DIY or have it professionally done? - Fiberglass RV


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 11-09-2014, 09:21 AM   #1
Member
 
artrageous's Avatar
 
Name: Sharon
Trailer: 1995 16 ft Scamp
Virginia
Posts: 79
DIY or have it professionally done?

Last weekend we were delighted to be able to purchase a 16 ft Scamp "project" trailer. The exterior appears to be in very good condition; the inside is bare except for the silver insulation and a new platform in the back for a permanent bed (which was built by the PO).



There are some wires in the trailer, but most have been cut (???) so we brought it home using temporary towing lights (and a lot of duct tape).

We hope to finish the inside ourselves, as time and money permit, but we plan to take it to an RV shop that a friend recommended to have the following done:
  • Replace the vent/hatch
  • Check the axle, brakes & bearings (tires will need to be replaced)
  • Re-wire it to include outlets, as well as connections for a 3-way fridge, lights, furnace, A/C, etc.
  • Check or replace exterior lights (one blew off when we were bringing it home!)
  • Run lines for propane for future appliances
  • Install inputs through the shell for electrical and water hookups (there are none there)

I'd love to get these first fixes done professionally as quickly as possible (mainly to make sure it stays dry inside), but we just haven't had time yet to figure out exactly where we'll put a stove, fridge, furnace, sink, etc.

Since adding appliances will come later, how difficult would it be for US to cut through the shell to add vents? At some point it had an A/C unit in it (in the "closet" beside the door) so there's already a vent (and tube to drain) there and the floor underneath is solid.

We're comfortable with the thought of doing most of the carpentry work inside to build front benches for a dinette, upper and lower cabinets and a small closet for a porta-potty, but do you think that installing vents for appliances is a DIY project? Seems kind of scary to think of cutting holes through the shell!

And at what stage would we add rat fur? After most everything is in place??

Thanks for your advice and suggestions!
__________________

__________________
artrageous is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-09-2014, 09:38 AM   #2
Senior Member
 
Bob Miller's Avatar
 
Name: Bob
Trailer: 1973 Hunter Compact II
California
Posts: 7,912
Before having that work done "Professionally" be sure you are sitting down when you get the estimate/bill.

With most RV shops getting around $100/hr., you can quickly exceed the value of the trailer getting that kind of work done in a shop. But, on the plus side, this is the slow season for shops and you might be able to negotiate some on prices.

You might try advertising in Craigslist or similar for an experienced RV mechanic that is looking for outside work.

I've done this for vehicle repairs and have had very good luck, but ya gotta be sure to check references and employment records as there are a lot of peeps out there that get creative with alleged qualifications.

Good Luck
__________________

__________________
Bob Miller is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-09-2014, 10:06 AM   #3
Member
 
artrageous's Avatar
 
Name: Sharon
Trailer: 1995 16 ft Scamp
Virginia
Posts: 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Miller View Post
Before having that work done "Professionally" be sure you are sitting down when you get the estimate/bill.

With most RV shops getting around $100/hr., you can quickly exceed the value of the trailer getting that kind of work done in a shop. But, on the plus side, this is the slow season for shops and you might be able to negotiate some on prices.
Thanks for the reply... Yes, I figured that this would be the most expensive part of acquiring this trailer, but we're really not comfortable doing these things ourselves. I'm *hoping* that we can still come in under the initial budget I'd set when we were looking for one, and after that we'll fix up the inside as we can.

I've seen some people advertising about doing work on RVs, but this particular shop was recommended by a friend who felt they were good and pretty reasonable.

I've also emailed a friend who renovates old travel trailers with her partner as a "hobby," just to see if there was a particular shop or individual that she would recommend. (They're really, really good at doing this--currently working on #24!--but since it's a "hobby" they don't really take on work for other people.)

So we'll see!
__________________
artrageous is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-09-2014, 10:39 AM   #4
Moderator
 
Frederick L. Simson's Avatar
 
Name: Frederick
Trailer: Fiber Stream
California
Posts: 8,151
Registry
Send a message via AIM to Frederick L. Simson
Quote:
Originally Posted by artrageous View Post
There are some wires in the trailer, but most have been cut ...

... (W)e plan to take it to an RV shop that a friend recommended ...

Since adding appliances will come later, how difficult would it be for US to cut through the shell to add vents?

... (D)o you think that installing vents for appliances is a DIY project?

And at what stage would we add rat fur?
My perspective:
  • The wiring for any exterior vehicle lights or vent fans that are not hidden inside cabinetry comes first.
  • then the rat fur
  • then the interior cabinetry
  • then locating and cutting for vent openings
  • then wiring & plumbing that is hidden inside the cabinets
  • with appliance and fixture installation last
YMMV

I agree that any task that you are not comfortable doing yourself should be outsourced to skilled handy persons or professionals. On my Compact Jr project that includes:
  • Frame Welding
  • Exterior automotive finish body painting
  • Wheel sandblasting & powder-coating
  • new axle & brakes (plus future wheel bearing & brake maintenance)
  • Top "Canvass Boot" sewing
Everything else I'm doing myself. Electrical and plumbing professionals are expensive, and I've learned those skills well enough to to be confident in my abilities. I don't work under a deadline in order gain satisfaction.
__________________
Frederick - The Scaleman
1978 Fiber Stream 16 named "Eggstasy" & 1971 Compact Jr. named "Boomerang"
Frederick L. Simson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-09-2014, 11:24 AM   #5
Senior Member
 
Carol H's Avatar
 
Name: Carol
Trailer: 22' Airstream Formerly 16' Scamp
British Columbia
Posts: 11,731
Registry
If your planning to use this trailer before you finish it by all means having the axle checked and wheel bearings repacked and new tries are all things that I personally would have done fairly fast. Also outside running lights!

The other items not so much... not until I know exactly what layout I was going to do on the inside and what I was and was not planning on installing and where.

One thing we do see here that happens often is someone buys a new to them trailer and jumps in right away at taking it apart or doing a bunch of work before having a detailed completed final plan. Some of those trailers end up on the market a year or so later when the party realizes that their original jump in and get it done fast approach actually created far more work than what they thought they were getting into at the start.

Getting the wiring and propane lines done by a pro is always a good idea if you do not have the knowledge/experience as to how to do correctly & safely.

If you go to the home page of this forum you will see on the left a link to the Document Centre where you will find a wiring diagram for a Scamp which you (or the person doing the install) may find of some help. I think there may also be a water line diagram.... if not ask and I am sure someone will post one for you.

Adding outside hatches for electrical and water outlets is pretty straight forward DIY job. I have replaced all of my trailers outside outlet hatches at one time or another as well as having added an complete new electrical plug requiring a new hole to be cut as well as having cut a new hole in the roof for a new fan install. I am not one who would suggest that I have a lot of DIY experience either.... if I can do it then I suggest with the right tools and doing a little homework first almost everyone else can as well.

Which vent are you planning on replacing? The roof mounted escape hatch (its a large rectangular one) or a standard vent. Does the whole vent need replacing or just the lid or just reinstalling to make water tight? Either way its a pretty straight forward DIY job. Use the drop down search function on this site - use the bottom search option Google - you will get lots of returns on the topic of replacing Scamp hatches. If its the large escape hatch the Scamp installs you may have troubles finding a new one to install (depending on the year of your Scamp) you may need to buy directly from Scamp.
Carol H is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-09-2014, 12:20 PM   #6
Member
 
artrageous's Avatar
 
Name: Sharon
Trailer: 1995 16 ft Scamp
Virginia
Posts: 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carol H View Post
Which vent are you planning on replacing? The roof mounted escape hatch (its a large rectangular one) or a standard vent. Does the whole vent need replacing or just the lid or just reinstalling to make water tight? Either way its a pretty straight forward DIY job. Use the drop down search function on this site - use the bottom search option Google - you will get lots of returns on the topic of replacing Scamp hatches. If its the large escape hatch the Scamp installs you may have troubles finding a new one to install (depending on the year of your Scamp) you may need to buy directly from Scamp.
I'm not sure if the top vent (large rectangular one) needs to be replaced or if it can be repaired. It has some cracks in the lid as well as some cracks along the frame. It's currently just sitting in the opening and isn't attached to the roof, but we took it out for the drive home last weekend, just to make sure it didn't blow off. We have a tarp over the top of the trailer.

But yes, making sure that we can keep it from leaking, and getting the lights, wheels and brakes working is the first priority. To me, it seems to make sense to have wires and lines run to where we *think* we'll want lights and appliances BEFORE doing much with cabinetry and rat fur.... We've pulled up some of the insulation already looking for wires (why on earth were they cut?) and I'm not sure how we'd get this AND rat fur off to run wires or lines at a later time....

As to the interior, we're in no particular hurry because we'd be okay using it with minimal stuff in it.

In a somewhat related story, a few years ago the steps off my porch were no longer safe to use. Instead of paying someone to replace them, we decided that we could probably come close to contracted replacement stair costs if we opted to do the work ourselves and build a deck, instead. Ground rules were that nothing would be charged and no money would be taken out of savings. We bought what we needed for each step as we had the money, and did the work when we had time. It probably took us about 6-7 months to complete it, but we wound up with something so much more enjoyable and useful than a new set of stairs.

I'd been looking for a trailer for a long time and had a certain amount of money put away for when I found one. By finding what we *really* wanted (after getting a tow vehicle with more pulling power--we were just looking for a 13 ft when my CRV was the only possible TV) and getting it at a good price because it's a shell, I'm hoping I can have the most critical work professionally done and still come in under budget. I hope I'm not being too naive....

After that, we'll go back to our "deck-building system" for the interior.
__________________
artrageous is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-09-2014, 02:01 PM   #7
Senior Member
 
Carol H's Avatar
 
Name: Carol
Trailer: 22' Airstream Formerly 16' Scamp
British Columbia
Posts: 11,731
Registry
Quote:
Originally Posted by artrageous View Post
I'm not sure if the top vent (large rectangular one) needs to be replaced or if it can be repaired. It has some cracks in the lid as well as some cracks along the frame. It's currently just sitting in the opening and isn't attached to the roof, but we took it out for the drive home last weekend, just to make sure it didn't blow off. We have a tarp over the top of the trailer.
You can buy just the lid from Scamp if thats all it needs. You will need to measure the one you have carefully as you will see in the on line parts department they have a couple of different sizes - old style vs new style.

I think you will find that most of us here would prefer to reset the vent ourselves rather than let an RV shop do it. We have had a few folks use RV shops to have the job done and been very disappointed as they have a tendency to use lots of goop and products many of us would never use on a roof vent and it may not look as nice and neat as you would have done it. Not to mention you may find it leaks in a year or two & you need to redo it. BTW the product of choose here for mounting a vent is butyl tape.


Quote:
Originally Posted by artrageous View Post
me, it seems to make sense to have wires and lines run to where we *think* we'll want lights and appliances BEFORE doing much with cabinetry and rat fur....
It does make more sense. But personally I wouldn't run any of it until I had completely mapped out and measured where exactly I wanted each light and appliance and marked it out on the reflex. Otherwise you may end up with a number of extra connections to extend wiring to where you need it. IMHO the fewer wiring connections the better in the long term.
Carol H is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-09-2014, 04:57 PM   #8
Senior Member
 
Borrego Dave's Avatar
 
Name: Dave
Trailer: Casita SD17 2006
California
Posts: 2,925
Quote:
Originally Posted by artrageous View Post


We're comfortable with the thought of doing most of the carpentry work inside to build front benches for a dinette, upper and lower cabinets and a small closet for a porta-potty, but do you think that installing vents for appliances is a DIY project? Seems kind of scary to think of cutting holes through the shell!
Hi and congrats on the new rig. Just FYI, the best tool for cutting through fiberglass is a multi tool. Very easy to use, makes a very fine saw kerf and doesn't make a lot of dust.
__________________
Borrego Dave is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 11-09-2014, 08:00 PM   #9
Commercial Member
 
tractors1's Avatar
 
Name: Charlie Y
Trailer: Escape 21 - Felicity
Oregon
Posts: 1,127
I agree (since you're ok with wood working tools) that an oscillating saw works very well for cutting through the fiberglass; also a Roto-Zip, along with standard woodworking drills, etc - but you will find edges getting dull faster. You might want to buy some fiberglass roofing material at a big box store to practice on first to get a feel for it.

Charlie Y
__________________
Charlie Y

Don't drill holes, try custom storage you design: http://RVWidgetWorks.com
tractors1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-09-2014, 09:34 PM   #10
Senior Member
 
Carol H's Avatar
 
Name: Carol
Trailer: 22' Airstream Formerly 16' Scamp
British Columbia
Posts: 11,731
Registry
Yup it is a bit scare to cut that first hole..... I had a Fantastic Fan sitting in a box for a year before I got up there nerve to cut that big hole in the roof.

The trick to cutting holes in fiberglass is to tape the lines you are going to cut. If your concerned about the corners use a drill on each of them. I have used a jig saw to cut out a few fairly large holes in the fiberglass and its worked well. Always best to cut the hole a little bit snug and you can always sand it down a bit more if its too snug in order to get a nice tight fit.
Carol H is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-09-2014, 10:06 PM   #11
Member
 
artrageous's Avatar
 
Name: Sharon
Trailer: 1995 16 ft Scamp
Virginia
Posts: 79
Thanks for the advice! Yes, very intimidated to think of cutting through the shell. We'll take a good look at the vent/hatch to see if it's something that can be repaired (with the cracks) or if we'd be better off replacing it.

I looked in the parts section of the Scamp website and couldn't find the dimensions of the lower cabinets that would house appliances. Can someone please tell me how deep they are, from front to back?

We've got a 16" deep raised wooden area on the driver's side wall that runs from the front of the trailer to the back (I'm assuming these are on all trailers). On the passenger side, it's more like 14-1/2" from front to back. The "closet" near the door (which has the space in it for an AC, with a vent on the outside) is the only fiberglass piece in the trailer and it's 15-1/2" deep and 20-1/2" wide. As we start to plan what will go where (even if it doesn't happen immediately), it would be helpful to know the depth of the lower cabinets. We may have a little more leeway on the side-to-side width.

The previous owner cut two birch pieces of wood that are 16" deep at the bottom and that curve as they meet the top of the trailer on the driver's side. He had one put in place that straddles the wheel well and suggested using the other one as a template, since he's already worked out the degree of curve.

Current thought is to use the first one where he has it and to use that as a wall to separate the "kitchen" from the bed. Towards the front on that side, we'd like to create a small "closet" to use for a porta-potty. This would make entry to the front driver's side bench/seat a little tight, but I think there would be enough room--especially if we design a table that can turn...

And does this make sense? Small counter area towards the back (driver's side)with space for a heater under it. Stove to the right/front with space for a fridge under it? At first I was thinking the fridge should go under the counter area, but with the wheel well there, I don't think there would be room.

Passenger/door side: closet with A/C, then another small cabinet with a sink.

I'll need to look through more pictures (I'm saving tons of them) to look at different layouts and modifications, but these are some of our initial thoughts about what will go where.
__________________
artrageous is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-09-2014, 10:58 PM   #12
Senior Member
 
Bob Miller's Avatar
 
Name: Bob
Trailer: 1973 Hunter Compact II
California
Posts: 7,912
I suggest that you look at the existing 16" FGRV floor plans and learn from them. You can certainly made changes from what's shown, but, after 30+ years of production experience there's no need to invent the entire wheel again.
__________________
Bob Miller is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-10-2014, 12:32 AM   #13
Senior Member
 
Borrego Dave's Avatar
 
Name: Dave
Trailer: Casita SD17 2006
California
Posts: 2,925
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.....the 1000 word thing .
__________________
Borrego Dave is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 11-10-2014, 10:42 AM   #14
Senior Member
 
Carol H's Avatar
 
Name: Carol
Trailer: 22' Airstream Formerly 16' Scamp
British Columbia
Posts: 11,731
Registry
Quote:
Originally Posted by artrageous View Post

I looked in the parts section of the Scamp website and couldn't find the dimensions of the lower cabinets that would house appliances. Can someone please tell me how deep they are, from front to back?
You should update your profile to reflect what year of trailer you have in order to get the best/correct answer to your questions.

Measurements may have changed over the years. For example Scamp did come dimensions changes on their 13' after they had a fire a few years ago.
__________________

Carol H is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


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
BC | BEAUTIFUL & BRIGHT Boler professionally redone $8500 ann cody Classified Archives 9 04-25-2014 09:22 PM
My Reno Is Done! (well, 98% done.) BigEast General Chat 5 08-26-2013 12:12 AM
About to do a DIY Sway Control install Gina D. Towing, Hitching, Axles and Running Gear 27 07-15-2007 09:48 AM
Suggestions for inexpensive DIY repairs Kevin Woods Modifications, Alterations and Updates 9 07-08-2007 05:21 AM
Suggestions for inexpensive DIY repairs Kevin Woods Problem Solving | Owners Helping Owners 0 12-31-1969 07:00 PM

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

Reviews provided by


Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 01:39 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.