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More camper rebuilding fun!

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Peekaboo! Looking down through the inside of the gutted camper to the truck bedside. The plywood panel that once covered this area was rotten.

The picture featured at the top shows Saturday’s progress. Still a long way to go, but it feels good to see the nasty, rotten wood, being replaced with new.  The new panel shown in the feature photo at the top, is almost ready to be permanently glued, stapled, screwed, and fiberglassed to the shell. But before that can happen, the missing vertical studs and appliance framing needs to be created.  Stay tuned!

Thank you for following along as we learn how to save our camper (and have an adventure before the real adventure begins!). Yeah, it might be easier to buy a new one, but what fun would THAT be? :-)

’til next time,

Michelle & Tony

americanroandcamper.com

 

 

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Looking from the outside-in through the propane tank storage area. This is what’s behind the gray plastic liner.
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We’ll be nervous until the structure inside is back in place. We have  placed several jacks around the perimeter of the shell as support. No disasters, please.
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Looking out the refrigerator access door. The once-wood frame is hardly there. Under that, is a 2×4 that was glassed to the shell as additional support. The fiberglass is still there. The 2×4 is long gone from rot.
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…and next to the refrigerator lives the furnace. More rot.
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And to the right of the furnace is the space for the water heater. No wonder everything felt so loose and flimsy.
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Starting to scrape off the sprayed on insulation around the affected areas.
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Laying the rotten panel on top of the replacement plywood to use as a pattern. Not much to go on.

 

The fun has begun!

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Knowing all along that this day was coming didn’t make it any easier to swallow. 42 years, + the fact that this camper spent its entire life outdoors on the west coast and  in the northwest. Despite the fact that the AR camper had a wonderful one piece fiberglass shell, it still had an inner structure and floor made of wood. The roof vents, windows, and plumbing all developed leaks over the years and caused the damage shown in the pictures.
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Everyone who owns one of these is aware of the incredibly weak jack lifting points. Particularly the RR corner. All it consists of is a small 3/16″ steel plate bolted to the 5/8″ plywood. The plywood is attached to the body along the sides by 1×2 wood strips which are glued to the shell with fiberglass resin. . I’m hoping to re-engineer this area and will post my updated fixes as they happen.
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The rear door seal was prone to leaking, also. The rear entry footwell had carpeting which only compounded the problem. I’m willing to bet that most of these campers have rot issues in this area, unless they’ve been indoors their entire life.
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Looks a lot like Walter White’s utility closet. I think he made a reference to “fruiting bodies”. Looks an awful lot like rotten wood, to me. 😉 I do know that he showed a LOT more enthusiasm tackling his mess, than I am feeling at the moment.
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The right side structure that supports the refrigerator, furnace, and (leaking) water heater is heavily damaged. It will really feel great once these areas are like new again. Or I should say, hopefully better than new.
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Just plain scary. Nasty.
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The stuff bad dreams are made of.
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Kind of sad that this is the best example out of our 3 campers. I’m hoping that doing he next one will be a breeze. (Yeah, right)
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One thing I’m pretty sure of is that I will be able to remove the shower stall through the dining area window. It looks like a tight fit, but doable. I’m thinking this has got to be how Starcraft did it. There’s really no other way. If this works out,I believe our parts/donor camper has a pristine shower, plus it was equipped a Thetford marine toilet and a holding tank. I’d much rather have that than the Monomatic recirculating beast, affectionately referred to by people in the industry as the “fecal fountain”. There’s a lot of behind-the-shower-stall plumbing involved, to switch to the marine job. Not really possible, or as least practical, without pulling the enclosure out. This should be a win-win. 
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Just more of the fun…
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The wooden framing around the dining window needs help, too. :-/ Stay tuned for some progress reports!