Saturday, May 29, 2010
Cab-Over rehab (12/14/08)
Having only limited time to repair the rot within our Motor home has kept my subconscious mind working on some of the problems, rather than ONLY my conscious mind. When I approach the damaged material each day, I usually feel OK about what I'm going to do next. That's far better than being in a shop working for someone and being told, you have X amount of hours to fix it.
Rotted section of the bed area in the cab-0ver has been removed and used as a template for new wood.
The negative of this, is that I have to keep covering the cab-over up to keep it from the elements each time I leave and open things up each time I return. If I only have an hour or two, not much gets done.. Sure would be nice to have this in a garage at home!!
Anyway, after considering doing my own fiberglass work to recover the nose of the MH, my wife pressed my buttons and said, why not use whats there? I thought about it and actually,the only reason I was thinking of a new glass skin on the outside was the COST of new material from a dealer/distributor($54./ft-and I thought I needed 10' plus shipping/tax/glue etc.) Other than cost of all new materials, was that I will NOT reinstall the front window, so some body work of sorts, will have to be done. I believe the window is really a weak point causing leaks as well as the whimpy trim used on these vehicles. I believe, if they are going to use a piece of trim to cover a 90 degree edge, they need to extend the coverage at least an inch or so, not the meager 7/16" of the common aluminum trim.
So, thinking about her comment, an alternative plan that HAD popped into my mind at 3 or 4 a.m. one night was to cover the hole posed by the window by a slightly larger external piece of plywood, covered and faired with glasswork..kind of like-good old body work stuff and then make the trim myself out of fiberglass so that it extends 1.5" onto each surface. This should prohibit any future leaks.
One of the sheets of fiberglass(the skin) that was bonded to the exterior at the leading edge was cracked on the drivers side forward. This was caused I think by someone's weight in the overhead bed pressing the rotted wood beyond it's strength which was probably about ZERO!
OK, I removed the 3/4" wood surface in the bed area in the forward section. The wood was rotted along the edge/forward and slightly rotted back along the sides. There was evidence of the leaks causing the metal box tubing along the side-used to frame out he sides of the cab-0ver, to degrade from rust. I used a scrapper and high speed grinder to abrade the surface, then Ospho(phosphoric acid) to neutralize the metal in preparation for the new wood soon to go into this space.
Back in my garage, I used the old piece of 3/4" ply, from overhead, to mark out and cut a new piece of wood. Then I rolled on a coat of West System Epoxy Resin to seal the underside of the wood(that which will need to accept the old fiberglass skin.) Also made the 15" extension piece of wood that goes forward of the 4x8' sheet shown here.
Wood has been coated with Epoxy resin and cloth tape wrapped around the outside edge to help seal that edge.
To add to the 'life' of these new wood pieces, beyond the coat of Epoxy to seal the wood, I added a 4" layer of GRP(fiberglass) cloth tape on the side edges of the plywood. This will be the edge that I will have to drill out for fasteners to attach this 4'x8' plywood sheet to the metal box tubings along the side. IF, any water does get into this area in later years, there is now better protection for the wood. Cheap insurance for a long life of this repair/rebuild.
After the New Wood was resined, I then reinstalled the original Filon fiberglass material on it. The edges of this original fiberglass will need some repair, but no big deal.
Back at our house, I am now working on repairing the damaged/cracked filon grp that was the exterior skin of the front. A few cracks on the edges and MAYBE, this job will be cheaper than I anticipated. :)
Ordered 5 new LED Clearance lights to replace the old, rusty worthless garbage that was originally installed. Online, there plenty of options an paid $10/ea.--- they are hard wired but that of course will add another MOD that I will have to figure out as I work my way UP the front end towards the old lights.
Next (tomorrow) I will continue to clean up the next panel, the Tioga one shown here that wraps around the very front bottom of the cab-over, up to the center window. I will not reinstall the original window however and will cover the hole.