1984 BIGFOOT B17 Restoration - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-01-2020, 11:37 PM   #1
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Name: Martin
Trailer: Bigfoot
British Columbia
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Smile 1984 BIGFOOT B17 Restoration

So it begins, I am finally getting around to starting my Bigfoot B17 restoration project. The plan is to fully gut and rebuild the inside of the trailer and shore up the sagging roof while I'm in there. Also planning to completely refurbish the outside and give it a nice paint job. Here are some photos of my unit and a few from the first day of demo as well. I am going to try to keep this thread going from beginning to end of my project.
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Old 06-02-2020, 08:12 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Marty_3000 View Post
So it begins, I am finally getting around to starting my Bigfoot B17 restoration project. The plan is to fully gut and rebuild the inside of the trailer and shore up the sagging roof while I'm in there. Also planning to completely refurbish the outside and give it a nice paint job. Here are some photos of my unit and a few from the first day of demo as well. I am going to try to keep this thread going from beginning to end of my project.


From what I see the interior looks pretty nice... why are you planning on gutting it
Just curious ?
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Old 06-02-2020, 09:17 AM   #3
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From what I see the interior looks pretty nice... why are you planning on gutting it
Just curious ?
Upon first glance it doesn't look to bad you are right... However once you start to open up the cupboards and look under the benches there is a lot of mildew and mold. The back corner where the fresh water tank is especially moldy and the floor sinks down towards that corner. Behind the stove the hood fan vent had been leaking and all the paneling on that wall is crumbling and rotten. Also in order to re enforce and return the roof to its original contour I need to take all the ceiling down. There are a couple of threads on here from other people who have fixed their roofs like this while trying to keep the upper cabinets in place but that just looks like a band aid fix. I really want to find all the rot that might be hiding and also any leaks that are hidden behind the walls and ceiling. I have the time this summer and the trailer will be so nice and trouble free for years to come if I fix it properly. If I don't I feel that I will be trying to fix things on the fly every time I take it out. It is a 34 year old trailer after all...
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Old 06-02-2020, 10:10 AM   #4
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I am going to try to keep this thread going from beginning to end of my project.
That will be quite a project. I will be one of I think many who will be watching your techniques and progress with great interest.

I'd be inclined to try something similar with my 1994 Bigfoot if I had an adequate indoor area in which to work.

I imagine most of our older trailers have mold we don't know about in one or more locations that we can't see.
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Old 06-02-2020, 10:16 AM   #5
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Sounds like you are about to tackle a project similar to mine.
Last December I purchased a 1983 17ft Bigfoot that had a large tree branch fall on it. The branch bent 3 windows and cracked the roof in a couple of places. A past owner had at least fixed the cracks in the roof. The ceiling had fallen down along with the front overhead cabinet. Plus the paneling over the kitchen had been pulled out due to leaking of the window.

After the trailer sitting under cover with a heater my son and I have been working on gutting the trailer. The kitchen, the little side wall and the goucho have been removed. We still have the bathroom to remove.

I was told that the floors where fine but after removing the kitchen it became apparent that the floor has some water damage also. So our first project to tackle after demo is the floor.

Since I had 3 bent windows, I sourced some RV 2nds (windows) to replace the bent ones at a fraction of the cost. So as of right now the only window that will be the same will be the front window. All of the other windows in my trailer will be replaced and the fiberglass patched. Once all the fiberglass repairs and seam is reinforced, I plan on painting too.

Good Luck on your repairs and rebuild.
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Old 06-02-2020, 10:21 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by bobblangley View Post
That will be quite a project. I will be one of I think many who will be watching your techniques and progress with great interest.

I'd be inclined to try something similar with my 1994 Bigfoot if I had an adequate indoor area in which to work.

I imagine most of our older trailers have mold we don't know about in one or more locations that we can't see.
For sure all old trailer have leaked somewhere at some point it is inevitable. I am going to tackle this project outside so I could be an example of how you might be able to do it too!!
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Old 06-02-2020, 10:42 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by AnnieSnyder View Post
Sounds like you are about to tackle a project similar to mine.
Last December I purchased a 1983 17ft Bigfoot that had a large tree branch fall on it. The branch bent 3 windows and cracked the roof in a couple of places. A past owner had at least fixed the cracks in the roof. The ceiling had fallen down along with the front overhead cabinet. Plus the paneling over the kitchen had been pulled out due to leaking of the window.


After the trailer sitting under cover with a heater my son and I have been working on gutting the trailer. The kitchen, the little side wall and the goucho have been removed. We still have the bathroom to remove.

I was told that the floors where fine but after removing the kitchen it became apparent that the floor has some water damage also. So our first project to tackle after demo is the floor.

Since I had 3 bent windows, I sourced some RV 2nds (windows) to replace the bent ones at a fraction of the cost. So as of right now the only window that will be the same will be the front window. All of the other windows in my trailer will be replaced and the fiberglass patched. Once all the fiberglass repairs and seam is reinforced, I plan on painting too.

Good Luck on your repairs and rebuild.
Thank you Annie! I think we may have chatted already on one of the Facebook forums a month or so ago? I remember you saying you were rebuilding a trailer that had a tree come down on it.

I think you said you were also going to shore up the roof with laminated beams right? I am planning to do something like this but was thinking about how to support the beams. I believe we both discussed putting framing in the walls to carry the load sort of like a house, however I was looking at the front and both walls on either side have window and the contour of the wall at the very front is not straight up and down. Have you got a plan for that?

Where did you get your 2nd's windows from. My windows are OK but the seals have shrunk and probably leak. When I take the windows out I was going to look at either replacing them or getting new seals for them. Sun view windows the original manufacturer is still in business but I haven't talked to them about possible options. I have read elsewhere that they still provide replacement parts for these windows. I have also read replacing them completely is expensive.

Also I see on my trailer the front window covers piano hinge is screwed right through the window frame I don't like this as it seems a very likely spot for leaks and problems. Is yours like this? It looks like on newer trailers there is a one piece cover and it attaches above the window. Opposed to mine that has a fiberglass insert riveted into a metal frame and then screwed through the window... Any thoughts?

See attached picture for what I mean about the profile of the side upfront

Thank you!
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Old 06-02-2020, 10:45 AM   #8
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I too, am working outside. I only have an RV pad that is 10'x20' available to me. Plus its raised about 4ft off the ground at its highest point. A temporary carport helps when working outside on a trailer. I purchase a 10'x17' carport from Harbor Freight and setup over the trailer. We did have to add 2ft extensions to the legs for it to be high enough. The carport sides do have to be raised to be able to open the door since the carport is so close the same size as the trailer.
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Old 06-02-2020, 11:11 AM   #9
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I too, am working outside. I only have an RV pad that is 10'x20' available to me. Plus its raised about 4ft off the ground at its highest point. A temporary carport helps when working outside on a trailer. I purchase a 10'x17' carport from Harbor Freight and setup over the trailer. We did have to add 2ft extensions to the legs for it to be high enough. The carport sides do have to be raised to be able to open the door since the carport is so close the same size as the trailer.
I thought of getting a carport as well. But at this point I am going to get a rollong scaffold to work around the trailer and there would not be enough room to fit the scaffold around it if I bought a standard size temporary carport. I am torn as too the best solution. For now while I am not at the fiberglassing and painting stage I am just going to keep it covered with a tarp when I am not working on it.
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Old 06-02-2020, 12:25 PM   #10
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Hi Martin, Yes we did speak over facebook on our Bigfoot projects.

Yes, I am planning on making a laminated beam for the ceiling but haven't had a chance to start on it yet. The weather here hasn't been helping me get my project started plus I need to replace some fence at my house before digging into the Bigfoot further.

Since I haven't opened up the whole ceiling yet I am not sure what my process will be on connecting the beams to the walls yet. If I opened up the walls I would add posting down each wall to support a roof support. If I don't open up the walls I think the laminated beam should be ok resting on top of the angled piece of wood that is attached to the top of the paneling. That way the paneling and the foamboard behind it will be supporting the laminated roof beam. I don't believe the roof load will be enough to damage the exterior walls since it will be close to how it was constructed at the factory but with some added supports. I may run some calculations depending on what my final choices are for the roof interior.

Hopefully that all makes sense. I will try to take pictures once I am able to get that part started. Hopefully demo will be done soon, so I can start the rebuild.
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Old 06-02-2020, 12:45 PM   #11
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Hi Martin, Yes we did speak over facebook on our Bigfoot projects.

Yes, I am planning on making a laminated beam for the ceiling but haven't had a chance to start on it yet. The weather here hasn't been helping me get my project started plus I need to replace some fence at my house before digging into the Bigfoot further.

Since I haven't opened up the whole ceiling yet I am not sure what my process will be on connecting the beams to the walls yet. If I opened up the walls I would add posting down each wall to support a roof support. If I don't open up the walls I think the laminated beam should be ok resting on top of the angled piece of wood that is attached to the top of the paneling. That way the paneling and the foamboard behind it will be supporting the laminated roof beam. I don't believe the roof load will be enough to damage the exterior walls since it will be close to how it was constructed at the factory but with some added supports. I may run some calculations depending on what my final choices are for the roof interior.

Hopefully that all makes sense. I will try to take pictures once I am able to get that part started. Hopefully demo will be done soon, so I can start the rebuild.
Sounds good keep us updated?
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Old 06-02-2020, 02:05 PM   #12
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Good luck with the redo. I'm sure it will turn out great.
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Old 06-02-2020, 05:34 PM   #13
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Several years ago, someone converted their BF17 to a BF 20. This involved a total reconfiguation of the floorplan. Before you pick up your sledgehammer, you should search for this project - as you are planning to completely rebuild your trailer. The end result was very impressive, and you could profit bigtime from his problem solving journey.

I can't take the time to find the thread for you. It did take place 3-8 years ago. You can find it in the Bigfoot archieves. Maybe someone else on this site - Donna?- can bring it up for you.

God luck!
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Old 06-02-2020, 08:24 PM   #14
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Here is the thread you speak of. I met Ken a few years back when he was selling some trailer parts. Nice fellow. He has since sold the trailer I believe. Good luck

https://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/f56/stretching-my-1988-17-ft-bigfoot-44623.html
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Old 06-03-2020, 08:38 AM   #15
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I'll have to remember all of you! I hope to never gut my Bigfoot...but having you around to ask about how things are put together (and come apart) will be really helpful if I ever need to pull cabinets or counter tops or anything. Which I probably will...
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Old 06-03-2020, 11:56 AM   #16
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Several years ago, someone converted their BF17 to a BF 20. This involved a total reconfiguation of the floorplan. Before you pick up your sledgehammer, you should search for this project - as you are planning to completely rebuild your trailer. The end result was very impressive, and you could profit bigtime from his problem solving journey.

I can't take the time to find the thread for you. It did take place 3-8 years ago. You can find it in the Bigfoot archieves. Maybe someone else on this site - Donna?- can bring it up for you.

God luck!
Thanks for mentioning the thread that is an ambitious project!
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Old 06-03-2020, 11:56 AM   #17
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Here is the thread you speak of. I met Ken a few years back when he was selling some trailer parts. Nice fellow. He has since sold the trailer I believe. Good luck

https://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/...oot-44623.html
Awesome thanks for digging that up! He really went for it!
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Old 06-03-2020, 12:12 PM   #18
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Some more demolition

A few more pics of yesterday's demo. I am trying to keep as much of the old cabinetry intact for future reference if nothing else. Most likely am going to rebuild it all, however, it will make good templates for the rebuild as well as something to measure off of for placement of additional backing to screw the new cabinetry to. The old cabinetry was actually in quite poor shape. The small staples used to fsten it all together were either rotting or starting to let go in many places. I am toying with a couple ideas... I might do the bed modification in order to make it wider. The only thing with that is then the bed frame blocks the bathroom door and you lose some closet space. I thought about making a two piece door that could be opened as only the top section when the bed is out or as one piece when the bed is up. This way you could still use the bathroom at night if you partner is sleeping! Also I saw someone put a cubic mini "cub" wood stove in their trailer. One person put it in a B17 and another in a newer 21' I really like the idea but you have to take out the closet to do that. Also with two young kids in a small trailer around a hot stove like we would have I'm not sure if it would be practical. Having wood heat would be amazing for off season camping though
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Old 06-03-2020, 12:17 PM   #19
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Bigfoot B17

Hi all,

I also started restoring my Bigfoot approx. 3 weeks ago. The front cupboards and ceiling is out and I'm in the process of installing the crossmember supports. I will have more to follow as soon as possible.
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Old 06-03-2020, 12:58 PM   #20
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Hi all,

I also started restoring my Bigfoot approx. 3 weeks ago. The front cupboards and ceiling is out and I'm in the process of installing the crossmember supports. I will have more to follow as soon as possible.
Let me know how you make out!
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