Woah. Where to even begin about this exhausting week of work on the camper van. We had told a friend that we’d go up to State College for the Penn State v. Temple football game back in mid-September. However, the camper van’s interior was a nightmare, to say the least, since I was in the middle of 10 projects at once. So, it was time to buckle down on the most important projects.
These projects were getting the house batteries wired up, finish hanging up the cabinets and doors, and to finally finish the bathroom floor. Seemed like a light amount of work – and that much definitely was – until I discovered that the driver-side rear of the camper van floor was dry rotted. This wasn’t your normal dry rot, this was a hole straight thru the subfloor. No wonder why Matt and Emily felt light headed the one day they worked back there and I had the camper running (pre-exhaust replacement). Diesel fumes were literally going into the living area of the camper.
This obviously is a HUGE problem, even with a fixed tailpipe & muffler. So, I figured, 7 days is enough time to patch up that part of the subfloor. Then I became over-ambitious like I normally do with these projects and decided that I might as well do it all properly and fix the entire subfloor. What a mistake. I found myself spending all of my time at work and then at the camper – sunrise to sundown – just to get the subfloor covered with new 1/2” pressure & weather treated plywood.
In order to properly ‘replace’ the subfloor, I had to cut it down to size with a jigsaw, unscrew the bench seats from the floors, and wedge the new subfloor underneath the bench seats. On the new piece of wood, I pre-drilled holes so when screwing the new piece down, it would pull the old wood up to the new wood. I read on the Sunder owner forum that this is the best way to repair the subfloor. I also used 3x Loctite Caulk to really secure the subfloor. All of this by myself proved to be a lot of work. Emily was great though because she could focus on the remaining cabinets and doors. This whole process took 2-3 days before and after work – so probably around 8 hours – to get all of the supplies, power tools I needed, and installation. Oh! I nearly forgot that once the floor was installed, I forgot to measure where the table countersink holder was located. So, it was a guesstimate that proved to be really close to the original location.
The remaining two days were spent creating a frame/box for the two Trojan T-605 batteries that we have. This was a piece of cake and just framed with cedar 1×2’s on the new subfloor. Emily kept chugging along with installing the new cabinet latches, hinges, and doorknobs. The hinges were quite tricky to do by yourself because the hinges weren’t at an initial 180*, but a little past that. So, you had to push the cabinet/door into place with a decent bit of force and then try to drill it into place straight up and down.
Once we got the cabinets & doors up, we just spent a good bit of time cleaning all the scrap wood, power tools, and other items out that we didn’t need for the weekend. I had also installed a killswitch for our leisure battery bank and a battery monitor so we know how many amps the LED lights draw when on & how much battery power we have left. I tried to hook up the Kreiger 2000W Inverter, but I wasn’t able to get it to turn on, so I chalked it up to a wiring mistake and disconnected it.
Looking back on this crazy week of working on the van, I wish that I wouldn’t get too overzealous with what I think I can get ‘done’ in a small time period. Sure, it got done for the most part, but, I put everything else on my schedule to the back burner.
After writing this post, I realize that it doesn’t seem like all that work. But, if you’ve never replaced a subfloor in a space that is ~100 square feet you just won’t understand. I’m glad that the back half of the subfloor was completed.
Looking forward at our next project to complete, we’re completely renovating the overcab sleeping quarters. This includes ripping off the old side walls & insulation, painting it with KillzAll, re-insulating, reframing, installing the new cedar sidewalls, and adding a headliner to the overact portion.
Have we ever mentioned that we’re not really 100% certain how to do all of these things? Onward.