I'm not really sure if this post belongs here or maybe with skin and J-rail or maybe Interior, as today's adventure involves all of the above. It absolutely does NOT belong in Restoration, because I'll be happy just to put Trixie back together again with the basics of structure and no termites!!!
Seriously, if you are willing to check out the photos in the blog and give me any additional advice, as always, I'd be grateful. I'll get more close-ups tomorrow for detail that might be useful.
I hope to be in a position of actually providing useful input after I've been through the majority of what lies ahead. Until then, I'm just a needy newbie. Thanks!!
Last Edit: May 19, 2012 21:11:53 GMT -5 by cropper2
This forum is what keeps me from full-on panic. Everyone is very generous with "how tos" and "how not to". I'm waiting for a comment from one of the wise sages telling me that I've really botched it already. But I am hopeful that I can work my way through this in fairly short order. I really, really want to use her this summer.
Your Shasta is gorgeous!! I just love the canned ham shape. I look forward to seeing your progress.
Last Edit: May 20, 2012 5:55:20 GMT -5 by cropper2
Love the blog. I am impressed that you have had time to put so much there and also post so much here as well, and still have time to get anything done. Your photos are really good and show what is fairly typical condition that most here have encountered. It's also quite impressive that you fearlessly took the whole back end open. Once you get there, you realize that there isn't any turning back, but it wasn't that scary after all either.
Two comments. First, the yellow stuff that would not sand, looks like it was probably wood glue. Glue seldom wants to sand. Some day I'm sure you will be doing some replacing there, and won't miss the glue at all once you do. Second was more a question. In the place you say there was termite damage, did you actually find evidence of termites? I ask because the spot is below the corner of the window, a common leak spot, and the rot can be quite extensive below the window corners from leakage without any help. Just curious since it will all be replaced anyways...
Hah! I can't say that it was entirely free will that had me take off the whole back. It all but fell off! I also can't say that I am entirely confident that how I'm going to go about putting it back together is right or will work, but all I can do is try.
No, I never saw any actual termites, but it looked a like like little things had gone crawling through the wood and the "dust" that was everywhere looked a lot like termites. There is also quite a lot of water damage, so an all-round good place for a termite to take up residence!
If I have my terminology correct, the black, ungodly-sticky stuff is butyl, the same stuff they put car windshields in with (it's been hard for me to get a definitive answer for some reason), and normal putty tape is the grey stuff with the wrinkly paper backing that acts like modeling clay, and is made out of a material called mastic (please correct me someone if I'm wrong). My roof vent was put in with the black sticky stuff, that took forever to get off. It smears, and sticks to everything, while the gray putty tape comes off very easily. I used a thin-bladed putty knife dipped in a torch flame and melted my way underneath the black stuff. That removed all but a thin "coating', and ruined the putty knife hehe.
With regard to peeling the side skins off, it's tricky to do without making creases as you pull only part of them down out of the slot. My '76 is sided in rows of about 10-12" height, and the bottom edge of each layer is stapled into the studs after the top edge has been slid into the fold of the next higher layer. So when you pull down the back end of a layer, watch out you don't crease it where it's stapled at the next stud, it'll try to buckle (because you're not pulling it out over its whole length simultaneously). As you undo it layer by layer working your way up, you need to undo the lower layers farther forward than the next one up, and so on. In order to get the layer just below window height peeled back far enough to work in there, my bottom layer ended up being undone all the way to the wheel well, and the second layer about half that. That's why in the pics of my rear end, the lowest layer is sticking out so far from the camper. The more of each layer you undo from the studs going forward, the easier it is to avoid creasing. Because to get the back edge down out of the slot far enough to get in there, say you need to pull it down 6 inches, if you're unhooked 6 feet forward, there's less stress along the length than if you're only unhooked for three feet, to get the same amount of movement out of the back edge, if that makes sense.
Oh gosh. You know how, when you start a job like this, you know that it is going to get worse before it gets better? Last night I kept telling myself that the worst is now past. It can't get worse than the whole back being off. But, given your last post (for which I am grateful). it may be worse on the sides.
I'll get up early tomorrow, have a double bowl of Wheaties, pray for divine intervention, and get back to work! Of course, if the hurricane continues up the coast, it may interfere with my Trixie work, but I'll just hope that it moves off into the ocean. One can hope!
Nah, you're smart enough to handle it, you came here, didn't you? You obviously have taste and discernment. Besides, if you can build a fence you can build a camper.
I got creases on the lowest layers because I had to (not) figure it out for myself. Forewarned is forearmed. I did figure out that if I make the crease over the wheel wells, that it would be on the narrowest part of the skin, and be covered with those plastic "fenders" they used in the 70s.
It only takes five minutes more to reattach ten feet of skin than it does two feet, don't worry about it. The same with replacing more frame work, or resealing more edge length. Everything you fix now will be something that won't be nagging at the back of your mind this summer. And nobody likes to sleep in a mold factory, so go ahead and get as much crappy wood out as you can. If you miss a week or two of camping, it's worth it to make the weeks you do camp that much more relaxing.
I wouldn't leave the open back pointed upwind if you get big winds...
I got today an order from Vintage Trailer Supply (great store) of butyl tape, stabilizing jacks and hex screws. The butyl tape looks like the gray stuff that I'm pulling off and not the horrid black goop. That worries me. Maybe it isn't really the right stuff, if the right stuff is supposed to be black, right?
P.S. Because I am preparing for the storm coming up the coast, I had the gleeful opportunity to on top of the trailer today. Guess what?! Too, too exciting. The ceiling vent/hatch that needs to be replaced is CAKED with the black stuff. I mean, it extends about a foot out from each of the four sides of the vent. I had a plastic putty knife in my pocket and took a stab at moving it. Nothing. I think it actually laughed at me. Would a flame thrower help?
Last Edit: May 20, 2012 20:56:02 GMT -5 by cropper2
Sounds like my roof, POs covered every seam with a foot of roofing tar. There's more than one kind of black stuff. What I call butyl stays sticky forever, and you should only find it under vents and windows, not smeared on the roof. What's on your roof is probably plain ole' roofing tar, which hardens. It's what people used when they didn't want to remove the vent and fix it right. That will come off with a windex bottle of diesel fuel, and it doesn't take much to dissolve it. Be glad it isn't the grey/silver stuff.
The grey sealant that you bought with the wrinkly paper backing is what I've been calling putty tape, and is the same as what was used originally. I prefer it because it's so much easier to use, it doesn't stick to itself and you and everything else when you're trying to put it on, you can roll it like clay to make custom shapes around fittings, and in the cracks where it's actually doing the work, it stays flexible for 40 years. It's only where it's exposed that it dries out, at least on my camper that's the way it worked. I'm fairly sure that all my leaks were through cross-roof seams, not the edges. You'll find a lot of people on here prefer the sticky butyl tape, though. I'm the only one I've seen who advocates for the older stuff. Maybe I'm the only one who's had to disassemble something put together with butyl, lol.
No, he`s not pulling your leg! lol. I also had to remove the black sticky stuff. It is called Butyl tape. At least thats what the side of the carton says which is delivered to the glass companies. I like it for certain projects but it is a bear to remove. I much prefer to work with the putty tape!
Just read your blog. Had me laughing, very refreshing! Thanks. I couldn`t tell or see the back skin, as or after you removed it. Another member gave me a great tip when I removed mine. You should flatten out the edge where it wraps around the side walls, as you are removing/storing it. This stops it from getting little horizontal splits in it while your handling it. On the side wall skin, I removed the curbside to replace the lower framing but realised when I got to the roadside, that I could just loosened it (remove all the screws) up to the window and then propped it up. This way, I didn`t have to disturb the horizontal seam and risk, creases.
Looks like rain is going to prevent my "unpacking" Trixie today, but the good news is that any winds that were expected from the storm formerly known as Alberto are no longer a concern (phew!). But I'll take photos of the removed skin tomorrow when I'm right back in the thick of things.
I appreciate your looking at the blog and weighing in with things I should know. Want to come spend the rest of the week in Maryland? Once the storm passes, it should be very pleasant! What I wouldn't give for someone who actually has a clue how to do all of this!
Nope, not pulling your leg about the diesel, but only use it on the hard asphalt roofing tar, not on sticky butyl tape (which is synthetic rubber) that should only be found under vents, not smeared on your roof surface. Just put some diesel in a windex bottle and lightly mist it on, no need to soak it. It works on the old principle of "light oils dissolve heavy oils", meaning petroleum products. Asphalt comes from crude oil, so any lighter petroleum product should dissolve it. Gasoline would work too but it's more dangerous, more flammable and worse for you because of all the additives. Wear gloves. Scrape the thicker stuff off once it softens, then use a diesel-dampened rag to wipe off the last coating.