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Old 04-30-2014, 10:26 PM   #15
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
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Yes, familiar with galvanic corrosion (having been an electrician for 33 years) . In fact the old lower aluminum skin of the cabover has "sacrificial" holes in it from the steel screws they used to tack it to the underframing. I'm using coated deck screws instead and only aluminum skin, no steel. picked up stainless square drives to use for the flexible exterior aluminum edge stripping.

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Old 04-30-2014, 10:30 PM   #16
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
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great idea, but I will have to wait until I can find a place to park it where i have access to power. It is on the street now as I have no place on my third of an acre hillside property to park any vehicle. i have to run an extension cord across the raod to work on the thing, can't leave that connected more than a few hours a day. :-(

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Old 04-30-2014, 10:53 PM   #17
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Awesome project!!!

Cheap and effective odor relief can be found with Orange Peels.

Yes, orange peels!

Get a bunch of oranges, peel them and make a salad or whatever from the fruit. Do not make juice, because you want the white part of the peel fully exposed to the air. Place the peels on paper plates and place the plates around any sources of odor, then shut the RV windows and doors to let the peels absorb the odor and for the citrus to saturate the fabrics and other soft surfaces.

This even works on cigarette odors. We have done it and it works. And can be done over and over as you wish and is pet safe.

Best luck
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Old 05-01-2014, 06:50 AM   #18
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Wow, what a project, and I hope you have a positive result which goes with the positive apparant attitude you have articulated. It does sound like you are operating under difficult conditions. Getting an inside place to work, or even under a car port, would seem like a good idea where you can leave things exposed and are not being threatened by weather etc.

Re a platform over the hood to get to work on the cab-over. I suspect you can rent scaffold supports with planks on them for not a lot of money, but again doing this on the road would be problematic.

Had you thought about just getting rid of the "Cab-Over"? This high weight raises the C of G and the blunt front end of it increases the wind resistance. Just a thought. One of those slopping wind deflectors trucks use might be a thought for this. Have never seen this done, but it merits thought IMHO.

I am certain all of us are hoping for a successful outcome and wish you all the best. Please keep us posted as you go.
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Old 05-01-2014, 07:04 AM   #19
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You could always do an Ozone Treatment to the C.
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Old 05-01-2014, 07:28 AM   #20
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X2 on your great project. Our first RV was a 1976 Midas mini, and we drove it for 97,000 happy miles.

Removing the cabover is an interesting concept. One of our sports car buddies did this for their newer class C. He and his wife didn't need the additional room so he retained most of the bottom of the cabover, and created a sloping "Front" that meets with the main house section. He claims a measurable increase in fuel mileage due to eliminating the wind-catching cabover section. Sorry, no pictures but maybe I can get some later this year.

Originally Posted by Libero View Post
...Had you thought about just getting rid of the "Cab-Over"? This high weight raises the C of G and the blunt front end of it increases the wind resistance. Just a thought. One of those slopping wind deflectors trucks use might be a thought for this. Have never seen this done, but it merits thought IMHO....
George Schweikle Lexington, KY
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1995 Safari TREK 2630, 1983 Winnebago Chieftain, 1976 Midas Mini
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Old 05-02-2014, 05:23 AM   #21
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
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need the cabover, unfortunately

Yes, i can see how removing the cabover would improve performance and simplify maintenance, but if i do that I will only have sleeping accommodations for one person. my rig's layout is the single bed sofa and a pair of upholstered chairs with a small dinette table. I am hoping that removing the front window and replacing the "nose" skin with the smooth painted aluminum I bought will streamline it a little bit.

i am trying to minimize the weight of materials that i use for the rebuild. the cedar studs are costly but lighter than stock pine. i took nearly 300 lbs of plywood and MDF out and will probably use less than 100 lbs of new material. i am looking into having a local welding shop fabricate a metal flat spring for me that will replace the usual layered wood platform. next time you are in a home Depot, look at the shelves in the aisles with large bulk items -- something like that, similar to the flat springs in those trundle day beds people keep in guest rooms.
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Old 05-31-2014, 11:24 PM   #22
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
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Progress update: got the old skin cut off

I had kind of parked my 1977 Class C rehab (literally) for a month while I tried to figure out how to remove the skin and front window from the overcab area. Problem was I have no garage or driveway so it was parked across the street (we had a two lane road with no parking this side) headed slightly down hill.

But I had a contractor build me a retaining wall and 65' x 15' gravel parking pad down at the back of my property and moved the motorhome down there this week. The retaining wall is the perfect height to support a plank that I rested on my 8' ladder on the other side, giving me a solid work platform to cut off the "skin" of the nose just above the leaky front window. I had already cut loose all the water damaged (and termite eaten) framing on the inside, so once I had cut across the aluminum skin with regular offset sheet metal shears the whole thing came off without a hitch. I started reframing today and hope to finish tomorrow. I tarped it up with Gorilla tape sealing the edges for the night (more to keep critters out, no rain expected for 48 hours.)

I removed the lower 2" x 2" runs of wood that the underside and sidewalls of the skin were stapled to since they were badly rotted. I replaced them with 2 x 4 treated fencing lumber, laid horizontally so half the board extends into the cabover area to provide support for the bed platform. I've made a cardboard template of the side walls and will be cutting out 1/2" plywood to screw over the flimsy 2 x 2 framing to reinforce it and to provide more support for the lower 2 x 4's which I will further attach to the plywood vertical wall with steel L-braces. Th biggest headache tomorrow will be cutting and shaping replacement framing pieces for the curved area of the "nose" of the cabover, all of which was rotted away. This is additionally challenging since the work area is in the alley, about 100' downhill from the house with no electrical hookups nearby. I plan to run a couple heavy duty extension cords down there tomorrow as well as move my workmate with compound miter saw on it so I can work on the framing right there instead of constantly hiking uphill to the house to cut pieces. Have to get as far as I can tomorrow (Sunday) since it is forecast to rain Monday, hopefully enough so I can install the new skin, which is smooth painted aluminum. Unfortunately I still have a lot of old butyl sealant to scrape off the aluminum and from inside the corner bead trim before I can seal it with the Eternabond tape I bought. It will be a looooong day.

Here are shots of the skin removal today:
Attached Images
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Old 06-01-2014, 10:00 PM   #23
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
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Sunday night progress report

I wrapped up too late to get photos this evening (Sunday) but I did complete all the framing replacement, using treated and western red cedar 2 x 4's with stainless steel and coated deck screws. Not that I plan on water getting in ever again, but if it does, the structure won't rust and rot. Pretty happy with how it turned out -- very sturdy structure now with plenty of support for the new front skin and the existing side skin and corner moldings. I tarped it up well, completely sealing all the edges with Gorilla tape (basically duct tape on steroids.) It is supposed to rain a few times this week starting tomorrow, but even if there is some seepage inside, the rig is pointed downhill and anything will drain out underneath, since the skin is open above the windshield.

If the weather cooperates next weekend, I'll remove the tarp and install the new skin and new sealants. I'll shoot a bunch of photos and closeups of how I framed it for reference before I close it up, and to help anybody else who sees this and needs to do a similar repair. Overall, I think I have spent about $400 on materials and have about 60 hours into it. I expect it will take about 10 to finish completely..

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Old 06-01-2014, 11:31 PM   #24
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Good progress. There are certainly some advantages of these vintage rigs like yours that allow for these repairs without needing to use filon.
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Old 06-07-2014, 05:13 PM   #25
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
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Progress: New skin on!! Ready to seal her up.

Per the photos below, I got the framing done last weekend (using all pressure treated or cedar wood for framing plus coated deck screws or stainless fasteners for assembly - no more chance of rot even if all the sealing I will do springs a leak.) Then today I got the new skin installed, 18 gauge aluminum sheet painted both sides. It looks scuffed but there is a clear plastic protective sheet covering the metal which I will peel off before I put the 2" double faced Eternabond on to seal the top seam (where the new skin slides under the roof skin).

Tomorrow, after I finish driving in the stainless screws to fasten the side walls back down, I will seal the corner angle with 4" single side Eternabond before refastening the aluminum corner channel. We are supposed to expect serious thunderstorms after lunch so I hope to get her sealed up with an early start in the morning -- I still have the big tarp to cover up if I don't get it all done. I have yet to completely clean all the old butyl putty out of the corner channel, which will be a bit tedious, but the rest should go quickly.

It was a pain putting the big sheet of aluminum on by myself -- wish I had arranged to have somebody help me because it would have gone a lot faster and I would not have gotten some dents in it when it overflexed. But overall I'm very happy with how it has turned out so far. The dents just match the rest of the beat up siding!

I would encourage anyone with a serious leak problem in the overcab of an older camper to not be afraid to tear into it. I've done a lot of home remodeling and this was not all that different. Just have to be patient, persistent and creative. This project took me about 5 weekends, working alone under awkward conditions (out on the street or down in the back alley 150' from the house.)
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Old 07-27-2014, 12:08 AM   #26
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
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Update on the motorhome rebuild (for anybody interested.) I got the new skin put on the front "nose" over the new framing and sealed up the side seams with a 4" Eternabond wrapover, then replaced the butyl tape in the recessed groove under the corner bead trim, reattached it over the Eternabond using new stainless steel screws, then installed new 3/4" white rubber molding strip in the bead outer slot to cover and seal the screw heads. Then I put sealant around the two small side windows, scraped the old putty off the major seam in the roof over the overcab section and covered that with two layers of Eternabond, a 2" double sides covered with 4" single sided. Was ready to seal up the lower seam of the new sheet metal (the seam over the track cab windshield) and finish the inside with a spanking new plywood bunk deck and new inside insulation and paneling. This was about 6 weeks ago.

Then it rained. And danged if there was not a huge puddle of water in the front left side of the overcab. The unit is parked facing downhill and cocked slightly towards the drivers (left) side so wherever it was coming in it flowed to there. No more leaks in the far front since I removed the entire front window, and the right side seems tight and dry but for the life of me I don't know where this water is coming in. I sponged it out (actually could get most to drain out just by pulling down the still open bottom end of the new sheet metal and it flowed out onto the truck hood.) After the weather cleared I recaulked the roof in a few more places and sealed the window on that side some more. Waited until it rained again and then went out and sat in the RV and watched -- the water is dripping in above the window somehow, in small but a fairly steady stream. It has dampened some of the new wood framing there on that side each time. Even though most of it is cedar or pressure treated wood, a few bits are not and I don't want ANY of it getting wet. Certainly cannot seal it up with the new sleeping deck or new interior paneling until I find this maddening leak source. Any suggestions from Class C veterans? The roof units (vent fan, AC, fridge and toilet vent and TV aerial structure all seem to be caulked within an inch of their lives so this has me really frustrated. I did notice that during steady rain all the rain on the camper roof flows like a waterfall over that corner that is leaking since it is the lowest point. I thought of reversing it's position where it is parked, but then I fear wherever the leak is coming in it will flow into the back of the camper where the ceiling is still all sealed up. At least the front is all stripped out inside and exposed, and the water just collects on the enameled aluminum skin and everything dries out when the sun comes out for a day or two.

I just spend another few hours today up there adding some more caulk along the corner seams, and adding rubber trim strip in the trim channel around both side windows. It has been raining hard all evening so I will check inside the RV again tomorrow, with fingers crossed. It is so frustrating to have put so much time and sweat and cost into this and STILL have water flowing into the overcab. Sometimes I feel like I will never get the thing done -- I have not driven it 5 miles since driving it home after buying it in March. :-(
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Old 07-27-2014, 12:24 AM   #27
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Old 10-11-2014, 04:23 PM   #28
Join Date: Apr 2014
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99% done!!!

After some very frustrating hours and efforts trying to eliminate the last of the roof leaks over the cab, I've finally got it under control and was able to finish closing up the new skin I installed and rebuild the bunk. The original bunk platform had literally rotted away from the long years of wetness -- I literally had to shovel nearly 200 lbs of wet mulch (that had once been plywood) and warped MDF out of the loft. To make the new platform I needed strong thick material that would be not as vulnerable to moisture and would not be too heavy. My local building material and salvage recycler had a big pile of dismantled oak church pews -- nice thick wood with a smooth varnished finish both sides and a bullnose along the top. I bought 4 for $10 each and sawed the bull nose off 3 but left it on the piece across the bunk edge -- you can see it in the photos below -- I think it looks pretty good.

All that is left is to replace the birch paneling on either side of the bunk around the windows. I've already traced cardboard templates and will cut out the paneling next weekend after the stain I've put on it dries. Then I will put new insulation in the wall spaces and replace the ceiling and front wall with a 4' x 8' sheet of white PVC. And I will make slipcovers for the club chairs from the same fabric as you can see covering the upper bunk mattress.

But at least it is now road worthy and I was able to drive it around the neighborhood for a while today to get the cobwebs out. I might use it at least once before Winter, though I won't use the plumbing -- it is still winterized from last year so there is no point in going through all that process again. It would be nice to take at least one trip with it before I tarp it up to park for the winter.
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