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Old 06-29-2012, 12:28 AM   #1
Junior Member
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Bellevue NE
Posts: 1
Complete remodel of 1990 Newmar Kountry Star

Hey all,

My grandfather gave me this fifth wheel so I could live in it while I go to college out of state in a few years. So, while I got a job, I'm spending all my extra money on redoing this rig. Here's what's up:
Fifteen years ago, my grandfather and his late wife were living in this thing for a time in their backyard. A leak developed in the kitchen. Instead of fixing the leak, they moved back into their house and walked away from it. Ffiteen years later, the fifth wheel is trashed. All three skylights blown out, kitchen destroyed, insect and rodent damage. This is what I'm working with here.
What I have done so far:
It's still in the demo stage, but it's going well. I have removed the kitchen and all furnishings in the rig. Some int walls are removed. The roof has been reduced to plywood sheathing sitting on the trusses with a tarp on top; the ceiling panels are gone. About 80% of the wiring (12v and 120v) has been removed because it was ran through the roof. I got close to $1500 of materials to get the roof+ceiling done to 100% sitting right beside me. The fiberglass insulation is pink-kind with an R13 rating, 3 inch thickness I think. The ceiling panels will be 3/4 inch extruded foam polystryene (sp?) board 4x8 foot foil faced,with kraft paper 50lb glued to one side to create a slightly more solid surface on the interior of the rig. Textured wallpaper will be glued to that and painted eggshell pure white.
The electrical service will be converted to 50amp 230v (because I'm running a 120v clothes dryer, bigger microwave, and a color laserjet that wants 10 amps LOL!!) All lighting will be 12v LED lights that I will build myself in recessed can fixtures.
I have many other ideas for this thing that have no relation to the roof, but I'm not even going to think about those right now! Gotta have a roof that won't leak and insulated to the hilt first!
Does anyone have any further ideas? Let me know, I will be uploading some pictures in due time...
Happy trails!

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Old 06-29-2012, 12:32 AM   #2
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chaperon's Avatar
Newmar Owners Club
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 112
Wow - Big project.....keep us posted on your progress

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Old 06-29-2012, 04:42 AM   #3
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Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 88
WOW!!!! Good luck and please keep us posted.
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Old 06-29-2012, 02:32 PM   #4
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Forest River Owners Club
Ford Super Duty Owner
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Vaughn, WA
Posts: 1,377
WOW! Sounds like quite the adventure.
Looking forward to hearing your progress and seeing the pictures.
Best of luck to ya!
1995 Coachmen Santara 360MB 36' w/slide.
Ford F53/460 chassis, 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee "toad"
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Old 07-01-2012, 05:14 AM   #5
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Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Jersey Shore
Posts: 91
I did the same to my rig, It was in the same condition. A few tips, don't replace the roof plywood, bleach it and go right over it. I replaced all the rotten luan and could never get it as flat as the original, I redid my rubber roof in fiberglass, (if you're up to it). Don't replace the ladder, top luggage rack and the side strips, I counted 600 leak points. Pull and recaulk your windows, mine had leaks from bad manufacturing! Strip the rotten luan off the walls, it will smell and mildew. I re did mine in formica. Check your floor, my particle board was gone in several spots from water leaks. Re running all your electrics is a good thing, that's next for me. Maybe an inside conduit I can actually get to! Get rid of your chassis grounds for electrical. I just upgraded to a PD 9460 charger, the best! My bus is now completely dry, hurricane Irene tested! Take your time, keep it wrapped up and eventually you'll be done (ish).
1990/2014 30ft Gulf Stream Sun Clipper
and a couple of bikes
exit 100 NJ
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Old 07-01-2012, 06:33 AM   #6
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Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Jersey Shore
Posts: 91

It's going to cost you at least $5000. to get your bus in shape. Then it's going to cost you $1000-$1500 a month to live, while you're in school and $300 a tank-full of gas, (I assume you're 16-17 yrs old now). College is more expensive than you can possibly imagine. So this is my advice from somebody who's done both.

Continue working on your bus, but don't plan on living in it yet. Get it clean and dry. Concentrate on a new roof and dry windows, (Most of my drafts come through the floor). Don't spend any big money now, plans change and you'll never get it back! Your bus is worth very little, even fixed up, (like mine). Return $1250. worth of materials and put the money back in your "college savings".

If you're feeling flush now, I can assure you in two years, you're going to be unbelievably broke! Go to college websites and see what "room-mates" and house shares cost. I can guarantee it will be less than your campground fees.

My bus budget has been $100 a month for years. I concentrate on cheap labor-intensive fixes. Even now I'm saving up for appliances $100 at a time and doing small projects, sanding cabinets, pulling the Genny, propane and water systems. (I bet none of yours work either).

Part of the experience of going to college is roommates, you really shouldn't miss it. Don't get a fancy color printer, you'll just be the free copy dept for all your friends. Plus they're a pain to maintain.

Owning a motor home is cool, fix it up slowly and save it for those concert trips with all your buddies, after you deal with school.

My advice, based on years of mistakes!

(Don't get me started on boats and marriage!)
1990/2014 30ft Gulf Stream Sun Clipper
and a couple of bikes
exit 100 NJ
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Old 07-01-2012, 08:19 PM   #7
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Posts: 808
Renovation of 1990 Newmar kountry star

We did a pretty extensive renovation of our 1990 HiLo Classic 25ft Travel Trailer. Our walls were fiberglass and our roof rubber. If your walls are fiberglass you can strip them completely out. Then seal with 3M Bondo,follow all the directions. This will give you a tough durable finish and seal up any pinpoint leaks you can't see. We got this at a speciality Auto paint store. You maybe able to get this at Autozone or on the web. We used sheets of styrofoam in the walls. Need to back up,After the bondo we used Lexell caulk where the fiberglass meets the stud on the inside. Caulk everywhere you can caulk the daylight out of the trailer both inside and outside seams. Use a garden hose on the outside to see if you have any inside leaks before putting paneling on the walls. Use sprayfoam where ever you can to seal any air leaks. You could also consider renting a machine to blow iceyne insulation in your wall cavaties or have a pro do this. Blow in insulation after you use bondo and the Lexel caulk. Lexel caulk can be purchased at Ace hardwear or on the internet. You will also use Lexell caulk when you take out your windows. Take out all your windows and reseal. Go on the inside and take out all the screws on the trim ring. Use a putty knife to loosen the ring from the wall. You will need a helper on the outside to steady the window. Then go on the outside and gently pry under the edge of the window frame until you can pull the window out. Have saw horses ready to set the window on. You will need a garbage can,gloves,papertowels,two scrapers or putty knives or five in one tools. Have your helper use googone to clean the side of the RV followed by your regular cleaner,dry. You will bescraping the old black goo from the round part of the window. It doesn't have to be all off just most of it. Clean and dry. Apply butyl tape to the round part of the window,may need to use two rows. Try fitting with one. If it doesn't go in deep enough it is okay to use two rows. Check the internet for the best prices. You have better materials than when the Rv was manufactured(butyl.)Put the window back in have the helper hold the window on the ioutside while you reinstall the trim ring. Butyl tape will squishout. Cut off the excess with an old better knife. Then on the outside caulk with Lexell caulk. Lexell caulk costs $8.00 a tube. worth every penny. Do it once and do it right. Watch a You tube about taking out and reinstalling a RV window. This can be a do it yourself job with a helper. Order 100 stainless screws from MCFeelys. I think we ended up ordering another 100 screws. Ask for $1.00 shipping. We had some good steady rain during our renovation and we saw a few gtts of water on the wall and we added more caulk or spray foam insulation in a can. No leaks and it will be a year for us in Sept. We didn't have to do any roof repair. Just the upper walls,Ac electrical box and exterior/interior lt. We also had to beef up where our awning bracket attached to the fiberglass,used lag bolts and a piece of metal on the inside to reinforce. I hope this information helps you. I also posted on page one of vintage rv under !1990 HiLo Classic Restoration. We are just amateurs with a high and dry RV.

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newmar, remodel

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