Looking to modify a unique, new-to-us teardrop

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Looking to modify a unique, new-to-us teardrop

Postby KelseyL » Mon Sep 28, 2020 12:42 pm

Hello!
My husband and I have been looking at little trailers for a while now but we finally pulled the trigger. We bought a fiberglass teardrop from a family member with a very generous family discount! However, the layout is kind of unique (or strange) and isn't the most efficient set up for us. We're planning on making some changes to match our camping style better. It's completely camp ready as it is though, so we're planning on taking it out a time or two before we do anything to get a feel what works and what doesn't.

The Trailer
It's built on a 12'x5' trailer and has 5' height at it's tallest spot. It seems like whoever built it wanted to shove a traditional camper into a teardrop shell. It has a traditional RV door with a full second screen door and when you enter, you have a dinette that turns into a bed. The bed is only 41" though instead of the full 5' as it has a little hallway area in front of the dinette/bed that's open toward the back. The back of it comes to a full point, not a curve, and behind the dinette in the back with the very sloped roof is a little fridge and sink.

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At the back where it comes to a point, there is a metal plate on the outside and a wooden panel on the inside. We think that at some point there was a small hatch there. We would like to recreate that hatch if possible. It will be quite a small space, not like that big back-galley hatches, but I think it's the best use of that space and fits with our overall plan.

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Our Plan
We'd like to pull out the fridge and sink as we really have no use for those and the placement is so strange, recreate that hatch in the back, and have a full width bed that is always down. We have a decent amount of space since the trailer is 12' and 5' headroom is pretty good.

The plan right now is to redo the hatch (21"), then have the double mattress (75") and then we would still have 39" left where the headroom is highest. The problem is the end bed would overlap the door quite a bit and the maximum headroom area would be above the end of the bed so you couldn't utilize it for getting dressed etc.

One idea is to make the bed raised a bit with storage underneath and cut off the last 18" of the bed and have it sit on a bench that is the same height as the bed. That way, you could pull the bench over to the far side of the trailer and have about 3 feet of space between the end of the (now shortened) bed and the bench. That would give you full access to the door, full access to the highest point of the trailer, and you could add a folding table so you could sit on the end of the bed or the bench with a table in-between for cards or whatever on rainy days. When you want to go to bed, just fold up the table and slide the bench back to the foot of the bed and you've got a double bed again with the empty space between the bed and the far wall.

(Please forgive my sad graph paper drawings)

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And finally, it would be nice to add a door on the other side so if my husband wants to get up early he won't have to crawl over me to get out.

I'd love to hear feedback/suggestions! We've never done anything like this before so we'll probably have lots of questions as we go on but we're excited to start!
Thanks and nice to meet you all!

Kelsey
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Re: Looking to modify a unique, new-to-us teardrop

Postby saltydawg » Mon Sep 28, 2020 1:22 pm

Not the answer I think you want. That shape is going to be a compromise on almost everything. I dont think its going to anything very well, from what you say you want/need.
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Re: Looking to modify a unique, new-to-us teardrop

Postby KelseyL » Mon Sep 28, 2020 2:18 pm

Hey Scott,
In all honesty, we only had 2 complete "needs" for a trailer.

The first was we had to be able to tow it with our current vehicle. After we bought it I drove it home 2.5 hours and was amazed at how well it pulled. I could hardly tell it was there. My husband took it for a spin as well when he got home and agreed that it pulled like a dream so we're good there!

The second was that it was water/weather tight. It's been stored outdoors for a couple years and going inside you'd never know it's been alone in the elements. No water damage anywhere and no signs of any leaks. Check box two!

Beyond that, we just want to be able to head into the sunset and have a place to sleep. It has more bells and whistles than we really need (sink, fridge, shore power connection, and a furnace - but that one may come in handy), but for the price and the fact that it filled our 2 main requirements we're fine to take it as it is! The proposed inside changes are to better match our style of camping but aren't necessary to get out there. And I've been looking for a project that would stretch my knowledge a bit without being completely overwhelming and redoing the inside of this guy seems like a good fit for that.

What concerns came to mind for you regarding the shape? I agree it's more extreme than a lot of the teardrops you see but it feels comfy inside and seems to do what we need.
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Re: Looking to modify a unique, new-to-us teardrop

Postby Shadow Catcher » Mon Sep 28, 2020 4:08 pm

How you modify this unique trailer will be interesting, have fun and be imaginative. I could see this taking on a steam punk look.
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Re: Looking to modify a unique, new-to-us teardrop

Postby Pmullen503 » Mon Sep 28, 2020 6:25 pm

That long tail and bumper looks like it would impede access to a rear galley. How hard would it be to chop a foot or two off the tail?
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Re: Looking to modify a unique, new-to-us teardrop

Postby KelseyL » Mon Sep 28, 2020 7:56 pm

Shadow Catcher wrote:How you modify this unique trailer will be interesting, have fun and be imaginative. I could see this taking on a steam punk look.


I didn't see that until you mentioned it, but it totally has a steampunk essence. I'll see if that's something we might want to carry over into the aesthetic of it as we work on it.

Pmullen503 wrote:That long tail and bumper looks like it would impede access to a rear galley. How hard would it be to chop a foot or two off the tail?


I don't think we're open to messing with the structure. And I don't really want a full galley hatch. Just a small little storage hatch would do. From what's there now, I think it would be about 18" high and 18" deep and would be easy to access. That would work best for our needs and not have us mess with the trailer too much. I'll have to look at it more closely next week though. We had to move the trailer to my FIL's for the week while we had some other backyard stuff going on. We'll bring it back next weekend and start playing!
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Re: Looking to modify a unique, new-to-us teardrop

Postby pchast » Mon Sep 28, 2020 9:30 pm

When you make the proposed changes, shifting weight, please check
that you have sufficient tongue weight to keep the tow stable.
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Re: Looking to modify a unique, new-to-us teardrop

Postby KelseyL » Tue Sep 29, 2020 9:21 am

pchast wrote:When you make the proposed changes, shifting weight, please check
that you have sufficient tongue weight to keep the tow stable.


Good point Pete. The axel is already quite a way back and the tongue box will hold the batteries and propane tank so that helps. Also when we're driving most of the things we'll want to store when we tow will be in the front of the trailer, just behind the tongue box so I think we'll be okay.

I've read 60/40 is a good weight distribution for in front of the axel vs. behind. Does that sound about right or is there other recommendations?
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Re: Looking to modify a unique, new-to-us teardrop

Postby saltydawg » Tue Sep 29, 2020 6:38 pm

What I mean and it was said by someone else, is the shape is limiting in the rear. The best way maybe to put a bulk head to cut down on the inside length but use that space to make a trunk in the rear outside. That would give you a lot of space to store stoves, chairs etc.

As for the tongue weight when it comes time to balance it out, you could put the batteries in the trunk one on each side if you have more than one battery.
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Re: Looking to modify a unique, new-to-us teardrop

Postby KelseyL » Thu Oct 01, 2020 11:31 pm

saltydawg wrote:What I mean and it was said by someone else, is the shape is limiting in the rear. The best way maybe to put a bulk head to cut down on the inside length but use that space to make a trunk in the rear outside. That would give you a lot of space to store stoves, chairs etc.

As for the tongue weight when it comes time to balance it out, you could put the batteries in the trunk one on each side if you have more than one battery.


Hey Scott,
That's just what we were thinking! I want to make a trunk area that accessible by a hatch outside and use it to store our propane stove and cooking equipment. There's a bracket on the side of the trailer just next to where that hatch would be that we could make a table for so when you're parked, you just set up the table, open the hatch and pull out your stove, and you're good to go! There's even a propane connection below the table so I'm pretty sure this was part of the original design of the trailer.
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