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Author Topic: 1992 Four Winds 29' Class C Remodel  (Read 7243 times)

MT4Runner

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1992 Four Winds 29' Class C Remodel
« on: April 17, 2014, 01:32:00 PM »
My previous build was a 1989 UHaul S1954 International 26' box truck converted into a toy hauler "Toterhome".

I was the 3rd owner, UHaul being the first.  2nd Owner had a moving business and I took it from a delivery/moving truck to the toy hauler seen in the following photos.  I built my UHaul Toter starting in 2008, swapped in a 7-speed and took it on four round trips to southern California to play with 4x4's in the desert and all over western Montana and north Idaho for whitewater boating...but mama never loved it. Our family's needs have changed. I don't wheel as much as I used to, and my girls are growing and it's gotten a little cramped all sitting in the cab of the Toter. We do a lot of motorboating and rafting, and the girls are also getting more involved with sports.

The goal is to have a family camper that will be comfortable for the road time as much as in camp. My goal is also to have something mama can also feel confident driving (when I press her into river shuttle duties).

I wanted a Class C because they're a little less obtrusive than big Class A's or any kind of RV trailer when we pull up in a parking lot at a sporting event. Not only do we want the road time comfortable, it will be nice to have something we can pull up at a hockey or volleyball game and have a place to take a break, eat a sandwich, take a nap, etc. between games. We also want passenger and sleeping space for more than 4 so the girls can take friends camping or we can haul some of the team.

MT4Runner

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Re: 1992 Four Winds 29' Class C Remodel
« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2014, 01:42:00 PM »
I found this camper on Craigslist. 1992 Four Winns 29ft motorhome. 27,000 miles, rebuilt transmission, new fridge.

Quote
1992 Ford E350 Four Winds Motorhome 29ft. $6,500

460hp motor.
Less than 30,000 miles.
Completely rebuilt transmission comes with 3 year, 36k mile warranty.
Good tires, A/C, Furnace (squeals), awning, generator all work.

Everything works and runs.

Call or email with questions. Would consider trade possibilities that include guns or reliable vehicles (post 2001 model year).

MT4Runner

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Re: 1992 Four Winds 29' Class C Remodel
« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2014, 01:45:27 PM »
Well...


...



...


That wasn't what it looked like after I took the 5 hour drive to go look at it.

Apparently, the owner had tried to sell it previously, the previous "buyer" didn't give him any money for it and left with the camper. Apparently the "buyer" was a "goth person of ill repute" or was dating a "goth person of ill repute" and said "goth person of ill repute" went to town on the camper with a bucket of black paint and a roller. No, no paintbrush. Cutting in edges was beneath the "goth person of ill repute".

It looked like a goth house of ill repute.

MT4Runner

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Re: 1992 Four Winds 29' Class C Remodel
« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2014, 01:46:33 PM »
But what about those delightful marble countertops, MT4Runner?


Oh! Good eye! Those are sponge painted! The "decorator" didn't bother to mask off the stove or sink.

MT4Runner

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Re: 1992 Four Winds 29' Class C Remodel
« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2014, 02:01:27 PM »
The good news?

The outside is relatively clean, the 460 purrs and runs like a top.  I ran down the road at 72mph and it felt like I was driving an old Continental.  The captains chairs are ugly mauve, but oh-so-comfy!  The new tranny felt great, and it drops into overdrive at about 62mph, so for most roads and hills, it just stayed in OD and ran down the road smooth, and none of that annoying bouncing in and out of OD.

The inside is straight, the paint just looks awful.

So, the plan is to do relatively little to the exterior or mechanically. This is kind of going to be a "pimp my RV" for the interior.  If you have an older RV and want to make it look nice for your wifey, I hope this build gives you some ideas. I also realize that while my needs have changed now, my needs will probably change in the future. I want to build this nice enough that my mods also help this vehicle's resale in the future, and as my better half said, "this better not look like a redneck race rig!"

I will replace all the incandescent light fixtures with LED's and add 12v cigarette lighter plugs and USB plugs throughout.  Gotta charge the kids' toys on the road, and I have to keep my GoPros charged up! I plan to add a medium sized invertor and a flat screen (20-25") TV so the kids can watch movies or play the Wii on the road.

The lounge chair is going bye-bye along with the Altar of the Iron Cross Candles. My original plan was to find a jackknife sofa (RV sofabed) and put it in place of the lounge chair and Altar. I started looking around and they're not easy to find locally. It would add more seating and a bed, but if you have a bunch of people who want to eat, a 2nd dinette would be easy enough for me to fabricate, and would allow for seating and sleeping, as well as another spot for dining.

I hit Google for upholstery remnants and found newtoto.com.  They seem to have a lot of remnant fabric for heavy commercial interiors--transit buses, airline terminals, etc.  Super heavy wear and decent colors.

My mother was a home economics teacher.  She had no daughters, so she taught her two sons to cook and sew. The skills have come in handy again and again!

  • New dinette upholstery--back/bolsters:
  • New dinette upholstery - seat bottom cushions:
  • Existing dinette:
  • Rendering of what I want the dinette to look like:

MT4Runner

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Re: 1992 Four Winds 29' Class C Remodel
« Reply #5 on: April 17, 2014, 02:05:29 PM »
The cab of the van chassis is the nice Ford gray. I plan to color match it with a semi-gloss paint and repaint all the cabinets. They will get new satin or brushed chrome/platinum pulls.

This is a pic I found on the internet...same dash color. My seats are the original taupe color. Color is awful, but DAMN, are the seats comfy!!!


This is kind of the look we're going for in the kitchen:
(http://homedesignlover.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/gray-cabinets-610x250.jpg)


The existing flooring was a combination of glued-down cheapo vinyl tiles from Home Depot, a stapled-down ugly gray entry rug, and the existing mauve carpet in the bedroom.

I went with Allure (hickory) in most of the coach and a nice dark grey berber indoor-outdoor carpet in the bedroom.  Here are renderings how it looked at first and how I wanted it to turn out:

MT4Runner

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Re: 1992 Four Winds 29' Class C Remodel
« Reply #6 on: April 17, 2014, 02:06:30 PM »
Gutted. Lots of stuff for the dump, a little for the garage sale

Found some rot in the overhead floor. At least it's aluminum-framed.

MT4Runner

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Re: 1992 Four Winds 29' Class C Remodel
« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2014, 02:07:15 PM »
Stripped the gross tile and carpet

MT4Runner

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Re: 1992 Four Winds 29' Class C Remodel
« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2014, 02:09:28 PM »
and found a bonus under the fridge!

A previous owner had removed the RV fridge.  I assume it stopped working and they didn't want to spend the $$$$ for a replacement/repair so they went with more batteries/invertor/apartment fridge.

I'm not a serious boondocker.   I don't see myself sitting in one location for 3 weeks.  I'll frequently sit in one place for a weekend, but still have some driving around, and a few hours of EU2000i time isn't a nuisance.   I'm excited about the larger fridge and having the invertor since it can power the TV!

MT4Runner

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Re: 1992 Four Winds 29' Class C Remodel
« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2014, 02:10:07 PM »
The paint is ugly, but the Onan is low-hours!!

MT4Runner

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Re: 1992 Four Winds 29' Class C Remodel
« Reply #10 on: April 17, 2014, 02:11:06 PM »
I'm really excited about how good the Allure looks.  I am a commercial GC by trade, but it did not take a ton of skills to put the click-lock Allure in.

MT4Runner

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Re: 1992 Four Winds 29' Class C Remodel
« Reply #11 on: April 17, 2014, 02:15:57 PM »
I then converted all the interior lights to LED.  I'll have to add photos later.  Instead of the $20/ea bayonet base ones, I bought a couple of strings of LED's from Dealextreme.com and soldered them to the switches in the housings.  I left the bayonet bases hot so I could always add a 18W bulb back in if I needed to either for more light or an LED failure (unlikely).

I got the upholstery fabric delivered about 3 days into the build.  Did I mention that I took my daughters on a 1,400 mile round trip road trip to Moab, Utah for their spring break....only 10 days after taking possession of the motorhome?   ;D

Upholstery fabric is EXPENSIVE, but that newtoto site really had some nice, HEAVY commercial upholstery fabrics. We definitely got our money's worth...this stuff will wear like iron.  Pic of my daughter unrolling the fabric over the indoor-outdoor berber carpet.

MT4Runner

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Re: 1992 Four Winds 29' Class C Remodel
« Reply #12 on: April 17, 2014, 02:17:02 PM »
I precut the carpet for the back bedroom so I could use the scrap from the piece cut under the bed to line the dinettes.

It's just in place loose. I was planning to unscrew the bed and drop the edges under the bed and screw it back down. It looks like the bed was framed in place, then covered with paneling. I will probably end up cutting the carpet tight, then installing a quarter round. The pink "bolster" on the sides covers the water line. I'll pull that later and cover it with the gray carpet.

MT4Runner

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Re: 1992 Four Winds 29' Class C Remodel
« Reply #13 on: April 17, 2014, 02:17:46 PM »
And the long-awaited (ha ha!) 2nd dinette. Framed it with CDX plywood and 1x2's I ripped from the "altar top". Primed with exterior enamel and painted with the same exterior latex I color matched to the cab dash/door panels.

With these in place, I was able to mark, cut, and install the rest of the Allure floor.

MT4Runner

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Re: 1992 Four Winds 29' Class C Remodel
« Reply #14 on: April 17, 2014, 02:18:21 PM »
Interior upholstery panels. Was mauve velour over 1/4" foam, held in place by paneling scraps. Goth Decorator painted them black. Just covering them with scraps of our new fabric.


Found out my stapler is too short. Hopefully a brad nailer holds the paneling backers.

MT4Runner

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Re: 1992 Four Winds 29' Class C Remodel
« Reply #15 on: April 17, 2014, 02:19:17 PM »
Upholstery in progress, cupboards stocked, beds made.

How to sew box corners. Cut fabric, leave seam allowance.

Then you sew the edge.

Refills the fabric so the side seam you just sewed lines up with the top center seam. The edges of the corner notch will line up.

When you sew along those edges, (across the corner of the triangle), turn it right side out and find that you now have a box corner!

MT4Runner

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Re: 1992 Four Winds 29' Class C Remodel
« Reply #16 on: April 17, 2014, 02:20:18 PM »
Took out the ashtray and added 4 cig lighter plugs.

Left two on the radio circuit, right two on the cig lighter circuit. Gotta charge the kids devices and keep them entertained on the road!  The stereo is out of my old 4Runner (hence my username).  The ol' Runner went to the scrapyard in the sky last April.  RIP Big Ugly!

MT4Runner

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Re: 1992 Four Winds 29' Class C Remodel
« Reply #17 on: April 17, 2014, 02:26:31 PM »
Then a bunch of stuff happened really fast over the last two days of the remodel and I didn't take any photos!

Voila, we suddenly arrived in SE Utah.  The first photo is in the Goblin Valley parking lot.  You can't quite see the valences I re-covered with the new upholstery.

My good friend and I took our kids (his 12 year old son and 10 year old daughter and my 10 and 12 year old daughters) and my hiking and climbing in the San Rafael Swell.  Then we drove over to Moab for some mountain biking and more climbing.

Second photo is near the end of Goblin Valley Road where we camped the second night.


The motorhome absolutely met my expectations.  Traveling with 4 kids was downright PLEASANT.  They had room to stretch out, get snacks, go to the bathroom, spill drinks, watch TV, play video games, and before they knew it, we had arrived at our destination.  We boxed up the TV and it became our rolling base camp for a week.  We pulled the TV out of storage for the drive home and repeated the trip with a very pleasant drive back.

MT4Runner

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Re: 1992 Four Winds 29' Class C Remodel
« Reply #18 on: April 17, 2014, 02:27:46 PM »
I could have hauled the bikes in the Toter, we could have done the same hikes and rides and climbs....


....but the trip THERE and BACK was a lot more enjoyable for the kids. They hung out with their friends and never ONCE said:
Can we stop for a break?
I need a drink.
I need to pee.
I am hungry.
Are we there yet?!



My oldest asked me once about 4 hours into the trip down,
"Dad, how long have you been driving?"
"About 4 hours, kiddo"
"Oh, it only felt like an hour!!"

Totally worth it if even for this single trip, but I foresee a lot more adventures upcoming this year and years to come!

MT4Runner

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The Ugly
« Reply #19 on: April 17, 2014, 02:43:41 PM »
So you can't just take a 22 year-old camper on a 1,400 mile road trip without a few hassles.   ;D

The driveline was replaced when the transmission was rebuilt.  Just south of Salt Lake, we had some pretty bad driveline noise.  One of the carrier bearing bolts was loose.  We stopped at the Autozone in Price, UT and bought some Grade 8, 1/2" hardware and bolted it back in.  We had to use the tire jack to lift it back in place to get the bolt in.  As I mentioned, I used to be heavily into 4x4's, so it was really no huge issue for my fellow 4x4 aficionado buddy and I to fix in the parking lot.  It could have meant a tow or a mobile mechanic to the unprepared.
--
Had a split in the polybutylene plumbing supply under the lavatory sink.  Easy fix, but not during the trip.  We're well used to tent and dry camping, so we just didn't use the fresh water system and filled our wash pans from the spigot outside.  We had carried separate jugs of drinking water anyway for our water bottles and cooking.
--
We also noticed that the invertor wasn't seeing much power.  After 10 hours of driving, the coach batteries were only at 12.3 Volts.  This began a lengthy investigation process that I only solved last night.  Our first step was to get the batteries charged and tested.  There were 2 Kirklands and one Interstate.  While we were fixing the driveline, the batteries were charging at Autozone.  We found out the Interstate was dead and recycled it there.  The Kirklands were good.

We drove to Goblin Valley, hiked Ding and Dang canyons, then on into Moab.  The batteries still weren't fully charged.  After hiking to the Windows and Double Arch, the kids were grabbing lunch and my friend and I started investigating more.  We saw that from the contactor switch on the driver's side firewall, there were a couple of 12ga wires that were cobbled together with self-resetting circuit breakers.  That was the only feed to the batteries.  We removed the 12ga wires and connected the 8ga feeder directly to the contactor.  We now had 14.8v at the starter battery and 13.8v back to the charger/convertor/distribution panel under the bed.

The bad news is that there was only 12.8v to the coach batteries.  Enough for now, but I promised myself to investigate further after the trip.

When I got home, I started chasing cables.  There was an 8ga + cable from the contactor to the charger/convertor.  There was an 8ga cable from the contactor to the passenger side battery under the hood.  Duh.  I thought I had 2 starter batteries and three coach batteries (now minus the Interstate).  Turns out I actually bought the rig with 1 starter battery and four coach batteries.  Minus the Interstate, I still had 3 coach batteries--one under the passenger side hood, and two in the box under the passenger dinette.

There were 8ga + and - cables from the pair of coach batteries to the invertor, and there were 8ga + and - cables from the pair of coach batteries to the underhood coach battery.



Here's where it gets strange and where all my voltage drop came from.  In Thor's infinite wisdom, they apparently built the coach with no ground conductors.  The passenger side coach battery was grounded only to the inside of the radiator support next to it.  That was grounded to a similar ground cable on the starter battery.  That's it.  ::)

The entire coach ground consisted of an 8ga cable from the charger/convertor to the steel plate on the bottom of the coach floor.   :P


I added a 6ga cable from the alternator to the underhood coach battery (where the existing 8ga cable would carry the ground back to the pair of coach batteries) and added another 6ga cable from the charger-convertor to the pair of coach batteries.  Now I have a continuous ground path with CABLES connecting the coach body, the charger-convertor, the under-dinette coach batteries, the under-hood coach battery, the alternator, and the chassis body.   8)

With the engine running, alternator voltage is 14.85V, charger-convertor voltage is 14.83V, and coach battery voltage is 14.83V.   8)

If you're having charging issues, it might be your batteries, it might be not enough alternator, it might be an antiquated unregulated transformer charger/convertor...or the issue might be MUCH simpler.  Check your ground path!

MT4Runner

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Re: 1992 Four Winds 29' Class C Remodel
« Reply #20 on: March 25, 2015, 12:01:27 PM »
Built the 2nd dinette table, painted a chalkboard on the fridge wall for the kids, painted over the ugly faux granite in the galley, converted all the lights to LED, added cabinets and painted the bathroom, and finished the floor transition at the entry step.

Sam!

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Re: 1992 Four Winds 29' Class C Remodel
« Reply #21 on: March 25, 2015, 01:07:08 PM »
Nice work and looking very cool! is this coming to a full year so far?

thanks for sharing the progress!
1997 Serro Scotty 25' Diesel Cummins 4x4
2005 Dodge Ram 3500 Diesel SRW
2000 Tacoma Dezert trux
San Diegan

MT4Runner

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Re: 1992 Four Winds 29' Class C Remodel
« Reply #22 on: March 25, 2015, 02:19:32 PM »
Thanks!  All my renovation has been confined to 1.5 weeks last March and 2 weeks this March.  It just gets used all summer!

One year of ownership as of St. Patrick's day!

 

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