Some of you may remember my Spartan Toybox build. I needed a trailer to haul around my cars to distant shows. I converted a 1951 Royal Spartanette travel trailer into a toybox with 21 feet of garage space in the rear and an air conditioned Tiki lounge up front. I crashed it on its maiden voyage, got paid $1,000 an hour to repair it and then completed a cross-Michigan jaunt with the '55 Porsche Cabrio in the back. That was its last trip and it now sits in a warehouse gathering dust. I lost all desire to tow anything anywhere when I looked out the side window of my F-450 and saw my 35-foot trailer as it wagged the dog 4 times before the crash.
15 years later someone knocks on the door of my shop shortly after I retired. He's a very cheerful guy that had tracked me down because of my experience building and documenting the build. He had contacted the machine shop I used to rebuild the window regulators for his trailer's roll-down rear windows and they directed him to me to help him with parts. I recognized them as OEM Ford window regulators and advised the guy that I knew of repair kits and where to obtain them. He proceeded to tell me about his trailer, a 1951 Imperial Mansion, a 36-foot model similar to mine. He told me he had retired from a major local company with a dream to restore an old dilapidated home in a southern state. He thought it would be a great idea to buy an old silver trailer and turn it into a road-going RV with grey water and black water tanks. He said that after a trip to Texas he would take it to his homesite and set it up their living quarters during the restoration of their home. I thought it was a pretty cool idea.
He then brings out a spreadsheet of a detailed cost analysis and a timetable for what was going to happen when. I literally laughed out loud. I then asked if he had ever undertaken a similar task. He replied that he hadn't. I asked him if he had ever built a car, he hadn't. I asked him if his life's work had ever involve building anything, he hadn't. He worked with people, not parts. I asked him if he had ever taken a shop class. He hadn't. I shook my head. He told me that he had hired a remodeler to build the trailer and that the guy had everything under control. He didn't. Not even close. He really had no idea what he was doing.
I heard from the guy 6 months later. He asked if I had any window parts. I had plenty as I had replaced all of my windows with fixed units and eliminated the leakage problem that plagues and rots old trailers. I gave him some windows and he then asked me if I would take a look at his gutted trailer that was stashed at a local welding shop getting a new tongue. It was the worst snot welding I had ever seen and didn't mind telling him so. The hack welded on a new tongue with the lightweight chassis detached from the body resulting in a permanent twist to the frame. He had hired a guy to replace the floor of the trailer with two layers of tongue and groove, but failed to buy marine plywood and ordered particle board. Bad choice.
About a year later he comes back to me and asks if I have room to let his "remodeler" work indoors for 2-3 weeks. I was pretty sure I didn't want the inconvenience of moving vehicles around and I wasn't;t sure I wanted someone working in my building. I pondered this for a moment. I asked what he was offering and he said $300 a week for doing nothing but provide a dry place to work as everything his "remodeler" installed leaked and he had already installed new birch paneling.
I sat back and watched the guy work. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. I started to question things and then everything the guy did and found he had no idea what he was doing. He had a ton of tools and knew how they worked but knew nothing of electrical codes and methods. His plumbing work was worse. I started pointing out things that were outright mistakes and offering to come up with ideas to fix them, but they made my job more difficult by having the stripped body foamed into a solid mass forever entombing the trailer's noticeable twist. With jack-stands in place the frame is one inch above the same height jack stand on the left front. I suggested they get the foam overspray off the tires, so the owner tried to take the tires off and couldn't. They were too wide to come out. The axle had been changed at a local trailer dealer and they couldn't get them on so they undid the wheel wells and dropped them in from above. What were they thinking? The wheel wells would be covered in permanent cabinetry. I had to find a solution.
Any interest in me going on?