Author Topic: Rebuilding "Ms. Merry" The Amerigo - Updated 7/8/2018  (Read 2504 times)

Offline RedneckExpress

  • Full Time RVer - 5 year member
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  • Posts: 179
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  • Member since: 2011
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  • Year: 1974
  • Make: KIT
  • Model: Kamper Slide-in Truck Camper
  • Chassis: W350 Dodge Power Wagon
  • Engine: 5.9L V8 360
Rebuilding "Ms. Merry" The Amerigo - Updated 7/8/2018
« on: July 28, 2016, 11:27 PM »
Once upon a time, I used to break up my Trip Reports and Projects into separate posts, at the time this was heavily "suggested" to me by a former admin.   

Going forward, I think it may actually be more prudent to return to more combined style, where new stuff is added as replies and a table of contents is kept in the main first post. 

So, from here on out, I will be posting any further work on the Ms. Merry the Amerigo, here vs creating a couple hundred separate posts that might get missed.

I'll link to the separate posts that currently make up chapters prior to this one, for those that are just getting started instead of duplicating these posts.

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Table of Contents
Follow along with me as I full-time the Redneck Way in The Journey of the Redneck Express

CB Channel 17
Redneck Express
'1992 Dodge W-250 Club Cab Long Bed "Dually" V8 5.9l 4spd H.D Auto 4x4 4.10 Gears
'1974 KIT 1106 Kamper
'1987 Custom Built Pullman Mini Camper (The Pullman Mini Camper Project)
'2004 Bi-Mart 1000lbs Cargo Trailer (Chuck wagon)

Offline RedneckExpress

  • Full Time RVer - 5 year member
  • *
  • Posts: 179
  • Find America, leave the freeway behind!
  • Member since: 2011
  • I own: a Motor Home
  • Year: 1974
  • Make: KIT
  • Model: Kamper Slide-in Truck Camper
  • Chassis: W350 Dodge Power Wagon
  • Engine: 5.9L V8 360
The Mystery of the Trampoline Floor
« Reply #1 on: July 28, 2016, 11:29 PM »
Thursday, June 30, 2016

Rebuilding “Ms. Merry”, the Amerigo – And The Mystery of the Trampoline Floor


I’ve been reading George and the late Ms. Tioga’s amazing story, again, as of late, and I’ve always loved George’s narrative style, as he described his adventures being a Vagabonder Supreme with all his friends.

So, today I decided I’d try writing in his fashion, as I’ve always tended to assign human qualities to a great many things that have been a part of my life and talked to them like they were people on many occasions.

The Amerigo, you should already know her name, its Ms. Merry, of course! 

Now, Merry’s Chaufer, the trusty old white Dodge pickup, might be a tad more challenging, as his name isn’t really straight forward.   His name is Jake, named after his Grandfather, an old red 1979 Chevy C20 Camper Special who drove Ms. Dyna around for my parents when I was a little baby. Jake, however, likes to be called “Red” after his nickname “Redneck Express”, because he thinks it makes him sound tough like a junkyard dog, though he’s more like a sleepy black lab.

Red’s been taking care of Ms. Merry, resting on his back while she undergoes her surgery.   Both of them are looking forward to when Ms. Merry is finally done, and its time for Merry, Red, Dawn and Ms. Yuki the Cat to return to the asphalt rivers once again in search of the next horizon.

---------------------------------------------

When we last left off, I was showing you all the new holding tanks for Ms. Merry the Amerigo, who is still feeling rather out of sorts with her insides out and about, scattered into various unsorted piles in the barn with old Mr. Kit, who simply grumbles whenever he’s woke up by me digging around looking for a bit of Ms. Merry to put back and generally mumbles something about “Staying off his lawn”.

Today, I finally decided to tear into Ms. Merry’s floor, the last big mystery left in her bare skeleton. 
From the day I first looked at Ms. Merry in her dusty tent up in Washington, I noticed that her floor was rather springy, like walking on a trampoline in some areas.   This was very disconcerting, as no Truck Camper’s floor should bounce like a trampoline when you walk on it!

I figured at the time the floor was either built with too thin of plywood when Ms. Merry was put together, or water had gotten into poor Ms. Merry’s floor and the framing had rotted.

So, with all of Ms. Merry’s walls finally put back together and built stronger than ever before, I set about investigating this danged trampoline, as there was no way I was going to put 348 lbs of water on poor Ms. Merry’s floor only to have the tank drop through the first time she decided to climb of Red’s back.

After a great deal of struggle, Mr. Ryobi the Saw and I cut out several peep holes in the floor so I could take a look into Ms. Merry’s floor to find what the trouble was.

The only problem was, every hole I cut, I only found foam!

After a while, Mr. Ryobi the saw was screaming “Enough, this old vinyl and plywood is hard for me to cut, you should using Mr. Milwaukee for this!”, so I got out big Joe and his little buddy Five-Pound, to start ripping up the stubborn plywood and let Mr. Ryobi’s battery go and recharge.

This is what we found:


No rot in the frame!  Yay!

Now, there is some water damage to the very thin door skin that covers the bottom, but it appears that’s the only thing affected, and I can replace that later when Ms. Merry’s got all her legs again and she can climb off poor Red’s back and give him a rest.

The plywood also wasn’t rotten, or thin….. like every other plywood piece in Ms. Merry, it was 5/8” plenty thick.   So, why was her floor so bouncy?

I didn’t find the whole reason until I spent several more hours with Mr. Ryobi, Big Joe and Five Pound.

Turns out, poor Ms. Merry’s floor wasn’t built very well .

Instead of properly securing Ms. Merry’s floor every so often with cross boards, her floor was simply made up of four 2x2s running length-wise the entire span of the floor with only a couple of very loose 2x4 pieces up towards the front to stiffen it.  You can see those in the pictures above.

So, with no solid cross beams, the floor in the middle just bowed up as Ms. Merry’s big rear end sagged down.

Well, we couldn’t have that!  So, I asked the two Atwood brothers, “Would you please lift up poor Ms. Merry’s rear end so it straightens back out and I can fix her floor?”

“Sure thing boss!  But, you’re going to have to turn us, you haven’t got us any power, yet!”  replied the Atwood brothers, who always love a chance to lift something big.

So, out came the crank, and I got myself into quite a sweat spinning down each of the Atwood brothers until Ms. Merry’s rear end had lifted just enough to straighten the floor back out.

Once Ms. Merry’s floor was no longer bent, I got out trusty Mr. Dremel and we cut out the old floor almost all the way back to the rear, removing the bent and twisted floor joists.

After I had finished vaccuuming up the floor and pounding over the staples left from removing the center floor joists, I proceeded to cut new 2x6s to frame up the floor in the front to be strong enough to support Ms. Merry’s new fresh water tank, and then several 2x4s to provide support for the dinette seat compartments where Ms. Merry’s batteries were going to go.

Finally, using a 2x6 and a 2x4, I rejoined the remaining portion of the old floor joists from the rear into the new framing in the front portion of the floor.

My poor arms and Mr. Ryobi the Drill were both fairly sore after driving in all of those large screws to clamp all those new pieces of wood togther so they’d become super strong once the glue set.

We also got to cut our first pieces of insulation ,  finally we’re putting things back together!
Put down a bunch more glue on the top of all that new wood, then drop in the new sheet of plywood….


Driving in a whole bunch of two-inch screws and the front section of Ms. Merry’s floor is done!

-----------------------------------------------------------------

Well, that takes care of the front portion of the camper, I’ll be able to replace the plywood on the rear section as soon as I remove the toilet from the bathroom so I can move the shower stall out of the way and tear out the last piece of the original plywood.

When they built Merry’s floor, they ran a full eight foot sheet from the rear straight up to the front, then a second shorter piece to complete the run, hence the 2x4s in the photo of the original frame structure.   The outer edges of the overhanging section simply have small pieces of plywood added on instead of the rear being cut all from one sheet of plywood.

With the new framing and the same thickness of plywood as the replacement, the new floor doesn’t bounce at all and is quite solid.

Next up, I’ll be finishing the framing on the front wall so I can then insulate and close it up, allowing me to then build the framed box for the new fresh water tank and then i’ll have a step again so I can easily get up to the cabover and finish the floor.

Once the cabover floor is in place, I can really start picking up the pace, first repaneling the ceiling up there, then installing the insulation and new quarter inch plywood to the walls in the cabover.

I’ll be returning to more my regular-style of writing for my following posts, but I’ll probably continue to refer to the camper as Merry and my truck as Red, going forward, however, I think I’ll probably stop giving characterizations to everything else, even if it was kind of fun

Till next time,
Safe Travels .
Follow along with me as I full-time the Redneck Way in The Journey of the Redneck Express

CB Channel 17
Redneck Express
'1992 Dodge W-250 Club Cab Long Bed "Dually" V8 5.9l 4spd H.D Auto 4x4 4.10 Gears
'1974 KIT 1106 Kamper
'1987 Custom Built Pullman Mini Camper (The Pullman Mini Camper Project)
'2004 Bi-Mart 1000lbs Cargo Trailer (Chuck wagon)

Offline RedneckExpress

  • Full Time RVer - 5 year member
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  • Chassis: W350 Dodge Power Wagon
  • Engine: 5.9L V8 360
Enclosing our First Wall!
« Reply #2 on: July 28, 2016, 11:30 PM »
Friday, July 1, 2016

Rebuilding “Ms. Merry”, the Amerigo– Enclosing our first wall!


In our last adventure, the gang and I had set about solving the mystery of Ms. Merry’s trampoline floor, now that that is taken care of, it’s time to start closing up some walls so we can get Ms. Merry’s new fresh water tank installed and then I can get back up to finish her cabover floor.

First thing that needed doing was to finish up the frame in Ms. Merry’s front wall, it was missing a lot of wood both from be taking stuff out to fix her floor, and because Merry’s original builders cut a lot of corners.

To get started, we had to take poor Ms. Merry’s other front jack off and remove all the new plugs we’d installed last fall, they were coming through a part of the wall where some new framing needed to go.

Once all the new wood was cut, and glued and screwed in place, we made short work of cutting all the new insulation panels for Ms. Merry’s new front wall.

Before w/new right corner


After w/all of the insulation installed


“My, that’s much better!”, exclaimed Ms. Merry after I tapped in the last piece of foam board.

I don’t know if you noticed, by Ms. Merry’s window opening in her front wall has changed a little as well, its been reshaped to take a spare window off Old Mr. Kit, who hasn’t needed it since he got his wall air conditioner several years ago.

How nice it is that Mr. KIT has yet another of his old pieces that Ms. Merry can use .

You’re probably also wondering, “Matt, why does Ms. Merry have an extra 2x4 in her left corner?” 

Well, that’s for when I go to reinstall those connectors for Ms. Merry’s batteries and her lights, I wanted something solid I could cut holes through to anchor those outlets into good and solid so the seal would stay good and tight, before, those plugs were only held on by some caulk and a couple screws through the fiberglass. 

With a fresh sheet of 3/8” Plywood, it didn’t take long to cut Ms. Merry’s new front wall plywood to shape, and then glue and screw it into place .   

I also got to try out our newest member of the gang, the younger Milwaukee Brother, Router.  Mr. Router Milwaukee made short work of cutting out the opening in the new plywood for Ms. Merry’s pass-through window.


And there’s old Mr. Kit’s spare window, stuck in the opening for a moment on the wrong side to make sure it fights right .   


And now, Ms. Merry’s front wall is done till its time to install the finish paneling to make it look pretty .
Follow along with me as I full-time the Redneck Way in The Journey of the Redneck Express

CB Channel 17
Redneck Express
'1992 Dodge W-250 Club Cab Long Bed "Dually" V8 5.9l 4spd H.D Auto 4x4 4.10 Gears
'1974 KIT 1106 Kamper
'1987 Custom Built Pullman Mini Camper (The Pullman Mini Camper Project)
'2004 Bi-Mart 1000lbs Cargo Trailer (Chuck wagon)

Offline RedneckExpress

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  • Chassis: W350 Dodge Power Wagon
  • Engine: 5.9L V8 360
Merry gets a step up!
« Reply #3 on: July 28, 2016, 11:31 PM »
Sunday, July 3, 2016

Rebuilding “Ms. Merry”, the Amerigo–Merry get’s a step up!


Now, that Ms. Merry’s front wall was all done, the gang and I wasted no time in getting straight to building some side frames for Ms. Merry’s tub so that we could install insulation along her tub sides, which were little more than 5/8” pieces of plywood standing on end, not very warm in the winter!




These new tub walls, not only will help keep Ms. Merry warmer during the winter, but they also give us a nice strong spot to tie in the wall that will help hold her new 42 gallon fresh water tank


Ooops…. need to make a little notch so that we can fill the tank!


Trying old Ms. Merry’s old tank step top .


There we go!  Ms. Merry’s new fresh water tank has been plumbed for the pump, and given a pressure test to make sure none of the fittings leak before we close it up in her front step. 


The plywood on the top on the left is the new bottom for the kitchen cabinet that goes over the top of the tank.  We’ve stuck a piece of pipe in the elbow for now to keep saw dust and other stuff out of Ms. Merry’s new fresh water tank until we’re done plumbing in the fill pipe. 

One more wall still needs to be built for the tank step, this one will be lightweight, creating a storage compartment in front of Ms. Merry’s fresh water tank inside the step where we can store all of Ms. Merry’s spare water hoses and cords and what not that Mr. Kit is giving her.   

Even got the rest of the cabinet bottom in on the driver’s side wing, lots of glue and screws to make it good and strong
Follow along with me as I full-time the Redneck Way in The Journey of the Redneck Express

CB Channel 17
Redneck Express
'1992 Dodge W-250 Club Cab Long Bed "Dually" V8 5.9l 4spd H.D Auto 4x4 4.10 Gears
'1974 KIT 1106 Kamper
'1987 Custom Built Pullman Mini Camper (The Pullman Mini Camper Project)
'2004 Bi-Mart 1000lbs Cargo Trailer (Chuck wagon)

Offline RedneckExpress

  • Full Time RVer - 5 year member
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  • Posts: 179
  • Find America, leave the freeway behind!
  • Member since: 2011
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  • Year: 1974
  • Make: KIT
  • Model: Kamper Slide-in Truck Camper
  • Chassis: W350 Dodge Power Wagon
  • Engine: 5.9L V8 360
Taking the bow out of the cabover!
« Reply #4 on: July 30, 2017, 02:59 AM »
Rebuilding “Ms. Merry”, the Amerigo– Taking the bow out of the cabover

Now, that the gang and I can safely access Ms. Merry’s cabover, it was finally time to bring in the new cab-over floor frame and resolve the issue of the major sagging problem that the original floor frame had.

Unfortunately, there was no good way to bring the whole frame in in one piece, so it was dismantled and brought in in sections, then reassembled on to of the old frame after the polyurethane adhesive had been liberally applied to all the joining areas.

Before the new frame could be fully assembled, the center section’s new foam board had to first be installed, as an additional 2x4 was added to the floor at approximately where our hips and waist would roughly rest, as this was a point of sag in old Mr. Kit and caused an annoying bowl effect that tended to cause us to both slide toward the center as we slept in his cabover.

 

To take the bow out of the front middle of the cabover floor, the new frame was built with a 2x4 header beam that attached directly behind the edge of the original floor frame.   Once a the new frame was all reassembled in place and the edge boards fully secured, a ratcheting clamp was then used under the edge of the original floor’s center and the stiffening 2x4 to gradually suck the old floor back up into a nice straight shape.

At this point, screws were driven through the original 2x2 header into the 2x4 header to secure it into its new shape and allow for the glue to achieve maximum adhession.  Additional screws were then driven through the new 2x2s in the upper frame into the lower frame after making sure the boards were as aligned as possible.




As you can see, additional framing was added to the side walls to give the new bed frame extra support.   A second tapered board was cut to fill the void on the passenger side so that side wall support framing for the cabover floor went as far forward as possible. 

Once the old edge board is removed from the underside the lower window shelf/platform, a 2x6 will be cut, tapered and notched to fit on the front most edge of the floor frame to attach the last small portion of the cabover floor between the new header and the front edge of the cabover.   

After that, the two layers of foam insulation will be installed in the floor, however, the floor decking will not be able to be permanently installed until the side wall plywood and wall paneling is installed.



For the moment, Ms. Merry’s new 3/4” Plywood cabover deck temporarily dry fitted into place to allow for me to begin removal of the last section of the old ceiling.

Once the ceiling has been opened up, I can pull the new wiring for the reading lights, cut the new insulation board to fill the whole roof in with, and then start installing the new ceiling paneling.   

Follow along with me as I full-time the Redneck Way in The Journey of the Redneck Express

CB Channel 17
Redneck Express
'1992 Dodge W-250 Club Cab Long Bed "Dually" V8 5.9l 4spd H.D Auto 4x4 4.10 Gears
'1974 KIT 1106 Kamper
'1987 Custom Built Pullman Mini Camper (The Pullman Mini Camper Project)
'2004 Bi-Mart 1000lbs Cargo Trailer (Chuck wagon)

Offline RedneckExpress

  • Full Time RVer - 5 year member
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  • Posts: 179
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  • Member since: 2011
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  • Year: 1974
  • Make: KIT
  • Model: Kamper Slide-in Truck Camper
  • Chassis: W350 Dodge Power Wagon
  • Engine: 5.9L V8 360
Ms. Merry lights up the night!
« Reply #5 on: July 30, 2017, 03:00 AM »
Sunday, July 17, 2016

Rebuilding “Ms. Merry”, the Amerigo– Ms. Merry Lights up the Night!


The gang and I, rather sore from all the crawling around and balancing that was needed to put in Ms. Merry’s new cabover floor, plus, getting the first part of the ceiling in (You’ll see the new ceiling in an upcoming post, Mr. Lumix said it didn’t look right with only one piece of ceiling in at the time), we decided it was time to do some outside work where we I could stretch my back.


Once again, Grote and Amazon came through for locating as close a replica of the original clearance lights as Ms. Merry originally came with.  For her amber forward lights, we used "Grote 45263 Two-Bulb Oval Pigtail-Type Clearance Marker Light (Optic Lens) and for the red rear marker lights, "Grote 45262 Two-Bulb Oval Pigtail-Type Clearance Marker Light (Optic Lens)."


So, I set about removing all of Ms. Merry’s old front clearance lights, you can see the mess that made on Red’s hood.

Using the old wires, I was able to pull the new twelve-gauge white and brown wires for the running lights, which were as close to a match to the originals as I could find.  On the upside, all of the original lenses are still in good shape and fit the new bases, so we could change them all out of if we decide that they just don’t look right.


“My!  They’re so bright and pretty, and they work so well, now!”  Ms. Merry loves how well her new lights work compared to the state they were in when we made the journey home from Washington. 

Both of us remember having to pull off more than once for me to go up on Red’s hood and fiddle with the lights to get them to stay on as we drove home that evening.



Now, all of the junky old wiring is gone, replaced with much heavier better installed wire.   No more faltering running lights for Merry!
Follow along with me as I full-time the Redneck Way in The Journey of the Redneck Express

CB Channel 17
Redneck Express
'1992 Dodge W-250 Club Cab Long Bed "Dually" V8 5.9l 4spd H.D Auto 4x4 4.10 Gears
'1974 KIT 1106 Kamper
'1987 Custom Built Pullman Mini Camper (The Pullman Mini Camper Project)
'2004 Bi-Mart 1000lbs Cargo Trailer (Chuck wagon)

Offline RedneckExpress

  • Full Time RVer - 5 year member
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  • Posts: 179
  • Find America, leave the freeway behind!
  • Member since: 2011
  • I own: a Motor Home
  • Year: 1974
  • Make: KIT
  • Model: Kamper Slide-in Truck Camper
  • Chassis: W350 Dodge Power Wagon
  • Engine: 5.9L V8 360
Completing the Cabover - Part 1
« Reply #6 on: July 30, 2017, 03:01 AM »
Sunday, July 9, 2017

Rebuilding “Ms. Merry”, the Amerigo–Completing the Cabover, Part 1

Poor Ms. merry, she’s sat waiting patiently for almost a year before the I got the gang back together again.   

She’s even had to suffer through the indignity of her Cabover Escape Hatch giving way under a snow load in January and it not being noticed for quite some time, leaving us alot of clean-up work to repair the damage to the brand new inside.

We’ll have a picture soon of Ms. Merry’s better than new escape hatch and her nifty-new Winnegard Batwing antenna (Just as soon as we clear the two inches of fir needles off the rest of poor Merry’s roof). 

When we stopped last year on Ms. Merry, we’d just gotten the brand new ceiling in, and were insulating the cabover walls and trying to cut the plywood to close in the side walls. 



We’d gotten the insulation down pat, but we’d made a miserable mess of trying to make new cabover sidewalls, attempting to reuse the old wall paneling to trace out the new panels, but they would never line up properly. 

Finally, Mrs. Dawn said, “Why don’t you just staple some cardboard on the wall and make a template of what you need and then trace that out on the wood instead?” 

The Milwaukee brothers and I looked at each other and had to scratch our heads to ponder why that idea hadn’t come to us in the first place.  Good thing we’ve got Mrs. Dawn to keep us blunderheads from wasting anymore expensive wood!   

Sure enough, we made a perfectly fitting template on our first try and it worked so well that it even fit on both sides!



In case you’re wondering, the floor is just sitting in place, the wall panel goes all the way down to the cabover floor frame. 

A quick zip with Mr. Router, and we’ve got side windows again



We liked how it was looking so much, we decided we wanted to show you how the frames for the inside cabover wall looked sitting in place .



You can kind of guess where the opening to the caboverr will be .   Some cross pieces to support the cabinets in the kitchen and where the TV cabinet in the cabover still need to be added, but it’s coming together
Follow along with me as I full-time the Redneck Way in The Journey of the Redneck Express

CB Channel 17
Redneck Express
'1992 Dodge W-250 Club Cab Long Bed "Dually" V8 5.9l 4spd H.D Auto 4x4 4.10 Gears
'1974 KIT 1106 Kamper
'1987 Custom Built Pullman Mini Camper (The Pullman Mini Camper Project)
'2004 Bi-Mart 1000lbs Cargo Trailer (Chuck wagon)

Offline RedneckExpress

  • Full Time RVer - 5 year member
  • *
  • Posts: 179
  • Find America, leave the freeway behind!
  • Member since: 2011
  • I own: a Motor Home
  • Year: 1974
  • Make: KIT
  • Model: Kamper Slide-in Truck Camper
  • Chassis: W350 Dodge Power Wagon
  • Engine: 5.9L V8 360
Completing the Cabover - Part 2
« Reply #7 on: July 30, 2017, 03:09 AM »
Monday, July 10, 2017

Rebuilding “Ms. Merry”, the Amerigo–Completing the Cabover, Part 2

We’re on a roll, now!

Soon, as we finished getting Ms. Merry’s new plywood walls done, we couldn’t wait to get to the next  step, installing the first of the new finished wall board that would adorn all of the inside walls inside of Ms. Merry !

Since our plywood boards fit so well, we decided to trace them onto their finish wall boards before we had glued them into place. 

So, other than troweling on the flexible wall-board adhesive we’d selected and putting in the perimeter staples to keep everything nice and tight, it took very little time at all to really make Merry’s new walls look wonderful


The pattern on the finished wall board is called “Sea Mist”, though we’re not entirely sure where it comes from, as we’ve never seen a sea mist that looked anything like it.

For our friends that own Ms. Merry’s brothers and sisters, you may or may not have noticed, but as part of our redesign of Ms. Merry’s interior, we did away with the little wing shelf-thingies that were under the bottom edge of the wrap-around front window.   

Given one of our main goals was to fit a full queen size mattress in Ms. Merry’s cabover, we saw no use to the little wings since our front ledge is anchored in place using a custom cut 2x6 and is securely attached to the cabover frame which supports it instead of the ledge trying to support the floor, as it was when we first brought Ms. Merry home. 

The remaining void between the fiberglass body and the frame will be later filled with expanding foam, the low pressure variety so that it doesn’t accidentally deform the fiberglass body, this will insulate and remove any cold air voids near the front. 

Once the main cabover walls were finished, the next part was to close back in the top front corners and install the insulation. 

Yes, the gang and I decided to use pink bat insulation, we don’t have the tools to use expanding spray foam, which would have been ideal and the canned stuff wouldn’t have ensured an even insulation layer.  Plus, if we ever need to replace the clearance lights, not embedding the wiring in expanding foam was a good idea

First we temporarily installed the corner boards to help hold the ceiling up while we removed the front board that had been temporarily screwed in place, then installed the fiberglass .   

The temporary bracing is to straighten the upper plywood ledge back out, the staples that held the bottom ledge for the front plywood had pulled out over the winter and had caused a bow to form in the shelf.

We glued and screwed the ledge back in place this time, so we’re going to leave it wedged up for a while to get the bow out. 


Once that was glued and screwed into place, we next removed the driver’s side corner board, installed the insulation, then reinstalled the plywood.

You can see the extra piece we glued on the back to give us extra thickness to later attach the reading light fixture for Mrs. Dawn and the hole for the wires to come through.



Then we did the same (minus the wiring) on the other side.
Follow along with me as I full-time the Redneck Way in The Journey of the Redneck Express

CB Channel 17
Redneck Express
'1992 Dodge W-250 Club Cab Long Bed "Dually" V8 5.9l 4spd H.D Auto 4x4 4.10 Gears
'1974 KIT 1106 Kamper
'1987 Custom Built Pullman Mini Camper (The Pullman Mini Camper Project)
'2004 Bi-Mart 1000lbs Cargo Trailer (Chuck wagon)

Offline RedneckExpress

  • Full Time RVer - 5 year member
  • *
  • Posts: 179
  • Find America, leave the freeway behind!
  • Member since: 2011
  • I own: a Motor Home
  • Year: 1974
  • Make: KIT
  • Model: Kamper Slide-in Truck Camper
  • Chassis: W350 Dodge Power Wagon
  • Engine: 5.9L V8 360
Re: Rebuilding "Ms. Merry" The Amerigo - Updated 7/21/2016
« Reply #8 on: August 11, 2017, 02:26 PM »
Sunday, July 23, 2017

Rebuilding “Ms. Merry”, the Amerigo–The last Demo, Clearing the Bathroom–Part 1

Now, you’re all probably wondering, as I said in my last post “We’re on a Roll!”, and now we’ve moved away from finishing the cabover and moved on to other parts of the Ms. Merry.

Well, the answer is pretty simple.   In the process of completing what you’ve seen in the cabover, I successfully hurt my knee, and since I couldn’t crawl around until it healed up, I decided rather than waste time, the Gang and I would go and work on other parts of Ms. Merry that needed doing. 

So, we figured we’d move on to finish the side walls and roof, and to tackle that, we had to finish doing the last Demolition that we’d been putting off, the bathroom.

We’d put off the bathroom as long as we did because when I first started on Ms. Merry, we were racing to try and get done as fast as possible to try and make the Glacier National Park Rally with the other Truck Campers.   So, we weren’t certain if we were going to do anything with Ms. Merry’s bathroom or not, other than shove it out of the way to finish the wall behind it.

Now, that we’ve got more time and making sure we’re doing everything right, I decided that I would take a page from Old Mr. Kit and completely rebuild the bathroom.

With that decision made, the next big one was, “What do we want to save?”   Ms. Merry did have a nice one-piece fiberglass bathroom, problem was, it was just a hair too short front to back and a couple inches too narrow. 

We guess Gardner did this so that one bathroom mould could be used for all their RV models, vs having different sized ones for different models. 

So, I decided that we’d keep the bottom half of the bathroom (It was two pieces glued together), and junk the top, as the medicine cabinet wasn’t worth keeping and the roof vent was going to be redone anyway.

Now, that was decided, it was time to take the proverbial to it.

One last look at the old bathroom.



Then off came the door wall and the door:



Then Mr. Dremel really got to work, cutting out the upper bathroom walls in pieces:



You can see the water damage where it got in around the junk roof vent above the bathroom. 

It was too long before we had half a bathroom and the rest was pieces thrown out in the dumpster.



Most of the roof above the bathroom we were able to just pull out with our fingers, it just crumbled into thousands of tiny pieces.   

Now, that the upper half of Ms. Merry’s bathroom has been cleared away, we can hold off on working on the bottom half until we get the roof and ceiling done so we can start planning out the new walls. 

First up, we’re going to start reframing the roof and remove those old vents, but that’s a story for another chapter

Follow along with me as I full-time the Redneck Way in The Journey of the Redneck Express

CB Channel 17
Redneck Express
'1992 Dodge W-250 Club Cab Long Bed "Dually" V8 5.9l 4spd H.D Auto 4x4 4.10 Gears
'1974 KIT 1106 Kamper
'1987 Custom Built Pullman Mini Camper (The Pullman Mini Camper Project)
'2004 Bi-Mart 1000lbs Cargo Trailer (Chuck wagon)

Offline RedneckExpress

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  • Engine: 5.9L V8 360
Re: Rebuilding "Ms. Merry" The Amerigo - Updated 7/21/2016
« Reply #9 on: August 11, 2017, 02:35 PM »
Thursday, August 10, 2017

Rebuilding “Ms. Merry”, the Amerigo–Merry Raises the Roof–Part 1

Well, we just keep jumping around to different tales, now don’t we? 

This is really because in order to get to a larger end goal on Ms. Merry, we have to do a little of one thing so we can do alot of another. 

In this case, we had to do the first half of the bathroom demolition in order to get to the rest of the roof.

As you saw in the Last Demo chapter, the roof framing above Ms. Merry’s bathroom was in pretty rough shape.   

Since the gang and I are going to change the bathroom a bit anyway, we decided to change how the roof vents and everything were as well.   This is going to add a little work for us, but the end result will be a bathroom big enough for Big Matt to stick his big round tuchus comfortably for a shower or a quite bit of contemplation with a book

The bathroom isn’t the only reason we’re reframing alot of the rear third of the Ms. Merry’s roof. 

A big reason is the original open for Ms. Merry’s Air Conditioner was turned into a nice skylight by her last owner, which is wonderful because it gives Big Matt a nice place to stick his head when he’s working in the kitchen and wants to stand up good and tall, but now we needed a new home for Merry’s new A/C unit. 

So, we first removed the first two roof joists directly behind the original area where the skylight was:


Then we built a new frame using 2x4s (Merry’s original A/C vent roof rafters were just 2x2s glued together, basically making a 2x4), so we used a couple 2x4s for the main load bearing area, then laminated the two 2x2 roof joists we’d removed (there was nothing wrong with them) and put them back into place and anchored them back into the top wall beam.



Once the glue had set on those new joists, we started removing the last couple in the rear that were in really bad shape from where water had gotten to them, enough so that it left a permanent outline on the inside of the fiberglass ceiling from where they were.



Before we took out the last beam, we cut the new five millimeter plywood to glue in on top of the new roof joists for the A/C so that there’s an even platform for the A/C to sit on and to give the roof a little slope so that water runs away from the A/C unit. 



We left it like for the night so that the pressure from the fiberglass could act like a clamp on the plywood to secure it via the glue we had squeezed in between the frame and it to bond the two together. 

When we cut the opening out for the new A/C, we’ll drive some flush fasteners in around the perimeter of the open to help secure the layers together. 

Once the glue had dried on the plywood, we went about framing in the new roof joists for the raised skylight area and the new 14x14 Vent-line Power vent that was also going into the bathroom and would be situated above the sink. 



We plan to reuse the section of roof where the new roof vent is going to fill in the original rear vent’s hole.   More five millimeter plywood is going to be installed across the areas where the old vent openings and new vent opens are to give us something to help re-glass the altered areas.

Once the holes are fully edged with roof material, the new vent frame will be installed on top of the roof and then made into a water proof permanent component onto which the skylight dome will go.



We’ve got one more vent open to frame in to replace the original 14x14 rear vent that’s being shifted towards the door a little to accomodate the expansion of the bathroom.

We’ll cover its installation and the plywood install in part 2 .
Follow along with me as I full-time the Redneck Way in The Journey of the Redneck Express

CB Channel 17
Redneck Express
'1992 Dodge W-250 Club Cab Long Bed "Dually" V8 5.9l 4spd H.D Auto 4x4 4.10 Gears
'1974 KIT 1106 Kamper
'1987 Custom Built Pullman Mini Camper (The Pullman Mini Camper Project)
'2004 Bi-Mart 1000lbs Cargo Trailer (Chuck wagon)

Offline RedneckExpress

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  • Engine: 5.9L V8 360
Re: Rebuilding "Ms. Merry" The Amerigo - Updated 7/21/2016
« Reply #10 on: August 17, 2017, 11:34 PM »
SATURDAY, AUGUST 12, 2017

Rebuilding “Ms. Merry” the Amerigo–Merry Raises the Roof–Part 2

When we last left you off, we were just getting the new rear roof framing in place for Ms. Merry’s bathroom.

We’re starting off in part 2, gluing in the five millimeter plywood cut to give the roof a crown around where the raised ceiling and vents are going to go.  We’ve also framed in the last vent opening, for where Old Mr. Kit’s fantastic fan is going to be installed, replacing the original rear roof vent of Ms. Merry’s .


Poor Mr. Dremel worked his heart out cutting out those openings, his little blades are all worn down to nubs, now and my poor arms were jelly by the time we got done.  Mr. Dremel’s going to have to take a break soon until we make a run to Home Depot to get him some more!



Once the holes were all done, we started fastening the pieces of old fiberglass roof in to the odd shaped holes and Mr. Dremel struggled on a little more to cut them flush to the new openings.

I think it came out pretty good, and once we clean and sand it, we’ll be putting some new fiberglass on to seal the roof all back up into once piece again .



Thanks to the new Park Manager, Mr. Willy, we were able to get a ladder tall enough to get up topside of Ms. Merry and start the cleaning.  For now, we just cleaned around the bathroom’s new vent opening so we could get it installed, there’s rain on the way and we need to get Ms. Merry battened down before it hits!


For Ms. Merry’s new bathroom vent, we went with a Ventline RV Roof Vent White w/ 12 Volt Fan.   

The Gang and I really like really liked this vent because it unlike most of the classic Elxir and Jensen vents, the screen doesn’t require you to remove the interior trim ring to remove the screen for cleaning. 

Just unclip and rinse, much easier than having to remove the knob, the anchor screws for the bezel, then the outer trim ring just to clean the screen!

We’re going to install a Camco vent cover over that vent later once the roof work is all done. 

Can you believe it?  We’re almost done with the roof! 

Here’s our remaining work list, and then we can close it in!
  • Pull the light wiring for the light above the dinette
  • Pull the light wiring for the interior entrace area light
  • Pull the speaker wire for the stereo speakers going on the underside of the dinette cabinet
  • Pull the wire for the TV Antenna
  • Pull the wire for the Radio Antenna (In theory we should be able to connect to the Winnegard antenna, but we’re not sure yet) 
  • Pull the wiring for the bathroom light and bathroom fan
  • Pull the wiring for the Air Conditioner (First 110volt wire to be installed!)
  • Pull the wiring for the porch light
Still looks like alot to do, but its all small things, a number of which can be done in a single day .  The slow one will be pull the TV wire, as we need to get some more parts to make more coax cables.

In the interim, we’ve gotten the holes drilled out for pull the light wires.   Found the bit used for the Kreg Jig for the dimensional lumber is big and long enough to work great as an auger for drilling deep wire holes into bigger boards .   

Drills Milwaukee was able to bore clean through a 2x2 and a 2x4 without any trouble!




Our last piece for this chapter, we’ve cleaned the roof above where the raised roof frame goes in and glued and screwed it into place.



Next up, fiberglassing the roof in Part 3 .
Follow along with me as I full-time the Redneck Way in The Journey of the Redneck Express

CB Channel 17
Redneck Express
'1992 Dodge W-250 Club Cab Long Bed "Dually" V8 5.9l 4spd H.D Auto 4x4 4.10 Gears
'1974 KIT 1106 Kamper
'1987 Custom Built Pullman Mini Camper (The Pullman Mini Camper Project)
'2004 Bi-Mart 1000lbs Cargo Trailer (Chuck wagon)

Offline RedneckExpress

  • Full Time RVer - 5 year member
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  • Chassis: W350 Dodge Power Wagon
  • Engine: 5.9L V8 360
Re: Rebuilding "Ms. Merry" The Amerigo - Updated 7/21/2016
« Reply #11 on: July 08, 2018, 02:07 AM »

Friday, August 25, 2017




Rebuilding “Ms. Merry”, the Amerigo–And The Mystery of the Trampoline Floor–Part 2



Once again, the Gang and I have had to change gears .   We discovered that when we went up on the ladder that we couldn’t reach the entirity of the roof area that needed to be sanded and re-fiberglassed. 

So, that leaves us with the only other option at the moment since Ms. Merry can’t be dismounted from Red’s back until she’s fully put back together.   

Standing on a step ladder inside and doing it from the middle of the skylight opening.   

Yay …….

In order to that, we will need to come back and finish one of Ms. Merry’s earlier work areas, the Trampoline Floor.   

Last year, we rebuilt the front portion of the floor as we explored to discover why Merry’s floor was so bouncy.  The rear portion of the floor was left undone do to the need to remove the bathroom, which we admit, we tried to put off as much as possible, because we knew what kind of nightmare it was going to become once we got that shower out and started tearing into the rear floor 

Unfortunately, with the need to basically stand in the middle of the toilet and the old shower pan, removing the shower could no longer be put off any longer. 

The upside is once its done, Ms. Merry’s floor will be fully enclosed at last and we’ll only be a short step away from hanging the rear section of ceiling in place so that the rear wall board can go in place

The first challenge was getting out the old Aqua Magic Galaxy Toilet.   



Out of all of Thetford’s designs, this one seems to be the one designed to be the greatest pain in the rear to remove. 

Removal requires removing a plug in the top and using eighteen inches of extensions, a universal joint adapter and a deep well 1/2” socket in order to back off the rear flange bolt. 

Removing the front bolt requires keeping the foot pedal depressed so you can use a ratcheting box end wrench to back the front flange bolt out. 

This went okay until the johnny bolt in the rear broke loose in the closet flange and started spinning, making it impossible to finish backing the nut off. 

Mercifully, the front bolt came out without any problems. 

In the end, Big Joe had to come to the rescue and with a lot of swearing, Ms. Merry’s old water closet flange gave way and the toilet went airborne, flying up high enough to clear the shower walls before crashing back onto the floor. 

At last the stubborn old toilet was out!



Only to discover it was anchored to the floor with those damn blasted Security Screws from hell……



Come on Big Joe, Five Pound, we’ve got more screws to pull out…..

Once we had popped and pulled all of the tooth grinding screws out, we were blessed with a small mercy, the flange was threaded into the tank, a couple minutes with lil’ Joe and Five Pound, and we had the flange loose and we used the remaining johnny bolt to spin it out.



At last! 

Now, to get that drain out….. Dang it…. it’s inner cross piece broke off….. Where’s my big flat head screw driver…..

The shower drain, which I at one time thought of saving and reusing ended up having to be shattered with a flat head screw driver as the inner tree broke off when we tried to back it out.  Once it’s flange was out, I left the remaining thread in the pipe, as all of the remaining plumbing plus the old tank were on their way to the dumpster. 

At last, we were able to pull the old shower out and expose the last of the floor, untouched and unseen since Merry rolled off the assembly line in 1975.   

It was really…. really dirty……



That’s all road dirt that had blown up into Miss Merry’s undercarriage in all the years she’d traveled, coming up around the gap in the floor around the shower drain pipe that went straight through the floor and hung underneath, fully exposed to the elements and road spray.   



The debris is from the removal of the old shower, and the wood, ironically enough, has only surface discoloring, no dry rot was found.   

With the shower out, it was time to remove the last of the original wall paneling so that the old floor could at last be removed.

While preparing to remove the last of the old wall paneling, we found another time capsule from when Merry was originally built.   



Still afixed to the vent stack for the holding tank, was a piece of scotch tape with notes listing its use and its source.    Much like the “Ken Smith” written on the side of Merry’s fridge, we’ve found a number of notes left behind by the folks who built Merry forty-two years ago .

If we can find a way, we may preserve a few of these tid bits in Merry’s table top when we get to that stage, so they can continue to travel on with Merry.   

With Merry’s new shower, the new vent stack will be painted and visible within it, and sadly, we won’t be able to reuse the original Bristol, Indiana made vent pipes as they’re too short to make the run from where the vent pipe elbow will be to reach the vent cap on the roof.   

Once we cut off the vent pipe, it took some work with Big Joe the crowbar to break Merry’s old holding tank loose from the floor.   We had to remove it in this fashion due to the use of those dang blasted crescent moon screws that were used in every facet of Merry’s construction, backing them out was not possible.   



As you can see in the photo, the original toilet flange was off center of the tank due to the bathroom being off center to accomodate for the vent pipe.   With the new tank and bathroom, the flange is now direct dead center on the deepest point of the tank.   We’ll go over this in a later chapter covering the cutting of the floor holes for the new plumbing and ducting for Merry’s heated tank compartment that will go under the floor.   

With the tank finally out, we were able to begin the demolition of the rear floor.

Sadly, one of the main members we had left in place broke at a large knot in the board as we were prying up the old 5/8” three section plywood that made up the original floor. 



You can see the flimsy door skin material that was used on the underside of Miss Merry, we simply punched through it with a few blows of our feet and Big Joe.   

Looks like we’ve got some clean up to do, so stay tuned, we’ll continue the floor rebuild in Part 3 .
Follow along with me as I full-time the Redneck Way in The Journey of the Redneck Express

CB Channel 17
Redneck Express
'1992 Dodge W-250 Club Cab Long Bed "Dually" V8 5.9l 4spd H.D Auto 4x4 4.10 Gears
'1974 KIT 1106 Kamper
'1987 Custom Built Pullman Mini Camper (The Pullman Mini Camper Project)
'2004 Bi-Mart 1000lbs Cargo Trailer (Chuck wagon)

Offline RedneckExpress

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  • Chassis: W350 Dodge Power Wagon
  • Engine: 5.9L V8 360
Re: Rebuilding "Ms. Merry" The Amerigo - Updated 7/21/2016
« Reply #12 on: July 08, 2018, 02:11 AM »

Saturday, August 26, 2017




Rebuilding “Ms. Merry”, the Amerigo–And The Mystery of the Trampoline Floor–Part 3



When we left off in Part 2, we’d just finished busting our Merry’s old rear floor.   

Now, we’re building in her new floor frame

Because we wanted to try and eliminate as much floor sag as possible from Miss Merry’s rump and make it strong enough to support the new, larger holding tank, we beefed up alot of her floor with new 2x4s and 2x6s to take the strain. 

We also needed to beef up her floor frame to take the strain from her new three step folding staircase that was going in as well

Sadly, we’ve apparently lost some of the photos, likely when Mr. Tabs had a bad case of the busted operating systems and had to undergo emergency overhauling to get him back into functional condition .   



As part of our process to eliminate the rump sag, we put in some diagonal bracing at the bottom of wing wall on Miss Merry’s driver side and extended the 2x6 load bearing timber clear up to the main carrier beam at the top of the wall. 


You can see Mr. Pumps the bottle jack where he came to rest on the floor when our cribbing blocks gave way and popped me in the face with a 2x3 we’d been using to stretch the framing in the rear of the driver’s side wall back into shape and remove the bend in the lumber before we secured the new 2x6 in place to carry the load from one of the Atwood Jacks.   

Miss Merry’s temporary floor can also be seen that was used while we stretched the wall.   

From underneath, you can see the new front 2x5 (We had to cut off some in order for the beam to clear the bumper) that took the place of the original 2x6 that ran the width of the floor when Merry was first built and had been cut away by the last owner and replaced with a chunk of angle iron in order to fit Miss Merry on his much newer pickup. 



A second, full 2x6 was installed and through bolted through the base of Merry’s rear wall to help remove the side to side sag that the rear end was having.   The last bit of the sag won’t be completely gone until we reinstall the interior walls that helped support Merry’s rear weight, since these bolts are accessible even after completion, we can adjust their tightness over time to take up any slack that may form in the wood as Miss Merry flexes from traveling. 

The photos of this were sadly part of what was lost, so we’ll have to take new ones later one when we show the under side work for the new mixed waste tank and the enclosed compartment.  For now, you’ll just have to go by our description

The rear wall 2x6 takes the place of the piece of 5/8” plywood that originally was part of the over hang skirt that goes around the underside of an Amerigo’s overhang.   We had to temporarily stretch Merry’s fiberglass rear skin back just enough to allow for us to drive twelve inch carriage bolts through the bottom of the rear wall frame, 5/8” of plywood and the 2x6” stiffening beam.   A total of ten of these bolts go through the frame and the beam, with 2x3s glued and anchored over their heads.   

Why didn’t we go through those 2x3s and well?   There was no way to get a straight on angle to drive the bolts in with the extra thickness, it was barely doable with the original beams and we wanted to be able to retighten these bolts later when the wood dries and shrinks (Causing the bolts to loosen), something that wouldn’t be possible if we flipped them over and put the nuts on the inside of the wall.   So, our compromise was going through the original beam and then laminating the two, bolt heads and all together.   



Before the finished floor was put in (all once piece of plywood, now), we temporarily fitted the new stairs in place so we could drill the holes through the frame, that way we could easily punch through the plywood later to make the counter sink holes for the nuts, unlike the wall, the floor in Miss Merry will be floating, so all we have to do to tighten those bolts is to remove a couple pieces of trim and lift up the vinyl flooring. 

Once that was done, we were able to cut the finish sheet of plywood and permanently install it in place

Again, the photo after it was installed was lost, so we’re using one of the later photos to show you the new floor in place as best we can.   



Once the new floor was finished, we turned our energy towards installing the extra framing being added to help support the load from the much larger three-step folding steps that were taking the place of the original two step.   

To help accomodate this, an extra 2x4 was installed in the floor frame and then from underneath, a lamination of a notched 2x6 and a 2x4 were attached and then through bolted through the floor and clear through the beam.   A section of 5/8” plywood was cut to match and then laminated onto the front to give the beam coverage as a nice clean solid surface.   



In the shot below its still in its gray primer, the finished area with its spray skirting to protect the stiffening beam of the rear wall were given four coats of flat black oil based enamel paint to finish them once in place (missing some photos here as well, we’ll include some finished ones in “Miss Merry gets a Step up!”).   The stiffening beam was also painted before the skirting board was installed.   All screw heads were counter sunk slightly and the holes sealed over with black elastomeric caulk.   

The opposite side will receive a similar treatment but with a longer board made of 1/2” plywood to match the sides of the tank compartment, which hangs down to the bottom of the bumper. 

The reason the step compartment skirt is shorter is due to the lack of a similar piece near the bumper due to lack of space, the new step unit takes up all of the space available with its clearances needed to allow it to hinge in and out. 


   
That wraps up Part 3 of the Trampoline floor Mystery and brings the bouncy floor to its end.   Merry’s floor is now solid as a rock and durable enough to take regular long period use off the truck without failing or being spongy.   

Next up, we’re going start into some initial work for the plumbing for the new shower and bathroom, so that we can get all the holes cut in the floor .   

See you soon!
Follow along with me as I full-time the Redneck Way in The Journey of the Redneck Express

CB Channel 17
Redneck Express
'1992 Dodge W-250 Club Cab Long Bed "Dually" V8 5.9l 4spd H.D Auto 4x4 4.10 Gears
'1974 KIT 1106 Kamper
'1987 Custom Built Pullman Mini Camper (The Pullman Mini Camper Project)
'2004 Bi-Mart 1000lbs Cargo Trailer (Chuck wagon)

Offline RedneckExpress

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  • Engine: 5.9L V8 360
Re: Rebuilding "Ms. Merry" The Amerigo - Updated 7/21/2016
« Reply #13 on: July 08, 2018, 02:21 AM »

Monday, May 7, 2018




Rebuilding “Ms. Merry” the Amerigo–Merry gets a step up!



This is post is likely going to be fairly short, compared to the previous chapters.   Sadly, I don’t have many photos handy of Miss Merry’s new steps  from when their installation was finished, so I’m going to have to try and please you with this meager offering, for now .   
   


When you last saw Merry’s stairs, they were being test fitted into place.   Sadly they had to spend a winter in storage before they could at last be installed in April.   Sadly, even though I got an early start in March to close up some stuff on Merry due to a strange turn of warm weather, my progress has been fairly poor, due to either long bouts of sickness brought on by Oysters from the Oregon coast that for years have never given me grief, but now seem to be my baine.   

Since last August, the underfloor paneling was installed after painting, then the spray skirt that protects the stiffener beam under Merry’s rear wall, then all the joints were caulked and the underside area received two more coats of flat black paint to ensure everything was well weather proofed.   

The result is this.   



Merry’s stairs hang down a good deal lower than the originals did, so traveling with the hitch extension in is a definite must to act as a drag guard for the rear of the truck.    We’re already planning a rear cargo basket setup, which will use a dual receiver setup similar to the one on the front, for loading the generator and some other light gear onto for traveling, which will have a set of drag casters on it, similar to the rear end of a motorhome.   

With the new steps, you can now climb up into Miss Merry, when on flat ground (Our driveway is sloped, as its made from a berm that we were not allowed to flatten as it is part of the levy, so I still need a set of cinder blocks to step up to the stairs)  without needing a step stool to reach the first step.   

One of the large swing away style stair handles will be installed to help give climbers more stability than the smaller grab handle can by itself.   

Finding this particular folding stair set was actually rather difficult, as the Amerigo uses a fairly narrow stair, and most folding steps of this kind are designed for trailers, so they generally come with a wider tread, all of which were far too wide to fit in the space available on the underside of an Amerigo. 

In the end, I wound up at RV Parts Nation, who was the only place online I’d managed to locate these narrow, triple step folding stairs. 





The diagram is for the second SKU, which is 24” wide, but other than the tread width difference and subsequent housing width, different, the stairs are constructed the same.   

For the stairs I used, the SKU is 1220 and you can find them here: RV Triple Manual Entry Step

Thanks for Reading!
Follow along with me as I full-time the Redneck Way in The Journey of the Redneck Express

CB Channel 17
Redneck Express
'1992 Dodge W-250 Club Cab Long Bed "Dually" V8 5.9l 4spd H.D Auto 4x4 4.10 Gears
'1974 KIT 1106 Kamper
'1987 Custom Built Pullman Mini Camper (The Pullman Mini Camper Project)
'2004 Bi-Mart 1000lbs Cargo Trailer (Chuck wagon)

Offline RedneckExpress

  • Full Time RVer - 5 year member
  • *
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  • Find America, leave the freeway behind!
  • Member since: 2011
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  • Year: 1974
  • Make: KIT
  • Model: Kamper Slide-in Truck Camper
  • Chassis: W350 Dodge Power Wagon
  • Engine: 5.9L V8 360
Re: Rebuilding "Ms. Merry" The Amerigo - Updated 7/8/2018
« Reply #14 on: July 08, 2018, 03:57 AM »

Saturday, May 19, 2018




Rebuilding “Ms. Merry” the Amerigo–Merry Glues it Up!



Since we’re back in the full swing of working on Merry for another summer, its time to keep up the pace and if all the stars align, we might actually get to something resembling done, or at least to a stage where we no longer have to stop in the winter

When we were planning out how to upgrade Merry’s tanks, I decided to look over how some other folks had done theirs.   

From 2cknights Amerigo restoration, he examined how Bob Whalen converted his to use two tanks:



Below is Bob's quote from email about the setup.


As described by Bob Whalen:

“The pics show the 2 new tanks installed . the black water is a17 gal and the gray water is a 23 gal.

The new black water tank discharge does not center on the factory cutout , but I will reshape it.
The gray water discharge is just behind the bracket for the stairs.


The inlet for the gray water does go through the side of the tank so you will not get the full capacity of the tank.

I also installed a fiberglass sheet over the plywood before installing the tanks as this area is exposed to the weather when driving.



It took longer to put the toilet back in than it took to re-plumb the tanks.”


While the idea of having separated Grey and Black tanks sounded appealing, their low capacities and their two separate dump valve locations for the capacity achieved was a turn off.   

So, I decided to take a page from Mr. KIT.

Mr. KIT, much like Ms. Merry, had a single holding tank.   Mr. KIT was different in that the tank had a diversion valve setup using two three-inch gate valves.   When the outer valve is open and the inner is closed, the grey water is diverted off, either into a portable waste tank, or down the sewer hook up, leaving the holding tank for just the toilet.   

If you closed the outer valve and opened the inner, then the grey water mixed with the black in the tank.   Now, you could fill the tank all the way up by accident, but unless you were especially gifted, this would happen from showering, and would just be shower water that had filled the run of pipe.   


Since nothing drained directly into the tank without going through this diverter valve setup, filling the black tank up didn’t risk an overflow through a shower drain.   

So, I decided to recreate the diverter valve setup that Mr. KIT had with a new 40 gallon waste tank. 

Two years ago, when I first bought the tank and parts, I talked about putting an inlet in the side of the tank for the grey water and spoke of the tank and drain being exposed.   This was when I was still trying to make an impossible deadline for a Rally I was not able to make. 

Since that deadline had passed, I revised how I was going to build the bathroom its its entirety, and decided to fully enclose the holding tank into a heated compartment, with all of the main drain plumbing up above in the main cabin underneath a raised bathroom floor.   

So, with that revision, I bought an extra 3” valve that has the tangs for the hose on it and proceeded to grind the original tangs off the two valve assembly that I had bought back in 2016.   This allowed me to glue the new valve onto the end of the original, doing like a previous owner did to Mr. KIT and created the diversion valve setup.   

The one big difference on Ms. Merry’s is that unlike Mr. KIT, there’s a gate valve for the inlet pipe as well. 






Unfortunately, the new outlet doesn’t line up with the old opening, so we’ll likely close that in and then put some aluminum diamond plate along the bottom edge of Ms. Merry to hide that change and make a nice clean point for the compartment hatch that the hose will go through.   There’ll be another hatch on the underside, which you’ll reach through to pull the dump valves.   

We still need to visit the RV salvage company in the area to see if we can find the perfect compartment door to use for the new holding tank compartment to make all of this as easy as possible.   
Follow along with me as I full-time the Redneck Way in The Journey of the Redneck Express

CB Channel 17
Redneck Express
'1992 Dodge W-250 Club Cab Long Bed "Dually" V8 5.9l 4spd H.D Auto 4x4 4.10 Gears
'1974 KIT 1106 Kamper
'1987 Custom Built Pullman Mini Camper (The Pullman Mini Camper Project)
'2004 Bi-Mart 1000lbs Cargo Trailer (Chuck wagon)

Offline RedneckExpress

  • Full Time RVer - 5 year member
  • *
  • Posts: 179
  • Find America, leave the freeway behind!
  • Member since: 2011
  • I own: a Motor Home
  • Year: 1974
  • Make: KIT
  • Model: Kamper Slide-in Truck Camper
  • Chassis: W350 Dodge Power Wagon
  • Engine: 5.9L V8 360
Re: Rebuilding "Ms. Merry" The Amerigo - Updated 7/8/2018
« Reply #15 on: July 10, 2018, 01:46 AM »

Saturday, June 30, 2018




Rebuilding “Ms. Merry” the Amerigo–The new Loo–Part 1



Time for another chapter in the rebuilding of Ms. Merry the Amerigo!

This time around, we’re doing the platform for the new raised bathroom floor and cutting the holes through Merry’s new floor for the plumbing and heating ducts to go

First off, we had to haul out Merry’s new Dometic 320 Series Standard Height Toilet from storage in the barn and dig out the installation instructions for the rough-in dimensions for the toilet itself.   

It took a bit to locate the instructions, as they weren’t sitting with the toilet in the box or any of the packing cardboard surrounding the toilet to protect the china bowl from damage.   In the end, I had to pull the toielt out of the box and open the lid before I found the owner’s manual, plus a free sample of TPS tank treatment chemicals included, hidden in the bowl.   



With the installation guide in hand, we now had the offset from the back wall that we needed to locate the center of the toilet flange through the floor. 

Since the new tank has our diversion valve setup on it, it offsets the tank back from the wall further than a normal straight down flange connection would allow for and still have it dumping into the tank.

The fix was to take a page from my bathroom remodel project I did on Mr. KIT back in 2009.

Using these two parts, I made an offset flange to shift the inlet into the tank far enough forward in the floor to allow to connect into the tank.   

Canplas 113628SS 45-Degree ABS Discharge Closet Flange with Stainless Steel Ring, 4-Inch by 3-Inch

 

Lasalle Bristol 632403 3X45 ABS 45 degree Elbow

 

Glued together they shift the intlet into the toilet perfectly, and from using the same setup in the past on my KIT, I know that this angle of offset does not interfere with the operation of a standard Gravity fed RV toilet.   

A small piece of 3” ABS pipe will be glued into the end of the elbow which will be glued into the inlet on the tank when the shower floor is permanently installed.   If we have to replace the tank at some future point, the elbow can be cut through using a reciprocating saw from the access hatch that will be at the front under the bathroom door. 

With the flange made, I temporarily installed a couple pieces of plywood representing the thicknesses of the rear and side walls and then snapped the dimensions of our expanded bathroom and cut a sheet of 5/8” plywood from the piece of temporary floor we had originally used in Ms. Merry when we were finishing up installing the raised ceiling and skylight dome.   

I like to call that floor section the “temporary floor” but the real reason I call it that is the initial piece I had somehow screwed up one of the measurements on and it didn’t snugly fit in the space at all the joints and had to be replaced.   Rather than waste a perfectly good piece of plywood, it got reused as a temporary work bench and when pieces of 5/8” plywood were needed that were within the dimenions of that incorrectly cut piece, I cut them from it vs cutting a piece out of a whole new sheet. 



After making the initial cutout, which was still just a rectangle at the time, I laid it back in place to make sure it fit correctly (it did!) and then marked out where the flange opening needed to be.  I added an extra little bit to the original eleven inch offset from the rear wall, using my wall representing board to simulate the walls being in place, to accomodate for cleaning behind the toilet and to take account for the extra 1/16” of an inch or so that a sheet of FRP board will add. 

Once check and rechecked, I used the largest diablo hole saw blade I had and cut the inital hole, then used my jig saw to widen the hole to allow for the forty-five degree offset on the bottom of the flange. 

I temporarily anchored the flange through the hole then aligned the pipe and then cut and installed the support board that would be going under the plywood to raise the floor and to help give it slope toward where I planed to locate the drain in the front right hand corner.   

The small hole you see is actually not the drain pipe opening, but the hole for the vent pipe that will be coming up from the tank, its pipe running from the tank under the floor and then out through the roof.  It will be visible inside the bathroom, but like the vent pipe in Mr. KIT, will be painted bright white to match the bathroom and then used like a support bar to hang washcloth rings and what not from.   

One of the things we do plan to do is use a dedicated faucet knob for the shower controls separate from the sink so we can use higher quality parts in its plumbing than the fairly cheap plastic parts that come with standard RV fixtures.   

Out of the entirety of the original shower stall, we plan to salvage the wall section with the sink and the corner to reuse in the new bathroom, and maybe the flange portion from the floor to glass into the new shower pan, the majority of the new floor will be made from FRP board, same as the bathroom walls.   The rest of the shower unit will end up in the dumpster, as its not worth trying to reuse.   

With the floor ready, it was time to test fit our new floor in place.



Fits like a glove! 

As you can see, there’s a diagonal corner in the front, this is to accomodate for a walking path from the door to the forward end of the camper.   The angle starts where the original fiberglass shower stall originally ended when installed and angles back to the minimum size bathroom door opening I thought prudent for me to fit through (I’m far from small).   

The 2x2 that goes on the right hand side will have one side of it tapered to match that angle so that all fits well.   The wall in the corner will actually be made of a piece of five millimeter plywood with FRP on the inside and wall paneling board on the outside.   

Unlike the original Amerigo bathroom door wall design, the new one will not look like a cabinet, but instead will have matching wall paneling installed similar to the rest of the camper. 

The new door will be hinged on the left side and the handle will be on the right, this will allow for the door knob to swing into the Snap-N-Nap opening and for the door to open flush to the rear wall. 

The dinette seat nearest to the bathroom will be angled on the outside, going to the minimum width for the battery compartment it will house to the normal seat width that it originally was to provide ample passage space past the new, larger bathroom. 

We plan to make the wall along the back of the dinette by the door solid, to help act as a framing member to prevent the rear walls on the tub from sagging like they originally did as the camper aged.  This wall will be built like a truss on the inside to help keep it square.   The switches for the patio light and light above the entrance will be in this wall.   

In addition to helping with the tub sag, it will also act as a lateral brace for the side to side strains coming from the rear jack mount attached next to the door.   A similar, smaller wall will be built along the back of the bathroom sink to perform a similar function on the driver’s side. 

Ah… we seem to have side-tracked a bit, time to get back on topic!

After test fitting the floor, I took it out once more and then after measuring the offset distance on the new flange, repeated the flange hole process on the main floor itself taking into account the offset of the flange pipe.   

Once again, I cut the initial hole with the same hole saw, then cut a second directly next to it and squared the opening off with the jig saw once more.   The extra opening space is allow for the flange pipe coming through the floor on its way down to the tank. 



Once the main floor opening was cut, I reattached the flange to the floor and tested it again (forgot to take a picture!), it fits perfectly, with enough space around it to allow for flexing of the camper without putting strain on the pipe. 

With the main hole done, I calculated the offset for the grey water plumbing’s passage through the floor, and widened the hole to allow space for the flexible heater duct line to enter into the tank compartment near the valves. 

Last I cut the hole for where the vent pipe will come up from the tank before doing its horizontal run between the main floor and the raised shower floor before coming up through the shower floor in the corner. 

The vent pipe will be going into the tank at the deepest end near the drain valves.   

This wraps up all that’s going to be done at this time for the bathroom, I mainly wanted to get the holes done in the floor so that when we shift to cutting insulation for the ceiling and walls, that the openings were already in place to cut out the matching holes in the insulation while its easy to do. 

Just for fun, I set the remainder of the original bathroom back in place on top of the new one to give you an idea of the size difference. 



P.S. Yes, I know the slope is off on the shower floor, I didn’t have the sloping shims in place on part of the floor, it was just sitting in their loose

Thanks again for reading!
Follow along with me as I full-time the Redneck Way in The Journey of the Redneck Express

CB Channel 17
Redneck Express
'1992 Dodge W-250 Club Cab Long Bed "Dually" V8 5.9l 4spd H.D Auto 4x4 4.10 Gears
'1974 KIT 1106 Kamper
'1987 Custom Built Pullman Mini Camper (The Pullman Mini Camper Project)
'2004 Bi-Mart 1000lbs Cargo Trailer (Chuck wagon)

Offline RedneckExpress

  • Full Time RVer - 5 year member
  • *
  • Posts: 179
  • Find America, leave the freeway behind!
  • Member since: 2011
  • I own: a Motor Home
  • Year: 1974
  • Make: KIT
  • Model: Kamper Slide-in Truck Camper
  • Chassis: W350 Dodge Power Wagon
  • Engine: 5.9L V8 360
Re: Rebuilding "Ms. Merry" The Amerigo - Updated 7/8/2018
« Reply #16 on: July 18, 2018, 12:40 AM »

Tuesday, July 17, 2018




Rebuilding “Ms. Merry” the Amerigo–On all four feet again



Another major hurdle has finally been completed on Ms. Merry’s restoration!

After three years of basically being deprived of jacks, Merry at last has all four of her jack brackets installed and all four of her jacks attached.   

The Atwood brothers are still without power, so I have to get them up and down, I still need to stand there and spin the crank, but for the first time since I started restoring Merry, she’s on her feet again, and this time, with proper framing and mounts to do the job

Since I did the driver’s side corner during the off season and didn’t document any of the process, we’ll be looking at Merry’s passenger side, as the process was fairly identical.   Again, I ended up focusing more on the end product, and not so much the blog, so some parts were left unphotographed.

To start off with, we had to remove Merry’s propane compartment, it had been temporarily reinstalled back in 2016 after the wall’s framing and wing had been replaced to keep water from getting into the camper during the rainy season.   

At the time, I had wanted to redo Merry’s compartment design some, as it was one of the major leak points, but we were out time and warm weather.   Once the late fall, early October rains set in, working outside becomes nigh on impossible.   

Now, that we’re at a point where removing the compartment and eventually the main door again is entirely feasible, I pulled the screws and had Merry’s propane compartment pulled within a few minutes.   

Once it was out, I set about adding a couple extra stiffeners to help give the 1/4” plywood a couple extra spots anchor in well to remove and bow from the wall framing when I jacked it up before installation to stretch the frame back into shape.   

With the stiffeners in, I cut the insulation boards that would go in around the propane compartment and the lower wall below the window back to the point where the full sheet that would be put in for the door would meet.   

With the insulation in place, I cut the section of plywood….

Discovered I’d inverted the digits on one of the measurements and then recut a new piece.   After dry fitting, I applied adhesive to all the wall framing and then screwed the plywood to the wall using 1-1/4” coated deck screws.   

I left Merry with her rear jacked up for about thirty-six hours before I returned her to normal resting position and then using my router and the Dremel Multi-tool, cut out the propane compartment opening.   I left the refrigerator door section for later.



With the new plywood for the lower wall section in place, I went through my collection of scrap sections of plywood to make the sandwich up that would go between the framing in the front wall beneath the cabover and the fiberglass skin on the outside.   

On all Amerigo campers, the front wall slopes slightly away from the frame as it goes up to meet the floor of the cabover.   The framing inside is usually somewhere between five millimeters and half inch offset from the fiberglass in this area, making it a poor spot to attach a jack bracket, unless you build up the framing to be flush with the back of the fiberglass skin. 

To accomplish this, I used sections of 1/4” plywood and five millimeter plywood to create a laminated slope piece that was tapped into place and glued. 

Once these bracing boards were in place, I anchored the 1/4” angle iron inner reinforcement plates in the corner and then temporarily anchored the jack bracket in place on the outside using a couple of tec head screws so I could drill through the bolt holes on the frame and the backing plate.   



I do these in place as its easier to drill the inner plate later than hope that you mathed your measurements for where the holes may line up, and discover they’re off.    Once the pilot points are set in the metal and the initial 1/4” holes drilled, I bump them up to take the 5/16” bolt holes plus a tiny amount of play so that I can compensate for the extra thickness of the sealant going on the back of the plates. 

The new brackets sandwich bolt through the corner’s massive 2x6 beams, plus have a plate on the underside that lifts up on the camper’s whole corner, so that the through bolts aren’t taking the load just by themselves.   

With the holes done, I applied the butyl tape to the back of the plates, and began the process of threading bolts into place.   

I gradually worked my way across all the bolts tightening them until I had even clamping pressure on all surfaces and the jack bracket was snug tight to the camper. 

Once the jack bracket was on, I redrilled out the original hole for the last owner had made for the electric jack plug, opting to reuse the one he’d installed so I didn’t have to fill his screw holes and make new ones for that corner.



As you can see in the picture below, I had to offset the path the wires take through the wall to clear the new inner backing plate.   Once the wires are connected, they’ll be encased in chaff guard and a rubber gromett will secure the bundle so it doesn’t move around or get easily snagged on pots and pans that will later be stored in the lower cabinet on that side of the propane tank.   



With both brackets now fully installed (caulking to be done later when I start doing all of the camper’s seams), I returned to the garage where Mr. KIT has been sleeping since 2012, and removed the last of the electric jacks I had bought for him so many years ago to give to Merry so that she could continue where he couldn’t.   

Mr. KIT will be returned his original hydraulic jacks, the seals redone so that he will be ready when the time comes to sail off one last time with his next captain.   



As an extra bonus, we discovered that Mr. KIT’s swing out brackets had enough adjustability to completely compensate for the slight angle that Merry’s new front corner brackets lean at, bring the jacks up perfectly straight. 

Because Ms. Merry is a little narrower than Mr. KIT, we’ll need to get a couple of wider pieces of plate steel to replace the original widener plates to give Red enough space to get his wide hips through so Ms. Merry can rest on her own feet.   

In case you’re wondering where Ms. Merry’s front tie downs go, look closely at the pictures of the front jack mounts, you’ll see a large hole near the bottom, that hole is for the eye of a tie down to pass through to anchor her snugly to the tie down ear below on Red’s bed.   

This wraps up our work on Merry’s jacks, other than the electrical work to come, and the wider offset plates, Merry is now officially redesigned to use modern corner jacks and can safely be used off truck while standing on them alone, if wanted.   

Thanks for reading!   We’ll be back soon with the reassembly of Merry’s propane compartment and the first piece of interior cabinet framing to be installed!
Follow along with me as I full-time the Redneck Way in The Journey of the Redneck Express

CB Channel 17
Redneck Express
'1992 Dodge W-250 Club Cab Long Bed "Dually" V8 5.9l 4spd H.D Auto 4x4 4.10 Gears
'1974 KIT 1106 Kamper
'1987 Custom Built Pullman Mini Camper (The Pullman Mini Camper Project)
'2004 Bi-Mart 1000lbs Cargo Trailer (Chuck wagon)

 

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