Hands On: Chassis Good As (Touch Metal) New

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When Sam cleared out the gross fiberglass insulation from he uncovered a zillion bug and a few mouse carcasses. It was worth the effort. 

Finally, he didn’t have to refrain from breathing through his nose while working inside the Spartan. Check out the insulation in the bag (photo, right) and you’ll see why people can get sick living in old trailers with soggy, pest-infested insulation, to say nothing of the mold and poor air circulation that is found in many vintage trailers.

In the process of ripping up the floorboards, he twisted one of the bars on the chassis. (Uh, oh!) Mentor, teacher and sculptor Michael Darling came in to save the day by crafting a new bar and welding it in.

Sam discovered that the wheel wells, made out of some kind of MDF material, were completely shot, so he ripped them out. That was the easy part. Some people suggested using MDF to build a replacement well, but a friendly post on the

Spartan Forum reminded him that wheel wells are there to protect against tire blowouts and to keep rocks from damaging the belly pan or holding tanks. We tried about trying to find a metal sheet worker who could do the job. Found one, but the estimate came in at $900! The search is still on in that category.

Upon inspection, the chassis seemed in pretty good shape, but Brett Hall at Timeless Travel told us that many of the old Spartans he sees requires some, if not extensive, work. In its restorations, Timeless often adds 3,000 – 4,000 pounds of additional weight to their trailers, so a super sturdy chassis is especially important to them. (Check out the chassis for this restoration.) But even though we don’t plan to add additonal weight, we didn’t want to see the chassis crumble the first time we take the Spartan out on the road!

We called Bill at A-1 Powder Coating in Van Nuys, reccommended by our buddy Donovan Fell at MotoArt. Bill does all the sand blasting for Disney as well as MotoArt, so it seemed like he was a pretty good person to advise us. Bill thought Sam could do the job himself, using a wire sander, a marine cleaner, and a product called Por15.

Sam set to work vacuuming…

He applied a product called Marine Clean, then started sanding using a wire drill attachment…

 

Sanding every surface was time-consuming…

but the results were pretty impressive. Check out this before and after…

 

Then he painted on the Por 15, which combines with the rust and metal to make a super hard finish. This is a hazardous material so you have to take all kinds of precautions using it, also being careful not to let any of it seem into the ground where it could harm the water table. Another precaution: one bit of paint in this stuff will harden up the whole can, so pour some of it into a smaller container and paint from that.

When it was all done, the chassis looked almost as good as new!

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