Bigfoot reno (What did we get ourselves into) - Fiberglass RV



Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 03-03-2019, 07:29 PM   #1
Junior Member
 
Name: Denise
Trailer: BigFoot
British Columbia
Posts: 1
Bigfoot reno (What did we get ourselves into)

Hi everyone! This is my first ever post! We bought a 1979 17Ft bigfoot trailer last summer. Didn't know it leaked until November storms in Vancouver BC. So now we had to gut it (was not planning on that) and have taken the windows out and are having them repaired. Will do the vents too. We are slightly changing the floor plan to get at least one bed to be a double size, therefore the heater has to come out. We want to install a combo Air conditioner/heat pump preferably in the ceiling. If we installed one under the bench it will be noisy and cool or hot under our heads at night. My question isill either type be warm enough for Canadian cold, I am not talking about winter, but to deal with snow in the Rockies in August?
thanks so much!
PS. I am looking at Dometic's Ac's
__________________

Dannyand Denise is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2019, 01:56 PM   #2
Senior Member
 
Name: Josh & Sonya
Trailer: '97 Casita SD 17; 03 Bigfoot 25RQ
Arizona
Posts: 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dannyand Denise View Post
Hi everyone! This is my first ever post! We bought a 1979 17Ft bigfoot trailer last summer. Didn't know it leaked until November storms in Vancouver BC. So now we had to gut it (was not planning on that) and have taken the windows out and are having them repaired. Will do the vents too. We are slightly changing the floor plan to get at least one bed to be a double size, therefore the heater has to come out. We want to install a combo Air conditioner/heat pump preferably in the ceiling. If we installed one under the bench it will be noisy and cool or hot under our heads at night. My question isill either type be warm enough for Canadian cold, I am not talking about winter, but to deal with snow in the Rockies in August?
thanks so much!
PS. I am looking at Dometic's Ac's
Hi Danny and Denise,

Getting an AC with an electric heat strip is a good idea, particularly if you are mostly planning on camping with hookups. However, taking out your propane heater is, in my opinion, a bad idea, especially if your unit is in the 2500 series, and has thicker, winter insulation, double pane windows, and an enclosure for the fresh water, gray & black tanks under the trailer. I'm not sure if those options were available back in 1979; it should be fairly easy to check.

If you do have that thermal protection against freezing, it is dependent on having the hot air distribution ducts running through the tank area to keep the tanks (and plumbing) from freezing. That is all part of the propane heating system.

The propane is great to have if/when you decide to start boondocking, or even if you just find yourself needing to spend a night or two at a Walmart during your travails.

We have a small electric heater that we use when we are on shore power. However, during the winter, I watch the hourly weather forecast every day. If the temperature is supposed to go below freezing, I'll turn off the electric heater when the outside temp gets down to about 34F, and turn on the propane heater, to make sure the tanks and plumbing stay safe. At night, we leave the propane heater thermostat set at it's lowest level, which keeps the cabin at 52F. If the temperature is not supposed to go below freezing and we are hooked up to shore power, we'll use the electric heater until we go to bed and then shut it off. If we are paying for hookups, we use the electric heat to save on propane.

I would set our thermostat to 45-48F if I could; can't do that unless I change the original thermostat to an electronic unit. We sleep in long underwear under a heavy down quilt, so don't mind the cold.

Hope this helps,
Josh
__________________

Josh and Sonya W is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2019, 05:23 PM   #3
Senior Member
 
ZachO's Avatar
 
Name: Zach
Trailer: 91 Bigfoot 17
Montana
Posts: 1,614
Registry
1979 did not offer any of those 4-season options.

I don't think the AC/Heat puts out much heat, but someone with actual experience will let you know. It definitely won't do you any good unless you're plugged in. And what you're comfortable in really depends mostly on how much cold you're willing to tolerate.

If you look at it like "camping", then having interior temps at 30F at night, and 50F during the day is fine, and you'd likely be fine without real heat. If you want your camper to function like a house and be "room temperature", I think you're going to need either your propane heater or an actual electric space heater and be plugged in to shore power.
ZachO is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2019, 08:46 PM   #4
Junior Member
 
Name: Brynn
Trailer: Bigfoot 17 1984
Manitoba
Posts: 2
Hey, I’d love to know what you’re doing, see some pictures. I have a 1984 17’ Bigfoot
I’d also like to make a permanent bed...
My grand plan is the take out the bathroom and remove the entire kitchen.
Put 2 or 3 bed bunks along the back.
But I need some more options since I can’t get a clear answer on if the inside structures (inside walls, bathroom walls, little wall by the door) are actually structural and help it keep its shape.
Where are you planning a bed ?
I hate the teardown and set up every night
Brynn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2019, 08:47 PM   #5
Junior Member
 
Name: Brynn
Trailer: Bigfoot 17 1984
Manitoba
Posts: 2
I should also ad that our windows leak too, and around the lights so we need to do all that as well..
and I’m worried the floor is rotting underneath
Brynn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-08-2019, 07:06 PM   #6
Member
 
Name: Martin
Trailer: Bigfoot 27.5 Front bed
Missouri
Posts: 58
Check with Bigfoot to see if the roof on a 79 is reinforced for an air conditioner they involve quite a bit of weight.
__________________
2008 Bigfoot 27.5FB Anniversary Edition
Tug 2005 Suburban 3/4 ton with 8.1 liter engine.
Martin A is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-09-2019, 09:05 AM   #7
Senior Member
 
ZachO's Avatar
 
Name: Zach
Trailer: 91 Bigfoot 17
Montana
Posts: 1,614
Registry
That's a good point I forgot about. The early Bigfoots had issues with weak roofs, from what I've been told. Since it's such a wide, flat surface, it can have more issues than the egg shapes. I think they addressed it some time in the 80s, but this is all rumor. But the modern Bigfoot trailers have a stronger roof than most fiberglass trailers. I can walk around on mine with no issues.
ZachO is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-09-2019, 11:14 AM   #8
Senior Member
 
Name: Francois
Trailer: Bigfoot
British Columbia
Posts: 1,123
Registry
second Zacho...

the early models had roofs that sometimes caused problems....those were never designed to have AC units on the roof. If a roof leak developed it would cause the interior ceiling panels to deteriorate/buckle....Sometime around 88 or 9 the roofs were built differently (allowing for ACs) and are stronger overall. This is when the "1500" designation first appeared...with "rat fur" ceiling treatment glued to the entire ceiling (as opposed to hard ceiling panels, with seams)


If you're in BC I would think that the NEED for AC might be less than you imagine. Maybe you want to travel down south with the trailer...I don't know.
In BC good/strong ventilation would be enough IMO. For heat, if it was me, I would consider a little propane heater/fireplace widely used in boats...the interior volume being about the same. Brand name Newport or Dickinson. Those are B vented, using outside air for combustion and real quiet.
Franswa is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-09-2019, 04:45 PM   #9
Senior Member
 
Name: bill
Trailer: 2013 Escape 19; 1977 Trillium 1300
The Mountains of North Carolina
Posts: 1,975
Registry
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brynn View Post
I should also ad that our windows leak too, and around the lights so we need to do all that as well..
and Im worried the floor is rotting underneath
Investigate closely, look for soft spots in the floor. Be sure to check inside cabinetry too.

Roof likely will NOT support roof top air. Would take significant changes to go that way.

The less a trailer meets your requirements, the easier it is to just sell it and start with another one. In the world of FG trailers, you typically won't lost much on the sale. On the older FG trailers, its rare to find one where the roof will support AC.

In the meantime, since you have leaks, you need to keep the unit under cover, or you risk further damage.
thrifty bill is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-09-2019, 04:51 PM   #10
Senior Member
 
Name: bill
Trailer: 2013 Escape 19; 1977 Trillium 1300
The Mountains of North Carolina
Posts: 1,975
Registry
[QUOTE=Brynn;734862]Hey, Id love to know what youre doing, see some pictures. I have a 1984 17 Bigfoot
Id also like to make a permanent bed...
My grand plan is the take out the bathroom and remove the entire kitchen.
Put 2 or 3 bed bunks along the back.
But I need some more options since I cant get a clear answer on if the inside structures (inside walls, bathroom walls, little wall by the door) are actually structural and help it keep its shape./QUOTE]

I would assume any walls that go vertical, from the floor to the ceiling, are support. Any walls by doors are support, its a weak area structurally on trailers. Its why you see so many brands have a closet right next to the door. Even horizontal cabinets add structural strength. In addition, many of the older FG trailers did not have enough support so you will see many with sagging roofs.
thrifty bill is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-09-2019, 08:11 PM   #11
Senior Member
 
ZachO's Avatar
 
Name: Zach
Trailer: 91 Bigfoot 17
Montana
Posts: 1,614
Registry
Francois, do you know for sure that the carpeted ceiling and stronger roof came at the same time? My camper is a 91, pretty close to the dates you mention, and I do not have a carpeted ceiling. I wonder if I still have the weaker roof.
ZachO is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-10-2019, 09:25 AM   #12
Senior Member
 
Name: Francois
Trailer: Bigfoot
British Columbia
Posts: 1,123
Registry
nothing....

by now you must know that nothing is "for sure" when talking about BFs and specific models/features/years.....but you say that you walk on yours with no issues so yours must be a "1500" model......I guess....and I was wrong then about when the "rat fur" made it's appearance.


another clue is the front rock guard....if the supports/struts are INSIDE the rock guard it's a "1500".....earlier models had a flat rock guard with the supports outside (visible when closed)


from what I've seen the "changeover" happened around 88, give or take a year.....and might not have been on one particular day (could have been both models produced for a while, using up "old" shells)


mine is a 97....the "rat fur" is applied early in the process, before any cabinets and even the bathroom are installed....here's pics of bathroom ceiling showing good detail of roof construction
Attached Thumbnails
roof.jpg   roof2.jpg  

roof3.jpg   clean2.jpg  

Franswa is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-10-2019, 10:09 AM   #13
Senior Member
 
ZachO's Avatar
 
Name: Zach
Trailer: 91 Bigfoot 17
Montana
Posts: 1,614
Registry
You're right, nothing is for sure and certainly no change ever happened all at once on one date.

I do have the same rock guard as you, with the struts inside.

As far as roof strength, I'll never install AC, but I would like to get ~100watts of solar panels up there, so I do plan to put a little weight there permanently. I like the flexibility of my portable panels, but I'd really like to have something always charging the battery, and supplementing my current panels.

Back to the original thread topic...

Everyone has their own "needs" but I agree AC is not needed if you mostly stay in the north, the intermountain region or high elevation desert. At least in those places, the nights are always cold enough to keep the camper cool and there isn't much humidity. It may start getting pretty hot by 3pm, but at that point the sun is about to start cooling off, and if you can park in shade, you're all set. With the older models, it sounds like you'd definitely need to reinforce the roof somehow to support AC. It's a big project but if you're truly gutting the thing anyway, then it's really not a big deal to reinforce the ceiling.
ZachO is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-10-2019, 11:25 AM   #14
Senior Member
 
Name: Francois
Trailer: Bigfoot
British Columbia
Posts: 1,123
Registry
good answer....

good answer on the AC thing, Zac...



when you say: " I'd really like to have something always charging the battery"
I came to the same conclusion as I tend to travel most days while on a trip so I wasn't getting anything during prime sun hours. I've had 70W (40+30) on the roof and 40W portable...and that worked well enough for my usage.



This fall I picked up two 50W on a real good sale...didn't quite know what I was going to do with them....then somebody stole my 40W portable... in my backyard, of all places!
So now I think I'll put the two 50W on the roof and use one 40W that was up there as a portable, as I have a really good storage solution for that particular size already built-in. The extra 30W of horsepower on the roof will be a bonus and just about "optimum" for me.
Attached Thumbnails
spnew.jpg   solarsto2.jpg  

sig8.jpg  
__________________

Franswa is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
bigfoot


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Tried really hard but couldn't make ourselves do it... TheWanderers General Chat 15 11-18-2017 12:15 PM
Steps to get into 5th wheel bed Jerry in Colorado Modifications, Alterations and Updates 6 11-19-2013 07:10 AM
How to get 12 volt into Campster teri85 Electrical | Charging, Systems, Solar and Generators 7 03-18-2012 01:25 PM
How do you get the reflectex insulation into the Burro cavities ? Rusty01 Problem Solving | Owners Helping Owners 10 02-05-2007 08:32 AM
Introducing ourselves Rick and Shannen General Chat 35 02-24-2006 08:49 AM

» Upcoming Events
No events scheduled in
the next 465 days.
» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by


Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 02:57 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions Inc.