Das Boot
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Thread: Das Boot

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    Just Some Dude in Jersey My location The Scifi Guy's Avatar
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    Das Boot

    This is the thread of my build of a trailer for my GT that looks like two GT rear ends butted together. “Boot” is used in the British sense of the word, meaning a trunk.

    I have wanted to make something like this ever since the 1980’s, when I had my first GT’s. Seeing what an eye-catcher JLThunder’s trailer turned out to be lit a fire under me and finally got me going on the project. What held me up for so long was that I lived in apartments all my life until 10 years ago. I never had the room to get too ambitious. I also don’t have any welding skills and didn’t become much of an auto mechanic until recent years. My training is in wood working and bicycle-level technology and my strong suit, as far as skills, is in ideas and inventions.

    So I got the notion that I would make my trailer using the fiberglass replacement rear panels that OGTS sells as the starting point. Trying to mimic all the sexy curves of a GT’s rear wheel wells was out of the question for my skill set, so I decided to “Keep it simple, stupid!”

    I had installed one of those rear panels on my yellow GT, seen below, years ago after getting rear ended, so I was familiar with working with them. At first, the plan was to keep the materials the same and build the part that would bridge the two panels out of fiberglass. But, as I researched fiberglass technology and tried to source the materials, I realized that that route would be a pain in the azz and would have me do a whole lot of work doing something that I dread probably more than anything in the world: Working with fiberglass. Just typing the word makes me itch. Simply handling the box that the panels arrived in made me itch. Buying a can of Bondo makes me itch. The smell of resin makes me itch. I was quickly getting to the point where I would grasp ANY alternative that wouldn’t involve the f-word(typing that made me a little itchy).

    One thing that I gleaned from my f-word researches is that it’s better to build FROM the finished surface TOWARDS the inside. Most folks who have to work with the f-word are doing repairs, like patching a hole in a boat or doing auto bodywork, so you HAVE to build up from a base towards your finished surface. Not so with my project, since I was creating something entirely new from scratch. So, instead, you have to think in terms of creating a mold of the outside and build up layers of reinforcement inwards from there.

    I had contemplated using sheet metal as the skin of the “hull” that would bridge my two f-word panels, but when you live in New Jersey you know that anything made out of steel will be a pile of rust in ten years or will require you to sand, patch, and repaint it every 3 years. I also knew that this contraption of mine wasn’t going to get used much and would be very likely to stay parked under my deck or partially disassembled and stored in my garage or basement for much of the year. I wanted a solution that wouldn't require me to scratch itches, weld metal, or do hardly any bodywork, plus handle sitting outside in the elements and getting kicked around a bit.

    In my previous thread about a trailer with an Opel rear axle, a member suggested a type of flexible panel from Home Depot. I checked it out and what I found that would work was thin PVC panels for tub enclosures. They were the only panel of any type that I could find that could handle the bend of the shape of the GT rear panels. A body shop guy had suggested I check out these new PVC panels that are now available for builders to use for making the outside moldings and such on houses. They were inappropriate for using as the “hull”, but they presented some interesting possibilities for other aspects of my build. They come in 4’x8’ sheets in two thicknesses, 3/8” and ¾”, and were really expensive($130+ for one ¾” sheet!). But, they were PVC and the thin panels from Home Depot were PVC, which meant that I could glue them together with PVC cement in just minutes. No itching, dust masks, ventilation systems, full-body environmental suits, rollers and squeegies, and all the other crap you have to do when working with the f-word. Anyone who has done some plumbing work with PVC knows how unbelievably simple the stuff is to work with.

    So, I bought all the stuff and started my project. I used some of the PVC to form the outer part of the frame that will hold the panel to the shape I require. It’s a waste of the pricey material for that purpose, plywood would have sufficed, but I’ll be able to cut it up and use it for other aspects of the build after the basic form has begun to take shape.

    First, how to set the correct angle for the panels so that they mimic exactly how a GT’s rear looks? They’re curvy, so it’s tough to figure. Ah, but GT tail lights and housings are designed so that the lenses are at right angles to the ground. Simple! Just put a tail light assembly in the panel and tilt the panel until the lense face is at a right angle! Set both panels opposing each other at the correct angle and that part was figured out.

    Now, how far apart should they be? Well, from the center of a GT’s rear wheel well to the tip of the top of the rear panel, is almost exactly 24”. So, two rear ends facing each other and joined at the center of the wheel well would be 48”. That’s how wide my 4’x8’ PVC panels are! When everything is glued in place, I’ll want the “hull” to overhang and enclose the f-word Opel panels by a little bit, so I will set the distance between the top edges of the Opel panels at 46”. I now know where to set the upper and lower edges of the rear panels and how far apart they will be within my PVC hull sheet.

    That’s how far I’ve gotten as of yesterday. Today I will do some cutting of excess material, access portals for the two primary inner panels, and do some marking of where things start and stop. There are still many other features and considerations, such as how to attach it to and enclose the trailer, the access hatch, the storage box inside, reinforcement, lights and wiring, etc. These have been taken into account and I’ll go into them as the project progresses.

    For now, here’s some pics:

    Tracing the shape:



    Setting the angle:



    Spacing the panels:



    The cut outs:



    The rough fit:


    Last edited by The Scifi Guy; 06-17-2012 at 10:43 AM.
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  3. #2
    Member My location West Coast GT's Avatar
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    Very cool. I'll take one in red please.
    "Squealing tires are happy tires" - The Stig

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    Quote Originally Posted by thescifiguy View Post
    This is the thread of my build of a trailer for my GT that looks like two GT rear ends butted together. “Boot” is used in the British sense of the word, meaning a trunk.
    I understand what you are saying about the British term "boot," But when you put the "das" on there it makes it German. "Das Boot" means "the boat." Bill

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    2000 Post Club norbertone.gt371's Avatar
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    we or live on a yello submarine......

    Quote Originally Posted by wklopf View Post
    I understand what you are saying about the British term "boot," But when you put the "das" on there it makes it German. "Das Boot" means "the boat." Bill
    by me is the same.This is for me Das Boothttp://i2.listal.com/image/1575089/6...screenshot.jpg
    But when you lay in the trailer by camping,its the same claustrophobie
    Norbert

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    Quote Originally Posted by norbertone.gt371 View Post
    by me is the same.This is for me Das Boothttp://i2.listal.com/image/1575089/6...screenshot.jpg
    But when you lay in the trailer by camping,its the same claustrophobie
    Norbert
    You know, Norbert, Gordon does remind me of Johan in a lot of ways! By the way, THE best movie on war ever IMO. My hero is the Chief Engineer. When all appears lost and the sub about to become a tomb for the crew, out of that haze and flooded bilge water comes the Chief, on his last legs. When he gives his operating status report of every crippled piece of running gear now repaired, you can see the tears welling in the eyes of the Captain. That one moment always brings a tear to my eye too, remembering my CG days and keeping old and tired equipment bandaged up to peform the mission. That one scene is just a great moment in cinema that defines the human spirit against all odds!!!
    Take Care,
    Mike

    Gordon: That tub is looking great!
    Last edited by MikeNotigan; 06-17-2012 at 12:15 PM. Reason: spelling

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    Just Some Dude in Jersey My location The Scifi Guy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wklopf View Post
    But when you put the "das" on there it makes it German. "Das Boot" means "the boat." Bill
    That's just it, it's a play on words.

    Plus, upside down it does sort of look like a tub or boat.



    Aggghhh! I just ran across a problem. I need to know the height of the trailer hitch ball that will be on my car. I haven't obtained possession of a GT trailer hitch, yet, and I need to know that height, within an inch or two, in order to make adjustments to the support structure of the hull(I should say "fuselage", since it's for the Red Baron, but that's too many letters) and trailer. Because there are different designs of those hitches, from oem to home made, and I don't know which one I'll end up with, I can't move forward. It seems that the top of a GT's reverse light would be a reasonable height for the top of a trailer hitch ball.

    This is a tough problem to ask help for.

    Can someone with a trailer hitch on their GT tell me that height and what kind of hitch you have?

    Does anyone have a pic or two of GT's with trailer hitch's so I can guesstimate?

  9. #7
    2000 Post Club norbertone.gt371's Avatar
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    Trailer hitch

    @Gordon
    here is a german trailer hitch.Its the same that i take for few years.
    Norbert

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    Site Founder My location Gary's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thescifiguy View Post
    That's just it, it's a play on words.

    Plus, upside down it does sort of look like a tub or boat.



    Aggghhh! I just ran across a problem. I need to know the height of the trailer hitch ball that will be on my car. I haven't obtained possession of a GT trailer hitch, yet, and I need to know that height, within an inch or two, in order to make adjustments to the support structure of the hull(I should say "fuselage", since it's for the Red Baron, but that's too many letters) and trailer. Because there are different designs of those hitches, from oem to home made, and I don't know which one I'll end up with, I can't move forward. It seems that the top of a GT's reverse light would be a reasonable height for the top of a trailer hitch ball.

    This is a tough problem to ask help for.

    Can someone with a trailer hitch on their GT tell me that height and what kind of hitch you have?

    Does anyone have a pic or two of GT's with trailer hitch's so I can guesstimate?
    Gordon - I have a GT hitch in one of my sheds. I think it is an aftermarket made by Valley and I might be heading down to the Deutsche Classic next month to pick up some parts....
    My 24 Valve Ascona A wagon project blog.
    www.alt-opel.us
    @opelgary


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    Just Some Dude in Jersey My location The Scifi Guy's Avatar
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    I like the way that hitch looks. The tubular design matches the style of the car. It looks good painted, too.

    That doesn't look like an OEM one. Do you know who made that hitch and can I still buy one new? I am supposed to contact Suselbeeck this week to see if they have found or put together one for me.

  12. #10
    Just Some Dude in Jersey My location The Scifi Guy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary View Post
    Gordon - I have a GT hitch in one of my sheds. I might be heading down to the Deutsche Classic
    I'll take it! I'm planning on going to the D.C. this year, for the first time, so bring it along with you for sure.

    I'm sure the price for one from Germany is going to be astronomical, plus shipping.

    I'm sure that with enough beer I can get you down to a reasonable price!

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    2000 Post Club norbertone.gt371's Avatar
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    GT hitch

    Quote Originally Posted by thescifiguy View Post

    I'm sure the price for one from Germany is going to be astronomical, plus shipping.
    When i remember,my hitch i sold for 450 Euro when i become four offers.

    So i`m not more a hitcher,now i was a switcher

    Norbert

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    1000 Post Club My location jlthunder's Avatar
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    Gordon;

    I'll try to get a picture of my hitch tonight. I may be working late though, so don't wait up for me.
    1972 Opel GT, Owner since 1983
    2001 Saab 9-5 SE 3.0 Turbo V6 Weeeeeeeeeee!!!
    1973 GT, Parted out, R.I.P.
    1968 Kadett, Owner since 2006, Sold, 28 June 2008

  15. #13
    Site Founder My location Gary's Avatar
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    Here's a pic taken on the greenhouse.

    Sent from my Garminfone using Tapatalk 2
    Attached Images Attached Images
    My 24 Valve Ascona A wagon project blog.
    www.alt-opel.us
    @opelgary


  16. #14
    Just Some Dude in Jersey My location The Scifi Guy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary View Post
    Here's a pic taken on the greenhouse.
    Looks okay to me. A little POR-15 and a shiny new chrome ball and that baby will be good as new. I wouldn't mind paying for you to ship it to Jersey asap, if you're willing. Then you wouldn't have to lug it all the way to PA. The sooner I have every item for this project, the sooner I can address any issues that might crop up.

    That seems to be the type that arcs above the exhaust pipes and get's mounted to the sides of the bumperettes. Norbert's is the under the pipes type with no attachment to the bumperette area. OEM ones attach to the bumperettes by replacing the bumperette's lower bolt rubber bushing with a metal tube attached to the hitch. Sound right?


    WIRING UP THE TRAILER:

    One of the remaining items to address on this project is how to go about integrating the trailer's lights into the GT's. I'm told that I may need a heavy duty flasher relay. Will I also need to beef up the gage of the wiring running from the GT's fuze box to the trailer? Do I need to upgrade the fuzes, too? Do I keep the lights on both the car and the trailer working at the same time? Or can I disconnect or bypass the car's rear lighting when I've got the trailer attached and only light up the trailer's park and turn signals?

    The trailer came with what I assume is a standard trailer wiring harness. Initially, I have to keep the trailer stock and unmodified and use the lights that came with it, so that it will pass inspection. That's another reason why I need a hitch asap, so that I can tow it to the inspection station and get the legal aspect out of the way. Once I'm legal I'll remove it's lights and modify the trailer frame's length to accept my Frankentrailer fuselage, so that the trailer's frame is hidden, and wire the harness into the Opel lights I'll be putting on it.

  17. #15
    1000 Post Club My location jlthunder's Avatar
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    Switch the lights to L.E.D. and you won't need to do any wireing upgrades. I just tapped into the existing wires and all was good, but I also have L.E.D. tail lights on the GT.
    1972 Opel GT, Owner since 1983
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    1973 GT, Parted out, R.I.P.
    1968 Kadett, Owner since 2006, Sold, 28 June 2008

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    Just Some Dude in Jersey My location The Scifi Guy's Avatar
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    Great idea. That'll give me a reason to do that mod!

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    2000 Post Club norbertone.gt371's Avatar
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    Stock hitch

    Hi
    the hitch on my picture and what i sold is a stock hitch with part number 17 36 062




    In my GT the bolts and the nuts was still mounted to close the holes in the frame.

    Norbert

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    Just Some Dude in Jersey My location The Scifi Guy's Avatar
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    Welcome back!

    Since we last met, my plans have undergone major changes. I decided that I’d rather eat snot than attempt to make the whole fuselage out of fiberglass. The whole process would have been fraught with peril and stressful and I’d still need to come up with a way to attach it to the trailer and have some kind of storage compartment and access to it. The thought of doing that much mixing and spreading of resin and fiberglass mat and the sanding, cutting, and drilling of that much fiberglass horrified me.

    So, I thought that I could use the thin panels I bought from Home Depot as my skin. To make a long and frustrating story short, I discovered that nothing would stick to the stuff, not even the glue that is recommended for adhering those panels to a wall. At least, not to my satisfaction. I needed something that could accept paint, pvc cement, resin, body putty, and spray foam. None of them would stick sufficiently.

    So……I spent an inordinate amount of time trying to find thin pvc panels to stick to my thick pvc panel frame. To make another long and frustrating story short, I found what I wanted at a sign making shop. Working with pvc plumbing pipe, I’d noticed that paint stuck pretty good to pvc and it was easy to cut, sand, and glue. I slipped it into my form and glued the cut out inner panels to the stuff using the glue from the thick pvc panels manufacturer. Then wait the 24 full curing time. Tick, tock, tick………

    Meanwhile I decided that spray foam would make a great way to add structural rigidity, fill and stiffen empty cavities, AND GLUE AND HOLD IN PLACE MY OPEL END PANELS!!!! I bought two cans of cheap open cell spray foam(there’s nothing to rust in this project, so no need for expensive closed cell foam). I positioned my end panels and emptied my two cans of spray foam on all the joints everywhere.

    The next day I tested the hold of everything. The spray foam pulled right off and the glue was barely holding the two types of pvc together. Nothing was sticking or even marring the surface of the pvc. That probably meant that paint, resin, and body putty probably wouldn’t either.

    I was really in the dumps. I was considering scrapping the whole project and eating the $700 I’d invested in this project. But, dang it, I’m so close! The major pieces are all there. The shape and the measurements and a lot of the fine details were worked out. I’d spent a month devoting all my free mental time to pondering aspects of this project. I just couldn’t find a “skin” for the thing that would meet all my requirements.

    So I’ve decided to go old school: Sheet Metal. I’ll keep the thin pvc sheet adhered to my form as a base for the sheet metal, trim away excess at the ends, and cut all the various openings for wheel wells, side marker lights, and the hatch opening. I will then temporarily wrap the form with sheet metal and mark all my openings and cut outs from the inside. Then I’ll remove the sheet metal and lay it flat and saw and snip out the various opening. This way my thin pvc panel can be the sacrificial guide for my final design and any mistakes or over cuts won’t matter and being able to cut all the pre-marked openings in the sheet metal while it’s laying flat will be a lot easier.

    That’s the next step. I’m leaning towards using galvanized. I’ve researched how to clean it and prime it so that it will accept paint and other things. I’ll use stainless nails to tack it to my form. I will probably trim the metal, where it will mate with the tail panels, so that there are tabs sticking out that I can then bend and rivet to the tail panels. Some fiberglass and resin might get used at this point. If everything seems straight and strong, I’ll do some putty and body work.


    Here’s some more pics showing the combination inner frame and storage box. The bottom will get a solid sheet of plywood put over it when done and that will sit on the trailer. The bottom will be recessed so that my fuselage will sit on, down, and around the trailer chassis to completely hide it. The “hatch” opening will be the entire top of the box. In the pics, this is presently facing down and hasn’t been cut out yet. My neighbor suggested a simple solution for a lid: Put a snap on tarp, like a boat cover, over the opening. It’s a bit more complicated than that, so, more on that later.


    Trailer frame, form, and storage compartment




    Test fitting the end panels




    Form excess cut away

    Last edited by The Scifi Guy; 06-25-2012 at 08:16 PM.

  21. #19
    Just Some Dude in Jersey My location The Scifi Guy's Avatar
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    I'm working on the lighting aspect of my project today(at work) and I thought I'd search around for what's new in LED replacement bulbs.

    Can someone provide me with the bulb numbers for the brake and turn signal bulbs?

    Currently, I'm working on the concept of replacing the 4 bulbs on the car and the 8 bulbs in the lenses, front facing and rear facing, of my trailer with LED ones, so that I don't have to upgrade all the wiring and fuzes in the car to handle the trailer's lights.

    I'm open to alternate suggestions.

  22. #20
    1000 Post Club My location jlthunder's Avatar
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    The standard 1034 or 1157 bulb is for parking/brake in the rear and parking/turnsignal up front

    The standard 1156 bulb is for the rear turn signal

    Side Marker lights, 97

    I am trying an LED alternative for the rear side marker lights. I'll bring an example to the Deutche Classic if I remember. I have a friend in the sign business so I don't know if these lights will be too bright. Maybe they can be used in the tail lights for the turn signals. Parking/brake lights would need two brightness settings. I'll bring some extras.
    Last edited by jlthunder; 06-28-2012 at 12:48 PM.
    1972 Opel GT, Owner since 1983
    2001 Saab 9-5 SE 3.0 Turbo V6 Weeeeeeeeeee!!!
    1973 GT, Parted out, R.I.P.
    1968 Kadett, Owner since 2006, Sold, 28 June 2008

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