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Old 06-13-2016, 05:31 PM   #1
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Totally rotted out Class C

I am new to this forum but am hopeful I can find some advice for the project I now find myself with. I have a 1991 Sprinter 24' class c motorhome that was given to me and it only has 60k. That being said the previous owner passed away in 2004 and the roof was probably already leaking then. At this point the entire thing is rotted out. I have begun removing everything and its all destroyed. I plan on rebuilding this from the frame up because the ford frame that it sits on is in great shape (as far as I can see anyway). Here is my question. I understand framing and I understand that it all needs to be redone but because I will never be able to match the factory specs unless I do a piece at a time how do I do the floor first given the walls and roof are completely rotted out?
Any help would be appreciated.

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Old 06-13-2016, 05:51 PM   #2
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I am reminded of commenting on a very nice restoration of an old farm house I looked at once. When I expressed interest on it the owner said that if he knew before he started what it would take and cost he would have started with a bulldozer and bonfire. Some projects just are not worth doing. You may have one of those.

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Old 06-13-2016, 06:17 PM   #3
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I feel your pain I was going to sell my 97 newmar motor home last fall then noticed a roof problem. I put it in storage till spring and started in on roof repair. Found it much worse off then I thought now have done total tare off and replaced 4 sheets of plywood over 600 screws holding on trim ETC. just now ready for the new rubber install. I was lucky due to a well build unit from Newmar there frame work is all welded aluminum so no rotten structure. Good luck with your project.
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Old 06-16-2016, 08:02 AM   #4
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I am sure this is quite the challenge but actually I enjoy this kind of thing. I am not really concerned with the actual value of the RV given I really don't like quality from the factory. I have a 2013 TT and it literally started falling apart after the 1st year. I have since parked it, removed the slide out put a 200sq ft building in and then put the slide out on the other side effectively make a really awesome camp on land I have in N Ma but ....there goes the camper. I plan on redoing this entire RV but just don't want to lose the dimensions while re-framing it. I really wish I could just bring it to the frame and then start from scratch but alas I am just not that good with my numbers. I was thinking of doing 8 feet at time and bracing the rest as I go. I know this will be fun....I was just looking to see if anybody else had tried such a thing before and had some good advise. I will begin the framing portion in about a week or so. Hopefully the whole thing doesn't collapse lol.
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Old 06-17-2016, 02:59 PM   #5
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Do a search on you tube for " rotten rv repairs ". You will find it all.
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Old 06-17-2016, 03:07 PM   #6
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Look at the thread here titled " Total Rebuild". Good reading, lots of it. Terry is a very talented guy and did a great job. If you have the time, the patience and the money it can be done, and it can be better than new.

Good luck!

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Old 06-18-2016, 04:43 AM   #7
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Thanks for the suggestions. I am blown away by how bad this RV really is. There is absolutely nothing salvageable when it comes to the actual camper body. They only really good things on this RV are the Van frame, holding tanks and the generator. I will admit I am a bit overwhelmed with the work I have ahead but this is not the first time I have done a crazy project. In fact my house and my camp where really big and crazy adventures and now I enjoy both of them. My motivation is knowing when I am done, If I do it right, I can travel around the country in my completed project.
I am starting to consider not reusing the original look and making a totally new designed tiny house. I think it will be better built and make for a more interesting build. If I go back with the original design I am pretty sure I will be frustrated trying to match all the windows etc and in the end I will have a 1991 RV.
Any thoughts??
Google link to my photos are below if anybody is interested. I am not sure how to load them to this thread. I am going to document this whole journey...

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Old 06-18-2016, 05:14 AM   #8
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I think that everyone needs a creative outlet, and this is no better or worse than you any other. One of the advantages of stripping it to the frame is the ability to design/ build something uniquely suited to your own taste. If you hate it, you can still call a tow truck and have it hauled to the scrapyard. The labor cost in these things far exceeds material cost, so your time is the most valuable component. I hope that you enjoy the process.

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Old 06-18-2016, 05:42 AM   #9
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I'm trying to visualize how you would rebuild something totally rotted like that, and I simply can't (19 years experience as an RV tech w/tons of collision experience). Not saying it would be impossible, but your idea of something along the lines of a tiny house probably more practical.

Just consider one thing - the weight of your finished product will be critical. If you try building something using conventional building methods used in a stick home (or tiny house), you're going to be WAY heavy, likely overloading the chassis badly. You need to use foam panels and 2x2's for your framing.

Last, if the windows and appliances you have now can be salvaged, I'd surely use them over again.
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Old 06-19-2016, 04:24 AM   #10
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I will say at this time I am both frustrated and excited. If I had known it was this bad I would have walked away but here I am and I have about just about got this to the frame. I figure a couple more sessions of play and it will be back to a Ford Van frame with some holding tanks lol. The only salvageable parts I may have are the hot water tank (it was correctly winterized and full of anti freeze), furnace, Ac unit, holding tanks, windows and Generator (I am sure I will need to clean the fuel system). This being said I am going to do a complete service to the drive train before I do any building work on the camper part. If the Van has any issues other than the fuel system I am out...but it does look pretty solid and has zero rust.
I have a question ahicks: I will take your suggestion of using 2x2's and foam insulation board to frame this but what would you suggest for the siding on the ext. I was planning on being original and using cedar clap board siding. The old fiberglass was both ugly and damaged. I also plan on using an epdm roof system like it had. I was also going to use vinyl duel pane windows but I am rethinking this given your comment of weight. I actually have a brand new 105" casement / picture / casement window and 2 double casements but they are heavy.... I am a contractor so access to material is pretty easy for me but I am only experienced with actual houses...weight is usually not really a concern.
Thanks for the input everybody...this is a pretty ambitious undertaking but so far has been fun and little scary at the same time.
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Old 06-19-2016, 04:48 AM   #11
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It scares me just to read about it! To restore it as originally built seems foolish to me because you could just go out and buy another used one one in good condition and be way ahead. The only thing that makes sense to me is if you build a custom unit that fits your needs and that you could never find elsewhere. Think hard about layout, furnishings, features and options. Are you into options and electronics? This is a chance to pre-wire for the latest Tv antennas, satellite, cellphone or wifi antennas, alarms, inverters, solar panels, etc. how about lithium batteries? Do you have a special need or desire such as bunk beds or a desk? I would go to a big RV show and look at the features in all the latest RVs to get ideas for making your rebuilt RV even better than anything available brand new. To just rebuild it as originally built seems to be much more effort than it is worth.
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Old 06-19-2016, 06:41 AM   #12
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build yourself a nice pickup
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Old 06-20-2016, 07:57 AM   #13
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I'm wondering if it might be best to simply build it like a panel van. Think U-Haul of the era that looks like a Class C and has a cabover. If it is on the 450 chassis, it might be able to have a ramp and door on the back to have a toy hauler garage.
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Old 06-20-2016, 08:11 AM   #14
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Find an old airstream TT and morph it on to the frame.

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