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Old 03-22-2011, 11:14 PM   #1
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1998 Alumascape FW project

So my Significant Other (Terrell) bought a few acres of land smack dab in the middle of a national forest in MS a year and a half ago so he would have a place to hunt deer. I'm a country gal but prefer livestock to wildlife so I had no interest in the place. Unfortunately, T's guy friends who were planning to help with the place (clearing, planting, putting up feeders, etc.) didn't follow through, so I volunteered to help.

I do NOT enjoy getting up at 4 a.m., driving two and a half hours to a place with no electricity, no running water, and no toilet facilities (unless you count "pink" and "blue" trees) and I will NOT spend the night anywhere that doesn't have bathroom facilities and hot and cold running water so that makes it a day trip only.

T had planned to build some sort of cabin on the place, but that project would probably last the rest of his lifetime (working only on weekends, having to haul everything in, no electricity other than a generator) and it would no doubt involve a lot of marine-grade plywood painted battleship gray.

Sooooo I suggested that if he wanted to get more done (building A-frames for honeysuckle, planting fruit and nut trees, etc.), he consider getting a travel trailer of some sort so we could spend the night and I could have my bathroom facilities. His dad has one that's about the size of a sardine can. Sorry, not staying in a sardine can. Started looking online, found a cracker box with a nice layout, but it was a cracker box with serious wall damage above the slide. Still, we knew from looking at it that we wanted a big window in back (to look out over the meadow) and big windows on a slide on the driver's side (to look down over a little freshwater creek).

Looked at several other possibles, but this Alumascape is the right size, right price, and right layout, and most of it is in great shape, so he bought it. We knew it needed work because there was serious floor damage in one compartment (disclosed up front by the dealer) and the carpet looked like it had been used for greased pig chases. Even if the carpet had been pristine, we'd have yanked it up. Pine needles, leaves, dirt, and cats are not compatible with carpet, especially when the only power for vacuuming is generator power.

Cabinets, appliances, walls, upholstery, and windows appear to be in great shape. It's hard for me to believe that the trailer is 13 years old.

So we got it home last Saturday and started ripping out the carpet in the living area and discovered rotten flooring next to the slide, so the damage is from under one end of the slide, under the water heater, and into the next compartment. Joy, joy. Slide has to come out so the floor and a support beam can be replaced, but that bright side is that it will be easier to lay the Allure Ultra on the living area floor because we won't be fighting with the slide.

We left the carpet under the bench seating, under the bed, and in some cabinets, but ripped out all the visible carpet, as well as the vinyl in the living area, but not the vinyl in the hall or bath. The entire floor will be covered in Allure Ultra (cherry).

T ripped out the entertainment center to get to the hot water heater and floor, so he'll build a replacement either from oak or cedar.

We'd already planned to replace the carpeted step with cedar and the padded headboard with a cedar headboard.

I've taken down all the cornices and side pieces except the one above the door and those aren't going back up. I like the plain look. The cornice above the door and the trim pieces on the booth seats will be re-covered with something neutral. Will replace all the miniblinds with new cordless ones, use a slipcover on the sofa and some sort of cover on the bench cushions.

Other upgrades will include a small flat panel TV (no electricity without a generator, out in the boonies so little, if any TV reception, no need or room for a big one), a new stereo (the original one has cassette!), a new mattress, and I'm not sure what else (oh, one of the spa shower heads so many folks here seem to like so much, and a new taller china toilet). The hideous gold plastic trim all over everything is likely to go and probably the bright gold-finish cabinet handles. Can't do anything about the lovely tulip-printed mirrors...

It's not nearly as fancy as a lot of what I've seen here and online, but it's perfect for a camp in the boonies. Don't want anything too tempting for vandals and ne'er-do-wells.

T is building a support for the slide so he can take it out safely. Fortunately, he's a heavy equipment mechanic so he is accustomed to this sort of problem-solving and he has the tools and equipment to do the job.

I'm documenting the repair and refurbishment. Have posted a few photos in case anyone is interested: Alumascape 30 FW - iRV2.com RV Photo Gallery

Hope we're done working on it in a couple or three months then we'll move it to MS. We'll build a bulkhead on the hill where it will go permanently and then build a 24 x 40 shed for it, followed by a deck/porch of some sort after it's under the shed.

I have never spent any time in an RV of any kind so this is going to be an adventure for me. I'm not especially looking forward to all the work but I think that I will enjoy having a very quiet retreat in the middle of nowhere. No people (except during hunting season), no lights, not much noise.

I've been told that I WILL learn how to drive a tractor and operate a forklift... And if he gets a mini excavator and small tracked skid steer (Bobcat), I'll be using those, too! (If he ever kills a deer, that's going to be the most expensive deer on the planet.)

liz
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Old 03-22-2011, 11:52 PM   #2
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You've come to the right place for help, answers & support.

Contratulations on your little diamond in the rough. I'm sure, even though it'll be a lot of work, you'll have fun (& frustration) refurbishing & making it your own.

Keep the pictures coming (we LOVE pictures here) as you make your improvements & we'll help in any way we can.

Lori-
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Old 03-23-2011, 05:31 AM   #3
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Lori,

Thanks for the welcome. I think we'll be really happy with it once we're done with the main work and can actually enjoy having it.

Yep, I knew folks here liked pictures. I have already benefited a lot from seeing photos that others have posted here. I've especially enjoyed the pics of the Allure floor projects, but lots of others, too.

liz
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Old 04-05-2011, 05:31 PM   #4
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Progress is being made, slowly but surely. We're working on the place where the FW will go and working on the FW.

I've posted some photos of the progress on the FW in the album Alumascape 30 FW. There are more pictures of the underfloor damage. Turns out that just about the entire support beam on the driver's side has to be replaced, along with about 15" of plywood (and insulation). The replacement beam will be made from treated lumber and the replacement plywood will also be treated.

It was pretty scary for me to see the forklift and the slide together! I had visions of it tipping one way or another, although there wasn't much way it could do that, given the way that it was secured.

The old entertainment center didn't survive the tear-out, but T will make a new one from oak lumber. We'll reuse the original doors and stain the new one to more or less match the existing cabinets.

Once the new beam and plywood are down, replacement vinyl will go into the compartment and under the entertainment center, then the entertainment center will be built. We'll lay one row of Allure Ultra against the slide opening, then put the slide back in place. It doesn't have a shoe or rollers so we'll just put a little indoor-outdoor carpet under the lip.

We've installed several replacement cabinet handles and have narrowed our choice to two. Will be delighted to get rid of the hideous bright gold things that are in there. It's amazing what a difference antique brass makes in the look of the cabinets. Now I have to figure out how to disguise the horrid gold plastic trim.

The FW is going on the hill on the right side of the photo, under a pole barn. The rear will face the "bowl" and there will be a porch extending over the edge of the hill. The bowl has been planted with summer forage and it will be kept planted in deer-friendly materials. You can see the banks of the clear, sandy-bottomed stream that flows through the place at the far edge of the bowl. The deer cross the stream and walk through the bowl. This property is surrounded by national forest so it's quiet and beautiful. (Hope the photo shows up!)

liz
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Old 04-27-2011, 02:21 PM   #5
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Time for an update. I've been reading and enjoying so many of the threads here but haven't participated because I just don't have anything to add.

The replacement subfloor is down and we are now working on the replacement entertainment center. I can't claim to have done much of the work, but it was fascinating to see everything come together.

T rebuilt the wood support beam along the outside edge of the FW using treated 2 x 4 cut down to something like 2 5/8". I don't know how many of them were bonded together, but he'd put one layer at a time in, then glue and screw each successive layer together. He also added some crosspieces between the outer beam and the next one in to support the plywood that had to go in in pieces.

Once the beam was reconstructed, he lined the area between the beams with some feed sacks that are made from material similar to the black woven plastic liner. The original liner is in decent shape but it has old insulation stuck to it and there are a few small holes.

Then we installed new insulation. Even though there wasn't much damage to the rear part of the repaired area, we removed the insulation all the way back because the old insulation was covered with thousands of large dead ant-like insects. Ugh!

Then treated plywood went in on top of the insulation. T had to cut the plywood in pieces to get everything in place (no much working room in the front compartment, tight fit under the wall, etc.). That's all glued and screwed in place. Gorilla glue is a wonderful thing, but boy, is it messy!

T has sanded the seams and floated the floor. We'll be ready to start installing the Allure Ultra soon, but we're working on the replacement entertainment center.

T tried to salvage the original entertainment center but wasn't able to get it out intact. The upside of that is that he can build a new one (out of solid oak and oak plywood) that is a little wider than the original (36" rather than 32") and that allows us to use a 32" TV instead of a 36" one. We're also installing a radio/CD player that is much smaller than the original radio/cassette player. The shorter TV and smaller radio make room for an additional small open shelf under the TV for the DVD player, remote controls, iPod, and DVDs. We're using the original doors.

We expect to have the entertainment center in place this coming weekend, although it may still need some finish work.

Then we can lay one row of Allure and get the slide back in, which will probably be done the following weekend. Once the slide is in place again, we'll be ready to start the work we'd originally planned on doing.

Good Friday, we had a pole truck and crew at the MS place to dig holes for the telephone poles that will support the roof of the shed for the FW. What took about 3 hours of work with the pole truck would have taken us several weekends of hard labor. I took a picture of the poles in place, but it's on the GPS, which is at T's place.

Will keep posting photos as we make progress.... I wouldn't have wished this job on anyone, but at least T has the tools, equipment, and expertise to make it work and we are still happy with our FW and can visualize enjoying it once it's done and in place.

liz
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Old 04-27-2011, 04:00 PM   #6
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Forgot to include photos link: Alumascape FW 30 subfloor repair photos
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Old 05-01-2011, 07:09 PM   #7
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1998 Alumascape FW project--new entertainment center finished!

Woo hoo!!!!!! The new entertainment center is in and the slide should go back in next Saturday. T and I are both beginning to feel like we're making good progress now instead of just doing major repairs.

We would have been happy with the old entertainment center. Might have replaced the antique AM/FM/cassette with a new radio, but wouldn't have replaced the entire entertainment center/cabinet if the original one hadn't had to be ripped out to get to the rotten floor.

T wanted a larger TV (could only have fit a 26" flat panel in the original opening) so he wanted a larger cabinet. Original was 32" x 18", so we went to 36" x 19". He did not want to have to make new doors so I drafted plans for a new cabinet similar to the original with openings for the original doors.

T built the front and sides separately from solid oak and oak plywood. We used a water-based primer then one (for interior surfaces) or two coats of MinWax Express Color in pecan in hopes of matching the original pecan-finish fake-oak woodgrain printed luan.

Then T assembled the components in place. Once the cabinet was built, we used one (interior) or two (exterior, TV and DVD shelves) water-based satin polyurethane.

We are amazed at how well the original doors match the new cabinet ! The new cabinet has an AM/FM/CD/ipod/weather radio (Jensen Heavy Duty). The DVD player will fit under the radio and we have a little bit of storage for DVDs. There will be a 32" flat panel TV (probably mounted on an arm attached to the wall inside the cabinet).

Then we laid a couple of rows of the flooring (Allure Ultra in cherry), just to see how it will look. Once the slide goes in next weekend, we can start installing the flooring in earnest.

Photos start with original cabinet.
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Old 05-09-2011, 01:08 PM   #8
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Alumascape slide back in place, sort of

The good news is that the slide is back inside the FW. More good news is that we can now use the AC, and the AC appears to work great.

The bad news is that the bottom edges of the slide on either side are gouging the floor. Thank goodness we didn't put but one row of Allure Ultra down before trying the slide! T wanted to put down three or four rows after we got the slide in, but I suspected that Mr. Murphy was involved so I didn't want to do but one row until we were sure that there weren't any problems.

It is obvious that the slide was removed once before. In retrospect, I'm convinced that there was a good deal of "southern engineering" involved in whatever was done to the slide at the time. There were several layers of luan wrapped in carpet attached to the lip of the slide, and different numbers of layers in different places.

T tried several adjustments, as well as a couple of ways of treating the slide lip, including putting Teflon blocks wrapped in carpet, to no avail. He's decided to get rollers to put under the lip (thanks to a thread here). He's also centered and leveled the slide. When the slide was attached to the slide rail connections in the old locations, it was neither centered nor leveled.

Thank goodness for a fork lift and jacks. We are learning way more about slides than we ever cared to know. OTOH, the slide will be centered, leveled, and the timing will be right.

On a good note, I replaced all the ugly bright gold cabinet/drawer handles with antique brass ones. I can't believe how much difference that simple change makes in the look of things. It even makes the mirrored cabinet panels look a lot better. Will post pictures next weekend. Forgot my camera this weekend.

This web site has been an invaluable resource for ideas and resources. We really appreciate everyone who shares knowledge and experience.

liz
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Old 05-10-2011, 04:14 PM   #9
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That's a nice job so far! The bigger cabinet and the pecan stain turned out good! He's a talented ole boy..I hope Terrel can find a fix for the slide gouging using rollers. (BTW I changed usernames today- I used to be dnstclr and asked about pics) Now I see you had plenty of them! We live in Tenn. Hope the risin river doesn't get close to you.
I wonder if those bugs in your insulation were ( I hate to say it) termites. Keep up the good work!
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Old 05-10-2011, 04:28 PM   #10
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87_Fixr,

Terrell ordered several different sizes of rollers. I'm positive that he will get the floor gouging problem resolved. He may have to experiment some, but he'll make it work. There's not much he can't figure out how to fix.

There may be wear from the rollers, although I've seen mention of some sort of slide slider protector thingies. Once the FW is where it's going to stay, we won't be running the slide in and out too much.

I'm in Baton Rouge, not too far from the river, but on the high side of Highland Road. I think we'll be okay, but you never know. All bets are off if something happens to the levees.

I don't think the bugs were termites, but I suppose it's possible. There wasn't any damage to wood that wasn't water damaged. The damaged wood didn't look like what I associate with termite damage, it just looked like water rot. The bugs looked like giant fat black ants.

I will try not to forget my camera this weekend so I can take pictures of the slide and rollers, assuming we work on that this weekend rather than going to the MS place to put in the bulkhead so the hill for the FW can be backfilled. Regardless of when we get it all done, I'll be posting more pics. Even though this is turning into a major project, I think the FW will be a very nice home away from home. It's going to look very different after the makeover, that's for sure.

liz
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Old 05-16-2011, 12:44 PM   #11
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We finally got the slide working. It's centered and leveled and has rollers on it. It moves in and out much more freely and easily than it did before the rollers. It's been a lot of work, but it's probably going to be worth it in the long run.

T found rollers at Alexander Screw, thanks to a post here. He used three 7" rollers, one at each end and one in the center.

The trim that will go on the front edge of the slide may not hide the rollers completely but we won't know that until the trim goes on. Also, the trim around the sides and top will be pecan-finished oak rather than the white painted wood that was original.
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Old 05-16-2011, 12:48 PM   #12
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Finally starting to put the Allure Ultra in. Started with the slide. Decided not to take the benches out, left the carpet in them. Quarter round will hide the carpet that's showing in these photos. Sorry about the picture quality, but I didn't have my camera, had to use one that's several years old. Am excited about FINALLy starting to get the floor in, though.

We'll probably get quarter round on the slide next Sunday, then bolt the couch in place so we can move on to the rest of the floor. The old toilet has been removed and a new taller china one will go in as we're putting in the flooring.
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Old 05-20-2011, 12:08 AM   #13
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Was your entertainment center located in the slide out?

We want to remove our entertainment center in our slide out (2001 Nat'l Splash). We were wondering how hard it is to take out. Does it ruin the walls by pulling the entertainment center off the wall (I think it is just sealed to the wall). Any advice? Thank you, J. Lloyd
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Old 05-20-2011, 06:30 AM   #14
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J. Lloyd,

I saw your original thread but hesitated to reply to it since I'm not familiar with any entertainment center but ours.

Removing the entertainment center didn't ruin the walls, but it did leave screw holes. You need to remove every screw that's holding the entertainment center to the walls and ceiling, and there are lots of them. They'll be around the top and bottom and probably along most or all the shelves. (A really handy tool is a screw gun because there are lots and lots and lots of screws.)

My SO reminded me that the shelves in ours had a top and a bottom. You have to separate the top and the bottom to get to the cleats on the wall and the cleats have screws.

You also may have to be careful about scraping the ceiling, but once you get the thing unscrewed, you can tear it apart. It's stapled together in a zillion places, too.

The screw holes will probably have raised edges. I found that using a piece of Teflon or hard plastic to rub (carefully) the edges flat works well to flatten them. Then use DAP or spackle to fill the hole.

Good luck! I'm looking forward to seeing your before and after photos.

liz
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