So it begins! Our NTU 2008 Arcadia

Discussion in 'Camper Restoration Projects' started by William Freeman, Jun 3, 2018.

  1. William Freeman

    William Freeman Active Member

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    Ours really isn't a restoration project (per se'), but there are a few things that need to be done before it is as perfect as we want it.

    We bought our 2008 Coleman/Fleetwood Arcadia a couple of weeks ago, but are just starting to explore and examine it. We have been having (almost) daily thunderstorms and bad wind, so it sat in the front yard until Wednesday - closed.

    I was able to get outside and caulk everything from the roof rails to the electric cord cover. I was also able to get it popped up for inspection and testing of all appliances and electrical that day. We assessed what needed to be done to the camper while sitting inside the camper - 90deg outside, ~74 inside! I couldn't test any of the gas appliances because of a propane leak at the regulator - which I'll have to fix while I'm off.

    We wrote down all model numbers of the appliances, converter, LP sensor - everything - so that I could download manuals since the P.O. didn't have them. We noted that the valences would need new elastic or complete replacement since they were sagging a LOT and looked pretty bad. The rest of the curtains need cleaning, so we are going to have to figure out how to do that without messing up the vinyl backing. The whole inside will need a thorough cleaning.

    Also, the elephant in the room! The only major problem with this camper (which we knew when we bought it AND the reason this IS a Restoration Project) is that it had, or maybe still has(?), a leak at the A/C opening. The P.O. installed a piece of fiberglass shower panel between the roof braces at the A/C opening to cover the damaged ceiling. It covers it, but looks like CRAP! Plus I know the damage is there and it is bugging me to get it fixed! The plan is to
    1)Remove the A/C
    2)Remove the fiberglass panel
    3)Remove the 2 roof braces where the delamination is
    4)Tear out the rotted luan and cut it back to good wood
    5)Hopefully save the foam
    6)Cut and glue (using Loctite PL Premium)a luan patch panel up, supported with plywood and 2x4s for 24hrs
    7)Install a textured, peel and stick, vinyl wallpaper to the repair
    8)Paint the entire ceiling
    9)Install 4" Eternabond from the roof, through the opening, onto the ceiling to prevent water from entering between the layers again.
    10)Re install A/C with a new gasket and new ceiling assembly.

    Well that is where we are at with our "Project" camper as of now. I will be updating with pictures as I go along.
     
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  2. megcabra

    megcabra Well-Known Member

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    Welcome and greetings from North Carolina to the exciting world of Pop-Up camping!
     
  3. William Freeman

    William Freeman Active Member

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    Thanks megcabra!
     
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  4. J Starsky

    J Starsky Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like you got a nice list to work thru. Happy Camping and welcome!
     
  5. jnc

    jnc Welcome from New Hampshire

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    Where are the Photo's?
     
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  6. William Freeman

    William Freeman Active Member

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    OK, so I haven't had a lot of time to work on the camper. Last week I pulled out the electric buffer and polishing compound. I buffed the whole box and attempted to buff the diamond plate, which didn't do very well (going to have to get some aluminum polish and do that the old fashioned way!). It looked better, but needed washing to get the excess polish off - I didn't have time to do that that day.

    I was off this past weekend, but we took an anniversary trip to the mountains. We got back yesterday afternoon. After a quick nap, I went outside to do a few things to the camper.

    I cleaned up the messy job of caulking that the P.O. did (with LATEX caulk) and also cleaned up some of my messy areas (Dicor caulk). I used a razor scraper to get the majority of it off (the latex and Dicor). Then I came back with a rag and mineral spirits to clean up the residue. While I had the mineral spirits out, I cleaned up the areas of caulking that got messed up when buffing (the dark polish stuck to the still tacky Dicor). It removed all of the dark areas AND smoothed out the caulk!

    I tried to clean up the mildew covered vinyl on the front compartment and all of the discolored plastic with the mineral spirits, but that didn't work. Then I moved on to a tub and tile cleaner - didn't work on either of those areas. The last thing I tried was lacquer thinner. I was able to remove about half of the mildew on the vinyl, but it didn't do anything to the discolored plastic pieces. While I had the thinner out I cleaned up a few places of overspray from repainting the frame.

    Then I moved on to waxing the box since the camper was pretty much shaded by then. I used Meguiar's cleaner/wax (Carnuba wax). I applied it by hand - one section at a time, then buffed it off by hand. I went around the whole box, then came back and waxed the corner caps and rails. It looked pretty much the same, just a LITTLE cleaner and shinier - but it is SLICK! I don't think anything will stick to it!

    Then I moved on to the tire and propane tank covers and tires. I sprayed the tires with Armour All tire foam and let that sit while I soaked the covers with regular Armour All. I came back after about 10 minutes and wiped them down and resprayed the zippers (the tire cover zipper worked pretty good, but the propane tank covers didn't - they work great now!). I also sprayed the propane hoses down with Armour All because they were pretty grimy and dry. After I finished up with the covers, I went back and wiped the excess tire foam off the tires.

    The last thing I had time to do was work on the propane leak. I mixed up some water and Dawn dish soap and drizzled it over the regulator and hose connections - there were 3 leaks! I grabbed my wrenches and tightened everything up. After a re test, no more leaks!

    We are planning on doing some back yard camping this weekend. I want to do this so that we can check everything out, make repairs if necessary and decide what we need to buy before we hit the road for real. We will be camping beside my shop, so I will be able to plug in for A/C and still be close enough to dump the black and gray tanks (and clean them). We'll also have the pool to relax in. I get off work on Thursday, so I will have Friday morning to go get propane and a few other necessities. I also need to get my spare tire replaced (original 2007 tire!) before we go on a REAL trip. My DW says we will have to do a thorough cleaning before then too - I'll leave that to her since she is out of school for the summer (she's a teacher).
     
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  7. William Freeman

    William Freeman Active Member

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    Yeah, it's more than I wanted to do (I wanted to buy one that I could pack and go camping the next weekend), but the price was right and the damage wasn't extensive (I don't need to rebuild the ENTIRE roof). We are planning on camping a few times before we tear into it - then we can be ready for late summer/fall weather.
     
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  8. William Freeman

    William Freeman Active Member

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    Here's a couple of pics. The one with it closed was after waxing yesterday. The other was last week. I guess the next big cleaning project will be washing/sealing the tents.
    20180610_190005.jpg 20180531_163415.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2018
  9. Orchid

    Orchid Sharp Shootin' Grandma

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    It looks brand new! Certainly worth putting the work into! Welcome to the Portal!
     
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  10. William Freeman

    William Freeman Active Member

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    It's in pretty good condition - faded (and in some places, missing) stripes, a few scratches, the awning doesn't fit in the bag for some reason(?) and a few other odds and ends - and still have to repair the ceiling.

    And yes, a few hours of work now will prevent a LOT of work, oxidation and possibly more water damage later
     
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  11. DJS12354

    DJS12354 Well-Known Member

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    Greetings from NEPA!
     
  12. William Freeman

    William Freeman Active Member

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    We were planning on "Driveway camping" this weekend, but my DW decided she didn't want to stay in it until it got a thorough cleaning. I ran to town and got one of the propane tanks refilled, picked up a 50' garden hose and a new marine battery.

    When I got home, we set the camper up and I got to work. First item on the list was propane. I re installed the tank and checked out the stove, oven and furnace. The stove and oven worked fine - the furnace wouldn't do anything. I moved on to water, since I couldn't check the water heater without it. That's where the fun began!

    I wanted to check the fresh water tank and pump, so I put the hose in to add water. I started hearing water, so I looked underneath - water was flowing out! Upon further investigation, I saw that the fill hose was dry rotted and blown apart - so much for testing the fresh tank! Next I hooked the hose to the fresh water inlet. I turned it on and walked back to the camper. That's when I saw water coming out from the wheelwell! I ran back and turned the water off, ran into the house to grab a towel and ran back out to the camper. I opened the cabinet and dried up the water. Upon investigation, there were major leaks at the water lines on the faucet. I tightened up what I could and tried again - still leaking!

    When I went back out to turn the water back off, I noticed that the Aquabug in the pool wasn't moving, so I had to check that out. The pump was dry (and running). I tried a bunch of things and finally decided to disassemble the piping to the pump. When I looked into the pipe, I found a pair of goggles wedged into an elbow. After about 2hrs of troubleshooting, cutting pipe, removing the obstruction and reassembling everything, the pool was back in action - back to the camper!

    I tightened the hoses a little more and turned the water back on. I still had a small leak, but there was ANOTHER problem - the faucet wouldn't turn off! By this time, my DW had finished up her work and came out to help. She was turning the water on and off as needed while I tried to get the faucet working correctly. I tried pulling the innards out and reinstalling in different positions to no avail. I finally decided that we should just replace the faucet. While trying to fix the faucet leaks I filled the water heater, so I was able to check its operation - it fired up and ran perfectly. I also checked the toilet operation - it worked fine and held water.

    SO, with another FAIL under my belt, we moved on to cleaning. We pulled the mattresses and cushions outside in the sun, blew them off with an air hose and beat the dust out of them. Then we sprayed them down with Fabreeze and let them air out while we cleaned. I brought the shop vac out and vacuumed all of the drawers, compartments and bathroom. We brought out the Clorox wipes, Tilex, Magic Erasers, wood cleaner and all surface cleaner. We cleaned the ceiling with Magic Erasers (worked great), stove and refer with Clorox wipes and Tilex (for the gasket), spots on the floor with Magic Eraser, and the shower/toilet with Clorox wipes and Tilex. The wood was cleaned with all purpose cleaner and wood cleaner.

    After everything was clean, we moved on to the sagging valances. We came up with the plan to pull them tight, cut them off and cut a new slit to hold them on the corner screws. Once they were all tight(er), my DW tacked them with needle and thread. They look sooo much better now - I think we can live with them. We also re sewed one of the c clips on the curtain above the stove that had come loose.

    We DID NOT stay in the camper last night after all. I went back out later last night after researching the furnace. I learned that the thermostat ON/OFF switch can get stuck and not move. So once I pulled the cover off and pried up on the metal contact I was able to move the switch to the ON position. The blower came on, but the furnace still wouldn't light off. I tried it quite a few times with the same results before going back inside.

    My DW bought some accessories and a new faucet today I will try to get that installed soon. I looked into the furnace exhaust without a flashlight but didn't see any OBVIOUS dirt dauber nests. I'll look more closely when I get back to working on the camper this week.

    Although we haven't taken it camping yet, I am glad that we decided to try it out in the yard before we took it anywhere. Having these "issues" when actually camping would've meant a return home! I failed to check EVERYTHING before purchasing the camper and am paying the price (AGAIN) for not doing so. I guess the P.O. lied (duh) about using the furnace while on a hunting trip last year and who would've thought the hoses would be rotten and the faucet broken? I guess it is a good thing that we haven't run into anything major (other than the ceiling, which we knew about before purchasing it) yet.

    That's all of the updates for today - I'll get back on it after Father's Day tomorrow!
     
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  13. Mamie

    Mamie Active Member

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    I saw one today on Craig's list. It was newer than mine, bigger and the same price I paid.

    Did you take a pic on how to do that? I can't picture it in my mind.
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2018
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  14. William Freeman

    William Freeman Active Member

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    I'll take a few this afternoon when we get home from father's day lunch.
     
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  15. William Freeman

    William Freeman Active Member

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    Here's a link to a YouTube video I made - figured that would be easier than pictures:
     
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  16. jnc

    jnc Welcome from New Hampshire

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    Thanks for the video But is there any chance that you can flip it side ways to make viewing it less painful.
     
  17. William Freeman

    William Freeman Active Member

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    Oh yeah - sorry! I didn't even watch it after I uploaded it. It's done now.
     
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  18. Adam H

    Adam H Active Member

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    Water Leaks: Make sure you use an RV water regulator when hooked up to city water or you will have many more leaks.
    Heater: So I assume the fan runs but it doesn't ignite or try to ignite? If so, check voltage to the heater (remove outside cover and look for a switch) and compare to battery voltage. They run the heater power through probably 10 crappy scotch locks before it gets to the heater. I found a ~2volt drop going to my heater and ended up running a dedicated wire to the fuse box/converter. Secondly, I have found the air flow (sail) switch stuck if it sits for a long time. You have to remove the front plastic cover to access it, work the switch a few times and reassemble.

    Adam
     
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  19. William Freeman

    William Freeman Active Member

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    Thanks for the tips Adam. There wasn't a pressure regulator with the rest of the fittings that came with the camper, so I guess he never used one. I bought one at Wal-Mart, so I'm good to go on water pressure now.

    Yeah, the blower will cone on and run for maybe 45sec or so, then cut off. I THINK I hear the igniter, but not 100% positive on that. One of the videos I watched was talking about the sail switch. Question: would the furnace try to light if the sail switch was stuck? Doesn't the sail switch tell the propane valve that our can open (if it has enough air flow)?

    Now that I am done with the honey do list, it's too hot out to work on the camper. I'm planning on getting out there to change the faucet and blow out the furnace exhaust when it cools down a little.
     
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  20. Mamie

    Mamie Active Member

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    I didn't want to say anything, but I couldn't watch it because I have vertigo.
     
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