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Help with rotten floor Sunrader?

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That's looking good Rick! Are the beams just not holding the curve of the roof? Have you thought about how you would build curved beams? I'd be interested to hear. I'm 6' and also looking for some height; unfortunately for my head room(but maybe not from a structural standpoint) the previous owners had a piece of 3/4" ply screwed on top of the existing floor in the walkway area to reinforce it so I lost that space.

The floor has bogged me down pretty good, but I've finally gotten to where I'll put in the top layer tomorrow. I replaced the foam with 3/4" ply where i pulled up rotten floor and then have a layer of 3/8" ply that will be topped with another 3/4" ply for the final assembly all glued and screwed together. Then I'll bolt it all down to the frame and subframe I built. I'm debating on glassing in the edge of the top piece of ply to the current body, but haven't decided on that yet.



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Ouch, Jay, what a pain.
Good that you know how to do all of this.
I'm good with what I did. All I was saying is that in retrospect I wish.....
As for the dream ceiling.... there are a couple of ways to go in my mostly uneducated opinion.
You could get aluminium beams built mirroring the curve at the back.
Not sure what that would cost but I envision that being pretty nice and very effective in creating some head space below and a good shape on the shell above.
Or you could build it out of wood by simply having hardwood 2x2s or whatever you like fixed and supported at the sides with a curved shape made of thick ply epoxied in on top to create and hold the curve.
If you look at the pictures posted by Bound For Nowhere you see that they did the latter made out of wood. And although they don't focus too much on how it all worked they seemed pretty happy with it.

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Wooo boy finally got the floor in! Took a lot longer than I thought but I now have a pretty solid floor!

I put a metal subframe underneath the floor welded to the frame that goes all the way to the edges of the body for support. I removed all rotten wood and the foam underneath as well. I replaced the foam with 3/4" pt plywood, then a layer of 3/8" ply to bring it back to the original height and then I put another layer of 3/4" plywood on top of that which overlaps the edges between the new floor and old floor to create a bit of a gusset between the two in order to tie them together. All glued and screwed together, and I'll bolt it to the frame and my new subframe next week. The body has sunk over an inch in the very rear!

I gotta say I've been pretty disappointed with the design of this rig, it's like a bookshelf you buy from target: sort of works when brand new and everything is tight, but falls apart after you breathe on the thing or try to move it once. Luckily I'm familar with the Binford Standard so we'll get 'er up to speed.

After this I'm not sure I wanna tackle pulling the whole roof and glassing in new beams, I may opt for a few strategically placed support beams from the kitchen counter and above the fridge. But that's a decision for another day.




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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi, I have difficulty navigating this site but found this thread and thought I'd chime in.


I have a Sunrader shorty that had a rotten spot under the back window almost exactly like the one shown cut out in this thread. My floor panels were coming apart at the seams. a lot of my floor was compromised and ideally should have been cut out and replaced.


I've talked with a couple of guys who have taken the shell off of the truck, added extended braces onto the frame, and cut the entire floor out of the coach and replaced it with new plywood, positioned and bolted  back onto the truck frame with the shell set back on top of it and fiberglassed in place all around the edges. In my opinion that's ideal, but in my case I had no place to do that,. Not even a driveway, and had to do my repair in the street where technically I'm not even allowed to change my spark plugs. 


What I did was cut out the rot much like was shown here, tied together with nail plates (screwed in place), the places where the old floor panels were separating, and then coated the entire floor with epoxy. After that leveling compound and or One Pass, with epoxy between major applications. After I got everything reasonably level again  I cut from 1/2" hardwood plywood a new layer of flooring that went from wall to wall. That had to be done in two pieces, and both pieces were coated on both sides and around all the edges with epoxy before installation.  Once I was satisfied with the fit, I drew a grid of 4" squares on both pieces and drilled and countersunk everywhere the lines intersected for deck screws. 


I thickened epoxy (with cabosil) and used a 1/4" trawl to spread it onto the old floor and screwed everything down  tight using most of a box of deck screws. It came out real nice and will never see water damage again!


My ceiling still needs work, but maybe in another lifetime !



a floor repair 1 panels separating screw plate.JPG

d floor repair leveling 4 rear.JPG

floor new 4 2nd plywood panel template made.JPG

floor new 8 floor better than new.JPG

y Floor Bamboo just laid.JPG

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Nice work Doug. Turned out very nice. 

Almost like one big surfboard.

i did not go as far into the weeds as you and jay. 

But happy to be moving on to the 50 other things I need to do in my rig. 

Ceiling is holding and feels good. But have to get new vents/ fans so I can get closer to water tight.

are the raders ever completely water tight?

have been working on windows this week. It’s pouring rain and windy here in the nw so not much fun working under flapping tarps and driving rain. Ha! Nobody said this would be easy. 

I have taken out most windows one by one and completely cleaned them as well as the holes.

looking fwd to getting them butyled in soon. 

A bit worried as a couple of the holes are obviously a bit oversized and I’m not sure I have the energy to glass new areas in to make them fit better. Not crazy bad. But obvious to me. 

as well wondering if anyone has used a line or two of good caulk on the inside on the edge of the fibreglass after butyl and before wood frame and screws?

just as insurance?

just a thought. What do I know?



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  • 4 weeks later...

Here are some recent pictures.
I have been at this 86 Sunrader now for about seven weeks.
Was not the plan, but you know what they say about plans?
And just so you are aware I am doing all of this on a very tight budget.

I have tackled this so far:

Gutted the entire home.

Cleaned and cleaned and cleaned some more.

Pulled out rot in the floor.
Jacked up one side of the floor that was badly sagging.
Replaced some flooring, then glued and screwed a final layer of 3/4 in plywood down.
Pulled out badly built 2x2 beams glassed in by the previous owner to help with a major repair on roof that was damaged by falling tree branch.
The previous owner repaired the roof and some of the side walls split by the tree, but he did a very quick haphazard job. Perhaps that's why I got it so cheap?
Replaced the entire ceiling using wood beams and support.
I used 1x3 and 1x2 to do this with screws and glue holding it all together.
Now I am seeing that I should create a couple of steel or aluminum ceiling beams to shore everything up and reistablish a good solid curve. It's on the to do list.
Fiberglassed all of the voids left by various vent and exterior cabinets. I am now in the process of fairing all of this out. Again, more to do.
The side walls took a pretty good blow by the tree so I am glassing in two vertical steel beams on either side. Two down, two to go.

Pulled all the windows out. They were all leaking and all wood near them was completely rotten.
Cleaned inside and out around the window voids. Built new frames. Butyled all windows and put them back in.
I added a thin bead of some very good polyurethane caulk to outside of all the windows.
Replaced the smoked glass in the bathroom window with clear glass.
Pulled out the two front plexiglass windows. Cleaned cleaned cleaned sanded etc.
Then soaked the two different gaskets in hot water and soap. They cleaned up nice and look like new.
I spent a couple of days heating up the plexi trying to get them to straighten back out with varying degrees of success.
Perhaps in retrospect I would think about taking them to a pro and getting them straightened, if that even exists.
Replaced both windows and gaskets, then sealed the outside with very good polyurethane.
Build the boxes that will live as the rear dinette. Still working on tops, hinges etc.
Pulled out the rear lights. Cleaned them, fixed cracks and holes, rewired and put back in.
Pulled out both original ceiling vents. They are in rough shape.... but I cleaned them up, cleaned and sanded the voids, and put them back in... for now.
Cleaned up the "garage door" and replaced the seal. Working good as new now.
Completely rebuilt the cabover bed area. Now priming and painting the wall panels and ceiling.
Built a funky shaped little pass through and will add a slider with a lock system.
The reason I went with this shape is to allow the passenger to put the seat back in a more comfortable position when we are driving.
Often on the road the passenger wants to rest but doesn't want to go back into the house...
Ok, enough for now.
I appreciate everyone here. I would not have gotten this far without you.
I will again post some photos as I progress.... :)









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  • 2 months later...

It's been a while.
We have been quaranteened here for what seems like forever.
Actually... I've been at work on this 86 Sunrader for nearly three months. It's Groundhog Day. Get up. Coffee. Head out to the Sunrader.
Work all day. Come into the house around 6pm for dinner. Watch a little Netflix. Sleep. Repeat.

Just a quick update here to follow up on our complete gut and rebuild.
Just today I finally insulated the back wall and got the wall board on. It was a struggle - as everything is - but it's on. Seems a shame to have to paint over the mahogany board.
Working on a lot of things at once now.... onward and upward.


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That's funny Rick, I've been feeling the exact same way.

Wake up, coffee, sunrader, shower, dinner, tv, bed. And again.

Which I gotta say although it gets a little monotonous it's also nice to have a bit of a routine and to just keep pressing forward.

Anyway your rig is looking great, really nice work on everything so far.

Are you completely sold on painting the wood panel or have you considered stain/finish?


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You guys must not be married.  I am normally working 12 hour days this time of year.  Since I am not, my wife has an ancient honey dew list that I am working on. I just finished tearing out a deck and filling the hole with 22,000 lbs of gravel.  I am grateful she is still working part time or I would never get time to work on my Sunrader.


Ric yours is looking good.  I like the wood wrap on the rear ceiling curve. Is that luan mahogany or a thin plywood?  I have been thinking of using pole wrap but I like that better.  Did you have fun putting in the front windows.  I had to do mine twice to get them to stop leaking.

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Jet. Yes, it was a lot of 'fun' playing with those windows.
I have only done it once so far. And I still have a small leak on one side that will force me to pull it out and try again.
What finally 'fixed' it for you?
And, yes, that is just cheap mahogany door skin. If you poke around the lumber yard you can find the most amazing things.
I wanted to curve something into that space and that is the best $8 I have spent so far.
A little tricky bending it in there, but is good now, and insulated behind.
I plan to stain that piece as it turned into a nice little feature.
Thanks Jay.

I don't want the house to be a dark box of wood so I got up this morning and began putting the first coats on a few things.
I tend to like the dark tones, and wood is so warm to live in, so it's hard for me to go completely to the light side. But I will try.

I am - as usual - doing things in a completely unconventional way for a number of reasons.
What I am sure many here can sympathize with is the problem of not having a fat stack under the bed to draw from whenever you need/want something.
I haven't got the battery or all of the electrical things I need just yet, so I can't close everything up.

It's ok doing it in this chaotic way, and as I have said before, ideas and solutions come with time spent not quickly finishing just because you can.
It's far better to just hang out and think of the Sunrader as a big chess board. If you move too quickly for your own little brain you end up making mistakes or boxing yourself into things you may want to change later.
And as far as the COVID goes, it is a big PITA, but one positive around here at least is that it has slowed everything right down.
I am reluctant to just run to the hardware store every time I desire something. Instead, I have been limiting my trips and attempting to use a lot of materials and tools I have on hand.
We'll see how it all plays out. These are interesting times. And I'm happy to have the health and time to work on this crazy project.

Edited by canadasunrader
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I had to get some help with my windows.  We taped them in place and saw that the opening was to big on one side and to small on another.  It looked like someone had them out and could not get them back in so they trimmed and adjusted the opening to make it easier.  On one side the seal gripped the fiberglass by less than a couple mm and on the other it bowed the seal out and would not let it seat.  It was a mess.  I think we might of even had them out a third time, not two. I bought the tool for the bead and it helped a lot.

We ended up trimming one side a little bigger and then building out one side with a polyester epoxy like body filler duraglass.  It is like a putty and we built out one side.  It was off a lot.  Then we sealed the end of the seals, where they meet, with a black sealant called life seal from boat life.  The guy that helped me repairs boats and this is what he uses on his boat repairs.   I normally would have used black sikaflex but he likes this more. We had a little bit of the green fiberglass showing and we covered it with smoothed out black life seal. It looks good and you really can't tell it from the window seal.  It has been over a year and no leaks but I think time will tell once I get it back on the road and the vibration.  -Jim

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Thanks Jim. Really appreciate that description.
I live here in Victoria BC and we have a lot of boat folks. I'm sure if I need I can find someone to help with this.

For now maybe I will search out some life seal.
Part of the problem as I see it [and as Linda has pointed out many times] is these windows tend to bow with time. Perhaps I was a little hasty in getting them back in before giving them a good chance at straightening out.
My holes seem good, and right. My windows fit with a very acceptable gap, so I don't think it's that.
I plan to pull the one problem one out next week and try again to get it in right.

If it's not one thing.... :)
Always an adventure.

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