Caboose rebuild

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Caboose rebuild

Postby night*sky » Fri Nov 30, 2012 1:37 pm

I've been lurking here, finally joined so I could comment on Bob's Caboose Build thread. I recently bought a 1974 Semaphore Caboose TT that needs a LOT of work. Since I'm rather clueless about a lot of it, I'll be asking LOTS of dumb questions! :lol:

Anyway, I didn't want to clutter up his thread so I'm starting this one.

Thanks for the welcome, Bob. I'm really excited about the Semaphore, and want to definitely keep it as original as possible on the outside. I haven't decided anything about the interior yet. The first challenge will be getting it home. I was up there yesterday looking at it, it's much worse than I thought. The previous owner had put "new" used tires on it when I bought it since it still had the original rubber from 1974 under it. :shock: 2 of the tires are low on air. One axle dust cover is missing so it's not going anywhere without new bearings. I'm trying to find someone who will drive out there and do it. The tongue jack is frozen and needs to be replaced. There are NO safety chains on it, and I can't see where any were ever attached. The running lights don't work. (Figured they wouldn't since the connector is rotted and the wires are crackly brittle.) May be able to borrow a remote set of towing lights to get it home. No clue if the brakes work, I'm guessing they're frozen like everything else, so they will need to be replaced as well. Bathroom window is slightly open and won't crank shut, duct tape should "fix" that for the trip. I got most of the loose siding screwed back on, although in lots of places the wood frame at the base is completely rotted away so there wasn't anything to screw into. According to the email I have from a guy who worked at the factory there is a steel and aluminum frame so hopefully the whole thing doesn't fly apart on the road. :shock:
Can't find a serial or VIN number on it anywhere, even took the wire brush to the tongue in the hopes it was buried under the paint but no joy. I've got the bill of sale, and the plates off my other camper that's now consigned at the local RV dealership. If the lights are working and nothing flies off I should be able to sneak home with it that way, and worry about getting a title and valid plates later on.

I'm about an hour southeast of Nashville, the Semaphore is 3 hours north of here at Kentucky Lake. Just talked to a fellow who may be able to get a one-ton truck and a construction trailer that we could winch the caboose onto and haul it home. Here's a couple pics of the exterior taken a month ago when i first bought it.

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Re: Caboose rebuild

Postby night*sky » Fri Nov 30, 2012 1:38 pm

Interior pics... The door is on the back end, this is inside the door left side. Large coat closet, dinette, there's a bunk that slides out so you could sleep up in the cupola.
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Inside right side, fridge and kitchen. The aluminum trim piece on the floor is off the front exterior, it was only held on with 1 screw so I pulled it off.
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Re: Caboose rebuild

Postby night*sky » Fri Nov 30, 2012 1:39 pm

Left side of the cupola showing the bunk.
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Right side of cupola. Huge headroom, you could put a ceiling fan up there with no problem, probably why it feels so much larger than I expected. I didn't think to grab a tape measure before we drove up to see it so I have no idea how tall it actually is.
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Re: Caboose rebuild

Postby night*sky » Fri Nov 30, 2012 1:40 pm

Kitchen. There's a ton of counter space, and a residential refrigerator.
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Re: Caboose rebuild

Postby night*sky » Fri Nov 30, 2012 1:42 pm

Storage space past kitchen, there's a wall on the left side of the hall with the bathroom behind it, the bathroom door is in the bedroom area.
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Ceiling covering has come down, lots of water damage throughout the whole trailer.
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Looking at hallway from other direction
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Re: Caboose rebuild

Postby night*sky » Fri Nov 30, 2012 1:43 pm

Left side of bedroom, the mice obviously approved :lol:
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Right side of bedroom. This will be a problem if I keep the original floor plan, I want a double bed.
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Re: Caboose rebuild

Postby night*sky » Fri Nov 30, 2012 1:44 pm

Bathroom. Again the ceiling cover has come down. The tub is huge by trailer standards, or at least compared to the tub in my 2012 Sportsmen.. And it's NOT plastic! :lol:
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Re: Caboose rebuild

Postby night*sky » Fri Nov 30, 2012 1:48 pm

So that's the beast. A little background about me... 52, female, a fulltimer domiciled in SD but I have land in MN and in TN, although without a camper at this point, the Sportsmen has been consigned at the local RV dealer and the caboose is obviously not liveable just yet. :lol: Eventually it will be my full time home, so it will need really good insulation, and boondocking abilities.
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Re: Caboose rebuild

Postby bobhenry » Fri Nov 30, 2012 2:01 pm

night*sky wrote:So that's the beast. A little background about me... 52, female, a fulltimer domiciled in SD but I have land in MN and in TN, although without a camper at this point, the Sportsmen has been consigned at the local RV dealer and the caboose is obviously not liveable just yet. :lol: Eventually it will be my full time home, so it will need really good insulation, and boondocking abilities.




Oh a little background about me 62 Male recently divorced, handyman, electrician ,plumber, and all around good guy, looking for a spot of ground in Mn or Tn.

:lol: :lol: :lol:

OK OK just havin a bit of fun........

Your little trailer has a lot more going for it than mine does at the moment. I loved the interior pics. Thanks for showing up and posting the pics they show me an 8 x 20 is big enough to do all I want to do.

Thanks again BOB
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Re: Caboose rebuild

Postby night*sky » Fri Nov 30, 2012 2:13 pm

I was pleasantly surprised how large it seems inside, it's 8 x 20 more or less, the 26 includes tongue and back porch/deck. The cupola and all the windows really opens it up.

Not sure how much it has going for it, after looking at it yesterday I am beginning to realize just how rotten everything is. There's no wood frame left at the bottom at all. Aluminum siding so no rust but that's about all the good I can say about it. No idea if stove/water heater/ etc work, hopefully most of the fixtures can be reused. Paneling is delaminating from the moisture damage, I'm guessing most if not all the windows leak.

The plan is to take it down to the frame, and hopefully rebuild it as true to original as possible on the exterior, and I rather like the floor plan in it now but there will have to be some changes made.

OH, the place here in TN is 6 acres, there's a camper or mobile home pad that was made by the previous owner down below the mobile I'm living in. You could set up there no problem! No garage though, not even a car port, no sewer or water or electric. Minor inconveniences. :lol: :lol:
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Re: Caboose rebuild

Postby bobhenry » Fri Nov 30, 2012 2:19 pm

Please don't toy with me ....... :lol: :lol: :lol:

Anywhere near Columbia I know where that is :D
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Re: Caboose rebuild

Postby night*sky » Fri Nov 30, 2012 2:22 pm

I'm a few miles out of Manchester, about an hour southeast of Nashville, and 5 miles off I-24. Not sure where Columbia is, this will be the second winter I've spent here and last winter was taken up with working on the mobile home. It needed almost as much work as the Semaphore does! (And it's still not done... don't tell anyone lol)
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Re: Caboose rebuild

Postby bobhenry » Fri Nov 30, 2012 2:39 pm

Hell you are just 45 minutes from Smyrna. My son and his family are there. Mom is up the road over the KY line in Glasgow.
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Re: Caboose rebuild

Postby night*sky » Fri Nov 30, 2012 3:11 pm

I've been to Smyrna! The only places I've seen in KY are along the interstate between Paducah and Clarksville but if you can judge by that it's a beautiful state. I've got 6 acres in MN with nothing on it, only a few trees, but a good well. I've also got 18 acres in MN with a good grove, a 30x50 shop and a falling down 100 yr old house, lousy well water (extremely hard and tons of rust) and rural water is too far away. Wish I could just move the whole shop down here, I made 2 trips this fall hauling tools and trying to downsize. I really need to have an auction up north to get rid of everything. I swear "stuff" breeds when you're not looking, I can hardly tell I've taken anything out of the shop! :lol:
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Re: Caboose rebuild

Postby night*sky » Mon Dec 03, 2012 10:30 pm

Drove up to KY again today, after a couple gallons of WD-40 and some strenuous exercise with a BIG hammer I finally managed to get the frozen tongue jack removed. The local RV place agreed to order a new one for me, I'll pick it up Wednesday or Thursday when I'm back up there. I also a mobile mechanic to come out Wednesday and repack the wheel bearings and check out the brakes. Either he or the RV place will install safety chains, and I've got several options now for getting the driving lights rewired. All this would be soooo much easier if it wasn't 3 hours away.

On a really positive note, I think I finally found the VIN!! :applause: No tags anywhere inside or outside the caboose, just a bill of sale from the previous owner (he got a bill of sale when he bought it as well, same with the guy HE bought it from), and no idea if it was ever titled or in what state. Today after using the gallons of WD-40 all over everything on the tongue jack I found a faint number that is right next to where the base plate of the tongue jack was, it was buried under the corrosion and several layers of paint, so I'll take the cordless drill and wire wheel up and see if I can't get it cleaned up enough to read the whole thing. Fingers are crossed, I'd really like to have it titled as a Semaphore Caboose and not as a home-built if at all possible.
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