Bigfoot 17 remodeling ?'s - Fiberglass RV


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Old 01-01-2011, 04:46 PM   #1
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Name: Kevin (Ken)
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Bigfoot 17 remodeling ?'s

Hello. I am about to tear out most of the woodwork/cabinetry in my Bigfoot, except the bathroom and kitchen. I will be replacing the dinette with a couch and replacing the gaucho/bunkbed with a more elevated twin or x-long twin bed, a dog bed alcove beneath, and redesigned storage areas.

Anyway my question right now is about the post that goes from floor to ceiling that encloses the gaucho area. Does anyone know what is in there, and whether it has a structural function?

It looks to me like it could contain a stout board or steel pole that serves a stabilizing function like a stud, or it could just be cosmetic, aside from holding up the bunk/shelf, which I will remove/redo. I might need to remove/replace it to fit an x-long twin mattress in there. X-longs are supposed to be 80" long, and I'm only measuring about 77.5" at most at the height where I want the mattress.

If there is a big advantage to leaving it intact, I could leave the whole little wall-like structure alone and use a regular twin mattress (75"), but I might rather have a longer bed if possible.

Also, has anyone had any luck painting the fake wood paneling? It looks like it could be some kind of plastic that is very hard to get paint to stick to.
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Old 01-01-2011, 05:55 PM   #2
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Gosh I'm sorry I can't help. BUT, please post pictures as you go along. Sounds like a workable layout for others

If it's plastic you want to paint, try Fusion paint.. formulated for plastics.
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Old 01-01-2011, 06:47 PM   #3
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I will get to some pictures soon. I think it will be a much better layout for a single person full time or for long trips. A dinette is okay for family dinners and so forth but not much good for reading or watching video on my laptop, whereas the Ikea couch/bed I am putting in is versatile, servings as a couch for hanging out, dog bed and decent place for a guest to sleep as it sits. I will take care of the table needs by making a lap table or two and some kind of fold-up table that all stow away.

IKEA | Sofa beds | Sofa-beds | BEDDINGE RESMO | Sofa bed

Likewise, for long term/full-time sleeping, I don't think those foam pads are going to be much fun. I am going to try to work out a deal with an Ikea slat frame and relatively thin mattress which will open up space underneath.

And, with no need for a convertible bunk above, that whole contraption seems like a lot of unnecessary weight. When I look at all the material I will remove vs what I will build, I think the trailer might lose a significant chunk of weight overall. I won't be able to weigh before and after, but if someone can give me a real weight on a stock late 80's/early 90's Bigfoot 17, I can weigh it later when finished and get an estimate. I have read that the official dry weight of 1875 lbs is way low.

re paint: I am aware of that Fusion paint, but have not heard anyone except Krylon testify that it works very well. I used it on a couple of plastic shower lining panels once. It stuck okay, but it was a major pain to do, a huge breathing hazard, a worse overspray mess, and never really looked anything like a real brushed-on paint job.
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Old 01-01-2011, 07:01 PM   #4
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BF17 roof support.

I have a 1993 17CB which doesn't have a post next to the door. However, the bathroom is across from the door and may serve a similar support function.
If you look at the older floor layouts, and I think there were 3 (Gaucho, Center Bath, and Front Bath(?)), you should see if that support is really needed. I suspect that the outside molds were the same in manufacturing and that support isn't essential, unless you are in high snow load or roof storage requirements. I think a rooftop AC, like I have, would probably need the bathroom wall or the Gaucho support post! Or, drop a line to the present Bigfoot Owners and see what they recommend.
Good luck.
Mike .....>


Quote:
Originally Posted by pindraak View Post
Hello. I am about to tear out most of the woodwork/cabinetry in my Bigfoot, except the bathroom and kitchen. I will be replacing the dinette with a couch and replacing the gaucho/bunkbed with a more elevated twin or x-long twin bed, a dog bed alcove beneath, and redesigned storage areas.

Anyway my question right now is about the post that goes from floor to ceiling that encloses the gaucho area. Does anyone know what is in there, and whether it has a structural function?

It looks to me like it could contain a stout board or steel pole that serves a stabilizing function like a stud, or it could just be cosmetic, aside from holding up the bunk/shelf, which I will remove/redo. I might need to remove/replace it to fit an x-long twin mattress in there. X-longs are supposed to be 80" long, and I'm only measuring about 77.5" at most at the height where I want the mattress.

If there is a big advantage to leaving it intact, I could leave the whole little wall-like structure alone and use a regular twin mattress (75"), but I might rather have a longer bed if possible.

Also, has anyone had any luck painting the fake wood paneling? It looks like it could be some kind of plastic that is very hard to get paint to stick to.
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Old 01-01-2011, 07:29 PM   #5
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Ken, lots of folks here have used Fusion paint on plastics used on the exterior... like vents, etc. to protect from UVs. But you're right, those are small pieces and can be sprayed outside.
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Old 01-01-2011, 10:12 PM   #6
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Donna:

I have to admit that my one experience with the Krylon was successful. I may have successfully used it to spray paint a boom box too, I can't remember what I used. I imagine the complaining is because there are so many different types of plastic and it probably doesn't work very well on some, especially less solid and more flexible plastics. I'll consider using it on vents and so forth.

MP:

I wonder how it is attached well enough, top and bottom, to be structural. If I can figure out how, then I might be able to replace it with something as minimal as a steel tube, if I decide to remove it. I think it might be worth some trouble to fit an x-long in there. I wonder whether those few inches of entryway cabinet are that useful anyway.

Here is a draft of the intended layout, assuming the post structure stays as is, with a standard twin mattress:
Attached Thumbnails
layoutweb1.jpg  
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Old 01-02-2011, 06:35 AM   #7
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Ken,
I have no idea of the interior structure of the wall, but here is a link to a photo of it. What year is your Bigfoot?

1980 Bigfoot :: rear gaucho bed & bunk picture by tomNjo - Photobucket
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Old 01-02-2011, 12:24 PM   #8
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Post From my "Trailer Weights in the Real World" thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by pindraak View Post
I won't be able to weigh before and after, but if someone can give me a real weight on a stock late 80's/early 90's Bigfoot 17, I can weigh it later when finished and get an estimate. I have read that the official dry weight of 1875 lbs is way low.
I only weighed one 17' Bigfoot during my rally weigh-ins but IIRC it was the same floor-plan as yours:
LENGTH__MAKE_____MODEL______AXLE___TONGUE__TOTAL
17.5' _____Bigfoot__________________4040_____360______44 00

This would be a fully-loaded as-towed-down-the-road weight.
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Old 01-02-2011, 12:31 PM   #9
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LOL! Let me know when you are done. I lust after a BF 17 side gaucho and have intent to do with it almost exactly as you are, for exactly the same reasons.
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Old 01-02-2011, 01:11 PM   #10
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My Bigfoot is a 1988. The weigh stat above says "17.5" feet, which I gather weren't made until 2005, so there could be a difference. I found mention that the dry weight of the 2004 is listed at 2610 pounds, which is over 700 more than the equivalent official listing for mine. If my trailer were loaded that heavily, it would exceed the axle rating by 500 pounds.

I guess I'll never know the "before" weight, as it is not worth the trouble to me to haul it somewhere and weigh it right now just for curiosity. I am going to try to keep things as light as possible, using my capped truck bed for most of my storage needs, minimal camp-type kitchen gear, etc... I plan to apply the same philosophy I used for international travel in limiting luggage to one carry-on bag. The only heavy things I plan on adding are an air conditioner and extra batteries.
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Old 01-02-2011, 03:14 PM   #11
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Our 1980 15B17G weighed 2290 lbs. at a CAT scales when we first got it. That number does not include the tongue weight. This was without any camping gear, water, battery or air conditioner; but with propane. I assume our dry weight is 2400-2500 lbs. with new AC and battery. Our early model lacks a hot water heater, shower, and gray water tank and has a very small frig. As the newer 17' models were filled with more features the weight went up.
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Old 01-02-2011, 06:16 PM   #12
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I gutted out all the wood from the gaucho area today. The little wall is just a 1x6 board and 1/4 inch plywood across the front. I doubt it provides much support, but it could.

Raising up the bed enough to make it a loft with a dog bed underneath doesn't look like it will work. The wheel well/housing takes up too much of the floor space by the door, and raising up the bed high enough would result in the mattress intersecting the windows. This would make them useless as there would be no way to operate shades/curtains properly and/or the sun would be right there in my face while sleeping. The only option would be to black them out permanently, which I don't like for a number of reasons.

That top bunk thing was really heavy, and the whole lower slider + closet area contained what I consider a lot of unnecessary wood and hardware, so the trailer probably will lose some weight. I think I will put in a lighter shelf above, just for clothes and coats, maybe even a sort of wire basket of some kind.

If I leave the gaucho wall intact, the bed space is 75" long - just right for a standard twin. If I want to put in an x-long twin, I'll have to remove the wall, and it will come out to even with the door, so no wall at all. It could still be doable. For structural support, I could install a pole right at the corner of the bed, which would be stronger than a 1x6 and closer to the middle anyway.
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Old 01-02-2011, 06:44 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pindraak View Post
I guess I'll never know the "before" weight, as it is not worth the trouble to me to haul it somewhere and weigh it right now just for curiosity.
Maybe you could weigh the stuff you take out of it to get a rough difference?

Regards

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Old 01-02-2011, 07:15 PM   #14
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I think there a couple advantages to leaving the little wall in place. One roof support, and two keeps the trailer a bit more rigid around the door (stops the wall from sagging out). As for painting I sanded the plastic film off the paneling, not hard but very dusty. I didn't have much choice in the matter but I would of rather had not to do it. I really don't want painted walls.
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