Monday, May 31, 2010

Cab-Over Clearance Light leaks (11/23/08)

Not be be forgotten, these clearance lights are 18 years old. Someone has tried in the past, maybe several times to stop leaks from them but the photos here will show the results. Outside, the silicone or other sealant is spread wide and poorly. Inside, the original gasketing or newer silicone goop is obviously not doing it's job.

Original Gasket dried, cracked and soil inside all areas-obviously from many years of leaks.

A couple of the lights had degraded original gaskets inside the orange plastic cover. Those gaskets were shrunk, torn or broken apart from age.

Silicone dam seemed to work a bit on this light evidenced by the lack of serious rusting.

A couple of the lights had dams of silicone installed by someone in an attempt to stop any water creeping in under the orange dome from getting to the electrical connections or the bolt hole causing further water leaking into the cab.

Broken gasket, some rust, some dirt.

One shot here shows how rusted the electrical bulb receptical is as well as the nuts on the attachment bolt/nuts.

Poor silicone internal dam, rust significant.

Need to find a better solution and will change these out to the new LED lights, so bulb changes will not be necessary.

Same light, different angle, rust inside and a sloppy looking silicone job inside and out.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Cab-Over Water Damage (12/03/08)

Not many words necessary to show the rot involved from a neglected water leak.

Just posting a few photos here to show the problem.

I have a plan that I think will work fine to redo this whole front end, but will write when I have more time.

Attacking this problem after this weekend, until just after Christmas, then will have to put it on hold for January and continue in February on the roof.

For now? Photos taken yesterday.
--Drivers side/forward window: the window obviously had leaks and there is rot on both sides at lower corners and below.
--Inside the path of the water that leaked in is shown as delamination and stains on the forward and side parts of the cab over.
--One piece of the forward drivers side base, actually just started to fall away once the cosmetic skin was removed from the inside. Good thing some 200 pounder was not sleeping up there!
--Outside: the water damage has rusted the metal lower framing on both sides of the cab. Luckily, it looks like there is still good material that can be cleaned up and bonded to for the next go around.

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.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Cab-Over Front (12/21/08)

After removing the fiberglass skin of the cab-over, it was evident that the window and edge leaks had caused the very front corners to be rotted out. This was something I had to digest.

First indication of problems were the sloppy job of silicone sealant added around the edge of the cab-over and the poor repair of a crack at the forward underpanel.

The Crack has been repaired on the inside, after this photo was taken. When this panel is reinstalled, the external crack will have to be repaired.

I looked at the very front corners each and every day I went over to the Motor Home. I'd sit and consider options.........and try to figure out what was there in the first place, as so much of it had turned almost to a black disfigured powder.

OK. I took pictures and then sat at home looking at them on my computer or in the garage, looking at some of the parts and comparing the parts, to the photos I took of them before removing them to bring home to my garage.

The Half Moon pieces are used in the front bottom section to help curve the fiberglass around from the front to the bottom of the cab-over. Much rot here, so I built a whole new section.

Finally the mess started to make sense and I cound not only understand the pieces and the order of the fitting, but the way the motor home was built at the factory. The factory must have pre assembled panels or sections. That is great when putting this together years ago, but since a type of Liquid Nails was used as an adhesive the disassembly was a bit tedious. Doable, but tedious.

The leaks in the corner of the front window caused most wood rot.

Got thru the disassembly and when I got the very front panel home, I decided not to try to repair it, but just make a new one. This, is often the way to go.

Obviously, all this black wood had to be replaced.

I improved things a little here and there, and fudged there and things went along.

Today, I installed a few components and worked out the most difficult of the replacement parts on the very corners. The old wood was really rotten, so I cut it out and spliced in new pieces. Next I will glue and screw in reinforcement blocks wherever they seem prudent.

Actually things look better than I expected, so I guess I'm over the hurdle..or at least one of them.

What "Looks New" This is the very front section of the cab over. IT took minimal time to make it out of new materials.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Cab-Over New wood (12/29/08)

After weeks of working an hour or two here,.. and then an hour our two there; I finally have something to install.

Photo from underside of new stuff going in!

The 4 x 8' sheet of 3/4" ply directly over the cab, had been epoxy resin'd on both sides/taped with fiberglass cloth on edges and recovered on its underside with the original 'Filon' fiberglass outer skin.

All has been replaced on the underside and the very front/lower section/, has been completely rebuilt. Not a tough thing to do...this is all simple carpentry. When possible, I screwed and glued, using fasteners as well as Liquid Nails ..Heavy.Duty. adhesives in--10 oz tubes.

When reinstalling the lower 3/4" ply to the box tubing of the side sections, I used new self taping flat head machine screws installed in NEW holes(pre-drilled)and 3M's 5200 Adhesive Sealant to make sure everything stays as put!

Some of the wood in the very front end-near and around the window, but below it, was badly rotted away. All of this was replaced.

We are heading back to our boat in Guatemala in 2 days, so have wrapped up this project for a few weeks and will do some more in the last week of January. Brrrr.......

Till then, Tarps cover everything and we are off to

Later folks! Hope you are all having a wonderful holiday.

Click on any photo to enlarge it!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Cab Over outer surface is near complete (1/30/09)

Rushing to get this part of the project completed before we fly back to Guatemala. The weather has been half with us, half against and I have been down with a bad cold, but making progress. The "Filon" original fiberglass panels had been cleaned (scraped and sanded) and reapplied with Original Contact Cement (2 coats). I have used contact cement for years when working with formica and decided not to use what some suggest is the proprietary glue sold in RV stores. Tired of markups, I shop Home Depot.Front window area framed and shimmed out, awaiting outer panel to cover it side to side.

All wood construction was done with pine or fir as OEM's used, but screwed, and glued everything. Heavy Duty Liquid Nails on all wood on all surfaces that contacted something. All luan was likewise screwed and glued.

The steel rails that frame the perimeter of the forward right and left side of the cab over section was ground down to bare metal, conditioned with Ospho (phosphoric acid), painted with Rustoleum paint, the the new wood was screwed in with fine thread, self tapping 1.4" Flat Head machine screws. The wood and rails were also coated with 3M 5200, a severely strong adhesive sealant.Plywood used under bed area was epoxy resined and fiber glassed together prior to original filon skin being re-applied.

The 3/4" Plywood used for the bed section or base of the cab over, was sealed in advance of installation, with West System Epoxy resin and all edges were taped with cloth and epoxy. The 2 pieces used in this base was also fiber glassed together on the inside of the cab and the front end was glassed to the forward section. Nothing here is coming loose in the future and Nothing is going to leak!Filon skin re-applied to plywood base with contact cement. Then edges were secured with copper coated 5/8" brads and covered with Eternabond tape (1"). Later, I will cover the Eternabond with a secured molding.

The front window area was framed in, after tossing the old window into the garbage. The window area was overlapped with one full piece of 1/4" finished ply, that had also been double coated/sealed with West System Epoxy resin. The side that would face out to weather, was also covered with a layer of 8 oz. fiberglass cloth and re coated with several coats of resin to smoothing the surface, then primed with a fiberglass one part primer, by Interlux. This was sanded in preparation of a final painting.Front Panel covers the full width of Motor Home and will butt up to 'yet to be built' side moldings when complete.

The outer wood panel was then attached with 3M 42oo adhesive sealant and brads. This is a fast setting material (24 hours vs. 7 days for 5200) both are extremely strong and water proof. I also sealed the edges of this added 1/4" panel with the 3m product. Eternabond tape covers edges. An excellent sealing tape, it virtually guarantees a dry interior. Will be covered later with a custom molding overlapping each side by 1.5".

The outer corners, that originally had a cheap aluminum molding that marginally did its job, actually failing, causing leaks are being finished in a different manner. I threw the aluminum away and will not use this garbage for replacement, as it only covers the side of the motor homes surface with maximum 7/16 ths of coverage and often less. I will make a custom fiberglass molding when I return from my boat trip. This molding will extend 1.5" on the front AND the side of the MH. In advance and until, I used a 2" strip of Eternabond tape to cover the edge. When the new molding goes on, it will cover this Eternabond completely and will be bedded in another sealant.
Taken at noon, this shot does not show the paint job I did this afternoon. One coat so far of Oyster White, Awlgrip linear polyurethane paint, applied in "roll and tip" fashion. 2nd coat tomorrow, then down with the scaffold till spring.
In the spring, I will also, start the re roofing with Dicor material and new curved roof beams.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Finished! (1/31/09)

Yesterday, I scrambled to get a coat of paint on the front of the Cab Over section of the Motor Home. I started way too late for a good job, applying the first roll of paint at 4:45 pm. The sun was going to set in 2 hours, but I had run out of time.

Today, when I drove over to apply the second coat, it was evident that the first coat 'blushed' from moisture and cold. The Awlgrip paint should not be applied below 55 degrees and last night it dropped lower.

I prepped for the 2nd coat today at 1 pm and got the second coat on early. Today the sun was strong although the air was not 'warm', but at least the wind was gentle. I rolled on the 2nd coat, and did not tip it off with a brush, allowing for a slight stipple from the 1" x 4" foam roller, instead of the streaks from the brush. It looks fine.
Bought new bright LED clearance lights, but had no time to install them. Will do that on the return trip too.

Drove it home tonight. Feels good to be back behind the wheel and noticed no squeaks any more coming from the cab over (nice and tight now that all is new!) I'll sleep well.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Making Corner Molding in fiberglass.

Preparations are key to any good job and this is no exception.  I took this stage slowly, so will give details here to benefit.

To make the 2 'parts' (Left and Right), I made 2  molds/one for each side of the Cab-Over.. This is very time consuming and "Making a Mold" is usually ONLY done, if you want to make Not one, but Many/Many parts!  Much easier to just go out and build what you want right on the motor home if it's a "one shot deal".  Glass it up and be done with it!

..............  However, I live at a condo and have to bow down to their 'no work' rule.  SO, I'm building the molding 75' away in my garage, and then I'll take my motor home somewhere to install them!

The bottom line is, I'll take a 1,000%  more time to finish this job...  but for the rest of you, there will be info you might like to have and can use for other things.  Learning is good and if you have a better way that's
fine too.

The Mold, or Plug I made using scrap lumber.

You could actually use Foam, Cardboard, just need to get a 'replica'.   What "I" made,  was resined/glassed/sanded etc. to make a 'really fine/smooth' "EXACT Replica" of the object that was to receive the molding and that of course is the front end of our motor home. I did an earlier project here on Cab-Over Clearance Lights that did NOT require precision.  They came out wonderfully but precision was NOT necessary.  This molding, does need to be done right tho!........ and since it can be seen, it should be made with aesthetics in mind.  Well, at least that is how I feel.

You can use PVA as a Mold Release agent, or car wax or Pam Cooking spray, or even packing tape/cerayn wrap etc.---- and .....many other things.  Google this subject for more.
Heres the part still on the Mold and marked off for trimming.

I layed up 4 layers of Cloth 4" tape, using Surfboard Resins. I'M CAPITALIZING NOW !!  USE MORE LAYERS.
WHY? .......... I was correct that 4 was all you need, but 6 or 7 would have made the moldings so SO much more RIGID at this know this is almost a 10' part!! Yikes!!.  My part is quite flexible, which is fine, but really tough to control in these final "Aesthetic" stages where I have to sand and fill to alleviate small imperfections.  If the PART was more RIGID, I could manhandle it more aggressively and get the next stage done quicker...thats all.  4 works, 6 or 7 layers would be my recommendation JUST TO MAKE THE JOB EASIER/NOTHING INTENDED  HERE ABOUT QUALITY!!

OK, to pop the Part off the Mold use thin little wood sticks/paint sticks etc. Shaved down on a grinder to give a Knife Blade end!  Slip this between the Mold and the Part and press or lightly Tap with a hammer.

As you see from the photos, the 'white-ish' portion is where the Part has left the Mold.  IF, IF, you have several coats of Mold Release, PVA or whatever, you can pop it off with you hands... no more tools necessary.

Next, mark your part for cutting with a Saber saw.  Try to hold it somehow.  I used a couple of pieces of wood in a vice for a 'jig'.  Would be just as good if you had a friend hold that dang thing while you operated the saw!

This goes quickly.  Cut OUTSIDE your lines and do the final with a belt sander or such.

I always Hand Sand using an 8-10" wood block wrapped in sandpaper/this gives a really nice straight line on the edges.

More later! :)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Roof Rebuild of Class C due to Water Intrusion (4/18/09)

If you have gotten this far, you know that this site was set up to follow what will be progress or failure revamping a 1991 Tioga 24' Class C Motor Home. Right now, I'm going to address apparent leaks overhead. In November-January, I rebuilt the front Cab-Over Section.

I suggest doing any of this kind of work before there is any warping, staining, rot or rusting. Serious damage can be negated if effort is applied sooner rather than later. The effort will also cost less and be much easier.

So far, so good as I've been able to dissect the beast and satisfactorily to me, build it better and leak proof.

I had to create a scaffold system to allow me to walk completely around up there with the roof just below waist level.

Leak Proof is important. I'm not trying to postpone damage, to get another year out of it, to piece it back together to sell to someone else. I really hate those things. If I'm going to roll up my sleeves, I want to be successful. I want to FIX this; not put a bandage on it!

[Go back to Nov.-Jan. if you are interested in the Cab Over Rebuild.]

OK, here we go.

This week was spent 'Setting up'.

The storage unit needed a bit more than a 'sweep out'; electric was turned on, shelving moved, motorhome backed in, tools, materials delivered from old stock in my garage and new materials from Home Depot. After this, I had to set up the scaffolding I had built for the first go around in Nov.-Jan. to rebuild the Cab Over section. However, I now needed enough scaffolding to go completely around the 24' vehicle.. so I could work safely and somewhat efficiently on the entire roof.

Awning should have been removed first to make things easier.

Measurements were taken, materials bought, delivered and assembled. Somewhere in this proceedure, some 'think time', reorganization and then some more rethinking was necessary until I felt comfortable with what I had assembled for my safety 7' off the concrete floor. All is together and seemingly working well at this point.

Next, was the removal of most of the aluminum trim molding all around the perimeter of the roofing rubber. Everything was saved and after my wife spent hours of her patient time cleaning, she held each piece while i worked them gently with a hammer and wood scrap as dolly, to reshape them as close to new as possible. Aluminum is easy to rework.

All items on roof as well as all aluminum trip around the edges of the older rubber roof, needed to be removed.

I have yet to remove the awning on the passenger side of vehicle as I honestly do not know yet how to do it safely! Have some printed material on it that I will read before I do that, but right now, I dug into the basic stuff to just see what I was up against, in the way of water damage.

Might I say, this is the point at every project I do, that I ask myself, "What the H___ am I doing here? Why did I dig this far? Why didn't I...............etc. etc. etc. It's normal.

It was clear that in the Front and in the Rear, 'someone' had investigated deep enough to realize this rig was in need of some serious effort in order to be saved, and instead, just put it back together.

I really dislike this feeling, but know, KNOW, that everything is fixable. Yes, maybe I'm going to have to fix more than I want to, but, I'll get it done and have a better item when done.

Scraped old sealant goop off the items on the roof, then removed the items, one by one. Removed the drivers side molding on the edge of the rubber roofing.

The ROT, was evident almost anywhere there was a joint, corner or 'rounded' molding covering something. Rounded corners are suspect always as they are near impossible to seal with cheap moldings.

Then, removed the molding across the rear of the roof as well as the vertical aluminum molding in the aft end, where it wrapped forward to meet the roofing material. Had to cut this with a sabre saw, at this point, as I only wanted to go as far into this rebuild as was necessary.

Damage only, would be addressed at this point. Replacement of all aluminum corner moldings with custom fiberglass trim will occur later.