56 Spartan Refurb

Our adventure of refurbishing our 1956 Spartan Manor into our getaway retreat in the mountains of Bryson City NC

Location: Fair Play, SC, United States

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Restoration, Refurbishment, or Remodeling

I mentioned that I wanted to take a moment and clarify my position of three words. I learned about the differences in these three words while listening to the Vintage Airstream Podcast,#12


The panel of pros and guest Fred Coldwell really helped me see the differences and the subtly between the words. So my position is as follows:

  • Restoration = This is when you use only the products that were available at the time the trailer is built and only use authentic parts or appliances when replacing or repairing the trailer. This is rarely practical unless you are planning to only use the trailer as a museum piece.
  • Refurbishment = This is when you update systems to meet todays standards. This includes electrical, plumbing and appliances. This often is the only practical way to use the trailer as it was intended and that is for camping. A great example is what is called gray water. This is water that drains from a sink or other type fixture but not the toilet. In the early days of camping pre 1975,gray water was allowed to be dumped directly to the ground. Storage tanks for gray water were not necessary. Today the gray water can only be dumped in designated areas of a camp ground. So if you want to use your sink to wash dishes you most modify your trailer to capture the gray water so it can be dumped in a designated dump station..
  • Remodeling = Fred called this modernization but I feel that is misleading. It is not like refurbishment at all. Instead you gut the trailer to only the shell and the floor. Than completely redesign the trailer to meet your personal needs. I have seen vintage trailers used as makeup trailers and offices for individuals that work at various job sites. This means that the trailer is most likely not being used for camping its original purpose.

I hope this was not to confusing and helpful for anyone considering this type of project.

Stripped and ready for action

Today's update is not as sexy as it sounds. I have stripped the interior so we could evaluate the structural condition of the Shasta. As expected we found issues in the front corners with some floor damage to the left side as you face front.

The fresh water tank was located in this spot but was removed at some point leaving an exposed hole in the floor. I will need to remove the damaged area but it looks like we can replace about a 3X8 section of floor and clean all the damage up. The sub floor will need patching but I can not tell how much until I remove the floor and the skin panel up front.

Other areas of concern are the back corners and under the rear window. I include a shot of the cabinets and stove area to show what the carcass of the cabinets.Before Stripped
It is amazing to me how RV's are always concerned with weight but not wanting to sacrifice strength. When we start the design phase it is important to keep that in mind as we move forward. Tonight I will summarize the design phase and the basic questions that need to be answered when refurbishing a vintage trailer. We will probably also briefly cover the differences between a restoration, a refurbishment, and a remodel.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Shasta clean out

Spent the day doing some cleaning and removing all of the drawers from the shasta. Found an interesting book on the refrigerator, that is missing from the trailer, in one of the drawers. Found some more water damage in the front corners under the dinette seats.
I did not have my camera with me so no pictures tonight but I will catch up Tuesday when I get a chance to work on the shasta again.

I think we may build one of those metal canopy like garages to put the camper in while I remove the skins to do the structural wood repairs. That would make life much easier and allow us to use it as a garage when we are not doing restoration work. TTFN

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A plan of action

While I know that this is being published into a vaccum; our life is not that interesting. I will continue to journal the experience. I am posting a plan of action so that I give the impression that I am as serious about this project as I am. The Shasta is a test bed to see if Holly and I want to buy old vintage trailers fix them up and resell them. I doubt we will sell this one but if we get good feedback on the finished project then we will see what we can do in the future.
So here is the official Shasta plan of action

Remove hooks, fasteners, window treatment hardware, cushions, and any other items that are fastened to the walls or cabinetry.
Remove drawers and cabinet doors.
Remove all appliances
Stove/cook top
Electrical system
Tape outside outlet with warning label
Set circuit breakers to off and label them locked
Remove light fixtures; label fixtures and wires accordingly
Water System
Tape outside outlet with warning label
Drain water system
Disconnect and remove water pump
Drain water tank and remove if possible
Remove water fixtures label lines accordingly
Propane system
Disconnect and remove propane tanks
Remove the propane tank platform
Photograph and sketch the current propane line layout
Remove lines, label routing as necessary
Remove as many interior lines, label routing as necessary
Remove propane fixtures not already uninstalled.
Store all fittings lines and hardware, in a dry area, to facilitate the remaking of the system
Design Phase

If I can find a way to keep the water of the trailer while I am at work I will remove the skins and start the replacement of water damaged supports and panels other wise it will have to wait for spring break or summer. TTFN

Not dead just forgotten

Well it should come as no surprise that it has been a long time between posts. As usual we have run into delays and diversions. We bought a small house on two acres in south carolina and spent last sumer clearing the orchard and fixing the house. We love the house the orchard and the area and have decided to move the Spartan to South Carolina during the summer of 2008. In the mean time we bought a 1963 Shasta Airflyte that we will be restoring this spring.

So for the next few months I guess this will be the Shasta refurb blog and not the Spartan Refurb blog.