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 > 2003 Bigfoot 10.5E Project

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AH_AK

AK

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Posted: 09/11/21 03:11am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

So it has taken me quite a while to get around to posting this. Fortunately, it appears as though the bulk of the rehab work on my soggy 2003 Bigfoot 10.5E is complete. The mods to my Chevy 3500 SRW are at a point that I am feeling good about how it drives on uneven and unpredictable Alaskan “highways”. The easiest way to share a bunch of pictures and text seems to be a PDF. The link below is for a PDF writeup of the project on my G-Drive.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1I5fY_oj........c8YNMedudA-5FZxnBqHyYC1/view?usp=sharing

Some of the details in this document will likely be beyond what people want to read, but I will post them so that others that find themselves in a similar situation will have a reference.

I can’t stress enough how instrumental this message board was in helping to encourage me to not give up on the turnkey camper that turned into a bit of a project.

BobsYourUncle

Calgary Alberta Canada

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Posted: 09/11/21 06:54am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Wow dude!!! [emoticon]

That is a seriously big undertaking and repair!!
And yes, I read every single word you wrote and studied every last picture.

I have to compliment you on a difficult job well done.

I know first hand the kind of work and effort that's required to do any kind of repair like that, especially if you don't strip and gut the entire rig. I totally rebuilt a completely rotten old Citation TT, so I can certainly relate to your work.
(Check out mine if you feel inclined, link in sig)

Again, nice work, and thanks for posting this. Sharing all of these repair / rebuild projects here is a huge help to others who want to undertake their own projects.

Happy Camping![emoticon]


2007 GMC 3500 dually ext. cab 4X4 LBZ
Dmax/Allison

2007 Pacific Coachworks Tango 306RLSS - 32'

RV Rebuild Website
Site is live, finally launched Aug 22, 2021 @ 6:53 PM
.


HMS Beagle

Napa, California

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Posted: 09/11/21 09:09am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Glad you were able to work through all the problems! A big undertaking, but I think you will enjoy the camper. It is too bad that Bigfoot doesn't go that extra 5% in some of the problem areas. To be fair I think they have improved (for example, my 2008 camper already had SS screws on all exterior uses) but they still have room for improvement. And as I have said in the past, though the construction quality of Bigfoot sucks, it sucks a lot less than most other brands.


Bigfoot 10.4E, 2015 F350 6.7L DRW 2WD, Autoflex Ultra Air Ride rear suspension, Hellwig Bigwig sway bars front and rear

cewillis

Tucson, az, usa

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Posted: 09/11/21 09:11am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Have to admit that I did not read every word - but enough to see that you did a lot of excellent work, and now have a great setup.
BTW, your boss wonders when/if you're coming back to your real job.


Cal


bwc

Atlantic Canada

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Posted: 09/11/21 09:23am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Excellent write up, very easy to follow along. You are obviously well skilled to start and finish a huge project like this. Do you have a garage etc to keep your BF out of the elements? I have always parked our camper inside since we bought it new in 2009...everything is dry and I have not re sealed anything...still like new. It makes a huge difference. Best of luck chasing the small "leaks"...you will win in the end. Once again a great write up.


2003 Dodge Laramie SLT 3500 dually diesel 4x2 auto and 2009 Northstar 9.5 Igloo U. Love this combo. Very fuel efficient, lots of room, easy to park and set up.

AH_AK

AK

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Posted: 09/11/21 10:54am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

BobsYourUncle wrote:

Wow dude!!! [emoticon]

That is a seriously big undertaking and repair!!
And yes, I read every single word you wrote and studied every last picture.

I have to compliment you on a difficult job well done.

I know first hand the kind of work and effort that's required to do any kind of repair like that, especially if you don't strip and gut the entire rig. I totally rebuilt a completely rotten old Citation TT, so I can certainly relate to your work.
(Check out mine if you feel inclined, link in sig)

Again, nice work, and thanks for posting this. Sharing all of these repair / rebuild projects here is a huge help to others who want to undertake their own projects.

Happy Camping![emoticon]


Ahhh a kindred spirit! Love your writeup. I feel like it really captures your thought process and the emotional rollercoaster of repairing a wet camper. So many cycles of "screw this, I am done" followed by "no, I can do this and I will do it right". Great work documenting everything as well. I wish I had taken more pictures along the way. There is definitely a satisfaction in knowing you did it the right way and improved on the original design. I really hope the person that scooped your Citation appreciated all the hours that went into it. You gave them a phenomenal deal. RV karma is real though and it looks like you ended up with a great rig.

AH_AK

AK

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Posted: 09/11/21 11:01am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

cewillis wrote:

Have to admit that I did not read every word - but enough to see that you did a lot of excellent work, and now have a great setup.
BTW, your boss wonders when/if you're coming back to your real job.

Thank you. I did the best I could and I am really happy with my setup now. I am on a 9 month contract and did this during my 3 off months. I definitely would have gotten fired if I tried to do this while working. I tend to lock onto projects and go all in. My wife regularly joked about how I was cheating on her with the truck camper. Even when we were together, she'd be talking and notice I was somewhere else...she'd say, "you're thinking about her, aren't you?" Then she would be treated to a vigorous discussion of adhesive sealants. She is an absolute gem for tolerating my obsession.

AH_AK

AK

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Posted: 09/11/21 11:12am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

HMS Beagle wrote:

Glad you were able to work through all the problems! A big undertaking, but I think you will enjoy the camper. It is too bad that Bigfoot doesn't go that extra 5% in some of the problem areas. To be fair I think they have improved (for example, my 2008 camper already had SS screws on all exterior uses) but they still have room for improvement. And as I have said in the past, though the construction quality of Bigfoot sucks, it sucks a lot less than most other brands.


I agree. It seems like they have picked some of the low-hanging fruit in recent years, which is great. Good on them for switching to SS fasteners. The added cost is minimal. I still think they are the best TC for the money.

Sometimes I would get annoyed at their design decisions, but then I'd consider the extra hours that would be required to manufacture with a better construction and thought about how that would affect the price point. Like you said though, some of the stuff is like, come on, really? Grant at Bigfoot is great to work with though. Makes me like the brand even more. I'd love to take a factory tour and pick that guy's brain on some of the design decisions and manufacturing tradeoffs.

AH_AK

AK

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Posted: 09/11/21 11:24am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

bwc wrote:

Excellent write up, very easy to follow along. You are obviously well skilled to start and finish a huge project like this. Do you have a garage etc to keep your BF out of the elements? I have always parked our camper inside since we bought it new in 2009...everything is dry and I have not re sealed anything...still like new. It makes a huge difference. Best of luck chasing the small "leaks"...you will win in the end. Once again a great write up.


Thanks! I have a carport that I park it under, so it is out of the rain and snow, but exposed to the cold. I wish I had a heated garage that would fit my rig. That would have made the project much more enjoyable. I was working under a tarp with a space heater many nights. It really delayed me when it came to adhesive and sealant application. Had to wait for weather windows. Maybe when the lumber prices come down I will start the process of lobbying the treasurer (my wife) for a new garage.

If you take care of these campers they will last forever, especially if you are storing them inside. Those small leaks are inevitable, but what matters is that you are paying attention and know where to look. Catch it quickly, and it'll be no big deal. One of the issues (IMO) is the marketing campaign that tells owners that these campers are leak-proof. In retrospect, when I told the previous owner that I wanted to have it inspected for water damage, he made a funny face and said, "it is a fiberglass camper" kind of incredulously. That should have set off the warning bells. Hindsight...

I try to look at it positively though. I know that camper inside and out now. I feel like I can diagnose and repair most issues on the road. I think that'll pay dividends when we start taking multi-week trips.

HMS Beagle

Napa, California

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Posted: 09/11/21 01:48pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Yeah, unfortunately it is a fiberglass camper with a lot of wood in it. The fiberglass shell would be a lot more waterproof if they didn't put in overtime drilling holes in it. The one I ordered from the factory I told them not to put anything on the roof - ladder, racks, antennas, awnings etc. - all of which add maybe 100 holes and potential leaks. Even the hatches and vents can be installed without screws, as have done with any I have resealed. Some joints, like the jack mounts or hand rail mount get worked a lot, you just have to pay attention to them and reseal when necessary.

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