2002 Rockwood 2280 Backwall rebuild

Discussion in 'Camper Restoration Projects' started by mpking, Sep 22, 2018.

  1. mpking

    mpking Well-Known Member

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    So when I purchased my camper, it looked great.
    I discovered fairly quickly a soft spot on the backwall. I had the marvelous idea of ignoring it.
    Over the last 2 and half years (3 camping seasons) the backwall has slowly deteriorated, until my daughter invited a friend over, and despite repeated warnings to not to do so, she climbed up the back wall and broke thru the wood paneling.

    upload_2018-9-22_20-16-1.png

    I read @jmatasov 's thread
    http://www.popupportal.com/threads/1999-starcraft-spacemaster.110273

    And i'm trying a similar rebuild.

    You can see when I got the top plate of the backwall off, that I was in for a bigger project than I was hoping for:
    upload_2018-9-22_20-18-43.png

    I removed all the trim piece's (bagging each type of screw in it's own ziplock bag, and labeling it with a sharpie), lights, and spare tire rack. Also went inside and undid all the screws that attached to the backwall.

    Note: The lights near the damaged area were half full of water. NOT a good sign. I ended up cutting the rear taillights off, since I wanted to replace with LED's anyways. The marker lights I"m undecided at the point.

    upload_2018-9-22_20-20-59.png

    I then removed all the staples, and peeled the aluminum/panelboard combo off.

    upload_2018-9-22_20-22-12.png

    Here's the other side:
    upload_2018-9-22_20-22-55.png

    Not good. Not good at all.

    I also found while doing this that the floor was starting to take damage.

    I measured EVERYTHING, and took photos of it as I did it.

    I found some "funny" wood dimensions:
    upload_2018-9-22_20-24-15.png

    Taking a cue from @jmatasov, I didn't remove the existing frames till I could recreate the existing ones. The one's that are on there are NOT coming off in one piece, the wood is too damaged.

    Off to buy parts. RV store to get some Dicor, Lowe's to get lumber and wood hardener.

    While in the lumber section, I had a small panic attack. That board I've pictured above is 1.5" x 1" (Well, 15/16th) I couldn't find ANYTHING remotely close to those dimensions. The 1.5 I could fudge, since it wasn't in a critical direction, but that 1", it's what the top cap and the aluminium skin rested on. I wasn't sure how much variation could be tolerated here. Not to mention I didn't want to make this more complicated than I had too.

    I ended up buying pine planks (1.25 x 2.5) and ripping them on a tablesaw to the correct dimensions. (Plan B was contact a local sawmill, but I didn't want to lose the rest of Saturday, and all day Sunday that I had blocked out to work on this, never mind if a sawmill would sell me 3 pieces of wood)
    This was 3 pieces of wood before I started:
    upload_2018-9-22_20-32-17.png

    Since the tablesaw was at my fathers, we ended up having dinner together, and the rest of the day was lost. Oh well.

    There is always tomorrow.

    Plan for tomorrow is:
    Exact dimensions of existing frames, and begin cutting the new frames. I've picked up a Kreg Jig to help attach the frames together.
    Ambitious paint the wood hardener onto the small soft spot on the floor.

    Overall plan is:

    1. Create new frame.
    2. Remove wiring
    3. Attempt to remove wood from Aluminum
    4. Purchase new panel board (Luan?) and figure out how to cut it? (Lowes?)
    5. Glue the panelboard to the aluminum
    6. Attach the panelboard to the new frame
    7. Remove existing frame
    8. Try and put it back together.
    9. Replace lights (most likely all new)
    10. Hope it all fits.
     
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  2. hayyward

    hayyward Active Member

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    Your daughter did you a favor by getting you started. :) It will be better than new when you're finished. Keep posting your progress.
     
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  3. Sjm9911

    Sjm9911 Well-Known Member

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    Lol. Agreed , it needed fixing ! And your off to a good start.
     
  4. mpking

    mpking Well-Known Member

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    So I was at it early today.

    First up, double check my measurements.

    upload_2018-9-23_19-16-45.png

    Good thing I did. I found a bunch that I flubbed. I also took to the time to study WHY these boards where here. I found a few that were in the wrong place from the factory. Specifically the braces for the dinette, they were about 3 inches further out than the board that was specified for them.

    I also took the opportunity to chase and document all the wiring.

    I also took a close look at everything. Lookee what I found. Looks like a goof in the factory, and they just slathered sealent on it till it was patched:

    upload_2018-9-23_19-20-4.png

    Here's the other side of this
    upload_2018-9-23_19-20-36.png

    Looks like they cut the floor too short, and just kept pumping sealent in till it was level.

    I first built the top frames. The Kreg Jig was super simple to use, and WAY easier than anything I would come up with to join the wood.
    Here's my workstation, the back of my truck, with my supervisor keeping track of me:
    upload_2018-9-23_19-22-25.png

    Here's the 90% complete rear top frame:

    upload_2018-9-23_19-23-11.png

    After that, I had to run to Lowes to get the remaining lumber, plywood, and luan.

    I found a nice store employee, and he worked with me to do "accurate" cuts on the luan, since I didn't really have a setup to do it. They aren't really supposed to do "precision" cuts, but it was a pretty slow time in the lumber yard.

    Back home, I cut out the backing board for the lights, (and my not so pretty circle hole cut) and used the Kreg Jig to attach it to my frame. (No picture of this apparently)

    The bottom frame required a REALLY funny shaped bottom board. Back to my fathers to rip another board on the tablesaw. (ignore the messy scratches, I kept switching between writing .75 and 3/4")

    upload_2018-9-23_19-28-50.png

    Here's the bottom frame. Notice I "Upgraded" the space between the braces. This is where most all impacts from feet would be, so I figured some reinforcement might be appreciated.
    upload_2018-9-23_19-27-54.png

    I removed the four 3" inch screws holding the top bracket on, and removed it. (Found 3 screws I missed in the process)

    upload_2018-9-23_19-30-49.png

    I ended up cutting the wiring harness. Good thing I took photos and notes on how it's connected.

    Then I removed the bottom section:

    upload_2018-9-23_19-31-36.png

    Yes, I didn't unpack. Heck, I didn't even remove the bedslide.

    Found that the back 2" of the floor is wet. Not sopping wet, but still damp from the moisture. Setup a heater to gently "dry" it. This is what I bought the wood hardener for, but the wood needs to be dry before you can put it on.

    I pulled the aluminum skin into the basement. I'm hoping to strip a bit of it tonight, maybe even glue the new Luan onto it. (Don't actually expect to do that, it's probably alot of work)

    If you notice. I don't have a garage. I'm just doing this in the driveway, without a wood shop. I just own battery powered handtools (5" cicrle saw, drill, jigsaw) and a chop saw.

    I mention this because I've got forcasted rain in 2 days.

    I'm calling in Sick tomorrow, I have a crown being replaced at the dentist, so I'll just see what I can pull off tomorrow. Then I secure the site for wet weather. I think I'll drop the top, and sandwitch a tarp between the bunk and the roof, and weight it down to keep it dry.

    From my above list, I have remaining:
    1. Try and put it back together.
    2. Replace lights (most likely all new)
    3. Hope it all fits.
    Looks like I'll need a little more detail.

    1. Remove existing Luan from aluminium skin
    2. Remove the spare tire carrier from the aluminium skin. (the bolts were rusted, and will most likely need replacement)
    3. Glue Luan to the the inside of the frames
    4. Glue Luan to the aluminium skin
    5. Drill holes in frames for Wire Looms (I did all the horizontal ones, but there are 3 holes where the wires run into the sidewalls)
    6. Attach the frames (Bottom one first).
    7. Attach the luan/aluminium to the outside of the frame
    8. Put all the fiddly trim pieces back on.
    Things I'm concerned about.
    • The luan is unfinished. It's sanded smooth, but it's an unfinished surface. The other rebuilds people are usually just painting the "entire" interior, but I'm just doing the backwall. Thoughts on that? (Maybe contact paper? Maybe just stain / poly? Someone mentioned Wallpaper in another thread.) Whatever I do, it's never going to match.
    • The aluminum skin was attached basically with metal staples. (Seriously) I can't replicate that. I'm thinking of using some #6 x .25 stainless steel screws instead of staples. Good idea?
    I also ordered new tail lights from a local dealer (I was there getting the Dicor sealent). He didn't have a matched set of LED's instock with white frames. They're $30 each. I was planning on looking on Amazon, and low and behold, the same one's are $30 on amazon. So he's not gouging me. I know there are cheaper ones, but I need to cover the existing holes (They are 2.5" holes) so I'll bite the bullet on the expensive tailights. The running lights however, he wanted $15 each. I need 5.

    I found this for around $30.
    http://a.co/d/4MmGSAo

    I need to take measurements, and get those on order. :-(
     
  5. Groundhog Day

    Groundhog Day New Member

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    I hate that you're having to do this, but very thankful that you're documenting it. I have to do the exact same repair, and I've been staring at it for days trying to figure out what's under that skin. The tip off for me was the entrance door not lining up.

    Thank you again
     
  6. mpking

    mpking Well-Known Member

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    I figured I should document my time that's invested as of right now.
    I began at 12pm Saturday.
    I had the outer aluminum off, and all first round measurements taken by 2:30, then it was off to the Store. Another 30 minutes ripping the lumber, and that was it.

    Sunday, began at 10am, and had the first frame done at 12:40. Took a break for lunch, and took a lumber run.

    I was back around 2pm, and finished the second frame at 5:30. (Including run to father's for the table saw)

    Back wall was completely off at 5:40, and is now drying the floor with a heater for the night....
     
  7. mpking

    mpking Well-Known Member

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    You should read thru the thread that I linked too in the first post. It's where ALL my idea's and guidance is coming from at this point, plus the one or two emergency threads I've posted today.
     
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  8. mpking

    mpking Well-Known Member

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    Yea, those don't fit.

    My existing light is the Bargman SAE P2
    upload_2018-9-23_20-19-16.png

    It's 4"x2", with the light in the exact center. All the ones I'm finding on Amazon are off center, or at the very top.

    Off to google, which always leads to etrailer.com

    They have "upgrade kits", which you replace the lens, and plug into the existing connector and base.

    They also have complete replacements:
    https://www.etrailer.com/Trailer-Lights/Optronics/MCL32RB.html
    which is what I'm going to go with. (The upgrade is only 2 LED's, and the replacement is 3)

    I'll get 5, thank you very much.
     
  9. mpking

    mpking Well-Known Member

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    So today... not much happened.

    I spent about 10 minutes scraping the luan off the aluminum, and my arm got tired, but I did get about 1/4 done. So that's going for me. It'll be a work in progress for a few nights I think.
    upload_2018-9-24_20-55-43.png

    I decided I couldn't trust the weather (considering we had 30Mph gusts) and decided to clean up and move everything inside.

    I went off to buy a tarp (none of mine survived this summer from all the projects they got used for). That ended up being a 4 hour diversion delivering a washer machine to my sister.
    upload_2018-9-24_20-57-40.png

    I head up to the RV dealer I had ordered replacement tail lights from. They are the wrong size. My fault, I didn't have the correct measurements on the lights when I went up. I figured they'd be close enough. Not close enough. The old mounting holes would be exposed. The RV place just threw them on the shelf, and we poured thru the books. We couldn't find anything they could get without it becoming excessively expensive. So Off to etrailer.com to order some from there.

    Back home

    I got the bottom piece of luan attached to the bottom frame using my brad nailer instead of glueing (after going to the store AGAIN to get very small brads):
    upload_2018-9-24_20-58-56.png

    Then proceeded to freak out after I thought I had it on backwards. I removed the whole thing (figuring this one with the holes now becomes the piece that get's glued).
    Guess what, I did it right. I did it over again.

    Kids went to bed, so I can't play with power tools any more.

    I go to apply the stain and poly I had from another project. Guess what, the wife had given all our paint brushes to HER sister, and I didn't have any.

    So I'm done for the night.


    Items remaining:

    1. Order lights from etrailer.com
    2. Remove existing Luan from aluminium skin (Still)
    3. Brad Luan to the the inside of the second frame
    4. Stain Luan on inside frame.
    5. Glue Luan to the aluminium skin
    6. Drill holes in frames for Wire Looms (I did all the horizontal ones, but there are 3 holes where the wires run into the sidewalls)
    7. Attach the frames (Bottom one first).
    8. Attach the luan/aluminium to the outside of the frame
    9. Put all the fiddly trim pieces back on.
    Yes, the list got longer.
     
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  10. Sjm9911

    Sjm9911 Well-Known Member

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    It always does, it never gets shorter. No worries, when the list expires so do we.
     
  11. mpking

    mpking Well-Known Member

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    Got the stain on the one frame I have completely assembled last night.

    I'm not 100% happy with how it turned out.

    The Luan was pre-primed. I stained the Primed side.

    upload_2018-9-26_12-0-14.png

    The unprimed side looks SO much better. But I really DON'T want to pull it apart again, and recut a new piece of wood.

    We'll see how I feel about it tonight.
     
  12. Raycfe

    Raycfe Waterford Ct.

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    Looks like you are doing a great job
     
  13. hayyward

    hayyward Active Member

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    I'm learning lots from your project, thanks for sharing. We're all cheering you on. :)
     
  14. mpking

    mpking Well-Known Member

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    Busy few days. This is the roll up since Wednesday.

    I decided I DIDN'T like how the stain came out. I pulled it all off, and recut one of my extra sheets. (It was fun cutting luan with a 6 inch hand circular saw, but I'm shocked that I got it pretty straight.

    I did a test stain with Minwax Cherry. Yes, I learned to do a test stain before I re-nailed, and lost another piece of wood. I liked it. So I did a both backwalls.

    Seen here is the (bottom) the finished backwall (1 coat of Cherry Stain, 2 coats of Polyurethane, applied to the NOT primed side), (Left) original camper backwall (ripped off the board), (right) square that I did the first stain on the primed side. Like the purple background? I had some disposable party tablecloths to protect my bench.

    upload_2018-9-30_18-55-19.png

    This got me to Saturday.
    From there, I reattached the back walls. First the bottom:

    upload_2018-9-30_18-58-14.png

    Then, after figuring out where to drill the holes for the wires

    upload_2018-9-30_19-0-19.png

    Drill the holes, thread the wires thru, and re-attach the top backwall

    upload_2018-9-30_19-1-29.png

    I'm VERY happy with the new color (and the lack of a hole in the wall)

    upload_2018-9-30_19-3-21.png

    I strip the rest of the luan off the aluminium skin. I find the "good" board is nearly impossible to get off. I decide if it's that well stuck, it won't hurt to leave it. I run over it with an orbital sander to smooth out everything. I vacuum it off, and then I use some construction sealeant that is marked for both wood and metal, and glue the sheets of luan on.

    upload_2018-9-30_19-11-35.png

    I let it sit for about an hour (Glue said 10 minutes) and then flipped it, and glued the other side. (No Picture)

    Let that sit for an hour, then cut out the holes to match the existing holes. (No Picture)

    I then ran out of time, so now we're onto Sunday.

    Now for the fun stuff. Wiring.

    Here's the passenger side, all dressed in. (I recycled the wire retaining clip that was on the factory piece.

    upload_2018-9-30_19-14-20.png


    I watched this tutorial on how to T splice wiring. (Basically, Tap the wire without cutting it)


    and then applied it to my wiring locations. I took a bunch of photos of me doing this, but I figure the video was probably much better.

    Once the wiring harness was prepped, and tied up so that nothing would get pinced, I fed the leads thru the holes, and pushed the aluminum skin on. I had my 10 year old hold it in place while I grabbed my pneumatic staple gun, and thru the staples in.
    I debated this long and hard. I wanted something more sturdy, but I was very concerned with the trim fitting over any screws I tried to drive in. I figured staples held it on for almost 16 years, new staples will get longer than I plan to own it.

    I don't have a picture of this. I then attached all the new marker (LED) lights I bought.

    upload_2018-9-30_19-19-36.png

    I tested the polarity of these before I spliced them in. I didn't want to trust the markings, but they were right. Note they are not screwed in. Guess what? I forgot to buy Butyl tape! I don't have anyway to seal them, other than pumping Dicor on it.

    This is where I cleaned up and took stock for the night.

    The luan moved when I glued it.

    Passenger side (perfect)
    upload_2018-9-30_19-23-12.png

    Drivers side (Moved)
    upload_2018-9-30_19-23-44.png
     
  15. mpking

    mpking Well-Known Member

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    That little oops means the Trim piece isn't going to fit:
    upload_2018-9-30_19-25-40.png

    I'm unsure how to fix this. It might just be that ALOT of Dicor is going to cover that seam to make up for the 1/8 that doesn't reach. (It's only about a 6 inch long section)

    I need to pick up Butyl tape, and possible another bottle of Dicor to seal the lights and the trim pieces.

    Items left after today:
    1. Get supplies.
    2. Attach taillights.
    3. Attach Marker lights.
    4. Attach trim pieces.
    5. Drill holes for spare tire
    6. Attach Spare tire holder.
    7. Reattach inside Dinette screws.
    8. Reattach little screw holding wiring harness to backwall.
    9. Put little wheel back on backwall (helps the beds slide)
    I think that will be it then.
     
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  16. mpking

    mpking Well-Known Member

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  17. hayyward

    hayyward Active Member

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    Will you be able to take it out once you're finished?
     
  18. Overland

    Overland Active Member

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    Outstanding job.. quality work.
     
  19. mpking

    mpking Well-Known Member

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    Nope. I waited till after my season was done. I figured if things take too long, it wouldn't cancel a trip.
     
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  20. mpking

    mpking Well-Known Member

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    Alright. Entering the final stretch!

    I reattached all the inside screws that I had previously taken out.

    Attached the Marker lights that I had previously wired up.
    I had picked up some fresh Butyl tape, and I basically formed a ring where the light would meet the camper. (This picture is before I put the 4th piece on the left)
    upload_2018-10-6_19-14-56.png

    Then I removed all the backing tape, and screwed the light in nice and tight, using original holes. (The screws went THRU the butyl tape)

    upload_2018-10-6_19-16-14.png

    Then I took a utility knife with a fresh blade, and scored the Butyl tape, and peeled it off. (No closeup on this one)
    upload_2018-10-6_19-17-38.png

    Then I wired up and attached the taillights.

    upload_2018-10-6_19-19-3.png

    Here's a whole body shot.
    upload_2018-10-6_19-21-25.png

    I purchased some eternabond tape to solve my gap between the aluminum problem. My local RV place sells it by the foot, so I only had to get 10 feet (leaving me almost 3 feet left over). He cautioned me about it. He was very clear there is no repositioning it once you start. Once it's stuck, it's stuck.

    Those words were slightly prophetic.

    Things went on great, and I even managed to cut the slit just right to overlap it.
    upload_2018-10-6_19-22-10.png

    BUT......
    I started too far to the left, and had to cut around the taillight, while not getting it stuck on something. (I couldn't pull the bottom off and move it....).

    since I was juggling the exposed strip, it wasn't as smooth and even as I would hope.

    upload_2018-10-6_19-22-58.png

    Here's the trim on.

    Not factory perfect (the eternabond SCREAMs "I had to fix this!") but not bad looking.
    upload_2018-10-6_19-24-8.png


    I did both sides since I didn't want to take a leak on the left side at this point.

    Here's the finished product after I got the spare tire holder back on, and all the light covers snapped on.

    upload_2018-10-6_19-25-12.png

    Tomorrow, Winterization for the season, and button up the final bits. Put the spare on, Put the plate back on, and test the lights. I'll also have to get a new level and attach it, since the old one was no longer strongly attached. (Too much scraping on it during construction) I just pulled it off.
     
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