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7 hours ago, Bob the Builder said:

WME, thanks for the input. Since I have now a little extra headroom, I was considering this approach: 2" strips of plywood on 24" centers, glued across the ceiling with the 3M marine glue/sealant and braced up from the floor. Then when solid, and leaving the braces, fiberglassing around the strips to give them the permanent arch and the additional strength of the fiberglass on the sides. Then in between, I can glue my 1/2" styrofoam and then have a strips to fasten my finishing ceiling panels. I can put small tubing for wiring across to the center for lighting where needed. I don't think that the width of the plywood strips matters as much as having the fiberglass on the sides. What do you think?

This is the ugly way but gives you more head room. Put a curved 1x1 metal beam on the out side and bolt through the roof to a 1/8x1" strap. this will spread the load and pull the roof into the curved piece on the outside.

I think that factory was curved ply beams glassed to the roof and covered in carpet. Linda would know for sure how it was done.

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Thanks for the input WME, but from the profile I see on the top surface of my roof and given that I can barely force it up any from the inside, I don't think I have any sag. I'm going to go with just some reinforcement spanning the ceiling. The thought of putting more holes in it makes me cringe!

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  • 2 months later...

It has been a few months since my last post on the project. Have been working on getting the large holes not needed in the shell filled in and somewhat finished on the outside, closing in the front a bit, figuring the ac location and mount position, making a floor layout on the inside of where the crossbeams are located under the floor, where the black and grey water tanks will be located in reference to crossbeams, and where the shower pan/drain will be. I just put the shell back down onto it's "baby" wheels in preparation to move it into the garage for the winter. Hoping to continue working on it thru the winter instead of just putzing on small stuff. I'm just going to post a few pics of this stuff unless someone wants more explanation.

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Edited by Bob the Builder
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  • 2 weeks later...

Hey Bob - do you still have your black water tank around?  I'm stumped on how to pull the toilet pipe up into the coach out of the tank, and wondering if you removed your tank you might be able to help me with mine. There's a metal ring at the tank juncture that's riveted on and I'm hoping that's just a rubber seal, vs me needing to cut those off, etc. Thanks in advance!

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There are 4 thick rivet-looking fasteners on it.  Are you saying use the fasteners to spin the seal?

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Don't know what those rivets look like. Just searching what others have done in the past. Most have just cut that flange off but at least a couple said they unscrewed theirs. This is a good pic of one from a 1980 Sunrader. Does it look like yours?

 

Also I emailed Toyoguy and asked if he could jump in and let us know how he got his out. We'll see what he says

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Hey Idaho Doug / All,

Doug, my flange was (sort of) held on by 4 stripped screws that went through the toilet flange-lip into the fiberglass bathroom floor.  (I can't see yours, but it sounds like they tried to solve the stripped-screw problem by using rivits with backing washers) My process for removing rivits is to use an appropriate-size drill bit* and drill the centers out. * One that will just cut off the head of the rivit.

Here's some pix of my old assembly in the raw. The rubber gasket is tucked into the opening in the BW tank. (I'd re-seal as needed) As you can see in the photos , there are slotted holes for T-bolts in common house installation, so I think that's where someone threw out the explanation "unscrew it". Toggle bolts just twist, then they release. Because the fiberglass on my rig was about 1/8" thick, I used MG plywood to reinforce the bottom from underneath the FG, but my whole bath was out and on saw horses.  I would consider gluing something under the fiberglass that the flange attaches to, to better hold screws or rivits whichever you end up using to hold the flange down. Hope this helps,

BR, TG

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Bob,

 

For clarity, my toilet flange is loose up at the bathroom floor and you are discussing it as if you think that's where my BW pipe is stuck.   My problem appears to be is where the black pipe connects at the BW tank - that's where there is a collar of some sort with 4 "rivet looking" items on it and the pipe is stuck there at the tank and won't release. I'm fairly certain what's preventing me pulling the BW pipe up from the tank is that collar and in your photo (thanks), it looks like you instead have an elaborate multi-layer seal of some sort at the tank.  It looks like it was simply a friction fit seal with no fasteners?  The seal also looks like it has a lip that is much large in diameter than the hold in the BW tank.  How the heck did you get that out of the BW tank?

 

By contrast, my BW pipe has no visible seal as it enters the tank.  It's just plain pipe that enters the tank with a bit of sealant smeared there.  

 

Am I perchance getting it wrong and that seal laying on your BW tank was actually up at the bathroom floor?  Perhaps you could outline where it was and how your pipe sealed at the BW tank?  Thanks in advance.

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Thanks, Linda. Yeah, that's what I expected to be down at the tank as it would be a typical friction fit at the tank like household stuff, but instead it's got 4 rivet-like round headed metal buttons and a thin ring at the tank.  No rubber sealing lips visible at all - the pipe simply comes to the tank with no visible seal.  So, something's different with mine. It's not a simple friction fit like I expected. That seal Linda posts is what I'll use when I get this dang pipe pulled out.

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Update.  Went out to take pics. So this morning with the light of day I could see there actually IS a ring up under the floor holding the drain. Last night I looked with a flashlight from above through the gaps in the heavy toilet ring and could see only pipe.  However, now I can see a long ways deeper down several inches is a ring - that huge gap accounts or not only the bath floor, but also the plywood spacer under it, and the thickness of the floor. So, now I have to drop the BW tank to release it.  I'd assumed* the holding issue was the tank, so in my mind I couldn't even drop the tank to solve the issue.  

 

Not the end of the world as I've heard it's wise to inspect the straps for rust anyhow.  With only 32k on my Sunrader, they look good but I'll take the time to sand and repaint them for the future.  So, looks like it's resolved - thanks for staying with me in all the turns and twists.

 

 

Never assume........

Edited by IdahoDoug
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Hey IdahoDoug,

After you get the Black tank thing solved.....

 

My rig was an 18' and, before I removed it entirely, I stored the bathroom shell up in the upper sleeping overhead while I did the floor. It worked OK to get it out of my way. 

 

I do believe that the bathroom shells were dropped in before attaching the top "clamshell" of the coach.  I got mine out, but I had to remove the entire floor and both rear lateral braces that Sunrader welded in/installed to lift the rear frame and slide the bath-shell out under the rear bodt/frame. I tried everything else, including removing the front seats and doors.

 

Dedication or insanity, I've been accused of both.

BR,

TG

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Oh, that's great to know I may fit it up in the bunk.  And as you clearly know, dedication and insanity are only separated by a few degrees.  Many of my projects over the decades have been head shakers for my buddies and family but they always seem to turn out extremely well.  I hope for the same result here!

 

Will get on it later this evening.

 

PS this just reminded me to go shoot Liquid Wrench on those 40 year old undisturbed bolts.  Happily, this girl lived in a dry climate and at 32k, every fastener so far has come off without drama.  Aaaaaaaannnnnd with that - I've completely jinxed the entire project!

Edited by IdahoDoug
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  • 1 month later...

OK. So it's been quite some time since posting any progress on the build. Other things to do and a recent trip to "Turkey Run" in Daytona for a week have kept me away from the computer except just checking in now & then.

     With the "baby wheels" on the camper, I was able to skinny it into my garage for the winter. I blocked it up high enough to be able to work under it easily and have installed the black and grey water tanks. They sit between the frame rails, pretty much in the center. The black water tank (10 gal) between the rear and the first cross member and the larger (14 gal) grey water tank sits between the second and third cross member right behind the axle. Due to my layout inside for the commode, shower and such, my dumps will be on the right or rear facing. I do not plan on being hooked up at a camp site, just doing a "drive by" when needed. I have marked the locations of all cross members, frame rails, etc. on the floor above so that I know what I have to clear for my commode, shower, sink and vent holes. I have made a wood mount for my hot water heater which will sit just forward of the shower wall and on top of the rear part of the wheel well.

     My 43" refrigerator will sit on another wooden mount on the other wheel well in front of the door. Since I mounted my a/c between the trailer uprights at the front bulkhead, the space above the fridge will house the power supply. The battery will sit on the front of the r/side wheel well and that will help balance out the fresh water tank just inside the l/side wheel well. My rationale is that the 10gal water heater and refrigerator weigh almost exactly the same, the black & grey tanks are in the middle, and the battery (AGM)/electrical is opposite the fresh water and will help balance also. I know that the water will still weigh quite a bit more, but it is on the high side of the road. All of this weight, is placed from a point 1 ft in front of the axle going toward the rear.

     I also mounted two matching #5000 jacks (one each side) on the front of the frame with a common crossbar that I can pull the pin on to raise or lower each side independently for leveling the front after they are cranked down. I will post some pics of the progress so far, and in them you will see some pink styrofoam which I am going to use for walls, etc. I think that this could possibly open a "can of worms" in build philosophy, but I'll get into that later.

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I like the foamular.  I am using the exact same 1" version you are.  Would like to find it in 3/4" size but have not been able to.

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I can't find any 3/4 either, Doug. You probably won't believe what all I'm doing with it. I'll post some hints. Your build is moving along rapidly. I'm now into the tedious stuff.

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AHA!  Yes, I totally WOULD believe what you are going to do with it as I considered this route as well.  I'll just say you chose the right foam for the job, and I look forward to you shedding more "light" on what you're doing. Pun intended.

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     I'm going to preface this next post with a little bit of history and the main reasons behind the build. My wife and I are in our seventies and have been going to car shows for a very long time. Most have been close enough to do in a day or over a weekend, and we stayed in motels. When we retired, we wanted to branch out and see some of the USA and attend car shows around the country. I built a little Hi-Lo style camper that I could pull behind our 36 Ford and we branched out a bit. (My wife has a hard time being comfortable in motels if you know what I mean). The little camper was easy to tow, and suited us well for a while. A couple of my wife's girl friends showed her a picture of a 60's Chevy pu pulling an old "canned ham" style camper, and knowing "Bob's" hobby, told her: "this is what you guys should build". Sounded like a challenge to "Bob" and I told my wife we could do something like that. As we are both starting to feel old age, I told her we wanted something we could just stop for the night without setting up and it had to be really light so that our hot rod, (whatever it might be at the time) could pull fairly easily.

     I immediately started researching for where to start and because of the water leakage problems with a lot of the conventional built campers I settled on the fiberglass shell style. Looked at Scamp, etc. for a while then saw a picture of a Sunrader. Bingo! "Bob's" mind instantly turned that shell with the cab overhang into a gooseneck trailer. Now I know here is where I get a little crossways with the purists, and believe me I understand wanting to restore something just because of what it is. But I needed something I could pull, park it, and then drive to the shows. We also wanted something self-contained to a degree so we could stop anywhere and stay for the night or for a week, whatever.

     So my mind was basically made up except for finding the truck. I lucked out finding the 1938 Diamond T pu in Pennsylvania. "Bob" kept telling my wife that it had "the look". The package was now complete. All I had to do was find a Sunrader shell and build both. Went to southern Indiana to look at two different Sunraders on the same day. They were also located in the same little town! Fate maybe? Made a deal and the rest is or will be history hopefully.

     So now to the meat of it. I liked everything about the Sunrader shell. The shape was a natural for a gooseneck. Pretty much waterproof if built right. Plenty of room for what we wanted. But in reading about them, wow the weight! How much of that is the stuff inside, and can any of it be made lighter. After a lot, and I really mean a LOT of research and chasing down rabbit holes, I decided the course I would take. With a careful eye on everything we would put inside, I would build the bulk of the interior out of, (wait for it), Fiberglass reinforced styrofoam! I know, I just opened a can of worms. I searched through everything I could find about it. Foamies, painted screen on styrofoam, canvas and Elmers Glue, etc. I am convinced I can build most of the walls and cabinets out of this medium and have it structurally sound, practical, look decent, and all of it weigh less than 50lbs. I'm sure plenty of discussion will follow and I've rambled enough. I will post some pics to start this stage in the build.

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Well, seeing as we have all already made our peace with the fact that you're cutting up a Sunrader and making into a trailer, I think it's FAR more fun and cool that you're also going to take the gloves off with the project and try for a foam construction technique.  Bravo! And hey, if you get your keister in gear,  I will begin building out my interior from scratch in about 30 days, so I'll learn lessons about potentially following you - at least for part of my interior.  

 

This would be a good time for me to tell you I am tantilizingly close to finding a source of 3/4 Foamular and would be happy to enlarge my order, or give you the folks to speak with.  I've been going round and round with Owens Corning HQ folks and have written a letter to the President of Insulation at Owens Corning if the folks can't make it happen.  It's going in the mail tomorrow as I want to hedge my bets.  And time is of the essence.

 

I'll leave you with  this one interesting tip with foam.  I have messed about in boats all my life. With the balsa cored sailboats it was always an issue that railings and other fittings work loose because the screws pulled through the wimpy core.  So  fix was developed that may serve you.  Remove the pulled out screw.  Drill a hole a half inch in diameter (or size appropriate) in its place but obviously stop before you punch out the other side of the deck, etc.  Pour resin in this hole and let it harden.  Now drill a fresh hole there and it will hold a screw very well.  It also prevents "crushing" where a balsa cored part has fasteners on each side - the hard resin takes the clamping force just fine.  And somewhere here on the forum, I just learned that some resins (epoxy?) will work fine with the foamular, whereas others will dissolve it.

 

I am currently installing foamular in my newly braced roof and purchased a hot knife from Harbor Freight ($30) that is working great. No piles of dust, etc.  However it's not a nice square edge for bonding like you'll need.  Bread knife?  Electric meat knife?

 

After much research on glues, I grudgingly gave up on 3M's wonderful HD contact aerosol solution (90) as it dissolved the foam.  I am using Loctite's 3X MAXX glue and it's working great and can handle cold application temps and later will not let go in a hot AZ vehicle interior like many glues do.  Most people do not realize that even powerful glues are not meant for a car interior which can hit 170 F.  This Loctite can handle 210 which will melt an interior, so a good choice at $8 a tube at Home Depot all day long

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Balsa Core screw failure and anti crush. Drill a 5/8 hole and epoxy in a proper length 5/8 hardwood dowel.

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Excellent WME! Good thing I can refer back to these tidbits as I go along. My memory is not so sharp any more. (neither is "Bob's", but he won't admit it). Doug, thanks very much for thinking about me but I won't be needing the 3/4" foam, My windows have only 1/2" wood stripping between the frames on the inside. I'm going with the 1/2" foam and by the time I finalize the interior trim panels, (1/16 - 1/8), there should be enough clamping tension in the frame.

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Are you saying you only have 1/2 inches of room between the inner window flanges and the outer wall, in which to install the paneling and the insulation?

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Correct, ID. Inside of outer wall to flange has 1/2" wood strips still in it on the windows still mounted in the shell. Just measured one of the big side window frames again, (sometimes "Bob" makes mistakes). Flange to flange inside is 7/8". I've put in an awful lot of these style windows, sunroofs, etc. in my day, Mine is an '82' model, same yr as yours and that is the spacing. No way will I get the outer wall thickness, 3/4" styrofoam, sealant and any inner panel thickness without severely warping the inner flange.

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Well thanks for alerting me.  I'd done some crude measurements of the space back there simply by poking a ruler through pipe openings.  But you may have saved me an expensive mistake if it's 1/2" as both the panel and the outside wall certainly can bow and exaggerate that measurement.  I will pull one of my window frames and confirm, and thanks to you I have the feeling I won't have 10 sheets of 3/4 Foamular I cannot use!

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Doug, your interior layout is different than mine, and I believe some of your window sizes are different also. Don't know if different windows translates into different thickness. I measured again the existing wood still in the frames that haven't been removed yet and it is 1/2". To be sure, you have to find out for sure what your are, but just sayin'. On gluing the foamular together, I'm using Gorilla Glue heavy duty construction adhesive and if gluing an insert into the foamular, using Gorilla Glue itself. The Gorilla Glue expands in case there is voids created in the holes, the construction adhesive doesn't. A lot of testing on the net on what works best with this method of construction. I'll expand on the cloth and resin as I go along. You can see in the pics, how strong an open sided sample "box" is and that is one layer of 2.5oz cloth and epoxy inside and out. Imagine if it was a cabinet with a shelf or two and the back side foam also. I have sat upon that "box" many times with my feet up to demonstrate and I'm 185+/-.

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Thanks for the caution that mine may be different.  Once I have the ceiling insulated, just a few days from now, I'll be pulling a wall panel off for the first time and confirming measurements.

 

I can't believe how strong that foam lamination is.  Pretty cool and the lightness factor is off the scale.  Wiring will be a snap - just punch a hole where you need it. Looking forward to seeing what you're going to end up designing.

 

I'm using Loctite PL Max which cures at temps as low as 19 degrees IIRC.  I need that as I'm in N. Idaho working outside and I'm also looking for incredible strength to make the entire roof stronger yet.  As to voids, I'm laying it down thick (nearly an entire tube per 8" wide piece!) to account for undulations.  However the roof skin is quite uniform, having been pushed into the shape of the gently curved beams - which eliminated a lot of wobbling in the skin as I found it.  So, confident I'm getting broad coverage up there.  For the bottom of the insulation, I bought a serrated trowel and I'm planning to spread the Loctite on 100% of the 1/8" mahogany 4x8 sheets I'm glueing up.  So, I should have some serious additional roof strength.  Essentially compared to your foam laminate, I have a FAR stronger top laminate (3/16 glas mat), and the 1/8 mahogany panel is high quality and perhaps compare to your fiberglass in resisting flex.  So, I'm hoping when I step on the roof between the beams, I'll hardly notice any deflection. Post up some pictures, Bob!  Ciao!

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