Nd4SpdSe 2001 Frontier turned Expedition Trailer - "The Frontrailer"

Nd4SpdSe Mar 17, 2015

  1. Nd4SpdSe

    Nd4SpdSe First Fill-Up (of many)

    Messages:
    286
    Location:
    Quebec, QC
    I'll post up some pics of our trip out in Eastern Canada. But I'll link to the full albums later on if anyone wants to see more details on the trip on the trailer/camp album, our personal album with the plates we visited, or the album of the sister-in-laws gnome that we stole and took many funny pictures with.
    The night before, I had finished the badge and officially christened it the night before we left.
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    On the road. Left late, but the first stop is only 2.5 hours away
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    Out spot for the night
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    And getting up camp
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    With a beautiful bed view, and the relaxing sound of waves
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    My rig, and out home for the next 12 days.
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    The girlfriend making breakfast before we hit the road (with a quick dip in the water before leaving)
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    Quebec-New Brunswick Border
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    A stop to see the longest covered bridge in the world
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    The road is beautiful
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    The weather not to nice to cross the Confederate Bridge into PEI
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    I'm not particularly a fan of heights...and it's windy
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    But the weather on the other side was nice enough to take some pics
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  2. Nd4SpdSe

    Nd4SpdSe First Fill-Up (of many)

    Messages:
    286
    Location:
    Quebec, QC
    Our camp at Campbells's Cove, PEI
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    I do love this awning, plenty of room. Hiding from the misty wind.
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    Supper with a view
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    Campfire with Popcorn, and a view
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    Waiting to get on the ferry to Nova Scotia
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    A little tight on the ferry
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    And crossing onto Cape Breton Island
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    To setup camp at Inverness
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    And leaving Inverness to hit the Cabot Trail
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  3. Nd4SpdSe

    Nd4SpdSe First Fill-Up (of many)

    Messages:
    286
    Location:
    Quebec, QC
    The beautiful Calbot Trail, Nova Scotia
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    Overheating the motor on the way up a long hill past Pleasant Bay, and overheating the brakes on the way down.
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  4. Nd4SpdSe

    Nd4SpdSe First Fill-Up (of many)

    Messages:
    286
    Location:
    Quebec, QC
    Meat Cove was full. Go camp on the beach they said...
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    Broke the winch, and broke the awning in a gust of wind while setting it up
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    I had a neighbour, but I did serve to others a warning to stay on the rocky part of the beach. A few almost got stuck just turning around
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    It rained HARD during the night. All the tenters had cleared out by the time we got up
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    Leaving Meat Cove
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  5. Nd4SpdSe

    Nd4SpdSe First Fill-Up (of many)

    Messages:
    286
    Location:
    Quebec, QC
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    Shortest Ferry Ever
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    And camp in Baddeck, NS
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    Breakfast and Bacon in Baddeck
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    Leaving Baddeck
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    And our camp in Darthmouth while visiting a friend
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    Alexander Keiths Brewery (and we did the tour) The girlfriend's camera bugged randomly through the trip.
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    A small trailer means I can bring it downtown, which means I have full access to the cooking gear
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    So supper in a parking lot in Halifax harbour
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    And camping in Peggy's Cove for the night
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    Last edited: Sep 18, 2016
  6. Nd4SpdSe

    Nd4SpdSe First Fill-Up (of many)

    Messages:
    286
    Location:
    Quebec, QC
    Leaving Peggy's Cove. No idea when or how this happened, but I stopped after noticing a strong abnormal vibration when we got on the highway.
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    A Nissan dealership parts open until 1pm on a Saturday that had some studs and nuts in stock! We got there with 15min to spare.
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    Heading back to Quebec, 3 hours behind from the repair, on the longest day of road of the trip which was already 7 hours.
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    Spending the last night at the exact same campground and site from the first night
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    And the nice morning view (the girlfriend's feet)
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  7. Prime

    Prime Some Kind of In Charge? Admin

    Messages:
    30,440
    Location:
    Suffolk, VA
    Wow man. Looks like an awesome trip! Thanks for sharing.
     
  8. Nd4SpdSe

    Nd4SpdSe First Fill-Up (of many)

    Messages:
    286
    Location:
    Quebec, QC
    No problem, I'm glad you enjoyed it!



    Adding more to the updates. I was able to finally get around to installing LED strips inside my RTT. I started with zip ties, but I didn't like it, and was worried that they'd wear on the tent material, or would scrape any of our skin by rubbing against them accidentally, so I decided to get some huge 1" shrunk wrap, forgo the tie wraps, and shrink wrap them on instead.
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    And then I picked up a proper PWM LED dimmer for them. I picked it up locally since I didn't want to wait to get a smaller one in a month, but decided to inspect inside the box to see if there was room to modify it. I wanted to add in a second switch to control the lights under the RTT that light up the ladder so we can turn them off when going to bed, or on if we have to get up in the middle of the night.
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    Looks like there's plenty of room. But first, I had to rotate the pot around since those connections would be in the way.
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    Using a nibbler tool, I cut my hole.
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    A test fit confirms it fit, just, it rests on top of the capacitor.
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    I cheated and grabbed the 12v and ground from the V+ and V- IN off the dimmer, and soldered wires directly from the pins to the new switch.
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    The finished product. The extra connection runs to the LED strip under the tent. It does not dim however, but I didn't need, nor want it to.
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    And the new switch to control that circuit.
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  9. Nd4SpdSe

    Nd4SpdSe First Fill-Up (of many)

    Messages:
    286
    Location:
    Quebec, QC
    Got a temporary fix on the awning done as well. If you followed the story of the trip, the awning broke 2 knuckles in some wind gusts during the setup at Meat Cove, NS. I wasn't sure what would work on mine, and to be honest, I thought they were all the same, so I ordered in a set of Rhino Rack Awning knuckles since I could get them in 3 days, as opposed to the Foxwings in 3 weeks, which actually gave me a few extra uses of the awning this year. It's a temporary fix that works, and is 100% reversible. Next year I'll get some proper replacements for spring. Darche out of Australia makes a "SuperFlex Hinge"
    http://darche.com.au/product/awningsuper-flex-hinge/
    Would be a perfect fix, and the price is good (about 1:1 to the Canadian Dollar), but they want $80 to ship 6 of them....
    So here's my fix using the Rhino Rack knuckles. They're a bit wider, so a new bracket had to me made. It definitely feels and looks beefier, but has a hard time fitting inside the cover. I'm not sure also how this affects the sides.
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    I also got my forward stabalizer legs installed. Some tweaking is needed and have yet to properly test them, but it will be nice to retire the jack stands...they do take up a fair amount of space.
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    And last week I also got my knock off Max Coupler / TSC Coupler. We got a group by done by a few of us here in Quebec, and it should work out well. Just too bad it's too late in the season, but not at all bad for C$200! And it should be MUCH stronger, and it's solid with no bushings. Just an FYI, for us Canadians, to get one direct imported from the USA would cost C$450 before any duties. We're currently working on the piece to be able to attack it to the trailer.
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  10. Nd4SpdSe

    Nd4SpdSe First Fill-Up (of many)

    Messages:
    286
    Location:
    Quebec, QC
    Did a bit of work, prepping for one final use of the year. Since we've been working on a haunted house, my projects have been put to the side for the moment. It's my girlfriend's friend's project, in which my girlfriend if highly involved, and thus, so I am. We're building a 18x18ft house for my girlfriend's scene, and with that, I need to make a dark false sky, and make it snow to go with her character of Krampus... anyway, with that, it's a lot of time, so we're planning on taking the trailer there to be able to get some early starts and late finishes on the weekend to get some good progress done. With that, I figured I'd make those tweaks I needed to get my stabilizer legs working and test them out on this should-be final use for the year. They're calling for 1*C overnight Saturday, so we'll probably run an extension and use an electric heater to keep us comfortable. This also makes me want to prioritize adding a the heating element to the trailer next year. The more progress gets on the trailer, the more convenient it is to have and use, and extending it's season of use wouldn't at all be a bad thing The legs need more holes drilled for adjustability, but it'll do for now. It feels really solid up front and had greatly reduced the rocking from the suspension, and encourages me on the design to make some for the rear. [​IMG]
     
  11. Nd4SpdSe

    Nd4SpdSe First Fill-Up (of many)

    Messages:
    286
    Location:
    Quebec, QC
    it's not too much of a big deal, it's at least an easy fix. If it was the canvas, then I would of been pissed.
    Did some urban camping over the Canadian Thanksgiving long weekend, and probably the last actual use of the season and stayed at a friends place to be able to get some good progress on their haunted house over the weekend. Friday night was a comfortable 12°C, Saturday night was a cool 7° but still very comfortable with some extra blankets and closed up the windows a bit more. Sunday night dropped to 1°, so we used the extension to run a small ceramic heater. It was on the minimum setting and was just perfect, but even better was the total lack of any condensation. It makes me really anxious to put in a heater as the next big mod to the trailer/camping setup since it'll truly extended the seasonal use, and even get some winter camping in. Ya, we could get a warm sleeping bag, but it's not fun to get out of and get dressed, and I do enough of that with the army, I don't need to reproduce or experience that any more then I have to.
    And also, the front stabilizer legs worked like a charm, especially to only have them up front for the moment. I'm looking forward to making and having them in the rear!
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  12. Nd4SpdSe

    Nd4SpdSe First Fill-Up (of many)

    Messages:
    286
    Location:
    Quebec, QC
    Well time for a bit of an update, but I've been extremely busy working on, then dismantling, a haunted house, so now I can get back into my stuff. On Friday I pinned up the trailer for the last time to bring her to get stored for the winter. This year she'll be inside another garage that the mother-in-law has access too, so I don't need to remove the RTT and awning and unpack the trailer, and even better, it's got power, so I hooked up the charger and the batteries will stay topped up all winter.

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    Along the way, I figured it was time to get it weighed, to stopped at a scale station that was en route. Truck with trailer: [​IMG] Just the truck: [​IMG]

    Which calculates the trailer at 1100kg, or 2560lbs, but also means the truck is also 500lbs over GVWR as she lies!
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2016
  13. Prime

    Prime Some Kind of In Charge? Admin

    Messages:
    30,440
    Location:
    Suffolk, VA
    Damn. I love your trailer.
     
  14. Nd4SpdSe

    Nd4SpdSe First Fill-Up (of many)

    Messages:
    286
    Location:
    Quebec, QC
    And Happy 2017 To All! And a few updates to be had for the new year!
    Coming back from picking up my parents new car (thanks to a drunk driver for scrapping their Civic, thank god my dad only had a mild case of whiplash), my dad wanted to stop by the new Princess Auto in St Catharines. It opened up since I've last been down, and it's very much closer then the one in Hamilton. The main reason for stopping there will be talked about further below, but going through the aisles, I saw the military water jugs that I always wanted for the trailer, and then I notice the price and think, they're normally way more expensive then this...so I tell my dad, and pick 2 up. At the cash, they came up their "regular" price and we told her it was incorrect, so the cashier asks me to go take a picture of the tag on the shelf with my phone, and indeed, we got them at the marked price of $18.99 as opposed to their $44.99 (or was it $49.99), and man was I happy and to of had the 2 in my cart!
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    But the main reason why stopped by is that I had asked my dad, being a retired Millwright, was to piece me out an emergency car battery stick welding kit for Christmas, which in the end he considers it my birthday present since I'm not around in February
    For those that have been following the build, part of the plan and design of the trailer is to have it equipped with a total of 3 batteries. Most of the reason is to have plenty of reserve power and not need to be regularly charged by the tow vehicle, and while it is equipped with a charger, shore power is usually not available, and I'm not yet equipped with solar panels. The other major reason for specifically having 3 batteries is for emergency welding for repairs. While I have heard and seen videos of it being done with 2 batteries, when I seen it done in person at a friend's place for the first time, it wasn't all that effective, and we actually took a battery from my Xterra to bump the voltage up to 36 volts with much improvement.
    When he was at school was specifically told to never do this, had never seen it done before, so was curious to give this a shot before I left back to Quebec with it.
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    The sticks we picked up some 6011 3/32 rods and my dad wanted to try it at first at 24 volts. This proved to not be very effective and was only good for small quick tacks, however bumping up to 3 batteries at 36 volts, it would actually burn holes straight through the metal. I actually watched on a few occasions the rod having a flame on it for it's entire length. Changing the polarity didn't see to make much of a difference, and despite the box of the rods saying otherwise, we found it worked better with negative ground connection. The picture showing the results of these welds is the one where they're not very pretty.
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    My dad at this point was very impressed at the power behind this setup, but realised the 3/32 rods were too small for the job. He by chance had an old stainless steel 1/8 welding rod in his old work toolbox. Despite its age, it worked astonishingly well and confirmed that 1/8" rods were the way to go. He also suggested to go to a 7011 rod, but wasn't opposed to carrying some 1/8 stainless rods for a slag-free weld.
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    While I do have my Lincoln 220v MIG, and access to an actual stick welder, this kit was put together for the main and really, sole purpose, for trail and trip fixes. While there are welders specifically for this purpose, like the known Ready Welder, this is pieced together for a fraction of the price. While the trailer is still missing 1 battery, I could easily grab one from the Xterra, and also that the batteries in the trailer aren't easily accessible, but details to be worked on in time.
     
  15. emtmark

    emtmark Wheeling

    Messages:
    418
    Location:
    San Fransisco Bay aRea
    That is a steal and a half


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  16. Nd4SpdSe

    Nd4SpdSe First Fill-Up (of many)

    Messages:
    286
    Location:
    Quebec, QC
    I guess I'm due for an actual update, but not much as happened, and with good reason. In the winter, the trailer gets stored away so I can't really work on her, but I've acquired a few things, like the Paha Que Drain Capture Floor. I happened to of looked it up again on Amazon.ca for a member from EP, and found one listed for C$25! Shipping I think was less then $10, so I jumped on that and got it for C$35 to my door, as opposed to the $50USD(C$66)+international ship or the C$72+ship off of Amazon Canada, so I got a heck of a deal! That I really like about it is not only is that collapsible, but also, it's got a connexion for a hose to drain the water away.

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    Secondly, I ended up taking out the trailer a bit early this year. Not for camping, but was ask for a photoshoot to show off the capabilities of the multi-axis (TSC/Max) coupler we had gotten made. The fabricator who made it for us asked for someone to help us to demo for an article. I was the only one in the area with a trailer (completed) and gladly volunteered. The few of us that got it started in the "group buy" are being used as testers for faults, while he's been working on getting them certified and road legal for Canada. So far interest seems to be huge and the process is going. If you want to see the article, here's the link, but be warned, it's in French, so your favorite online translator may be needed ;)

    http://www.4x4setupmagazine.com/archives/24481

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    And third, I've been saving up over the last several months for the next big part purchase for the trailer and picked that up last week. I've been wanting a good heating system for the trailer to extent the camping season, and maybe even do some winter camping. Although I've looked at all the other options, it's been an idea from the get-go with the concept of the trailer itself and to use the integrated 75L (20US GAL) fuel tank and went with a gasoline Wabasto Air Top 2000 heater! I did contemplate other options, but other then the price, there's really no downfall going this route for efficiency and safety, and on a tank of fuel, I can heat for 30 days for 8 hours a night on HIGH from the specifications. The more limiting issue would be 12v power for the fan and pump, drawing between 1.2 and 2.5 amps (14-29 watts), which (in theory) would give me 3-4 nights of constant use, pending battery capacity and efficiency (especially in cold weather), but I do have plans to add a second battery to that bank, and also could EASILLY be compensated with a basic solar setup, which is part of the future plans for the trailer. I've already got the 8A charger for shore power. I plan to install that over the summer and hopefully test it out this fall, and maybe this winter? I need to open up the trailer and take measurements to see where I want to put it, and I also need to figure out the ducting and make the setup as fast and easy as possible, and I don't want to melt the tent either, but I've already got a few ideas. However before I do the install, I found out over the weekend that there's a muffler and intake silencer you can get for it, which according to the YouTube videos I watched, makes a HUGE difference in the sound, so I'll pick those up before I start the install, which are fortunately quite inexpensive, as well as the external temperature sensor for the heater to get the temperature from inside the tent and not use the sensor inside the unit itself. There's very little information on the use and installation in these for use for an RTT, and I was surprised I couldn't find much more info for an RTT and the propane Propex heater, which would be a similar setup and was hoping to find good ideas, but not so much. This means I'll be taking extra care to document this, and I might go to the point of even making videos in regards to this process. But I look forward to installing and testing this for sure!

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    And the fourth and finale point for the update, and the main reason why there's been very little progress or news on the trailer is that we've been spending the last 3-4 months house shopping, for our first house! Also, here in Quebec, being in apartment, our rent agreement expires July 1st, as does EVERYONE else in the province. With that, we had to sign that we're not renewing our apartment, back in February, so we were ok until someone rented out our apartment, which did happen back in April, so the pressure was on to not be "homeless" or just move to another place temporarily while we search, since no way could I pay for an apartment and a house at the same time. Especially here in Quebec, we're not allowed to break rental agreements (except in very specific circumstances) no matter the amount of notice, so couldn't risk being stuck with a vacant apartment for who knows how many months. The good news is that we did find one, and we get the keys Friday! It's not big, but just right in size I would like to think, and it's not perfect, but it's super clean and solid and needs just updating, but it's not badly out of date either, so we can take our time. It does have a garage, but narrow and long (12ft x 32ft) with a gravel floor that's on the property line. It might have 220v, but the previous owner (of 10 years) doesn't know (like many things) with it's fuse box. Not a big deal, cause for the price, and we have enough room to build a new garage around 60m2 (645ft2 so about 20ftx30ft), but I'm trying to figure out it's dimensions without eating too much of a bad yard if I want to be able to put 2 cars in, but have room in front of the vehicles for working on them, cause 20ft deep would be ok, unless one day I end up going full size...so since we've got our apartment until July 1st, the next month is painting and cleaning and doing some quick renovations that we can and slowly move our stuff from one play to the other. Come July, I want to start concentrating back on my stuff, working on the truck and trailer to get them ready for a trip down to Ontario in August. Regardless, the searching and researching on the houses for information, and then all the paperwork and appointments for the offer and the legal deadlines for each step. I wasn't expecting it to be so much, and especially that pretty much EVERY step didn't go right. The part that we were really frustrated us was the stuff that we didn't know the time some took and the deadlines that some steps had that no one told us until time was of the essence, and then we're told this like we should of known! I'd like to say I'm not stupid, but man, I don't know what I don't know, and I HATE it when people talk to me about stuff like I should of known all the time, when I had absolutely have no clue, idea or direction.

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    So with the house, I'd like to say, having my very own space (finally! yes!), I can work on my stuff easier and more often and be able to take more time and care in what I do, and no more running around and trying to do quick jobs on the weekends only at the mother-in-laws, and it means I can do more serious work during the week, and especially steps where stuff like paint needs to dry. Man I'm nervous for this as much as I am excited! I think that's mostly it for updates for now.
     
  17. Prime

    Prime Some Kind of In Charge? Admin

    Messages:
    30,440
    Location:
    Suffolk, VA
    Congratulations on the house!

    Good to hear from you. This trailer build is far and away one of my favorites. And it keeps getting better.
     
  18. Nd4SpdSe

    Nd4SpdSe First Fill-Up (of many)

    Messages:
    286
    Location:
    Quebec, QC
    Thanks!




    And wow, thanks again! It's been a bit slow going, but I'm putting along the best I can. I want to do it *exactly* how I want it. I know the Wabasto (and especially for it's price) stirs up different opinions. Many just say to get a better sleeping bag since it's much cheaper, but I don't want to deal with that anymore. I've done it enough, especially in the army. I've slept in a real igloo a -40 and was quite comfortable in my army-issued double-sleeping bag, but it's not a restful sleep, nor if it fun waking up and getting dressed (it's best to sleep with as little clothes as possible) and packed. If you got cold or the chills, getting heat back into your body isn't easy. I'm done with that, or maybe I'm getting old, but I value and want great nights rest. And what I do, I don't let others dictate if they agree or not, but not to say that I won't take into account their considerations, cause I could definitely be wrong or at fault.

    Indeed, I don't post much on here, but I send to search a lot. Most of the info is out there, just have to look, but if it's not, I'm on my own anyway, lol.
     
  19. J Everett

    J Everett Suspension Lift Supporting Member Founding Member

    Messages:
    2,601
    Location:
    Houma, LA
    Dude. I want to build a Frontrailer of my own so badly. Thanks for documenting so much of your build and adventures with this trailer. :)
     
  20. SAKS

    SAKS Wheeling Founding Member

    Messages:
    474
    Location:
    Mars
    What a super nice setup , great job
     
  21. Nd4SpdSe

    Nd4SpdSe First Fill-Up (of many)

    Messages:
    286
    Location:
    Quebec, QC
    Thanks, I'm glad you're enjoy it!

    Well a few months later, we've moved into the house and starting renovating. During that time, the Xterra worked hard towing trailer and moving our stuff, and also carried a few pouches of cement for some of the basement renovations

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    Only 30 bags/1980lbs of it!
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    so work on the vehicles had stopped pretty up until August, when I needed to take time to get some things fixed on the Xterra; replacing the center link bushings, some tie rods and the idler arm, along with an alignment and an AC recharge since I haven't refilled it since I emptied the system when I made up a new lower rad support 2 years ago. The reason for all this? A trip down to Niagara with the girlfriend, her sister and her cousin in the truck, and her sister's boyfriend following by bike. They wanted to visit Niagara less as tourists, but also be able to take it easy. At the same time, we had planned to rent a U-Haul trailer to bring back some stuff from my parents place, including my tool box! That being said, it meant I had to leave the Frontrailer behind to be able to come back with another trailer, so the Xterra got decked out in Expedition Mode and got the tent back, and would be the first time using the awning on the Xterra as well, AND the first time using the floor for the awning.

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    Before leaving, I had to squeeze in some time to (finally) install those Darche Super Flex awning hinges. The Rhino Rack temporary hinge setup while works, wouldn't allow me to install the walls because they'll that much wider and throws off the dimensions of the awning.

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    And inside the awning, my girlfriend's sister, boyfriend and their cousin would sleep.

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    And the truck doing it's job, brining along the U-Haul for the 1000km trip back to Quebec. Man, Ontario weather was so much nicer and warmer....I'll always miss it...

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  22. Nd4SpdSe

    Nd4SpdSe First Fill-Up (of many)

    Messages:
    286
    Location:
    Quebec, QC
    And now you were wondering, sure that's all fine and dandy, but not much news on the trailer itself....Which I didn't get a chance to finish my post from yesterday, so here we continue!

    With the hinges replaced and the awning properly fixed. I decided to start replacing the zip ties that I used to affix the LED strips and do like I did in the RTT and go the way of shrink wrap. Not only for a cleaner look, but it would secure the strips WAY better since adhesive since the 2-sided adhesive doesn't handle the location or the curved surface well. Although they haven't yet, I also don't want to take any chances and have the zip ties wear the awning.
    [​IMG]

    I also dropped the fuel tank to start working on the install of the Wabasto heater. Water had gotten in and I suspect that the tank was even properly sealed, so I drained the tank of it's various color of liquids; from some thick Orange at the bottom, to milky white in the middle, to the orange-colored fuel floating on top. I also found a few rags that I had apparently forgotten in the tank....

    Once emptied of everything that's not suppose to be in there, I poured in a jug of SuperClean. I and swashed and rubbed around the tank with the pure solution, and slowly added water to clean higher up and let it sit and soak while I could work on other things. Thanks to an old acquaintance, Aaron Cake on his '76 Mazda Rx-5 build YouTube videos (http://www.aaroncake.net/). I got that trick from his video of him restoring the original fuel tank from that car. From there, there was some light rust at the bottom of the tank, so the next step? Throw in a jug of CLR and let it sit and work, slosh it around and slowly add water and repeat while I, again, worked on other stuff.

    I drilled in the fuel pick up for the Wabasto. While their instructions are to have the pick up above the last 1/4 of the tank to not train it try. This is however, not in a vehicle and don't have to worry about being left stranded from an empty tank, so down to the bottom it goes! Once that was done, I resealed up the tank, and I'd like to say much better then before. The product seems better this time round too.
    [​IMG]
    From there, the fuel tank got put back in.

    And finally, I've started working on the Wabasto install itself!
    [​IMG]
    I've decided to document this install by video, seeing if I can get more detail on why and how. I think it's because I've been looking and researching Wabasto's on YouTube, and there's not really that much out there, and many are quite a few years old.
    Also there's maybe one instance I can find of someone using a Wabasto to heat an RTT (here: https://www.devon4x4.com/static/wor...-creature-comforts-build/tent-heating-system/), so I'd like to give more details on this type of setup, and if it's a viable RTT heating solution.

    As you can see, I've decided to encompass the heater in a toolbox to project itself and the trailer, in case. While working on the install, the toolbox has started to look like Swiss cheese, and I'll probably get another once I get the install finalized. Being my first Wabasto install, and no real precedence on how to install this for my setup, I've made a few mistakes and adjustments as I go. As of how, I've got the fuel pump and fuel line ran, and the intake and exhaust holes done, but will secure them later on because of how often I've been taking the unit in and out of the trailer. I do still want to get the intake silencer and exhaust muffler to quiet it down, but I'd like to hear before and after. Power is ran but not connected. I decided that I'll be putting in a manual power off on the toolbox since there isn't one except by the thermostat, and I don't want it to accidentally come on. I also need a project box to house the thermostat in something. It's suppose to be installed on a wall or a dash or something fixed. Because this is going into a RTT, it can't be, and there's no way to install it this way if I want to control the temperature while inside the tent. I also want to pick up the external temperature sensor and run it along with it and also install it inside the box to read the temperature inside the tent, as opposed to the temperature by the sensor at the unit itself. I also need more air intake tubing to reach the RTT. So in brief, what's next on the Wabasto install:
    - Connect the harness to 12v fuse block
    - Connect the harness to a manual power switch
    - Modify the toolbox to run the ducting
    - Connect the ducting: Need more ducting (local), and need some couplers (ordered)
    - Buy Thermoduct insulation (ordered) to project the RTT from the heat from the hot-side duct running inside.
    - Buy project box to, and install thermostat and external temperature sensor (local)

    I'm hoping to have this running to give it a test on the Labour Day Long Weekend
     
  23. Nd4SpdSe

    Nd4SpdSe First Fill-Up (of many)

    Messages:
    286
    Location:
    Quebec, QC
    Been doing what I can throughout the week, but as she sits, she's finally ready to get installed and tested!

    Since the last update:
    - I've shortened the legs I made by 2 inches. I figured it may be too high for when the top on the trailer closes down, especially to make room for the canvas
    - My package from HEATSO came in with my 60mm couplers
    - Went to the place I bought the Wabasto get more 60mm ducting (Was the better price), but also a 15ft temperature probe to have the temperature read from inside the tent as opposed to using the sensor inside the heater.
    - Picked up a project box and mounted the temperature control box into it, and drilled some holes for the temperature sensor, which is also packaged inside the box.
    - Ran the temp probe wire inside the loom for the temp control and taped that all that back up.
    - Mounted a master power switch as a safety precaution so that the unit doesn't turn on accidentally
    - Made up a wiring harness to be able to easily disconnect and dismount the unit if need be, because I like things serviceable. Using a XT60 connector to connect to the main power harness that will run to the battery.

    And to put the unit more into perspective. Air intake side is on the left, and the hot air comes out on the right.

    Unit Open:
    [​IMG]

    Unit Closed for Use:
    [​IMG]

    Unit Closed for Travel/Storage
    [​IMG]

    Just to mention, the wire hanging out on the underside runs to the fuel pump, which needs to be as close to the tank as possible.

    In case you were wondering why I did this inside a tool box? While there are Wabasto (external) mounting boxes, they start for almost C$200! This toolbox costs me C$40, and it also gives me easy access and regular access inside the box. And ironically, if I was worried it was too small for the heater, the one that HEATSO sells for C$160 is actually a few inches smaller in (15" vs 19" long, and 5"x6" as opposed to 7"x7"), so should have absolutely no problem with it being enclosed inside the toolbox.

    At this point, although I want to run a piece of ducting for the intake side that can recirculate air from inside the tent if need be, and plan to make an access hole on the front of the trailer bed for this, but it's not immediately required since it's not THAT cold, not yet anyway. On that note, I also spoke with a tech over a Wabasto (called in regards to intake tubing length) and they say it's better for the unit to get outside air and have to work harder to heat up the air since it promotes a cleaner combustion. And I'm just anxious to get this thing fired up and tested!

    What's left? I need to solder on the opposing XT60 connector to the wiring harness that runs to the battery, which I've already done, and connect said wire to the battery. From there it's all easy stuff; bolt the heater back down into the trailer, connect combustion intake and exhaust, connect the fuel pump, throw in a few liters of fuel into the tank and I can fire it up! I'll have to make a run with my small lawnmower jerry can for fuel since the trailers tank is literally bone dry from cleaning it out, however I should be ok since, as opposed to a regular installation, the fuel pick up is directly on the tank bottom. And also fortunately, they're not calling for any rain until overnight and tomorrow, so everything is aligned to fire this puppy up tonight!
     
  24. Nd4SpdSe

    Nd4SpdSe First Fill-Up (of many)

    Messages:
    286
    Location:
    Quebec, QC
    So this past week I worked to get it installed and working, with the heater bolted down and secured to the trailer.
    [​IMG]

    From there it was to get it going. To be honest, the first time I had a hard time, which was probably in most part of having no experience with one and what it's suppose to do or not do; that the fuel pump doesn't run often, and don't expect it to turn on and run all the time like a regular automotivel pump. Also the slow start it does is completely normal. For a while I was thinking I was chasing a power problem, cause for a few times, it did start up right away at high fan speed, so I thought something was wrong. The only thing I think I did that helped was to prime the system with fuel. The fuel lines being empty and not hearing the pump made me worry it wasn't working. I did some reading online and someone had a trick to use a syringe to slowly send fuel to the heater when you turn it on. I cheated, and jammed fuel down the line in bursts using the OEM fuel pump inside the Frontier's original tank. I also found out that after a few failed attempts, or improper shutting down, it'll lock itself out (code of 15 flashes). The procedure to unlock it was as follows:
    1. Using switch (temp control dial), turn heater on
    2. Remove the main power connection to heater from battery or pull fuse for a minimum of 20 seconds. (which is where my master power switch comes in handy)
    3. Using switch (temp control dial), turn the heater off.
    4. Reinstall main heater power connection where previously disconnected. (turn master switch back on)

    After she got her first fire up, she's firing up every time since with no problem! I just laugh now that my truck bed trailer had a functioning exhaust now...hahaha!

    And with no time to spare tidying everything back up and putting the front of the trailer back together before packing it up and heading for a night of camping with some friends. Normally I go to Adventure Weekend with my friends from the Nissan club back in Ontario for a weekend of camping and off-roading, but it's just too far and too much money at the moment since we're in renovations mode to get what we can get done before winter hits, and while I have the help since my mother-in-laws boyfriend has been a HUGE help with the work, but he's got to get surgery for a torn muscle in his shoulder this fall. Once that happens, he's out of commission for a few months, so we gotta pump along in renovation mode as best we can, was much as I wanted to wait to do inside work over the winter, and we've also got the haunted house construction starting very soon as well. Oh the next few months will just add to the last several months of craziness...

    And back on subject. While it was just a one night camp, but it was still a great time with friends and to take some (much needed) downtime. It also happened to be one of the coolest nights, a perfect time to test the heater! Down to a (abnormally, but so has been the entire summer) cool 6*C/42*F. Not too cold to freeze our butts if the heater doesn't do it's job, but cool enough to give it a proper test and not throw any extra blankets on.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The results? It worked wonderful! What I found interesting is that the heater, although the thermostat was set to about half, didn't work hard at all, turned on and off as it needed be. I was actually surprised that I was expecting much more temperature fluctuation. We did have a small 2" opening on each of the side windows. The fan speed seems to of mostly to of ran around it's slowest speeds. I'm guessing that it will work harder depending how cold it is outside and how hot you want it inside. It does seem to be a very smart unit, and I'm going to say that if it's colder out and put the thermostat at the same setting, it'll compensate, where the control is to set the actual temperature, rather then how hot and how hard you want it to work. Remember too that I have the external temperature probe wired in and mounted with the thermostat as a remote control box. If it wasn't, it would use the built-in sensor of the heater. Handy if it's installed inside a camper or vehicle, but not when mounted externally, exposed solely to the outside temperature.

    Now, we do sleep using regular bed blankets. While there is always the argument to just get a better sleeping bag (I have slept well in an igloo at -50 with my army sleeping bag), we're much more comfortable and sleep in more natural positions this way. With this setup, it also means there is no condensation inside the tent and we can also get dressed in warmth and in warm clothes. One thing we weren't expecting is when we (both) had to get up and pee in the early morning hours. Despite on how cool it was, it wasn't bad and didn't really feel it. It was almost like our bodies retained much of it's energy and heat. Maybe it's also a mental trick, knowing we have a warm, dry tent to climb back into. Hard to say, but so far, I really, really love it!

    While I'm still working on some of the details of the install, I do want to be able to run it with the tailgate closed for reasons of weather/animals/thieves. Mind you, I didn't think it was going to be a problem, but trying to find a 60mm duct 90 degree elbow is proving to be a challenge, and the ducting itself doesn't have enough flex to do what I need it to do easily, but I could force it to close the tailgate. I find a few options on the net, 1-2 from overseas with crazy shipping prices. I can find some options on McMaster-Carr, but I'll need to measure the proper ID of the duct to see what will work.
     
  25. Prime

    Prime Some Kind of In Charge? Admin

    Messages:
    30,440
    Location:
    Suffolk, VA
    Dude. I love your setup. hot damn.
     
  26. Nd4SpdSe

    Nd4SpdSe First Fill-Up (of many)

    Messages:
    286
    Location:
    Quebec, QC
    From you, I'll definitely take that compliment! Haha

    Small, but necessary progress this weekend, but more on the RTT then the trailer. The weather has been gorgeous the last week, getting the summer weather we didn't get when it was actually summer. So in between working on some passageways we're building for the haunted house, I wanted to replace the ageing straps on the RTT before we use it again in a few weeks. There's a few threads around Expedition Portal on this topic, and there's a few that posted using back pack straps. Well I don't like to order off the new when I'm doing custom stuff, cause it's always hard to gauge if it'll work for me or not just by a picture on the net, so Saturday morning, we did some errands, and stopped in at SAIL, which is a huge outdoor store. After going in and asking a rep, the only straps they had where those Coghlans cheap plastic clips. Not really believing him (although he was right) I decided to walk around to see if I could spot something that could give me any ideas. Well, right beside the back pack section was a wall of dog collars, and I spot these green large dog quick release ones, and I'm like, I like this idea better! Not the cheapest solution, but to do a proper fix on an RTT which isn't cheap in itself, and I wanted to get this fixed before the original straps tear the tent, or cause stress and force me to prematurely replace the cover on the RTT. With the added memory foam topper, plus pillows and blankets we keep in there, it does need come compression to close it properly, and the Velcro isn't up to the job anymore. The tent is just over 9 years old, and still in great shape, but some thing will understandably wear over time.

    So here's the said dog collars:
    [​IMG]

    And you can see the original strap having a hard time doing it's job. It's time for retirement buddy!
    [​IMG]

    One dog collar to be modified
    [​IMG]

    First thing, taking off the sewed on tags.
    [​IMG]

    And chopping off one of the plastic binders to open it up
    [​IMG]

    For the top strap, cutting it off at about the 5 inch mark
    [​IMG]

    Melting the ends with a BBQ lighter so it doesn't fray over time
    [​IMG]

    Since my version of my RTT doesn't have riveted or screwed in straps, time to make some up!
    [​IMG]

    Predrilling the holes and then using some self-drilling screws. I'll probably switch to stainless machine screws, but when I first tried, they were snapping. Now that they've been threaded, I'll see if I can swap them out for the stainless without issues.
    [​IMG]

    And a comparison on the Velcro strap (which wasn't touched or adjusted from it's picture above), to the new dog collar which allows me to give it a good tug of compression. I like it! And it makes putting the RTT cover back on so much easier!
    [​IMG]

    After relooking up some of the said threads, I think I may need to switch how the straps loop around the front of the aluminum plate first; have it pass in front instead of behind, but no big deal. I did keep the metal loop that was part of it in case I want to hand stuff from it for whatever reason, and I'll eventually remove the dog face off the buckle, but I will say, it's very, very nice to use!
     
  27. Nd4SpdSe

    Nd4SpdSe First Fill-Up (of many)

    Messages:
    286
    Location:
    Quebec, QC
    Also to add, with temperatures dropping to 0*C (32*F) overnight Friday, our coldest yet, I wanted to give the tent and heater a try. Last time we were at 6*C (43*F) with great success, so I want to progressively try colder, especially in controlled environments where we can jump back into our bed in the house in case it doesn't go as planned. We ironically slept in the tent again Saturday night. The girlfriend's 2nd cousin was coming up to help her with the paper maché walls and she lives 2 hours away, so we offered her our bed (since the rest of the house is a renovation mess) while we slept for a 2nd consecutive night in the tent. That night they were calling for a hair warmer a 1*C (34*F), so another good night to test it. To mention, these are unseasonably low temps. Right now overnight we're more into the 10-12*C overnight for the next several days, so was good timing on the cool weather for anther test.

    [​IMG]

    We actually slept with the windows open as pictured Part was to test it's capacity, the other was to bring in cooler air. In theory, this would make the heater run constantly rather then cycle, so should make for a more even temperature. Friday night, I had set the temp just under half and it was working in cycles. Sometime in the early morning, I found it was getting a bit chilly in between cycles so I turned it up what I thought was just a bit, but it actually started to get a too warm, but by this point I decided to get up.

    During the evening, after the sun went down, as I was working on the wiring on the tailgate of the truck. I was under the awning and I had put the sides on. It was starting to get cold, so I turned on the heater since it's *right there* and directed the heat to where I was working. It actually worked very nice locally, but has hoped that it would of warmed the awning area better. It was comfortable, but I'm sure the 2 halogen work lamps I had going contributed to the heat as well. What doesn't help is the hole under the tailgate from opening the access of the awning, as well, technically the awning needs to be shifted a good foot outward, so there's a large opening on the right side. I still need to work on rectifying that, making a way to extend the awning mounting base out from the trailer more when deploying (with sides), but tuck it in for travel. We'll be using this area as a rest area and a place to prep food for the group while we're working on the haunted house, so I'll see if I can find a solution for this. The current idea is 2-3 scissor jacks.

    Saturday going to bed, I set the temperature just over half. I always preheat the tent on max to warm up the sheets and get any humidity out. This time I set the temperature to just over half. At this setting, she ran constant all night at a very comfortable temperature. What was interesting was in the morning, when the sun came out and it started to get warmer, you can tell the Wabasto was turning itself down. I kind of noticed since I have a hard time sleeping past 7am (I get up a 6 during the week). By around 8 she was barely cycling on, and I was up and out of bed before 8:30.

    So far I'm still extremely happy with it, to be able to sleep in literally freezing weather and stay warm and toasty, and Wabasto not even working hard as far as I know, and I'm grabbing fresh outside air and not recycling preheated air either yet, which is another detail I need to figure out, when the time comes and I find the temperature limit in it's current configuration. Hoping to get some -5*C or below for the next test. As next, we'll be setting it up and doing some urban camping on site for working on the haunted house this coming Canadian Thanksgiving long weekend, which is forecasted to be between 11 and 14*C during the nights over the weekend.
     

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