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Old 06-22-2014, 11:33 PM   #1
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What should I use for cabover floor?

I'm almost done reconstructing the water-damaged "forehead" of my 1977 Class C (Elkhart "Traveler" Chateau on a Ford chassis). Although I've used rented class C's before we had never used the overcab bunk and when I bought this it was a rotted mess with a warped MDF slider and an extra sheet of plywood nailed over the completely decomposed original sub floor over the cab. So I have no clue what this should look like or be made of. I had thought to lay solid 3/4" plywood across the entire 90" x 54" area (I already have structural supports to rest in on along either side). But I see most designs have the head room cut out to allow easy access from the cab to the back without head bumping. I can do that, but then what sort of platform do you need to bridge that for sleeping? Should there be two halves, one that spans the wide notch but nests under an identical half up in the front of the cabover when you aren't sleeping up there?

The thing came with a custom one piece covered foam mattress that is too thick to fold. I could cut it in half to make a stackable pair. How strong do the two movable upper "slider" bunk panels have to be? Can I use regular 1/2" plywood? Trying to keep this as light weight as possible though it has to be able to safely support two adults (me plus my sweetie would be around 320 lbs total.)

Do I really need to make the cutout notch or are normal height people usually fine having to duck under the bunk shelf to get to and from the cab area?

By the way, this has been a functional repair, it is not an exquisite restoration, so I am not looking for loveliness, just function. So no fancy veneers or exotic finishes. I have been using waterproof or moisture resistant materials as much as possible, though I removed the front cabover window and replaced the skin with solid aluminum, and eternabonded the newly reframed and rescrewed skin of the entire front. Framing is cedar and PT fence wood for the most part, with deck screws and stainless fasteners throughout. I plan to make the new platform components smooth and functional, but they need not be pretty. They will have the mattress over them most of the time.
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Old 06-22-2014, 11:47 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Willowleaf View Post
I'm almost done reconstructing the water-damaged "forehead" of my 1977 Class C (Elkhart "Traveler" Chateau on a Ford chassis). Although I've used rented class C's before we had never used the overcab bunk and when I bought this it was a rotted mess with a warped MDF slider and an extra sheet of plywood nailed over the completely decomposed original sub floor over the cab. So I have no clue what this should look like or be made of. I had thought to lay solid 3/4" plywood across the entire 90" x 54" area (I already have structural supports to rest in on along either side). But I see most designs have the head room cut out to allow easy access from the cab to the back without head bumping. I can do that, but then what sort of platform do you need to bridge that for sleeping? Should there be two halves, one that spans the wide notch but nests under an identical half up in the front of the cabover when you aren't sleeping up there?

The thing came with a custom one piece covered foam mattress that is too thick to fold. I could cut it in half to make a stackable pair. How strong do the two movable upper "slider" bunk panels have to be? Can I use regular 1/2" plywood? Trying to keep this as light weight as possible though it has to be able to safely support two adults (me plus my sweetie would be around 320 lbs total.)

Do I really need to make the cutout notch or are normal height people usually fine having to duck under the bunk shelf to get to and from the cab area?

By the way, this has been a functional repair, it is not an exquisite restoration, so I am not looking for loveliness, just function. So no fancy veneers or exotic finishes. I have been using waterproof or moisture resistant materials as much as possible, though I removed the front cabover window and replaced the skin with solid aluminum, and eternabonded the newly reframed and rescrewed skin of the entire front. Framing is cedar and PT fence wood for the most part, with deck screws and stainless fasteners throughout. I plan to make the new platform components smooth and functional, but they need not be pretty. They will have the mattress over them most of the time.

Can't answer most of this, but here is an idea to try to get an answer for the last question... put your plywood up there and go back and forth about 15-30 times from sitting in the driver seat , to standing up and getting your legs all unwrapped from around the dog house and then between the cockpit chairs and into the house part. Now, have your wife do the same and You should have your answer. You can do it without plywood the same amount of times if you aren't sure yet. From the passenger side, moving around between cockpit and house during travel is hard, the dog house is in the way a lot and I tend to get up onto my seat and stand there and drop down into my chair because it is easier than trying to lift a leg over the dog house to get it into it's appointed spot.... I like the headroom afforded in my Honey, although we don't have a bed over cab. ( no way I'm climbing over my hubby and down the ladder to make it to the potty in the dark at night)
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Old 06-23-2014, 12:17 AM   #3
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You can have two cushions for a bunk in the cab over, one that's just a little wider than the cut out (which really makes moving around a lot easier) that would have a 3/4" piece of plywood on the bottom, while the other piece would have a thicker foam to make up for the thickness of the plywood . The width of that would be determined by how much room was left in the platform, which should most likely be made out of 3/4" plywood for some strength.

I don't believe that pressure treated wood should have been used in the rebuild. There can be some nasty chemicals involved with that stuff.
I have a 31' Itasca that also needs a complete cab over redo.
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Old 06-23-2014, 11:26 PM   #4
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thanks for feedback

Thanks, Marty, for your feedback on whether or not to leave the cutout. However, I don't travel with a dog and my 1977 rig doesn't have a bulky console to climb over so there is a lot of space to get between the seats to the back. Also, I am only 5' 5" and still pretty flexible for my age (64 this Thursday!) and my boyfriend (who is most likely to be traveling with me) is only 5' 9". But I will take your tip and see what it feels like to have to duck under the full shelf before I commit to eliminating the notch.

Mich, I appreciate your explanation of how the mattress sections are made. But since I plan to use the mattress I have and cut it in sections, I won't have the option of making one thicker than the other, but I'm thinking maybe I could layer a piece of closed cell foam (like that used for camping and yoga pads) under the forward half to bring it up to the same level as the movable rearward half.

I do get your concern about using PT lumber, but they no longer use the arsenic based preservative (that was dangerous) in the PT wood that you buy at building centers -- it is copper based and safe to use in proximity to humans. It will all be encased inside the walls anyway, there will be no contact with it once the new panelling is up inside. I used natural cedar where I could but they don't sell 2 x 4 stock of cedar here. The main rails I used to support the deck are fence railings, which are treated to be safe for human contact. You can read up on the new safer PT compounds here:

Pressure Treated Wood - Its Uses, Limitations and Safety Considerations

For now I am still being baffled by where the small leak is coming from. Despite having sealed all the seams with Eternabond and having recaulked the side windows, I checked tonight and our brief thunderstorm Sunday evening seemed to have resulted in another bit of water penetrating over the driver side. I am pretty upset. I realize I will need to wait for a rain storm while I am home in the daylight and go out and sit inside to see where the heck it is getting in. Can't seal up the lower seam or continue with the rebuild until I am sure it is water tight.
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Old 06-24-2014, 08:18 AM   #5
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Repair

I used 2x4 framing for mine,(replacing the 2x2 that was there originally) installed 1 1/2" foam in between, put 3/8 ply over it then a prefinished white 1/8" masonite over it, come out strong and solid, as far as the cutout, I did mine but I really don't think u need it, unless ur 6'4", I'm 5'9" and leave my bed full and extended most the time, I would not use treated lumber, there is too much moisture in the would and could cause mold, it takes years for it to dry completely
Good luck
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