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Old 01-20-2022, 09:22 PM   #1
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Rebuilding a '98 Safari after delamination

Hi All,
After lots of searching and deliberation we recently picked up a low mileage Safari Class C with the 7.3 Powerstroke diesel. We purchased it from the second owner's family after he passed. it was mostly stock and had some deferred maintenance.
We drove almost 5 hours to go look at it, it checked all the boxes in our criteria- the layout, size (its actually 28' bumper to bumper), diesel, full basement..etc The biggest issue with the rig was the water damage. The exterior was bubbling and loose in certain areas. The sellers were surprised by the water damage largely in one of the walls and we were able to agree on a fair price.
Overall the rig is mechanically in good shape, new tires were put on last year, the brakes feel a little soft, water in fuel light is on...etc BUT she made it all the way home without an issue.

I found some paperwork in the RV while cleaning it, a $10,000 bill for replacing the exterior sheet metal with filon back in 2004 by the original owner. Theres a few pictures as well.
I've ripped apart the passenger side wall and most of the items inside that will be replaced. We are building out a small office corner and triple bunk in the rear in place of the queen bedroom.
The windows are being replaced, the roof will be rebuilt, the dinette is ripped out and will be replaced with seats from an SUV....its a long list.
Things were moving well enough, till I spoke to the engineer at Stabond (the glue manufacturer) the product will not work below 65 degrees, ideally 70. As the current temp outside is 7 degrees, thats not happening for a few months.

The plan now is to replace the rotten piece of flooring in the back, add some more aluminum studs/supports and build out the rear living area. Time permitting Ill start stripping down the drivers side and the roof then focus on the mechanicals.

Nothing like a fun project.....
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Old 01-21-2022, 08:47 AM   #2
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you, sir

are a brave man! You must really like the floorplan.
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Old 01-21-2022, 09:13 AM   #3
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brave or foolish? With the covid bubble the price for used RVs has gone bonkers, I would rather invest the time and money into redoing an older one than paying for the depreciation on a newer one.
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Old 01-21-2022, 10:16 AM   #4
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I admire your ambition.
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Old 01-21-2022, 10:54 AM   #5
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Many years ago I had to gut and rebuild the cab-over section of a Class C we bought, due to extensive water damage from an assortment of long term leaks. When I looked at the pile of rotten wood and moldy insulation on the driveway from gutting it, I wondered what the he.. did I get myself into? That day, my wife came home and walked by the pile on her way into the house. She didn't stop or say a thing. Later she told me the reason she didn't stop is that pile made her want to go inside and cry.

Once the rebuilding started, it was actually fun seeing it progress. When it was finished, not only did it look great, it felt good knowing I'd done the work with my own hands. It was a challenge which caused some hair pulling, and forced me to really think the problem through, but in many ways that's what was fun - pushing my skills and my brain. It was also a real eye opener to see how the rig was constructed. The frame was an odd size of what almost looked like furring strips, held together with staples. I need to shave the new wood down on my table saw to match the dimensions of the factory frame pieces. Not a nail or screw to be found. There were joints where even the sound wood was split when stapled at the factory, and the solution was 6 more staples, with many of those splitting the wood even more. This was on a brand coach that was one of the higher end coach builders of the era.

I was glad my rebuild cost was materials only, my labor being free. It certainly made me appreciate why professional repairs of this kind can easily exceed the value of the rig.

Good luck, and have fun. I'm sure you'll enjoy the fruits of your labor.
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Old 01-21-2022, 12:14 PM   #6
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If you have the skills,time, and enjoy the work I think its great. You will know the rig and if you keep it long term I believe you will enjoy it more then if someone else did the work.
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Old 01-21-2022, 12:23 PM   #7
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More than I would care to take on, that's for sure. But if you've got the desire and ability, by all means. I'll give you one thing, that's a pretty uncommon and quite desirable drivetrain.
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Old 01-21-2022, 12:53 PM   #8
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Go George Go!

Thanks for sharing your restoration with us. I wish you great success.
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Old 01-21-2022, 05:50 PM   #9
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If I had a big shop...maybe,,, I did help a buddy replace 3 pieces on a 2019 5er that was damaged..

He was able to order the front big piece to make the curve, the rear piece and the rt side from rear to doorway, we did a seam above door.. Pieces cost 7300, can in color with decal package, the new trim/aps etc..

Cost 4300 to ship.. and unsure from the factory in Illinois..

I wish we did pics.. We had to Glue bond the interior panels in place,, That was tough,, we rigged a pressure sprayer to lay on the contact cement ..

Hardest part was gutting the inside stuff.. then all the mating surface prep.. peeling up rubber roof,, rear seam..

It was a 61K loaded 38foot.. got it at salavage yard across the street from his repair shop.. paid $2800 plus fees, it was not leaking ,, and never used,, it was damaged on transport to a dealer..

Anyway, desire, will, open mind,.......it can be done,,,

This one pic'd here .,, Is a project as some custom structure and then fab up and interlock the foam,, the build a frame work to apply pressure to the new outer skin.. We used a box truck and cribbing to push from...

project.....
dum dum chaulk , dicor, silkoprene.. etc etc,,
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Old 01-21-2022, 06:20 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by astrnmrtom View Post
Many years ago I had to gut and rebuild the cab-over section of a Class C we bought, due to extensive water damage from an assortment of long term leaks. When I looked at the pile of rotten wood and moldy insulation on the driveway from gutting it, I wondered what the he.. did I get myself into? That day, my wife came home and walked by the pile on her way into the house. She didn't stop or say a thing. Later she told me the reason she didn't stop is that pile made her want to go inside and cry.

Once the rebuilding started, it was actually fun seeing it progress. When it was finished, not only did it look great, it felt good knowing I'd done the work with my own hands. It was a challenge which caused some hair pulling, and forced me to really think the problem through, but in many ways that's what was fun - pushing my skills and my brain. It was also a real eye opener to see how the rig was constructed. The frame was an odd size of what almost looked like furring strips, held together with staples. I need to shave the new wood down on my table saw to match the dimensions of the factory frame pieces. Not a nail or screw to be found. There were joints where even the sound wood was split when stapled at the factory, and the solution was 6 more staples, with many of those splitting the wood even more. This was on a brand coach that was one of the higher end coach builders of the era.

I was glad my rebuild cost was materials only, my labor being free. It certainly made me appreciate why professional repairs of this kind can easily exceed the value of the rig.

Good luck, and have fun. I'm sure you'll enjoy the fruits of your labor.
I was in the same position with the trash pile, between emptying the contents of the RV and the demo, I junked about 800 pounds of stuff. I still have the other wall and roof to do.
My wife and I had a long conversation about the RV before I went to pick it up so there wouldnt be any tears. She couldnt wait to get in and start scrubbing it and making it ours. We are both very excited about it, the kids cant wait to do our first trip.

This is the fourth RV ive worked on ('86 toyota dolphin, '87 winnebago 27' and a '03 sprinter vista cruiser), but it always amazes me how they decide to build things in. Elmer's glue, a stryofroam cup and some toothpicks... then a bunch of staples, screws and tape if need be. Each of the upper cabinets are secured with about 20-30 screws, most of which just go into the 1/8" plywood and foam.

Most of the walls are just 1.5" square aluminum tubing spaced just far enough to butt 4' wide panels. Much to my surprise the support by the shower wasnt even welded, just a cheap L bracket with two screws on either side. This was obviously rusted and the screws were loose. I'll weld them back in along with the new ones.
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Old 01-21-2022, 06:56 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sibe View Post
If I had a big shop...maybe,,, I did help a buddy replace 3 pieces on a 2019 5er that was damaged..

He was able to order the front big piece to make the curve, the rear piece and the rt side from rear to doorway, we did a seam above door.. Pieces cost 7300, can in color with decal package, the new trim/aps etc..

Cost 4300 to ship.. and unsure from the factory in Illinois..

I wish we did pics.. We had to Glue bond the interior panels in place,, That was tough,, we rigged a pressure sprayer to lay on the contact cement ..

Hardest part was gutting the inside stuff.. then all the mating surface prep.. peeling up rubber roof,, rear seam..

It was a 61K loaded 38foot.. got it at salavage yard across the street from his repair shop.. paid $2800 plus fees, it was not leaking ,, and never used,, it was damaged on transport to a dealer..

Anyway, desire, will, open mind,.......it can be done,,,

This one pic'd here .,, Is a project as some custom structure and then fab up and interlock the foam,, the build a frame work to apply pressure to the new outer skin.. We used a box truck and cribbing to push from...

project.....
dum dum chaulk , dicor, silkoprene.. etc etc,,
Most of the bones of this one are there, the price was right, the front and back caps are good, its as you said dealing with the glue. the guys at Stabond, suggest rolling over spraying. While the cost of the glue is high, its worth it not to have to do this again. Im also picking up AZDEL panels for the walls instead of using the plywood lauan stuff thats just going to attract moisture.
Ive got a shop big enough to do this work in but sadly its unheated.

Thank you all for the support!
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Old 01-21-2022, 10:16 PM   #12
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First hurdle is locating a replacement skylight. The one above the shower is unique in that that both inner and outer domes are sealed together and mounted on the roof. Furthermore it measures 30 X 30 at the flange, covering a 21 square cut out. Any suggestions?
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Old 01-22-2022, 04:21 PM   #13
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Anything here work? https://www.skylightdepot.com/
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Old 01-22-2022, 05:30 PM   #14
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thanks but they only do the singles. Unfortunately there isnt any markings on the old one so I cant determine the original manufacturer.
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