Adding water heater under rear couch seat. - Fiberglass RV


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Old 10-15-2011, 02:39 PM   #1
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Adding water heater under rear couch seat.

Measurements say I should be able to fit the 6 gal Suburban heater and my 12 gal water tank both under the couch on my passenger side. I will have to rotate the fresh water tank 90 degrees from it's current long ways orientation.

I think I'll want to remove the couch, seems it's just screwed in, not bolted or riveted to the outside like the cabinets. I hope to get that done and the heater and tank in place by the end of the day, so I can at least put the couch back in place to sleep tonight.

The BIG fear is messing up cutting the hole on the outside. And I was stupid enough to not have bought the door, figuring I'd get that once it was installed. But I sure had that now to make sure how that's going to fit. I've never cut fiberglass and really don't want ugly cracks or to weaken my shell. So any suggestions on that are welcome.

And any and all suggestions about wiring or plumbing from those experienced DIY trailer handymen/handywomen!
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Old 10-15-2011, 02:42 PM   #2
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Also, I'm going to be running 120v AC initially, but it is a gas/electric combo so I want to run a gas line, it's bit back and on the opposite side from the stove, so suggestions on running that gas line are also welcome.
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Old 10-15-2011, 04:34 PM   #3
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go to Harbor Freight and buy one of these Oscillating Multifunction Power Tool w/ Variable Speed
it will allow you to cut straight and with little or no chipping, just mark your line and start on outside and push your way in, it works great. remember to glue some wood around your perimeter for attaching the cover with screws thru fg into the wood.
You need special copper for propane, Lowes/HD sell's it, make sure it is for propane or gas and not water, you will need a flare kit to make flare joints and a tubing cutter.be careful bending the flexible tubing, it can kink if bent too sharp, all joints are flared/wrench tightened and need to be tested, you can buy propane leak liquid at CW, you will also need a propane detector as well as carbon monoxide alarm/detector. if you have a connection needing teflon tape you have to use the yellow for gas/propane. the guys at HD will help you.
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Old 10-15-2011, 05:35 PM   #4
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Also: There is a blue dope compound that you use on the propane connections. It is made for gas connections. Ask at Lowes.

Place Masking Tape around the opening where you will cut. Make your cut lines on the tape then use the Oscillating tool recommended above to make the cut. BE SURE to wear a dust mask when making the cut and final fitting.

I would make the fit really tight then fine tune because if you make it to loose, you may make it to big and you could wind up with gaps. You can always use the oscillating tool with a different attachment to fine tune.

Get some butyl caulking tape to put between the heater flange and the outside of the hole to seal the thing water tight. (So I can't spell Butyl and spell check doesn't find it, my bad)
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Old 10-15-2011, 06:18 PM   #5
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Awesome! Thanks!

Looks like there is a HF in Albuquerque and it's open until 9pm.
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Old 10-15-2011, 06:22 PM   #6
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I hope you don't mind, I fixed your Butyl spelling
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Old 10-15-2011, 06:36 PM   #7
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I recall using blue masking tape over an area being cut to stop surface chipping when I was cutting laminate flooring. Would tape help with FG, or isn't there a problem with chipping edges on a cut into FG? Just wondering.
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Old 10-15-2011, 06:41 PM   #8
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If the blade is new the chipping is minimal, also the cover would hide any imperfections, I did not use tape, but it would not hurt. Practice using the tool on some scrap wood til you get the feel, it is sort of like being at the dentist and hearing the drilling, very high pitched.
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Old 10-15-2011, 07:14 PM   #9
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So I'm looking at this tool, what is the advantage over a jig saw. I was hoping for some rounded corners, doesn't look like that would be easy with this tool.
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Old 10-15-2011, 07:28 PM   #10
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Thanks for commenting on the tape, Jim.

I'm going to throw another tool idea onto the work table. What about using a Dremel with a router attachment? With so many available attachments, the Dremel is a versatile tool that you'll find plenty of uses for in the future. And yes, curves or just about any shape should be easy (with a bit of practice!).
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Old 10-15-2011, 07:34 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Magee View Post
Thanks for commenting on the tape, Jim.

I'm going to throw another tool idea onto the work table. What about using a Dremel with a router attachment? With so many available attachments, the Dremel is a versatile tool that you'll find plenty of uses for in the future. And yes, curves or just about any shape should be easy (with a bit of practice!).
My experience with a router is that it is too easy to make a oops and once you make that mistake it's hard to fix, it cuts too easy. with the multitool you have to hold it steady and push in vs keep it it straight. yes it cuts straight corners and i use a variable speed jigsaw to make the radius cuts, but here you will not see the hole the cover will hide the square opening, making it look like it has radius corners.
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Old 10-15-2011, 10:58 PM   #12
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Funny it was just suggested, but I ended up getting a Harbor Frieght rotary tool. And a jig saw for good measure, but the jigsaw may be a good way to chip things up. The router attachment is good idea, not sure if HF has one or if a Demel brand attachment will fit.
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Old 10-15-2011, 11:02 PM   #13
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Somehow I missed your comments about the router. I'm going to give the rotary tool a chance at the corners, and if it's too slow or following my lines cleanly is too hard, then I'll give the jig saw a go.
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Old 10-29-2011, 01:20 PM   #14
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I just used the rotary tool and it worked great. Initially the opening was very clean, but it was a bit too small and in trying to open it up a bit I made the edges less smooth, but it's still fine. I still need to reinforce things and put on the final seals and caluking. But I have hot water!! I had a very small, slow leak it didn't notice for 48 hours, so I had to get in there and tighten a clamp or three. I ended up pulling up the wetted carpet, I plan on putting in Alure flooring anyway.

I only have it hooked up to the hose input, I haven't put in the 12v pump or re-installed the freshwater (cold) tank. That tank will need new fittings or I need a new tank. The original fittings just don't have clearance in the new orientation.

But most important thing now, I just have to figure out just how I'm going to put in the shower....
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