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 ย 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. ๐Ÿ˜‰ 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.ย 
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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!

6 thoughts on “The fun has begun!”

  1. RE: AMERICAN ROAD CAMPAH

    YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO REMOVE THE SHOWER CUBICLE UNLESS YOU CUT IT APART AT THE MOLDING SEAM…..”BEEN THERE”……..

    i DID A COMPLETE INTERIOUR SURFACE WITH CEDAR STRIP AND GREAT-STUFF WINDOW FOAM TO FILL-IN THE INSULATION….

    FEEL FREE TO CONTACT ME DIRECTLY…….I ALSO HAVE A COMPLETE OWNER MANUAL, SCANNED TO A .PDF I CAN SHARE…….

    I’VE RESEARCHED A LOT OF STUFF……..MAYBE I CAN SUGGEST……..??

    1. Hi Fred,
      Thank you for your helpful response.
      I did discover the shower stall seam that’s screwed together yesterday and realized that without taking it apart, it’s roughly 1/2″ too wide to get through the window opening. I got about 1/3 of the (much resented)rusted-in clutch head screws out last night. Will finish today.
      I have the owners manual and some other documents and literature. Supposedly, AR camper dealers had factory service/repair manuals for handling warranty claims. I’ve searched high and low but come up empty handed. Even if they didn’t shed much light, it would be interesting to have for the archives.

      When I inherited the site from Johnny, he sent a disc with pictures he had collected from other owners. I’m pretty sure I have some of your camper. I’d love to add them to the site and include you in the registry, with your permission, of course.

      It was nice to hear from you, Fred. Thank you.

      Best regards,
      Tony

    1. Hi Jimmy,
      That’s not a bad idea! After all, had the windows been sealed with something better than modeling clay, they would’ve lasted a little longer. I’m also trying to decide on asking Ford to do a warranty repair on the red 350. The original right rear axle seal started leaking on the last trip. It should’ve done better than 42 years, dontcha think?
      ๐Ÿ˜‰ (Just in case anyone reading this thinks we’re serious, of course we’re not)

      Tony

  2. Your a brave man tackling the whole interior in one shot, and while the camper is still on that freshly painted truck! Your truck turned out very notice by the way.
    I can’t believe the amount of water damage you have there. Makes me scared to tear into mine. “Much resented” clutch head screws,.. that’s an understatement! LOL
    Good luck with it and keep us posted on the progress.
    I’m pulling my bunk area windows out on the weekend. I think I found a window channel felt that will work better than what I have in there now. Wish me luck, I’ll let you know how it goes.

    Frank

    1. Hi Frank,
      So far, so good. After gutting the thing, the glass shell is pretty light and not strained like it was. I’m doing the wood in 3 phases, all the while supporting the shell. Once the side structures (which are pretty much not doing anything, anyway, as rotten as they are) are replaced and reinforced, I’ll jack the camper body up and move it rearward about a foot. I’ll then drop it back down on the bed and support it with the truck bed plus the jacks. Then the rear floorboard will be replaced. The front floor is still good, surprisingly. Once everything is solid, I’ll take it off the truck altogether and rebuild the bunk. I hope the truck doesn’t get messed up, but I know the guy who painted it. He can just do some more p&b if need be. :)

      Tony

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