Sunline RV Forum
Sunline User Photos

Go Back   Sunline Coach Owner's Club > Sunline Club Community Forums > Sunline Community

Join Sunline Club Forums Today


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 03-29-2010, 12:54 PM   #1
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 350
SUN #549
frank
Homemade Travel Trailer Project

Although not really Sunline related, I figured some folks on here would be interested in my latest project.

My brother and I have been talking about building him a small travel trailer for a little over a year now. There's a few goals for the project:

- Small enough and light enough to be towed with his Nissan Xterra
- Hopefully not requiring weight distribution, just a friction bar for safety
- Comfortable for two people
- Bath facilities
- Small cooking facilities for those rainy days or late nights
- Self contained
- Climate controlled, with A/C for those hot summer nights
- Very affordable (say $2000 or less)

I've been looking on and off for a suitable donor to get us going. I found several over the past year, and no matter how quickly I called they were always already sold. Finally, the stars aligned for us and I found this for sale on craigslist:



It's a 2003 Rockwood XL pop-up, fully loaded. We paid $200 for the unit and picked it up this past Saturday. As you might guess from the pictures, the roof is completely rotten and the lift mechanism has failed. We also had to pick up a pair of wheels and tires to get it home safely, as the existing tires were completely rotten.

It has a 7' wide, 16.5' long frame, with stabilizing jacks in each corner and a 3500# Torsion Axle ("rubber ride") with 10" brakes. Dual LP rack up front with an auto-changeover regulator.

The "appliances" are all in excellent mechanical condition, I don't believe this unit was used much. Thankfully the previous owner began tarping the trailer when he saw the leak, so nothing inside ever got wet. We have the following to work with:

- Coleman 13,500 BTU roof mounted A/C
- Dometic 3-Way Fridge/Freezer
- Hydro Flame Furnace
- Suburban Water Heater
- Water Pump
- Large fresh water tank (I need to calculate the volume)

The unit also has a cooktop, small sink, shower pan, cassette toilet and converter. I do not expect to use any of those parts in the new build.

The next step is to remove the appliances and then strip the body down to the bare frame. I hope we can get to that later this week. The frame will then be cleaned and painted, and we will begin building the new body.

He has not decided on a floorplan just yet, but we do have a half dozen or so possibilities lined up. At the moment, the frontrunner is a clone of the Que SE.

Here's a few more pictures of the "donor" to hold everybody over





More pictures and details as we make some progress!

- Frank
__________________

__________________
frank is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-29-2010, 05:37 PM   #2
Moderator
 
PTHutch's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: New York
Posts: 1,499
SUN #98
PTHutch is an unknown quantity at this point
Frank,

Very Cool That's going to be one neat project.

Looking forward to hearing and watching the progress.

Hutch
__________________

__________________
Mary & Tom (aka Hutch)
2015 Jayco Eagle Premier 361REQS
2014 GMC Sierra 3500HD 4x4 CC D/A
PTHutch is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-29-2010, 07:04 PM   #3
Moderator
 
JohnB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Ohio
Posts: 6,515
SUN #89
JohnB is an unknown quantity at this point
Frank

A 2003, loaded with goodies for $200 bucks...WOW. That is a find. It is also amazing on a unit that new how miss loved it is.... My goodness.

Actually for about ~ 300 to $500 you can rebuild it as a PU. My son did on his older 78 Starcraft. Rot went thru floor, walls, etc. 5 sheets of 3/4 pressure treated plywood and we rebuilt it. It cost him $350.

There are some RV Surplus places that you can build and entire camper out of. I was in one in Elkhart last year. Wish they where closer.

Really looking foward to seeing the progress as I have seen your outstanding handy work before and it's good.
John
__________________
2004 Sunline T310SR
2005 Ford F350 Lariat, V10 with 4.10
CC, Short Bed. Integrated Brake Controller
Reese HP trunnion bar hitch with HP DC
JohnB is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-29-2010, 07:56 PM   #4
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 350
SUN #549
frank
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnB
Frank

A 2003, loaded with goodies for $200 bucks...WOW. That is a find. It is also amazing on a unit that new how miss loved it is.... My goodness.

Actually for about ~ 300 to $500 you can rebuild it as a PU. My son did on his older 78 Starcraft. Rot went thru floor, walls, etc. 5 sheets of 3/4 pressure treated plywood and we rebuilt it. It cost him $350.

There are some RV Surplus places that you can build and entire camper out of. I was in one in Elkhart last year. Wish they where closer.

Really looking foward to seeing the progress as I have seen your outstanding handy work before and it's good.
John
Oops, my fingers got ahead of my brain earlier. It's actually a 1993, not a 2003. I don't know what I was thinking. Regardless, the body is shot, but the appliances and such are in amazing shape for their age. My '02 dometic fridge has more rust on the rear coils than this '93 does, and the A/C doesn't have as much as a bent fin.

I'm considering dragging him out to Elkhart for a couple days to hit RV Surplus & Bontragers. From what I've seen online, the prices and selection are just incredible, and we could get things there (like the paneling) that is very hard to find locally. The 10 hour one-way drive makes it a minimum 3 day deal, so we're still discussing that option.

John, once he settles on a floor plan, I will need some assistance with calculating tongue weight. I'd like to know if I need to shift that axle before we start framing.

I'm very excited for this project, it should be a lot of fun. A big plus is that it's a chance to work with my brother who I don't see often as he lives 2 hours away.

Meanwhile, parts have started to come in. Just picked up a brand new entry/screen door assembly for $140.

- Frank
__________________
frank is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-29-2010, 08:24 PM   #5
Moderator
 
JohnB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Ohio
Posts: 6,515
SUN #89
JohnB is an unknown quantity at this point
Quote:
Originally Posted by frank

I'm considering dragging him out to Elkhart for a couple days to hit RV Surplus & Bontragers. From what I've seen online, the prices and selection are just incredible, and we could get things there (like the paneling) that is very hard to find locally. The 10 hour one-way drive makes it a minimum 3 day deal, so we're still discussing that option.

John, once he settles on a floor plan, I will need some assistance with calculating tongue weight. I'd like to know if I need to shift that axle before we start framing.

I'm very excited for this project, it should be a lot of fun. A big plus is that it's a chance to work with my brother who I don't see often as he lives 2 hours away.

- Frank
Yes RV Surplus has the paneling and the thin diamond plate stone shield material too. They have windows, cargo hatches, doors out the ying yang, fresh tanks, black tanks, sinks, you name it. My kind of goodie store. Have not been to Bontragers. Will put that on the list for next time.

I know you are probably rushed, but if it works out we are near Columbus Ohio and sort of in-between MD and Elkhart. Bring the camper and camp on the way. I can point you to a camp grounds 20 minutes from the house here and join you and where you can get a nice CG about 20 minutes from Elkhart. And the RV hall of Fame is there too. If you are trying to do all this in 3 days… Well leave real early and tag team drive.

You will be at the Surplus stores at least a good day to 3/4 of one for sure. Cindy kept pestering, aren’t you done yet…. LOL

The tongue weight calc's no problem. All you need is the distance the tow ball is from the axle and then what each object weighs and the distance from either the axle or to ball of that object. The rest is a math exercise. A bath scale will work for weighing. If you’re handy with an Excel spread sheet this can be make it easier for moving things around then doing it long hand and over again.

Let me know when your ready.

Good luck

John
__________________
2004 Sunline T310SR
2005 Ford F350 Lariat, V10 with 4.10
CC, Short Bed. Integrated Brake Controller
Reese HP trunnion bar hitch with HP DC
JohnB is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-04-2010, 08:18 AM   #6
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 350
SUN #549
frank
Some progress to report for this week.. nothing too exciting just yet, but progress is progress.

Most of the parts and materials are pretty easy to source. Paneling is the one big exception. Three hours of non-stop phone calls chasing leads and I finally found a surplus building materials store with some paneling in stock. Took a ride there Wednesday after work and was pleasantly surprised to find a large pile of this 1/8" luann based stuff at $9.99/sheet:



That should cover us for the walls, I still need to locate something decent in white for the ceiling.


Time for some real work - On Thursday, my brother and my father came down and we started disassembly.





..and a few hours later





By nightfall, we had it down to the floor and quite the pile of junk stacked up







The scrappers will love me this week for the big pile of metal we wound up with.. Hopefully the garbage men will take the old cabinet hunks and the trailer sides. Hoping to get rid of about half of it this week, and the rest next week.


Fast forward to Saturday, and it's time for more work. Rolled the carcass around front into the driveway where I have access to compressed air and more outlets. First we removed the floor and the under-floor fresh water tank, then dropped the axle and put the frame up on saw horses



The water was leaking into the body a lot more than it appeared. Apparently it worked it's way through some holes in the floor and was accumulating in the left side frame rail. Some nasty rust going on here, and depending on how it looks when all cleaned up, this area may need a reinforcement welded in. In this picture you can also see where the rearmost cross-member has been removed to make room for a grey water tank.




Three guys, three angle grinders plus six hours of grinding, sanding and wire wheeling gets a little less than half of the frame cleaned up and primered:









Getting inside those frame rails is a real bear and chews up a lot of time.

One more good day of work should get the rest of the frame cleaned up and in primer. We also need to remove the rear bumper and possibly reinforce that rear frame section, although once cleaned a bit, it appeared better than it initially looked. We'll see.

Once he decides on his floor plan I will know if I need to shift the axle. I'm hoping we can arrange things to work as-is, since moving all those cross members will take a bunch of work. Also thinking of giving it a 1-1.5" lift.

With a little luck, we'll get this frame buttoned up on Thursday.

- Frank
__________________
frank is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-04-2010, 08:45 AM   #7
Moderator
 
JohnB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Ohio
Posts: 6,515
SUN #89
JohnB is an unknown quantity at this point
Frank

WOW, Cool!. This is my kind a project…. Can I come play too?

As I saw your “pile” it brought back memories on how Cindy and I got into RV’ing. Son brings home a 25 year old Starcraft PU from his fiancés parents and it had a soft spot in the floor…. He said, Dad I’m just going to fix soft spot…. I said Ben, do you know how they build these things? No problem Dad. OK. OK…. Well 3 hours later he had a “pile” like yours in the shed. Just in bigger chucks as he was reusing the cabinets etc. The rot went everywhere. Up the walls, all over the floor…… So he had it down to the bare frame. I said Ben, go to the lumber yard and get 5 pieces of 3/4 pressure treated plywood and we will start over. And he did. He had like ~ $300 in materials and 3 months later we rebuilt the entire thing. It looked good. DW and I used it twice that year and well, the rest is history. That was 3 campers ago…

Amazing you can tear it down in less then a day…. And take months to put it back together.

Good luck and keep that camera handy. I’m excited just to see the progress.

White Paneling, RV Surplus in Elkhart had some last summer. 2 sheets would do ya. http://www.rvsurplus.net/ There web site does not have a fraction of what is in that building. It is odds and ends of most everything so its hard to list as a normal for sale item.

John
__________________
2004 Sunline T310SR
2005 Ford F350 Lariat, V10 with 4.10
CC, Short Bed. Integrated Brake Controller
Reese HP trunnion bar hitch with HP DC
JohnB is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-04-2010, 09:09 AM   #8
Moderator Emeritus
 
kanyonkitty's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: West Virginia
Posts: 2,290
SUN #17
kanyonkitty is an unknown quantity at this point
Not sure if they still carry it but check in LOWES ( ) in the bathroom section. They used to carry 4 x 8 sheets of white slightly pebble textured stuff. It is not wood paneling, more like a plastic panel. Used for shower/tub surrounds. That would probably make a pretty good ceiling.

Kitty
__________________
Sunny #18 2003 F-344SR #8157
Sunny #19 1997 T-2653 #5485
1999 Ford F350XLT DRW Crew Cab, Long bed 7.3 PSD
2002 VW Jetta TDI.. AKA: Kitty's Kruiser
kanyonkitty is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-05-2010, 08:10 AM   #9
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 350
SUN #549
frank
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnB
Frank

WOW, Cool!. This is my kind a project…. Can I come play too?

As I saw your “pile” it brought back memories on how Cindy and I got into RV’ing. Son brings home a 25 year old Starcraft PU from his fiancés parents and it had a soft spot in the floor…. He said, Dad I’m just going to fix soft spot…. I said Ben, do you know how they build these things? No problem Dad. OK. OK…. Well 3 hours later he had a “pile” like yours in the shed. Just in bigger chucks as he was reusing the cabinets etc. The rot went everywhere. Up the walls, all over the floor…… So he had it down to the bare frame. I said Ben, go to the lumber yard and get 5 pieces of 3/4 pressure treated plywood and we will start over. And he did. He had like ~ $300 in materials and 3 months later we rebuilt the entire thing. It looked good. DW and I used it twice that year and well, the rest is history. That was 3 campers ago…

Amazing you can tear it down in less then a day…. And take months to put it back together.

Good luck and keep that camera handy. I’m excited just to see the progress.

White Paneling, RV Surplus in Elkhart had some last summer. 2 sheets would do ya. http://www.rvsurplus.net/ There web site does not have a fraction of what is in that building. It is odds and ends of most everything so its hard to list as a normal for sale item.

John
John,

Better be careful what you offer or I'll volunteer you for some work!

With a little luck, they will be back on Thursday so we can finish getting the frame all cleaned up. Then I can make a judgement call on the state of that left side main rail.

I'm hoping we can have this all buttoned up by June. It would be really nice if he could drag this out for the weekend at Buttonwood. Not sure just yet how realistic that is, but I certainly want him camping in it this summer.

Should also have some drawings this week. He's still a bit indecisive on the floorplan.

Still working to try to find a way to get us out to Elkhart for a shopping spree. I'd love to make one trip and grab a big majority of the parts we need. I know at a minimum that I would need to borrow a larger truck for that trip, since my short bed can't take a sheet of ply without the tailgate down.

More soon!

- Frank
__________________
frank is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-05-2010, 08:14 AM   #10
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 350
SUN #549
frank
Quote:
Originally Posted by kanyonkitty
Not sure if they still carry it but check in LOWES ( ) in the bathroom section. They used to carry 4 x 8 sheets of white slightly pebble textured stuff. It is not wood paneling, more like a plastic panel. Used for shower/tub surrounds. That would probably make a pretty good ceiling.

Kitty
Thanks Kitty!

I believe you are describing what is called "FRP." I think it stands for Fiberglass Reinforced Plastic, and it's a mainstay in commercial bathrooms and other places that are often wet.

I believe we are going to use that stuff to make the shower surround. The only "catch" with it is that it needs to be glued to some sort of backing. It's pretty heavy stuff on it's own, but with the addition of the backing I think it's a bit too heavy for the ceiling. We're on a really tight weight budget

- Frank
__________________
frank is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-05-2010, 05:50 PM   #11
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: New York
Posts: 1,547
SUN #264
Steve Collins is an unknown quantity at this point
Frank,

Check with someone who supplies building materials for farm buildings. There is a version of that pebbly plastic sheeting with a backing that is used for lining stalls and other areas that need to be hosed out routinely.

That may solve your shower challenge. Don't have any info on weight of the stuff either.
__________________
Steve Collins is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-05-2010, 06:30 PM   #12
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: New Hampshire
Posts: 1,025
SUN #292
Honda03842 is an unknown quantity at this point
Shower

We added a dry shower to our small trailer.

Our walls consist of a layer of luan forming the outside of the shower walls. These three pieces each have a 1 x 1 inch piece on the bottom and top edges. Another 1 x 1 in each corner forming a laun 'U".

I than attached a layer of 3/4 inch foam to the inside surface of the laun, blue or pink foam from HD or Lowes. The foam does not absorb water. The foam is glued to the Luan using foam construction adhesive. This really stiffens the Luan.

The foam is govered with white vinyl to create the inside of the shower. I bought a tub surround from HD for $60-90, the cheapest one I could find. I cut the tub surround into pieces to cover the shower walls. The vinyl is very thin and light, probably a 1/16th.

They sell a number of different tub surrounds. I looked for the lightest, least expensive that provided enough material.

The shower floor is raised about 3-4 inches to allow the incorporation of a trap.

I also used a piece of vinyl to make the floor. To prevent it from leaking at the floor level I used right angle channel in the floor wall joint sealing it with tub caulk. This is the least clever portion of the solution. It
is a very lightweight solution; and has not leaked.

I did add a plastic bubble over the shower to provide additional head room. It truly brightens the shower. Our shower is 24x24 inches.

Hope this sparks some ideas
__________________
Norm and Ginny Milliard
1982 Sunline 15.5 SB
2004 Honda CRV 4 cyl, manual
Honda03842 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-05-2010, 06:36 PM   #13
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: New Hampshire
Posts: 1,025
SUN #292
Honda03842 is an unknown quantity at this point
By the way I find what you're doing to be very interesting. I like small trailers. Last night we were invited into a large, 38 ft, 4 slide out, fifth wheel. The wife was complaining about the size of her kitchen.

My wife broke out in laughter and invited her down to our trailer. (Ours would have fit into their living room with space left over.) Of course they must have thought us crazy than I piled on and said we had lived in it for 10 moths last year.

I think it's neat that you're staring from the ground up. BEst of luck and have fun. I 'm sure it will be memorable, I'm sure the building will create as many memories as the trips you take in it.

safe building
__________________
Norm and Ginny Milliard
1982 Sunline 15.5 SB
2004 Honda CRV 4 cyl, manual
Honda03842 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-06-2010, 08:38 AM   #14
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 350
SUN #549
frank
Thanks Steve & Norm. I will look a little further into the FRP and see what else is available, aside from the big box stores.

A local dealer can get me a 24x32 acrylic pan for under $100, which seems pretty reasonable. Waiting to hear what he can do on a matching surround.

Hopefully more updates soon.

- Frank
__________________

__________________
frank is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
new to towing a travel trailer gsxr Towing and Tow Vehicles 6 09-20-2009 06:17 AM
Advice on purchasing used travel trailer Kevin K Sunline Community 5 09-27-2008 04:55 AM
First travel trailer 69z28rsss Introduce Yourself 2 06-11-2008 01:53 PM
Turbo Travel Trailer emam Sunline Community 6 02-22-2008 08:58 PM
Wheelchair accessible New or Used Travel Trailer BTPinEdinboro Wanted 1 06-21-2007 12:23 PM




All times are GMT -6. The time now is 01:12 PM.