Installing a front dinette while retaining bunks, couch and porta-potti in 13' Scamp" - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 04-02-2015, 10:33 PM   #15
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Name: Jim
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Bill,

You had to go and ask that didn't you! Now it will be even later before I get to knock off for tonight. Oh well, it's snowing again here anyway. Springtime in the Rockies!

Yes, I used the fiberglass bunks by moving them up and dividing them into their respective sides. They fit real close but still have about an inch space on the bask side of the panels between the front of the camper. That is not a problem though as it leaves room to move the shower hose. I painted them with Rustoleum white Appliance paint. It leaves a hard, easy to wipe, gloss surface.

First I removed the existing bunks with all their rivets and screws. After setting the bunks on top of the raised section of the floor, I pushed them to the right to find the best position and fitting and then marked where the edge of the raised floor met the front edge of the fiberglass. I then pushed the bunks to the left and marked for the same thing. While nothing is square, even the bottoms of the bunks, I used the bottom mark and put a spirit level on them to get a perfect vertical mark, and then went back and marked the back side along the wall. As long as the three marks are each about 22 inches apart (the width of the dropped floor), the cutting of the center portion will be pretty square.

I went outside and placed a large box fan to my side and used an angle grinder with a metal cutoff disk to cut the fiberglass. Slick as snot on a door knob. Produced a very straight line and sliced through anything in its way.

I marked the bunks so the sides would be flush with the raised floor. One of the reasons for doing so is because there is very little space left between the shower pan and any new plywood side panel. This however means that there can not be a knob on the porta-pottie door as it would interfere with the raising of the false floor, and a groove has to be formed along the edges to accept the dinette table. If you choose to set the sides of the bunk back from the edge, then you can just put in a supporting strip at the top to support the table. That was the most uncertain part of using them instead of starting from scratch with plywood. Besides, it saved not having to junk them out.

These are photos of the steps I used to build the new style bunks.

Photo 1 shows the right bunk being reinforced. It is absolutely necessary as the sides flex and would break if not reinforced. Strips of 1” x 2” wood were also glassed in around the base of the bunk so they could be screwed to the floor the same as the rear bunks.

Photo 2 shows the left bunk being reinforced. Because of the porta pottie's height, there is only a narrow piece of fiberglass above the door. I used additional layers of fiberglass matt to reinforce that area. Along with the aluminum angle over the door, there is plenty of support. I am on the heavy side and when testing and using additional stress, there was no flexing, cracking or bending at all, nor shifting of the bunks.

Photos 3 and 4 show the spacers that I used to support the back side of the bunks against the camper walls. I didn't feel like removing the old wooden rib, nor forming and glassing in a new rib, so I placed spacers the required height on the old one to make the back of the bunks level with the front and to secure them in place. The tops of the spacers have boards that are contoured with the side of the camper and a single screw drilled sideways in them along with some construction adhesive keeps them in place. It is not necessary to support them for lateral movement as the new bunks are fastened to the floor which prevents any movement. The spacers just have to support the back fiberglass vertically.

Photo 5 shows the right bunk being test-fitted, one of a hundred times, after being cut and the side enclosed. You can also see how I formed the side edge for the dinette table cutting back the side edge and glassing in 1”x 2”'s along it. Any spaces were later filled with paste fiberglass and shaped as desired. I also cut in the front access door at that time.
Attached Thumbnails
Reinforcing and enclosing the right front bunk.jpg   Reinforcing the left front bunk.jpg  

Spacers on left side.jpg   Spacers on right side.jpg  

Modified right bunk.jpg  
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Old 04-03-2015, 09:45 AM   #16
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Name: Cathy
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Jim, you're a magician. You've given me some great ideas for mods. One question--the external accesses--how did you cope with the curvature of the Scamp sides when putting in a flat opening panel?


Cathy
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Old 04-03-2015, 10:11 AM   #17
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Name: Jim
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Some miscellaneous comments regarding the cushions, table, etc.

The new center cushion is not one single large, 22”- wide one, but rather consists of two 11”-wide ones that will have a 3/8th” plywood bottom to them. That is for two reasons. First, when in the bunk or couch mode, the wood will support the cushion over the cut-out area in the corners of the dinette table and not have a soft area. Second, when in the dinette mode, a cushion will be placed vertically on each of the side walls to serve as backrests while dining.

The dinette table is mounted to the front wall using a Table Wall Mount Support system. It's about $15 for a 30” section. I reversed the brackets so that the larger, outside section is screwed to the end of the table, and the smaller inside section is screwed to the wall. This makes it easier when attaching the table as you can just rest the table on the wall section, lift up the front of the table a little and the section lock together. You don't have to lift the table up into the wall section.

The system also allows for the table to be shifted to either side for easier sliding in and out. As can be seen in an earlier photo and the photo below, it is currently shifted to the right about 3 inches. I prefer to sit on the left side so that I can look out the door which is usually more interesting than looking at the kitchen counter, and also I can use the stove top and window rib as arm rests. The new arrangement also allows one to see out the front window very comfortably as your eyes are slightly half way above the window.

The photo below shows the support system.

The leg is collapsible by pressing a lever in front of the leg. I considered making the leg go back at an angle to keep it out of the way of your feet, but that would mean having the leg extending back further when it is folded. That results in it hitting the front of the camper and having to move the whole table forward and extending over the front edge. Also, all the force from weight on the table will be downwards, not trying to force the table forward and pulling against the wall support if the leg was at an angle.

In the second photo you can see two metal L brackets placed upside down on the two back boards just above where the table sets when in the couch mode. They are there because when sitting on the front end of the table with the sections cut out, the table wants to pivot and the back flip up. To prevent that, the brackets were installed to catch on the back end of the table and keep it from lifting.

One last thing, the black box setting on the window ledge is the controller for the solar panels. Last Black Friday there was a company that had a price that just made me get into solar much sooner than I expected. So far it has recharged the battery very well and usage is virtually nil with the complete conversion to LED bulbs.
Attached Thumbnails
Dinette Table mounting rail.jpg   Dinette.jpg  

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Old 04-03-2015, 11:59 AM   #18
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Hello Lisa,

Thanks for the offer, I will keep your information for when I am ready for them. They would be very simple, just sew around the edges and leave some at the top to insert the rod. Just name your price.

Ian G asked and I have given him permission to do a write-up of my modifications with my photos for his Boler-related web site. It will be a little bit yet until I have covered all aspects related to the mods. I imagine he will tweek the information if necessary for adaptation to Bolers.

Since you have an earlier Boler, you may have the type with separate front bunks that have the indented ledge already formed into the top side of them. Wish I had a pair of them, would have saved a ton of time and work in modifying mine. Those front bunks could be worth some real money!
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Old 04-03-2015, 12:25 PM   #19
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Hi Cathy,

Thank you for your feedback and interest in the project.

When I installed the access doors, I first tried to find the flattest area as possible and go from there. If there was still some space due to curvature, I drill holes in the frame of the door into the fiberglass about every 3 inches apart using a 1/8th" drill bit.

I then remove the frame and apply a small bead of silicone around the inside of the frame edge. It does not need to squeeze out or anything, just enough to give a seal around the opening in the fiberglass.

I then re-insert the door and drive 1" sheet rock screws with a course type thread into each of the holes in the four corners, and all holes in the area where there is space between the frame and the fiberglass. When I get to the area with the greatest space, I draw the screws in tighter and move among the others in that area until I have drawn the fiberglass in as close as possible without distorting the door frame. The screws are very good as holding and drawing in the thick fiberglass so go slow.

Check the operation of the door periodically to see that it doesn't bind anywhere due to a distorted frame. If it does, back off the screws a bit and keep doing it until there is a good fit.

When it looks as good as you think it can get, then remove one of the screws in the area of deflection and insert a 1/8" x 5/8" pop rivet. Push the tool as hard as possible against the frame and tighten and cut the rivet. The long shank rivets can get a good grip on the fiberglass and can draw and hold it very well. Do the same with each of the other sheet rock screws one at a time until all the holes have pop rivets in them.

If you are not in any hurry for it to look pretty, you can leave the sheet rock screws in for a few months which allows the fiberglass to relax and form better. Then do the pop rivet step as described above. You can see in my photo showing the rear access door, that the sheet rock screws were still in the frame. They have since been replaced with pop rivets and it resulted in a real nice clean-looking job.

If there is any small space remaining after the installation, you can either ignore it as the frame is sealed against water by the silicone, or you can put a bead of white, paintable silicone in the space and smooth it with your fingers. It will look like the fiberglass and frame match exactly.
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Old 04-03-2015, 01:14 PM   #20
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Incredible modification!
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Old 04-03-2015, 03:30 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Scamper Jim View Post
Bill,

You had to go and ask that didn't you! Now it will be even later before I get to knock off for tonight. Oh well, it's snowing again here anyway. Springtime in the Rockies!

Yes, I used the fiberglass bunks by moving them up and dividing them into their respective sides..........
Ha!

Jim, I'd write that I was sorry to have kept you up....but, the truth is that I'm so greatful to get the very detailed information, with great photos, that I'm not sorry at all!

Well, maybe a tiny bit!

Thank you very much! The information is just what I needed.

At the moment I'm not able to do much because of a bum leg. However, when I'm able to start work on my Scamp I most likely will be asking you many more questions.

It is truely amazing how useful you have made a tiny travel trailer!

Bill
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Old 04-03-2015, 03:37 PM   #22
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Porta-Potti mod

The modifications for the porta-potti (PP) were done with the objective to find a use for the wasted space in the front left corner of the bunks, and to find a way to raise the PP so it didn't feel like one was crouching over a prairie dog hole when using it. I also used the opportunity to deal with a couple of other issues.

The first photo shows the sliding base used to roll the PP from the storage space. It is made of steel and rolls on heavy duty rollers, not the standard drawer type. I decided to make it because I had the rails and it also keeps the PP in the same position which is important as will be explained below. There is an adjustable table leg fixture on each side of the handle. The legs just move just above the carpeting when rolled out, and then when the PP is in use, the rails flex just enough for them to make contact with the carpet. That stabilizes the tray so that it can't flex up or down, nor try to roll back into the storage area. The PP feels very solid in use.

Photo 2 shows the PP position on the sliding tray in the stored position when I was checking for surrounding clearances. The tray has drop down sides so that it saved as much door overhead clearance as possible. It's another project that required a lot of testing and fitting.

In addition, I wanted to solve a couple of issues that have annoyed me about PPs. The first is that there is no real way of knowing how full the tank was getting, and the other is the need for a venting system due to the expansion of the tank on hot days with it bulging at the seams from internal “gas pressures”. They then being released inside the camper the next time the PP is used, requiring that the valve be opened veeeerrrryyy slowly.

Photo 3 shows the previously unused black tank monitor wires that I ran from the monitor to the PP to address the indicator problem. I drilled two holes in the side of the tank, one for sensor indication of full, and the other for the ground. I figured, hey, what's the worst that can go wrong! The probes are inserted and expanded that same as for any other black or gray tank. The wires are attached with alligator clips that can be quickly and easily detached when removing the PP for “servicing”.

Photo 4 shows the fix I did to address the pressure/venting problem. I figured that as long as I was drilling holes, why not drill one more. I cut a hole with a 3/4” Forestner bit in the back of the PP and hot-melt glued in a nylon fitting. As added insurance I secured it with three stainless steel screws. I attached a 3/8” hose to the barb and ran it back to the storage area where it forms a high loop up to the top of the bottom side of the fiberglass bench and then loops down and passes through a hole in the floor. The hose is also removed from the barb when the PP is “serviced”. The use of the slide out tray keeps the wires and hose in their proper orientation so I don't have to pull the PP out from the storage area and rotate it as with the original method under the center bunk area. Hey, if the big rigs can have a monitor and vent system, why can't I?? So there!

It doesn't show in the first photo, but there were just too many electrical wires getting bunched and secured with just screw caps. I later installed terminal blocks and use one side for all negative wires, and the other for all positive wires. They also got labeled with yellow label tape.

This pretty much brings me to the end of introduction of the mods related to the dinette modification. I hope they are useful to others and generate additional ideas for refinement of them.

Happy camping
Jim
Attached Thumbnails
Porta-potti sliding base.jpg   Porta-potti on sliding base.jpg  

Porta-potti monitiring sensors.jpg   Porta-potti venting.jpg  

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Old 04-03-2015, 04:14 PM   #23
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Jim, one quick question!

Does the sliding PP base have rollers to help it slide out?

You are a man of many talents!

Bill
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Old 04-03-2015, 04:21 PM   #24
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Bill

Yes, it is on rollers but much heavier that the type for drawers. I will add that in the post.

Jim
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Old 04-03-2015, 04:41 PM   #25
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Bill

Yes, it is on rollers but much heavier that the type for drawers. I will add that in the post.

Jim
Thank you Jim!

Bill
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Old 04-03-2015, 05:06 PM   #26
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Name: Linda
Trailer: 2001 Scamp 16 ft, 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee
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Awesome job on the shower. I have been trying to figure out how to add one similar to this in my 16 foot and you have given me some great ideas! May I ask what you used for the drain pan?
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Old 04-03-2015, 05:28 PM   #27
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Linda,

I searched all over and then some to find a pan with dimensions that would fit that space. I was ready to give up and have one custom made, which two companies would do for $75 + shipping. Just in time I came across this site and they had a 20x20 for $32 + shipping. It is made of a very heavy, flexible plastic, not rigid. They claim it is indestructible and it sure feels like it.

It also will not accept a paint. I tried it but it scrapes right off. The paint on the front is there if no one sneezes too close to it.

The one drawback to it is that it is 20 inches long which is the same length as the raised floor area from front to the rear. That's why there is no front covering yet for it. I might make one with a thin piece of aluminum but then I have to put hinges on the back side of it so that it will fold down when the floor is flipped up for the shower. I may just hang a piece of heavy cloth across the front to hide the pan, or maybe just leave it.

http://www.globalindustrial.com/p/fo...x20x4-1-2-gray
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Old 04-03-2015, 09:26 PM   #28
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Trailer: 2017 Scamp 16 Deluxe
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Installing a front dinette while retaining bunks, couch and porta-potti in 13...

Nice work, Jim!

I was very interested in all of the details that you shared and any
others yet to come.

Before coming to Scamp Camp 2015 in Sebring, I had just converted
the single bottom sofa cushion to a 3-cushion setup in preparation for
doing very similar things.

I wasn't planning to do the shower part, but I was planning to open the
top of that compartment and make the porta-potti usable right where it
sits. My wife had also expressed interest in the idea of a front dinette.

I just hadn't gotten it done yet.

Attached are pix of my 3-cushion bottom sofa cushion.

Ray
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20150131_133514.jpg   20150131_133548.jpg  

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