1988 Bigfoot TF-20 named Gladys - Page 4 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 02-22-2018, 09:23 AM   #61
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progressive thingee

no idea might be solar!!

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Old 02-22-2018, 09:32 AM   #62
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Tilston View Post
From Progressive Dynamics? What are you going to?
We're going to change out the breaker box/charge controller for smart charger that I bought from Amazon.com for this new controller from Progressive Dynamics. We're having some trouble with keeping the battery charged and my preliminary examination suggests that there is zero charge getting to the battery which is new but now dead. Soooo, I decided to swap the old box for the new unit. Not a little job, but I've successfully completed that same task on our Scamp before we sold that so I am undaunted. This should help us with our charging issues.

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Old 02-22-2018, 09:35 AM   #63
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Quote:
Originally Posted by k0wtz View Post
no idea might be solar!!

bob
Bob, some day, maybe, we'll decide to add solar to the system. Prolly not, because we have zero plans for boondocking, but I love the idea of being able to...seems like a very expensive option that would be hard to justify for the amount of time we'd use it, and our budget just can't afford it right now.

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Old 02-22-2018, 10:14 AM   #64
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unit

we just finished a good trip to az left with the battery fully charged. in our 13f our el. needs are light even with a larger on our needs would remain the same. came home and the battery still had lots of charge left!

we spend our time outside and have no plans to do otherwise so I don't ever think we will need a gen. or solar for our el. needs.

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Old 02-26-2018, 07:37 AM   #65
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Beginning the new landing gear installation

I've started working on Gladys this weekend, even though the weather didn't cooperate very much. I was able to crawl under the RV cover, out of the rain, and remove one of the old landing gear. I intend to use the old gear to create a template for a new mounting plate.

The old landing gear are bolted to the front frame section using three bolts and lock washers. The frame has a section of steel plating that has three holes drilled through the plate to which each leg of the landing gear are bolted to each side (driver/passenger). In the image provided you'll notice that the frame has been painted black and almost looks like hard rubber. The old landing gear has already had a mounting plate welded to the outer casing of the hydraulic cylinder so I can't use the old mounting plate.

I intend to have a local metal shop cut a new mounting plate and then have them weld the U-shaped mounting clamps to this new plate. Tonight I'm going to produce a prototype of the new metal plate from cardboard for a dry fit. Then I provide the template with a drawing as well as the mounting U-clamps to the metal workers at the shop. The finished product should just bolt right up to the mounting holes in the frame.

In the upper left hand corner of the image you'll see the storage box for the battery. The close proximity to the battery provides easy access for wiring the new electrical landing gear that are replacing the leaky and temperamental hydraulic landing gear.

More pictures to come as I progress on this part of the project. Stay tuned...

bill (not laura)
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Old 02-26-2018, 07:45 AM   #66
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gladys

bill I am starting to love Gladys!!


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Old 02-27-2018, 09:33 PM   #67
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Landing gear mounting plate template

I made a hand drawing of the mounting plate for the new landing gear install. From that I created a cardboard template that I delivered to a local metal/welding shop today. They said they could have the finished mounting plates ready in a week or so. Below I've included a picture of the template when I was dry fitting the cardboard mock-up.

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landing gear template low res.jpg  
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Old 02-27-2018, 10:52 PM   #68
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Hi Bill Beautiful fifth wheel and your Decals look in really great shape, you know that that trailer is 30 years old and still in beautiful condition, it is a 1988 so let me guess that your colours inside are Burgandy yes I owned a 1988, you know they also made this in a single axle also. You will have alot of great camping in your Bigfoot. Enjoy as you have bought the best of the best. Rick ...
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Old 02-28-2018, 07:21 AM   #69
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Our Forever Camper

Rick, thank you for your kind words. As circumstances presented themselves, we were placed into a position that required us to trust the seller and review the product using pictures only.

After obtaining my passport and making the drive into Canada, I knew as soon as I laid eyes on Gladys that we'd make a terrific purchase. I felt a little funny because I didn't ask many of the questions that most would ask about a prospective camper prior to purchase.

Gladys is a real lady and we couldn't be happier with our decision. The previous owners had made some changes inside, including painting the dark woodwork, that we already knew about and loved. However, my wife has added her personal touch to decorating to create an warm and inviting haven from the road or trail when we go camping.

We can't wait to complete the few updates that are required, like replacing the landing gear, and resealing a few windows. We're very excited about the coming season!

bill (not laura)
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Old 03-01-2018, 08:17 AM   #70
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Danged impatient...

I hate waiting, even though I told the welding guy, Brandon, at Precision Welding here in Danville, KY that I wasn't in a hurry, I'm finding it difficult to wait for the mounting plates for the new landing gear. I'm feeling pretty excited about this update...


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Old 03-01-2018, 09:35 AM   #71
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Bill I sent you a PM in regards to a stove/ oven I have.
Get a chance pm me back if interested.
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Old 03-01-2018, 02:32 PM   #72
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Congratulations!

Bill and Laura,

I have been meaning to congratulate you on your 1988 Bigfoot 5th Wheel, Gladys - she is beautiful!! I have been inside some vintage Bigfoot 5th wheels and they are really roomy and nicely laid-out (I went with the travel trailer instead because I use my truck bed for a lot of home improvements, so the trailer tow hitch works better for my needs). I love that you are restoring her to her rightful road-worthy condition, as I have been doing with my 1988 Bigfoot B19. Bravo!

Thank you for sharing your impressions of the Escape 5.0 and why you chose your vintage Bigfoot instead. I've had friends ask me why I would take the time to work on a vintage trailer instead of just buying new. However, I had a similar impression when I saw the Escape trailers when they first came out - which was before they were offering the 19' version. At the time, I felt that the layout was too narrow and cramped for the price (no offense to anyone who has one... they are beautiful and very well-made, but layout preference is such an individual thing). When I saw the 19' Bigfoot, it was love at first sight - had to travel all the way to Vancouver Island, BC from Phoenix, AZ to get her, because the 19 footers are so hard to find. I don't regret it at all.

Again, congratulations on your lovely Gladys!

Perhaps we will meet up at a rally sometime and can do a mutual "home-sweet-home" tour. Meanwhile, happy trails!
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Old 03-02-2018, 07:17 AM   #73
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VsGlassSleeper

Val,

Thank you for your gracious comments. Gladys has proven herself already when we camped (dry) for Thanksgiving and then again at Christmas. We can only imagine how great this coming season is going to be! Looking forward to getting out and exploring a lot more around Kentucky and the U.S.


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Old 03-17-2018, 03:10 PM   #74
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landing gear test fit

I have retrieved the new mounting plates for the new landing gear from the local welding shop and this afternoon I was able to mount one of the leg for a dry fit. I still haven't figured out how to route the wiring for connecting the new electric landing gear that are replacing the older hydraulic gear, but I have an idea.

I have mounted one of the new landing gear legs and I would like some input on the height of the gear because the foot of the leg will be 12" inches off the ground when fully retracted. This is exactly the same amount of ground clearance for the running boards on my truck and I'd bet the differentials have about the same ground clearance.

Do you guys think this is enough ground clearance. My gut tells me it is, but I'd like your opinion?

bill (not laura)
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20180316-new landing gear mounting plate.jpg   20180317-new landing gear test mount.jpg  

20180317-landing gear test mount 2.jpg   20180317-landing gear ground clearance.jpg  

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Old 03-17-2018, 04:06 PM   #75
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Iím going to be doing mine when I get home in April.
So Iím interested in how this turns out.
I donít think Iíd mount them any lower than the bottom of your step when stowed.
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Old 03-17-2018, 06:22 PM   #76
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I have these legs mounted wrong

As I sit here looking at my own pictures I can tell the I have these new legs mounted wrong. I can remount them and gain 4-6 inches of clearance by sliding them up higher in the mount brackets.
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Old 03-18-2018, 06:14 PM   #77
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Both leg mounted

Gladys is standing on her new landing gear this evening after a little fiddling around with the floor jack and the jack stand. I decided to mount them according to the manufacturers recommendation. This means that the ground clearance will be about 10", which means we'll have to see how that works out in the campground/driveway. This is about the same clearance for the axles on the camper and the differentials on our truck.

However, since we decided to switch to the electric landing gear and incorporated the mounting plate, I can very quickly change the mounting configuration. Therefore, I haven't placed any Blue Loc-tite on the mounting bolts, yet. I want to "test drive" this configuration and find out what works. (Glad we have a full tool box on board for modifications "on the fly." Of course I still have to complete the wiring of the electrical part of the installation. For now, I was able to extend the lower leg assembly to reach the ground while Gladys is standing in the driveway, safely planted on her home turf.

I also mounted the safety chains this morning. Turns out, some states require safety chains if you're using a gooseneck ball hitch instead of the fifth wheel pin connection. I presume that's because someone somewhere forgot to lock their gooseneck back down and caused an accident, thereby giving gooseneck trailers a bum rap/poor reputation. S'ok with me,...I'll use the chains, no problem.

I'll get some pictures of these changes when the testing (camping in the driveway) begins and the weather permits. For tonight, I barely finished putting the tools away before darkness fell.

Longer days mean more daylight and more camping!!!

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Old 03-20-2018, 06:10 AM   #78
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landing gear wiring

I pulled the packages of wiring that came with the landing gear last night and spent a few minutes reading through the installations instructions which look pretty straight forward and easy to understand. The location of the battery mounted between the landing gear enhances the simplicity of this install. I have bought some wiring 1/4" INCH Split Loom Tubing Wire Conduit Hose from Amazon to protect any exposed wires.

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Old 03-26-2018, 06:47 AM   #79
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Progressive Dynamics PD4135KV charge controller

We were able to complete the install on the new charge controller from Progressive Dynamics this weekend. After one false start, I was able to produce a plywood mounting plate and get two coats of paint on the wood so that part is ready to install when the second coat of paint dries. I purchased the PD4135KV charge controller from Amazon.

I don't mind saying that I get real freaked out when I have to deal with electricity. Working on this stuff that can kill ya' is unnerving to me. I take comfort in my safety when I consider that the camper is completely dead because I know that nothing is connected to shore power and the battery has been removed from the storage shelf. I know there's no power that's gonna' hurt me.

We haven't completed the testing phase of the install because the cover is on Gladys and that makes it hard to connect to shore power. However, I'm thinking we can loosen the tie down ropes enough that I can climb under the cover and get the shore power connected to complete the testing of this newest install so we can get this project finished.

I am very glad to report that the breakers from the original controller transferred to the new controller so that save a lot of money in replacement costs. Both controllers only have enough space for three breakers and I was surprised to find that two of those three breakers were "double" breakers to provide five circuits for the 110 legs of the shore power system. I haven't seen any double breakers before and wonder about availability of those as something I would consider non-standard. I'll have to be on the lookout for replacement when I'm shopping, especially at the local RV parts center near Science Hill, KY named Keller's Trailer Sales.

Once this testing has been completed, I'll be installing the battery connections that include the battery shut-off I picked up from Auto Zone yesterday. This will allow me to disconnect the battery from the camper while parked at home when we're not going camping for a week or two and I won't need any tools. Being able to "disconnect" the battery from the system will prevent any potential issues that may kill the battery. A simple twist of the wrist and the system is back in service.

Lastly, when I connect the new battery terminals I'll be wiring up the new landing gear that I installed two weeks ago. This will conclude the major upgrades that we want to complete.

There'll still be a few minor issues like re-sealing the rear window, but we're ready for this camping season! COME ON, SPRING!!!


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Old 03-26-2018, 07:02 AM   #80
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enjoy your posts

bill I enjoy your posts I love Gladys now!

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