1988 Bigfoot TF-20 named Gladys - Page 5 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 03-31-2018, 04:49 PM   #81
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Landing gear install completed!

After suffering through multiple days of crappy rain, we enjoyed a fantastic day today and spent most of it outside! Whooohooo!

We spent to morning on the road delivering a sofa to an old friend that will enjoy it as a replacement for his old worn relic. Then we delivered his old sofa to the second hand store for someone that doesn't have any. Glad to that stuff out of the landfill as long as possible. Go Green!

When we arrived home I jumped at the opportunity to work on the landing gear install. Like most projects, gathering the tools and completing the prep work took longer than the actual job. I mounted the control switches up under the front deck of Gladys and passed the wires directly into the battery compartment in preparation for connection. I install the in-line fuse as instructed and made the connections to both positive and negative terminals. Viola! All systems go and the new landing gear are now powered! Awesome!!! I didn't need the wiring loom that I'd purchased from Amazon because only about three inches of wiring are outside the battery compartment and those few inches are behind the motor for the landing gear.

I'm feeling pretty pumped about completing this install and very please with the results. Also, we pulled the cover off of Gladys this afternoon, since it was dry, and we can finish testing of the new smart charger later this week when the rain stops again, maybe Wednesday. Once we finish that testing we can complete the install of the smart charger including the plywood mounting plate I've painted white. Almost camping time!!!

Here's a few pictures for you!

Thanks for stopping by!
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Old 04-04-2018, 02:01 PM   #82
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Waiting for our new awning

Well, we are almost ready for the season. There are several things we'd like to do before camping, like a wash and wax, but we have completed repairs and upgrades there were "required" and we are ready.

I'd also prefer to obtain a pair of lynch pins for the extension legs on the new landing gear because the pins they included are not secure enough for my liking. I know Tractor Supply has these lynch pins and I'll be swinging by there very soon to pick up a new set of pins.

Lastly, we're waiting for the new awning fabric to be delivered from Amazon, but again, this isn't an item that would prevent us from camping. Ohhhhh, I can feel it getting close, it's almost time, boys and girls, it's almost camping season!!!

bill (not laura)
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Old 04-07-2018, 07:00 PM   #83
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Stupid dummy weather

We awoke to snow this morning! What's up wit' that!? This is supposed to be spring?

Well, I was able to complete the install of the smart charger, installing the plywood mounting template that I've painted white. Then, we waited for the weather to clear...and waited...and waited.

About 3:00 pm the sun actually threatened to break through the murk so we decided to try to get some work done on the replacement awning. Recognizing that we don't have any experience in this except what you can learn from youtube, Laura and I wanted to see if we could get the old fabric removed, but agreed to simply try to get any part of that removal process completed and not get too wrapped up in anything and to quit when we thought it was enough.

Well, we had the old stuff removed quite easily and the decided to try to get the new fabric installed/wrapped around the roller tube. It all went much better than we thought, despite rolling the fabric around the roller three times! Once the correct direction, once the incorrect direction and then we switched it back to the way we had it right the first time. Then it got dark so we decided to pack it up and put the parts into the garage and wait for another evening to finish. We are soooo close.

I can't wait for camping season!!! And I have the best camping partner for helping me with these hard job when my arms just aren't long enough. hahaha

Hope y'all are enjoying the beginnings of spring!

bill (not Laura)
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Old 04-23-2018, 06:41 AM   #84
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Official Shake Down Adventure

We took Gladys out for her official shake down camping trip and it was great!
We have had her out previously but both times were "dry" camping because we were in my mother-in-laws driveway. We didn't use any of the water in the camper, including the bathroom, because the system had been winterized.

This last weekend we went out for our first full use event and it was very exciting. This may have been our best camping trip ever. The Bigfoot camper is a fantastic rig with all the room we could ever need. I packed twice the food we would need and all of the gear that I thought we might need and we still only used half of the storage space available. We even took our ukuleles and still had tons of space left unused.

We did experience one problem with the water heater and subsequently chose to not use the hot water because of the strong smell of LP gas after successfully lighting the water heater. Everything worked very well and we only had the water heater lite for about fifteen minutes when we chose to shut it down. I believe the regulator and hoses are original equipment and I think that age has rendered them dangerous so I'll be replacing the hoses and regulator before out next trip. Still, even after only running the water heater for fifteen minutes, I still had hot water almost three hours later. Pretty incredible.

We also took our bicycles, carried inside the camper, laid over resting against the cabinets and protected with a pillow. I made a mental note of the position of everything as I locked the door for transport and I'm pretty confident that nothing shifted while driving. Even our new television rode safely and we were able to obtain 10 channels so we could have monitored the weather if we had needed to check on storms and such. Funny thing I discovered as we were packing to come home; the antenna is "powered" and I didn't know I was supposed to "turn it on" by pushing a power button on the face plate of the coaxial connection. I can only wonder how much better it may have worked if'n I'd have actually powered it up.

The newly installed landing gear worked very well, but I noticed that the ground clearance of about 10" was simply too close for comfort when crossing speed bumps and such. So, I've already remounted them to add an additional 8" of clearance. Now, we'll have loads of clearance and everything will work nicely!

The one sore spot in my weekend was where the stinky slinky is stored inside a tiny compartment included electrical wiring for the marker lights. That is simply an accident waiting to happen. Besides being too small a compartment for that much hose, I'm not comfortable at all with shoving any equipment into a space to share with wiring. So, I'll be installing the fence post modification for storing the sewer hose. It should be a simple mod and be relatively inexpensive while making the hose much more available for easy deployment/storage.

We're already planning our next trip and are very excited about the coming season. Let's go camping!
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Old 04-23-2018, 06:54 AM   #85
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sounds like you had a fun time and a proud shakeout!


glad for you


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Old 04-23-2018, 07:06 AM   #86
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Njce, Bill! So glad this is working out well. Scary about the propane, but when you're done it will be like new. Install an LP detector, maybe?
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Old 04-23-2018, 07:15 AM   #87
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his propane problems could be as simple as a loose connection moving that trailer around working on it could have cracked a line who knows. at that age he may not have the new flexible lines.


then it could be more serious I have worked on propane lines for years it can drive you crazy at times.


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Old 04-23-2018, 07:54 AM   #88
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon in AZ View Post
Njce, Bill! So glad this is working out well. Scary about the propane, but when you're done it will be like new. Install an LP detector, maybe?
Jon, yes we have the gas detector and it was in place and reading "safe" but it still smelled too much for us, so, just to be safe, we turned the gas off.

Bob, I had purchased a new tank of gas but had not hooked it up. In fact, both tanks were disconnected while we made our drive to the camp. After I'd completed the set-up and we had been in camp for a few hours, I decided to hook up the new tanks and try the water heater for the first time. The pilot light lit successfully but it still smelled too much like a leak so I shut it off. The hoses are flexible but there's no telling how old they are except that they're still using the old style connections that require a wrench instead of the speed connections, so I've just decided to replace the hoses and regulator to be sure.

I appreciate your comments and glad you've stopped by.
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Old 04-23-2018, 08:26 AM   #89
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possible refrigerator issues

While camping this last weekend, I enjoyed being able to use the electric powered refrigerator. There was plenty of room for all of our food storage needs.

However, I monitored the thermometer in the fridge and noticed that it moved around more than I would have thought normal. Starting on a maximum setting with an ambient temperature that never went over 70 the fridge changed from 35 through the day up to almost 50 and them back down during the night.

This swing in temperature makes me feel uncomfortable and I worry when the day time temperature will reach near 100 that the fridge may not be able to keep up.

A little history: we know from the paperwork that was supplied by the PO that this refrigerator has been rebuilt twice. The last time was many years ago. It is a Dometic RM61 three way unit and we have used it on both LP and shore power so far.

I don't think this type of temp fluctuation is normal but I thought I'd ask here and see what y'all think...should we be concerned?
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Old 04-23-2018, 07:19 PM   #90
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Gladys is a Real Head Turner!

Gladys is a real treat!
Thanks for taking us camping Bill!
From Laura
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Old 04-29-2018, 06:25 PM   #91
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Well, we can use our hand again, finally

I can type again. I wasn't able to make this post yesterday because the muscle cramps in my hands made it almost impossible to type so I had to wait for over night to get this update posted.

We spend the best part of eight hours washing, waxing and buffing Gladys. It was an arduous task and I now understand why so many people avoid this regular maintenance job. I'm guessing that it has been several years since Gladys has this much loving care and rubbing. Whew!!!

Washing with a good quality car washing soaps and microfiber cleaning cloths as well as mop for the hard to reach spots on the roof. After allowing Gladys to dry, mostly, we applied Nu Finish polish followed by Mother's California Gold Brazilian Carnauba Cleaner Wax. It was a looooooong and tiring project that needed doing and we had been looking forward to doing it since Gladys came home last fall. WOW! My arms are sunburned and tired after that much rubbing and buffing. The results look much much better than the dull look that needed some serious love. AND we'll prolly do it again this fall before putting the cover back on the camper for the winter,...but she's buff now!

Let's go camping!!!

bill & laura
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Old 05-02-2018, 06:34 AM   #92
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What a day!

Yesterday, I had the honor to attend my brother-in-law's retirement ceremony. After 20 years in law enforcement he has retired and I am exceptionally proud to know this man. The mayor came to wish him well and most of the officers that worked with him, including some who have already retired, attended his send off. Incredible.

We also took the opportunity to visit the Camping World retail store in his town, since we were already there, and found a replacement LP gas regulator as well as the torsion arm for our awning repair. This is the original awning for Gladys and the awning company has been out of business for a long time. Spare parts were going to be virtually impossible to find and premium prices would have made any parts very pricey.

So, I thought I'd load up the entire awning assembly and take it to the service professionals at Camping World. I reasoned that if they have any real repair facility, they'll have someone who knows what can be done to repair our awning. Turns out that they had a direct replacement for the Right Hand Torsion Bar for a Dometic awning that fit perfectly and the price was very reasonable, considering the alternatives.

Feels like I was able to meet a celebrity like Santa Claus AND get a present on the same day!

Congratulations Officer Tom! Well done!


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Old 05-02-2018, 08:24 AM   #93
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Good job to you and your BIL!

Posts like yours are a great antidote for the 3'-itis that flares up from time to time. The semi-annual spa treatment on my 13'er makes my shoulders and forearms ache for several days.

Looking good!
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Old 05-03-2018, 05:27 PM   #94
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New Mr. Heater regulator and hoses installed

I have installed the new LP gas regulator and hoses for our gas service. When I pulled the old regulator off the gas lines had a tag from November 1987.

I was forced to make a mounting block to secure the new regulator the wall but everything seems to be working correctly now. Best of all, Laura can't smell any gas with the new system turned on!

All that remains is to reinstall the awning and we're back on the road!
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Old 05-25-2018, 11:35 AM   #95
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replacement awning installed

Last evening, with the help of some extremely gracious friends, we were are to re-install our replacement awning. I have thought about this process for almost six weeks regarding how to do this with less than four people and I just couldn't come up with a better way. This is truly one of those jobs that you simply can't do by yourself. It took four of us to remount the fabric that had been rolled onto the aluminum tube, sliding the fabric into the awning rail. The process was easier than I thought it would be and I have resealed the mounting bracket and replaced the anchor screws into the rail track. I wasn't able to get any pictures of the process because there was no one left to man the camera with all four of us pressed into service.

After we finished the install we tested the new awning and it worked great. However, it is significant to note that this is the first time I have ever unfurled an RV awning in my life and it was cool to do it for the first time on our replacement awning for Gladys.

Special thanks to JC and Marlene for their invaluable assistance and experienced advice. You just can't find better friends!


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Old 05-26-2018, 11:53 AM   #96
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Small room air conditioner is a success

We have successfully added a small room A/C unit bought from Lowe’s to Gladys and it works great. We also used the support bracket that Lowe’s sells to which I’ve added a short length of 2X4 as a support leg inside the camper. This unit is not attached in any way except that it sits in the window casing perfectly because the window is too small to let it fall out once we placed the brace/support arm into the window. We have used some cushion foam for this first test but I intend to cut some rigid blue foam to use as inserts on each side of the window where the casement curves. Then we can close the screen/glass window down onto the foam for a tight fit on both side and some soft foam under the brace.

The A/C unit was $129 and the brace was $29. The only cost incurred was some repurposed rigid foam from another project. Lastly, a short piece of 2X4 that I found in the garage, left over from something else...

Last night was our first full night of using this A/C and it worked very well! It was a little noisy and this unit doesn’t have the best fins for directing the air flow, but it cooled the entire camper very quickly and efficiently.
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Old 05-29-2018, 05:30 PM   #97
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Rigid Foam around the A/C unit

I took advantage of some spare time this evening and cut the inserts from some left over rigid foam panels I had laying around from our previous camper modification.

I used the screen from the bedroom window in Gladys to get close to the radius curves of the window and then I dry fitted and made some minor adjustments. The picture you see below is the final fit with the sharpie marker in the slot where the A/C unit should fit when installed. I haven't actually tried it with the A/C unit and I may need to trim a little from the overall size before we hit the road again. Looks like it fits pretty good to me...

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Old 06-12-2018, 09:05 AM   #98
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water heater fired for first time this past weekend

The LP water heater was pretty stinky and we have discovered this is a common problem for campers that have not had the water heater flushed clean during annual maintenance or prior to any long term storage. Mineral deposits can build up and "calcify" or create a build up inside the aluminum water tank. This build up can cause the rotten egg smell associated with the hydrogen sulfide that can accumulate.

The "fix" is to clean out the aluminum Atwood water heater tank using a vinegar solution and then flush with clean water. It has also been suggested that a bleach solution may neutralize the sulfur smell. I have ordered the flushing wand from Amazon and intend to try the cleaning procedure this coming weekend, beginning Friday afternoon and finishing Saturday with multiple rinsing sessions.
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Old 06-16-2018, 04:33 PM   #99
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Water pump failure

Well, we began to day with intending to flush the hot water tank. Unfortunately, the water pump wouldn't assist. I ensured that the battery was "on" and when Laura turned on the water pump there was nothing except a little bit of smoke. Tap the case of the water pump with a hammer handle and it come to life for a few seconds and then shut off. Flipping the power switch of and on had zero effect so we tapped it again and it'd run again for about 20 seconds and then shut off, after smoking a little more. To be fair, it is clear by the labeling on the Shurflo pump that this is the original pump from 1987.

Off to Lowe's for a drill powered water pump for $8.99 and we had the water system back online for the flushing exercise. Using the drill powered pump we'll finish the water system sanitizing and flushing tomorrow after the bleach water has a chance to work it's magic on the scump in the water lines and hot water tank. We plan to use a nipple to close the water system loop until we choose to invest in a pump that we'll most likely never use. I'm gonna hang the drill powered pump on the wall in the garage for reserve when we may need that for another project or in the camper.

Once we have the system flushed clean, we plan to use the flushing wand to complete the cleaning job on the water heater flushing out any residual mineral deposits. Then, we'll connect the camper to the house water/city water and rinse the entire system out. After that I'll drain the fresh water tank we'll prolly not use it again until we want to flush out water system again. We just don't see ourselves boondocking or camping where we aren't hooked up to shore power and shore water. Sooooo...

Water system will cleaned and flushed and we'll be ready to test the water heater and see if we've flushed and removed the stinky sulfur smell. Fingered crossed...

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Old 06-17-2018, 08:38 AM   #100
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Flush and fill complete, but now we have another problem

We have completed out flushing of the hot water tank and most, if not all, of the sulfur smell has been eliminated. We have refilled the tank with city water from our home where we're working on the camper and will allow it to sit another night to complete the sanitation of the system before we drain all of the tanks and flush them completely.

This system flushing will become part of our regular maintenance following every camping trip to keep the system clean and ready for use.

However, since we have pressurized the for the first time, we have noticed a leak from the kitchen faucet that is leak behind the counter and onto the driveway. This leak may not have been evident while camping at a camp ground because it would have leaked onto the ground, usually covered by gravel or grass, and passed unnoticed. Hummmmm...Looks like we're going to be getting a new faucet set installed a lot sooner than previously anticipated.

I'm thinking that a night of driveway camping may also become part of our annual maintenance at the beginning of each season to review all systems prior to hitting the road. That way we can see things that need repair while in a controlled environment before they become much more annoying.

Happy camping y'all!

bill (not laura)
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