Bathroom Dry Rot

I have been putting off inspecting the bathroom further until today and decided to peel back some of the paneling and see what kind of dry rot issues we might have in there. At some point a previous owner had covered up water damage by laying paneling on top of the bad areas and I removed that. You can see some of the cover up panels in the photo below:

Bathroom with toilet and shower.
See the wood paneling in the corner

After removing the paneling I found LOTS of dry rot.  Making matters worse the rot isn’t just limited to the paneling – it is all the way through to the structural core of the trailer.  The wood is rotted so bad that I can literally remove with the vacuum.  I am going to have to remove all the paneling in the bathroom and check for further rot areas.

Putting Floors in the old RV

So I (Amber) decided to put in the floors since Chris was working hard on stuff nobody sees or cares about but is totally necessary and is taken for granted. You know like water pipes, flushing toilet, water tanks, wheel bearings, electrical panels, lighting etc…. Let me tell you that laying Tivoli II Peel ‘N’ Stick Vinyl Planks (in Rustic Oak) in a vintage trailer that is not perfectly straight made this quite the task and about 17 hours over 10 days. Below is a photo journal of my first time, floor installing journey. I finished for it’s World Premier July 4th, 2015 depute. Enjoy!

Short Video of the original floors.

Started by cutting lose and peeling old, “flaking” linoleum out.

I used a utility knife, scissors, newspaper, straight edge, marker, sweat….

I drew this on the floor before I covered it with the new floor.

To cut around the toilet hole (haha), and all the tables and cabinets rivets and divots, I read to use a template out of newspaper. It totally worked but takes forever to do.

Progress of the floors….

And the final…

One final thing… to fill the gaps I used this wood filler. Turned out great!


Goldie’s First Trip

Well Independence Day arrived much sooner than expected this year and before we knew it we were packing up the trailer and hitting the road for our first trip ever in our 1971 Aristocrat Starliner AKA “Goldie”.  In honor of freedom day I chose not to register the trailer thanks to three failed attempts at the DMV to get it done (that’s another story).  So we hit the road in our unregistered antique packed full of camping gear and beer.

We spent 3 nights up at Beaver Campground in Washington and our group had 3 campsites occupying a nice little cul-de-sac at the edge of the campground near the river.  We decided we would treat this trip as a trial with the trailer and it would be a good opportunity to see how everything functioned.

Stuff that Worked

Towing the trailer was a breeze.  In the RPOD we rented 2 years ago the Yukon had a tough time pulling it and I had to manually put the transmission in 3rd gear so I wouldn’t tear it up.  On this trip we headed out I84 up the gorge and I kept it between 60 and 65 with no transmissions issues at all.  I would like to attribute this to the fact that I greased up the wheel bearings before we left but there is no real way to know.

The toilet seemed to work just fine and the entire water system was great.  We did run out of water the last day but we were indiscriminately using h20 due to the fact that there was a spigot about 30 feet from our campsite where we could get more water.  For true “boon-docking” trips we will need to use water more sparingly.

The LED nightlights I installed worked great.  We had them on every night and it made midnight trips to the bathroom a breeze and kept things lit up just enough to see but not enough to keep us awake.

12v electricity was fine and the lights in the trailer seemed to be more than sufficient.  The pump worked and the tank sensors were functioning as well.

The stove worked well and gas lines did not give us any problems.  The oven is still not working though and I need to figure out where the plug up is in the gas line.

Stuff that Didn’t Work

Electricity.  I figured the solar panel would work well enough to power our batteries back up while at the same time running a little refrigerator but it was not enough.  I am fairly certain this would have worked had we been in direct sun light but we were camped in a very shaded area and it just did not produce enough electricity to do both.  If we just wanted to power up the batteries it would have been fine.

Additionally the power inverter battery combo was not strong enough to brew a pot of coffee.  It would run and could make the pot but the batteries drained pretty fast and the inverter started beeping out a low power warning.  Looks like we will need an alternative for coffee or a generator.

Dishes and such.  We need more.  Did not have enough coffee mugs for 4 people and it will be nice to make coffee for friends in the morning on these trips.

While towing I also noticed that I really could not see around the back of the trailer with my mirrors.  It is pretty wide at 8ft and I had no idea if a car was behind me or not and backing it up was also pretty difficult.  I found some mirrors on Amazon that will snap on to my existing GMC mirrors and will be using those on the next trip.  You can find those here for about $40: CIPA 10800 Chevrolet/GMC Custom Pair Towing Mirrors

Will be Ready for the Next Trip

Overall everything went smoothly – even more smooth than I expected.  The biggest hassle is getting the trailer back up our mountain of a driveway and I am only going to be able to put up with that for so long.  Looks like we will be renting a spot to star old Goldie sooner than expected.  Can’t wait for our next trip!


Goldie’s Interior

Here are a couple shots of the inside of Goldie (yes, that’s what were calling her since we did gold accents). Lot’s of work but it paid off and looks great! Still not totally done with the kitchen backsplash so you’re not seeing that part. More interior shots to come!

A Quick twirl around the trailer….

Rebuilding the Hub Assembly

After our trip to Yellowstone a few years ago where we broke down in the middle of the park because our wheel bearings were bad on the trailer we rented I decided it would be a good idea to rebuild the hub assembly on the Aristocrat Starliner. I was originally just going to purchase and entire new axle with a builtin hub, brakes and new leaf springs but finding an axle that was the right size was nearly impossible.  I also noticed that the leaf springs that came with our trailer are pretty beefy and decided to just keep it as is for now.

Instead, I settled for rebuilding the hub assembly with new bearings, racers and grease seals.  With no experience doing this I watched a few videos on youtube and then headed outside and yanked the tired off the trailer and then removed the hub assemble.  To get the hub assemble off you actually have to remove the dust cap on the outside of the axle which will expose the castle nut that is held in place by a cotter pin.  Pull the pin and then remove the castle nut.  Once that is off the hub should just slide right off but be careful as there is a big washer under that castle nut and you exterior bearing will likely fall right out.

The exterior bearing is a Timken M12649  which is incredibly easy to find on Amazon. It does not come in a set though and requires some searching for the racer that goes with the bearing.  After doing some research and being sold the wrong part by Six Robblees I finally found the race model:  M12610.  You can find the specs for both parts on the Timken Site here:

The inner bearing is also a Timken however is a different model – it is a Timken LM48548.  The race for his bearing is a Timken LM48510 and you can find specs for both parts here: I was able to find both Timken Bearins and both Timken Racers with a brief phone call to Napa Auto parts.

In an interesting find I realized that the grease seals on each hub were different. Someone must have replaced one of them so I am not sure which is the “true” original. On of the hubs I found a seal that was stamped with a “2M – HADCO – 3077 ” label on it.  Apparently these are incredibly hard to find.  I could not find anything online about this except for a blog post someone else with an old Aristocrat (not a Starliner) had written about.  She suggested getting in touch with Six Robblees which is a store that specializes in trailer parts.  I went there and they had to special order the seals from the store in Oakland.  The seals they sent are labeled part number: AE2592N and I really cannot find anywhere online where you can buy these.  I ordered three so I would have a backup. The other hub had a Seal that was stamped with a “National – 442251 – S60” on it. I found these ones on Amazon here: National Oil Seals on Amazon.


Interior Colors

After lots of different ideas (I wrote a whole post on what I wanted to do and am not doing that anymore) I’ve came up with the simple design of white everything, and gold accents.

Main interior colors – I chose a white, BEHR MARQUEE interior pain in high gloss with a mold/mildew resistant primer and gold spray paint from Krylon’s Color Master collection with their spray primer.

Below is what I’ve done to the window frames and they look fantastic!

Primed them with 2 coats:










Then sprayed them with 2 coats of gold:

I’ve also purchased the peel and stick backsplash from










And the flooring which is Peel and Stick in Rustic Oak, bought from












It’s coming along. Chris has done most of the electrical and plumbing. We’re over half way there!

Interior Inspiration: Paint/Flooring/Backsplash

While Chris continues to fix the dry rot and water damage on the trailer (which I’m not much help with); I’ve looked and looked to find something that “speaks to me”. At this very moment, I share with you my current vision. I’m actually pretty excited about this.

Screen Shot 2015-02-01 at 10.27.34 AM

The picture above I’m in love with (and want to copy for my house, hehe). I love the earth tone colors and woods of this house that bring the outside in. For our trailer, we’ll have to use a lot more white to make the inside light and bright since it’s a lot smaller. So here is what I’m thinking.

Top Lt: Vesdura Vinyl Peel & Stick in Teak Cocoa; Top Rt: Vesdura Vinyl  Peel & Stick in Natural Oak; Middle Rt: Mosaik Self Adhesive High-Gloss Mosaic in White; Paint: Behr in Burnished Bronze, Summer Field, and/or Venetian Gold
Top Lt: Vesdura Vinyl Peel & Stick in Teak Cocoa;
Top Rt: Vesdura Vinyl Peel & Stick in Natural Oak;
Middle Rt: Mosaik Self Adhesive High-Gloss Mosaic in White;
Paint: Behr in Burnished Bronze, Summer Field, and/or Venetian Gold

Kitchen Backsplash: has a peel & stick vinyl in Teak Cocoa. The only issue is they sell it in quantities of 2500 sq/ft. So I’m emailing them to see if they would be able to sell me like 5 sq/ft. Ha! We’ll see.

Cabinet Drawer facings: To give the cabinets a small detail, I like the idea of refacing them in and Mosaik – peel & stick Mosaic White tile I found on

Paint: Most of the trailer and ceiling will be Behr Powdered Snow, white. Small accents will be in the Gold/yellow tones shared above.

Floors: I like this Natural Oak from Same issue though. I’m going to email them to see if they will sell me a smaller quantity.


RV Skylight Installation

After removing the old air conditioning unit from the top of our vintage trailer I had to find something to fill the giant hole in the roof and decided to install a skylight / roof vent.  It turns out that RV skylights and air conditioning units use the same dimensions (14″x14″) so that made it very easy.

I had to do some cleanup and repair on the hole due to serious dry rot from where the seal on the AC unit was not complete and allowed water in.  Luckily all the dry rot only affected the shim boards and not the actual roof rafters which bear most of the weight.  You can see in the photo below where the rot was so bad I could stick a screw driver into the wood with little effort.


Using a chisel, hammer and some pliers I was able to remove the rotted wood without damaging the larger structural beams underneath it.  I then cut 4 new pieces of wood to size and slid them in between the aluminum roofing and the ceiling beams and screwed them into place.

Buying the RV Skylight

After looking online for a skylight to replace our AC unit I finally settled on Heng’s 69632 14″ x 14″ Vent sold on Amazon.  It was going for a reasonable price and has the ability to add  an optional fan to it if you like.  The one downside to this product is that it does not come with ANY mounting hardware at all.  Luckily I found the Camco 25003 Universal Vent Installation Kit with Putty Tape on Amazon which helped alot.  It comes with the necessary screws and putty tape so you can install your vent worry free.

Opening where the skylight will go
Opening where the skylight will go

The installation is simple, just clean the roof top area of debris and wipe it down with some sort of soap cleaner – simple green should work fine. Lay down the putty tape around the edges of the opening and then place the skylight on top of it making sure the vent opens toward the back of the RV.  Install screws and you are done.  Super simple.  (Pictures of the installed product will have to come in the spring… the RV is tarped up for winter time due to a leak I cannot currently identify).

Removing the Air Conditioner

Living in the Pacific Northwest we do not have a huge need for an air conditioner on our RV and we decided to remove it.  Further influencing our decision was both the age and weight of the ancient unit.

The air conditioner that came with the trailer is a Coleman and has a thermostat connected to that you can control from inside the trailer.  We have no idea if it works as I didn’t both plugging it in to test it but if I had to guess it would either just not run at all or blow up on us.  The thing is very old and rusted and we decided to just get rid of it.

Removing a 175lb air conditioner from the roof of an RV is no easy task.  I decided the best way to do this would be to lean a 2×8 piece of plywood up against the roof line and then put the bottom of it into a wheel barrel that Amber was holding.  We essentially “slid” the old AC unit off the top of the roof and down the plywood right into the wheel barrel where we could roll it to the back of my car and take it to the dump.  We managed to do this successfully with no damage to the RV and no injuries to ourselves.

ac-unit  rv-air-conditioner

Up Next: Installing a skylight where the old air conditioner was.