Pop Up Camper Rebuild

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Pop Up Camper Rebuild

Postby sbuchholtz » Fri Feb 15, 2019 11:58 am

Finally the building has begun!!

I joined the forum a few months ago after stalking it's pages since the summer of '18. I've been itching for a project and settled on rebuilding a pop up camper. The background and a little insight into my insanity is located on the newbies forum under "Greetings from West Texas" located here (http://tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?t=71220). I intended to do a little, post a little, get feed back, do a little more. But once I got started, I just couldn't stop. I took a week of vacation to really get the project rolling so wanted to work as much as possible during that week. Well, the week has come to a close so I'm shifting gears and finally posting my progress, hiccups, and questions for the way forward.

First the proposed timeline.
1. Tear Down & Salvage
2. Fix up Frame and Floor it
3 Build the Full Bed
4. Build the Base Walls (attach the full bed)
5. Build the Twin Bed (attach to base walls)
6. Build Roof
7. Electrics
8. Insulate
9. Skin
10. Build Interior "Furniture"

So far I've mostly followed that order except steps 3-5 kind of all happened at the same time. I'll post separately each section. But here are some before pictures!!
Image
Here's the exterior of the original pop up. From here it doesn't look too bad. But the roof is sagging (under the unsupported weight of a 130# air conditioning unit) and rotted, and there's no canvas for the upper walls. Really I could have just replaced the roof and the canvas and called it good...but that's not overly involved or complicated.

Image
A view from the front. The slight discoloration shows you that there used to be a front tool box but it was removed. The roof was repaired a few times (the middle seam has the most obvious repair work) and the edge molding is starting to come apart.

Image
Original dinette layout (it's in the down position in this picture). You crawl over either bench to get to the rear bed. There's storage inside the benches and the electric panel is located on the bottom of the right bench. This is the rear of the camper.

Image
A shot of the leaf springs. Pretty rusted and on my husband's SUV it tows pretty low so I planned to do an over/under swap so the axel is on the outside of the leaf as opposed to the inside.

That's all for now, I'll start working on the Tear Down/Demo post! Cheers
Last edited by sbuchholtz on Fri Feb 15, 2019 6:46 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Pop Up Camper Rebuild

Postby Atomic77 » Fri Feb 15, 2019 12:11 pm

[quote="sbuchholtz"]

Unfortunately, your photos aren't showing up!

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1. Tear Down & Salvage

Postby sbuchholtz » Fri Feb 15, 2019 12:31 pm

The plan
1. Tear down pop up salvaging as much as practical, specifically saving
1.1. Roof Top Air Conditioner and in-cabin vent/controller
1.2. Roof Lift System (arms, springs, cables, mounts, clutch, etc.)
1.3. Exterior aluminum siding
1.4. Bed rails/slides to include brackets and support arms
1.5. Aluminum trim (as much as possible)
1.6. Misc brackets, hinges, fixtures (I’ll save it now and throw it away if I don’t end up needing it).
1.7. Cushions/Mattresses (3” foam)
1.8. Trailer wiring harness and lights/reflectors (though I will probably rebuild the trailer wiring harness with the extra new wiring from installing new light/electrics inside the camper)

The actual...was honestly pretty close. I am definitely NOT going to reuse the exterior siding on the exterior but it looks so cool and I like the idea of reusing it so may skin some of the interior of the cabin with it. The AC is also suuuuper heavy (130# per the installation guide) I may not re-use it but that's for another post). The lift system is in great shape, same with the bed brackets and slide arms. I didn't save much of the aluminum trim as it was in pretty bad shape, ditto with the miscellaneous brackets. The foam cushions are in awesome shape and wrapped in plastic still, except one which looks like it's been through a tough time. I may clean it up a bit and depending on the result use it in the camper or make a dog bed out of it. I didn't save any of the original wiring harness or lights, it just wasn't worth the juice for the squeeze.

Tear down went really well and surprisingly smooth. I started by removing the rooftop air conditioner and the roof which was barely held on in the first place. Then I took off all the aluminum trim and started peeling back the siding. Here's a pic of the under skin which is a cardboard/fiberboard material that I'm gussing helped give shape and something to staple the exterior siding to.
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With that torn off you can see the original framing here.
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Here's a shot of the camper down to the floor
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And the final pile of junk we hauled off to the city dump on the now naked trailer.
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After sweeping the garage it was time for rust removal!! I used an angle grinder and a nasty looking wire brush and got to work. Here's a before and after shot of the first few inches I hit with the wire brush.
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Once the entire trailer was hit with the brush to get the worst of the rust off, I pressure washed it (mostly to get the dirt out of the inside sections that both collected more debris as a result of their hollow and open shape, and were too angular for the wire brush to get at. After it was dry I wiped it down with mineral spirits to get the new rust that had just formed off, and then primed and painted it with Rustoleum brand oil based paint. The primer was specifically designed for rusty metal, and the paint was a hard wearing exterior enamel.

This pic shows both the primed section toward the back and the painted section.
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Before...
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and after!!
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One other thing I really enjoyed doing was using a cutting disc to get a broken/bent leveling jack off the trailer body. It was SO MUCH FUN!!

The guilty party
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The fun! (also probably need to get a few non-flammable drop cloths for future projects with lots of sparks, but I did at least have a fire extinguisher handy)
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And that's the tear down! Now for the flooring.

I used pressure treated 2x2s to give some space for the insulation. The original camper just had the 1/4" plywood secured directly to the trailer frame. I'm a little concerned that if I overbuild compared to the original design I'll quickly exceed the axel weight. I did rough out an estimated weight accounting for all the linear feet of lumber and square feet of plywood, plus insulation and such. I think I'll be good but will have to weight the trailer periodically during the build to be sure.

Image
Here's a shot of the 2x2 subfloor frame and the insulation installed. I extended the length of the trailer by 3" on the front and back bringing it to a total of 99" long. This was to fit a twin bed and a full bed. The original beds were the same size front and rear and were 48" wide by 72" long (long ways running from the curb side of the trailer to the street side and wide running from the front of the trailer to the back).

Image
Half the floor installed above. I went with 3/4" ply even though I wanted to use 1/2". The thinnest they sold pressure treated ply was in 3/4" so it's overkill which is bad for weight. After reading a lot about the mix and whether to treat one or both sides of the floor, I went with pressure treated 2x2s for the frame and pressure treated ply for the base. It'll only get exposed to humidity in the air and some road spray when we drive in the rain. I'm a little worried about water getting trapped between the insulation and the ply wood. I'm going to seal any gaps in the insulation with expanding foam so it should be nearly water tight from road spray. Any thoughts??

And now the floor completely installed and I taped out the planned layout as well (dinette is oriented left to right in the bottom left corner. Storage bench in the bottom right corner, kitchen area across the front wall.
Image

Cheers!!
Last edited by sbuchholtz on Fri Feb 15, 2019 1:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
sbuchholtz
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Re: Pop Up Camper Rebuild

Postby sbuchholtz » Fri Feb 15, 2019 12:32 pm

Atomic77 wrote:
sbuchholtz wrote:
Unfortunately, your photos aren't showing up!

Sent from my SM-N950U using Tapatalk


Oh no! I'm using the album insert function, I'll read up again on the how to post or maybe try the Img insert button! Thanks!!
sbuchholtz
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Posts: 7
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Re: Pop Up Camper Rebuild

Postby sbuchholtz » Fri Feb 15, 2019 1:08 pm

sbuchholtz wrote:
Atomic77 wrote:
sbuchholtz wrote:
Unfortunately, your photos aren't showing up!

Sent from my SM-N950U using Tapatalk


Oh no! I'm using the album insert function, I'll read up again on the how to post or maybe try the Img insert button! Thanks!!



Can you see the pictures of the floor in the second post/reply. I used the Img button on that one instead of the album function? Thanks for the help!!
sbuchholtz
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Re: Pop Up Camper Rebuild

Postby Atomic77 » Fri Feb 15, 2019 1:09 pm

Now you got it

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