Ongoing-Pace American Shadow

This project is rather on going in nature.  I purchased this trailer a couple years ago from Legends Racer Tim Moore just outside of Chicago.  Tim and his sons found they had out grown the trailer as it wouldn’t quite haul the 2 legends cars.  These folks were SUPER helpful and friendly before, during and after my visit.  Since the purchase, Tim and I have maintained contact and he keeps me posted on his wins.

None the less, I’m already feeling a little squeezed in the trailer myself as it’s used for long hauls and provides the accomodation on the road.  What I wouldn’t give to have an extra 4 or 6 feet.  Ah well, perhaps down the road.

That issue aside, the Pace Shadow is an excellent trailer.  This one, a 1998 vintage, while showing signs of its history, is in excellent condition.  But, Reggie (that’s the substantially better looking half of my life), doesn’t much like sleeping with the smell of fuel, oil and antifreeze.  So, desiring peace in the valley, I’ll have to see what can be done to make it a little more habitable, and perhaps even expand the available space.

The first thing on the list is to perform some minor repairs to the brakes, as somewhere along the line prior to my purchasing it, some thoughtful person, perhaps after loosing a race to Tim and his boys, decided to cut the brake wires to the rear axle.  A down right dirty thing to do, and I’m sure they thought they were knocking out the brakes completely.  Had they succeeded, Iwould have had a lot more fun bringing it a couple thousand miles home.  Well, none the less, easily repaired with a little wire splicing, soldering, shrink tube etc.  Good as new and working like a charm.

Now, onto the task at hand.  First on the list is to make a little more space.  So, out come the metal cabinets  across the front, and the wooden head magnets along the sides.  That in it’s self gives back a couple feet in length.  Always in need of more storage, they have found a new home in the shop to contain a lot of my specialty equipment.



In preparation, all the aluminium baseboard trim and floor anchors must be removed, which will be re-installed after the tiling, so save those screws and make sure you know where each piece of trim belongs, which isn’t as difficult as determining which of 4 ways each piece can go back on.  Actually, not that bad, I’m just grumbling.

Next, let’s see what can be done to the floor to make it a little more presentable.  Thankfully, Tim had done the grunt work of removing the previous checkerboard floor tiles.  They must have been pretty rough to make plywood more appealing.  Fortunately, my friends at the bank were having some renovations performed and donated about 50 – 3’x3′ rubber ‘coin’ flooring tiles to me which will serve the purpose beautifully.  Unfortunately, being used tiles, the backs required some serius clean up.  As they had been installed onto concrete, bits of that remained stuck to the back of the tiles, along with everything else under the sun.  So, about 15 to 20 minutes was required for each tile to clean them up to an acceptable level for re-installation.  Don’t know how ‘Cost Effective’ this process was as I might have been further ahead to purchase tile and slapped them down.  But, that’s part of the adventure, and by God, I started it, I’ll finish it.. So, onward I go.


Those floor anchors, bolts and all the trim screws are not perfect to say the least as you can see. These are galvanized originally, but, nothing stands up to grit grime salt and time. So, out comes the rust solution and everything goes for a dip while I’m working on the tiles.


Here you can see all the anchors, bolts and trim screws ready to get dipped. I use a stainless steel deep fryer basket to keep it simple, and eliminate fishing for parts in the bottom of the tanks. This also allows the released rust and grunge to fall away from the parts to the bottom of the tank. I give the basket a shake every now and then to help speed up the process.


I have several good size containers that I use to hold all my solutions. These help keep things safe, and makes sure I don’t loose anything to evaporation. That said, after a soaking, the parts are as clean as a whistle. Here’s where that deep fryer basket really pays off. I can move all those parts through the three tanks in a heart beat. It saves a TON of time. Run them through rinse solution and metal wash which stops flash rust and etches the surface, and they are ready for anything, whether its paint or more galvanizing. A little compressed air to dry them off, and it’s done like dinner.


While waiting for those parts to soak and clean, I’ve been busy cleaning those tiles and getting the starter row laid down the middle of the floor. This way, there is no seam running right down the middle, and no seam in the area where the tires are going to travel. This will all help in making a durable uniform surface. Before you lay any adhesive, clean that floor, vacuum the floor, then do it again. It may be a Murphy’s Law, but it seems no matter how much you prep and clean, you’ll end up with something somewhere, so, put a little extra effort in at this point. Getting that first row properly positioned and dead straight is the key to laying the tiles. If they are not uniform in any way, the next rows of tiles will soon have trouble keeping the sides square and tight together. The next step is to use a seam adhesive to make for a virtually impervious floor surface. Then, even if your car decides to mark its territory, nothing is going to get through effecting the cement, or the wood floor deck. I’ve used a little duct tape to help keep the tiles tight while waiting for the cement to dry.


Once that starter row is down, it really doesn’t take too long to get the rest of the tiles laid. Some careful measurements and cutting with a razor knife will have the tile fitting like a glove. Use a straight edge, metal yard stick, drywall T square or similar to keep your cuts straight.


Just before each piece of trim is reinstalled, a bead of colour match silicone gets put down. When the trim is installed and screwed back into place it will form a nice seal to prevent contamination of any sort getting in or out of the trailer. Anything that gets squeezed out, can be cleaned up according to the directions on the type of material you use for chaulking. You can choose to lay a bead of silicone along the baseboard trim if you want to give it a finished look, just as you would around a bathtub. If you decide to do this, keep it a small bead. A little goes a long way. Use some soapy water and your finger to run along the bead and smooth the surface out.


Likewise with the floor anchors. Run a bead of silicone around the holes in the floor, and around the bolt holes before you place the anchours back in. Apply a little pressure to the anchors to set them, then allow them to dry before bolting them back up. This will ensure the silicone retains a little resilience to compress and form a great seal rather than squeezing it too tight and risking a gap.

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