My 1991 Scamp renovation - Fiberglass RV


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Old 12-18-2011, 10:14 PM   #1
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Name: kevin
Trailer: 13' Scamp
Colorado
Posts: 170
My 1991 Scamp renovation

I am going to use this thread as a blog about my renovation. Unfortunately I am starting a little late in the process so I will update what has been done and what needs to be done.

done:

1. ripped out front couch and built from scratch a new dinette with lots of storage.
2. built a set of shelves into where the closet was
3a. removed the old furnace, cut the little cabinets out to make into one nice sized cabinet. I then installed a shelf in the cabinet to make use of all the space I gained with no furnace.
3b. replaced all of the cabinet faces and rebuilt the cutlery drawer.
3c. put in dividers in the upper cabinets
4. Routed the gas line to the otherside of the camper to put in a Wave 3 catalytic heater (takes up much less space, MUCH quieter which means you can run it all night without it waking you up every 30 minutes, also requires no battery power.
5. removed the old carpeting and put in new carpeting that came with my house.
6. drilled out all the rivets from the cabinets and the electrical box.
7. tabbed in the electrical box and replaced on the cabinet rivets with shiny new stainless steel hardware.
8. fiberglassed the holes where the furnace vents were. Also filled a bunch of extra bolt holes all around the camper (thank you previous owner (P.O.)).
9. fixed a whole above the wheel
10. fixed a leak in the belly band. WTF nobody's Scamps have leaks in the belly band. There was a small weakness in the fiberglass they use to connect the two halfs (top and bottom). Thus water was able to get into the camper. Luckily it had not yet done too much damage. I filled the hole on the inside where the water was coming through, then removed the belly band and polished it, sealed the seam between the two halves of the Scamp, then drilled holes all the way through the band and use stainless steel bolts to put the band back on.
11. Redid the wiring and added a fuse block, a lighter socket, new lights, light switches.

12. Built a drawer under the bed.
13. epoxied and gel coated a bunch of cracks, voids, and damage to the outside of the camper. I think the P.O. must have backed into something at some point.
14. cut some extra carpeting foam to put under the bed as extra padding and also cut a latex foam topper I already owned to go over the current cushions. I looked into getting new upholstery, but it was a little pricey. I am getting new cushions for the front dinette, but not for the bed yet. At some point I will buy a foam mattress and cut it to fit.
15. Installed a stainless steal backsplash in the kitchen
16. I am in the process of making a custom range vent.
17. Removed the front and rear windows, currently in the process of reinstalling them with new gaskets.
18. Cleaned out all the cabinets (sounds easier than it was)
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Old 12-18-2011, 10:18 PM   #2
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Name: kevin
Trailer: 13' Scamp
Colorado
Posts: 170
Pcitures of the original camper

The pictures of the outside show the damage at the back. It did not look too bad until I scraped off all the gel coat that needed to go. Right above the back window there was a 4"x4" by 1/2 deep void that I had to fill. WTF Scamp quality control.

Also notice the new rain gutter the previous owner had put above the door. Apparently the door had been falling off, so he got a someone to put a steel support into the wall and then glued on this fiberglass rain gutter. The workmanship is OK, but the metal support made installing the front dinette a pain in the ass, and he left the doorway a mess.
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Old 12-18-2011, 10:27 PM   #3
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Name: kevin
Trailer: 13' Scamp
Colorado
Posts: 170
Front dinette Finished!

I built these with 1x2 maple supports, a box of screws, a new driver, a new drill, a new jig saw, a sheet of 3/4" plywood, new right angle clamps, new G clamps, and some misc. hinge and slider hardware. I think they turned out great! The table has since been oiled to match the benches. I can't wait for my cushions to be done.

Notice the metal bracket right in the middle of where I am trying to frame around the drawer. I decided I did not want to remove it because I was not sure how bomber the repair they made really was.
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Old 12-18-2011, 10:31 PM   #4
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Name: kevin
Trailer: 13' Scamp
Colorado
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Closet turned into shelves

The Scamp closets are useless. So I installed shelves. Each shelf used 1x4 maple on the front to prevent stuff from falling out. The itoy camera does not do the wood justice. I can't actually take credit for this bit of work since my friend J5 did it for me. The catalytic heater has been mounted on the bottom.
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Old 12-18-2011, 10:35 PM   #5
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Name: kevin
Trailer: 13' Scamp
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Underbed storage

There is a small amount of wasted spaced behind this drawer, but there is only so much floor space to pull it out! I made this out of all the left over wood I had from the dinette. The sides are 1/2 pine from the bunk bed (back of the sofa). Again, the photo does not do it justice.
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Old 12-18-2011, 10:40 PM   #6
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Name: kevin
Trailer: 13' Scamp
Colorado
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Fun with epoxy!

There are several more repairs. I have found more about epoxy and gel coat repairs than I ever wanted to know. Don't read the rest of this post, it is long and NOT funny.

I started with a simple project and it has gotton more and more miserable due to incomplete information here and in a bunch of marine forums. All I wanted to do was to repair a few minor gel coat chips as shown in the picture. So I happily set off chipping off all the loose gel coat to find that there was actually a large void under the gel coat. This is not uncommon with Scamps and is due to improper building technique that allowed air to remain trapped under the fiberglass when it was applied to the mold.

Once I removed all the gel coat that would come off easily with a scraper, I then ground the entire area down with the flap sand paper attachment on my grinder for a nice surface to fill. When choosing filler I did a lot of research on this site and others. A lot of people here have had luck with glass filled Bondo filler. All the information on marine forums said "DO NOT USE BONDO" because of issues with water absorption. Therefore I used West System Epoxy based on a recommendation from some people here and boat people love that stuff. I mixed in the colloidal silica filler until it was a nice peanut butter consistency and filled the void. Three layers later of epoxy I had a perfect surface. Everything was going well (I thought)

I then sanded my last layer of epoxy, washed with acetone and painted on some Evercoat single step gel coat and walked away figuring I was done with that repair. I should point out that the container of Evercoat gel coat says in large letters "DO NOT USE OVER EPOXY." However, there is a white paper on the West System website saying "go right ahead and ignore Evercoat, it works fine." I listened to the advice from West System because I had already bought the gel coat. I came back the next night only to see that my gel coat had gone all drippy and had not cured in most of the repair. Using that same batch of Gel coat I had also touched up one or two other areas. Those areas were fantastic, with a little sanding they were done. Therefore I know it was not a mixing problem. What had happened??

Well my first guess that I had simply blotted on too much and it had prevented proper curing was NOT correct, because my second attempt did the same thing. More internet research led me to a new conclusion: amine blush. Apparently epoxy when it cures can emit a waxy residue that needs to be washed off with soap and water (NOT Acetone, acetone will not remove it), before epoxy can be finished. This is especially true if you are using it has cooler temperatures or if the temperature is dropping during the cure (the exact conditions in my semi-heated garage). My next attempt will be to heat gun the epoxy for a little (hopefully not getting it too hot) to make damn sure it is fully cured, then wash repeatedly with soap and water, then gel coat one last time. If that doesn't work I will start looking into painting options, or maybe I will just grind out all the epoxy and start again, but that does not seem like a good idea and I may just end up with a bunch of new holes in the camper that I need to fix.

The reason I hadn't gone straight to paint was because it seemed easier and cheaper to simply repair a few spots and blend it into the rest of the camper rather than painting over the entire shebang. If anybody has any suggestions for a paint that I can use in a few spots that will blend into the present gel coat that would be great.

Here a few conclusions on gel coat repair that I have come to so far the hard way. First thing, use a Polyester based filler like Bondo to do the repair. Your Scamp is made using a polyester based resin with fiberglass, not epoxy. It is better to keep everything Polyester based, because paints, gelcoat etc. work well with this base. If you are worried about water absorption causing issues in the future (very unlikely, but you never know), use a marine polyester resin instead of the Bondo, but DO NOT use epoxy if you want to gel coat to match the rest of the camper. Even painting over epoxy is not the best idea because even if you sand it with 80 grit sand paper to get good physical adhesion between the paint and epoxy, it will never be as durable because epoxy hates forming new chemical bonds with anything once it has cured. Painting is probably your best choice once you have erred and used epoxy for the repair.

As a footnote to this long story about gel coating over epoxy. My third and final attempt has worked very well. Once the amine blush has been removed with soap and water (acetone no worky) the gel coat cures hard as a rock. The adhesion between the epoxy and gel coat is excellent. I tried to scrape some off and could not for the life of me and ended up sanding it off. A hard earned lesson.
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Old 12-18-2011, 10:44 PM   #7
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Name: kevin
Trailer: 13' Scamp
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New back splash going in!

I bought a piece of stainless sheet and I am in the process of installing it as a back splash to the kitchen. I cut a hole in back of it to allow for the custom range vent I am making using two muffin fans.
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Old 12-18-2011, 10:49 PM   #8
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Name: kevin
Trailer: 13' Scamp
Colorado
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Gel coat

I have gel coated over a bunch of that epoxy, but everything still looks pretty rough. It is now usable until it is warmer outside, at which point I will make everything look pretty. The top of the camper still looks like it is molding away, so it will require a good scrubbing as well. Then I think I might poliglow the whole thing for that wet shine.
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Old 12-19-2011, 12:03 AM   #9
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Name: Fred
Trailer: 1978 Trillium 4500
Washington
Posts: 232
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Great thread.

I'd like to hear more about your kitchen exhaust fan.

Also, you said you patched the exterior opening from your old heater ... How did you do that exactly?

Keep the info and *pictures* coming.

I'm going to be building a dinette like your in my Trillium. How do you access the interior of one without the drawer? What is supporting the back of the seats?
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Old 12-19-2011, 11:10 AM   #10
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Name: kevin
Trailer: 13' Scamp
Colorado
Posts: 170
More information on the kitchen fan when I figure out what I am doing. I patched the heater by taping a piece of Mylar on the outside with some cardboard over that. I then gel coated the inside of the mylar with wax free gel coat. I then shoved some thickened epoxy in over the gel coat so there were no voids, I didn't allow the epoxy to cure too much, and I then fiberglassed over that using fiberglass mat. I then removed the mylar and gel coated over the whole thing. It was my first fiberglass repair, so I ended up with big pool of epoxy sitting on the wheel well, so remember to put plastic over everything and learn how to fiberglass appropriately. You need to achieve wet out, but then you have to squeegy it some. My next repair of the hole above the wheel was much neater. Read the manual on the West System website on fiberglass repair.

There are no seat backs, I will use cushions. If you look at the picture again you will see that I hinged the lid of the seat with no drawer. In theory my cushions will have the same hing, we'll see how well it works.

Quote:
Originally Posted by freddo411 View Post
Great thread.

I'd like to hear more about your kitchen exhaust fan.

Also, you said you patched the exterior opening from your old heater ... How did you do that exactly?

Keep the info and *pictures* coming.

I'm going to be building a dinette like your in my Trillium. How do you access the interior of one without the drawer? What is supporting the back of the seats?
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Old 01-09-2012, 09:30 PM   #11
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Name: kevin
Trailer: 13' Scamp
Colorado
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exhaust fan finished

I finished installing the stainless steel back splash and exhaust fan. I could not find a stainless steel exhaust vent for the outside, so I simply covered the cheap plastic crap from Ventline with some of the left over stainless. I also went pimp on the fans and got ones with blue LEDS. Totally useless, but kind of a cool in a geeky sort of way
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Old 01-09-2012, 09:36 PM   #12
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Name: kevin
Trailer: 13' Scamp
Colorado
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vent fan continued

I noticed I did not include an info on how the vent was constructed. I simply cut a hole through the camper with the jigsaw, then attached the back splash and cut a hole through it from the outside using the grinder with a cutoff blade. I then cut a piece of plywood the same size to trim the hole on the inside and provide an easy mount for the fans. I then bolted the entire assembly together with 4 stainless steel bolts. I screwed the fans into the plywood and cut a piece of maple to go between them. This piece I screwed in from the outside using a stainless steel sheet metal screw.

For the power, I hijacked the wires to the 110 V light that was over the sink and ran the wires behind the back splash.
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Old 01-09-2012, 09:41 PM   #13
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Name: kevin
Trailer: 13' Scamp
Colorado
Posts: 170
Fixed up the bed

I made my back dinette a permenant bed, so I decided to level out the bottom of it properly. The table that comes with the scamp I replaced with some 3/4 inch plywood I had lying around. Notice there is a back hatch for accessing the area behind my underbed drawer. I also glued some 1/4 inch ribs onto the hatch covers in order to make them flush with the fiberglass. I then shimmed them and lined the openings with electric tape so they don't make noise or rock around when the camper is rocking
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Old 01-09-2012, 09:50 PM   #14
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Name: kevin
Trailer: 13' Scamp
Colorado
Posts: 170
Solar panel fun

My electricity use should be pretty tiny since I removed the furnace and installed a catalytic (WAVE 3) heater, replaced with lights with LEDs, and have no refrigerator or ceiling fan. However, I still decided to install a 30 W solar panel. I couldn't help myself, so I made stainless steel brackets, but they turned out kind of crappy looking, so I made aluminum as well with some angle stock I had leftover from another project. Did I mention that I love using my grinder. I made it easily movable though not quite removable because of the wires, by bolting from the inside out. I may decide to add an inline fuse, which would have the benefit of allowing the panal to be removed completely. I then placed the brackets through the bolts now attached to the camper and when I am ready I will add another lock nut to hold on the panel.

Notice the shot from the inside where you can see the light coming through my incomplete gel coat repairs. Notice, also the two back bolts are not yet screwed. Someday my camper will be done.
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