Sam's Teardrop - As PurchasedBack to Sam's Teardrop Page

So here is the teardrop camping trailer I purchased on 3/10/2005 off of eBay motors. The trailer was built by a high school auto shop teacher in Saxton, Pennsylvania with the help of his students. He had planned a trip out west and wanted the teardrop to sleep in to avoid motel bills. For reasons unknown the trip was cancelled and he sold the trailer at a substantial loss without finishing it.

The builder based the underside of this trailer on Larry and Diane's Outback Teardrop. Like the Outback, the chassis itself is made from 2 x 2 x 1/8 inch square steel tubing with a 3 x 3 x 1/8 inch square steel tongue and has a 2000 pound axle with leaf springs. The body and floor are made from 3/4 inch plywood, insulated (kinda) and covered in "filon", a fiberglass material. I'm wishing the builder had taken the care that Larry and Diane did in building their tear but alas, he did not--the first thing I noticed when I saw the trailer in person was that the chassis had not been painted and was horribly rusted. Various other problems with the trailer were apparent when I picked it up. Pictures taken 3/31/2005.

Here is the major problem that occurred on the way home. The filon covering on the curb side of the tear was not attached well and not completely under the front trim. I noticed this but failed to do anything about it like putting a piece of duct tape, which I had brought with me, across the gap. Driving into New Mexico we hit 60mph headwinds which when combined with our 75mph speed launched the filon like Auntie Em's farmhouse in a Kansas twister. Teardrop - As Purchased - Curb Side
The road side of the tear as well as the roof and hatch still have the filon intact. Not a bad looking trailer--from a distance. Once you get close you get to see how really poor a job the builder did with it. Teardrop - As Purchased - Road Side 1
After seeing the rusted chassis the next thing that jumped out was this: What's with the wacky profile? The profile across the galley to the back of the door looks OK but from there to the front of the trailer is horrible with the two straight spots sloping down to the radius! Regarding the door, it was custom made by a trailer manufacturer (at a cost of $200.00) because the builder wasn't confident he could build a watertight door. The thing is huge, there is only one, and it is mounted both suicide (hinged at the back) and crooked. Had the fender been mounted to the trailer, the door would be banging up against it. Teardrop - As Purchased 3
Her's another view of the wacky profile. Behind the tear you can see my large steel trailer being used as a painting platform for the Harbor Freight utility trailer I had planned to build my tear on. Trailer collector? says you. Perhaps says I. Teardrop - As Purchased 4
Lots of extras with the tear: fenders from an old boat trailer, a pair of stabilizer jacks, porch and indoor lights, a 12volt outlet, adhesive, drill bits, paint brushes, and a miniature roof vent. The trailer was not framed for this vent?!? Teardrop - As Purchased 5
The tires aren't great but will likely get me through 2005. The rims were new when installed and are in excellent shape. The axle is mounted under the springs and I'll likely flip it. You can really see how badly the chassis is rusted and perhaps understand why I chose to tear the entire trailer apart to paint it. Teardrop - As Purchased 6
The hatch has a number of flat/wavy spots due to poor construction techniques. There are even places where the builder about put screws through the filon from the inside. Speaking of screws, the entire trailer was constructed with standard interior drywall screws. The screws holding the roof to the spars (1 x 3 inch pine laid flat) were too long and the builder bent them over with a hammer before paneling the inside. Most of the drywall screws were rusted, as you might imagine.

"Remind me to kill you later!", said Moe to the other Stooges

Teardrop - As Purchased 7
The galley was only started. You can see some of the problems with the hatch construction at the side and bottom. The wire hanging down is two strands of standard lamp cord the builder had planned to wire the lights with. Good locking hasps though one of them is mounted backwards so it won't fold back on itself. Teardrop - As Purchased 8
And then there's the inside. The builder apparently skinned the roof and installed the bulkhead before doing any work on the inside. The roof/wall insulation and the paneling were installed from the inside and each piece, of course, had to fit through the door. It is very difficult to fit pieces of paneling together on odd and/or curved surfaces and the interior looks like a grade school class, rather than a high school class worked on it. Teardrop - As Purchased 9
The bulkhead (and floor) are of 3/4 inch pressure treated plywood. Half inch foil-backed insulation was pieced in between ribs made from any wood the builder could find. The window is from Lowes and is a house/shed window (non-tempered glass) and for reasons known only to the builder was placed mere inches from the bulkhead so that no interior cabinets could be installed. Sigh. Teardrop - As Purchased 10

So there you have it. A trailer that has to be ripped completely apart and redone. Did I get my money's worth? With the steel chassis, the axle and wheels, fenders, lights, stabilizer jacks, a good hurricane hinge and some aluminum trim, a large door that is usable (or sellable), and quite a bit of wood not the least of which are the 4x10 plywood sides, yes, I think I did get my money's worth. That being said, I wish the trailer had been local so I could have looked at it before purchasing. I probably still would have bought it.

We can rebuild him.
We have the technology.
We have the opportunity to build the world's first twice-built teardrop.
Sam's Teardrop will be that trailer.
Better than he was before.
Better . . . Stronger . . . Faster . . .

      with apologies to the writers of The Six Million Dollar Man

Though we plan to finish the tear with a University of New Mexico Lobos theme, I reserve the right to call it The Phoenix when no one is listening.

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Last Modified: May 5, 2005

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