Monday, September 30, 2013

Hello Canned Ham

Hi All,

My wife and I purchased (1 Sept. 2013) a 1962 Broken Arrow Tepee camping trailer. Follow along as we make modifications and repairs to our new toy! After a lot of tent camping, we've decided that we needed something that gets us off the ground, provides a little more padding and a little more protection from the elements. At the same time, we didn't want to transition ourselves into something that's basically a living room on wheels. We kicked wound the idea of building a tear drop trailer but, in the end, decided that was a little too cramped. After discovering the Tin Can Trailer FB group, a "canned ham" trailer seemed like the best option (for us). A quick search across the internet connected us with a couple in central Kentucky that happened to have what we were looking for. We had already planned a trip to Bourbon Country - The American Bourbon Trail. So, we picked up the trailer on the first day of our vacation, south of Bardstown KY. Over the next week, we visited almost every distillery along the Trail and then headed home.

I quickly re-discovered how important it is to have the trailer loaded properly. It didn't take much (a 10 lb. bag of tools) to make a difference. I moved the tool bag from the rear of the trailer to the front and the slight "dog walking" ceased. Then, just south of Indianapolis IN, the trailer lights decided to ground themselves and burned up two fuses (one for the brake lights and one for the turn signals). Fortunately, we were within a couple of miles of a Walmart. After installing replacement fuses and purchasing a set of "tow lights". We were back on the road.

There isn't much information available on this trailer. Internet searches have turned up little on the Broken Arrow Mobilhome Mfg., Inc. or the Tepee model. I do believe there was a larger model called the WigWam. The trailers manufactured by Broken Arrow should not be confused with the Tee Pee camper trailer that was manufactured in Canada (they look very different). I have seen a '63 Tepee posted, for sale, on the internet. The look is identical, except for slightly different aluminum skin.

I was a little disappointed with the poor fuel economy while towing (current tow vehicle is a 2001 Ford Escape with 3.0 liter V6). After turning the A/C off, fuel economy improved dramatically. The search is underway for something larger and more fuel efficient (VW Toureg diesel, Toyota High Lander hybrid, Ford Edge, etc.). The tow vehicle also doubles as my wife's work vehicle. Her business is growing and she's pretty much outgrown the Escape (and, it's 12 years old).

As I mentioned, the trailer does not need major restoration/repair. However, we will be renovating the galley, making the front window movable (again), updating the electrics, adding a fresh water tank, inspecting/greasing the hub bearings and getting new wheels and tires.

At some point, I will need to address an interior panel that has water damage and deal with some rot in the floor support rails. Those two items are probably slated for next Winter (2014-15).

Our trailer is stored about thirty miles from our house. As you can imagine, that makes for trips that must be well planned and a little infrequent. So, posting may be limited to weekly to two-week intervals. I'll be happy to post pictures and provide as much detail as I can. Feel free to ask questions, I'll answer as best I can or point you in the direction of those who know. I do not seem to have a picture of the entire trailer. I'll get one up ASAP.

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