Converting Scamp 5er Loft - Page 4 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-23-2007, 03:26 AM   #43
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Adding to my last reply and fresh back from the Oregon Gathering, I'd like to mention that my Scamp 5th Wheel Conversion was sitting right next to Ian and Paddy's Escape 5th Wheel, so we had a fun time comparing our two trailers.

I have to say that, after all my custom-to-my-wants-and-needs modifications, I like my 5er better. That would be true of any trailer I put this much work and planning into. That effort aside, here's my take on the general similarities and differences between my Scamp 5th Wheel conversion and the Escape 5th Wheel.

Loft Area: Both the Escape and my Scamp have a similarly-sized, slightly-smaller than a standard Queen sized bed (with Escape's bed being slightly larger) with overhead cabinets on either side. The Scamp, however, has more headroom. You can comfortably sit up with your back to the "headboard" wall of my Scamp and read, even stretch your arms upward a little, but the Escape's low, sloping roofing profile and angled forward wall don't leave room for anyone to sit up and read -- or engage in other activities requiring vertical space -- in bed. The advantage here goes to the Scamp.

Dinette Area: The Escape 5th Wheel has a "U-shaped" dinette layout that is hands-down nicer than anything I could do with my Scamp. This is partly because the Escape is slightly wider and partly because Escape has square corners that allow them to make much better use of the interior space in the main body of their trailer. I might try to steal some ideas from the Escape dinette for my remodel project, but given the limitations of the Scamp shell, the back of my trailer will never be as nice as the Escape 5th Wheel.

Storage: Both my trailer conversion and the Escape have a pretty fair amount of storage space for a small trailer. Both have a closet with hang-space for clothes, my trailer has a big chest-of-drawers (the Escape doesn't), but the Escape has many exterior hatches that make their many of their storage spaces more accessible. My take on storage is my Scamp conversion and the Escape 5er are on fairly equal footing.

General Construction: Hands down, the Escape wins. Every Escape trailer I have looked at has excellent fit and finish. Sure, If I look hard I can find a flaw or two, but I didn't have to look very hard at my 2005 Scamp to find examples of cut corners and lower-quality workmanship. With time and energy I can fix most of my Scamp's issues, but many of these fixes should never have been necessary in the first place. Advantage to the Escape.

Bathrooms: My converted "standard" layout has a privacy room with a toilet and shower you can use when seated. It's fine as a toilet enclosure, but kinda cramped as a shower. The Escape has a larger bathroom with toilet, standing shower, and sink. Our bathroom works just fine for our toilet needs, and is OK compromise on the rare occasion when I feel the need to shower in our trailer. If you have full hookups most of the time (because you'll run out of fresh water or gray water holding capacity if you don't) and like taking showers in your trailer, the Escape is much nicer.

My conversion aside, the standard Scamp 5er layouts do have a few advantages not offered by the Escape 5er. While the "Standard" layout loft is smaller, roughly 60" deep by 72" side-to-side, standard layout has a convertible gaucho sofa/bunk that you can put two kids in, bringing the sleeping capacity of the standard layout to six. (Two in the loft, two in the dinette, and two in the gaucho.) The "Deluxe" layout has the same small loft mattress, but replaces the gaucho with a larger bathroom (toilet, sink, and standing shower) that creates an isolated loft room that might be just the thing for couples with different sleeping hours or a need for privacy from activities in the rest of the trailer. So, as long as you can sleep comfortably in the six-foot loft bed (as many people do), there are some powerful reasons to choose a Scamp.

In summary, if you want a longer bed or want a bed that's arranged so you don't have to crawl over your bunkmate to get in or out of the loft, your choices are converting a Scamp or buying an Escape 5er. If you have the money and aren't worried about the reduced headroom of the Escape loft, that should be your first choice. If you want that extra headroom, your only option is converting a Scamp 5th wheel "standard" layout or finding someone who is willing to sell theirs.

Just be aware that converting the loft is a long, involved process that requires design and woodworking skills, some understanding of how to work with and repair fiberglass, and a lot of time and patience.
If you don't need the loft space

There are reasons -- primarily the roomier loft space -- why you might prefer a Scamp 5er conversion to the Escape, but getting that Scamp conversion means either waiting for one of the rare loft conversions to come available or being a handy guy or gal with woodworking and other skills and the time to do the conversion. If you don't need that headroom in the loft the Escape 5th wheel is, in my opinion, a much nicer unit.

--Peter
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Old 07-23-2007, 03:28 AM   #44
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Peter, I just got caught up on your latest updates and all I can say is WOW! Chris and I were already impressed when we saw your 5th wheel at the April NOG, but now we are looking forward to seeing all your latest improvements at the October gathering.
Maureen
Thanks Maureen. I sure hope you two make it to the fall NOG. It'd be nice to see you and to see what Chris is planning for your new-to-you Bigfoor 5er project.

--Peter
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Old 07-23-2007, 07:15 PM   #45
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I have seen his mod first hand, and I must say, it is one of the nicest jobs I have ever seen in an egg.

It is quite aesthetically appealing, incredibly practicle, and for those of us who have the need, the dogs room is an outstanding idea and implemented VERY well. (A standard poodle lives in there!)

Nicely done Peter, and thanks so much for showing me!
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Old 07-23-2007, 09:47 PM   #46
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I have seen his mod first hand, and I must say, it is one of the nicestest jobs I have ever seen in an egg.
<blush> Thanks for the compliment, Gina. Glad you liked it.

--P
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Old 08-20-2007, 02:03 AM   #47
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Added a sconce light to the loft cabinetry.


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It's made from a Home Depot/Hampton Bay track light like this one, but with a brushed nickel-steel finish.



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To make the Home Depot light work I discarded the track-light attachment, swapped and re-wired the "GU10" lamp base to a standard auto/RV bayonet bulb base, spray painted a 3/8" fender washer to blend with the cabinetry. The lamp is attached to the cabinet using a 3/8" "T-Nut" that I re-tapped (used a tool to create bolt threads) to match the metric M10x1 thread that used to attach the fixture to its track mount.

If this works out well I'll convert four more and use them as reading lights in the corners over the loft bed and dinette.

--Peter
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Old 04-02-2008, 01:11 AM   #48
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Finally go the new hang-space closet door in


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Door closed

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And the view from the loft

I'm experimenting with a new door closure: Neodymium Magnets from K&J Magnetics. K&J sells sell these little 1/2" diameter by 1/8" thick magnets that have an amazing 13 pounds of pull force each; the magnets have a tapered hole inset for a wood screw, so you can attach them to a cabinet. I put one in the top and bottom corner of the door and epoxied one of those "L" shaped shelf supports into the door frame at the top and bottom to serve as a strike plate.


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It works really well. The door closes very securely and requires a small tug to get it open, but not so much that you feel like you have to work at it.

Next task: The bathroom door's gotta change!

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--Peter
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Old 04-27-2008, 07:55 PM   #49
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Hi, Peter.

Nice work on the loft mod! I hope to see it in person some day.

I converted my S19 last year too. In addition to length-wise sleeping in the loft I converted the rear dinette to a wraparound couch, plus a few other tweaks. You can check out pix on the Yahoo Scampers Mods+ group.
http://autos.ph.groups.yahoo.com/group/Sca...tos/browse/2b9f

Cheers
KB

PS- Isn't it fun trying to do custom cabinetry in such a beast!!
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Old 04-29-2008, 05:46 PM   #50
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Quote:
Hi, Peter.

Nice work on the loft mod! I hope to see it in person some day.

I converted my S19 last year too. In addition to length-wise sleeping in the loft I converted the rear dinette to a wraparound couch, plus a few other tweaks. You can check out pix on the Yahoo Scampers Mods+ group.
http://autos.ph.groups.yahoo.com/group/Sca...tos/browse/2b9f

Cheers
KB

PS- Isn't it fun trying to do custom cabinetry in such a beast!!
Yes, I've seen both your Scamp 19 photos, old and new trailers, and have to say they look great. You do such cool stuff! I'd love to see your trailer, too . . . I've even stolen a few ideas from you . . . more on that later.

The loft conversion has been quite the project. It's not actually done yet: I have yet to add in some detail boards that "box" in the windows, creating a valance and additional former that will help support the front end of the loft cabinets, more loft lights, and build a tool chest that sets under the bottom step up to the loft.

Those projects will come later. Right now I'm working backward through the trailer, working on projects like the bathroom door and such that give the rest of the trailer the same kind of look and finish as the loft. Bit-by-bit the trailer is shaping up nicely. Currently I'm replacing all the cabinet doors in the galley/kitchen area. The upper doors are installed now and all the lumber for the lower ones cut and either in the process of being glued together and sanded or waiting for stain and urethane finish. They'll all be done and installed by mid may. (Except for a new, tilt-out sponge and odds-n-ends panel that will go in later, when I do fiberglass cutting to replace our sink with a double bowl unit.) You'll like one of the doors I'm working on . . . its a removable tilt-out garbage can that makes better use of the under-sink space where the wheel well and water heater are located.

The next project I'm tackling is a "U" shaped dinette conversion. That's where stealing ideas from you comes in . . . The idea of freeing up some externally accessible storage by creating a rear bench seat/water tank with gauge window is genius! So I think that mod as will show up in our trailer in time for the Oregon gathering at Bandon this summer. After that I'll change out the upper cabinets over the dinette for something that both matches the woodwork elsewhere in the trailer and better meets our storage needs.

--Peter
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Old 04-29-2008, 06:35 PM   #51
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Peter, steal away. I shamelessly take good ideas from others all the time. Call it design leap frog.

I mostly hang out on Yahoo Scampers. We've had lots of discussion about different design elements we're both incorporating with our 5er mods. Feel free to chime in there too.

Cheers
KB
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Old 09-28-2008, 05:00 PM   #52
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A lot of people ask me if I have plans for the loft modifications I did last year. Unfortunately I didn't work from "plans," per se, just what was in my head. So yesterday I went out and took some measurements, looked at the pictures I took and sketched out the bulk of the project for you.


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These are not complete plans. I'm only covering how the platform that extends the loft bed out into where the gaucho sofa/bunk bed used to be was framed up and show you where the storage spaces I created are. These plans do not cover how to make the ribs, drawers, hang space closet, upper cabinets or other things I included in my remodel. I figure if you can follow the plans I'm providing you can probably figure the rest out for yourself. What I did there was customized to my preferences, anyway . . . chances are you'll want to do something different anyway.

A note about the former ribs. The bulky fiberglass supports Scamp installs on either side of the loft serve a valuable function; they support the roof and maintain the wall profile (or "form", which is why they're called "formers"), preventing the flexible walls of the fiberglass shell from puffing out and preventing the walls from flapping back and forth in the wind when the trailer is being towed. If you don't have them you'll get stress cracking at the lower front edge of the loft caused by the loft walls flexing and flapping in the breeze as you tow your trailer and your roof will eventually sag. In other words, you can't just take them out. My original posts show how I made my replacement ribs, and I think they're clear enough to explain most of how I did them. The only thing I'd like to add is that the final ribs have beveled stained-to-match 1x2 blocks on either side next to the trailer walls to give the screws holding them in place something to grab on to.

Materials:
Most of the framing I did was made from 1x2 hemlock "furring" strips because hemlock is lightweight, strong, and reasonably inexpensive. Joints between framing members are generally both glued (urethane wood glue) and screwed together using small angle irons. No nails were used anywhere. (The motion of the trailer while it's being towed would work the nails out.)

The loft deck extension and the side of the chest-of-drawers, and former ribs were cut from a single 4x8 sheet of pre-finished 3/8" hardwood plywood. I bought mine cheap at a factory seconds outlet and I bought extra for the other cabinets I planned to make, too. The step treads are 3/4" plywood, the floor of the dog kennel and under-stair storage cabinet are Masonite tempered hardboard, the walls of the laundry hamper, sides of the dog kennel, and back of the chest-of-drawers are made of pegboard. (Pegboard allows air to circulate and cuts down on mildew that occurs in the Pacific Northwest's dank, stale air during winter storage.).

I'll happily answer questions about these plans, but ask that you take a look at my earlier posts before asking questions to see if the information you need is already covered.


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Old 10-06-2008, 07:46 AM   #53
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Peter,

Just read your thread on the renovations to your Scamp 5th Wheel and I have to say it looks great! You must have some great carpentry skills. I have come across a 1984 Scamp 5th wheel near me and the owner is asking $6,500 for it but I'm sure I can get it for less. It has been sitting for a while and needs a lot of TLC to get it to the level I would be comfortable with before taking it on a long road trip.

I would consider buying this 5th wheel but I have a couple of problems I would have to overcome. One I can't keep it at my house due to housing restrictions so that's means I will have to rent a place to store it and I also would need a place to work on it. Do you store and work on your trailer at your house? How much time have you spent renovating your 5th wheel?

Thanks,

Tony
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Old 10-06-2008, 11:17 PM   #54
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Do you store and work on your trailer at your house? How much time have you spent renovating your 5th wheel?
We store our 5er at an RV yard. I could work on it there, but usually I bring it home and park it out front for a day or two here and there to work on it. When I was doing the framing work for the loft conversion it sat in the driveway for a week or so.

Lots of time. It's a hobby.
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Old 03-20-2009, 11:57 PM   #55
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I added reading lights in the corners of the loft. These are the last interior lights I have to install. (Or at least they would be if I wasn't planning to replace the upper cabinets over the dinette, where I'll have to un-install and re-install some lights.)


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Soon the loft project will be finished!
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Old 09-29-2012, 08:00 AM   #56
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Incredible job, congratulations! I love what you did. I picked up a "well used" 84 5er last summer for $2500 knowing that I was going to customize. Now it's that time of year to get working and I'm researching different ideas. This is the exciting stage, at least until I run into all the tech difficulties, lol. What other sources might you or anyone else point me to that you either looked at or WISHED you had looked at before you started. Currently I've spent my time and money dealing with road worthiness issues (ie. tires, brakes, lights, new style hitch, etc).
Also, I have had some experiance in the past with thin lightweight "real wood" veneers. I've been planing on covering the outside surfaces of the fiberglass cabinets. Has anyone here tried that and, if so, how does it hold up in the humidity.
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