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Author Topic: Disassembling "canned ham" type camper for water damage repair  (Read 369 times)

oakback

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I just knowingly bought a camper with water damage, with the intent to repair/renovate. I have a good set of supporting skills and tools, but no direct experience working on campers. At the moment I'm ready to dig in, start removing everything, cataloging and cleaning parts, prioritizing repairs, etc.

The outer metal skin all appears to be in good condition, no damage that I can see. I don't feel any soft spots in the floor, and the trailer frame is solid (just surface rust) with good tires, bearings, and suspension. My question is, knowing that there is damage and rot in the roof and walls, should I start from the inside and work my way out? Removing the furniture pieces, wall panels, then work on the studs. Or start by removing the outer metal skin and work my way in, repairing/replacing the stud/wall structure, then do interior work?

If there's a good book or one-stop resource online covering rebuilding one of these, recommendations are appreciated. I've looked online and, so far, I've seen it done different ways on a variety of construction types (fiberglass, metal, etc.), so I'm not sure what's best for my application.

a few pics are here
« Last Edit: July 25, 2017, 03:52:52 PM by oakback »

Gods Country

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Re: Disassembling "canned ham" type camper for water damage repair
« Reply #1 on: July 25, 2017, 03:39:22 PM »
Sort of a chicken and egg question. I suppose if you are certain that the interior is in good shape you will save yourself a lot of work by avoiding tearing apart the inside. If you can confirm there is damage to the inside from working the outside first then I don't think you will lose anything, and may be a good approach.  Obviously you do not want to find out after a lot of work that the floor is damaged.  I have my doubts that the floor doesn't need replacing at least locally.

If there is interior damage that will require some major removal of walls and cabinets, etc. I would probably start  gutting the inside first and see what surprises are lurking and move on from there. The exterior is for the most part pretty straight forward.

Good luck and keep us apprised.


Rene T

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Re: Disassembling "canned ham" type camper for water damage repair
« Reply #2 on: July 25, 2017, 03:41:34 PM »
Oldie but goodie camper. We only saw one picture.
Rene & Lucille & co-pilot Buddy
AKA  Pep N Mem
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From the Granite State of NH
& Florida Snowbird in Lakeland FL

oakback

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Re: Disassembling "canned ham" type camper for water damage repair
« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2017, 04:01:43 PM »
Sort of a chicken and egg question. I suppose if you are certain that the interior is in good shape you will save yourself a lot of work by avoiding tearing apart the inside. If you can confirm there is damage to the inside from working the outside first then I don't think you will lose anything, and may be a good approach.  Obviously you do not want to find out after a lot of work that the floor is damaged.  I have my doubts that the floor doesn't need replacing at least locally.

If there is interior damage that will require some major removal of walls and cabinets, etc. I would probably start  gutting the inside first and see what surprises are lurking and move on from there. The exterior is for the most part pretty straight forward.

Good luck and keep us apprised.
Oh, I have little confidence that the interior is undamaged, I just haven't found it yet. Plus we were thinking of taking out the teeny tiny "bathroom" and doing something else in that space, so I suppose we'll start inside. Thanks!

Oldie but goodie camper. We only saw one picture.
Oops, I edited the link.

regval

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Re: Disassembling "canned ham" type camper for water damage repair
« Reply #4 on: July 25, 2017, 05:01:11 PM »
Here's my 2 cents:
I think you'll find this camper is wood framed using 2x4 and 2x2 members, not much fiberglass.
If you have a way of protecting it from the weather while working on it, my suggestion is to expose all the walls. If that's not feasible, then do a section at a time and tarp it off if the weather gets bad.

The front and rear caps are usually one piece of sheet metal secured with screws that are hidden under the trim channels (corner beads). You'll have to remove the windows and other attached components (lights, compartment covers, etc) to allow the external skins to pull back and/or completely remove them, typically starting at the roof line seams. Even if you don't pull the skins completely off, you should be able to readily see if there is any severe damage.

Side walls are similar but may be in two or more long sheets that run the length of the trailer. Just remove the edge seam screws to lift the sheet metal.
Once you've visually inspected the walls from the outside, you can then make an informed decision on whether the internal components (cabinets, et.) need removal to access areas of damage and if it's economical to proceed. If you're lucky, you may only have to do section repairs if the wood framing is mostly intact. I've worked on some old trailers where repairs could be done to the walls without completely re-framing and others required complete wall re-construction. Just common sense and some elbow grease....and money. Don't forget the money. :)

Good Luck
2005 Forest River TT 27BHSS and 2009 Heartland Sundance 2998RB 5vr
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FLMikeG

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Re: Disassembling "canned ham" type camper for water damage repair
« Reply #5 on: July 25, 2017, 06:51:38 PM »
Nice! An oldie and a goodie. Well worth saving. Keep us posted on the progress.  :)
2000 Ford F-150 Supercab XLT, V8
1983 Sunline 16' Custom Caravan

blw2

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Re: Disassembling "canned ham" type camper for water damage repair
« Reply #6 on: July 26, 2017, 09:08:23 AM »
My understanding is that these things are mostly built inside to out, so working outside to in probably makes the most sense in most cases...but depending on what and where when looking at specifics might drive that too...

Not that I'm an RV repair expert...but my mind is working along the same lines as regval.  Put it in a barn if you can, and pull the siding off.  Probably the roof membrane too.

My suggestion....get very familiar with eternabond products.  Not just their rv repair tape, but the also have the web seal and double stick that will be helpful when time comes to seal up under those corner trims.  They have good data sheets, instructions, and I believe videos posted up on their site.

should be a fun project if you have time and money!
Brad (DW + 3 kids)
13 Thor Chateau 31L Class C on Ford E-450
'06 Silverado
'05 Rockwood Freedom 1910 (5-1/2 years)
former tent campers

oakback

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Re: Disassembling "canned ham" type camper for water damage repair
« Reply #7 on: July 26, 2017, 11:04:26 AM »
Thanks for the replies, I'll bookmark eternabond's site.

I have a 3-car carport attached to my house, it protects from all but driving rain from one direction (a tarp can handle that easily). I'm in the process of selling a motorcycle and organizing the area, then I can roll the Phoenix in there.

Tom Hoffman

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Re: Disassembling "canned ham" type camper for water damage repair
« Reply #8 on: July 26, 2017, 12:57:07 PM »
Just adopt a boat restorers mantra, TATAI  "throw another thousand at it!"  and some day it will be done. 

The nice thing is you can eventually tell your self you saved sooo much money doing it this way. ;D

Wife said to me. "What cha doin' today?"  "Nothin'" says I.  "Ya did that yestiday!" Says she.  "I didn't get done!" says I

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oakback

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Re: Disassembling "canned ham" type camper for water damage repair
« Reply #9 on: July 26, 2017, 12:59:57 PM »
I plan on documenting the whole process, but EXCLUDING a running total of how much I spend. I've done that before for other projects, and honestly I never like looking at that spreadsheet.

DWJoyce

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Re: Disassembling "canned ham" type camper for water damage repair
« Reply #10 on: July 26, 2017, 09:40:31 PM »
Agree with the other posts, take the siding off and if the frame is repairable, fix it. If much of the frame is damaged and/or rotted, measure everything and rebuild the frame and roof sections on a level floor from scratch. It's easy to lay down some luan, then glue and screw the frame members together on top of it.

Waterproof all the frame wood with 3:1 Marine Spar and Mineral Spirits, then put your camper back together. Instead of bending wood for the tight roof curves, consider using galvanized a/c ducting. Just make sure insulation is between it and the aluminum siding so they don't touch.

There's plenty of new technology you can throw at your old camper, so you can make it better than new! Hard to beat the joints between the siding panels, but glues and sealants are way better than they used to be. Then there's low-power LED lighting, etc...

Have fun with your project!

 

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