Friday, April 1, 2011

Monday, March 28, 2011

The good, the bad and the ugly!

Howdy folks! Elmer here to weave some final tales about the restoration of Old Faithful the Vintage Yellowstone Travel trailer!
Let's start with the ugly....there is no ugly. When you find a travel trailer of this age that is still so structurally solid and the only thing it would need is a bit of tender loving care and good ole elbow grease....there is no ugly!
Now that we have that straight there is some bad and lots of good. If you have been reading the blog entries then you must be familiar with all the good. The DWP's say that they have never seen a travel trailer so structurally solid. Old Faithful is on the market for a new family to pick up where they left off but they continue to make improvements until that happens. Let's start with the original floor tiles. They do have wear especially at the sink area. The DWP's pondered a bit on whether or not to replace the floor, but one thing they have found is people are very particular. Some want linoleum and others hate it. Some like the faux hardwoods, others say no way. Some want vintage looking tiles placed, but then you have to choose a color. And since Old Faithful is aluminum on the outside and birch on the inside, he can be any color scheme the new owners want. The DWP's put down some throw rugs that match the curtains. Both are included with the sale, but they can easily be changed depending on the new owners tastes. The flooring area in the front dinette is still in very nice condition. And the back area is not too bad. The good news, the actual floor is not squishy. It is solid! The bathroom floor was ripped up in order to replace the old plumbing. Vintage looking grey tiles were put on the floor to go along with the original look and new aluminum strips were put down at the edges.
The wheel wells are in fantastic condition and the plumbing has been repaired, replaced and is in fine working condition. The faucets, sink, shower fixtures, etc. are original to the travel trailer. All have been shined up and looking good! Old faithful has it's original hot water heater and these old things are amazingly efficient! Made in Germany it is a nice piece of machinery. Parts are still available but it has been removed and gone through and is to be tested in the next few days to ensure it is in working condition. The furnace was cleaned up and a new pipe was put in to replace the old rusty one. The Dixie stove is original to the trailer and it too not only displays nicely but works as it should. The bottom broiler drawer will need a new rack and the DWP's are still looking for one. The knobs are all there but they all say front so you may want to get covers that correctly indicate which is which....but no need to sweat the small stuff, right?
All lights are original. They have been removed and cleaned and restored. The gold lights at the dinette and back bedroom were missing their inserts. The DWP's used and old 50's fiberglass lamp shade and cut out new inserts for the lights. They look pretty cool!
The vintage table in the dinette area is included in the sale. It is old and of the era. If you plan to keep it in the trailer you might want to give it a good polishing. It does show it's age but it fits in quite nicely with the look. When you are actually camping you can leave the table inside or take it outside and you will have lots of extra space here. It does push to the side and allows for a cot to be folded out for extra sleeping space. The cot is included in the sale along with the mattress. The blue striped blanket is not, just used as a prop to show you potentially what it could look like. When not in use you can store it along the side wall under the window in front. The birch was replaced under the curb side window at the dinette. The birch was also replaced at the front window up to the top of the window. This was due to water damage from before and the old birch could not be repaired. The area under the street side window did have water damage but it was able to be sanded and coated with shellac and was not replaced as it still looks nice. New floor trim was cut and fitted throughout.
Speaking of storage, there is lots of it! There is a shelf in the front above the window. The props in the pic are not included in the sale, just there to give you an idea of how homey this trailer can be once you give it your own personal style. There are two overhead cupboards at the front. Along the street side are more overhead cupboards. The original door hardware is complete throughout the trailer and shined up nicely! At the sink are cupboards below as well as a pull put cutting board. The formica or marlite counter top is in okay condition as well as is the backsplash. The original glass towel holder is right in place!
Beyond the kitchen is a closet with a mirror attached. The mirror was removed and the back date was March 1959. This closet is huge and has a clothing hanger bar with a shelf over that. The electric box is in this closet and it has been tightened up and rewired as the wires were loose and hanging. The old cast plumbing and copper plumbing that goes to the bathroom are in this closet and this has all been replaced. PVC for the drains and 3/8ths inch copper tubing replaced the original copper tubing.
The bathroom shower floor has been recoated. The aluminum trim was removed and polished. The formica walls are in great condition. The original shower fixtures were removed, cleaned and replaced. A sink, similar to the one found in it was put in. First it was coated with two part epoxy and fitted with a wooden form underneath to add strength. Also in the bathroom you will find the original soap dish, towel holder, and toilet paper roll holder. There is a shelf above where the toilet would be and it has been cleaned and recoated with shellac. The divider wall was removed and replaced with new 1/4 inch birch. The rear wall all the way up to the ceiling was replaced as was the wall area under the bathroom window. It will need a toilet but it is all ready to have one installed.
The bedroom rear wall was replaced with new birch from the floor up to the overhead shelf. It was fitted with new trim strips. There is additional storage overhead! You can really pack up your goods in this travel trailer. The water tank under the bed was replumbed and cleaned and refitted. There is additional storage underneath the bed that can be accessed through the escape hatch door. The screens on the doors are original and were removed and cleaned and replaced. The doors were sanded and recoated with shellac and put back up. The rear door exterior handle is broken but can still be opened and closed. It will need to be replaced if you so choose. This something the DWP's may still do and it will be noted if done so. In front of the bed area is another closet area, one with shelves and another with a clothes bar and a shelf above. The wheel well is located in this tall closet and in great condition.
The space where the refrigerator goes has a storage area underneath. This was rebuilt with new birch and frame for the shelf to hold up the fridge. The original cabinet door was sanded and coated and put back in place with the original hardware. The DWP's put in a Dometic fridge and the door face was made to match the interior. This could be a temporary fridge as a new owner may want to replace it with one of their choosing so it was not framed in. A microwave or toaster or other appliances could be put in the space above the fridge. A matching curtain was hung to give it aesthetic appeal in the meantime. There is another cupboard above that.
The furnace is original to the trailer. It is a panelray vertical radiant heater. The flue was replaced with shiny new.
The ceiling panel above the furnace was replaced due to water damage. As can be seen in the photos on this blog there is some areas on the ceiling where the birch is delaminating but nothing that would be considered an eyesore to most. The entire ceiling was spray coated with shellac.
New York weather this time of year makes getting work on the exterior difficult unless you are related to the abominable snowman. The exterior trim on both sides of the trailer front to back was removed, straightened cleaned and resealed with new butyl rubber tape. All broken window glass was replaced. The windows were removed and resealed with butyl rubber tape and put back in place. New rubber seals were put in the drip edges of the windows. The only one yet to be done is the bathroom. and this will be taken care of before the sale.  Most of the exterior screws have been removed, polished at the area where they will fit back in, at the holes and replaced with new. This will be completed by the time the new owners pick up the trailer. The area at the screw holes was polished to make it easier for shining this baby up and hopefully make it so that will not have to be removed when that time comes.

I started to clean and polish Old Faithful today...not a professional  job, just a quick
clean because I am dying to see what he will look like all shiny!

Yep, I think there is a lot of potential there!

The rear lights were rewired and done in a way so that if they ever need to be fished it will be possible. Fishes were left in place and marked. All joints were soldered and sealed with rubber splicing tape, no wire nuts. All hardware used was stainless with the exception of the exterior screws which are zinc plated carbon steel. The vents protruding through the roof have been removed, cleaned up, resealed, straightened and reinstalled. They do not leak and I'd say they never will.
Old Faithful the old Yellowstone has been pretty well gone through and lots has been done that has been mentioned elsewhere in the blog. The DWP's have taken the time to restore this trailer in a way that keeps it original and also provides the best quality they could. They have done their best to make this baby last another 50 or more years!
Thank you to everyone who gave advice and encouragement along the way!!! In the beginning, it almost didn't seem possible that this day would come, but alas, it has. Old Faithful is awaiting a day when once again he gets to enjoy the adventures and travels that he did many years ago! Yep, keeping the faith really paid off!

If you are interested in Old Faithful please call 585-409-8614 or send us an e-mail at We will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have or set up a time for viewing! Happy Trailering to all you!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Old Faithful 1959 Yellowstone

The cot sits nicely at the streetside window.

There is lots of cupboard space overhead.

Original screens and furnace.

Dixie stove in nice condition. All the burner knobs say "front" on them so you may want to  adjust this.

The floor will need to be replaced as there are areas where it is coming up/cracking.
We did not do this as we know that this is a particular choice people like to make. Whether they want laminate, tiles, wood, or carpet. We threw down some throw rugs that match the curtains and they are included with trailer.

The back bedroom!

The opposite doors open with a fold out divider to allow for privacy in the bedroom.

There are areas where there was water damage but not enough to warrant complete removal of the wall.
These areas were sanded and reshallaced. The camper is watertight and this should not be a problem in the future
with proper care.

A curtain was hung above the fridge to make it look pleasing. This space can also
be used for your microwave, toaster, etc.

The wall under the window is one of the areas where the birch was replaced.

There is a little delamination on the ceiling that you can see in these photos.  The ceiling was
sprayed with shellac. This damage was not enough to warrant replacing the ceiling.

New Aluminum Trim

Bathroom floor tile is a close match to original tiles. The travel trailer still needs a toilet installed.
We are on the lookout for a toilet from the era, however it is being sold as is. If we find one it will be installed for you!

The replacement sink was recovered with two part epoxy and installed. A wood form was built to offer support for the sink. The original soap dish and faucet are attached.

Shelf and walls in place.

Original toilet paper holder.

Original towel bar.

Newly coated shower flooring.

All bathroom aluminum/chrome has been removed and polished.

Original bath light removed, cleaned and reinstalled.

Door sanded, shellaced and reinstalled.

We have put in a dometic fridge thinking this would be temporary. It does work but  we did not frame it in permanently as we were not sure if the new owners of old failthful would desire to find a fridge more suitable to their liking.

The old table and chairs are included if you wish to keep them. They are not perfect but sure do look cute!

The exterior will need a good cleaning and polishing to bring it to a mirror finish.
The NY weather has not been cooperative and we have not been able to do so. 

We tarp all of our travel trailers in the winter. This travel trailer does not leak. We get  a good portion of snow here and a tarp makes is easy to remove built up snow so the weight of it does not harm the camper.

You can see some areas where we began cleaning the aluminum.

Friday, March 4, 2011

He's got the Joy, Joy, Joy...down in his heart!

Howdy again ya'll. Elmer the frog here ready to weave you a few more tales!Been a long time now since I have updated this here blog but that has something to do with this here New York weather. It's been pretty darn cold! Last time I did blog the DWP's were busy trying to get the kitchen looking halfway decent and then ripped apart Old Faithful's rear end. Well, when they did that they found lots of not so nice little surprises with the plumbing. The copper plumbing had splits and blisters all along its length. The holding tank had broken fittings and didn't appear to be properly installed. The drain lines were black pipe and cast iron and filled to the top with rust. The porcelain toilet was broken as was the sink. The metal shower floor was covered in surface rust and the drain fitting was broken. Well, if you are into repairing old travel trailers, this is not a job you want to get into when it is so cold the abominable snowman won't venture outside!
Just to refresh your memories, here are a few pictures of what the DWP's started with...

Lots of water damage to the back wall and the shelf on the wall  was also damaged.

Broken sink and toilet, water damage on the walls.
So, the dwp's ripped out the walls, the toilet, and the bathroom floor to get to the plumbing. Old Faithful's bones (frame) were in nice condition just like in other areas where the birch was replaced. Seems a lot of the water damage was only to the surface of the 1/4 inch birch. Here are a few photos of the gutting of Old Faithful. 
In this photo you can see the way the old wiring was structured.

At the inside of each rear light, the old boards, were quite rotted and warped so they were replaced  and the wiring was removed and redone in a way that made more sense. In other words, if there are ever any problems in the future, they will be easier for the new owner to fish and figure out! Here are a few pictures to show you the old and the new "working" wiring! The frame or brace below these boards was also replaced as one side did have rot.

You can see the rot at the end of the board. Probably due to water leaking in  from the outside lights from not being sealed.

Here are just a few pictures to illustrate how strong Old Faithful's bones still are!
Rear street side

Rear Street side going forward to the left.

Now, on to the wonderful world of plumbing!
As I said the holding tank was removed. The tank itself was in good condition but the fittings needed to be replaced.
This is the holding tank removed from under the bed.

The original paper covering over the floor tiles was still on the floor!
Black cast piping in closet next to bathroom. Note the fuse box, wiring still needs to be "fixed".
The floor was removed and this black cast was replaced with PVC.

After the plumbing was repaired and tested new 1/4 inch birch walls were put up, sanded, shellaced and trimmed. Then a new bathroom floor was put down. The dwp's used vintage grey tiles to provide a close match to the original flooring of Old Faithful.
This wall was actually removed up to the top of the overhead cabinetry.
Here is the toilet and part of the back wall removed.

This ceiling was replaced as well as the wall.

All chrome in the bathroom was removed, polished and put back up.

You can see the damage on the toilet base.

Toilet removed.

The divider wall was also removed and replaced.

A view from outside the hatch door.

New walls and new floor in place!

Old Window view...

New window view.

The bathroom shelf was put back up, not yet shellaced in this photo though.

Teak base on new floor. Trim along side wall going up to ceiling
still to be covered with veneer.

Here is the old shower floor prior to being cleaned of surface rust and recovered!

Recovered floor...nice, huh?

Aluminum trim was put at the edges of the floor. Shower walls still need
a cleaning but it sure does look almost like new!

Old Faithful just loves this flowery shower curtain!

The old shelf was removed and used as a pattern. Birch was glued over
the newly made shelf.

The shelf is now back in place!

Back wall in place! Trim strips put up!

There are still lots of things to do to make this part of the travel trailer complete but it sure does feel like home now. Old Faithful is really impressed!! And today, here in upstate New York, it was actually 35 degrees with rain. The snow started to wash away and we spent almost three hours this evening just talking about all the trips we are going to take together in the future. Funny thing, I see a big change in Old Faithful. He is not his usual pessimistic self. I think the enthusiasm of the dwp's is rubbing off on him. For a while there they were pretty cranky with the cold weather and all and not being able to get things done. And to top it off they said they have another trailer coming soon that they keep saying they need to make room for. But was a good day! They were so excited, they even thought about spending the night in Old Faithful! Hah! That was all it took to change the mood to one of complete merriment for the ole geezer! You see, I think he actually believes in the future! And right before we shut the lights down he your friend Billy Joel says, tomorrow ain't as bad as it seems, yeah, yeah, yeah...I'm keeping the faith!