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84 Fleet - 09 Tacoma - Project

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#11 Living The Dream

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Posted 09 March 2016 - 02:59 AM

In addition to your perimeter wood riser I would add rigid foam board to support/insulate the entire floor base.
Easy, cheap, light and adds R value.

Many threads about doing this, here is one:

Thanks for the great idea.  Any spesific product you can suggest? I know I have seen it in the store before and am sure I can figure it out easy enough too. 


Awesome! That's my old camper. Unloaded it about 5 years ago now.

Glad you are going to breath some new life into her. I had many great adventures in that thing!


HAHA, YES!  I am glad to have it.  Any suggestions or info I should look out for.  Thanks for passing it on.  Jose and Jorge that I bought it from were really cool too.


Nice job, looking forward to how you finish it out. One item I would correct is the E-bolt you used, see picture below. The eye will open up as it is just bent in shape. I would use a solid ring or weld the ring to keep it from opening. I could not find a solid ring when I did my first install on my old 2002 Hawk, use the style you used and they started to open. I welded mine and they are fine. The new style made from angle are better if you want to go to the work to change them.






Thanks for the feedback.  I had the solid ebolts in hand before i bought these. I went with the bent ones because the turnbuckles are rated to far below the solid ebolts.  And since it is a whole system I figured it is only as strong as the weakest link so the solid was overkill.  I don't know, maybe Ill regret it.  I plan to keep and eye on them and if I see any bending ill be sure to replace them with the solid ones.  I am also hoping that the will bend before any catastrophic failures like ripping out of the wood....  

Edited by Living The Dream, 03 November 2016 - 02:14 PM.

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#12 Living The Dream

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Posted 09 March 2016 - 04:29 AM

Lifter Panel Replacement:



The brute force and 2X4 lifter panel worked moderately okay, but I knew I wanted to something a little easier, better, and less likely to tear the canvas. 
I got in touch with FWC and the are happy to sell new composite panels.  At $450 it was simple not a smart move to spend more then I bought the camper for one lifter.  Plus they are only installed at the factory in California so that wasn't an easy option either.
Luckily WTW is a ridiculously good resource and I saw  wvtradbow  post showing his lifter made of EMT conduit.   http://www.wanderthe...by-build/page-3
I think the total cost was less than $30 for me, so it was an obvious choice.
All that was left from the old panel was one piano hinge that I had to drill rivets out to remove.  I might use this for my bench down the road, but if anyone is in need of one of these get in touch with me and I can pass it on.
I bent my two pieces of conduit just like wv explains.  Except I also added more curves on the bottom of the lower bracket as you can see in the photo. 
This allowed me to use simpler brackets to get the pivot at both the bottom and top without sticking into the bed area much more.  https://www.google.c...onduit brackets
Notice the far right screw going into the conduit, it is there to keep the conduit sliding horizontal and the roof become off center of the base.
Protip, the hinge point has to be at the height mid point.  Not sure what I was thinking when I started but the extra hole works great for the pins to secure it.
I am supper happy with how the whole thing turned out. It works absolutely great.  Only draw back is when collapsed it does take up all the space in the cabover, so the mattress needs to go down on the bench.
I can not thank wvtrad enough for answer my question about his design.  You can see my conduit bending skills are a little young still, but considering its the first time I have ever bent pipe it works great.  I will not hesitate to use this for the rear panel if that should ever fail.  


New Keys:


Just want to add this info quickly incase someone comes across it and finds it useful.  My camper did not come with keys but was unlocked.  I lucked out and it turns out I had a lock that was under a massive recall.  Contacted the company and they sent me new lock cylinder and keys at no cost.  Not sure if this was factory equipment or not, but for those who buy old campers and are unsure, might not hurt to look into this.  Company: Fastec




Light bulbs:


Another random quick note.  Do yourself a favor and switch to LED bulbs.  Easiest switch you can make and will reduce you lighting electricity demands to a fraction of the previous. I got these from amazon and am very happy with them.  Lights are my only major energy drain (no fridge or forced air) so a full house battery is practically unlimited electricity now.  



Edited by Living The Dream, 09 March 2016 - 03:52 PM.

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#13 Living The Dream

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Posted 09 March 2016 - 05:05 AM

Propane System:

Another import feature for me was getting the heat going for my ski adventures.  My camper had no heater when I got it.  After consideirng my options I decided a catalytic was best for me.  Would really love a forced air but I like the idea of not relaying on electricity.  Plus forced air is considerably more expensive.  I went back and forth between a simple Mr. Heater and the wave 3.  I like the wave 3 for its supposedly better performance at high altitude.  Around Christmas time Amazon was letting wave 3's go for $160 so I jumped on it.  
In order to plumb in the line I started checking out the stove as I had not used it yet.  I was pleasantly surprised when my 20lb tank went to the regulator no problem, and I even got gas at the stove with no smells elsewhere.  So line to the stove was good!  However on further inspection I discovered that there was a rubber hose in the hot area of the stove.  While I am sure 99% of the time this would be okay, I had visions of grease getting in there and burning the line, resulting in a bad day.  
So I swapped out the rubber hose for a straight copper pipe out of the stove box.  Plus added a T and a valve to put a second line in for the heater.  A simple enough solution except the copper fittings cost did add up to a small amount when it was all done.  
This is what it looks like back installed again.  
The hose for the heater goes under the cabinet for storage and the heater can sit on the floor or the counter.  I will do a more permanent solution once I redo the gallery area.
Now that I was running a heater, although the camper is holier than the pope right now, I still get worried about CO.  A 9V monitor is a easy enough solution.  I think 9V is best for this so it does not relay on the house battery which I may kill for some reason or another.  Packaging claims ill be good for 10 years with this battery.
So far I have been relatively happy with the heater.  My 1st night with it was on rabbit ear pass with temps around -15F.  The heater did not stand a chance with low temps, a beat up camper, and no oxygen for the catalytic process to make heat.
But my quality sleeping bag keeps things comfortable. More recently, a little more insulation and more modest winter temps, lower altitudes (7000). The heater does really well.  60F right in front of it which is all we need when sleeping.  
I will continue to improve insulation to up the efficiencies of the heater, plus I might compliment it with a Mr. Heater down the road as I know my winter popup camping is asking a lot of any system.
This wraps up my catch-up on the progress of my Fleet.  So posting will be much slower here on out as that was about 6 months of progress condensed to two days of reporting.  But it continues to be a labor of love, now to finish up the exterior and really make the interior shine.  Planning on new floors, fabrics, cabinets, headliner, the list grows ever time I use it.  - Tim

Edited by Living The Dream, 09 March 2016 - 03:54 PM.

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#14 longhorn1


    Ouch, that stings!

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Posted 09 March 2016 - 11:52 AM

Great job. On the newer FWC models FWC has 1x's spaced across the bottom. You might to consider that at some point and then put a rubber mat down in the bed. You might want to re-paint the bottom wood. Then as Rotti mentioned insulate the underside. You could spot adhere Dow blue board (Extruded Polystyrene). Also you can get replacement roof clasps. Keep the photos coming. Jd

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Ford F-250 Long bed, 2014 Grandby


#15 billharr


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Posted 09 March 2016 - 05:37 PM

Like that you used the EMT lift. Someone is going to take the time and really make the tube lift better than panels. Lots of advantages to the tube lift. Light weight, clean behind, add front window.  I wonder if ATC and FWC has worked on them?

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#16 Living The Dream

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Posted 09 March 2016 - 10:57 PM

I believe I ran it by FWC when I was asking about the panel and they said they hadn't seen that before. I think both the panel and the tube probably have advantages and disadvantages.  


I will be sure to paint the base when I get a chance.  And drop the blue board in too.  Thanks for the encouragement all.

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#17 Squatch


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Posted 10 March 2016 - 09:22 AM

Looks like you are doing a great job.

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#18 Living The Dream

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Posted 03 May 2016 - 04:51 AM

New Interior Roof


Back at it with more updates.  Thanks all for the previous comments.  Now that my first winter of use is almost over I am going to strive to get this thing 100% by next winter season.  And of course get some good use out of it this summer too. Ill have a few more ski trips still, unpacking from last use:



One thing on my todo list was the interior roof.  There were many rips in the headliner which was pretty dirty.  Plus I could see the simple fibreglass insulation up there.  So I wanted to replace that insulation with rigid board and put in a nice new headliner.


The old:




My brother in law was in town for the weekend so I talked him into lending a hand.  I was incredibly surprised by what good shape everything was in.  Not one bit of the insulation showed water damage.  I was pumped.  





While I have all this down I will run my solar wires, replace the old wire for the lights.  And I think I will run one more set of wires for a future fan just incase.  But I’ll get much more distracted first!


Roof was in great shape:




And while we are at it might as well check out the floor. I am hunting for some bamboo or laminate on Craigslist for free or cheap.  Either way at 21 square feet It will be a cheap job.  Anyone have a product suggestion they were happy with?


The old floor came up suspiciously easy. 





Again pretty happy with the shape of things.  A few holes I would like to fill in, but no rot so I will just fill and sand the floorpack and be ready for me.  I also like Slo's idea of decking screws to sure everything up.  That is going on the todo list too.  






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#19 Living The Dream

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Posted 03 May 2016 - 04:57 AM

More Paint


Colorado spring weather is all over the place.  Previous weekend I could not work outside as was too cold. Next weekend we had perfect painting weather.  Again I want to do this right so I stripped and prepped the surface really well.  Including taking out window and edging.   




Unfortunately I do not have the luxury of a garage to strip the entire thing at once and do a full paint.  So I will be working one side at a time. Also, I am brushing it on :).  I know spray can might work better but I do 5 very thin coats and it works out okay.  Reasons for brush over can?  I am parked next to others cars.  


I am taping of the old wood color.  We are keeping that.






After a coat or two.





Ill leave the doors and windows on with a few screws between work sessions and seal the entire thing down the road after all painting is done.  Still trying to decide if I should paint the window and door trim brown or leave the bare metal.  Here is After 5 coats:



Notice every bit of work I do is in my communal car parking lot outside my condo.  I am the parking lot mascot.  Most people are very encouraging of someone tackling a project and like to see the progress.  Others don’t get it.  Their lost, I am having a good time.


Edited by Living The Dream, 03 May 2016 - 05:02 AM.

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#20 Living The Dream

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Posted 03 May 2016 - 05:33 AM

In for an inch, in for a mile.  


If you are going to do something might as well give it everything.  I decide to just gut the entire thing.  Every project I started I found myself looking at what was one layer lower and how I would love to fix that too.  So I figured I would take it to that point!  In one weekend I was able to get everything out.  Cabinets, panels, insulation, everything.  Luckily for me I found no surprises. For 30+ years old the camper is in great shape. Thanks to the inspiration on this site I want to make a complete redo too. I am going to get the new side linear and all. First things will be new side liner and full insulation, side panels, and headliner. Then I will treat it like a shell I will build the cabinetry and everything back out slowly. Optimistic that it won't break the bank or my free time too bad. Luckily for me, A. the camper started really cheap, and B. I love working on it so it can have all my free time.




It all started by taking out the bench area.  That was very simple build.  There was some old nasty carpet that had to go.  And about 1million stapes that literally took hours to remove, these are my Friday nights.. Some wood filler was helpful to redo everything.  Plan is to add screws for strength, then sand the entire floorpack and some primer and paint to keep the wood healthy.  Maybe add the thin carpet, I am leaning toward no on that.




Then my attention turn to the cabinets. These things were in tough shape.  And honestly not very functional. It had to go.  



I haven't even use the water tank yet.  Didn't want it to freeze in winter.  I am on the fence of putting it back in.  I kind of like the idea of simplicity without, but also love the ability to cary so much water easily.  That is a question for another day.  




Also, can anyone tell me the function of this top tube?  Is it a breather for the tank?  Overflow?





The sink and stove are free.  I plan on reusing these guys. I actaully really like the stove.  And sink is adequate.  Hopefully Ill add a drop in cutting board down the road.  Laser cutter at work will make a great one.  




The 120 system is coming out and staying out.  I do not have a need for it.  Maybe someday Ill kick myself but I highly doubt it.  I can just charge my battery if need be.  If anyone wants this breaker-box, just ask.




With cabinets out it was time for panels to come out too.  I originally hope to reuse these but they were busted by the staples by the time I took them out.  I am trying to figure out the best replacement material.  


Something like this might work:  http://www.homedepot...0-106/205716948


Or this:  http://www.homedepot..._-202090190-_-N


If anyone has a suggestion for this please chime in.  Also maybe I should go with planks instead?  Want to keep weight down.


Anyways, again no water damaged insulation or anything.  I am thinking a vapor barrier and rigid insulation. If anyone has a product suggest please pass it along.










It was a long Sunday.  At the end I started being concern I bit off more than I should have.  But I'm having fun and think I am up for the task.



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