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Camper progress report

It’s been a productive week. The camper is starting to take shape. Most of the decayed structure has now been rebuilt. We’re now going back together with the rear floor area. The right and left side support areas are mostly back together. We still have a few more studs to replace and then fiberglass all of the areas where it’s required. Once we get to that point, we’ll address the inherently weak lifting points and beef it up with additional steel reinforcements. Stay tuned! Thanks for following along while we learn as we go. This really is a fun adventure! Really!

Tony & Michelle

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Here is the rotten rear floor panel that has been removed. Nice, huh! :)
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The right side structure that supports the refrigerator, furnace, water heater and dinette was seriously shot. It felt really great to see this section come back to life.
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Another view of the dinette side before the window was reinstalled.
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Framing in the appliance access areas.
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Peekaboo! The nasty, rotten  structure was removed exposing the truck bed.
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Sorry that the pictures are in no particular order. Here is where we are today. Both side structural areas are mostly together and the rear floor panel is glued in place. Still lacking are rear wall studs, some other reinforcements, and the fiberglass work which bonds the wood to the body. Getting close and it feels and we think, looks, really good. 
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Before the side structure went in, the forward camper body 2×4 supports had to be cut out and replaced. They are screwed to the lower body skirt and held in place with fiberglass mat and epoxy resin. There is one of these on each forward side. One under the refrigerator area and one under the kitchen sink.
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One reason the wood rots in these is that the windows were installed with a low quality, very typical in the RV industry, gray putty tape and non-stainless steel screws. The putty dries out and the screws rust away. The water seeps in and in no time, the wood structure behind the fiberglass body goes away. We have hopefully corrected the problem by using an automotive grade window butyl tape and stainless steel screws. I pity the person who ever tries to remove one of the windows in the future.

 

4 thoughts on “Camper progress report”

  1. Tony– Your bravery at digging into this amazes! The progress so far looks really good. Can’t wait to see the “cosmetics” as it goes along.

    1. Thank you, Jo!
      There was a time early on where we wondered, WHAT HAVE WE GOTTEN OURSELVES INTO??!! (So what else is new? How long have you known me? That’s my MO!)
      We can sort of see the light at the end of the tunnel, and this time it’s not a train headed right towards us! Having Norm’s help and expertise has been priceless, too. Just his moral support alone, has been huge.

      So, get ready! It won’t be too much longer and we’ll all have to head for the mountains! Can’t wait! 😀
      T

  2. Tony, I’m amazed at the talent you have for restoration. All your pictures and commentary make me want to get involved….maybe I should take my AR apart just for the fun of putting it back together! Think I’ll spend my time camping. But your findings do make a person question the amount of wood rot that might be hidden behind the walls – didn’t realize the water issues with the windows. Thanks for all the information you pass on. Will be following your progress!

    1. Hi Carol,

      Thank you for your kind words! 😄
      I don’t think I’d take your camper apart just to put it back together. Trust me. It ain’t THAT much fun!
      However, these campers are old, and it couldn’t hurt to do some preventive maintenance around the windows, roof vents, and back door. If your camper is still pretty solid in the areas prone to leaking, taking steps now will save a lot of headaches down the road. Not to mention, your camper is only original, once. Ok! I’ll hop down off my soapbox.
      While you’re off camping ENJOYING your camper (while I’m digging splinters out of my hands), please take some pictures and send them in! We’d all love to see your camper! After all, as far as this site goes, I believe you are the one and only original owner. That is something to be proud of, Carol. 😀
      Have a great week!
      Tony

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