| Diana Ferguson's 1961 13' Gaucho
The day I picked her up - $500, thought I got a bargain LOL
Some rust - to be expected with a trailer that's been around since 1961
Spare tire bracket - attached to nothing but air
Didn't think any of this was too bad - figured I could paint her up, make her pretty and go camping.
Spent a few weeks under that delusion. Did lots of clean up, put on new trailer tires and repacked the bearings.
None of it looked terrible to my untrained eye and although the original flooring looked good,
there was a giant soft spot where the table once was
Water damaged rippled plywood in front
Some obvious leaks but I had no idea what was underneath the paneling
Termites had a party eating up the floor - this wood crumbled as I touched it. Thankfully no live termites!
Hmmmm, wonder why the floor was soft LOL!
Only the first foot or so was really bad - still thought I could do a patch job - completely delusional!
What a mess!
The closer I looked, the more rot I found - there was wood rot at virtually every edge of the wood.
This shot is street side front, looking to the rear.
Worst damage was at the front so I thought I would just remove the rotted portions and replace with new plywood.
Seemed like a reasonably easy thing to do so I got out the skill saw and started cutting - silly silly me!
Cut a big piece starting at the front down to the bottom of the wall, not realizing that the rest of the wall at the bottom
was rotted out. When I pulled the cut piece out, the roof completely collapsed - OMG! I did not take pictures...
I was horrified and embarrassed, alone in my driveway.
So this is what was left at the end of that day. I thought I might be able to sell the trailer frame and part out the rest
so I could at least get a few bucks back. In any case, I figured I was done and the trailer sat untouched
like this in my yard for the next few weeks.
Then I had an email conversation with Nancy Kroes from the NSSO and she told me that the little Scotty
was the easiest trailer to rebuild and that I shouldn't give up. I still didn't touch it for another week or so...
Then I decided what the hell, I had nothing more to lose LOL, so I plowed ahead...had to get the floor off
and that was a project. There was no way I was going to be able to get this thing off in one piece by myself.
I had cut off all the rusted bolts (with a grinder) but the floor wasn't
Ended up taking it off in pieces, front first, then rear - but that drop down box was nearly the death of me...
Anyway, turns out it was a good thing I had to take it down to the frame - two of the frames cross beams were broken.
Never would have known if I hadn't pulled the entire thing apart...so found a welder to come check out
and he repaired and reinforced the whole trailer. Once it was fixed I scraped and sanded it, applied a rust restore paint,
then primer and truck bed liner to protect it going forward.
Cut all the pieces for the floor and just laid them on top to see how it looked and assure everything would fit.
So glad no one could see me wrestling with these giant pieces of wood - it had to be hilarious.
Another view with the original pieces in the background
Again, working alone, I could not put it back together until I had help so I prepped and painted all the pieces so I'd be ready.
Even with help, I still ended up putting the floor back on in two sections. Had to glue and screw separately.
I used 3/4" Advantech plywood to replace the original 1/2" plywood. Laid it all out and painte with exterior grade white paint -
two coats, then the bed liner.
Attached the floor to the frame, painted the top side and started laying the plank flooring - vinyl floating from Home Depot
I should have started at the other side, the seams wouldn't have shown at all from the door if I had.
Live and learn.
Floor turned out really nice, but thought I would wait to do the drop down
Kept the original cabinets in the drop down until I was ready to work on them. I don't have a garage so all
work had to be done according to the weather and every night I had to put it all away and cover with tarps.
Would have been easier if I'd had a garage!
Followed Nancy K.'s directions and put the walls together with biscuits and glue. This was the first part of the
rebuild that I really needed extra hands for. My brother came to the rescue and helped me wrestle the sheets of
plywood and put them together (thank goodness). I used
1/2" birch for the walls.
I traced what was left of the origninal walls onto the joined plywood, stacked the two walls together and cut them both
at the same time with a really good quality (borrowed) jig saw. (note from Nancy, make sure you have good sides
together so you wind up with a left and right side, not two rights or two lefts). I wasn't sure it was a good idea
but it worked out and was much easier than I thought. Again, my
brother stepped in to help attach the walls, and
the cabinets. This could have really gone south if I had attempted to do it alone!
I built the bed frame so there would be no obstructions under the bed, using 2x3s attached to the wall from the
exterior. Wasn't paying attention and didn't realize until I was done, that I should have framed it about an inch higher.
Now have to modify the storage door if I want to
reinstall it. Oh well, I was not about to pull it out and start over.
We used leftover birch from the walls to reface the original counter cabinet and added bead board to cover
the sides of both cabinets.
Built the dinette bench frames the same way. Wasn't done with the benches at this point, but this was the
day the ends and roof were going on - very exciting!
Again, following Nancy K.'s lead, I painted the exterior walls. I added window wrap to the seams as added protection.
My brother offered me a roll of Tyvek he had leftover from a job, so I thought why not add another layer of protection.
Another day of volunteering by my brother - we went a very unconventional route to get the front, back and roof on.
Anyone who has tried this knows how hard it is to bend the wood to the curves of these trailers. We decided
to apply wood above the bottom sections of both
the front and back of the trailer, avoiding the most severe
curves, and added bottom sections last. Sealed each seam with the same window wrap tape. Should have taken
pics as sections were added but did not want to stop!
Used 5.5 mil plywood and beadboard for roof and addede a layer of bubble foil and Tyvek to the top.
I couldn't add any width to the trailer so didn't add any insulation to the sides - wanted to make sure
my metal would fit back on. It was so great to have the camper enclosed.
Lots happened between the last picture and this one - counter tops and upper cabinet (store bought) went in,
windows and door openings were cut (jig saw again) along with priming and painting the metal. Sides and front
are the original metal. Had to buy new for the rear and roof. Would have
loved to have gotten it professionally painted
but my depleted budget decided rattle can automotive paint would have to do. Only the sides were done at this point.
Decided on black for the accent color since nothing I've done is original anyway and it will match my car.
Still haven't modified the storage door - will have to think about that.
The original roof metal couldn't be reused since the top collapsed and the rear was messed up from an old spare tire rack.
Very expensive - mostly due to shipping costs. Also had to purchase new edge trim as the original got very
twisted when the roof caved in.
Not ideal to have to replace the old since you can't get it in lengths to cover the entire
edge. I got it in 7' lengths so there are seams. Will add some trim along the bottom too as the metal came up
1/4" too short. Still getting up the nerve to cut holes for new tail lights, etc. Purchased lights from etrailer.com -
great source for all kinds of stuff.
I had framed the front window with the help of a girlfriend and cut the side windows which look a little wonky
but worked out fine. I am going to paint the frames white so not concerned with the screw holes that are showing here.
Was too chicken to cut out the rear window by myself since I would be cutting through the new metal at the same time.
So again, my brother to the rescue! Yes, we put the metal on and then cut the window out, then added the framing.
All a little backwards but it worked out. So excited
to be nearing the finish line. Haven't grouted the tile or fully secured
the counter moldings. Decided to buy a cabinet to put over the sink
rather than build one. Only kept the sink - no
faucet, water tank or city water line. Just want to be able to wash my face LOL. Still have plenty of things to finish
up - but I think another day or
two and I'll be good to go - just in time to put her away for winter!
Haven't thought of a name yet, but I will have all winter to come up with one.
Time to put curtains in and although I don't have a mattress yet, I threw in the new comforter and a couple of pillows.
My mom got me the arm rest pillow as a camper warming gift. Brought the TV in so I could watch the game while I worked!
Dinette area still needs a table - I have the one that came with the camper (not original and really ugly) but I'll make it work.
I was actually amazed at how nice it looked after the curtains and cushions went in. I can't believe it is almost done!
So here is "Wanda". I still have a few things to finish but we will definitely be ready to hit the road in the spring. Can't wait!
In addition to everything shown, there were lots of other things that had to be done along the way...
•Removing all the staples from the original metal – lots of fun!
•Scraping off all the old butyl tape from the metal, windows, vents, awning rail – and there was a lot of it!
•Sanding and then cleaning the metal with TSP – also funJ
•Running to HD every 5 minutes to pick up more wood or whatever!
•Cutting all the wood to size (measuring 15 times & still cutting twice)
•Cleaning and polishing windows, eyebrows, interior metal (still some work to do there)
•Replacing rear window plexi-glass with real glass
•Grinding off stubborn rusted screws from windows – this was NOT fun.
•Replacing old torn screens
•Having the new electrical system installed – probably could have done it – but so much easier to pay to have it done and well worth it!
•Insulating the wheel wells – had some bubble foil left, so why not.
•Painting & staining the interior
•Installing the counter tile and moldings
•Installing the sink
•Caulking all along the edges of the floor/walls
•Taking the door apart and rebuilding it– it was in rough shape
•Replacing the cylinder in the Bargman lock
•Having the jalousie window repaired
•Disposing of all the old camper wood
For anyone contemplating a first try at a rebuild…..While I was able to do a lot of the work myself – there are some things that just cannot be done alone so, best to recruit an enthusiastic (and knowledgeable) helper as in a brother LOL. Have an indoor place to do the work – it was a total pain to have to set up and break down work space every time I worked on it and then having to tarp it every night to be sure it didn’t get rained on. I love a good project and I’ve done many, but this was absolutely the most challenging , the best yet, and the most fun ever!