Rubble Rubble

It would appear that our adoring public (all one of them. Hi, Meredith!) are clamoring for more Clyde stories. So, we’ll pick up where we left off… With a cute camper that was about to have its guts ripped out. What?! I never said this was going to be a fair tale!!!

So, with the decision to “gut” Clyde, we got down to the ripping out. We started with pulling the cabinets out.

Ripping out the potty cabinet

Cabinet built around the fridge

When we got the majority of the cabinets out, we realized that the refrigerator was not going to go gently into that good night. As a matter of fact, it wasn’t going to go anywhere. It was too wide to go out the door.

Up until this point, we’d been storing Clyde behind my cousin’s garage. Realizing the major power tools were about to come out, Clyde got relocated. We put him back in Mom and Dad’s driveway, where there are about 6 power points, a water source and a guy who knows how to fix everything (Dad owned an electrical contracting firm for years and he and Mom remodeled a roughly 100 year old home from scratch to a show place, so he’s the MAN when it comes to being Mr. Fixit. Mom feeds us and offers words of encouragement). So, Clyde took a quick trip and we got down to brass tacks.

Thankfully we did NOT have take a chainsaw to the fridge. By ripping off the door (and a lot of the skin on our knuckles), we got the refrigerator out. It weighed a frikkin’ TON. I noticed something outside that I hadn’t really paid attention to before… the inside of the fridge was a pale blue… better to clash with the green floors I guess. But, that’s not the weird part. The weird part is the textured wallpaper that had been applied to the outside of the fridge door. Very odd. Kind of a grasscloth-type wallpaper. Why would you wallpaper a fridge? Ever?!

The duct tape adds as much to the interior as the wallpaper did the exterior

So, after removing the fridge we once again were reassured we’d made the right choice. How? When we realized that the refrigerator had been leaking water into the cabinet below it. Ya know, the little cabinet with the ELECTRICAL SYSTEM IN IT?! Oh, that seems safe.

Notice the water damage all over the little box that houses all the electrical guts. Safe, totally!

With the cabinets, sink, furnace and cooktop out of the camper, it looked pretty darn big in there. We joked about just throwing in a couple of recliners and saying to heck with it, but we hand’t quite made it to the “putting stuff in” stage. We’d only prepped Clyde for his final humiliation. Yup, we were strippin’ him naked!

We were pretty sure that the reason the seams on the back corners were “expanded” with new metal was due to water damage in the past. The patch-work paneling lead us to believe that there had been a pretty major leak someone had attempted to repair. The biggest of these seams was in the back right corner. So, that’s where we started ripping out the wall.

Now, by this time, it is Summer. We’ve had several Clyde days and discovered that his AC, once cleaned of several years of grime, works wonderfully. Scarily well, even. 95 degrees and 99% humidity, multiple holes in the walls and the darn thing is still keeping the temp inside at 70 degrees. Sunbeam AC units… you rock!!!

Wait, you say. Multiple holes, you say?  Oh, yes, the other pesky part of propane appliances! They have to have HUGE vents. So, there were several HUGE spots on the walls that were simply a hole thru the wall with mesh over it (think window-screening) and a grill-like over on the outside. Yeah, this thing leaks air like a seive. So, once we plug up all the holes, we will probably be able to hang meat in there with just the AC unit.

The pieces of insulation board are covering up 2 of the biggest wall holes. This is where the fridge used to be!

I’d spent all winter and spring studying websites on how to restore campers. So, I thought I was prepared and knew how campers were built. I think we discovered quickly, upon removing the interior wall-coverings that campers are the most gi-normous rip off on the face of the planet. These things are built so spindly and cheaply, they shouldn’t cost more than a few hundred bucks. I’m not kidding. The super-thin paneling came off, then there was a tissue paper thin layer of generic, fluffy insulation, then the “framework” that holds the camper together, then the outside aluminum siding. Yup, that’s it. Oh, and that framework? 1″x1″ furring strips. No, I”m not kidding. These things are made out of kindling and held together by prayer and cheap screws.

The only spot of Clyde's "original" orange stripey wallpaper we found. This was under the sink. The metal mumbo-jumbo is the propane furnace prior to being ripped out.

That's it! Wallpaper, thin plywood, thinner insulation and this was the area that had the thickest boards for the structure... non pressure treated 1x2". The metal you see is the outside skin of the camper.

See the fabulous construction of the back wall? Yeah, that's all that is between me and the great outdoors?! Reinforcement is needed.

With the stripping of the back wall, we found what we least hoped and were most expecting to find. MASSIVE water damage. This appears to be the only area of the camper that is actively leaking. Lots of other areas show past water damage, but not active. This seems to be our only leak.

In the back, right corner. Black, still-wet and actively rotting wood. LOTS had already been pulled out before I thought to snap a pic.

Please notice the pretty strip of white in the corner. That’s called daylight and it’s gonna get worse!!!

We actually ended a day’s work on Clyde here. Mainly because we ran out of daylight, steam and ideas. So, we saved the next run for another day.

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