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Old 01-10-2018, 05:35 PM   #1
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Exterior Redo Becomes a Personal Statement!

I've posted here infrequently about some of the upgrades and modifications I have done to my 1982 Born Free Class C built on a Ford E350 chassis. I have the 24 ft. Rear Bath President Model and as purchased by me from the 2nd owner in May, 2010 it was in excellent shape having covered 43,000 original miles.

By way of background, this motorhome was originally delivered from the factory as a dual fuel (gasoline and LPG) model with dual LPG tanks integrated into the fiberglass structure, a 460 cu. in. carbureted engine, C6 automatic, Onan 4000 Generator (dual fuel), AC and all the standard features of the excellent Born Free 24RB model. The original owner added a Gear Vendors overdrive and changed the rear drive ratio so that, in overdrive, the engine rpm at 60 mph cruise was the same as the factory system. As a result, I have a 5 forward speed transmission which seriously induces enjoyment in mountainous terrain. Over my ownership, I have upgraded the interior to UltraLeather, added audio and video entertainment, additional house battery capacity, solar panels, refrigerator condenser cooling, AC upgrades and increased the overhead bed to a full king size. Mechanically, I added a new intake manifold, carburetor, ignition, headers, a 3" high flow exhaust, updated the dual fuel system, added cold air intake, rear sway bar, steering damper and extensive engine monitoring gauges.

But the real point of this post is that when I finished removing the badly degraded factory striping and finished polishing the fiberglas exterior, my wife looked over the result and announced that it appeared to be a "white ice cream truck"! She was unimpressed! After reading various posts on this forum, we embarked on a costing exercise on getting the old girl painted or otherwise embellished. Painting was beyond my skill level so we priced commercial sources and quickly found prices of $10,000 and up with a set of optional provisos for extra charges in detailing and finishing efforts. We then explored the cost of vinyl wrapping and were quoted $2,000 for a partial wrap by a well-reviewed local firm. We checked out several 5 year old examples of their product and were very impressed with durability and color retention. We were assigned a designer to put together the final scheme. The initial (standard) color schemes proposed were unimpressive. The designer then suggested that we customize with just the images we wanted. They had full printing rights to anything on Shutterstock!

Having spent 40 years with NASA and been deeply involved with the Space Program, we chose an image of of the Curiosity Rover superimposed on a Mars background and a view of the Sand Harbor area of Lake Tahoe (near our home) for the other side. I'm enclosing several pictures of the final result! Hopefully our results can answer some questions !
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Old 01-10-2018, 05:45 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankGRUN View Post
I've posted here infrequently about some of the upgrades and modifications I have done to my 1982 Born Free Class C built on a Ford E350 chassis. I have the 24 ft. Rear Bath President Model and as purchased by me from the 2nd owner in May, 2010 it was in excellent shape having covered 43,000 original miles.

By way of background, this motorhome was originally delivered from the factory as a dual fuel (gasoline and LPG) model with dual LPG tanks integrated into the fiberglass structure, a 460 cu. in. carbureted engine, C6 automatic, Onan 4000 Generator (dual fuel), AC and all the standard features of the excellent Born Free 24RB model. The original owner added a Gear Vendors overdrive and changed the rear drive ratio so that, in overdrive, the engine rpm at 60 mph cruise was the same as the factory system. As a result, I have a 5 forward speed transmission which seriously induces enjoyment in mountainous terrain. Over my ownership, I have upgraded the interior to UltraLeather, added audio and video entertainment, additional house battery capacity, solar panels, refrigerator condenser cooling, AC upgrades and increased the overhead bed to a full king size. Mechanically, I added a new intake manifold, carburetor, ignition, headers, a 3" high flow exhaust, updated the dual fuel system, added cold air intake, rear sway bar, steering damper and extensive engine monitoring gauges.

But the real point of this post is that when I finished removing the badly degraded factory striping and finished polishing the fiberglas exterior, my wife looked over the result and announced that it appeared to be a "white ice cream truck"! She was unimpressed! After reading various posts on this forum, we embarked on a costing exercise on getting the old girl painted or otherwise embellished. Painting was beyond my skill level so we priced commercial sources and quickly found prices of $10,000 and up with a set of optional provisos for extra charges in detailing and finishing efforts. We then explored the cost of vinyl wrapping and were quoted $2,000 for a partial wrap by a well-reviewed local firm. We checked out several 5 year old examples of their product and were very impressed with durability and color retention. We were assigned a designer to put together the final scheme. The initial (standard) color schemes proposed were unimpressive. The designer then suggested that we customize with just the images we wanted. They had full printing rights to anything on Shutterstock!

Having spent 40 years with NASA and been deeply involved with the Space Program, we chose an image of of the Curiosity Rover superimposed on a Mars background and a view of the Sand Harbor area of Lake Tahoe (near our home) for the other side. I'm enclosing several pictures of the final result! Hopefully our results can answer some questions !
Looks like you have just what you wanted - Personal and Beautiful - Congradulations
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Old 01-10-2018, 06:10 PM   #3
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I love it.
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Old 01-11-2018, 03:15 AM   #4
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Cool!!
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Old 01-11-2018, 03:31 AM   #5
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I like it, personalized 1 of a kind anything is very cool, well worth the money you spent!!
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Old 01-11-2018, 10:43 AM   #6
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This past late summer and early fall we embarked on a 9,480 mile trip around the USA from Nevada through Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Minnesota, Indiana, Wisconsin, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, Utah and back to Nevada. At every every gas stop and every campground, the motorhome generated friendly conversation often running into hours (campgrounds).

We were stopped by the gendarmerie three times to tell us that we were exceeding the speed limit. Each stop then went to an extended conversation about the images and ended up with a warning to more closely watch the limit signs! No tickets, despite a wandering heavy foot.

The most surprising thing for us was the number of rangers and fellow campers who greeted us by our first names and a big smile. I'm sure they enjoyed my confusion as I frantically tried to recall their names. Then they would point out, we had signed the rear of the Born Free!

Finally, our 1982 was never refused entry in any campground!
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Old 01-11-2018, 05:12 PM   #7
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it looks great, congrats on jobs well done!
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Old 03-15-2018, 03:29 PM   #8
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That turned out awesome !
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Old 03-24-2018, 08:42 AM   #9
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I am curious about the propane. Do you run the motor on it? how does it perform/compare? Motors that are run on propane can run a long time. I have wanted a 100% propane MH for a while. Nice rig.
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Old 03-27-2018, 08:32 PM   #10
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Nice

That looks great.
I was just wondering about a wrap the other day.
Nice to see it's been done.
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Old 03-28-2018, 07:55 PM   #11
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Wow! That is fantastic. I would love to do something like that to our RV. Do they wrap all the surfaces and doors? What are the limitations on the area? I'm wondering if we could just have ours fully wrapped and skip the prep step.

Is the pricing per sqr foot or how is the pricing calculated?
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Old 03-31-2018, 08:06 PM   #12
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Was this a local shop that did the wrap for you? Might be helpful if you post the company info/website.
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Old 04-01-2018, 12:54 AM   #13
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On the Wrap Details!

This is frustrating because I just typed in an extended reply to mbridinger about operating under LPG and the iRV2 website ate it! I'll try again later.

But to address the questions about the wrap. The wrap was done here in Reno, NV by a local vendor (Grafics Unlimited in Sparks, NV; website: graficsunlimited.com). The wrap was done using 3M materials and our designer was Ben Rodgers. Our final price was $250 for design and setup, $1,250 for the vinyl wrap and $720 for the installation. They can indeed to all surfaces and doors. They offered to do windows as well. In this case they did the E350 metal surfaces, the fiberglas of the primary motorhome body the seams and sealing material between fiberglas segments and the surface of the entry door which is highly textured. My reaction when I saw the finished product (about 7 hours after I dropped off the motorhome) was that these guys are artists.

I think the only limitation to the amount of area they can cover is your checkbook! They showed me several full size busses and Class A's in which they had done the entire surface of the vehicle. In our initial negotiations, I was given to believe that a whole body coverage of my Class C would be about $5,000.

Now as to prep, a year before we had had the sun-faded original striping removed and a removal of the chalky residue of 30+ years of not protecting the fiberglas. The only thing Grafics Unlimited requested of me by way of prep was to have the motorhome acid washed the day before we dropped it off. This set us back $25 at the local semi-truck car wash (truck wash!).

I'm reasonably sure that the vinyl and installation costs are a function of the sq. footage! Remember, we also didn't have to pay special license fees for the images because of their arrangement with Shutterstock!
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Old 04-05-2018, 05:44 AM   #14
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Love how you’ve taken a solid unit and customized ..... Now look at what you’ve got, something very unique ..... Good Job

PS .... Reno, Biggest Little City in the World, and my home town
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