Restoring the "Haunted Mansion" - Page 6 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 03-15-2015, 08:24 AM   #71
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Name: Tony
Trailer: Scamp - The Haunted Mansion
Colorado
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Dave - That's true! I wish I had some deep throated ones for those hard to reach places!
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Old 03-15-2015, 10:33 AM   #72
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Name: Kathy
Trailer: 2017 Escape 19
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Just wanted to say that I appreciate how well you're documenting this restoration. It will be immensely helpful for others who tackle similar big projects like this and it will also make a wonderful record for yourselves. Hope you'll eventually put all the pics into a photo album. Great work!
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Old 03-15-2015, 03:17 PM   #73
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Name: Tony
Trailer: Scamp - The Haunted Mansion
Colorado
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Evergreen girl - Thanks! I learned a lot from the pics and posts from others on the forum here, so the least I could do is share what we do. Maybe something we do will spark an idea for someone else. And yes, we do plan on putting together a photo book to go in the trailer... We are also keeping a blog on the trailer and hopefully our adventures!
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Old 03-29-2015, 05:31 PM   #74
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Name: Tony
Trailer: Scamp - The Haunted Mansion
Colorado
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There are some days when you have a project when you do little but it looks like a lot, but there are some days when you work like a dog and it doesn't look like you accomplished a darn thing....today was one of those days.

Taking advantage of a weekend of warm weather, we decided it was time to tackle the body work on the Mansion. After acquiring a new orbital sander (the old one finally gave up the ghost), we went to town on the old gelcoat with some 60 grit sandpaper. From our research, that coarse of a grit should really only be used if you're doing some serious repairs. Well, we thought what we are doing could be considered serious....

Fortunately, the body of the Mansion is in pretty decent shape. As we've documented, one of the previous owners pulled out all the interior cabinetry, and, fortunately, sealed up most of the holes where they were riveted to the hull. There were a couple of holes that still needed to be filled, and there was one serious crack below the back bumper that needed to be repaired, but for the most part, we got off pretty lucky.

One of the challenges we were dreading was that of the spider cracks that were on the upper corners of the door and over the front window on the driver's side. We determined that they were only in the gelcoat -- they didn't go through the fiberglass -- so that was a plus. But, in order to get rid of them and make sure they don't come back once we paint the trailer, we had to grind the cracks all the way down to the fiberglass -- and the gelcoat was quite thick on the corners.

We also had spider cracks near the bolt holes for the door, so we ground those out and filled those cracks, too.

The original marker lights had four holes drilled through the body for each light -- two for the rivets, and one for each of the wires for the light. The new LED lights only need one hole for the wires. So, to reduce the possibility of water getting behind the light and then in to the trailer, we decided to seal up one of the holes on each light.

There were two stray holes on the back of the trailer - we have no idea what they were for - that needed to be filled in, and the top hole for the spare tire bolts also had spider cracks, so we ground it out and added a little bondo to handle those.
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Old 03-29-2015, 05:40 PM   #75
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Name: Tony
Trailer: Scamp - The Haunted Mansion
Colorado
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The one real major repair that we had to deal with is probably in one of the most inconvenient places -- it's just below the rear bumper on the right side...Somehow the pod had developed a 2" crack. We used the Dremel with a cutting wheel, cut a slot and then used a bit of resin and fiberglass to patch it. It's gonna be a pain to sand, but it had to be fixed. It's below the floor, but still...if we going to fix it, we should fix it right.

While we waited for the bondo and the fiberglass to harden, we continued on sanding the trailer. We spent a lot of extra time sanding where the decals once were -- of course the gelcoat under them was pristine - unlike the faded, oxidized gelcoat everywhere else! As much as we sanded, we never could totally get rid of the Scamp logo and stripes -- but you can't feel where they once were. Hopefully, the primer and paint will cover that. You can see in the pictures below the faint remnants of the logo -- but it's only a visual thing...the area has no adhesive, and it's as smooth as glass to the touch. The bondo patches in the left photo are to fill in a pretty good sized ding (the top) and one of the holes for the old light (bottom). The two holes you see are for the water tank fill door and the exterior power outlet. The bottom photo shows the test fit we did of the fill door, outlet box and light before we started the bondo work.

After we got what we could reach from the ground, it was time to go upstairs and tackle probably the worst thing on the trailer -- the hatch patch. Evidently this trailer had a one time an "escape hatch" in the roof. A previous owner took the hatch out and then cut a second window on the driver's side near the front. Recycling the piece they cut for the window, they filled the hatch hole with it, glassing it from the inside and then putting on some bondo on the outside. The thing is, they didn't finish the job. The bulk of the bondo up there was unsanded and filled with pock marks. Now, granted, not many people will ever see the top of the trailer, but hey, if we're gonna fix it, we may as well fix it right....right? So using the 60 grit sandpaper, we went after their partially finished bondo job. There were some low spots all around the patch, so we just decided to slather on another layer of bondo.

This was probably where we spent the bulk of our day...just sanding this. The hole is positioned in such a way that you have to lean out to get it -- and you don't want to just throw all your weight on the roof -- that would be a decidedly poor decision. We're sure there are going to be a few sore muscles tomorrow!

Once we got the whole trailer sanded at least once -- and in some places a whole bunch of times, we decided to take a break, let the bondo we just applied harden, and work on the door.

In a previous post, we showed how we used bent conduit as the structural support in the door. Having let it sit and cure for several days, it was time to see how it turned out! Surprisingly enough, the door was actually quite stable -- and yet it was still really lightweight! We were very pleased!
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Old 03-29-2015, 05:47 PM   #76
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Name: Tony
Trailer: Scamp - The Haunted Mansion
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Now, we needed to make a hole for the new door latch. We got rid of the cheesy "garage door" handle that originally came with the trailer. It was rusted and gross. We ordered a nice new shiny chrome one from Amazon...but it required a much bigger hole!

First, we needed to cut away the piece of conduit where the lock would eventually go. Using our trusty Dremel and a hack saw (for the last little bit), we sliced the conduit. We didn't glue under this particular section of pipe since we knew we'd be cutting it out. Thank goodness we did that. That adhesive is some pretty tough stuff!

Once the conduit was out of the way, it was time to locate where the lock needed to go. We did a quick test fit of the door and marked where the edge of the door frame on the trailer would be and then put a mark just shy of that on the door. Using that as a reference line, we marked and cut the hole.

It fit like it was made for it! After all, it was! Next up, we wanted to put in a piece of plywood to act as a support for the door...and one that we could use to attach the strike plate on the lock side. Like others have done with this kind of lock, we had to cut a "U" shape to get the lock to fit. Eventually, this wood piece, which goes all the way across the door, will be glued to the fiberglass shell using the PL adhesive we've been using throughout the camper. The pics below show the wood cut and the lock being test fit in the hole.

The next step was to put a wood frame around the window hole. If you recall our previous posts, the "wood" that was in the door had rotted away and smelled like something died inside the door. We vowed this wouldn't happen again. Using the same pressure-treated, water resistant plywood that we used for the floor, we cut four 3/4" x 2" pieces and glued them around the window hole. We must've used every clamp we had in the shop to hold those buggers down! Now the window has rounded corners, and the frame is square. The plan is to use the same foam that we intend to put in the rest of the door in the corners. And when we go to fiberglass the inside of the door, we'll fiberglass over the "sandwich" of the interior side of the door, the plywood and the exterior side of the door, making it impossible for water to ever get back in to the inside of the door.

In the photos below, you can see the hole lock from the exterior, and what it looks like with the new lock test-fitted in the hole.
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Old 03-29-2015, 05:53 PM   #77
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Name: Tony
Trailer: Scamp - The Haunted Mansion
Colorado
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Alexander Graham Bell once said, "Before anything else, preparation is the key to success."

Good thought. Good advice. Especially when it comes to sanding the body of your trailer getting it ready to paint. The trick is, it's easier said than done. You can stand and sand for hours - endlessly running the sander over and over and over the same spot - minutely removing imperfections in the gelcoat nanometer by nanometer.... It's mind numbing. It can be boring. And it's guaranteed you it will leave you a bit sore the next day. But still, it has to be done. Especially if you want to get your trailer painted correctly. Preparation is the key to success...at least that's what we keep telling ourselves.

Yeah, the last couple of times we've been working on the Mansion, it doesn't look like we made a lot of progress.

But if the aches and pains are any indication, we sure have! Here's what we've accomplished:

The spider cracks above the door needed to be sanded out of the gelcoat. They didn't seem all that bad, and after a little sanding, they seemed to disappear. BUT...after getting some good advice from our auto collision instructor at Pickens Tech, we were able to locate them using a bit of acetone on a rag. They stood out pretty clearly (though they may not appear very well in the pic below). A little digging with the Dremel and we had some nice "eyebrows" above the door. In the photo on the right, you can see where we gouged out the cracks. They were pretty deep, and the gelcoat right over the door was pretty thick....thankfully, though, the cracks only went through the gelcoat and not the fiberglass! Once the cracks were ground out, we refilled them with bondo glass (it's that greenish bondo with fiberglass reinforcing fibers). The red stuff is the spot putty to fill in the small pock marks we couldn't sand out. We also went after the "extra" hole on the marker lights - sealing them up. Yup, that's Dan sanding. He's a great help! The last photo here is the spot putty on the lower hinge holes and the marker light. The big round hole is for the air conditioning intake vent.
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Old 03-29-2015, 06:01 PM   #78
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Name: Tony
Trailer: Scamp - The Haunted Mansion
Colorado
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In the photos below, you can see where we went after the stress cracks above the door and the front window. We found a spot on the right front corner that had some crazing of the gelcoat, but we took a heavy duty sander took care of that. There's only one more spot that has some spider cracks -- it's up on the roof, but at this point, we're gonna leave it. It's in a spot that's a) not noticeable, b) in a that curve where the roof goes from flat to up (and that's a nasty curve!) Our thought is...If they come back, nobody will ever see them up there.

Thankfully, the body is in really good shape. Only minor dings, dents, etc. to fill. The previous owners filled in most of the holes where the rivets were (thankfully!) and all we had to do was do a little sanding on them. YEA! The photo below shows the driver's side of the Mansion. There were very few things there to patch/sand.

Speaking of sanding, we sanded the whole body with 60 grit (yeah, we know that sounds harsh, but considering how oxidized the body was, it needed it). Then we went after it with 120 grit. And then, once more with the 320. Boy, it's as smooth as a baby's behind now.

Next up was the door. In the photo we posted in a previous post of the test fit of the lock and with the clamps holding the wood frame around the window shows now nasty it was. It still had the adhesive from the edging around the outer perimeter of the door, remnants of the silicone around the window hole, and a ton of scratches and scrapes.

We laid the door down on the saw horses and went after it with a little goof off, a putty knife and a razor blade scraper. Most of what made the door look so shabby was just dirt and grime. The goof off removed most of that.

Next up, we needed to take care of some body work on the door. Some of the rivet holes around the window were all chipped -- we probably could have left those, since they'll be covered, but we figured, what the heck, we may as well fill those in a bit.

We also went after the hinge holes on the door. As we mentioned in a previous post, a previous owner didn't hold the door frame true when they glassed in the floor, so the door hung crookedly in the opening. By patching the holes in the door and moving them about 1/4" to the right, we'll be able to center and square up the door (at least better than it is now).

There were also a couple of holes in the gelcoat that needed to be patched.
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Old 03-29-2015, 06:07 PM   #79
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Name: Tony
Trailer: Scamp - The Haunted Mansion
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The lower corners on the door were kinda chewed up and the rivets had taken their toll on the flimsy fiberglass. Plus there were hairline cracks in the gelcoat. Those needed to come out.

The same was true on the forward side of the door...the rivets had broken out the fiberglass and needed to be patched. So we sanded it all back to the fiberglass, cut a few patches to go over the corner of the door, and glassed them into place.

We also filled in the hinge holes (to be redrilled later to help straighten out the door).
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Old 03-29-2015, 06:09 PM   #80
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Here's a couple more pics of the repairs to the door.
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Old 03-29-2015, 08:46 PM   #81
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Name: Tony
Trailer: Scamp - The Haunted Mansion
Colorado
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The door still needed a little work, though. When last we left, we had patched up the holes in the exterior of the door. Now we needed to turn our attention to the interior. The wooden insert across the middle where the lock goes hadn't been glued into the door yet, so we had to take care of that. A little PL adhesive, some clamps and scrap pieces of lumber and we could set the door aside to cure.

Once the glue dries, we'll start working on filling in the voids of the door. We're looking at putting in foil-backed foam into the door to act as insulation and as filler to build up the inside of the door. One concern we have is that the fiberglass resin may react with the foam and melt it. Before we go much further, we'll have to do a little test with some scrap. When we get the foam in, then we'll lay down some fiberglass mat and then finish it off if necessary with a bit of glass cloth.

So while we're waiting for the adhesive to dry, we decided to go ahead and start working on the interior! YEA! It's been a long time coming! We've looked at thousands of pictures, plotted and planned...now we can start putting it together!

Our first step was to extend the upper "dance floor" to accommodate the larger bed we wanted to create. The extension (which is about 9" or so) will allow for some extra storage as well as a chase where we could run some wiring and plumbing as necessary. Putting down a 2x2 cleat on the floor allowed us a way to attach a piece of 3/4" plywood to serve as the "front wall" of the extension.

From there, we needed to cut a "lid" to fit over the top of the extension. The "lid" was actually split into three parts. The two pieces at each end will be permanently secured while the center section will be attached using a piano hinge. Underneath each end we installed a plywood "cleat" which the lid can rest on.
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Old 03-29-2015, 08:53 PM   #82
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Trailer: Scamp - The Haunted Mansion
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Next we moved to the framing for the dinette. Since we were enlarging the dinette to make a larger bed, we had planned all along to make it U-shaped. That configuration allowed us to have a few more options when it came to storage and the position of the water tank.

As we posted in a previous entry, we didn't want to use the standard water port for the water tank. It really wasn't secure -- anyone could come along and dump whatever in the tank...so we got one of the lockable kind. Keep in mind that the original design called for the tank to be under the right rear dinette seat with the fill port being on the right rear corner (right on the curve) - which wouldn't allow the new lockable water fill to fit flush against the body. Besides, a previous owner glassed in and filled the old hole in the fiberglass shell anyway. So, that said, we moved the fill to passenger side where the shell was flatter. The angle of the port meant we needed to turn the water tank 90 degrees in order to avoid any severe bends in the inlet pipe.

As you can see in the above picture, we first positioned the water tank. Then, to hold it in place, we screwed three cleats to the floor. Eventually, we'll put plumber's strap over the top of the tank to hold it firmly in place. The cleats will help keep the tank from sliding around.

With the tank now positioned, we could start building the framing for the dinette seats around it. We had originally intended to use the tabs that Scamp had installed to support the back side of the original fiberglass dinette seats as the support for our framing. In fact, since we had planned all along to have the U-shaped dinette, we had installed a "connector tab" between the two that Scamp had installed.

But as we started our framing, we quickly discovered that it wasn't going to be as easy as we initially thought....the tabs were not quite exactly aligned (imagine that!). The tabs are higher on the passenger side than they are on the driver's side -- by about 1/2" to 3/4"! We should be able to shim it, though. When we get done, the dinette WILL be square!

We began by starting the framing on the passenger side. There's enough room between the framing for the dinette and the vertical tab to allow a 1/2" piece of plywood (the side of the closet/pantry on the passenger side. The idea was to allow the 2x2's to attach to the tabs, but as we said, we'll have to shim a bit to make them all square. We then framed up the driver's side. A slight miscalculation resulted in our positioning the vertical tab on the driver's side further forward than we had intended. So much for that. Oh well. It won't be a big deal - not with the configuration we've got planned. We'll be able to hide it in the cabinets.

The next step was to create the cross piece that will eventually become the "U" part of the dinette. And done. We'll tackle the back side of each bench the next time. We still need to reinforce them with fiberglass before we attach the dinette framework, but that won't take long at all.
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Old 03-30-2015, 02:50 PM   #83
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Hey all....I hope my posts aren't too long. If they are, please let me know. Just thought it might be helpful for some.
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Old 03-30-2015, 03:03 PM   #84
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No one can ever share not enough information and a picture is worth a thousand words too.
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