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Old 01-06-2014, 03:30 AM   #15
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I'm not a body repair expert. Seems like a good idea to take your coach to a shop that does this kind of work. Pick up ideas as to how they would repair and get a price. Putting all the layers together requires a vacuum/laminate machine. My 1990 HiLo Classic could use a body shop makeover. Would hate to see the cost. I truly believe the older rigs are better built. Keep in mind all the newer rig owners probably have hefty monthly payments. Keep improving the interior and you will be enjoying camping. It is good to live within your budget and not have debt.
Amen on not accruing debt... it's one of the great things about owning an RV this old... NO PAYMENT.

While there are a few places now (that I can actually find) who laminate the panels themselves on a press, there isn't anyone who can run an entire camper through a press in order to attach that panel to the framing. It's done manually as far as I can tell.

I don't know how the new RV's are built, but I have heard that the older ones are built well. After 20 years of neglect, this RV does not have any water damage on the interior... that says something.

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Old 01-06-2014, 07:03 AM   #16
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It's my understanding that the luan backer used about the time this coach was built is where you can lay the blame for your corrosion issue. The coach manf.'s were told by the suppliers that the luan was "treated" and wouldn't delaminate quite as easily (already a well know issue). What wasn't known at the time was that the "treating" would react with the alum when a little water was added to the mix.

Regarding that high seam, there used to be just a row of rivets there on the earlier coaches. There's a horizontal stringer there, and it's used to sort of hold the alum/luan in place, much like the one along the floor and roof line?

When the factory rebuilds the walls on one of these coaches, the entire wall is quite literally removed from the coach, and once prepped/repaired as required, is moved to a "vacuum" table where a new side is bonded to the old frame/interior wall assy? If you have a basic understanding of what they're doing during that process, it's not hard to imagine why it costs what it does? "Labor intensive" hardly makes a dent in the description of the work done.

I did something like you are talking about to a Vogue MH many years ago when it was still worth something. It had the same issue, though maybe a little more extensive, and mainly along the floor line. I used alum. again, and though it turned out OK, it's something somebody could not give me enough money to do again! Used to see that coach on occasion and though the "patch" did last a few years, it did eventually delaminate and looked terrible. It was not a cheap job for the owner, but it did stretch the useful like of the coach a few more years?

Bottom line, I wouldn't do anything to the one you have. Maintain it as best as possible, and start saving your pennies for another one so you can pay cash for that one too! Best of luck whichever way you decide to go. -Al

BTW, that yellowed vinyl mldg. is still available. Replacing that can go a long way towards making for a nicer looking coach? Here's a pic of the one I did for myself a couple of years ago:
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Old 01-06-2014, 09:13 AM   #17
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We also love our vintage all aluminum 32' Barth Regency, DP. Runs great and much cheaper to maintain than spending thousands more for newer models that also have their little flaws. Ours is aircraft grade aluminum siding, aluminum framing, all riveted together for sturdy unit. Believe you will be better off fixing the exterior yourself or pay someone to help.

Fred & Cindy
South Central Missouri
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Old 01-06-2014, 10:02 AM   #18
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Ahicks,

That RV you posted a pic of looks great. You also make some great points for consideration about how long a self laminated sidewall will hold up.

I'm not afraid of the amount of work involved... Pretty much everything I own I bought old and worn out and refurbished it myself, including our 200+ year old home. Perhaps, had I spent more time figuring out how to make money instead of fixing old junk, I'd be able to just pay for stuff... but alas, this is the path I've chosen for various reasons and I can't look back now.

I am, however, afraid of all that work should the sidewalls fail, as you said, in just a couple years. I do keep the RV inside a garage, but that doesn't protect it from moisture. The garage is unheated, and when the weather warms up, things tend to sweat out there. I try to open everything up to normalize the temperature, but I can't always get to it right when it needs it.

I'll have to do some more thinking.

MOFRED, that is a monster Barth... looks awesome!

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Old 01-06-2014, 03:18 PM   #19
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I agree, the Barth is really nice! Hopefully that coach will be around a long time! Good luck with it! -Al
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Old 01-06-2014, 07:13 PM   #20
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I really wish I had seen this post before I bought mine! I knew I had some delamination but I was not to worried because I was told the aluminum framework would stay solid and would not be like the older wood framed campers. I also never learned there was wood behind the glass! I never would have bought it had I known that. Too many years of dealing with rotted boat decks. Well, now I have it and I have no choice but to repair it so can anyone point me to a good place to do research on the repairs for water damaged Winnies?
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Old 01-13-2014, 01:13 PM   #21
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Not sure what HR was doing when that coach was built, but when I toured the HR factory about 8 years ago, the interior walls were built with framing and insulation, the roof was attached, and then the exterior walls were glued to the frame after everything else was done. They refer to this as "hung wall" construction. The RV had taken its full shape before the exterior walls were glued to the stringers. I also observed that the aluminum frame that the walls were attached to to was pretty thin. I can't imagine what it would take to remove an exterior wall, without destroying the framing at the attachment point.

My opinion is I would look at the long term implication of this project. How many more years will you get out of it, before the frame underneath is rusted, or you have some other show stopper occurrence. I hate to admit it, but I would be inclined to take a band-aid approach and see if you can get another 10 years out of her. At that point, the coach will not have any numerical value, and you will not have thrown money away, that you can put toward a new coach. A 20 year old coach may still seem ok, but start talking 30 years, and you really have a very old coach, that will require constant attention. As you get older, there will come a time in your life when you decide you don't need any more projects. You start to downsize your long term to do list, so you can spend more time to enjoy life. Some toys are meant to be consumed, used up, squeezing every last once of use/value out of them, and then its time to replace.
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Old 01-13-2014, 03:20 PM   #22
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Not sure what HR was doing when that coach was built, but when I toured the HR factory about 8 years ago, the interior walls were built with framing and insulation, the roof was attached, and then the exterior walls were glued to the frame after everything else was done. They refer to this as "hung wall" construction. The RV had taken its full shape before the exterior walls were glued to the stringers. I also observed that the aluminum frame that the walls were attached to to was pretty thin. I can't imagine what it would take to remove an exterior wall, without destroying the framing at the attachment point.

My opinion is I would look at the long term implication of this project. How many more years will you get out of it, before the frame underneath is rusted, or you have some other show stopper occurrence. I hate to admit it, but I would be inclined to take a band-aid approach and see if you can get another 10 years out of her. At that point, the coach will not have any numerical value, and you will not have thrown money away, that you can put toward a new coach. A 20 year old coach may still seem ok, but start talking 30 years, and you really have a very old coach, that will require constant attention. As you get older, there will come a time in your life when you decide you don't need any more projects. You start to downsize your long term to do list, so you can spend more time to enjoy life. Some toys are meant to be consumed, used up, squeezing every last once of use/value out of them, and then its time to replace.
Thanks very much for the insight... pretty much everything you said has gone through my head at one point or another as I ponder the possibilities for this old RV.

One thing that you mentioned has really stuck out to me, and that's when you said there comes a time in your life when you decide you don't need any more projects. I actually think I'm already approaching that point at the ripe old age of 37. I've worked super hard my entire life for what I have, and to be honest, I'm a little worn out because of it. I'm not saying that it wasn't worth it, but I definitely don't have the steam that I did as a younger man. In the last 15 years, I have completely rebuilt a 200+ year old house inside and out, worked an average of 50 to 60 hours per week at the day job, plus started a little sideline business that I ran by myself for a few years. About 3 years ago, I had to let the business go because I was missing my kids growing up... It was the best decision I have ever made, albeit a very difficult one. I had to say goodbye to a couple dreams that I had, but the most important dreams (my kids and my wife) were still very much intact. All too often, you will hear the average business owner speak of the sacrifices they made to become wealthy, only to later wish they could have a do-over. I feel fortunate... even blessed... to have been given the opportunity to realize that I needed to give some things up before it was too late. My kids are only young once... and of all the business owners I have talked to in my life, not once have I ever heard one of them say "Ya, I really spent too much time with my family when I was younger... " No... usually there are regrets. Sometimes deep regrets.

All that to say... the RV can kind of become the same type of liability on your personal and family life as a business. Since I've purchased it, I've spent countless hours working overtime to pay for repairs and trips, and even more countless hours fixing and repairing. It has not been easy, and in some ways, it has robbed my family of my time. The bottom line is, no, I don't have a fancy rig... might not ever have one... but I have been blessed with the best part of RVing, which is time with my family.. and I don't even need an RV for that. I think I need to concentrate on how content I can be with that and that alone... and if we get to take a couple trips in our old HR then that's all extra.

Thanks again for all the input here...

-cheers
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Old 01-13-2014, 05:11 PM   #23
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Piker, use this time working on the old MH as family time. Get the family, all of the family, involved. Have work days scheduled for fixing up the MH. Involve all in the family. A camping trip is one of the things you all do with your rig. And working on a project for the MH is just another way to have family time. I worked with a friend back in the 70's on an old Post Office step van we bought, converting it to a camper. He had a son 2 years older than me and we went camping to nearby state parks. The trips involved all four of us, but we also involved the boys in the fixing up of the step van. I made all of us appreciate the camping trips we were able to take even more.

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Old 01-14-2014, 03:19 AM   #24
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Piker, use this time working on the old MH as family time. Get the family, all of the family, involved. Have work days scheduled for fixing up the MH. Involve all in the family. A camping trip is one of the things you all do with your rig. And working on a project for the MH is just another way to have family time. I worked with a friend back in the 70's on an old Post Office step van we bought, converting it to a camper. He had a son 2 years older than me and we went camping to nearby state parks. The trips involved all four of us, but we also involved the boys in the fixing up of the step van. I made all of us appreciate the camping trips we were able to take even more.

ronspradley
That's a great idea... and to some extent I do involve our 7 and 10 year old girls in several aspects of getting the motorhome ready for trips... you know, little things like changing rear main seals in the Cummins, changing tires, replacing radiators and brakes. I even let them do the test driving.

Ok, not so much all that stuff but they do get to help with little things sometimes... anytime the family does something together makes for valuable memories.

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Old 01-14-2014, 11:52 AM   #25
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Hey common now, I really did have my 10 year old daughter help change the differential in the front of my coach. I think that was about how old she was at the time. The coach is front wheel drive, so the diff is below the engine. I had a hydraulic hoist inside the coach with a cable down to the to diff. She pumped the hoist up as I aligned it from underneath. More recently, I've had my daughter help bleed the brakes. But really, getting them involved long term has been impossible at best. Even though they tend to have more mechanical skills than most, they will not take ownership of any aspect of the projects I've done. About the closest I can get them really involved in is woodworking. I'm hoping when my youngest daughter gets her motorcycle this spring, (she just turned 16) she will be much more motivated to get hands on.
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Old 01-14-2014, 08:32 PM   #26
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Hey I agree my 9 year old daughter knows all the steps to winterizing the Motorhome as well she rides with me in the plow truck as a spotter to earn her camping trips. It also makes her give the coach more respect and never is rough on the equipment. I will ad my 0.2 on rebuilding the coach, use it, enjoy it till it can't be used anymore, save your pennies and buy the best unit you can afford and then repeat the process. The kids won't remember if the Motorhome had leather and an icemaker but they will remember the bike rides and all the friends they meet
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Old 01-14-2014, 10:03 PM   #27
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Hey common now, I really did have my 10 year old daughter help change the differential in the front of my coach. I think that was about how old she was at the time. The coach is front wheel drive, so the diff is below the engine. I had a hydraulic hoist inside the coach with a cable down to the to diff. She pumped the hoist up as I aligned it from underneath. More recently, I've had my daughter help bleed the brakes. But really, getting them involved long term has been impossible at best. Even though they tend to have more mechanical skills than most, they will not take ownership of any aspect of the projects I've done. About the closest I can get them really involved in is woodworking. I'm hoping when my youngest daughter gets her motorcycle this spring, (she just turned 16) she will be much more motivated to get hands on.
How do you like your Koni's? I might have to settle for Bilstiens
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Old 01-15-2014, 05:32 AM   #28
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I have made my old rig shine with bleach. I use about 4 to 1 or more and kitchen soap. I use to clean my house the same way. The bleach gives it a shiny finish that last until the next time I need to wash it...
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