DIY or have it professionally done? - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 11-10-2014, 04:06 PM   #15
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Name: Sharon
Trailer: 1995 16 ft Scamp
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Originally Posted by Borrego Dave View Post
Sharon another thing for you, the interior full height of closets and bath walls help support the roof from sagging. Post a pic or two of the vent you're talking about so we can see it.
I think that's what the previous owner had in mind with the birch pieces he cut that go from floor to ceiling. He made 2; we might consider another one or two.
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Old 11-10-2014, 04:07 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Carol H View Post
You should update your profile to reflect what year of trailer you have in order to get the best/correct answer to your questions.
Just updated this; new to the forum and I haven't figure out everything yet.

So on a 1995-era trailer, what is the depth, front to back, of the lower cabinets?
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Old 11-10-2014, 06:52 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by artrageous View Post

So on a 1995-era trailer, what is the depth, front to back, of the lower cabinets?
On my 92 16' the depth of the cabinets at counter height (35 1/2") are:

Drivers side - with stove and fridge - 23 1/8" deep
Drivers side - bathroom - 27" deep
Passenger side - with sink - 18" deep
Passenger side - closet - 16" deep
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Old 11-10-2014, 07:16 PM   #18
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Thank you, Carol!
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Old 11-10-2014, 07:54 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by artrageous View Post
Thank you, Carol!
You should know that all the cabinets (with the exception of the tall closet by the door) sit on a platform that is 4" high. As a result they all overhang the platform. On the drivers side kitchen cabinets over hang by 4 1/2" & on the passenger side (sink cabinet) the overhang is only 1 1/2" deep. The bathroom cabinet overhangs by 11 1/2". The overhand actually comes in handy. I use it for hiding shoes and a rolled up outdoor mat.
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Old 11-11-2014, 01:05 AM   #20
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There are options besides an "RV Shop" for much of the work you outline. Any electrician or shop that builds or repairs horse or utility trailers, or even UHaul shops can do trailer lights. Many plumbers also do gas lines, as do propane suppliers. You may well save a lot of money by finding a pro with the tools willing to do a little side job.

On the trailer lights consider purchasing the colors of wire indicated in the wiring diagram, and running the wires yourself, then pay to have them hooked up. The Bargman 7 pin trailer plug used by your trailer, is an industry standard and has standard wiring colors that are used for turn, running and brake lights, Aux power for the trailer battery, and trailer brakes. Pulling the wire yourself you know what color is for what and where it runs, then the experienced person does the hookup and tests. Can save you money and leave you more knowledgeable about your trailer.

On the gas lines, you really need the interior, and probably the appliance(s) in order to properly run the lines. Typically there is one long line with T and L fittings along it to branch to the appliances. Copper tubing can only be curved so much in a given distance without kinking. So you would get the best results by knowing not only where the gas appliance is going but where on that appliance is the gas connection. I don't think "flexible" line such as is common for household gas appliances is typically used in campers, it is all copper tubing and flare fittings, probably because they are more vibration resistant. Worth a trip to YouTube to watch some videos on installing flare fittings on copper tube just to get an idea of what is involved and how it is done. It really is surprisingly simple process with copper tubing. Running steel gas lines in a house now that is a beast.

On my fridge the T is on the right so the copper gas line coming off the T connection has room to curve back parallel to the main line and hit the fridge connection on the left. Stove may have connection on side or front depending on the stove, could even be on the rear I suppose. Where the to put the T in the main line to route to the appliance is going to be pretty hard without the appliance and it's location being known.

Frankly if you can build a deck, and don't mind wasting some short pieces of copper tube to practice using the flaring tool you could probably do this. Pro or DIY they all check for leaks using soapy water to see if a joint blows bubbles with pressure on it. Some plumbers have a fitting with a pressure gauge and air valve (like a car tire) and will put air pressure into the lines and check the gauge later to see the gauge shows any loss of pressure, but that is not typical outside of home construction (building inspector requires it) Campers and small jobs it's generally soapy water test.

I'm not disagreeing with those that say 110 volt systems and gas lines are something to leave alone if you are not comfortable with them, however it might not hurt to do some of the work yourself and just hire a pro to test or finish it. Anyone that is competent to wire lights and outlets in a house, garage, or workshop can do the same in a camper, consider making an arrangement with a friend, co-worker, or family member. With you as helper by the time it is done you will have gained a new skill, or at least some knowledge. After all at some point in your life you built your first deck right?

BTW - I am 100% simpatico with your "do it as you can" approach, takes longer but slow and steady progress can accomplish a lot over time. Took me 4 years to build a school bus camper, 5 years to build a finished basement, but the satisfaction lasts a lifetime and not having a huge credit card bill, why that's priceless
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Old 11-11-2014, 05:44 AM   #21
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Roger, thank you SO much for the advice! When we first decided that we *could* fix up this shell, we talked about friends we have with various skills (including one who's an electrician) and thought we'd have the work done that way.

Then we thought that maybe having much of the work done by a shop (checking brakes, axle, wheels, bearings, etc. + wiring) at one time would be a better option because then we'd be game to use it as a "hard sided tent," making it more comfortable as we had time/money.

From your post, I better understand about getting appliances first and then running the lines for propane.

As to the hatch/vent, I think we'll have to replace it instead of repairing it, but it seems that the fiberglass around the opening may be damaged where rivets may have pulled out. Is there some type of "frame" that can be put in to reinforce this area and that the vent can be attached to? Still not convinced this is a DIY job, but that's a top priority, too.

We knew from the get-go that it was going to be hard to find the time to do much of the work ourselves over the winter, but as quickly as feasible, I want to know that it's going to stay dry and it's safe to pull.
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Old 11-11-2014, 09:39 AM   #22
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DYI Flared LP Fittings....

In years of doing RV repairs & rebuilds, I can't remember doing a single tube flare, but I can recall finding and replacing a lot of cracked and uneven flares.

While the process is a tad more expensive up front, I always use compression type (sometimes called "Ring & Nut") fittings on my LP lines, both for repairs and on new installations.

IMHO: The price of a cracked or uneven flare leaking is just to high for the novice to attempt.
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Old 11-11-2014, 01:44 PM   #23
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There are lots of ways to repair a cracked rivet hole or holes. Ranging from epoxy and putty type products to sanding and re-coating. People have plugged and re-drilled hinge bolt holes with good results using advice on products and technique from the forum.

I did not use fiberglass for several decades after one poor results from an auto body repair I attempted in the 70's in the parking lot of our apartment complex. Over the years I learned enough about sheet metal work, welding and leaded body work so I never looked back. Trailer forced me to make another try and it seemed to go better now that my work habits and skills have shall we say "matured".

If the repaired holes will be mostly or completely covered by vent flashing or trim it is a pretty good place to take a stab at the repair yourself. If it works great, if not you are out a little time and materials. Butyl tape makes a very forgiving gasket.
When it comes to getting it rain tight I can see where one might want to just get it done as quickly as possible and it might be worth the money to just have it done. Might also check with any local boat shops, they do a lot FG repairs. Either to get the work done or for advice.

Half the reason we bought our Scamp was as a "tent" that allowed us to store our camping equipment in it ready to go. Gathering equipment, packing to go then unpacking and stowing everything away when we got back was a PITA that the camper eliminated.

Once you have a trailer that is safe to tow, a place for a bed roll, and the rain kept on the outside you will be good to go, everything after that is gravy. Well at least that is how I look at it, some folks have higher standards, but then those folks tend to not hang out with me for some reason ;-)

This thread helped me a lot when I found myself needing to make fiberglass repairs. You Can Repair Fiberglass along with lots of helpful advice from other members on the specifics of my repairs. Not good enough to do it for pay but it does turn out good enough to work and not so ugly the DW won't use the camper.
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Old 11-11-2014, 06:03 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Bob Miller View Post
DYI Flared LP Fittings....

In years of doing RV repairs & rebuilds, I can't remember doing a single tube flare, but I can recall finding and replacing a lot of cracked and uneven flares.

While the process is a tad more expensive up front, I always use compression type (sometimes called "Ring & Nut") fittings on my LP lines, both for repairs and on new installations.

IMHO: The price of a cracked or uneven flare leaking is just to high for the novice to attempt.
Gas connections are one of those things in the category of you don't want to do it wrong (packing your parachute is another) and it could be that compression fittings are a more fool proof approach. I think one can do a bad job of either one if not careful.

I have used compression fittings from time to time but never used a compression fitting for camper gas lines only flared connections. I think compression is probably faster than flare fittings to install. More durable hard to say since I have not seen them on campers that I recall.

Any leak is bad news so no matter what you have to test connections. Many consider checking all the LP connections for leaks an item of annual maintenance.
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Old 11-12-2014, 05:41 AM   #25
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Thanks again for all of the insights and suggestions. We're watching a variety of YouTube videos to see if we think that some of the things are do-able, but agree that the propane (when we're ready for that step) will definitely be done by someone who knows what they're doing.

Just wish we had a garage or other shelter to work in--and more time to work on it!
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Old 11-12-2014, 10:51 AM   #26
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One thing to watch out for is the refrigerator. They come in all sizes and new ones are usually larger than the ones made 20 years ago. Before making any cabinet go online and view the installation manual for the appliances you plan to use in that cabinet.
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Old 11-12-2014, 02:26 PM   #27
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Rogerdat mentioned parachute packing and gas connections in the same post.

Reminds me of the fellow that decided to try skydiving. The instructor showed the fellow how to pull the ripcord and pointed out the cord for the emergency parachute too.

The fellow jumped out of the plane and pulled the ripcord. Nothing happened. Then he frantically pulled the emergency chute cord. Nothing happened.

As he plummeted down he saw a woman going up!

He shouted to her "Do you know anything about parachutes?"

She shouted back "No, do you know anything about gas stoves?"
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Old 11-12-2014, 02:50 PM   #28
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I believe most DIYers can't help themselves.
Are always trying to improve something that broke
so it won't break again.
Know that the shop charge for changing a taillight bulb
is ,,,high.
Want to do it themselves weather it's perfect or not.
And haven't got an excuse not to try, whats the worst
that can happen? was broke anyway.
U can do it!!
Start and don't stop! you'll learn a ton and confidence will be your
reward
Fred
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