Karin's Campster Renovation - Page 6 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-07-2016, 12:52 PM   #101
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Your popup top is very different from mine (the one I lost).
There is no indication that my top has ever been replaced. The gel coat is a perfect match.

The raised ribs strengthen the top as does the flange at the lower edge. Without the lower flange that edge would be very wavy and unstable. Without the ribs the top would want to sag in the middle.

But since very few people photograph from an aerial perspective it is difficult to know exactly what the upper surface of a pop up top looks like. It would be nice if people would do more photos from that direction for documentation purposes.

If you wanted to you could come and see my pop top when I take it off for changing the wood and fabric, changing out the old fasteners and doing some painting on the top.
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Old 07-07-2016, 01:34 PM   #102
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Let me know when you are going to do that as I might. Just replaced mine but may do a better job one day.

Mine was flat fiberglass on top, rounded edges, going down to a straight 1/8 inch rim. Beveled at the upper bends. It kind of sagged in the middle so I like the idea of the ribs to add strength. I do have a picture somewhere but can't locate it right now.
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Old 07-07-2016, 02:34 PM   #103
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Let me know when you are going to do that as I might. Just replaced mine but may do a better job one day.

Mine was flat fiberglass on top, rounded edges, going down to a straight 1/8 inch rim. Beveled at the upper bends. It kind of sagged in the middle so I like the idea of the ribs to add strength. I do have a picture somewhere but can't locate it right now.
The easy way is to take make a mold off of an original but I won't have mine off that long as I don't have a covered area to store it under.

When you make a part out of fiberglass you always need a radius on the outside or inside of the corners as the fiberglass does not form well over a sharp 90 degree edge. Those ribs also have a radius to them.

By making that angle on the Campster sides at the top they did not have to do a large sized radius where the Campster main body joins the roof. It was an easy way for them to create a mold versus having a long, large radius down the length. They just reproduced that detail in smaller scale on the pop top. The Campsters were definetly a "produced to cost" project that was simple to design and produce molds for that did not require as much complexity in mold production versus something such as a Casita, Burro, etc. But that simplicity of form also means it is easier to create replacement parts for it should you need to build a mold.
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Old 07-08-2016, 11:59 PM   #104
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Campster door weatherstrip

I was able to install my door today. Whew, what job that has been to resolve a lot of the issues with the opening in the fiberglass.

But I digress...this posting is about getting lucky and finding a weatherstrip that is a perfect fit for the aluminum channel on the door's flange. I had been going backwards and forwards with what to do about that weatherstrip piece because I could not find any close matches. This time at Home Depot I was pretty much looking at anything and everything on the shelf. Then I spotted a weatherstrip piece that is made to fit into a routed groove on an outside door for a house. The Campster door frame has a T slot shape that holds in the weatherstip so I grabbed it to try figuring I could always return it. What can I say, I was desperate to try anything that had a potential of working. It turned out to be exactly the right width and thickness and it stays in place without needing any adhesives except to put some adhesive caulk in the 45 degree cuts at the corners to bond them together.

Well it would be just perfect if my door was not warped at the top and bottom but that is a tale for another day when I put it on a rack and torture it

Here is the product name:
M-D Building Products, Platinum Collection, Door Weatherstrip Replacement, it comes in 3 color choices, white 91890, brown 91891 and black 91892. Description: " installs easily into slotted door jambs".
https://www.amazon.com/M-D-Building-.../dp/B00D8P21VU

I did not replace the section of weatherstripping on my hinge side as it was still in good shape. But to do the whole door or even just 3 sides you will need 2 packages of this product. Guess I will be heading back to Home Depot tomorrow for a second one.

Weatherstripping is a really big deal to get just right otherwise you get major troubles with water coming in. So I am jumping for joy this evening! I have a door, I have a door, no more tarp, I can lock the door!

I even created a temporary rain cap gutter over the door with an MD L-shaped Door Bottom with vinyl fins. It is product number 82578 in the color brown and product number 43816 in white. It will do for now as I could install it with some residue free duct tape so I can take it off quickly when I start painting. It is a very good depth front to back and the height fits just fine over the door. The bulb seal will divert the water out to the sides instead of having it come down on my head. The fins underneath act as drip edges so water does not run back against the door frame. One could use it permanently but I have not yet made up my mind what I want to do across the back, still I did need something for the time being...you all know Seattle's reputation for rain.

What I would like to find in the USA is a VW Kombi awning rail, it is a gutter/awing rail combination unit that has a fairly narrow profile. That would be great to have above all the windows and the door. Then I could have some Bimini style awnings with Keder style top pieces to quickly install where ever I needed them for sun or rain protection.

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Old 07-09-2016, 06:38 AM   #105
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So I am jumping for joy this evening! I have a door, I have a door, no more tarp, I can lock the door!
I wish you could see the grin on my face, a very well deserved treat for your outstanding work! Congrats!!

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Old 07-09-2016, 07:42 PM   #106
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straightening out the warp in my Campster door

Yesterday I mentioned my Campster door was warped. The upper and lower corners on the latch side were standing about 1/2 an inch off the surface compared to the middle of that edge where the door latched. I have no idea why it was that way but it made it impossible to keep water out since there was a open half inch gap between the gasket seal and the frame at those top and bottom corners.

I was not actually joking yesterday when I said I was going to put the door on the rack and torture it. That is exactly how it got fixed, now it is nice and flat and the gap from top to bottom is even and the gaskets fits just right for sealing out the water and wind.

My friend had on hand a 6' long or so piece of stainless steel square tubing. Now of course that tube is very strong and won't bend from the torture process. At the top and bottom edges two 3/4" scraps of lumber were placed between the door and the tube and securely clamped in place. In the center I used two more clamps about 6" or so apart to draw the door all the way back until it touched the stainless tube. I left it that way for an hour or so then released the clamps. It worked and now even the door latch works properly.

I also spent several hours today removing corrosion from the aluminum trim with a stainless steel wire brush and some 3M Scotch Brite abrasive pads. Next I will wax the aluminum, then paint the panel. I will soon put in new screening and install the new door bumper catch at the bottom.

I need to create two new pieces out of Delrin plastic that are screwed underneath the bottom edge of the door panel. They are wedge shaped and as you close the door they help lift up the bottom edge and support it on the threshold without scratching the threshold. They are what helps to keep the door from sagging on its hinges. Very important little pieces. I will do a 3D CAD model and measured drawing of them in case anyone is missing those little fittings. Fortunately I still had one of them left on the door that was not totally damaged but the other one is missing.

So don't despair of an old door that looks helpless, as long as it is not rotted or badly damaged there is some hope for bringing it back to functioning again.
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Old 07-09-2016, 08:17 PM   #107
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waxing aluminum

What so you use to wax the aluminum?
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Old 07-09-2016, 08:39 PM   #108
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What so you use to wax the aluminum?
You can get the wax/polish at the auto parts store that they use on aluminum wheels. It should be just fine for this purpose. Best not to go with exotic materials that are hard to find.

Besides I plan on buying my Campster pretty aluminum wheels for its Christmas Bling present so the product will come in handy to keep them looking pretty.
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Old 07-10-2016, 07:50 AM   #109
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There is no indication that my top has ever been replaced. The gel coat is a perfect match.

The raised ribs strengthen the top as does the flange at the lower edge. Without the lower flange that edge would be very wavy and unstable. Without the ribs the top would want to sag in the middle.

But since very few people photograph from an aerial perspective it is difficult to know exactly what the upper surface of a pop up top looks like. It would be nice if people would do more photos from that direction for documentation purposes.

If you wanted to you could come and see my pop top when I take it off for changing the wood and fabric, changing out the old fasteners and doing some painting on the top.
I just looked out my window where I can see the pop top when it's down. Mine looks the same as yours...
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Old 07-10-2016, 11:27 AM   #110
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Interesting. Do you know your VIN number, Elizabeth? Year?
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Old 07-10-2016, 09:17 PM   #111
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Interesting. Do you know your VIN number, Elizabeth? Year?
Not sure what the VIN number is but it's a 1970 year...

And looking closer, it's not exactly the same as Karin's but pretty close. The main difference that I can see is that mine has three sets of bolts through the top instead of one but looks like it came from the same mold.

In addition to the set of bolts in the center where Karen has them, mine has bolts along the sides in front and back.
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Old 07-10-2016, 10:54 PM   #112
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Not sure what the VIN number is but it's a 1970 year...

And looking closer, it's not exactly the same as Karin's but pretty close. The main difference that I can see is that mine has three sets of bolts through the top instead of one but looks like it came from the same mold.

In addition to the set of bolts in the center where Karen has them, mine has bolts along the sides in front and back.
The bolts in the center for mine belong to the handles. The other sets of bolts you might have coming through the top are likely for the latches that hold the top in the closed position. There are two different styles of those latches that were originally used as the catches on the hoods on Jeeps. The type of those catches they used on mine are called 90 degree bend jeep hood latches. My latches are mounted with screws through a trim strip on the sides and screw into the upper perimeter wood strip just under the top that the top of fabric is secured to. Which is why you don't see those two other sets of fastener holes on my lid. I am glad they did it that was as it reduced the number of holes in the top surface of the lid.
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Old 07-10-2016, 11:42 PM   #113
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Got a few projects worked on today, wrapping up things I had previously begun but was waiting on parts for and help with.

One was installing a new tongue jack. I had to get one with a very short retract height due to the way my tongue was constructed. Pro Series Round, A-Frame Jack - Topwind - 15" Lift - 2,000 lbs Pro Series Trailer Jack PS1401000303

At some point in time an additional plate had been welded onto the surface the jack mounts through. They cut the original bolts off flush and the holes in the overplate partially covered them and trapped them. It required drilling out what I could of those old bolts then grinding them off. I discussed that task earlier in the thread. To put the new jack on we had to oversize the new bolts to 7/16, tap threads into those holes then thread in stainless bolts from underneath using thread locker of course. Those bolts put in from the bottom side have now become studs! To install the new jack it is dropped over those studs and secured with washers and Nylock nuts. Fortunately the holes in the new jack were just large enough to sit down over the new larger diameter bolts.

Another task I worked on is also seen in the photo above. I put that backer board I made in place to repair the hole that is on the bottom surface of the transition in the front of the shell. You can see where I used a stabilizer jack to put pressure under the backer to hold it tight against the lower surface. There are also screws going into the block through the fiberglass from inside. Those four small holes will get filled up afterwards. The first layer of material I put into my hole patch was a thin coating of epoxy mixed with micro balloons. That created an easy to sand layer so that any excess squeeze out can be quickly leveled off on the exterior. Then I added to layers of cross woven fiberglass cloth cut to fit inside the hole then it was topped off with more fiberglass cloth that went out over the surface on the inside. That will set up overnight and I can remove the backer board tomorrow morning.

As I was going to mix up resin anyway I put in a lot of cloth and resin on the interior to back up the piece where I filled in from the old electrical inlet and also behind three areas where the outside had taken some hard knocks that make some star shaped dents and some cracks as well.

So other than a few screw holes to repair in the wheel well cover area I am pretty much done with repairing the fiberglass shell. Of course I still have some chips and scratches to level out here and there but that is just a matter or mixing my own leveling compound from micro balloons and resin. I have been working on those kinds of spots here and there all month long so there is not a lot of that left to do. I have also been doing some sanding of the shell here and there so that too is getting close to being done. Part of the reason I have broken it into shorter segments of time is so I don't drive my neighbors in the workshop building and the people in the condos next door crazy with long days of sanding and grinding noise.

Next major job...the pop top rehab.
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Old 07-11-2016, 10:06 PM   #114
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Mine is a 1970. It had the bolts but the top was flat, without the ribs. Also matched the gel coat and looked 100% original. Four sets of bolts through for the jeep latches and I think screws or rivets for the inside handles. Interesting that the top changed but it tended to sag and water pool on it so maybe they noticed that and changed it. Your title should have the VIN number.
Attached Thumbnails
Campster from top side - 1 (1).jpg   Campster from top side - 1.jpg  

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Old 07-11-2016, 10:15 PM   #115
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my title only has the serial number on it which is 0012
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Old 07-13-2016, 11:14 PM   #116
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making my own composite lumber

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I got around to doing one task for my Campster project today. I have created the mold I will use to make my composite .75" x 1.5" lumber, four pieces, 2 at 62 inches and 2 at 29" long, which will be used as the frame around the opening that secures the fabric and the spring mechanism for the pop top. It has to be strong material because of the pull of the spring on the lift mechanism and I wanted it to be rot proof too. Loosing the pop top to weak or rotted lumber failure is not something I want to have happen to my Campster.

It is not a fancy mold. You don't have to be an engineer to come up with methods of creating something such as making molds out of lumber and scrap materials or in this case even some materials that are destined for other uses in the future. You just have to figure out how to hold things together so they can be taken back apart again to release the piece you are trying to create. Which in my case meant using some deck screws and a couple of clamps. I created a removable block for the center than divides my 62" long mold into two 29" sections. So that means I can use the mold for both of the variations in length without reworking the mold.

My mold sides are 1 x 2 hemlock that I have secured with double sided adhesive tape against aluminum angle to hold the wood perfectly upright and also keep them straight along their length. The base is just an off cut of plywood we had kicking around the workshop. Everything is waxed with Johnson's paste wax. The hemlock sides of the mold are secured to the plywood with screws so that the mold can be taken apart to release the composite wood pieces I am making. The stops at the end of the mold are scraps left from my door framing project and they will still come in handy for other future project requiring some temporary block holding jig. I did not want to put any holes into the aluminum angle as it will be getting used for my cabinet framing which is why I only used tape on it or clamps. I can reuse the 1 x 2 for other stuff. Scrap plywood is always handy so my mold will be completely recycled for other uses which makes it a no cost mold other than a bit of labor time, gotta love that
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Old 07-14-2016, 09:51 AM   #117
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Making your own materials is pretty legit, I'm very impressed!!

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Old 07-14-2016, 05:45 PM   #118
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Off and on I have been working on getting the original contact cement adhesive off of the ceiling. Some of it peeled right off but unfortunately that was not true for most of it.

Heat guns and solvents just make it sticky and hard to remove. Medium grit sandpaper on a random orbital sander builds up too much heat and that turns it stick.

But super coarse grit sand paper as in #40 grit and hand sanding does work, it is easy enough and while not an instant removal technique goes fairly quickly.

You can put the 40 grit paper on a random orbital but you don't need to except on the toughest of spots. Plus you would want to be very gentle as the fiberglass shell of the roof is already very thin on the Campster and you don't want to make it any thinner. Plus pressure equals more heat and more heat equal sticky glue that is not going to come off. Ideal would be a slow speed sander but lacking that just use a light touch.

Put gloves on, put a hat on, put a face mask on, put a high volume fan in the doorway sucking out the air and have windows open so it can pull in air. Don't do it in the hot part of the day as open pours let fibers in. You will be trimming a lot of those fiberglass strands off while you are working. This is not a fun job, best done at the end of the day because you will have to go and get into the shower when you finish the section you have allotted for that day's goal.
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Old 07-15-2016, 06:01 AM   #119
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This is not a fun job, best done at the end of the day because you will have to go and get into the shower when you finish the section you have allotted for that day's goal.
This is a looming project for me and I've been dreading it, although it seems far less daunting when thinking about tackling small, defined sections one at a time... keep the wisdom flowing, this rookie is sponging it all up!!

Jonathan
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Old 07-15-2016, 09:42 AM   #120
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This is a looming project for me and I've been dreading it, although it seems far less daunting when thinking about tackling small, defined sections one at a time... keep the wisdom flowing, this rookie is sponging it all up!!

Jonathan
That piece of wisdom comes from the wisdom of the aged rather than being wisdom of the aged. I would actually prefer the get it done and over with approach. But my neck and shoulders are directing the pace on this task.
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