My wife and I are trying to wrap up our reno of a 1976 Caravanner. Hopefully, we only have a couple more months of interior work....see #1. We are in a similar boat. The housing in the Bay area is ridiculously expensive, so rather than paying high prices for a poorly built & maintained rental, we decided to go this route
#1- Everything is going to take three times longer than you thought it would, and don't throw away anything until you have completely replaced it.
#2 - Focus on waterproofing
#3 - Learn to Buck Rivet & basic metal working
#4 - Find a local hardware store that has a good selection of screws/bolts.
- Hopefully, you kept the wafer screws that connect the sub-floor to frame because they don't exist any more..see #1) We used Stainless steel bolts to join the shell to frame.
- Buy a Tap & Die set (GearWrench 114PC 82812) and try to standardize the bolts. I wasted a lot of time trying to find the exact replacement screw/bolt, but most times the sizes didn't exist or were very difficult to get.
#5 - Pay for a Gold Membership at West Marine
We also read up on the threads, but approached things slightly differently.
- Waterproofing - where we could, we checked all of the rivets on the outside (
), and replaced them with Buck rivets. Once you start replacing the rivets, you'll definitely be able to identify suspect ones that you can't test for. (Olympic rivets are garbage.)
-Gluvit - We scrapped off all of the old caulk in the interior, and we used Gluvit to seal the leaks. This stuff is messy, but awesome. It gets in every crevice.
-Butyl Tape - We used butyl tape to attach all exterior hardware ( https://marinehowto.com/bed-it-tape/
), so that things were water tight, but we could also remove the parts if necessary.
-Subfloor & shower wall - Marine Grade plywood & SaniTred (https://sanitred.com
- Wiring - This is where the membership comes in handy. We rewired everything with Duplex/Triplex wire, and used heat shrink connectors.
-Solar - Reach out Watts!...Seriously that is his name Savannah and Wes are awesome, and are based in Santa Clara. They were able to make us some custom cut industrial panels. (https://www.tinywattssolar.com/
) Tell them the New Yorkers sent you
-Brakes & Axles - we went a little over kill on this one, but we plan on being road warriors. Kodiak - Disk Brakes, Tucson (ABS) - Get the one that integrates with your existing brake controller, Dexter 7,000lbs axles - ABS system requires it. Thanks to Mr. Truck (
- Polishing - Slow and steady wins the race -
- Interior stuffStove - Dickinson MarineHeater/water heater - Alde **If you want to go this route, you need to order everything in the next month, Alde America was purchased by a company that will not sell to individuals***Shower head - https://nebia.com/
We haven't tried this yet, but it looked promising on kickstarter
I plan on doing a more formal write up. However, in the interim, please feel free to ping me and we'll happily share what worked/didn't for us.