Karin's Campster Renovation - Page 8 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-07-2016, 01:07 PM   #99
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Name: K C
Trailer: 1980 18' Sunrader Motorhome and 1971 Trails West CampMite Campster
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The mold in place composite "wood" I created for raising my threshold while a bit pricey to make has proved to be good stuff!

So today while standing above the Campster on the 2nd story building's walkway I was looking down at the rotting wood that goes around the popup and mounts the lift hardware. I had looked for structural PVC lumber (composite deck boards are not structural quality as they don't have fiberglass in them) but no one carries it and special order is expensive. So what to do if I don't want to keep having trouble with rotted popup wood

I have decided to make forms for creating my own structural composite 3/4" x 1-1/2" lumber. To create my mold I will use PVC lumber from the home center stores for the surrounds as the epoxy does not bond strongly to it and screw them to a non-stick base. Wax the form, then mix up my resin and wood flour plus some fiberglass strands and trowel it into the form. After it sets I will remove the sides, take out the lumber, put the mold back together and cast the second piece. One form for the longer length, a second form for the shorter length.

No end grain issues to worry about! Plus because it will be structural quality it will be strong enough to level and stiffen that roof edge and I can set it on a butyl rubber base. Down side .... epoxy is not inexpensive but I do have plenty of wood flour and fibers on hand and the labor cost is zero.

This is a simple enough DIY project that most anyone could manage it. But do note that I am going to be using a medium speed setting epoxy which gives me lots of working time before it sets up. So if I need to mix up a second batch to finish filling a mold section I can do so.

Rain is coming this next few days and this will make a good indoor project to do that will help speed things along when the sun comes back and I can take the top off to replace the rotted material. I will have to start the fabric part of the popup job so I can coordinate its installation. As you can see from the dirt around the popup in the photo above I also had better get some perimeter locking trim with attached bulb seal ordered to act as a water barrier when the top is in the down position.
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Old 07-07-2016, 01:37 PM   #100
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Your popup top is very different from mine (the one I lost).
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Old 07-07-2016, 01:52 PM   #101
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Originally Posted by Bobbie Mayer View Post
Your popup top is very different from mine (the one I lost).
There is no indication that my top has ever been replaced. The gel coat is a perfect match.

The raised ribs strengthen the top as does the flange at the lower edge. Without the lower flange that edge would be very wavy and unstable. Without the ribs the top would want to sag in the middle.

But since very few people photograph from an aerial perspective it is difficult to know exactly what the upper surface of a pop up top looks like. It would be nice if people would do more photos from that direction for documentation purposes.

If you wanted to you could come and see my pop top when I take it off for changing the wood and fabric, changing out the old fasteners and doing some painting on the top.
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Old 07-07-2016, 02:34 PM   #102
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Let me know when you are going to do that as I might. Just replaced mine but may do a better job one day.

Mine was flat fiberglass on top, rounded edges, going down to a straight 1/8 inch rim. Beveled at the upper bends. It kind of sagged in the middle so I like the idea of the ribs to add strength. I do have a picture somewhere but can't locate it right now.
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Old 07-07-2016, 03:34 PM   #103
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Originally Posted by Bobbie Mayer View Post
Let me know when you are going to do that as I might. Just replaced mine but may do a better job one day.

Mine was flat fiberglass on top, rounded edges, going down to a straight 1/8 inch rim. Beveled at the upper bends. It kind of sagged in the middle so I like the idea of the ribs to add strength. I do have a picture somewhere but can't locate it right now.
The easy way is to take make a mold off of an original but I won't have mine off that long as I don't have a covered area to store it under.

When you make a part out of fiberglass you always need a radius on the outside or inside of the corners as the fiberglass does not form well over a sharp 90 degree edge. Those ribs also have a radius to them.

By making that angle on the Campster sides at the top they did not have to do a large sized radius where the Campster main body joins the roof. It was an easy way for them to create a mold versus having a long, large radius down the length. They just reproduced that detail in smaller scale on the pop top. The Campsters were definetly a "produced to cost" project that was simple to design and produce molds for that did not require as much complexity in mold production versus something such as a Casita, Burro, etc. But that simplicity of form also means it is easier to create replacement parts for it should you need to build a mold.
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Old 07-09-2016, 12:59 AM   #104
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Campster door weatherstrip

I was able to install my door today. Whew, what job that has been to resolve a lot of the issues with the opening in the fiberglass.

But I digress...this posting is about getting lucky and finding a weatherstrip that is a perfect fit for the aluminum channel on the door's flange. I had been going backwards and forwards with what to do about that weatherstrip piece because I could not find any close matches. This time at Home Depot I was pretty much looking at anything and everything on the shelf. Then I spotted a weatherstrip piece that is made to fit into a routed groove on an outside door for a house. The Campster door frame has a T slot shape that holds in the weatherstip so I grabbed it to try figuring I could always return it. What can I say, I was desperate to try anything that had a potential of working. It turned out to be exactly the right width and thickness and it stays in place without needing any adhesives except to put some adhesive caulk in the 45 degree cuts at the corners to bond them together.

Well it would be just perfect if my door was not warped at the top and bottom but that is a tale for another day when I put it on a rack and torture it

Here is the product name:
M-D Building Products, Platinum Collection, Door Weatherstrip Replacement, it comes in 3 color choices, white 91890, brown 91891 and black 91892. Description: " installs easily into slotted door jambs".
https://www.amazon.com/M-D-Building-.../dp/B00D8P21VU

I did not replace the section of weatherstripping on my hinge side as it was still in good shape. But to do the whole door or even just 3 sides you will need 2 packages of this product. Guess I will be heading back to Home Depot tomorrow for a second one.

Weatherstripping is a really big deal to get just right otherwise you get major troubles with water coming in. So I am jumping for joy this evening! I have a door, I have a door, no more tarp, I can lock the door!

I even created a temporary rain cap gutter over the door with an MD L-shaped Door Bottom with vinyl fins. It is product number 82578 in the color brown and product number 43816 in white. It will do for now as I could install it with some residue free duct tape so I can take it off quickly when I start painting. It is a very good depth front to back and the height fits just fine over the door. The bulb seal will divert the water out to the sides instead of having it come down on my head. The fins underneath act as drip edges so water does not run back against the door frame. One could use it permanently but I have not yet made up my mind what I want to do across the back, still I did need something for the time being...you all know Seattle's reputation for rain.

What I would like to find in the USA is a VW Kombi awning rail, it is a gutter/awing rail combination unit that has a fairly narrow profile. That would be great to have above all the windows and the door. Then I could have some Bimini style awnings with Keder style top pieces to quickly install where ever I needed them for sun or rain protection.

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Old 07-09-2016, 07:38 AM   #105
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So I am jumping for joy this evening! I have a door, I have a door, no more tarp, I can lock the door!
I wish you could see the grin on my face, a very well deserved treat for your outstanding work! Congrats!!

Jonathan
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Old 07-09-2016, 08:42 PM   #106
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straightening out the warp in my Campster door

Yesterday I mentioned my Campster door was warped. The upper and lower corners on the latch side were standing about 1/2 an inch off the surface compared to the middle of that edge where the door latched. I have no idea why it was that way but it made it impossible to keep water out since there was a open half inch gap between the gasket seal and the frame at those top and bottom corners.

I was not actually joking yesterday when I said I was going to put the door on the rack and torture it. That is exactly how it got fixed, now it is nice and flat and the gap from top to bottom is even and the gaskets fits just right for sealing out the water and wind.

My friend had on hand a 6' long or so piece of stainless steel square tubing. Now of course that tube is very strong and won't bend from the torture process. At the top and bottom edges two 3/4" scraps of lumber were placed between the door and the tube and securely clamped in place. In the center I used two more clamps about 6" or so apart to draw the door all the way back until it touched the stainless tube. I left it that way for an hour or so then released the clamps. It worked and now even the door latch works properly.

I also spent several hours today removing corrosion from the aluminum trim with a stainless steel wire brush and some 3M Scotch Brite abrasive pads. Next I will wax the aluminum, then paint the panel. I will soon put in new screening and install the new door bumper catch at the bottom.

I need to create two new pieces out of Delrin plastic that are screwed underneath the bottom edge of the door panel. They are wedge shaped and as you close the door they help lift up the bottom edge and support it on the threshold without scratching the threshold. They are what helps to keep the door from sagging on its hinges. Very important little pieces. I will do a 3D CAD model and measured drawing of them in case anyone is missing those little fittings. Fortunately I still had one of them left on the door that was not totally damaged but the other one is missing.

So don't despair of an old door that looks helpless, as long as it is not rotted or badly damaged there is some hope for bringing it back to functioning again.
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Old 07-09-2016, 09:17 PM   #107
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waxing aluminum

What so you use to wax the aluminum?
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Old 07-09-2016, 09:39 PM   #108
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What so you use to wax the aluminum?
You can get the wax/polish at the auto parts store that they use on aluminum wheels. It should be just fine for this purpose. Best not to go with exotic materials that are hard to find.

Besides I plan on buying my Campster pretty aluminum wheels for its Christmas Bling present so the product will come in handy to keep them looking pretty.
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Old 07-10-2016, 08:50 AM   #109
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There is no indication that my top has ever been replaced. The gel coat is a perfect match.

The raised ribs strengthen the top as does the flange at the lower edge. Without the lower flange that edge would be very wavy and unstable. Without the ribs the top would want to sag in the middle.

But since very few people photograph from an aerial perspective it is difficult to know exactly what the upper surface of a pop up top looks like. It would be nice if people would do more photos from that direction for documentation purposes.

If you wanted to you could come and see my pop top when I take it off for changing the wood and fabric, changing out the old fasteners and doing some painting on the top.
I just looked out my window where I can see the pop top when it's down. Mine looks the same as yours...
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Old 07-10-2016, 12:27 PM   #110
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Interesting. Do you know your VIN number, Elizabeth? Year?
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Old 07-10-2016, 10:17 PM   #111
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Interesting. Do you know your VIN number, Elizabeth? Year?
Not sure what the VIN number is but it's a 1970 year...

And looking closer, it's not exactly the same as Karin's but pretty close. The main difference that I can see is that mine has three sets of bolts through the top instead of one but looks like it came from the same mold.

In addition to the set of bolts in the center where Karen has them, mine has bolts along the sides in front and back.
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Old 07-10-2016, 11:54 PM   #112
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Not sure what the VIN number is but it's a 1970 year...

And looking closer, it's not exactly the same as Karin's but pretty close. The main difference that I can see is that mine has three sets of bolts through the top instead of one but looks like it came from the same mold.

In addition to the set of bolts in the center where Karen has them, mine has bolts along the sides in front and back.
The bolts in the center for mine belong to the handles. The other sets of bolts you might have coming through the top are likely for the latches that hold the top in the closed position. There are two different styles of those latches that were originally used as the catches on the hoods on Jeeps. The type of those catches they used on mine are called 90 degree bend jeep hood latches. My latches are mounted with screws through a trim strip on the sides and screw into the upper perimeter wood strip just under the top that the top of fabric is secured to. Which is why you don't see those two other sets of fastener holes on my lid. I am glad they did it that was as it reduced the number of holes in the top surface of the lid.
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