Amerigo Progress......Finally! - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 02-28-2016, 10:23 AM   #21
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Looks really good Steve. I was looking at Amerigos when I first started looking at trailers. But having come from a 78 Toyota Chinook that needed to be gutted, and rebuilding that, I was kind of ready for a "non-project"...So I bought a newer trailer.

I need to do the same thing to my frame as you, but was worried about not taking the camper off and getting at the top of the frame, too. But that's not happening for me.

Sounds like it was a few day project for you. Was it too difficult working/sanding/painting around the fiberglass tub? Any advice for the actual hitch/tongue? Not sure how to paint those moving parts.

Anyway, looking good!
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Old 02-28-2016, 12:11 PM   #22
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Looks really good Steve. I was looking at Amerigos when I first started looking at trailers. But having come from a 78 Toyota Chinook that needed to be gutted, and rebuilding that, I was kind of ready for a "non-project"...So I bought a newer trailer.
That's funny because after I explained what I was doing to the Amerigo a good friend said to me "you know how to get around all of that is to buy a new camper!" I certainly didn't expect to be doing this much when I bought it but you move on with it.
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I need to do the same thing to my frame as you, but was worried about not taking the camper off and getting at the top of the frame, too. But that's not happening for me.

Sounds like it was a few day project for you. Was it too difficult working/sanding/painting around the fiberglass tub? Any advice for the actual hitch/tongue? Not sure how to paint those moving parts.

Anyway, looking good!
The majority of the rust on mine was the bottom part, the sides just needed light sanding. I masked the shell with 6" masking paper first next to the frame rails and cross members, I was careful hand sanding the sides close to the shell. If the rust would have been worse or if the frame needed welding/repairs I likely would have had to lift it off, I'm just glad it didn't have to!
I had it on jack stands high enough to roll around under it with a creeper, I started at the front and used a small 1 1/2" brush w/some Rustoleum paint and did the inside of the rails/cross members first then did the outside/bottoms of the rails back to front. By the the third coat you get pretty good at it! On the hitch I'd lift the latch open and paint under the mechanism first, let it dry for a few days then close the latch to paint the rest of the tongue.

Thanks Zach!
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Old 02-28-2016, 01:01 PM   #23
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Thank you!

My Chinook was always parked on the street and one day when I was working on it and it was still mostly gutted, a nice older woman walked by and poked her head in and just sort of shook it and said "too much work".

And boy she wasn't kidding. But once you're in the middle of it, you just go and go till you're done...

It was in retrospect that this time around, I decided "no thanks. not this soon, at least"..
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Old 02-28-2016, 09:18 PM   #24
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The temperature here has been a little cool but I did get some fiberglass work done today.
I'm doing away with the original Thetford "electra magic" toilet so I 'glassed up the hole in the floor for it. I coated the bottom side of the plywood and the cut edges also with fiberglass resin to help seal out moisture, hopefully that will help the new floor last a little longer. If the weather cooperates i hope to get the floors installed next!
: Steve did you use regular Plywood or go to the better stuff called Marine Ply as I have heard this stuff is treated to stand up to water better?
There is a trailer like yours up here and he wants to much money for it it is Trill 5500 but is almost gutted so new person has to figure out how to put it back together?
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Old 02-28-2016, 09:30 PM   #25
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Steve your doing a first class Job

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While the low ride height is good for ease of entry into the camper it was a little scary with the steep entrances to many gas stations & driveways around here. More than once on the trip home I heard the jack bottom scrape while slowly pulling out from a gas stop. While I had the Amerigo up on jack stands I felt it was a good time for my over sprung axle conversion.

From the factory the axle is mounted on top of the spring (first pic). That combined with the 4" dropped spindle makes this one low rider! Moving the axle under the spring is a good way to gain some ground clearance for my needs. This requires welding a new spring perch on the top side of the axle. Dexter does offer a kit to do this but I bought the new spring perches & U-bolts from the local Agri-Supply. I also replaced the shackles, shackle bolts and spring bushings while I was in there. I think all together I spent a little over $20 for the parts. The new spring perch should be welded on top of the axle parallel to the old mount.

Total lift from this conversion is 4 3/4" & the good part is you can easily change it back in under an hour since the old spring perches are still on the axle.
: love the work your doing, never did much wood work myself but a heck of a lot of metal work restoring cars and trucks. The worst screws for us were the Door Hinges, just getting at them was hell then trying to get them out was also hell. But life goes on and there was lots of help around as we had a similar outlet like this one. Just keep showing us your picture on your rebuild as it lets others know just what they would be up against and how much cheaper it is to do your self.
Thanks Again love your work!
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Old 02-28-2016, 09:53 PM   #26
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Great job, Steve. Thanks for the photos. The lift job was a big improvement. Keep up the good work!

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Old 02-28-2016, 10:04 PM   #27
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Thanks Stude, Restoring classic cars is what I've been doing for the last 35+ years also so redoing this camper has been a little change of pace.

I didn't use the marine grade plywood, I figured the original build lasted 44 years without it so it should go at least that on it's rebuild. The regular sheathing grade plywood had such a bad warp & twist in different directions that I did step up a grade with the one side sanded plywood, it was more $$$ but at least it was a fairly straight and flat piece of wood.

Hopefully I'll be camping in this thing soon instead of just working in it!
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Old 03-10-2016, 09:16 PM   #28
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Another milestone, all of the wood window frames have been been replaced & the windows ~ cargo doors are all installed/resealed.

I probably went overboard on it but I'm hoping the "above & beyond" mindset will prevent and help it withstand any further moisture damage & wood rot.

Here's a few things worth noting to others about to do the same project. The first thing I found after pulling the windows was that every opening in the fiberglass was cut over sized. There is a 3/4" flange on aluminum window frame that the butyl tape sets on that seals to the 'glass body & in some areas there was less than 1/8" of a sealing surface. Not surprisingly those were the same places that had the majority of wood rot. I had to do some fiberglass work to the window openings to get the sealing edge closer to 5/8".

I found 2" clear packing tape made a good guide to get the first layer of 'glass on the lip. I applied the tape from the outside to protect the gelcoat since what I needed to add was going to be underneath the window flange. After the first layer of fiberglass cured I removed the tape and finished building the lip to match the thickness of the existing lip.
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Old 03-10-2016, 09:31 PM   #29
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Every window frame was rotted from leaks & split from having the screws run in off center of the wood. It seemed like it took forever to do but I drilled pilot holes for every screw before assembling and at every joint I used polyeurathane construction adhesive. I also used an oil based enamel paint & sealed the wood.....hopefully rot & mold will know they are not welcome here!
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Old 03-10-2016, 09:59 PM   #30
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The aluminum window frames were all bent & distorted at the screw holes probably from over-tightening when it was built. These need to be straightened first or you'll never get a good seal. I used a pair of channel locks and a small piece of 1/8" plate steel on the outside to keep the jaws of the channel locks from damaging the aluminum. The straighter you can get the frame at the holes the better you're likely to get a good seal. Before I put the butyl tape on the frame I first put the window in the opening & drilled pilot holes into the wood for the mounting screws. This will help keep the screws from splitting the wood like everyone of the original frames were. After putting the new tape on the window I ran the screws in with the cordless drill just until they snugged up, then I finished tightening them by hand a little at a time just enough to get the seal to start to squish out.

Next is rebuilding the door frame, it's gonna feel good to get it weather proof!
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Old 03-11-2016, 08:06 AM   #31
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Nice work and great informative posts Steve. Keep them coming!

But I can just see it now ... you're probably going to end up with one of these "show trailers" with the professional level of workmanship and finish that make most of us who are not as skilled, just sick with envy
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Old 03-29-2016, 05:50 PM   #32
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Another step forward, the door frame is done & the door is installed.

The original door frame side boards were made of 3/4" plywood but after years of water leaking in there wasn't much left of the plywood. I had initially cut a new pair of side boards from 3/4" plywood but soon realized that the screws holding the aluminum door frame to the side boards run into the edge of the plywood causing the wood to split apart fairly easily. In an effort to tighten up & seal the door frame more than 2 dozen additional screws were added throughout it's 44 year life.......of course none of those hit anything solid behind the fiberglass.
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Old 03-29-2016, 06:46 PM   #33
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I decided to make the sideboards out of some 3/4" solid oak instead of the original plywood, I felt there was a better chance of the oak holding up for many years....hopefully decades! It took a few test fittings & fine tuning to get the side boards to fit good. After a little fiberglass repair by the door frame it was ready to go back together. With the new side boards the door fits great now, no more door droop & the door closes/latches very smoothly now.
I'll let it set outside in the rain for a while now to check for any leaks before the cabinets & paneling go back in.
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Old 03-30-2016, 07:37 AM   #34
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I really like that door.

Nice job on the frame, too.
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Old 04-07-2016, 04:38 PM   #35
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Hi, So. Did you have to replace the door weatherstripping?
If so, what did you use? We have a door now, wood framing
replaced, but the stripping is hanging loose all around.

Boy, with a floor and a door it starts to feel a lot more "like home!"

t
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Old 04-09-2016, 08:19 PM   #36
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I haven't replaced the weather stripping yet but there is a worn piece at the bottom that I need to replace. If I find something that works I'll post it up.
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Old 04-10-2016, 10:27 PM   #37
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Door Frame I also like it

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I decided to make the sideboards out of some 3/4" solid oak instead of the original plywood, I felt there was a better chance of the oak holding up for many years....hopefully decades! It took a few test fittings & fine tuning to get the side boards to fit good. After a little fiberglass repair by the door frame it was ready to go back together. With the new side boards the door fits great now, no more door droop & the door closes/latches very smoothly now.
I'll let it set outside in the rain for a while now to check for any leaks before the cabinets & panelling go back in.
: beautiful work on the door frame. I looks though that it still has that bend on bottom and top? if not great. I would of made it so the door fit in straight up and down or recessed so that it was flush inside the frame and got rid of the curve but maybe u did this.
It is hard for me to see the amount of work your putting into this trailer and if you ever sell it there will be line up at the door trying to buy it. I know this from our restoring Cars, seems like everyone wanted one of my wife's restorations, now that she has quit that the boat and car people are calling for Upholstery repairs or complete work but she wants to retire to.
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Old 04-11-2016, 10:32 AM   #38
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It's awesome to see the pictures; THANKS to you both!

Our door is marine white, its little window has been cleaned up and resealed; now he's going around redoing the rest of the windows.

We have all our logos ready to install; another learning project.

I've figured out a stand for the porta-potty to keep it in place during travel and more stable during use. We're working on the inner configuration now, in the planning stage, as the fewer redos needed for a while, the better.

It's beginning to be exciting!

want to thank both of you again, for the great photos! It helps so much!

BEST
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Old 03-12-2017, 06:37 PM   #39
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Vacation is over!

After a 6 month break I'm back to working on the Amerigo.

The doors for the trunk & refrigerator access had .020" aluminum panels in them & after 45 years they were both pretty beat up looking. It almost seemed sacrilege to have aluminum doors on a FGRV anyway so I "scalped" a conversion van's top from the local salvage yard for some donor fiberglass panels. I painted the fiberglass panels with some Rustoleum almond paint I had laying around. It needed a little white added to it to get a reasonably close match to the gelcoat color & was happy with the results.
I am doing away with the Dometic dual powered fridge so I did away with the vents in the door.
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Old 03-12-2017, 06:39 PM   #40
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Trunk door pic.
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