Gutting and overhauling an Amerigo - Fiberglass RV


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Old 12-29-2019, 04:20 PM   #1
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Name: Rebecca
Trailer: Amerigo
North Carolina
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Gutting and overhauling an Amerigo

I picked up an Amerigo a few months ago for $1500. At that price, I expect it to have some issues, but it has no current leaks, the electrical system works, the AC works, gas stove works and the mini fridge works. Even the toilet works. I figured it's got enough to it that $1500 was a good deal. We've had some gorgeous weather here this week, so I finally was able to roll up my sleeves and start pulling things out start the process of getting down to bones.

A little background on me: My family downsized our 4400sqft house a little over 3 years ago and fulltimed in a class A, and later in a 40ft 5th wheel. This year we decided to buy a home on Ocracoke Island in NC. We moved in the third week of August. Less than 3 weeks later, on September 6th, Hurricane Dorian flooded my home with 2ft of water causing over $100k worth of damage to our house. We lost both cars and almost all of our belongings.
Our 5th wheel was spared as it is in a permanent spot on the mainland where my husband stays when he has work there. We moved the 5th wheel to the island for two months until we had power back to our home and could live upstairs and work on the downstairs repairs.
We bought the Amerigo to use on the permanent mainland spot while my husband worked. He never had leaks, the 20amp power ran his space heater and the fridge. It served a purpose for which we are completely grateful.

But now it's time to clean out the rot and make it habitable for my son and I for a few months in a stationary spot on our property while we have the house lifted 3 more feet. We hope to have this done as soon as possible (before the next hurricane season!) So I'm shooting for the camper renovation to be done by the end of April. I know that's a huge stretch, but I've got a ton of time, a ton of elbow grease, and I'm not scared of the money needed to do it right. Once we are done living in it we will most likely be able to rent it out to tourists as an Airbnb on our property and make our money back.
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Old 12-29-2019, 04:35 PM   #2
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We pulled the green quilted pleather wall covering off 🤮. That's where the smell was mostly hiding I think.

We knew there had been a previous leak, and the floor was soft in a lot of spots, so it was already in our minds that we'd be pulling up and replacing the floor. We didn't know that it was plywood on top of rotten flooring. Even the old vinyl was under there! And it smells awful. Masks will be used from here on out.

As you can see, there is minimal, if any wall framing and no insulation. Unfortunately the previous owners also removed the ceiling. I'll be stripping her down to bare fiberglass it seems. Any information and ideas about best framing practices and strengthening the ceiling would be greatly appreciated!
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Old 12-29-2019, 04:49 PM   #3
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That was weird. Looking at the pictures, I suddenly caught a wiff of mould.
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Old 12-29-2019, 05:35 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Glenn Baglo View Post
That was weird. Looking at the pictures, I suddenly caught a wiff of mould.
I've been dealing with cleaning up mould and replacing rot in my home for almost 4 months now. What's a little more? 😁

I've definitely pulled out the mask and gloves for the next phase of the project.
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Old 12-30-2019, 10:04 AM   #5
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Look to boat renovation videos on YouTube for repair and reinforcement ideas. Structural ribs and bulkheads will make it stronger than new. Incorporate all interior walls and cabinets to reinforce the shell - making them work together. I am renovating an old boat with rotten floor repairs - very similar to your situation. I took it down to bare fiberglass and am building up from there. That's the only way to make sure it is done properly.
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Old 12-30-2019, 12:05 PM   #6
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Name: Rebecca
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Originally Posted by tomterrific01 View Post
Look to boat renovation videos on YouTube for repair and reinforcement ideas. Structural ribs and bulkheads will make it stronger than new. Incorporate all interior walls and cabinets to reinforce the shell - making them work together. I am renovating an old boat with rotten floor repairs - very similar to your situation. I took it down to bare fiberglass and am building up from there. That's the only way to make sure it is done properly.
I'm thinking of using tension support from underneath the roof attached to new framing on the walls to push up on the middle
of the roof which will sag eventually. I'll lose the nice square ceiling on the edges, but I will greatly reduce or hopefully eliminate the need for drilling holes in the roof. And it will give me room for running wires for ceiling lights.

What are you using for the ribs? My concern with wood is rot and getting the strength I need from pieces thin enough not to completely kill headroom.
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Old 12-30-2019, 01:10 PM   #7
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I'm using polyisocyanurate foam board completely encased in polyester resin saturated fiberglass. This board is sold in many different thicknesses at commercial roofing supply stores as an underlayment for flat roofs. It does not melt with the polyester resin and is about half the price of the pink or blue XPS foam board from Lowes (and that one melts with polyester). It is strong encased in fiberglass chopped strand mat or stronger with biaxial cloth and will not rot with moisture. You could also use epoxy resin that is much stronger, but that is much more expensive. I found the listed YouTube channels very helpful:

Boatworks Today https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC0k...zdqFUk3oTaHBuA

Sail Life https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5x...PNWdVtl9PkDmgA

J Mantzel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1p...7Q0qMii08oAeAQ

Life on the Hulls https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcJ...6_BHsnbytM0jzg
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Old 12-31-2019, 05:41 AM   #8
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Maybe this thread will help: http://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/f...ion-74090.html

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Old 12-31-2019, 04:50 PM   #9
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What year is your Amerigo? The older models had an awning style window with questionable hardware, you are lucky that it already has upgraded windows.
Good luck with your project!
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Old 01-05-2020, 04:39 PM   #10
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Name: Rebecca
Trailer: Amerigo
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What year is your Amerigo? The older models had an awning style window with questionable hardware, you are lucky that it already has upgraded windows.
Good luck with your project!
It's a 1972, and yes I am very grateful that they already replaced the windows and the door. It makes up for them stripping all of the walls and ceiling from the inside!
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