1980 BigFoot B17 Restoration - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-04-2020, 12:35 PM   #1
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Name: Mark Bradley
Trailer: 1976 Boler B-1300 1980 Bigfoot B-17
Manitoba
Posts: 6
1980 BigFoot B17 Restoration

I decided to start on the sagged ceiling repair.
Over the years there was water that leaked through the roof vent and during the manufacture of this trailer one screw supporting the front left cabinets punctured the fiberglass. This caused the separation of the Styrofoam from the fiberglass. Both areas caused sagging.
I removed the front three cabinets to do the repair however left the rear portion of the ceiling and cabinets because I felt there was enough support from the rear cabinets, bathroom and closet walls. There was no indication of water damage that far back.
So down came the ceiling and I found the majority of the wood supporting the front and kitchen cabinets was rotted out. I marked the fiberglass ceiling where the wood supports were for the cabinets to be replaced later. I am an electrician by trade and not much of a carpenter so I decided to use conduit for my cross member supports. I felt this was a good choice because it is easy to work with, is galvanized and will last for as long as I have the trailer and onward. I made a 90 degree bend at each end and cut the wall out enough on each side for the Styrofoam to support the conduit. I also bent a length of tin to place between the conduit end and the Styrofoam to distribute whatever load there is onto the Styrofoam
As you can see this is as far as I have progressed.
The next step will be to strap the conduit to the fiberglass at the walls and spaced out strapping in the ceiling. I will be using short strips of fiberglass matting and resin for this. I ran a couple of 2x4s through a table saw for my wood supports for the cabinets and ceiling material. The conduit is and the wood is 1. With a bit of research I chose to use the West System Six10 Epoxy Adhesive to fasten the wood to the fiberglass.
Im getting a little ahead of myself so will stop here.
I appreciate all constructive comments as I move along. I have refurbished my 13 Boler a few years back however the Bigfoot is much more of a challenge and I know that many of you have much more experience in restoration.
Until next time.
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Old 06-07-2020, 07:48 PM   #2
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Name: Martin
Trailer: Bigfoot
British Columbia
Posts: 34
I commented back in my original post about my 1984 restoration about how good an idea this is to use EMT. I am an electrician as well and it had never occurred to me to do it this way... lol... I may steal your idea when it comes time to put the ribs in my own roof It certainly solves the round corner at the edge problem. I was wondering how I was going to carry the load around that corner and down into the wall.

Is that shiny ninety piece of sheet metal how you are supporting the EMT in the wall? If not how is it supported? Thanks for posting and please keep me updated with your progress. I will do the same when I get a chance I got side tracked last week but will be back at it tomorrow
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Old 06-08-2020, 06:43 AM   #3
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Name: Mark Bradley
Trailer: 1976 Boler B-1300 1980 Bigfoot B-17
Manitoba
Posts: 6
Hi Marty,

Yes, I used a 5" x 5" piece if galvanized tin with a 90 degree bend. Being that the styrofoam is 1" I allowed 1" for the bend. This piece of tin will distribute the weight of the conduit onto the styrofoam. I also found it much easier to use two pieces of conduit and a weathertite coupling for each support as my bending abilities are not that great. I'm looking forward to sharing my ideas with you. It seems like we are going into uncharted territory with this type of restoration/repair.
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Old 06-10-2020, 11:11 AM   #4
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Name: Knoxy
Trailer: 1981 Bigfoot B17
Alberta
Posts: 3
I Find it hilarious that I also started tearing out the roof of my B17 recently and have been toying with ideas on how to sort out the roof sagging, thanks for the EMT idea, I think I may try your method as well, if you have any additional support and installation photos it would really help me to visualize this attack.

Originally I was hoping to use existing supports in the structure with overlappying joints to allow for some adjustment in the middle, but the EMT idea does allow for quite a bit of play, and should be rather easy on the glass/Styrofoam.

Is your plan to cut out the styrofoam around the EMT and have it resting directly on the glass? or are you going to have something between it and the glass? I figured with the dynamic loading and movement down the highway it would eat away at the roof slowly so some insulation, or backer in place will prevent that, or was thinking of a flexible adhesive between the support in the roof, LOOKING FOR SUGGESTIONS.





Best of luck to all us B17 2020 restorers!

I plan to start my own thread here shortly as well to share my findings, but unfortunately I broke my collarbone a few weekends back so there will be little progress for the next couple weeks.
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Old 06-10-2020, 03:08 PM   #5
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Name: Doug
Trailer: Bigfoot 17
Texas
Posts: 2
Wiring question

I have a17 as well. Very interesting posts, I am looking forward your progress. I have a question, at the front ceiling I have one black and one white wire, where perhaps the was a light fixture. The is no power to those wires. With the ceiling out of yours, can you tell where those wire as supposed to tie into the 12v system ?
Thanks and again I will be watching and taking notes.

Doug in Arlington
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Old 06-10-2020, 07:44 PM   #6
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Name: Mark Bradley
Trailer: 1976 Boler B-1300 1980 Bigfoot B-17
Manitoba
Posts: 6
Hi Knoxy & Doug,

My next step was to fiberglass in some strips over the ceiling conduit to give the ceiling more support and also strips below the 90 degree elbows to prevent movement. I never considered the movement of the conduit against the ceiling and the damage it might cause. With the strips, the conduit is tight against the ceiling. However there is a weathertite coupling in each span that might cause a problem. So, considering your comment I will place a piece of galvanized tin between each coupling and the ceiling.

Please note rotation is wrong on photo and I can't sort that out, you get the idea.

Hi Doug,

I assume your other lights are operating properly and it is the light above the table at the front of the RV that is not. On my 1980 model the DC wires came out from the converter, behind the stove and split off into the front of the RV and rear. The circuit to the front had both the ceiling light and table light. I hope the diagram helps.
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Old 06-11-2020, 08:03 AM   #7
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Name: Knoxy
Trailer: 1981 Bigfoot B17
Alberta
Posts: 3
Mark,
Thanks for the clarification, looking forward to seeing some photos of the finalized installation.


Another thing that I believe has been really helpful has been to shine a light on the top of the roof FROM THE OUTSIDE while I had the insulation and everything off the roof, looking for any pinholes or voids in the gelcoat that are not super obvious from the top of the roof, the light shines through and exposes them in a big way. I took the orbital sander to the backer on the fiberglass to get it down to just glass and then used a marine grade epoxy to generously seal up any pin holes that I found, this will double up my efforts when we get around to finishing the exterior paint/coatings as well.

Doug, should be a light for sure, in mine the entire electrical system is all on one circuit (minus the fridge) so make sure you wire it in parallel if you do decide to put another fixture back in. Personally Ill be swapping all the filament fixtures in the bigfoot for LED fixtures, and swapping out the old power center to a 30 AMP newer version (likely from a RV part out) where the lights will be on their own circuit, the water pump on its own, and then the fridge on its own. I will additionally add some convenience lights and a few other outlets for 120V plug ins and 12V USB charging locations. Food for thought if you are going to start tackling electrical, thankfully these units are REALLY simply wired.
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Old 06-11-2020, 08:01 PM   #8
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Name: Doug
Trailer: Bigfoot 17
Texas
Posts: 2
Thank you,

Mark & Knoxy,

Makes sense in the wiring. Are the four screws holding the brass power cover the only thing keeping Me from getting into the power center or is there something else keeping me out?
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Old 06-17-2020, 04:21 PM   #9
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Name: David
Trailer: Bigfoot
BC
Posts: 4
My Turn next Year!!

I am also considering repairing the roof sag next year Thankyou for the info and please keep us updated with the restoration project!!
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Old 06-20-2020, 01:00 PM   #10
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Name: Patrick
Trailer: Shopping
Florida
Posts: 36
Enjoyed the read on the forum fun to see what you guys are doing. I hope you don't mind me chiming in with a concept. I know they started using a type of plastic reinforcements in boats for stuff like transom and consoles. I think some times it is even a pour into the molds in places as well as glass in. Anyway I have also worked with some of the products that they make the plastic recycled decking out of, the solid stuff not the composite. Not a cheap product but very easy to work and pretty stiff, or possibly some laminated starboard type stuff. I bet a person could prefect the curve in a masonite sample then cut some type of plastic to fit, jack into place with epoxy like they use in boats and have a really strong frame structure behind the glass. Anyway lurking around a couple of the real boat building or repair shops might give some great ideas.
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