There's a perfect imprint of that pully in the white panel
next to it.
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
2/8/10 9:01 PM
What I can discern is that the Porsche stayed put until I hit the concrete median. It slid sideways with
that impact, but didn't hit the wall. When I hit the guard rail the impact was much greater and the
restraints tore loose allowing the passenger side of the Porsche to impact the inside of the trailer
wall. That impact pulled the trailer top over so far that the opposite wall pushed the ramps out of
whack. It also left the rear opening 3/8" out of square.
I used the same method I used to straighten the ramps to straighten the body. I made a "hand" that
would grasp the top of the trailer and pull it up straight. I fitted a piece of wood to a piece of Unistrut.
The "hand" would distribute its pull over a 24" area but I didn't want to scuff or dent the polished
metal so I covered it in polishing cloths.
I installed it in the appropriated location and drilled another hole in the side wall to set an anchor to
attach the come-along.
I had to pull the body back 3" in order to restore the 3/8" gap. The structure is so strong I could hardly
get it to budge. After several attempts it sprung back into the proper configuration. All that to move
the trailer 3/8".
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
2/8/10 9:01 PM
I removed the damaged lower trim piece from the drivers side and hammered it out smooth and
sanded it out in preparation for polish.
9-24-2006 Reassembly
After straightening out the wall bent outward by impacting the ramps, everything fell back into place.
The door gaps are now correct and everything operates smoothly.
The side panel still has a couple of deep scratches but they are barely visable in the polished
surface. The side marker light was pressed into the surface of the sheet metal. With the trim removed
it was an easy matter to flatten the metal after removing its temper with localized heat. I've ordered a
new light for each side.
Test fit the bumped and sanded lower trim piece and it fit perfectly. I'll polish it after it's been riveted.
The rivet heads have a coating that needs to be polished off.
I should be able to start fitting sheet metal on the other side soon.
9-25-2006
Went to visit the Porsche today. I'd say it's coming along nicely. The front suspension has been
repaired and they are still searching for a new aluminum drum. I've decided to have the entire car
stripped and repainted. I'm being told that the paints they are allowed to use today are incompatable
with blending into a lacquered finish.
If the rest of the car is as rust free as this side it'll be worth it to have a flawless paint job.
9-26-2006
A 48" x 144" sheet of Alclad showed up today. It was rolled into an 18" diameter cylinder. I took it to
my local fab shop where they dropped everything and chopped it into the three pieces I need to
repair the walls and reskin the rear door.
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
2/8/10 9:01 PM
I ordered the aluminum with a protective film to protect it in handling and installation. I used the
damaged panel as a template, I had the fab shop run it through a roller to flatten it.
I secured the new studs to the baseplate with some angle iron brackets. The entire rear area is now
prepped to accept the new sheet metal. I've drilled out all the rivets so that I can slip the new metal
underneath the cut edge creating a new overlapping seam. Two new rivets will be installed inbetween each existing rivet location duplicating the pattern in the seam above.
9-27-2006 Sheet metal installation
I cut out the shape leaving the protective layer in place.
I used duct tape to hang the sheet in position. It is tucked up under the sheet above and sandwiched
in-between a horizontal aluminum support. The rivets that attached the metal to the strut were
installed on 3" centers while the seam above was set to 1 1/2" centers so I drilled new holes to
match.
The new skin will take on the identical appearance as soon as all the vertical rivets are installed.
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
2/8/10 9:01 PM
Once I do a final buff of this area the repair will be indestinguishable from the original surface.
9-28-2006 Riveting
I enlisted the aid of my office manager Christine in acting as Rosie the Riveter. She followed my
instructions well and the work went rather quickly.
The new J channel will be installed after I repair the other section.
9-30-2006 Installed last panel and J channel
I used the remnants of the last panel as a pattern for the new panel
The last panel need to be altered so that it would fit above the wheel well
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
2/8/10 9:01 PM
I polished the new J moulding befor drilling and cutting to fit.
Near completion of the exterior repairs. Two new light fixtures and some rear door trim are on order.
10-4-2006 THE DOOR
The door was badly kinked when the base of the door was trapped in-between the Porsche and the
guardrail.
The door skin is the same 2024 T-3 Alclad as the rest of the siding. The inner door shell is pure
untempered aluminum. It is very soft and was tough to flatten out.
I spend hours and hours straightening the metal. The more I did the worse it looked. I tried polishing
and it looked even worse.
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
2/8/10 9:01 PM
I decided to install a patch panel over the distressed metal. I mimmicked the radius of the door and
riveted it in place. The patch is Alclad and is covered with a layer of pure aluminum. It will polish out
the same as the door stamping.
I replaced the door skin because the guard rail had burned through the layer of pure aluminum and
stretched the metal. Taking the door apart allowed me to straighten the inner door instead of trying to
find a 55 year old replacement.
The replacement door skin was simple to duplicate, as were the side panels. I used the old door skin
as a template.
There are some inner stiffeners that nneded to be riveted to the door skin before installation on the
door back.
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The lock bezel opening needed to be closely cut for strength and appearance. Loys of 1/8" holes and
the smoothing witha carbide burr.
Test fit skin and drill all rivet holes. Then deburr holes for tight fit of panels.
Installed new insulation.
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Completed riveting door perimeter and cut out window opening. This was done last so that the panel
went on without buckling along side the window opening.
Finished product.
Installed. Perfect fit.
10-6-2006
Finished with all external repairs.
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10-8-2006
Started on interior repairs. The badly bent door jamb was cut away 6" above bend. This allowed
several of the hinge screws to mount into the replacement section. I backed up the splice with a
section of the original frame. The splice will be encapsulated in structural foam so there was no need
for further support.
All of the broken studs were replaced with double layers of 3/4" plywood. I anchored them to the floor
with pieces of 1 1/2" angle iron. I had to drill new holes for the wires to pass through the new studs.
I decided to put the control box back in the same location. I'm going to make a new aluminum cover
and abandon the plastic one. I made a template 3" smaller then the proper hole size. My circular saw
cuts 1 1/2" from the saw's guide edge to the block forms the cut lines. The saw came too close to the
wheel well so I scored the aluminum along the fourth side and it simply snapped off under pressure.
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10-11-2006
This is the only detail that I regret. It really stuck out like a sore thumb. Since I had to replace the
sheet metal it was mounted on I decided to rethink the whole idea.
I mounted the control box directly to the .032 Alclad siding with numerous rivets.
I stood back trying to envision a proper hatch cover that would look original. Just to the left of the
control panel is the rear door. The proportions were similar so I decided to mimick the shape and
hinges on the trailer door. I scaled the radius of the big door down to the same proportions on the
new hatch. I duplicated the hinge detail as it is exposed on the front of the door. The hinge is also cut
back into the cover of the door. I duplicated that detail, too. I created a stiffener that was laminated to
the cover to keep the thin metal from flexing. The corner tabs were bent up for further rigidity.
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The three pieces were drilled and deburred.
Final riveting.
The finished product.
After beating on the 3/16" thick fender well for awhile with a 20 lb. sledge I was able to push it back
into decent shape. I sanded off all of the gouges and scratches and buffed the area to a mirror finish.
Once I buff the rest of the wheel well I'll install a new conspicuity stripe.
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Almost ready to refoam the walls.
10-12-2006
The mock-up for the handle went so well I just went ahead and fabbed up a handle shaft out of an
alumimum bolt. I squared the end after threading on a thin nylock. I drilled and tapped a 10-32 hole
for the screw that holds the handle to the shaft. The nylock allows me to set the pressure on the
hatch skin allowing the handle to move, but not flop around.
I'm not sure which way I want the handle to face.
This way?
Or this way?
I'll cut the head off of the aluminum bolt and clean up the threads. Another nylock will thread on from
the new end, sandwiching the latch in-between the faces of the nylocks with a star washer to
maintain position.
10-13-2006
I cut the head off of the aluminum bolt, beveled the cut and cleaned the thread with a die. I cut two
1/8" parallel grooves in the bolt to receive the latch.
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The latch is made from fairly soft 1/8" aluminum. That allows me to bend the tip to make a final
adjustment.
Cutting through the side panel is the hardest thing to do. I drilled a hole outward to locate where I
wanted the center of the switch.
I drilled lots of tiny holes inside my lines.
Connect the dots with the drill, file the edges to fit.
Just like it was always there
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10-14-2006
Finished wall and wiring repairs.
Just a reminder of what I started with after the accident.
I've come a long ways.
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The last step before final finishes is the installation of structural foam. In order to do that I have to hit
the open road for a 20 mile trip to the foam installer.
I'm going to await the arrival of the new weight distributing hitch before I venture out again.
The insurance company bought the defective hitch. I posted questions about WD hitches on several
towing related websites and the brand Equal-I-Zer kept coming up.
The construction of the hitch is simpler yet performs both weight distribution and sway control.
[url]http://www.progressmfg.com/[/url]
10-18-2006
I got the new hitch and installed it. I have to say that I am not impressed with the finish work on it.
The packaging was atrocious and most of the pieces came missing about 20% of the paint.
Their video would have you believe that they take great care because it's "Made in America". I was
able to flake paint off with my fingernail. They used no primer and didn't clean the parts before they
painted them.
The finish work and paint job on the crappy Chinese hitch that failed is far better than this product. If
that's the best America can do, we're all in trouble.
New work:
One of the things I never finished was a latch assembly for the upper rear door. I found a keyed dual
plunger latch that operates very similar to a pick-up truck tailgate latch. Lift the handle and the
mechanism draw the two actuating bars to the center, pulling in the plungers.
I needed to remove the door as one of the hinge blocks was damaged in the accident. I removed the
inner door lining. I discovered that the ramp did some damage to the lining in the collision. I'll just use
the damaged piece as a template.
The latch mechanism is similar to a passage lock plunger on a residential door. It's ramped so that it
retracts under pressure. It will latch into a custom made socket that is ramped so that the door is held
tightly in transit. I determined the location and made the cut.
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tightly in transit. I determined the location and made the cut.
The plunger protrudes through the side of the door about 3/4". Even cutting away that much of the
wood side rail the door lost none of its structure because of the foam.
10-20-2006 Update on the Porsche
Stripping all the paint uncovered a lot of bad previous bodywork, but no rust except for the bottoms of
both doors. Actually there were no perforations but the doors had swelled slightly at the bottom and
couldn't be aligned flush with the door sills.
I know it looks ugly now but it will be a prize when it's done.
10-20-2006 Found some hidden damage after removing the upper door to fit the new latch
mechanism. One of the hinge plates had ripped away from the wood frame. Since the holes were
stripped I drilled them out and bolted the plates through the frame with nylock fasteners.
The latch mechanism was designed to mount through a sheel metal facade like a cabinet or locker
door. The unit was about 1/4" too tall to fit within the space so I altered it slightly to fit.
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door. The unit was about 1/4" too tall to fit within the space so I altered it slightly to fit.
The old mounting location for the steel license plate bracket was badly corroded from dissimilar metal
being in contact. It turned out to be an ideal place for the locking latch.
After careful measuring (I hate cutting holes in this thing) I played connect the dots again and
roughed out the proper size hole. When I was done I polished the area and flipped the door over
again
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The central mechanism pull two rods toward the handle drawing back the latches.
One of the door panels was damage so I duplicated it from a salvaged section of side panel.
The door is ready for reinstallation. I'm trying to decide whether to cover the access ports with white
material, semi-polished aluminum or polished tread plate.
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10-30-2006
The Porsche is nearing final paint. The body work, from what I can tell in primer, is flawless. The
color is very near what was on there and it's a standard formula based on Porsche color charts.
They said they would shoot the door jambs and inside of the doors, hood and engine cover
separately today. Tomorrow the edges and overspray will be sanded and the final coats of urethane
paint and clearcoat will be applied.
The Phoenix is nearer to completion. I reinstalled the upper hatch after completing and testing the
latch. The wiring to the tail and license plate lighting was rehooked in the hinge access hatches and
the system tested.
During the original build some had commented on how cheesy the white plastic moulding looked
interfacing with the aluminum body. I found some aluminum edging made for do-it-yourself teardrop
top edging. It's made of a very soft alloy so it can be bent. A little polishing and it should blend right
in.
11-3-2006 Porsche update
WOW!
It's going to be beautiful. Almost too perfect. No Porsche ever came out of the factory looking this
straight.
Most Porsche headlight trims don't fit perfectly as there is a slight variation in all of them. My
headlight trims served as a guide to shape the metal of the fender to fit the trim rather than use body
filler to create a proper gap.
I asked the painter today what the paint job entailed. Earlier photos showed a green primer. That is
an epoxy primer shot over bare metal. It seals off all oxygen and bonds to the rough metal and
provides a base for the body filler to bond to.
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Body fillers are a necessary evil but the object is to use as little as possible. The body filler is only to
be used to take out hammer marks, not straighten body curves. A thin layer of body filler is applied to
the whole car. It is block-sanded until it reveals high or low spots in the sheet metal. The metal in the
flawed area is reworked to need the least amout of filler. This process often exposes raw metal so the
finished work is shot in green primer again.
I believe he said they then spray gray primer and block the car again. The green underlayment
serves as a visual guide to proper filler thickness. I'm told that a small magnet should stick anywhere
on this car. Multiple sprays of gray primer sanded in-between builds the base for the color coat.
The car was shot in urethane, or two-stage color. Any imperfections can be removed at this stage.
Numerous coats of clear coat are sprayed to further build up the base.
The surfaces are then sanded with 800, 1,000 and 1,200 grit before buffing. The smoother the
surface the less heat will be generated significantly lowering the risk of burning the paint. The only
part that hadn't been buffed yet was the hood. they are going to remount the hood, engine cover and
doors and ship it back to the guy that took it apart for painting.
He's restoring the steering wheel while the car's being repaired. He'll do the reassembly of the
windshield, wipers and all the trim. Then it will come back to Autometrics for detailing and spraying
the fenderwells black again. Then we can bring it home.
11-7-2006
I took the PHOENIX out today. I towed it 15 miles to the shop that foamed the damaged areas. The
trip made me very nervous. I drove it empty and without the weight equalizing hitch, just to see how it
handled and it did just fine. I drove it just to see if there was a natural wag, and there isn't. It tracks
straight and true but it is a big trailer and I have to get used to it.
The wall cavities were filled and I headed home.
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I stopped off at Autometrics and saw it without doors. They shot me an emailed picture of a mostly
assembled car.
The countertop had just been installed a couple of hours when we took off on the maiden voyage.
The accident shifted the trailer so badly that the top moved and the glue cured with the top in the
wrong position. Using lots of shims I was able to free and reset the top where it belongs.
These appliacnces were installed just before we left. I'm not sure if I posted the pictures. The top
cabinet contains a microwave and a 6-bottle wine cooler. I've had it running for days and it holds
steady at 40�.
Installed the latches in the front access doors. Simple devices that look pretty natural in this
environment.
11-12-2006
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The Mark II left today for the Naples Concours on the 17th of November. His trailer is much bigger
than mine.
The inside of the Phoenix is back to where it was before the accident.
Things that remain to be done:
Flooring for garage area.
Box-in ramp springs.
Install braces and FRP to complete belly pan.
Install lighting in garage.
Add 4 batteries to bank. (8 Optima marine batteries total)
Finish cabnetry in cabin and garage.
Replace bent 15,000 lb hitch on trailer tongue.
Install new Equal-I-Zer weight distributing hitch.
11-13-2006
I cut off my tonge today. No, not my tongue, the trailer's tongue.
Remember this?
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This is what happened to the other half. The tongue hitch was bent about 1 inch off center. The
measurement from the center of the hitch to the centers of the axles is a critical measurement.
Luckily, the Dexter Airflex system has adjusters built in for alignment. Simply loosen the U-bolts and
use the two adjusters per side to move the axle forward or back.
I started off using a cutting torch but that got too hot for the wiring that runs through the frame. I
protected the wiring within rigis conduit but the flame would eventually damaged the wires.
I threw open the garage doors and fired up the 2-stroke chop saw. I cut away all the metal that
wasn't welded to the tongue and then ground away the welds.
I own a MIG welder but these welds are too critical for my skill level. My friend the welder has a
portable unit that will give the penetration needed for these important welds.
12-10-2006 Progress has slowed as Fall chores took a lot of time.
While waiting for the welder to show up I expanded the battery rack to accept 4 more Optima marine
batteries. That should bring my run time for the a/c to about 6 hours.
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The extra weight will help load the tongue weight properly. The most tongue weight I can get with all
three axles pressurized is 1,100 lbs. The batteries will bring the tongue weight to 1,400 lbs.
Took time off to show the Mark II at the Naples Concours. Took a top award and had beautiful
weather.
The welder brought his stick welder to gain a real deep weld. He wasn't pleased with the weld's
appearance so he came back with a MIG and TIG welder to smooth things out. I ground things
smooth and used a filler for a nice finished appearance.
He used his TIG to weld the replacement ramp activating arm. Helps to know what you're doing.
Sanded down all the rough finish on the tongue and sprayed it with Rustoleum primer and flat black
paint.
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Installed the new Equal-I-Zer hitch. Dan powdercoated the parts in a matt finish.
A lot of thought went into the design of this product.
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1-1-2007 Lower clam-shell door finish.
The lower door was functional, but not finished. I attached a "U" channel to each of the existing
aluminum skin flanges to stiffen the structure and create an attachment point for an inner skin of
FRP, matching the rest of the interior.
These U channels needed to be capped as a base for trim. The new chanel had to be bent to match
the curvature.
The outer skid bars were attached with sheet metal screws. They are now firmly nut and bolted in
place. You can see the finished cap installed.
I installed FRP plastic moldings on the perimeter rails.
Fitted panels into trim and secured with stainless screws.
The upper door latch system recently installed needed something to latch onto. Look closely and you
will see the ubiquidous screen door latch strike. It will allow for some movement and acts as a spacer
to keep the door centered on the rear opening. Pressing the upper door into place is answered by a
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to keep the door centered on the rear opening. Pressing the upper door into place is answered by a
click saying that the latch is seated. Not the most elegant, but extemely effective solution to a couple
of problems. $1.44 each at ACO
1-27-2007 Underbelly
I wish I had done this while the chassis was upside down.
I designed the diamond plate sides to have a 46" gap that would be filled with a FRP layer supported
by aluminum crossmembers.
Before I was able to install the crossmembers I had to solve a slight clearance problem with the arm
that connects to the linear actuator and I had to figure out a way to mount the actuator itself 90�
from its current mounting position.
I started looking around my shop for some material to make a swivel bracket from when I spotted the
shackles from the old trailer springs. They were the perfect shape but one needed to be smaller than
the other so I made a trip to the local trailer supply and found two new spring shackles and a spring
bolt to create my contraption. The only hole I had to drill was the one that bolts the actuator to the
swivel.
The material I'm using as crossbracing for the underbelly is 1" x 2" x 1/8" aluminum angle. I used it
on the flat at the back so that the actuating arm could clear the brace. I was able to trim away enough
of the actuator arm to clear the brace.
The FRP is sanwiched in-between the diampnd plate and the bracing. The FRP is connected to the
cross bracing with stainless fateners and washers. I hope I never have to take it apart again but I
want to be able to if I need to.
Aluminum crossbracing attaches to the diamondplate on both sides.
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This is what the finished underbelly will look like. All of the raw aluminum and FRP edges are treated
with the same edging used elsewhere.
Update 3-10-2007 More details.
The Porsche is almost finished. Can't wait to see it.
This is my emergency brake light system. The regular tail lights are powered off of the tow vehicle.
This emergency system provides brake lights should the trailer be separated from the tow vehicle.
The trailer is equipped with a breakaway switch that activates the trailer brakes, but, no brake lights.
This system takes a separate lead from the battery and passes the current through a Normally Open
brake pressure switch. When the hydraulic actuator is activated, both in an an emegency and under
normal use, the emergency brake lights are activated.
This is a series of automatic circuit breakers rated at 150A that feed the winch. The wire feeding it is
fused at 175A.
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The FRP belly pan is finally complete. 240 square feet of Fiberglass Reinforced Panels and 224
linear feet of extruded 1" x 2" aluminum angle and 200 stainless screws and washers.
I installed the system so that a single panel could be removed for service without taking the whole
belly pan down.
I raised the suspension off of the ground so that I could measure for wheel skates. I ended up buying
heavy duty skates capable of rolling 2,000 lbs each.
Note the nylon axle restraint. These keep the air bags from hyperextending and damaging the flexible
stainless steel brake lines.
Business has been slow so I had my crew add an outlet every 10 feet and four new 400-watt metal
halide high bay fixtures.
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The damaged chair got put back together after polishing the frame.
Each axle has it own ride height valve. That's the black device with the linkage attached to it. That
valve get's its instructions from the position of the suspension's swing arm.
This control rod had to pass through the new belly pan. Due to the 6" range of motion the coltrol rod
needed to pass through an oblong hole. I had seen oblong grommets in a leather catalog and
contacted the Stimson Company and left word with a customer service person. I only needed three
of the two-piece grommets so she sent them out as free samples. Thank you Stimson!
Next to the ride height valve is the electric dump valve. Each axle has one. I can selectively dump air
to aid the jacks in tilting the trailer for loading and unloading.
Next to the dump valve is a pressure sensor that gives me a readout of air pressure in the main tank
and in each set of bags. It has a digital readout and an audible alert in case of pressure failure.
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The drain valve for the concealed 5 gallon air tank ended up directly above the rear axle. The first
nipple I used was too long and it broke off as soon as I lowered the trailer. That made quite a bit of
noise as the tank still had 150 psi in it.
This is the digital readout for the airbags. Next to it is the hydraulic tongue weight scale.
I needed to install mud flaps. I didn't want the typical Yosimite Sam or reclining chrome nude and just
plain black didn't do much for me.
I found some floor mats that I thought were perfect. Together they were too wide so I cut them in half
and they worked perfectly.
I mocked up a set in pink.
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And another set in blue.
I liked the pink much better.
I installed a concealed battery kill switch that cuts power to all the electrical at the rear of the trailer
including the lighting, electric ramps, compressor, dump valves and screw jacks mounted at each
corner of the trailer. It was that or lock the hatch door to the controls. I feared someone would destroy
a lock to see what was inside so the door will be left unlocked but allthe controls inside will be
defeated.
The handle of the switch pops out whe power is deactivated.
Side view of the installation
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The new lights for the garage are fluorescent and operate on 12 volts. Fluorescent lights only work
off of AC current so each fixture has a miniature rectifier to convert 12-volts DC to 12-volts AC.
The lights are semi-recessed. They are about 1" deep above the ceiling and about 3/4" below. Each
fixture has 3 15-watt lamps and each fixture has it's own switch to conserve battery power.
All of the electrical is stowed under the front floorboards. the process of charging the batteries and
converting 12-volts DC to 120-volts AC generates a fair bit of heat. This is a thermostatically
controlled muff fan installed to draw air fom the cool chambers of the trailer and exhausted out of the
bottom.
Up until now there has been no fuse protection for the 12-volt wiring. As I hooked up the last fuse the
trailer started shaking and the lights flickered madly. I heard the sound of arcing of electricity against
metal and quickly ripped the battery cables free of the fuses.
I jumped out of the trailer after I hear the noise persist and saw that the lights in my shop were
cycling on and off too. I heard a loud explosion and hit the button for the garage door and saw that
the power lines adjacent to my shop had fallen on a neighbor's metal shed and were dancing wildly
until another transformer down the line blew and shut everything off.
The front stone guard is almost complete. The rear panel is being made by my fabricator out of
polished diamond plate. The emergency tail lights and back-up lights will be mounted in this panel.
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Tail panel with auxillary brake lights and back-up lights for camera. The round lights are the backups.
The lower tail lights will come on as soon as hydraulic pressure builds up in the system. These lights
are tied into the on-board battery bank.
On a typical trailer the breakaway switch activates the brakes but no warning is given to the vehicle
behind the trailer.:( Separation from a tow vehicle also means loss of all external lighting.
3-30-2007
Special thanks to Randy Wilson of M3 Associates.
I went to the web looking for the type of latch and hasp used to secure truck doors. My application
was a little different. I wanted to use the mechanism horizontally to secure the trailer ramps to the
trailer walls.
I found M3's web site. http://www.m3assoc.com/products.html They had a list of stainless and
aluminum closure devices that were suitable but all had three bar supports and I wanted 4. I
contacted the office and the young lady I spoke to was very nice and very helpful. She asked what
the application was and I told her that it was a custom trailer.
She said, "I think Randy would like to talk to you but he'd out doing something involving needles and
elbows." I left her this web site's address and I got a call from Randy the next day.
He said he spent 2 hours reading the entire build and told me that he was impressed. He told me
that my shop's attention to detail was amazing. When I told him that I had built it myself the line went
quiet for a moment. I took that as high praise.
Randy told me that there is nothing new or novel in his industry nor has there been, for a very long
time. He found my concept exciting and insane at the same time.
I finally got him to talk about his product and he told me that he had the perfect parts for my
application, and he was right.
But first, he had to tell me that my garage door springs were wound too tight. He knew because he
was able to calculate, just by looking at the pictures, that one of my worst mistakes could have been
avoided by having bigger springs. The largest I thought were available were 160 lb units. It wasn't
sufficient to lift the tail gate with the huge spare tire attached. The tire and wheel weigh about 90 lbs.
Randy told me that I needed 205 lb springs to lift the load with the spare attached to the ramp, as I've
always envisioned. I was exstatic to think that I could go back to the original design. Randy judged it
so closely that he was able to tell me that 7 360� turns would yield the proper amout of force to lift
the spare and ramp combined. Thanks again Randy.
He then asked me for my shipping address. I asked if he could take a credit card and he said he
would be satisfied if I mentioned his company's name. Done. Two days later I received a new set of
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would be satisfied if I mentioned his company's name. Done. Two days later I received a new set of
springs and the parts I needed to fit my highly specialized need.
The aluminum shaft passes through two carriers allowing it to slide sideways and rotate. The claw is
welded to the end of the shaft and rotated to engage the catch by the handle at the other end of the
shaft. The shaft will have a spring to automatically retract the claw to clear a cable and the upper
door piston.
Problem solved.
5-12-2007 Cabin is finished!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
My carpenter friend took work in another state. I was left to my own devices. I had completed
everything that I was going to do, the rest required his level of craftsmanship, or so I thought.
I took my time, measure twice and cut once. The work is not perfect. I am human. I am proud of the
work.
I started the cabin finish by strengthening the bulkhead wall and building the framework for cabinetry.
I ordered a water tank that perfectly fit the area above the rear of the entertainment center. It gravity
feeds the faucet at the wet bar sink.
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
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The sink is stainless steel and came from an RV surplus outlet. The faucet is one typically found on
drinking fountains. It has a goose neck and a lever handle that detents in the on position for filling
containers.
I fabricated some custom hinges that attach the doors both on the backs and sided of the doors
Installed all of the edge trim taking care to have screw holes line up where pieces are close by. The
same molding is used on edge on the doors.
Built the doors out of the bamboo flooring. Took advantage of their tongue and groove construction to
make all of the pieces interlock with aluminum strips binding them along their edge.
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
2/8/10 9:01 PM
The completed entertainment center.
From the side.
The rest of the cabin.
5-21-2007 Our 35th anniversary spent decorating the trailer with personal items from our past.
The blender was "regifted" to us as a wedding present, long before "regifting" became the norm. The
Avacado motor is perfect. The pictures on the wall were taken in 1956. We were 3 and 4.
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
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This is a personal treasure. When my grandfather passed away my cousins looted my grandparents
posessions. The mother and foal was always my favorite piece of theirs. It was about the only thing
actually mentioned in his will so they left it for me. It turns out that my parents had given it to my
grandparents before I was born.
The mugs were purchased on our honeymoon in England. We gave these to my in-laws when we got
home. The never used them so we absconded with them last year. 35 years old and never used.
This is the first, and last, "investment" we made in "limited editions". It's a Norman Rockwell set by
Gorham. It's from the "young love" series from 1972. The plates were originally issued in 1949, two
years befor this trailer was made.
We paid $120. for the set. Now they're worth $140.
My wife collects giraffes. We found this set with the giraffe on one and a gazelle on the other. They
just screamed out '50s living room.
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
2/8/10 9:01 PM
A trip to IKEA yielded a colorful small-scale serving set and utensils.
Garage is finally finished. Maiden Voyage 2 is tommorrow.
Mission accomplished
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Posted by: KrashingV8
03/24/2009 06:05PM
thats a nice classic cruiser. i love it.
Posted by: SMARGOL700
03/22/2009 12:10AM
How could you use this work of art to tow a trailer?
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barry2952's 1956 Lincoln Continental - Farmington Hills, MI
2/8/10 9:01 PM
Posted by: aschaffter
09/10/2007 02:52PM
Barry, not sure if you are still reading these comments (I couldn't find your email
address). But after reading your excellently documented story of your superior
work, I thought I would make a comment about your Phonenix accident. In
addition to what you found out about the equilizer hitch, etc. I believe you might
have had one additional physics factor in play. I did 20+ years as a Naval Aviator
and there is a situation in aviation that I believe could also have played a part in
your case. Whenever you have a vehicle in motion, and the vehicle has its weight
distributed along its length (or worse case, concentrated at its ends), a situation
can occur called inertial coupling that can cause the vehicle (including aircraft) to
swap ends- literally flip end over end. The more the center of gravity, center of
mass, center of pressure (especially applicable to aircraft where there are high
high air loads) and the physical center of the vehicle are the same the less chance
this can occur. You might want to check with an engineer to discuss this. Again,
truly unbelievable work!!!!!
Posted by: bustermustang
03/31/2007 03:58PM
a true work of art.
Posted by: dwinick
03/07/2007 11:22AM
Stumbled on this site and your Spartan project. My name is David Winick. I
designed Airstream's 75th anniversary Bambi trailer. Your conversion is terrific.
Give me a shout. [email protected] I live in Grand Rapids and visit the
Ann Arbor area frequently.
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Location: Farmington Hills, MI
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