AFTER YOU BUY: The rebuilding of Sputnik
by: Elaine Andree
From the moment we laid eyes on an antique teardrop at a Route 66 festival, we were smitten. We began researching teardrops online and when we found the T@B trailers, we knew we’d found the perfect camper for us. One important reason we chose the T@B was the fact that we didn’t want to build our own, knowing we’d probably never finish it if we started such a big project. Finally, in 2006, after several years of waiting and watching for one, our dream became a reality. We brought home our very own Jolt Grey & silver T@B, christened it Sputnik and immediately began camping.
We traveled on short weekend trips, holiday weekends and long vacations, loving every minute of our travels with Sputnik. We had gone from camping anonymously in our tent to giving tours and answering questions about our teardrop wherever we went.
Fast forward to 2013, and it was very evident that there were some major issues with Sputnik. What had begun as a barely noticeable “soft spot” in the walkway in front of the fridge became more and more pronounced and was now a major source of concern. The curb side wheel fender was actually rubbing on the tire because the entire side had started to slip down. We attended a factory sponsored rally and had the technicians do an underbody inspection, which revealed that the floor was badly deteriorated. They installed a couple of I-beams to help support the floor and we began to look at our options.
Without a floor replacement, our T@B would be worth little to nothing as a trade in and we couldn’t afford a new trailer without getting something for it. Having the factory fix the floor was a possibility, but without knowing the full extent of the damage, we did not have a good estimate for the total cost of the repair.