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Starting a Rebuild

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#1 jaru

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Posted 04 September 2004 - 04:17 AM

Hi all. I picked up my 1982 Casita in Burleson Tx and traveled to Houston, then back to Pennsylvania with no problems at all. It pulled beautifully behind my Honda Element at all speeds. Truckers even gave me thumbs up several times as I passed them. I did not camp in it, because the table bed board kept falling to the floor, and I didn't want that in the middle of the night. I did buy a Prodigy brake controler and added a single stablizer bar on the hitch.
Now I am home and find that what I bought has really been jerryrigged and not what I could live with. Also, I thought the whole concept of the little "egg" was they could be pulled by anything.
1) With that in mind I have decided to completely dismantle the Casita to bare shell, and replace the undercarriage with an all aluminum frame and axel with aluminum rims. this should pickup at least 500 lbs.
2) The previous owner just put in new carpeting, but the kind with no insulation behind it. From what I have read on the forums for these trailers, that is a mildew catstropy in the making. so, out it comes with the real thing to be reinstalled.
3) Will take out the flooring and add a layer of new fiberglass before putting in the new sheet aluminum floor. This will be covered with overlayment and then Pergo.
4) I intend to go total electric with two Honda 2000 gen sets banked on the tongue. I may have a battery bank on the rear of the trailer, but have not decided for sure yet. Really don't see the need of it, if I want to keep the weight down.
5) Will purchase new interior petitions from Casita for the 16' Spirit floor plan.
6) Will build up the strength of the roof for a rooftop AC/Heat unit and relocate my Fantastic fan forward.
7) Will build in fresh water special built tanks in the undercarriage along with grey water/black water. This will have freeze protection.
8) Build in wiring/piping channels in the undercarriage to keep all of the storage areas free inside the trailer.
9) New custom paint on Casita to make it a real "Casita Grande".
10) Install new porcelain potty in shower.
11) Add many of the inovations found on these Casita forums.

Okay, I would like all the comments and suggestions that you can offer. And will keep you informed as I proceed. <_<

#2 bmtvaquero

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Posted 04 September 2004 - 05:28 AM

Cool. Kind of like "This Old House". Give a call to Norm Abram and maybe he'll send a TV crew over there. In any case, take lot's of video and still photos before, during, and after.

That's a big project you're taking on but I'm sure you'll get loads of enjoyment and fulfillment out of it. And, that's the general idea of Casita ownership, isn't it?

Good luck! <_<
"Keep the shiny side up"

#3 Hondo

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Posted 04 September 2004 - 06:31 AM

C <_< ould you post pictures as you move along, would be interesting to watch!


#4 jgreene.rn

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Posted 04 September 2004 - 07:30 AM

Sounds like a plan..........

#5 ricoshea

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Posted 04 September 2004 - 10:22 AM

How do you eat an elephant? <_<

#6 sentry62

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Posted 04 September 2004 - 12:10 PM

I am impressed - and of all the OUTSTANDING improvements posted on this website - the porcelain toliet is - I think - a first. That is the picture I want to see <_<

Major Eddie Boxx USAF

#7 Carol Christensen

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Posted 04 September 2004 - 12:32 PM

Are you sure you will need two generators? There has been quite a bit of discussion about watts and such. After all, not all the appliances are running at the same time. A search on "generators" may be useful, be sure to change the date (Search Posts From) to any date. You can also search the archives. The maximum tongue wt for your Escape is only 150 lbs, and two generators will add almost 100 lbs more to what is probably an already over max. tongue wt. Also, it seems quite likely that Casita uses the marine toilet to keep the weight down. <_<

You might want to do a little more research on trailer design, weights and loads before proceeding further.
Carol Christensen
2005 17' LD Nova & 2001 Toyota 4Runner

pre-Nova was Ova-the-Rainbow 1999 17' LD (sold)

Don't believe everything you think.

#8 bmtvaquero

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Posted 04 September 2004 - 01:08 PM

Taking the two LP bottles off will allow for the generators added.......almost.
"Keep the shiny side up"

#9 Barb C

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Posted 04 September 2004 - 02:08 PM

I took a peek at your Honda Element specifications on this site:

According to their information your TV is only rated for 1,500 lbs. I would think that your Casita (dry) is over that weight. By the time you would add a new frame and all else you are talking, plus your goods needed for a weekend or longer that you will be way over your TV limit.

I dunno, we still have to pick our 2001 16' Casita SD up in Kansas in two weeks. We will be towing with a Kia Sorrento that has a weight restriction of 3,500. We considered a 17' and talked with Casita and he assured us that we would be okay but we would be right at the limit, we have decided not to do that as we don't want to tax it going through mountains. We have a large V6 4x4.

Barb & Joe
Barb & Joe, the humans
Kiva & Boomer, the Poodles
Kiva's site http://pwdohio.tripod.com/
Photos http://www.flickr.co...s/17831868@N00/
2001 16' SD The "Ova"
2004 Kia Sorento V6, 3.5 L, 3,500 tow capacity,
4.666:1 drive ratio, Prodigy brake controller, sway bar
Southwest Ohio

#10 jaru

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Posted 04 September 2004 - 03:18 PM

Actually, the older models of Casitas were much lighter than the new ones. That is one reason I believe I can really lose weight from the trailer.
First of all dry weight now on this 1982 is 1250 lbs. and tongue weight was originally 150. However it has two tanks and two batteries on the tongue. Nothing else has been added. The new undercarriage being aluminum will take off about 400 lbs overall. Then by usining the waste water and fresh water just fore and aft of the axels underneath this will take more tongue weight off. However tongue weight is the out of balance weight ideally. Of course we live with circumstances that are never ideal. But my goal is to have a fully we trailer of less than 1500 lbs and tongue weight of less than 100 lbs.
Two gen sets will allow me to be totally self-contained where-ever I want to go. I don't have to have both running but when I do I will have in excess of 4000 watts available for a/c and what ever cooking appliance I would use. We are vegans and eat a major portian of our food raw, but we do cook some of the veggies.
Bye the way the porcelain potty is made by Sealand a division of Dometic. The model I am using will be the Travel Lite. It is really nice.
Keep the comments and suggestions coming and we'll learn together.

#11 bmtvaquero

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Posted 04 September 2004 - 03:37 PM

Sounds pretty good.

How will you fuel the gens? I've seen websites that sell the setup for fueling the EU2000i off propane. I assume you'll go the gasoline route, but will you attach a larger tank, say 3 or 4 gallons?

Also, are you capable of building the chassis yourself? I know aluminum trailers are quite expensive, unless you can find a bargain on a used boat trailer and adapt it.

This Old Trailer. Go for it.
"Keep the shiny side up"

#12 jaru

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Posted 04 September 2004 - 04:05 PM

I will use gasoline for the gen sets. If I decide not to use the battery bank, I can add two 5 gallons containers on the rear extended undercarriage, one for gasoline and one for potable water. This will almost perfectly counter balance the two gen sets on the tongue.
I will have the aluminum undercarriage built. I do not have a budget setup for this project, other than not to exceed the cost of a new Casita and the cost of trading up to a larger tow vehicle. And this will not cost anywhere near that amount, and I will have a better that factor built when it is finished.
The one other factor that keeps naging me is that I am to old for this. I am 68 and retired Elec Engineer, so when I have an itch, I generally scratch. <_<

#13 tomsrig

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Posted 04 September 2004 - 04:51 PM

I thught that there was no room under the Casita since the frame rests on the bottom of the fiberglass shell. The only space left, ti seems is the distance from the steel frame to the ground. Thant means if you go over a bump or something you could damage the grey watter or whatever containers you will place underneath, no? Can you explain your idea more for placing these items underneath?

Tom and Joan
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#14 jaru

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Posted 04 September 2004 - 04:59 PM

Actually the only part of the trailer that could possibly touch the ground surface is the two opposite ends. The lowest part of the trailer to the ground is the axel housing. If the trailer has lift of 4 inches then you could easly put a special made tank on either side of the axel close in. One for waste water and one for potable water. They will need freeze protection, but that is a small price to pay to gain the extra space inside for clothing and other needs.

#15 Ron and Bernice - Florida

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Posted 04 September 2004 - 05:43 PM


If I were you, before I did anything, I would take the trailer and weigh it without the batteries and LP tanks on it. And then weigh the tongue with a bath scale. This should give you a more realistic weight to start with, I wouldn't believe any of the advertised weights.

Then add the weight of the petitions, bath fixtures, generators, battery, and LP tank that you intend to add. This should give you a total weight of the trailer minus the weight saved with the different frame. I think that you will have a surprise coming. Also check with some experts and see what a tongue weight should be in relation to the trailers total weight. I think it is close to 15%.

Please don't take this wrong because it isn't intended that way. In fact I like your ideal of an aluminum frame. Award trailers in Canada uses a cast aluminum frame with holes in it to make it even lighter. It is even tapered near the ends to cut down on weight. But I have no ideal on how much weight would be saved.

Let us know how much it weights before you start.