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


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Old 04-02-2015, 01:11 PM   #1
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Name: Jim
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Installing a front dinette while retaining bunks, couch and porta-potti in 13' Scamp"

I have finished the modifications for the addition of a front dinette while still having the bunks, couch, and porta-potti in a 13' Scamp. I also installed a portable front shower to make it more convenient to use. The photos give a quick view of the five different modes. I have additional photos showing the installation steps and explanation of what I did if anyone is interested.

I started late last Fall and was able to complete it recently with some favorable weather for working outside. It would have been done sooner, but there is nothing like doing and then having to redo things to get it right. Who needs plans, I just had an initial idea of what I wanted to do and built from there. The process is made even more interesting by the fact that nothing is level, straight, square or symmetrical in a fiberglass camper.

Everything is done except for the upholstering of the cushions. If you squint real hard and imagine a rust/yellow-colored fabric that will blend with the old 80's style cushions you will get an idea of the finished look. I will use that color to avoid having to reupholster the old dinette cushions that are now in the permanent bed, and the top bunk cushion that will seldom if ever get used. The red stain on the left front cushion explains where the foam came from for the new style cushions. It was a futon mattress on the bed and got some of the red Punch drink from Wal-Mart spilled on it. It was impossible to remove and I didn't want someone to think I was hauling around Jimmy Hoffa's body, so I cut it up for the new cushions and bought a new one for the bed.

I prefer working with metal, and wood not so much, hence the fabrication of the porta-potti sliding tray, and top bunk brackets. Perhaps someone will have some ideas for refining the modifications. They have been road-tested and work for me. Btw, can I interest anyone in making new curtains for me??

Jim
Attached Thumbnails
Bunk.jpg   Dinette.jpg  

Porta-Potti.jpg   Couch.jpg  

Top Bunk.jpg   Shower Pan.jpg  

Shower Curtain.jpg  
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Old 04-02-2015, 01:53 PM   #2
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Wow! I'm impressed, Jim. Who says you can't have it all! Where does the water for the shower come from? Is it heated? How does the shower pan drain?
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Old 04-02-2015, 03:09 PM   #3
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Hi Jon,

Yes, the water is heated, either by solar or using a Zodi. I will copy my earlier post with some edits showing the system as it existed earlier for those who may not have seen it. I will then show and explain the new system in a following post.

Usually I am able to use solar water heating bags to produce the hot water used for the shower. However, I use a portable Zodi water heater to heat the water when the days are cold, cloudy, or I wasn't able to set out the bags early enough to get the water hot if I drove for a long period of time that day.

One significant drawback to a portable hot water heater is that when you shower, first getting wet and then turning off the water at the head while soaping up, you will get hit with very hot water when you open up the shower head again to rinse off. That is because, while stopped, the water was held in the hot coils and gets very hot as it has nowhere else to go. If that water is held on the coils for even a minute or so, you will feel like you are getting cooked for a while when you open the shower head again to rinse off. You can reduce the problem by remembering to direct the head away from you until the water is cooler again.

Stopping the water may be fine when getting hot water to wash dishes or if the water is constantly running while washing something, but not good if it will be hitting you after being allowed to heat in the coils for a while. Also, if you leave the shower run while soaping up to avoid that problem, you will use up more of your water supply and also fill your gray water tank sooner.

I solved the problem by making a system that heats the water in the solar bag, and then I use the water from the bag to shower, not using it directly from the heater.

Photos of the setup show the solar bag hanging from a bracket, the side access door, the 12v water pump mounted on the side of the water tank, and the Zodi heater hanging from the camper. The white water line at the bottom of the bag goes to the 12v water pump, a black line leads from the other side of the pump to the heater, then another black line leads from the heater to the top of the solar bag to return the heated water.

It is important that the pump is "On" to get water to the heater before it is lit. That is very important otherwise, if the coils are heated before water is flowing through them, they will produce flash steam when water does reach the hot coils and you could seriously get burned.

Once the water is circulating the Zodi is lit and the pump left for the water to continue heating and circulating until it reaches the desired temperature. Then the heater is disconnected, the bag is sloshed side to side a couple of times to evenly distribute the temperature of the water in the bag and it is then ready to shower with. The water is at a consistent temperature throughout the shower, no hot or cold interludes to be surprised by.

To hang the Zodi from the camper, I removed the handle and used the same type of bracket used to hold the top of the rock shield on the front window. I put spacers on the top and bottom to hold it out from the camper.

The last photo shows the heater and propane tank stored in the space. The propane tank has to be removed when stored, otherwise it can vibrate loose and lose all the gas in it.
Attached Thumbnails
Zodi water heater 01.jpg   Zodi water heater 02.jpg  

Zodi water heater 04.jpg   Zodi water heater 05.jpg  

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Old 04-02-2015, 04:23 PM   #4
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Great job Jim. I love how you have made the area multi-purpose
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Old 04-02-2015, 04:44 PM   #5
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That is amazing.
I have a feeling this mod is going to be talked about for a long time to come. Love it.
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Old 04-02-2015, 04:58 PM   #6
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Where does the top bunk / seat back go when the area is a dinette? The first 3 pictures don't show it, so you must remove it and put it somewhere, right?

How is the shower curtain suspended?
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Old 04-02-2015, 05:20 PM   #7
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Update to initial photos:

I don't use the small orange motor any more. I replaced it with a Flowjet pump. It is very quiet. I also moved the setup to the front of the camper and installed an access compartment with a 3-way valve to direct water to either the shower, or to the Zodi to pre-heat the water. Photos of the new inside configuration for the shower and plumbing are also included. I don't know how to write text onto the photos, but you can see my description by putting the cursor on each photo and it will give a description.

New shower system:

The design and installation of the shower was the most complex part of all the modifications. The first photo shows the new placement of the solar bag at the front right corner of the camper and hose attached to the shower fitting in the compartment. The Zodi heater hangs just to the right of it from a bracket screwed to the belly band.

Photo 2 shows the access compartment that has the nozzle to the pump and the 3-way valve to divert water to the Zodi if it is needed to heat the water.

Photo 3 shows the shower water pump just inside beneath the right bunk and the inside of the access compartment.

Photo 4 shows the shower head stored in it holder. The shower hose runs from the shower water pump across the front bottom of the camper and forms a large loop under the left front bunk. It them goes to the shower head shown stored in its holder.

Photo 5 shows the shower control panel above the front window. To use the shower, the head is moved from its holder to the pin at the right on the panel. The loop of hose under the bunk allows for the hose to be moved up into position. The switch on the left controls the shower water pump, and the switch on the right controls the shower drain pump.

Photo 6 shows the shower drain (top view) in the indestructible plastic pan . It starts as a 1/2” threaded fitting with a hose barb on the other end. I formed the top so that it conforms smoothly to the bottom of the pan. The rough part to the pan and the fitting is to help the hot-melt glue adhesion.

Photo 7 shows the shower drain (bottom view) More glue is added. It is very tight and solid.

Photo 8 shows the 5/8”ths wide, 9-inch long slot cut in the floor to allow the pan to be slid forward. That allows full height headroom. No hunching over.

The shower is 20” x 20” at the pan, and about 24” x 30” at the top. That allows plenty of elbow room so no touching against cold plastic. I used magnets to secure the side of the curtain. Once one is lined up, they all click into place so I don't have to bend over and secure the ends. There are also 6 large magnets with large washers in each of the four corners and two to close the curtain. They keep the curtain in place without any leaks onto the floor.

Photo 9 shows the shower pan drain in place from the bottom underside. I did not want a P-trap hanging down to get caught on stuff, so I used a self-priming Flowjet pump located in the rear right bunk to drain the water to the gray water tank.

Photo 10 shows the in-line drain filter. There is a large loop of hose from the drain fitting to the filter that allows the pan to be moved in the slot without kinking the hose.

Photo 11 shows the drain leading from the filter back along the frame. It enters the camper right behind the wheel well at an angle to avoid 90-degree angles as much as possible. The blue hose is from the irrigation department of Lowes. It is 18 inches long and has a protective tube over the hose that is used when passing through the opening and going to the drain pump.

Photo 12 shows the drain pump in the rear right bunk. It then pumps the drain water to the fitting on the right that leads down to the gray tank. I don't like having motors exposed to the elements and road grime so I located it inside the camper. The pump has plenty of vacuum to self-prime and drain the water from the shower pan. Since it is higher than the hose, there is always some water remaining in the line that acts as a P-trap.

I have reached the limit for photos in this message, so will post the last four in the following one.
Attached Thumbnails
Solar Shower bag hookup.jpg   Shower access compartment.jpg  

Shower pump in right front corner. Backside of Access compartment.jpg   Shower head in holder.jpg  

Shower Control Panel.jpg   Shower drain Top view.jpg  

Shower drain Bottom view.jpg   Slot in floor for Shower Drain.jpg  

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Old 04-02-2015, 05:26 PM   #8
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Last 4 photos showing drain system back to pump.

The photo doesn't show it, but there are two clips under the door area to support the hose.

An idea I got from a posting is to catch the initial cold water that comes out of the shower into a container. Then pour it into the porta-potti. It saves not having to pump in water from the reservoir, and also reduces the amount of water going into the gray tank.

The rolls of wires that show in the last photo are for the Monitor system that go from the panel to the gray and fresh water tanks. I never got around to feeding 40 feet of wire through the hole and cutting them off at the tank sensors. One of these days!
Attached Thumbnails
Shower drain outside bottom view.jpg   Shower drain filter.jpg  

Shower drain looking back between wheel and frame to pump in right rear bunk.jpg   Shower drain pump in rear right bunk.jpg  

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Old 04-02-2015, 06:47 PM   #9
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Hi Mike,

You are correct, the top bunk is removed during the day and stored next to the camper, or can be left home if the grand kids are not along.

The first photo shows it in the upright position. Note that because the fiberglass bunks have been raised about 6.5 inches, and with the couch/top bunk now resting on top of the seat cushions instead of folding down behind them, the top bunk is now about 10 inches higher than before. The kid in the top bunk lost that much headroom, but if you don't point that out to him, he may never know if he wasn't in it before. If he does notice, just tell him he must have grown!! The kid in the lower bunk loses only 6 inches.

That creates a problem. The support poles are now too short when attached as before to keep the top bunk level. To solve that, you can see in the photo that when the bunk rests on the top of the poles, it is level. Therefore, metal pole bases, or whatever Scamp calls them on both the top of the fiberglass bunk and the bottom of the top bunk should be used to keep the poles in place, or make longer poles with the welded loop to go over the screw.

Photo 2 shows the top bunk mounting brackets bolted to the front wooden rib. Large fender washers are used on the top and bottom of the bolt. If still concerned about safety, the bracket can be bolted to the front of the camper shell. But there is already more steel and aluminum in the brackets than is in the four screws holding the hinge to the rib currently.

Photo 3 shows a close-up of the top bunk bracket.

Photo 4 shows the top bunk latch hook. They actually are called a “Bunk Latch” and are available through RV catalogs for about $7.00 each.

The corner has been cut out of the hinge so that fingers can be put in the latch to make it easier to tote it in and out of the camper. I found it is easiest when moving it in or out to bring it in and then lay it flat on the lower bunk, then fold in the right end if you have a screen door. Then raise it to vertical position and the latch pins will be very close to the holes in the brackets.

Photo 5 shows the bunk latch hooked in the bracket. They have a friction lock to hold the pin in position when the handle is folded down so it can't slide back out.

I will address your question regarding the support of the shower curtain after I get some photos, probably tomorrow.

Jim
Attached Thumbnails
Top Bunk.jpg   Top Bunk Brackets in front window.jpg  

Top Bunk bracket close-up.jpg   Top Bunk Latch Hook with corner cut out so fingers can be inserted when toting ..jpg  

Top Bunk latch locked in bunk bracket.jpg  
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Old 04-02-2015, 08:33 PM   #10
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Scamper Jim, What a great job you are doing!

I just have a basic question. Are the two seats in your front dinette made of plywood or did you modify the fiberglass lower bunk into two seats?

I read above that you raised the fiberglass seats, but I want to be sure!

Bill
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Old 04-02-2015, 09:10 PM   #11
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Thank you kootenai girl, it would be nice to think that something will be of interest and use to FG owners after I am gone. Ideas are immortal, even though we aren't.
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Old 04-02-2015, 09:23 PM   #12
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Neato, absolutely neato! Isn't it fun to mod an all molded trailer that works perfectly for you! SWEET
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Old 04-02-2015, 09:29 PM   #13
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Thanks Donna,

It's very nice hearing that from you. I take it as high praise from someone who has probably seen many types of modifications that have been made. While it was fun and challenging to do, it's just as nice that others can benefit from it also.
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Old 04-02-2015, 10:01 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Scamper Jim View Post
Thanks Donna,

It's very nice hearing that from you. I take it as high praise from someone who has probably seen many types of modifications others have made. While it was fun and challenging to do, it's just as nice that others can benefit from it also.
Hi Jim, this is an incredible mod. I have gotten some great ideas here. I would be happy to make you some curtains is you send me measurements. Nothing fancy, maybe you'll have a better idea once you recover your cushions. Let me know.

Sent from my C6530N using Fiberglass RV mobile app
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