"Ace" the A-liner

Discussion in 'Camper Restoration Projects' started by supersaiyan93, Feb 14, 2019.

  1. supersaiyan93

    supersaiyan93 Member

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    The wife and I picked up this 2010 A-Liner Ranger 12 about 6 months ago, and I figured I'd post this thread to show off some of the common (and uncommon) A-Liner issues we've had to fix. I also figured I'd show off my wife's awesome remodel skills and her eye for decorating. [:D]

    (Some of this content has shown up in other threads, so apologies for the duplication, but I figured it be best to have everything here in one thread)

    Here's how the little guy looked when we first picked him up:
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  2. supersaiyan93

    supersaiyan93 Member

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    We drove out from Louisiana to Florida to pick it up, about 13 hours round trip. We stayed in a roach motel in Monticello Florida to spend the night, and got to the RV dealer first thing in the morning.

    Drove home pulling it behind my 4Runner and couldn't believe how easy it was to tow. I didn't need tow mirrors and it barely stressed the motor taking off. Got about 19 mpg pulling it back, which was only slightly less than I normally get.

    One of the things I noted in my inspection was that the floor right inside the door was quite soft. I knew that this was going to have to be one of the first things I addressed. The camper was obviously stored for a long time, and it seems like water had gotten in around some missing weather stripping around the door. I replaced the weather stripping and got to work on the floor.

    Now, I'm lazy. And I'm cheap. So I didn't want to replace the floor if I didn't have to. So I pulled the cabinet around the a/c and the side of the dinette bench off, cut the flooring under where each cabinet sat, and peeled it up out of the way. This way I can just put that flap back down, and the cuts will be hidden under the cabinets. That ended up working perfectly. :D

    The damage was obvious once I got the floor up. I used an oscillating cutter (like you use for cutting door jambs) to cut out the old wood, trying to line up my cuts right over the frame.

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    The wood was a tight fit even once it was cut all around the perimeter, so I cut it in half to remove it. The dark areas were facing the door. I could poke a finger all the way through where it was black. Yeah, it needed to go.
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    I also discovered that the powder coat on my frame had let go on the sharp edges of the angle iron. I hate the failure mode of powder coat where it starts to flake and rust out the metal behind it.

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    I took a scotchbrite wheel on a drill and hit all the flaking powder coat, then cleaned it all up with acetone. I then applied a coat of Por15 to the exposed metal, waited until it was just a bit tacky, and then coated it with some Rustoleum gloss black spray paint. That combination of Por15 and paint dries rock hard and protects metal way better than just powder coat or paint would, in my opinion. I've used it on vehicle suspension parts in the past, and it holds up great.

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    Last edited: Feb 17, 2019
  3. supersaiyan93

    supersaiyan93 Member

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    The next step was to cut a new piece of plywood. 5/8" ply was the ticket here. It seemed to match up the best, but I couldn't find any that matched in thickness and was also pressure treated. So I kinda DIY'd it. Once I had my piece test fit, I put a couple thin coats of fiberglass resin over the wood.

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    I then used Proflex contruction caulk to stick the wood down to the metal frame, and then used self tapping metal screws to attach the wood directly to the frame members. I then caulked the seams from above and below, trying to keep it all as level as possible at the top.
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    I let that dry for a few days. I didn't quite get the resin/hardener ratio right, so it stayed tacky for a little longer than anticipated. It did finally cure hard though.

    I didn't get a good picture of this, but I also stapled the wheel well back to board. I then resealed the wheel well inside and out with GE white kitchen and bath caulking, as directed by Columbia Northwest.

    I don't know if you can tell in some of the pictures, but where the wood had rotted, the vinyl floor above it turned black from mildew. I picked up this stuff, Clorox plus Tilex Mold and Mildew, and sprayed down the vinyl, let it soak, and came back with a towel, and it pretty much eliminated all trace of the mildew. Highly recommended!

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    I then put it all back together. I stapled the floor back down, smeared clear caulking over the vinyl floor seems, and then screwed the cabinets back down.

    Done!

    Can't even tell I did anything. :)
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  4. PointyCamper

    PointyCamper Active Member

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    Wow! I’m impressed. Your repairs are first rate.
    The camper looks great. John Pfeil is a gem.
    Good luck with your spring repair.
    We keep ours stored up too.
    Happy camping!
     
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  5. PopUpSteve

    PopUpSteve Administrator

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    Looks like you're off to a good start.
     
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  6. Byrd_Huntr

    Byrd_Huntr Well-Known Member

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    Great job!
     
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  7. WrkrBee

    WrkrBee Well-Known Member

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    I appreciate the write-up. Some Aliner owners will have to face this issue in the future and this is an excellent resource.
     
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  8. supersaiyan93

    supersaiyan93 Member

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    So with the repairs done, I let my wife loose to customize it to her heart's desire. I assisted with some details, but this is mostly her own craftsmanship.

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    She recovered the cushions and covered the original curtains with a new mountain pattern fabric. She also painted everything in a gloss gray color. We used oil-based primer and paint, and it was surprisingly hard to work with, but I think it came out great.

    We removed the old furnace since it didn't work and it took up a large chunk of the cabinet space next to the fridge. That meant I needed to make new cabinet doors. This almost doubled the storage space under the sink. I made a little patch panel for the hole left in the side of the trailer. I'll have to see if I can grab a picture of that next time I'm out there with the camper. I also bought a plug for the gas line, and capped it at the T-fitting under the trailer.

    So far we've taken it on several camping trips, and the only real problem, is that our torsion axle is worn out. That means the whole thing rides quite low and rides harsh. I'm in the middle of my adventure trying to order a new one, but that's been a bit problematic. I'll make a new post on that once I get a little farther along.
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2019
  9. supersaiyan93

    supersaiyan93 Member

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    We then had a little fun with the outside. We removed the old peeling graphics from both sides and got some new bubble graphics. My wife's favorite color is red, can you tell? lol.

    I used some Rustoleum marine gelcoat paint to paint the door. I rolled it on according to the instructions on the can, but I'm not really happy with the end result. I think if I had the means to spray it on, I'd rather do it that way. This may get to be a do-over project in the future, but for now, the door looks great from about 10 feet away. lol.

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    Oh, in the picture above, you can see the patch panel I made to cover the hole left by the furnace. I used some aluminum screws to screw it on. I stuck it down with butyl tape and then caulked the edges. The panel itself is made of some aluminum flashing left over from my porch build. I bent each edge over on itself to give it enough thickness to caulk against.

    Finally, I recaulked ALL the seams with fresh RV caulk. I used ProFlex RV caulk because it was so highly recommended. To be honest, this stuff sucks. Dries instantly when it comes out of the tube and has like zero working time. If you try to feather it out to look nice, it gets too thin and pulls away from the panel. Epic fail.

    I ended up redoing some of the thicker seams on the plastic corners with good ol' regular GE kitchen and bath caulk, and honestly, I feel it stuck way better. I'll keep an eye on it and see what seems to work best over time. The caulk was a recommendation by John Pfeil, and I trust his judgement.
     
  10. DiamondGirl

    DiamondGirl Well-Known Member

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    Welcome to the Aliner Family from AZ.

    Awesome job. It’s one of the BEST I’ve seen. Kudos to you & your wife’s skills in bringing the ALINER back to it’s potential. Keep sharing your wonderful ideas. I love seeing transformations as smart & creative as this.

    Happy Camping...[ALPU][PUT]
     
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  11. supersaiyan93

    supersaiyan93 Member

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    Good weather, so I had a productive day today. My rear roof seal was totally messed up, so I ordered another one and replaced it. Wasn’t as bad a job as I thought it would be.

    The first thing was to get the front roof sitting on a couple of milk crates. That gave me access to the seal.

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    The old seal: flat and pockmarked. Coming un-stuck in places.
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    I was able to get it started peeling it up from one end. I made sure to get under the adhesive film and peel the whole thing. A plastic razor blade was great for this.

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    Then I used some goo-gone and a plastic razor blade to clean up the sticky residue. I then used a plastic razor blade to scrape off the caulk than ran along the seal.

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    Now I unrolled the new seal and cut off 80”. Set it on the roof and peeled the backer off and stuck it down as I went.

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    I then trimmed both ends to final length with a new sharp razor blade.

    I still need to caulk above and below it, but this was not a bad job.

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  12. supersaiyan93

    supersaiyan93 Member

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    Next I turned my attention to the rear bubble window. It had turned entirely opaque.

    At the recommendation of some Aliner folks, I picked up the Novus 3 stage plastic polishing kit.

    This took forever! It was done half by hand and half with a random orbital buffer with a foam pad.

    It didn’t come out as perfect as I had maybe hoped, but it’s still much better.

    Before:
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    After:
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    View from inside. Much better. I didn’t think to take a before from inside, but there was nothing to see.

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    Overall, I’d say I’m pretty happy with the end result. I think I might be able to improve on it slightly with more elbow grease, but anything much more than this isn’t worth the extra work, honestly.
     
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