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Old 06-29-2020, 02:25 PM   #1
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Post 2001 Solaris Sunline Renovation

Hey JohnB and All-

I had to disappear for awhile, working on a lot of other projects and getting my truck "repaired" to be able to haul a camper to Michigan.

My 2001 Sunline Solaris was used last Summer by the dogs a bit too much (some pee accidents) and I decided the carpet was coming up. Then I decided the entire flooring is getting redone, have the waterproof vinyl and will be fixing that up. I delayed reinstalling the new hot water heater because of this, and I noted the battery continues to drain (ground out) to the frame so the wiring needed attention anyway.

So, I'm going to gut the camper next month once I have a new shed roughed in where a lot of the "spare parts" not already disassembled can go and be stored while I redo the flooring.

I'm going to completely disassemble my bathroom as well and create a wet bathroom. I'll be taking some of the kitchen storage into a conversion to bring (vented and insulated) the batteries (2) inside with a permanently modified solar controller. I had some luck and acquired $500K (yes, not kidding) of solar panels. If you need some, I'm selling 400W solar panels, new but with cracks that can be sealed, still providing optimum voltages, at huge discounts. Not trying to plug this but RV Campers and Off-Griders are two types of folks that would be interested in these in upstate NY (or I'm travelling to Michigan in August, can bring to PA, northern Ohio, or Michigan along I-75 for any that would like panels).


Anyway, this is what I want to accomplish with the remodel:

1. New Flooring Installed everywhere
2. Remove Closet -- use space over wheel well better?
3. Refabricate vents for furnace to be more effective
4. Change layout of bedroom to be a day bed with more floor space towards the rear side door or remove rear door completely and make double-bunks?
5. Create Wet Bathroom (all suggestions do/don'ts appreciated and sources for possible bathroom materials but thinking of doing a sealed light tile grout since I'm not moving this camper a lot if at all)
6. Move Power Center from center of bathroom (and away from the potential water leaks!) to the front of the kitchen to power most of the appliances and interface with solar charge controller/battery area).
7. Rebuild a few exterior walls that have had condensation damage
8. Seal windows or add better windows to stop condensation.
9. New Front Window Awning Cover (mine is destroyed, source to get one?)
10. New Awning, if I can find one? Mine again is destroyed and I repaired most of the roof already 2 Summers ago.
11. Insulation, where appropraite (new wall build-ins to 4" walls?)
12. Maybe On-Demand Water Heater (Electric) and a bypass to Winterize Water Heater? Insualt Water Tank under new bed build, etc.
13. Add mini-stove, if the new floor plan allows, for Winter camping alternative heating in case of emergency or to help dry out condensation, etc.

The flooring was probably one of the largest expenses. I may have to go for a new type of toilet, so that might add some cost. Everything else is just a lot of reworking word/paint/wiring and maybe replace some wiring, maybe add better ducts for the furnace too and make the furnace easy-accessible for maintenance from now on.

Any suggestions on where to go with the project appreciated. I will of course document once it's stripped and ready to put flooring down, get opinions or ask questions as I discover questions in the excavation of this camper.

PS: Hopefully I remember where all the parts go on the Water Heater -- still in a bucket ready for the "correct" new water heater. Haha!

Hope you're all safe in this Pandemic. It's definitely a Home Project year with the way the World is going.

Best.

-KJ

PS: Also have 80 cornish cross that will be ready in about 7 weeks if you're looking for organic-fed, pasture raised poultry fresh in upstate NY. Will be able to deliver along my root in an ice chest when I leave NY to MI on Monday, August 24th. Can deliver. Believe it'll be $3/pound for the good stuff. Birds should dress out to 6-8 pounds, can offer discount for bulk orders.
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Old 06-29-2020, 06:04 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaajot View Post

Anyway, this is what I want to accomplish with the remodel:

5. Create Wet Bathroom (all suggestions do/don'ts appreciated and sources for possible bathroom materials but thinking of doing a sealed light tile grout since I'm not moving this camper a lot if at all)

9. New Front Window Awning Cover (mine is destroyed, source to get one?)

10. New Awning, if I can find one? Mine again is destroyed and I repaired most of the roof already 2 Summers ago.

11. Insulation, where appropraite (new wall build-ins to 4" walls?)

13. Add mini-stove, if the new floor plan allows, for Winter camping alternative heating in case of emergency or to help dry out condensation, etc.
Hi KJ,

After your rebuild, is the camper going to be a tow down the road camper to go camping, or will be become a stay in place cottage and never move again?

On the full wet bath, what are your thoughts on wanting to do that? Your 2001 Sunline should have a self contained shower with a surround that sheds all water into the shower basin, then down the drain.

On the new awning, if you mean the long sun awning on the door side, here is one place that sells replacement fabric. I have one of these and so does my son on his camper. I am happy with the quality.

They sell under a few different licenses. Same awning and owner/address but one of them has free shipping and the other charges. Check the out the door cost.
https://www.rvawningsmart.com/

https://www.sunwaveproduct.com/

On the front awning, need to know more what you are after, do you mean the tilting and locking fiberglass rock guard that covered over the front glass to protect it when towing down the road? Or did you have an actual window awning with material to keep sun out? They make both. If the camper is never going to move once rebuilt, an actual RV window awning may be an option. A & E (now Dometic) makes the RV window awning and frame and maybe other brands.

You mentioned 4" walls and more insulation, this statement is what made me ask if the camper will ever be towed from camp to camp like it was made for. Going to 4" walls adds weight. If the camper is turning into a permanent cottage, OK no problem. If you are going to tow it, lets talk.

The mini stove, and the emergency heat thoughts, heads up on this. The original RV stove meet requirements to be used in a camper setting. A window or vent to outside needs to be open to allow fresh air and left over LP burning escape when using the burners or the oven. They are not rated or encouraged to be used as a heater.

Does your RV stove/range still work, and if it cannot be fixed, have you thought of getting a new RV stove? They are made for small spaces in a camper.

Hope this helps

John
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Old 06-29-2020, 08:56 PM   #3
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Adding bold replies!

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnB View Post
Hi KJ,

After your rebuild, is the camper going to be a tow down the road camper to go camping, or will be become a stay in place cottage and never move again?

Well, it's not a cottage -- building a small cabin instead on the land actually next month as another project (12x20 Jamaica Cottage Shop Backyard Retreat, Amish Lumber) on piers and in the future on the cliff, center property line will be a larger 24x40 Cabin by JCS OR a Norweigian Long House build, but it's not this year. I believe it's against my covenant to turn the camper into a cottage -- not allowed single or double wide, but since it's "mobile" there is no zoning issue. I don't plan to tour the USA in it, but I would like it to be road worthy enough.

On the full wet bath, what are your thoughts on wanting to do that?

Well, I did a wet bath build in my house in Sackets Harbor, just VERY large compared to an RV. It looks like a better use of space. The shower that currently exists is cracked and difficult to use for my 6' 200lb self as well, so redesigning to a wet bath with more room and a built-in sink to a wall, etc would probably gain a lot of space if I do it correctly. The hardest thing would be assuring a decent curb and wet-shielding the bathroom door (curtain pull?) or getting a new door that can take water contact and seals against the curb to stop water from exiting the bathroom in a shower.

On the new awning, if you mean the long sun awning on the door side, here is one place that sells replacement fabric. I have one of these and so does my son on his camper. I am happy with the quality.

Yes, the fabric probably could use a replacement but I'm actually talking the mechanical arms if they sell replacements? Mine were destroyed (ripped off, not even out) in a 70+ mph wind storm in Spring 2018. So I think I could use the original roller with its fabric for a few more years but need new arms. Also, my attachment points ripped out at the lower part of the arms, so I think I'll need to do something to re-secure it properly. New wood, or something else?


On the front awning, need to know more what you are after, do you mean the tilting and locking fiberglass rock guard that covered over the front glass to protect it when towing down the road? Or did you have an actual window awning with material to keep sun out? They make both.

Well, I use the front rock guard as a sun awning and way to look out the window, so yes. That's what I need! The current one's frame is partially damaged and it has significant mold/mildew on it. I'm pressure washing the camper right now and I put 20 minutes into it, got about 1/2 of the dirt off that rock guard but it needs to be replaced.

You mentioned 4" walls and more insulation, this statement is what made me ask if the camper will ever be towed from camp to camp like it was made for. Going to 4" walls adds weight. If the camper is turning into a permanent cottage, OK no problem. If you are going to tow it, lets talk.

Yep, I want to be able to tow (infrequently) it so I'm trying to do this right without adding lots of weight. Should I do something like a foam 2" insulation and use 1x2 and 1x3 framing? I don't plan on doing all of the walls, but the ones that are damaged and have obvious water issues will be exhumed and investigated and then rebuilt, painted and hopefully a good deal. On these walls I definitely want to pull out windows and improve them, whether that's putting in a new "house" style window or some kind of method to improve moisture and seal issues.


Does your RV stove/range still work, and if it cannot be fixed, have you thought of getting a new RV stove? They are made for small spaces in a camper.

Oh, this didn't come across right. Yes, the stove works great and when the heater went out in 2018 during Thanksgiving and I almost died, yes very aware of the Carbon Monoxide poisoning and how sick I got using the stove to keep us from freezing in -20 deg weather. Oven/Stove works great, but no I meant adding a small mini wood stove, plumbed, etc obviously and creating the appropriate heat shield. I might do this on the other side where the bathroom wall currently is, remove the spare bed option/couch and add the heat shield to the wall and small hvac and plumbing cavity. The other way to do this would be if I remove the clothing cabinet completely, which I think I will, and building a wood stove platform there/removing the old (not-working) radio and moving the small storage cabinet above to the bedroom. Also, there's a small chair that would have to find a home somewhere else if a wood stove was plumbed there -- tiny wood stove, the kind a tiny home uses. But as a northern camper, this feature could really come in handy as lighting wood and paper in the thick of a storm is much easier than say, generating electricity or getting propane.
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Old 07-02-2020, 10:10 PM   #4
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Another question also:

I pressure washed 80% of the camper with a little vinegar/organic dish soap coming out of one of my 275 gallon IBC Totes I was cleaning -- hate to just empty that water out and not use it! So, I got a lot of gunk off the camper, had about 1/3 of the top (should have done that first) and ran out of water.

The top is looking a little rough, wondering when I need to make a call to redo the top. I did replace all the vents and covers and add upgrades to some skylights in 2018 -- not in a rush to undo my work on top to put a new skin down, but would add new wood for ease of walking and better insulation, etc and probably move a squirrel nest or two that's likely in there.

Second, the siding is good overall, but my dogs had reach on the back right corner -- very lowest siding has a little bit of damage/pulled away and rough. Can I buy replacement siding that matches the Sunline? I've a small area on the back left that also has a little damaged and could use some new paneling there if I'm going to fix the outside panels.

I can get pictures uploaded later to illustrate both problem areas on camper top skin and on the back sides of the siding if that would help.

Also, can you buy Sunline Decals? I pressure washed the back and apparently there used to be a black Sunline Logo that is gone and its outline is still there. Same for some of the "striping" along the siding panels, wondering if I can get new siding decals to replace these "pin stripe" like accents.

Thank you!

-KJ
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Old 07-06-2020, 04:03 PM   #5
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KJ,

Sorry I used the words "cottage". What I was asking about is are you still wanting to tow the camper and use it like a normal mobile camper or will it stay permanently on your property and not leave unless you get rid of it? It appears you still want it to be mobile and use as a camper.

With that thought, on changing the inside and to have better windows, walls, insulation and the shower/ bath area upgrade, a caution on the weight of what you are adding and where you are adding it. I do not recall the model of your 2001 camper. They are only built to handle so much weight on the axles, tires and the balance of loaded tongue weight on the tow ball compared to the total loaded gross weight of the camper. To much weight on the whole camper may cause axle, tire issues. If the tongue weight gets too low compared to the total weight, trailer sway issue can come when towing at highway speeds.

I'm not saying do not do your modifications, it is just a heads up there is not a lot of excess weight capacity in the camper above what a normal fully loaded camper ready to camp is when it was built new. You need to measure the weights of where you are now with a fully loaded ready to camp, both gross weight and actual tongue weight. Then sort out how your changes will affect the axles and tongue weight and see if all the variables line up to still be OK to tow. It is doable, it just takes planning and compromises on weight and balance.

On the shower, if yours is cracked, it can be repaired as it is ABS plastic. Or you can buy a new surround or shower basin or both. It will fix the shower to make it usable, and not add weight to the camper. I have changed out a complete shower in one of my project campers. Not impossible, not really easy, but doable and there is a cost to it.

The wood stove, in a mobile camper. I can't help much on how you should go about making all the needed items to have this as safe. I myself would not attempt it. There is a reality to a camper on how they are built on how fast they can totally be consumed in a fire. The wood stove has more inherent risk to it, even the little ones. Plus it must draw fresh air from inside the camper. Really think this through before attempting.

The awning arms on the camper are available for your 2001 camper. You just need the model number off the awning to get them. They are Dometic brand if yours is still original. OR you can buy entire new awning arms, roller tube and material as a unit. I do not know how much of you old awning is gone to know what you may need. It may come out, an all new awning is cheaper then only the parts you need.

The rubber roof, there are a few options for the roof pending what condition it is in. Need pics. If there are no confirmed (by inspection) water leaks, then if the white layer is deteriorated to a point, the roof can be recoated. Recoating can make sense on a roof that has "no leaks" but needs to be resurfaced. If there has been leaks in the past, even if they have been patched on the outside only and not taken apart, the structure of the roof under the rubber is compromised and doing a coating it is a not a good long term fix. If the roof is compromised, then pending where and how big, you can repair that area, then coat it. Or put all new rubber on, again pending how big the issue is. I have done small roof structure repairs all the way to all new roofs, and point you to how to do that as both are doable.

The siding, pictures help so we know better what you need. I know of a few places that makes camper siding and they ship across the US. Pending your needs, this could add up in cost with the freight. If the siding can be patched, that may be an option or you can accept the cost of new.

Hope this helps

John
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Old 07-07-2020, 02:38 PM   #6
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[QUOTE=JohnB;152734]KJ,

Sorry I used the words "cottage". What I was asking about is are you still wanting to tow the camper and use it like a normal mobile camper or will it stay permanently on your property and not leave unless you get rid of it? It appears you still want it to be mobile and use as a camper.

So yes, I think I'll want to try to make it so it can be mobile still, definitely still towable a short distance.


With that thought, on changing the inside and to have better windows, walls, insulation and the shower/ bath area upgrade, a caution on the weight of what you are adding and where you are adding it. I do not recall the model of your 2001 camper. They are only built to handle so much weight on the axles, tires and the balance of loaded tongue weight on the tow ball compared to the total loaded gross weight of the camper. To much weight on the whole camper may cause axle, tire issues. If the tongue weight gets too low compared to the total weight, trailer sway issue can come when towing at highway speeds.

It's a 2001 Sunline Solaris, but I don't have the exact model off-hand (T-something). I'll get that information along with a few more pictures.

I'm not saying do not do your modifications, it is just a heads up there is not a lot of excess weight capacity in the camper above what a normal fully loaded camper ready to camp is when it was built new. You need to measure the weights of where you are now with a fully loaded ready to camp, both gross weight and actual tongue weight. Then sort out how your changes will affect the axles and tongue weight and see if all the variables line up to still be OK to tow. It is doable, it just takes planning and compromises on weight and balance.

Ok, noted. I guess my first question is what are the minimal sturdy yet light sizes I should work with regarding framing, flooring (plywood) and should I consider a foam board 1-2 inch over a 3-4 inch rolled insulation? I think a foam board insulation might be better because it's harder if a leak occurs for it to become saturated and grow mold or in general retain the water (not that I want to build for leaks, just thinking of advantages and reason to keep walls narrow with a specific inch-thickness of foam board insulation).

On the shower, if yours is cracked, it can be repaired as it is ABS plastic. Or you can buy a new surround or shower basin or both. It will fix the shower to make it usable, and not add weight to the camper. I have changed out a complete shower in one of my project campers. Not impossible, not really easy, but doable and there is a cost to it.

I think the shower is pretty weak, so on demo it may fracture even more due to brittleness. Dunno if sommeone left it more exposed to sunlight than normal through the vent window -- I added a really nice shade scoop and new vent window frame/lid in 2018, so no more UV light beating down harshly or rain coming through. My other goal is to move the power center anyway which is directly underneath the shower's supply lines -- terrible location to put water above the electrical heart of the camper! I'm moving the power center to the front right well away and not under the sink in the kitchen with the ability to vent slightly and add up to 4 batteries (2 for now) and the charge controller, etc. That kinda opens up more room at the bathroom build since I won't be building around a power center wall and if I remove the current vanity and opt for wet shower, that's more room to gain as a shower goes.


I'll have to look at new surrounds/basin options? Is there a good place to check out online? Can I get away with some tiling the basin/floor of a wet shower along with a manufactured surround to reduce weight?


The wood stove, in a mobile camper. I can't help much on how you should go about making all the needed items to have this as safe. I myself would not attempt it. There is a reality to a camper on how they are built on how fast they can totally be consumed in a fire. The wood stove has more inherent risk to it, even the little ones. Plus it must draw fresh air from inside the camper. Really think this through before attempting.

I will be diligent here. This will be a last feature I consider based on the other modifications. I know I can plumb it right, it would have a heat-shield and tile corner. I'm removing all carpet and drapes as is regarding potential sparks/embers. I'll be able to determine if I want to add it or not probably halfway into the modification.

The awning arms on the camper are available for your 2001 camper. You just need the model number off the awning to get them. They are Dometic brand if yours is still original. OR you can buy entire new awning arms, roller tube and material as a unit. I do not know how much of you old awning is gone to know what you may need. It may come out, an all new awning is cheaper then only the parts you need.

I'll get pictures and numbers, should be original awning arms! I have some pictures, going back for more today. Will try to organize and post an update with them. Believe the roller and its material are good -- think its gonna be arms and attachments to replace.

The rubber roof, there are a few options for the roof pending what condition it is in. Need pics. If there are no confirmed (by inspection) water leaks, then if the white layer is deteriorated to a point, the roof can be recoated. Recoating can make sense on a roof that has "no leaks" but needs to be resurfaced. If there has been leaks in the past, even if they have been patched on the outside only and not taken apart, the structure of the roof under the rubber is compromised and doing a coating it is a not a good long term fix. If the roof is compromised, then pending where and how big, you can repair that area, then coat it. Or put all new rubber on, again pending how big the issue is. I have done small roof structure repairs all the way to all new roofs, and point you to how to do that as both are doable.

No water leaks, as in the inside ceiling is ok, but leaks/condensation on a few side walls is occurring to bubble its texture. After pressure washing half the roof, it still looks fair. I think you'll say recoat it once I take a picture or two. I do eventually want to go up there later and restructure the roof with a new skin on top for walking strength and add insulation and remove squirrel nests I suspect are in it, but it doesn't need to happen this year if my wall excavations prove there's no significant roof issues and the water is condensation from windows or very minor leaks in a corner seal.

The siding, pictures help so we know better what you need.

I grabbed several shots of the damage, it's minor. Again will make a picture collection with Notations regarding what is being shown.

/QUOTE]
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Old 07-08-2020, 12:54 PM   #7
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Hi KJ,

I will wait for the pics and the model number to help better. You keep talking about adding more weight to the camper and we need to get a better understanding of where this starts and needs to end at. Upgrading to 4 batteries, a walk on roof, a wet bath shower and thicker walls can all add considerable weight.

Look inside the camper for a weight sticker. It is normally inside a top kitchen bathroom or bedroom cabinet glued to the door. Take a pic and post if you can. This gives us a starting point on the weights. The sticker looks like this, maybe the style may be different, but has the same info



As for new shower surround/tubs for a camper to replace what you have or larger, see here. These do not add much weight.

SpecRec is not the manufacture, but handles the DUO form, plastics brand of tub/showers that Sunline used. DUO form does not sell direct, they are a mass manufacture. Bath Products – specrec.com

This RV parts place sells them and may be cheaper then buying from Spec Rec direct. The freight cost is considerable, not due to weight, but size.
https://www.dyersonline.com/rv-plumb...surrounds.html

This link will drop you into the middle of one of my project campers restorations where we are installing a new shower stall in the same place as the old one. https://www.sunlineclub.com/forums/f...tml#post151304

Hope this helps

John
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