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Old 10-31-2010, 02:27 AM   #1
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An RV Mod Tale: Follow along (if you dare).

I have a love/hate relationship with my RV. I love the freedom it gives me and my dogs, but I hate the stuff that is constantly going wrong, needing fixed, maintenance is worse than a house, because it is a house + vehicle. Today, especially, I am leaning more toward the hate side.

I especially hate Winnebago today for their cheap products and materials that they use and manufacturing weirdness. All in the name of saving a buck for themselves. Sometimes I wonder if they had a company contest to see who could come up with the most bizarre and consumer unfriendly way to design their RVs.

Backtrack:

A couple of years ago I tore out that beastly uncomfortable dinette and hideous beige carpet.

I didn't finish the floor because I didn't know what I wanted to finish it with. So rugs have been doing the trick for this while, while I think about that. It looks ghastly, but what the heck. It's my private ghastly. I try to keep it broomed and clean and dry, and so far ok.

I got a narrow long computer desk that fits perfectly along that outside wall, folds down and tucks away if I want it to. Got a comfy chair. Left the seat box in place that houses the furnace. Also left the seat belts there, and you know what? That is super handy. It gives me a place to keep my computer tower, not on the desk and not on the floor, and lets me "strap in" my tower so I never have to move it. Plus room for two milk crates to store files in. Brilliant. I love it.

Until...

I discovered a soft spot in the plywood in the hallway area, and then discovered that the fiberboard panel of the furnace box and the bottom edge of fiberboard of the undersink cabinet on the opposite side of the hallway are disintegrating. Like flaking apart.

This part of the plywood that got soft was still covered with linoleum, by the way, not the exposed piece. I left it on there when I tore out the carpet, because tearing out the carpet was such a god awful job for me. Especially the staples along the edges that kept little clumps of carpet in place. Simply awful.

I finally got up the nerve to start tearing out the linoleum and discovered that not only was it wet under there, but mildewed. One of my worst allergies is mold, so I very quickly got out a spray bottle of pure bleach and sprayed it down. Since it is wet anyway, I guess the bleach won't hurt it any. Now hopefully it will dry out.

Also when I tried prying the staples out of the linoleum, I discovered they were rusted and simply broke off, leaving dangerous little rusty spikes sticking up, so I won't be doing any more of that. I just took a razor knife and scored it and ripped it along the walls for now.

The part that irritates me about Winnebago is their practice of setting the cabinets and interior walls on top of the linoleum. I couldn't finish tearing it out or do a complete and thorough job because there are cabinets and walls. Makes me really want to call them and give them what-for.

I haven't decided yet if this mod is something I am going to tackle myself or have somebody do it for me. It's a little bit more of a project than I have the stamina for. The dogs are a major distraction. And I don't really want to take on the propane lines myself. (Removal of the range/oven and installation of the new water heater.)

==================

The plan.

The best news so far is that, I have YES - FINALLY - decided on what I want for flooring in the RV. Cork tiles. For their insulating value, and environmentally friendliness. Globus Cork / Cork Floor .com - Cork Flooring and Cork Wall Tiles - Cork Tiles - Cork Floors - Cork Floating Floor -Colored Cork Now I am just pressed for colors and -- do I want a pattern?

Since it has to come out anyway, I will be rejoicing the riddance of the propane stove/cooktop. I'll have a custom cabinet built there and have more useful storage. I already have a microwave that also grills, so a hot plate, possibly induction, will suit me fine. Grilling outdoors also works great for me, and there is nothing else the microwave can't handle.

My 10 year old 6 gallon Atwood water heater is going to get replaced with a 10 gallon model. That will require cutting a larger opening for the water heater on the outside of the RV.

I am thinking about replacing the old Atwood furnace with a ventless catalytic propane heater. But only if it can be permanently mounted. I will gladly sacrifice drawers if I have to, either in the bathroom or in the kitchen, to have it centrally located. I hate RV drawers anyway. All they do is fall apart. I have glued them and screwed them and replaced the glides,and still they fall apart. So good riddance to those, as well.

Then I can either do away with the disintegrating furnace box or have it for storage. Like maybe battery storage for a solar panel system someday, since that space is already vented. If the weight balance permits. (Not sure what that old furnace weighs.)

Of course, most - if not all - of the old pex tubing is going to get replaced, because I am not positive where all that water came from. I had a phantom leak for a while that I never could find, but it seemed to be leaking to the outside of the RV. I replaced the kitchen faucet, thinking that was the problem, and I thought I solved it, but maybe not.

I also had to replace the backflow preventer on the water heater last summer, and had a little bit of water inside from that expedition, but I don't think it was enough to explain the extent of the saturation of the plywood that I am seeing now.

Today, my pressure relief valve on the water heater also started leaking outside, but I don't think I am going to replace it. Besides the fact that I am going to replace the water heater. If it freezes between now and then, I am guessing the leak will keep water flowing and keep my pipes from freezing.

===========

If anyone has any comments or suggestions while I am still in the planning stage, I would welcome them.

Tomorrow I am going to start boxing up the kitchen stuff to prepare for the tear out.
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Old 10-31-2010, 08:22 AM   #2
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thought I had problems., until I read yours, thanks my day is really looking up
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Old 10-31-2010, 08:25 AM   #3
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I think I would carefully evaluate the cost of remodel vs. an upgrade to newer unit that has more of what you want. Lots of good buys out there for nice units with the features you describe. Good luck.
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Old 10-31-2010, 09:36 AM   #4
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Wow and ouch! Sounds like you've got your hands full. I would second the advice from Alleyman and compare the cost of upgrading your current Minnie with that of upgrading to a different coach.

Best of Luck to you.

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Old 10-31-2010, 10:55 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by empty pockets View Post
thought I had problems., until I read yours, thanks my day is really looking up

Oh I love you already, empty pockets!

As to the others, suggesting a different coach.

A different coach is not an option. I will make this one work, and I will make it work MY WAY. Bullheaded, ain't I? Let's face it. There isn't an RV manufactured that has what I want in it, standard. I'd be tearing out carpet and linoleum anyway. As well, there are outside forces at work in my decision, that I really can't get into on this forum.

ANYWAY, aside from what needs to be done, SOUNDS AWFUL, I had the blessed foresight to maintain the bumper to bumper, skylight to axle extended warranty. Once I find, figure out and can LIST all of the things that need to be fixed for my insurance company, my out of pocket expense will be $250.00 to fix all. It covers literally EVERYTHING except tires. I don't see another RV for that price on the market.

I love that you all bothered to respond to this, though, thanks! I really need some sounding boards and brainstorming, and let me know if I get too far fetched or left of center with my plans for this puppy as I go along. And ideas, like... "while you have that open, don't forget to do this."

Thanks again!
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Old 10-31-2010, 11:39 AM   #6
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Sounds like you have one heck of an Extended Wty to cover all of that for $250! Good work hanging on to that.

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Old 10-31-2010, 06:59 PM   #7
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Quote:
Also when I tried prying the staples out of the linoleum, I discovered they were rusted and simply broke off, leaving dangerous little rusty spikes sticking up, so I won't be doing any more of that. I just took a razor knife and scored it and ripped it along the walls for now.

The part that irritates me about Winnebago is their practice of setting the cabinets and interior walls on top of the linoleum. I couldn't finish tearing it out or do a complete and thorough job because there are cabinets and walls. Makes me really want to call them and give them what-for.
Don't buy a new or remodeled home.. this same practice is done everywhere and by everyone.

As for the staples breaking: also typical. Just pry up what you can, then pound the broken ends into the floor.

See if you can find an 'on demand/tankless' water heater instead of hacking up a bigger hole in the side.
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Old 10-31-2010, 07:54 PM   #8
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If you think Winnebago has bad construction and materials, you need to look at some of the less expensive units.....

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