How bad am I screwed? 1982 Fleetwood Prowler 16 ft.

The friendliest place on the web for anyone with an RV or an interest in RVing!
If you have answers, please help by responding to the unanswered posts.

Isaac-1

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 3, 2016
Posts
5,016
Location
SW Louisiana
What you really need to ask yourself is what will you have when you are done, and would you be better off starting with something with better bones, or even doing something completely different.
 

jackiemac

Site Team
Joined
Feb 22, 2016
Posts
6,351
Location
Scotland
Is there a thread about this that you are aware of is so we will know what an overhaul looks like?
Hi and welcome to the forum.

Below is a link to a relatively new member's experience renovating his RV. Hopefully it will help!


Please ask anything you need to. Plenty of helpful members to give advice.
 

SeilerBird

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 25, 2012
Posts
16,168
Location
St Cloud Florida USA
Seiler Bird,. I am a new member and need to ask you a question. Why do you have a negative attitude, the op is asking for help and you give nothing but negative talk. George
Because I am not going to blow smoke up her butt and congratulate her on a fabulous investment. Old RVs are all money pits. But beginners look at how great the interior looks but have no idea how much time and money they will have to sink into it just to get it to the point of being a functional RV.

We get at least one of these people every few weeks and they always brag about what a bargain they found and all the fabulous plans they have for using their
RV. Then after a few weeks they seem to disappear. In all the years I have been here I have never seen anyone even come close to finishing their project. Look at the one photo she posted. That is a total disaster. There are quite a few layers on the floor and they are all bad. Really really really bad. I always hate to be the bearer of bad news but someone has to tell her.

The title of this thread is "How bad am I screwed?" Well I told her how bad she got screwed but she doesn't want to listen to me. Usually when newbys come here they are bragging about what a great deal they found and are surprised that no one is congratulating on their discovery. I am trying to keep them from investing a bunch of money into a project that will never be completed.

Get back to me in two months and show me the progress. I would love to be shown I am wrong about this. But she admits that they are planning on this with a very small budget.
 

secondchances

Member
Joined
Sep 21, 2021
Posts
21
Location
Georgia
I see have gotten a ton of replies and want to thank each and everyone of you that chimed in. It is extremely helpful even if some posts are no completely encouraging!

To be clear, I don't think we got a great deal on this at all, in fact, I think paid way too much for it. If I knew what I knew now, it would have been a hard pass!

It is our fault for not thinking to look underneath and we knew there was a leak but thought it was in a pipe that could be easily fixed and that actually was because we found it while looking it over. We just did not know the extent of the damage until we got it home and started poking around and literally poking our fingers through the walls.

The correct way to repair it is to start on the outside and carefully remove the aluminum siding. The bottom layer will have staples underneath but then it will all come off in order. The metal was the last thing to go on at the factory and once it's off you'll be able to see the rot and you'll have access to the sill plates and rim joists which will need replacing. You can do it from the inside, and many people do, but I'd say its more work. If it was easier that way then the factory would assemble it that way.

I have watched a lot of gutting vids on youtube for working from the outside and some people said they have gutted from inside with no issues. I mentioned this to my husband and he is aware of how they are built. Is it possible to guy from the inside at all being that we are not remodeling it for for travel at all but to have a stationary shelter?

Also if just a portion of the main floor is rotten, can we just get away with replacing that section as Mark sais?
 

secondchances

Member
Joined
Sep 21, 2021
Posts
21
Location
Georgia
As the Father of a special needs son(now an adult), I can sympathize with you wanting a place for your son, that he can consider ‘his own’. Does your son really like the TT?
Sure, it may not ‘make financial sense’ to re build it, but if this gives your son some joy, and comfort, and if he is able to pitch in on some of the labor, that’s a plus all around.
He just turned 28 this month. He is not very skillful but able to pitch in. I actually rescued him from an abandoned trailer with no electricity and with a huge hole in the side of it. This is a step up for him. He really likes and enjoys being it more than he does inside with us, as disgusting as it is.
 

steveblonde

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 8, 2015
Posts
3,972
Location
calgary alberta
Trailers are very very basic. My dad ran the Scamper/Skipper plant in the late 70s so i grew up with them. You seem to have bought a project, and while its not a very good investment its not the end of the world, keep it simple and dont overthink things and im sure you will be okay, watch your spending as it can run away from you, keep your eyes open for sales.
Good luck your heart is in the right place even if the wallet isnt lol. Make the most of it and use it as a bonding educational experience.
 

JayArr

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 13, 2020
Posts
592
Location
Mission British Columbia Canada
What I did is remove all of the interior walls but none of the framing. This allowed me to measure out how the framing worked. You'll begin to see how the panels were pre-made and assembled. I was able to draw plans of the various panels. The panels seemed to be built in four or eight foot sections which makes sense because of common lumber sizes.

I built new panels in my wood shop, they were basically 2x2 frames with thin veneer paneling attached. I added vapor barrier between the paneling and framing that wasn't there before and I pre primed and painted the first coat. I paid special attention to wrapping the corner framing so that any water that got past the aluminum wouldn't get to the wood.

I went out an in one day in December and I removed the aluminum siding. The old panels are held together with about six long screws each where they join together but you can only get to them from the outside. I pulled the screws and all the old panels came off, I had to repair the floor joists, rim boards and floor sheathing then drill holes in the new panels for wiring and then the new panels mounted onto the repaired floor, screwed back together at the seams. Then I insulated from the outside, added Tyvek wrap to help keep water out in the future, and then I put the aluminum back on. All in one day! It was about a 16 hour day but I didn't want to leave the trailer open. It started to rain about 3:00PM and I finished soaking wet around 10:30PM.

From there I spent time on the seams of the aluminum on the corners and installed new trim with sealing tape and new butyl tape. I re-installed the front window by cutting out the hole etc, I put all the lights back on and then I went inside and finished painting, and trimwork to finish it off.

If you look at the photo the bottom panel is from the seam below the window down to the frame. The center panel is from the seam up to the top of the photo and there was a third panel above that. I also repaired the side walls in about a foot from the corners, you can see the trim pieces showing where I stopped. The bed and headboard was another 30-40 hours. The front photo shows all the siding replaced as it was from the factory and the window and shade all replaced like new. The corner trim pieces were replaced with new since they were bent, twisted and unreliable after removal.

I only did the front wall of my trailer and while I did the panel replacement in a day the entire project took months of nights and weekends. I basically started in the fall after our last weekend in October and finished the bed in April and I worked on it three out of four weeknds each month. If you want to completely gut yours and start over I'd say you'll need a year or a bucket of $$
 

Attachments

  • P3210001.JPG
    P3210001.JPG
    99.6 KB · Views: 2
  • P9060012.JPG
    P9060012.JPG
    123.9 KB · Views: 2

Mark_K5LXP

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 17, 2018
Posts
1,479
Location
Albuquerque, NM
The OP called it delamination but it was a total rebuild of a window wall - filon, insulation, window, framing, interior luan. A "project" by any definition. And well done I would add.

Mark B.
Albuquerque, NM
 

secondchances

Member
Joined
Sep 21, 2021
Posts
21
Location
Georgia
Fixing delamination is not the same thing as a total rebuild.
We are not rebuilding the whole thing, but did plan to gut most of it because I thought that may be necessary. Now that I read the post Mark shared, I think we can go a similar route by just replacing the really bad sections. It really looks like only two wall areas need new framing, luan or plywood and that is the area behind the kitchen cabinets and the entire back wall because I don't even know what the heck is going on there. I guess we will know more when we get in there.

Or and I am not sure this will work, but what might be easier is to remove the bottom portion of the walls that are in good shape, just to access any damage to the floor that needs to be cut out and replace in sections like with breadboard and chair rail.

Plans for the roof are to remove the AC and cover with some kinda of metal (my husband knows what this is, get rid of the vents the same way, except for the bathroom vent and replace with a fan. We can caulk and tarp for the winter and replace the roof next summer with the big rubber piece or something suitable.

Once we are done, there will be a single piece of cabinetry for the kitchen. The rest of the storage will be in the form of open shelves that are easy to remove and or cheap Ikea bookshelves. Because remember, this is not ever going to be a travel trailer again, it's traveling days are over.

Anyhoo, I have attached a picture of a similar concept kitchen that I have in mind built with 2x4s and some plywood. He will have a microwave and air fryer for cooking, all electric. There will be no propane anything in this camper. Some of the lights will be replaced with battery operated LEDs.

Those are just some of the ideas so far to make this cost effective.

I also may have forgotten to mention that is paying $500 per month for rent, a portion of that is going to reimburse us for all of our expenses, the other to cover the increase in electric and water being that he is hooked up to ours.

I think I will make separate posts for wall, floor, wiring, plumbing, etc. so that future newcomers will be able to find it easily and not dig through this one. I think that is what is recommended anyway.
 

Attachments

  • Tiny-House-Kitchen.jpg
    Tiny-House-Kitchen.jpg
    85.7 KB · Views: 2

Mark_K5LXP

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 17, 2018
Posts
1,479
Location
Albuquerque, NM
JayArr's description of his TT refit I thought was quite descriptive and representative of the project scope. My only camper rebuild was to repair some collision damage on a popup that involved undoing the aluminum skin, reconstructing the splintered framing and putting back together, was only a 2 weekend project. While I was at it I re-butyl taped the edges under all the trim, replaced lights and roof vent and did a number of other minor updates. I had never done a trailer before though I have a few home remodels under my belt so I have a garage full of contractor type tools and materials. The construction methods I observed were on par with how you'd see a cheap piece of furniture put together with staples and glue, crappy cuts, and poor fitment. So once you get in there and see what you're up against, it's really not rocket science to replicate what's there. Sometimes, like I discovered in a cabinet repair in my class A, you see that when the thing was built it was done in a certain order that can sometimes make a surgical repair less than straightforward. Like a section of frame or panel that's put in then a wall or other structure laid on top of it. To replace it would require a significant disassembly which isn't practical so you have to get creative about how to install or replace some materials. But the general theme is to see how it was done before and do it again. For extra credit you can go the extra mile like JayArr did and make it "better" but for just "utlity", restoring what was there checks the box. The materials won't be expensive but the time to cut and fit can be, kind of like building a complex model or detailed piece of furniture. To pay someone by the hour to do this kind of work would immediately render this kind of project "beyond economical repair" but when the labor is "free" you can decide what it's worth to you. I have yet to own a home less than 50 years old and most of what I've done to them wasn't "worth it" if I had to pay someone, but when I do the work I consider it paying myself some amount because I realize either equity or utility in the end result. Only you can decide what this will be worth to you.

Mark B.
Albuquerque, NM
 

SeilerBird

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 25, 2012
Posts
16,168
Location
St Cloud Florida USA
We are not rebuilding the whole thing, but did plan to gut most of it because I thought that may be necessary. Now that I read the post Mark shared, I think we can go a similar route by just replacing the really bad sections. It really looks like only two wall areas need new framing, luan or plywood and that is the area behind the kitchen cabinets and the entire back wall because I don't even know what the heck is going on there. I guess we will know more when we get in there.

Or and I am not sure this will work, but what might be easier is to remove the bottom portion of the walls that are in good shape, just to access any damage to the floor that needs to be cut out and replace in sections like with breadboard and chair rail.

Plans for the roof are to remove the AC and cover with some kinda of metal (my husband knows what this is, get rid of the vents the same way, except for the bathroom vent and replace with a fan. We can caulk and tarp for the winter and replace the roof next summer with the big rubber piece or something suitable.

Once we are done, there will be a single piece of cabinetry for the kitchen. The rest of the storage will be in the form of open shelves that are easy to remove and or cheap Ikea bookshelves. Because remember, this is not ever going to be a travel trailer again, it's traveling days are over.

Anyhoo, I have attached a picture of a similar concept kitchen that I have in mind built with 2x4s and some plywood. He will have a microwave and air fryer for cooking, all electric. There will be no propane anything in this camper. Some of the lights will be replaced with battery operated LEDs.

Those are just some of the ideas so far to make this cost effective.

I also may have forgotten to mention that is paying $500 per month for rent, a portion of that is going to reimburse us for all of our expenses, the other to cover the increase in electric and water being that he is hooked up to ours.

I think I will make separate posts for wall, floor, wiring, plumbing, etc. so that future newcomers will be able to find it easily and not dig through this one. I think that is what is recommended anyway.
I know that. Someone posted a link to this thread to show me an example of someone completing rebuild job. I don't understand why it was linked to because it has nothing to do with this thread.
 

secondchances

Member
Joined
Sep 21, 2021
Posts
21
Location
Georgia
Only only Only you can decide what this will be worth to you.

Mark B.
Albuquerque, NM

Before we decided on purchasing this camper, because of my son's financial situation, he was looking at paying $400+ a month for a room elsewhere plus deposit. $400 x 12 is $4800 completely gone, nothing to show for it.

He plans on paying us $500 per month to cover the costs of the camper, the remodel and for the increase in utilities and that comes out to $12,000. If I pay another $3000 to get this thing to last 2 years, That is and $6500 over and above what I have paid for the camper and the remodel. Even if I spend $10,000 on the remodel, I will still be to the positive in two years. If it lasts three, I have now made a profit of $8000 which I can invest on his behalf. No stranger will do that.

I think many people are forgetting this aspect of it. My son needs a place to live, he is literally next to my home where I can help if needed.

My husband is taking a week off work next week to do this and all of us are going to pitch in on it. He has all the tools, woodworking, carpentry, plumbing and electrical skills. If he did not, we would surely be hauling this thing to the junkyard lol!
 

secondchances

Member
Joined
Sep 21, 2021
Posts
21
Location
Georgia
I know that. Someone posted a link to this thread to show me an example of someone completing rebuild job. I don't understand why it was linked to because it has nothing to do with this thread.
But it does have something to do with this thread! You might have said scrap the other project that was linked just as fast as this one!
 

JayArr

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 13, 2020
Posts
592
Location
Mission British Columbia Canada
I think your comment to "gut" the unit may have caused some people to think you wanted to do more than you have now explained. To me "gut" means remove everything inside to the studs and rebuild.

FYI the air conditioner should be sitting in a hole that is the exact correct size for a vent. Remember AC is an option so it's designed that way. If you want to remove the AC a cheap vent will fit perfectly in the hole left behind.
 

secondchances

Member
Joined
Sep 21, 2021
Posts
21
Location
Georgia
I think your comment to "gut" the unit may have caused some people to think you wanted to do more than you have now explained. To me "gut" means remove everything inside to the studs and rebuild.

FYI the air conditioner should be sitting in a hole that is the exact correct size for a vent. Remember AC is an option so it's designed that way. If you want to remove the AC a cheap vent will fit perfectly in the hole left behind.

I think originally that is what we wanted to do but it may not be necessary now that you kind and helpful people have provided more information! Sorry for the confusion! I will look for cheap vents and compare that with a piece of metal or whatever he wants to cover the holes with.

I did watch a video where the walls were left intact, jacked up slightly, and floor sections were replaced.

I am feeling more optimistic today, been losing some sleep over this since I originally saw the hole in the floor. Then again, that might change next week!

All of you are really awesome!
 

Great Horned Owl

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 10, 2012
Posts
1,691
Location
Lake County, Illinois
The tires need to be replaced no matter how good they look. RV tires are judged by age and at 7 years they need to be changed. That is a 40 years and i would bet anything the roof will be need a major overhaul. But it is your money so knock yourself out.

Tom, is sounds like they don't plan on moving it. If so, they not only don't need new tires, they might just as well remove the tires, and put it up on blocks

Joel
 

SeilerBird

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 25, 2012
Posts
16,168
Location
St Cloud Florida USA
Tom, is sounds like they don't plan on moving it. If so, they not only don't need new tires, they might just as well remove the tires, and put it up on blocks

Joel
You are right Joel. I have been parked for four years on my tires and I would not trust them to move this RV for more than a few feet. The tires look worse every year.
 

Latest posts

Forum statistics

Threads
120,512
Posts
1,210,562
Members
125,610
Latest member
MaraEE
Top Bottom