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 > Winter TC Repair Project

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NRALIFR

Truck Camping Out West

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Joined: 11/27/2005

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Posted: 02/12/21 09:01am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I started a repair project on my TC about a week ago. This is the rear corner on the passenger side of the camper, and I’m fixing the damage from a water leak that existed when I bought the camper about 15 years ago. I found and fixed the leak within a few months of buying it, but the damage had already been done so I’ve kept an eye on the area below the leak over the years for signs of trouble.

The leak was here, at the point where the edge trim meets the rain gutter at the top corner. It looked like a bubble had formed behind the caulking as it was being applied, and then popped before the caulk dried, which made a nice little funnel shaped opening for water to get in through.

[image]

Some non load-bearing wood up in the overhang behind the filon was rotted. I was able to replace it just by removing that one short piece of edge trim at the top, and bending back the aluminum overhang material just enough to work through. There’s a closet in that corner on the inside, and I knew the luan wallboard had gotten wet near the corner because of how it felt, but the structure seemed to be ok so I didn’t tear into it any more. Of course being a truck camper there are jacks attached to the corners, and I’ve payed particular attention to the rear jack mounts.

I’ve never liked the way Lance attached the rear jacks. As heavy as this camper is, they should have used wider mounting brackets in the rear, which would have allowed some through-bolting. That’s how the front jacks are installed, but for some reason they used narrow mounts that only use 4-5 two inch long hex head wood lags in each of the two plates that make up a mounting bracket. I’m going to change to the wider mounting brackets in this project.

There’s also a ring clamp at the bottom of the jack tube that’s bolted to a tab on the bumper, but the tab is aluminum, and is set 90° to the force that is applied to it when you’re loading the camper on the truck and the front of the truck bed touches the camper. So over the years after literally dozens and dozens of times “touching” the camper with the truck when loading, the tab bends and the jack moves at the bottom towards the camper. I want to add another ring clamp at the bottom of the jack tube, with a tab mounted in the correct direction so that the camper loading forces will be in shear, rather than a bending force.

In order to get the wide brackets, ring clamps and T-mounts I need, I had to order a heavy-duty jack mount kit from Rieco-Titan for four jacks that also included two crank handles and a drill adapter that won’t work with Atwood jacks. Because of the way these kits are packaged at manufacturing time, it would have cost more to have them open up a kit and just sell the parts needed for two jacks. The kit price was reasonable though, and I’ll eBay the unneeded parts when I finish the project. Just FYI, Rieco-Titan is a great company to deal with. I’ve always had good experiences with them, and if my Atwood jacks ever fail I will be replacing them with RT jacks.

This is a picture I took of the rear jack after replacing the skirt on that side in 2014. Notice how the gap between the jack tube and the camper is fairly consistent from top to bottom. You can also see the narrow jack mounting bracket at the top, and the ring clamp at the bottom.

[image]

I took the next two pictures just before removing the jack last week. Notice how the gap now gets narrower at the bottom, and the top of the bracket shows signs of movement. There’s also a crack forming in the filon.

[image]

[image]

In order to get to the backside of the jack mount area, I had to remove the propane compartment liner, which is a seamless plastic tub. After removing the compartment door, I can see that due to the way the liner was installed, it’s not coming out through the hole in the filon skin. So, I had to remove the bottom of the closet that’s right above it, and pull it out through there. Of course the LP black-iron pipe had to come out as well.

Since I had to pull the bottom of the closet out, I decided to pull the wall panel off too, and see how bad the water damage was. I’m glad I did. It actually wasn’t as bad as I was afraid it might be. I initially just removed the wall panel to about half way up, then took it off all the way to the ceiling. All the water damaged wood was dry, so my leak fix 15 years ago apparently did it’s job.

Surprisingly, the vertical 2x2 in the corner is about 99% sound wood. A little discoloration is all. That’s very good, because I’d have to tear up a lot more to replace that. Drilling and screwing into the 2x2 in various places for this repair has shown that it’s in good shape. I need more wood next to it in the back wall of the camper for the wider mounting brackets to bolt to, so I’m going to put a 3” wide piece next to it. I’m also going to have to move the taillight assembly over a half-inch or so to make room for the new wide bracket.

[image]

That 6” wide board running horizontally is the most seriously damaged piece, and its purpose is to be a solid mount point for the folding ladder on the back of the camper. It probably gives that wall some extra rigidity as well. The luan plywood backer on the inside surface of the filon is of course delaminated, and I’ll be scraping a lot of it off. I’m going to cut out all of the framework that’s sitting over the damaged luan whether it’s water damaged itself or not, and rebuild it.

Here, I’ve cut out the framework and scraped off most of the luan backer. About all that’s left on the backside of the filon skin is a paper thin layer of wood. The delaminated luan came off easily close to the corner, but I had to work on it harder as I moved into the areas that didn’t get wet. There’s still a little more to remove as you can see. Most of the cutting involved with this project has been done with a Rockwell Sonicrafter. If you haven’t used one, those are invaluable for making plunge cuts. With the right blade, you can even cut through screws, nails and staples.

[image]

I’ve finished removing the luan, and lightly sanded what’s left. I then covered that entire area with some thinned out urethane sealant to just stabilize the surface so adhesive would stick to it better. I also added a backer behind the outside light so the screws had something to bite into.

[image]

I’ve added a new corner board here. Rather than just having it down low in the jack area, then having to build the new framework around it, I took the new board up to the top of the corner. I used some long coated deck screws and contact adhesive to attach it to the existing corner board and the backside of the filon siding. This is when I could tell that the 2x2 in the corner was definitely not rotted inside. I pre-drilled the new board so the screws were only threading into the old wood, and they tightened up nicely and didn’t tear out.

[image]

Before installing the new corner board, I needed to make a stiffener panel for the outside of that area so the filon won’t flex as I’m working on the inside. I used some thick plywood and 2x4’s on edge for that. I have it braced against the garage wall behind the camper.

[image]

[image]

My plan now is to build a patch that will fit in the space where I cut out the framework. I have a bunch of quality 5/8” plywood scraps that I’d like to use up, so that’s what will be stuck to the backside of the filon. That should make the patch more rigid, and help tie everything together. That will still leave an inch deep cavity that I’ll fill with pink foam board instead of the fiberglass I took out.

This is the patch I made.

[image]

Fitting it in place.

[image]

Installed with contact adhesive and screwed into the framework next to it. The area from the 6” horizontal piece down is actually inside the LP compartment, and I plan to put another piece of 5/8” plywood on the inside to help tie that area together. That should help add back any strength and rigidity lost by cutting the framework out. From there up, I’ll use thinner wallboard plywood inside the closet. Once I have it all rebuilt and I’m ready to install the new jack mount bracket, I’ve also got some angle iron to go on the inside corner that the bolts will go through.

[image]

The bottom of the closet was made with a cedar faced plywood which I should be able to reuse. Since I won’t be able to match the wallboard pattern inside the closet, I’m going to face it with these cedar T&G boards that are 1/4” thick. One box is 35 sq/ft, so I’ll cover as much of the closet as possible with it.

[image]

That’s where the project stands now, and I’ve got quite a bit of work to do yet on this corner. Depending on how long it takes, I may tear into the other rear corner this winter too. That corner doesn’t have any water damage, so it “should be” an easier job. I’ll have to move the taillight on that side too, though.

There’s a layer of sleet on the ground in Little Rock today, and a strong winter storm in the forecast for this weekend. I’m glad I have a heated garage/man-cave to spend days like these in!

[emoticon][emoticon]


2001 Lance 1121 on a 2016 F450


Geo*Boy

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Posted: 02/12/21 01:53pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Nice work, NRALIFR.

notsobigjoe

southeast

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Posted: 02/12/21 03:17pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Nice work and a good project. Keep us posted.

jdc1

Rescue, Ca

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Posted: 02/12/21 03:20pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Every RV should be aluminum framed and aluminum smooth sided exterior with an aluminum roof.

But, yea. That is some nice work there.

NRALIFR

Truck Camping Out West

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Joined: 11/27/2005

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Posted: 02/12/21 05:58pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks guys! I’ll take all the encouragement I can get. [emoticon]

jdc1 wrote:

Every RV should be aluminum framed and aluminum smooth sided exterior with an aluminum roof.

But, yea. That is some nice work there.


Well, I’ve got the “smooth sides” and “aluminum roof” part covered. Lance was still using a seamless aluminum sheet on the roof in 2001. It’s one of the reasons I still have this camper. I think Lance went rubber/plastic/TPO whatever in about 2005. There’s probably some down side to aluminum framed rv’s, but since I’ve never owned one I’m not sure what it would be.

This was today’s progress.

I sure wish I’d have remembered to drill the wiring holes through the new framework before I mounted the patch in place. I have a super long shank drill bit that could have drilled the entire run at once. But, had a senior moment I guess. You know, that’s the bad part of getting older. Always.........uh, er, ......... what was I talking about?

Fortunately, that’s why the gods of woodworking invented hex-drive drill bits and short extensions. If you stack up five or six 2” hex extensions, it acts like a flexible drive shaft and you can get quite a bit of deflection with it. The hardest hole was the one through the 6” wide board. Gott’er done though.

[image]

This is the new wide jack mounting bracket kit I ordered from Rieco-Titan. I’ve bolted the two plates together that make up one bracket. The old narrow bracket is on the left. Then there are two ring clamps, and the parts that make the T-brackets they will bolt to.

Did I mention that RT is a good company? [emoticon]

[image]

[emoticon][emoticon]

* This post was edited 02/12/21 06:10pm by NRALIFR *

Bradymydog

Western MA

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Posted: 02/13/21 05:56am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

One of the things I like on our Bigfoot is the way the bracket wraps around under the bottom of the camper instead of just relying on the shear strength of the bolts to support the load. Those wide brackets look like a great improvement. Nice work.

NRALIFR

Truck Camping Out West

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Joined: 11/27/2005

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Posted: 02/17/21 06:17am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

[image]

Had to stop “playing around” with the camper and deal with life outside of the man-cave the past few days. It’s been 5-6 years since I’ve had to clear any snow from my road and driveway. I think this is about equal to the most snow I’ve seen on the ground in the 23 years we’ve lived here, but there’s 100% chance of 3-5” more in today’s forecast so we could end up with a veritable snow-mageddon here. Lowest temperatures I’ve seen here as well. I got my road and driveway passable, but the neighborhood roads I’m connected to aren’t being cleared, and the hills are too steep to get up with this much snow, so we’re stuck.

I don’t think I’m going to get my Amazon deliveries for a few days either! [emoticon]

Fifty year old homes in Little Rock aren’t built with near zero temperatures in mind, so I have to pay attention to how cold it’s getting in the crawl space and in the garage. We’ve been warned of rolling power outages, but so far we haven’t had any. I’ve got gas furnaces, a pellet stove, and a generator that runs on natural gas, so we’ll stay warm.

The weather forecast says we’ll start warming up this weekend, and a high next Tuesday of about 58. At least we don’t have to wait long for the weather to change around here. [emoticon]

[emoticon][emoticon]

* This post was edited 02/17/21 06:25am by NRALIFR *

NRALIFR

Truck Camping Out West

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Posted: 02/20/21 02:29pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Well it finally stopped snowing on Thursday, but not before setting a record for the most in 4-5 days. North Little Rock got a total of almost 19”. Little Rock and areas South and East got 22+ inches. Power never went out, but my main furnace igniter decided to quit working so I was having to light the burner manually, let it run a cycle, then shut it off for a few hours. My pellet stove has been working overtime. The burn rate got close to 70 lbs a day for a while.

The neighborhood roads still haven’t been plowed or sanded. I went and looked at all three roads into my area today, and there were vehicles at the bottom of each hill, unable to get up. I’ve been too busy making sure our pipes don’t freeze to work on the camper. None of mine froze thank goodness, but my neighbor had a pipe freeze and break, and I had to help him find his water meter box. He knew approximately where it was, but of course there was 8-10” of snow on the ground so it was hard to spot. Fortunately I had a few lengths of rebar to use, and we eventually found it.

Things are melting, but it’s going to take few days. Now I have to keep an eye on the roof and gutters as all that snow melts. There are a couple of valleys in my roof that are prone to developing ice dams at the bottom. The forecast still shows the temperature warming up over the next three days, with a high Tuesday of 59.

I’ll get back to working on the camper in a few days I expect. In the meantime, here’s some pictures of the fun we’ve been having.

This was Tuesday, after the first snow Monday night. One of the cats ran to the window all excited about something she saw. All I saw were tracks, so I checked our security camera.

A fox! Don’t get to see many of those.

[image]

Also after the first snow, and before I “ruined it” with the tractor. There’s a driveway under there somewhere.

[image]

Ruining it [emoticon]

[image]

Second snow coming down Wednesday. Snowed all day without a break.

[image]

[image]

I had a issue with the tractor while I was clearing the first snow. This little POS is called a “self-centering damper”. It makes the fwd and reverse pedals go back to the top after you press one of them down. It has something broken inside of it, and almost made me drive over the top of a retaining wall Tuesday when it stuck with the reverse pedal depressed. The brake wouldn’t stop it, and I had to shut the engine off. No chance of getting a part, so I figured I was through playing in the snow.

[image]

After sleeping on it (I get some of my best ideas when I’m asleep) I decided to take it off, and put a “Polish Fix” on the tractor to get it operational again. And yes, I’m Polish. This is how we fix things.

See the bungee cords?

[image]

[emoticon][emoticon]

NRALIFR

Truck Camping Out West

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Joined: 11/27/2005

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Posted: 02/23/21 11:39am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Like it never happened!

Well, almost. There might be some of those piles left at the end of today.

Today’s high is supposed to be 68, we’re already at 67. I bet we exceed that by a few degrees.

I may be able to get my trailer out of the mud tomorrow and take my tractor to get that damper replaced. It’s still under warranty, and they won’t just give me the part or I’d do it myself.

[image]

[emoticon][emoticon]

jimh425

Western MT

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Joined: 06/11/2006

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Posted: 02/23/21 12:04pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Glad you got over it so fast. I don’t personally mind snow, but I wouldn’t mind 68 right now. [emoticon]


'10 Ford F-450, 6.4, 4.30, 4x4, 14,500 GVWR, '06 Host Rainer 950 Dbl Slide, Torklift Talon tiedowns, Glow Steps, and Fastguns. Bilstein 4600s, Firestone Air Bags, Hankook DH-01 225/19.5 Fs, Curt front hitch, Energy Suspension bump stops.


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