Karin's Campster Renovation - Page 9 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-11-2016, 12:42 AM   #113
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Name: K C
Trailer: 1980 18' Sunrader Motorhome and 1971 Trails West CampMite Campster
Washington
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Got a few projects worked on today, wrapping up things I had previously begun but was waiting on parts for and help with.

One was installing a new tongue jack. I had to get one with a very short retract height due to the way my tongue was constructed. Pro Series Round, A-Frame Jack - Topwind - 15" Lift - 2,000 lbs Pro Series Trailer Jack PS1401000303

At some point in time an additional plate had been welded onto the surface the jack mounts through. They cut the original bolts off flush and the holes in the overplate partially covered them and trapped them. It required drilling out what I could of those old bolts then grinding them off. I discussed that task earlier in the thread. To put the new jack on we had to oversize the new bolts to 7/16, tap threads into those holes then thread in stainless bolts from underneath using thread locker of course. Those bolts put in from the bottom side have now become studs! To install the new jack it is dropped over those studs and secured with washers and Nylock nuts. Fortunately the holes in the new jack were just large enough to sit down over the new larger diameter bolts.

Another task I worked on is also seen in the photo above. I put that backer board I made in place to repair the hole that is on the bottom surface of the transition in the front of the shell. You can see where I used a stabilizer jack to put pressure under the backer to hold it tight against the lower surface. There are also screws going into the block through the fiberglass from inside. Those four small holes will get filled up afterwards. The first layer of material I put into my hole patch was a thin coating of epoxy mixed with micro balloons. That created an easy to sand layer so that any excess squeeze out can be quickly leveled off on the exterior. Then I added to layers of cross woven fiberglass cloth cut to fit inside the hole then it was topped off with more fiberglass cloth that went out over the surface on the inside. That will set up overnight and I can remove the backer board tomorrow morning.

As I was going to mix up resin anyway I put in a lot of cloth and resin on the interior to back up the piece where I filled in from the old electrical inlet and also behind three areas where the outside had taken some hard knocks that make some star shaped dents and some cracks as well.

So other than a few screw holes to repair in the wheel well cover area I am pretty much done with repairing the fiberglass shell. Of course I still have some chips and scratches to level out here and there but that is just a matter or mixing my own leveling compound from micro balloons and resin. I have been working on those kinds of spots here and there all month long so there is not a lot of that left to do. I have also been doing some sanding of the shell here and there so that too is getting close to being done. Part of the reason I have broken it into shorter segments of time is so I don't drive my neighbors in the workshop building and the people in the condos next door crazy with long days of sanding and grinding noise.

Next major job...the pop top rehab.
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Old 07-11-2016, 11:06 PM   #114
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Name: Bobbie
Trailer: Trails West Campster 1970/Escape 15A
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Mine is a 1970. It had the bolts but the top was flat, without the ribs. Also matched the gel coat and looked 100% original. Four sets of bolts through for the jeep latches and I think screws or rivets for the inside handles. Interesting that the top changed but it tended to sag and water pool on it so maybe they noticed that and changed it. Your title should have the VIN number.
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Campster from top side - 1 (1).jpg   Campster from top side - 1.jpg  

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Old 07-11-2016, 11:15 PM   #115
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my title only has the serial number on it which is 0012
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Old 07-14-2016, 12:14 AM   #116
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Name: K C
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making my own composite lumber

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I got around to doing one task for my Campster project today. I have created the mold I will use to make my composite .75" x 1.5" lumber, four pieces, 2 at 62 inches and 2 at 29" long, which will be used as the frame around the opening that secures the fabric and the spring mechanism for the pop top. It has to be strong material because of the pull of the spring on the lift mechanism and I wanted it to be rot proof too. Loosing the pop top to weak or rotted lumber failure is not something I want to have happen to my Campster.

It is not a fancy mold. You don't have to be an engineer to come up with methods of creating something such as making molds out of lumber and scrap materials or in this case even some materials that are destined for other uses in the future. You just have to figure out how to hold things together so they can be taken back apart again to release the piece you are trying to create. Which in my case meant using some deck screws and a couple of clamps. I created a removable block for the center than divides my 62" long mold into two 29" sections. So that means I can use the mold for both of the variations in length without reworking the mold.

My mold sides are 1 x 2 hemlock that I have secured with double sided adhesive tape against aluminum angle to hold the wood perfectly upright and also keep them straight along their length. The base is just an off cut of plywood we had kicking around the workshop. Everything is waxed with Johnson's paste wax. The hemlock sides of the mold are secured to the plywood with screws so that the mold can be taken apart to release the composite wood pieces I am making. The stops at the end of the mold are scraps left from my door framing project and they will still come in handy for other future project requiring some temporary block holding jig. I did not want to put any holes into the aluminum angle as it will be getting used for my cabinet framing which is why I only used tape on it or clamps. I can reuse the 1 x 2 for other stuff. Scrap plywood is always handy so my mold will be completely recycled for other uses which makes it a no cost mold other than a bit of labor time, gotta love that
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Old 07-14-2016, 10:51 AM   #117
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Making your own materials is pretty legit, I'm very impressed!!

Jonathan
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Old 07-14-2016, 06:45 PM   #118
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Name: K C
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Off and on I have been working on getting the original contact cement adhesive off of the ceiling. Some of it peeled right off but unfortunately that was not true for most of it.

Heat guns and solvents just make it sticky and hard to remove. Medium grit sandpaper on a random orbital sander builds up too much heat and that turns it stick.

But super coarse grit sand paper as in #40 grit and hand sanding does work, it is easy enough and while not an instant removal technique goes fairly quickly.

You can put the 40 grit paper on a random orbital but you don't need to except on the toughest of spots. Plus you would want to be very gentle as the fiberglass shell of the roof is already very thin on the Campster and you don't want to make it any thinner. Plus pressure equals more heat and more heat equal sticky glue that is not going to come off. Ideal would be a slow speed sander but lacking that just use a light touch.

Put gloves on, put a hat on, put a face mask on, put a high volume fan in the doorway sucking out the air and have windows open so it can pull in air. Don't do it in the hot part of the day as open pours let fibers in. You will be trimming a lot of those fiberglass strands off while you are working. This is not a fun job, best done at the end of the day because you will have to go and get into the shower when you finish the section you have allotted for that day's goal.
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Old 07-15-2016, 07:01 AM   #119
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Name: Jonathan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by k corbin View Post
This is not a fun job, best done at the end of the day because you will have to go and get into the shower when you finish the section you have allotted for that day's goal.
This is a looming project for me and I've been dreading it, although it seems far less daunting when thinking about tackling small, defined sections one at a time... keep the wisdom flowing, this rookie is sponging it all up!!

Jonathan
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Old 07-15-2016, 10:42 AM   #120
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Name: K C
Trailer: 1980 18' Sunrader Motorhome and 1971 Trails West CampMite Campster
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shaggydoink View Post
This is a looming project for me and I've been dreading it, although it seems far less daunting when thinking about tackling small, defined sections one at a time... keep the wisdom flowing, this rookie is sponging it all up!!

Jonathan
That piece of wisdom comes from the wisdom of the aged rather than being wisdom of the aged. I would actually prefer the get it done and over with approach. But my neck and shoulders are directing the pace on this task.
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Old 07-17-2016, 09:05 PM   #121
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Name: Jeanne
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Karin, do you use a block to sand the ceiling with? I've got limited strength in one of my shoulders and am looking for the easiest way to remove liquid nails from the ceiling.

Love all of your creative way of doing things. I look forward to your updates.

Jeanne
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Old 07-17-2016, 10:56 PM   #122
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Name: K C
Trailer: 1980 18' Sunrader Motorhome and 1971 Trails West CampMite Campster
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Originally Posted by Jeanne D. in ca View Post
Karin, do you use a block to sand the ceiling with? I've got limited strength in one of my shoulders and am looking for the easiest way to remove liquid nails from the ceiling.

Love all of your creative way of doing things. I look forward to your updates.

Jeanne
No block, the ceiling is not very flat so a block would just do a lot of hit and miss. But that is for old dried contact cement which is pretty easy to take off.

Liquid nails is a whole other ball game and I can't give accurate advice on something I have never done which is take liquid nails off of the inner surface of gunned fiberglass. i suggest you post that question in the owner helping owners section as it is might apply to all kinds of trailers. But it does not apply to my remodel. I feel fortunate there were very few owner modifications done. The worst thing they did is put silicone around windows.
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Old 07-18-2016, 07:29 PM   #123
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Name: K C
Trailer: 1980 18' Sunrader Motorhome and 1971 Trails West CampMite Campster
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Working on my pop up top this week. It is down from the roof and lying upside down on a table. I had to replace all of the wood that was against the roof as it was badly rotted. I wanted to make my own composite wood and it was easy to cast but turned out to be too heat sensitive when I really needed it to be very stable. So I cut new wood pieces from an IPE deck board material. IPE is a very hard and oily wood, sometimes called poor man's teak. It should last a a very long time. (Yes all you worry warts types I already know all the precautions for safety and tool use for that species of wood). I won't try to paint the IPE as it does not take paint well because of the high oil content. It will eventually turn a dark grey which will look just fine with my color scheme. The IPE will not be touching the aluminum pieces ofthe track rail and all the fasteners that do touch it are stainless steel so there won't be any corrosion issue with the metals.

Fortunately all of the wood framing pieces that are directly against the underside of the fiberglass top are in sound condition with no rot on them. So I will just put a fresh coat of paint on them.
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Before removing the top I secured it in the open position so it would be easy to adjust and install the new fabric with it in that position while it was out on the table top. To brace it in that position on each of the two sides I took four pieces of plywood. Two on each side of the two braces. Then I screwed them together. At the moment I have taken off the springs and taken out all the old rusted fasteners so much of the mechanism is now disassembled. But when I want to reassemble everything it will go back together into the same exact position because of those plywood plates. Except I will have to turn those screws around to face the outside, oh well. My pitiful excuse for putting them in on the wrong side to start with is there was no one around to help bring the big heavy wood ladder down the stairs and I was too impatient to wait for the help with it.

Today I brushed rust off the steel pieces such as the springs and some other fittings and coated them wit Ospho which is a product that converts the rust from iron oxide into iron phospate. If you want to know more about what Ospho is just click the blue link on its name. Tomorrow I will paint those metal pieces to protect them and of course that will make them look much nicer. They will get put back together with new stainless steel fasteners.

But before I put things back together I am going to paint the fiberglass with primer and also put my new color scheme on it.

It is a slightly rainy evening so I am going to cut my fabric and start sewing the new canvas. I have my measured plan ready for cutting. Now if I can find where I stashed the fabric I bought a few weeks ago
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Old 07-19-2016, 02:33 PM   #124
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Name: K C
Trailer: 1980 18' Sunrader Motorhome and 1971 Trails West CampMite Campster
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Bent pop top lift arm

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The pair of lift arms on the pop top were considerably bent on one side of my pop top. Fortunately the other side was still in good shape so at least I knew how they are supposed to look. You can see in the photo above a good arm lift lying next to a damaged one. The blue tape at the end is just holding some bushings that belong in the holes at the end in place so I don't loose them and wonder where they belonged...senior brains need that kind of help
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I have now managed to get those damaged arms straight using the bow method of placing blocks underneath and using a good strong clamp to pull it back to being straight.

Of course the problem could happen all over again if I don't remember to put my hands on both handles in the pop top roof when lifting and lowering the roof so that it goes up and down straight. I guess I should create a warning sign-plate to paste onto the ceiling to remind myself and others of the folly of not paying attention to how we do things.

A while back someone asked the question of what material was on the inside surface of the popup top. On my Campster is is 1/4" thick, 3 layer plywood with a piece of white vinyl on the finished surface. Even after 45 years time it is still in perfect shape so I will leave it be. My aluminum handles used for raising and lowering the top are still firmly attached so I will just polish up the metal and leave them be as well.

The Jeep hood, hold down, latches that secure the top in position when closed were quite rusty so I ordered 4 more of them and they arrived yesterday.

When the pop top was removed my roof sprang back up to the proper level. I will take advantage of it being off to figure out how tall my upright post for bracing at the ends of the cabinets should be. That will be done by clamping some square tubing against the long sides on the underside of the roof opening to hold it nice and straight. I will also be sighting along it from outside. That way I will know what adjustments to make so I can get an accurate measurement from the floor to the underside of the ceiling for the height of my post and beam setup. It will be better to install those new supports before the pop top goes back into place so I am not trying to fight the weight of it while installing the posts and beam bracing. My seating base and kitchen cabinets will tie into that structure so I do need to make sure it is all squared up. But that is just thinking ahead and will be shown in another episode of Karin's Old Campster. I guess that means I have some cabinet framing decisions to make in the next couple of days.
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Old 07-24-2016, 11:07 PM   #125
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Name: K C
Trailer: 1980 18' Sunrader Motorhome and 1971 Trails West CampMite Campster
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I finished painting the roof section of the pop up today. New color scheme of red with black trim to match my Honda Element. I am using marine paints. The primer the store recommended is hideous to work with, too thick and sets up too fast. I don't need a high build primer and I don't want to spend my time sanding it even. Even thinning and adding Penetrol did not help. All I can say is I am glad it is way up top where the brush marks won't bug me.

Fortunately the red paint is OK to work with as is the black. So tomorrow I will take back the other quarts of primer and go find some XIM brand primer which I much prefer working with.

This afternoon I decided to get serious about taking off the original color stripes on the sides of the Campster. At first I though they were vinyl so I tried the pin stripe eraser with no success. Then I got out the heat gun. It turns out there was as very thin vinyl pin stripe outlining a wide painted stripe. So it was a two step process. Heat gun to help release the pin stripe followed by sanding off the colored paint stripe. I almost got the job done but quit around 6:30pm to give the Condo neighbors a quiet Sunday evening dinner time out on their balconies with a nice view of the water. Besides by that point in time my hands were tingling from using the random orbital sander and my back was also saying it was quitting time.

By the end of this week I want to have the new canvas done, the roof painted and the pop top reinstalled. Then I have two windows to pull out and rehabilitate and finish up putting filler into the chips, gel coat cracks etc. Someday I will get the outside painted. That will feel like I am really on the home stretch! Of course I won't have an interior in it yet but that is the easy part to do. At least I will no longer get covered with fiberglass dust.
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Old 07-25-2016, 07:43 PM   #126
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Name: K C
Trailer: 1980 18' Sunrader Motorhome and 1971 Trails West CampMite Campster
Washington
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Took the Dremel motor with a fibered cutoff wheel to the fasteners on the original water fill fittings as well as the original sink drain and vent. No choice but to take off the heads of the fasteners as they were so corroded that even vice grips could not be used on them.

Now that I have all that old worn out and leaky junk removed I have decided to patch in those holes and upgrade. First of all I will put in a small holding tank under the sink, I can make it removable or have a drain. Before the sink drained only to the outside and you could put a portable container under it. But that just makes for yet another setup and break down chore and there are already enough of those things to do.

While it is rare there have been some incidents I have heard of with people putting "stuff" into peoples water fillers. I have seen a version with a locking door that contains both a gravity fill and a city water fill. I think I might go that way instead. I can get it in black for $20.00 on Ebay. It will really clean up the look of the outside and there won't be any protruding pieces to get knocked into.

Good thing I saved back some of the old fiberglass from the kitchen counter. I can take a hole saw to it and that will create my filler pieces to patch up the 4 round holes left by the various tubes that went through the shell. I will do that in the next couple of days.
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