Maybe I should title this post "When you discover what you didn't want to know" or "How to remain blind and still be in love."
At any rate, the weather has been marvelously cooperative. We spent a few hours in the camper yesterday, now that hubby has had an opportunity to clean up his shop in preparation for fixing Frankie.
What we found was NOT pretty.
That's the side wall behind where the bench seat was for the dinette, just to the front of the door. Hubby removed the bracing for the fresh water tank to prep for repairing the hole in the floor. He pulled away a piece of bracing that was on the wall, and found this mess behind it. Then I pulled up the "lovely" blue floor tiles and we discovered why the floor was so soft at the door.
Evidently the door had leaked considerably over the years and allowed water to reach the flooring around the door. The plywood delaminated in places, especially at the entry. The floor of the camper is made of 1/2" homosote treated with tar (?) on one side to discourage water from permeating it. Over this, a 3/8" piece of plywood provides a base for the tile. It's not a bad system, really. It's survived (mostly) for 50 years so far, and that says a lot. It was just much less sturdy than what we'd expected!
In addition, there wasn't any structure underneath the door frame. Just a little bit o' tin holding it all together. Hubby will fix that, and that should help the door to close better as well.
We had wondered (feared?) why five screws on the lower side door frame were missing. There was nothing to hold them in. Ha.
Hubby used a circular saw to cut back the flooring until he found good wood. He'll tie a new piece of plywood into this for now, and he'll fix the door framing but eventually we'll need to replace the floor and substrate properly. We just need to move this project along a bit so we can go camping!!
Hubby also cut off the drippy gooey mess that a PO had made trying to repair the hole in the side of the aluminum from the fresh water fill cap. Someone had put gobs of urethane sealant inside the 2" hole to "fill" it, but it had kept slumping down into the wall. They cut a piece of aluminum flashing to fit over the hole, screwed it in, used silicone caulk to seal it, and painted over it with the latex housepaint. Eek. Hubby will patch it with fiberglas matting, and then smooth the exterior before we repaint it next year.
I'll be ordering the Hehr gasket for the two front windows today. Vintage Trailer Supply has the grey color back in stock, so I'll hop on that now. We're also ordering 4 teardrop side marker lights to replace the plastic oval ones that the PO wired in. When we did our presale inspection, the owner said the gasket around the old ones was cracked, so he threw them away and put these nice, new ones on. (cringe....)
I'll also order new table brackets, since we'll need to make tables for the dinette and the outside as well. We're eventually going to make a table about 24" wide by 42" long that will attach to the outside of the camper above the storage compartment door. We like to cook meals outside, so this will serve as the countertop for our outside kitchen. Hubby will make the table in 2 pieces that fold in the center so that it can be stowed in the storage compartment beneath the bed.
We tried out the mattress from our futon in the camper yesterday. We had been hoping that it would fit, since it's a high quality futon and it's very comfortable to sleep on. It's not a perfect fit, it's about 6" too wide, but we're going to deal with it for awhile and see how it works out. We could probably cut it down a bit to fit better if it works well for us to sleep on. The bed size is actually 75" by 48" wide; and the futon is a full size, at 54" wide. The problems with using it are minor - it blocks the window behind the gaucho when it's being used as a couch, and it overhangs the edge a bit more than we'd like when it's being used as a bed - meaning the kids will have to climb over us to get to the bathroom in the middle of the night. Ha. They would have done that, anyway.
We have talked about selling our pop-up camper, since it's springtime and we'll get a little better price for it. The plan was to fix up the Shasta, and then sell the pop-up; but we're realizing that we just won't be using the pop-up again since we're so busy fixing the Shasta. It will be sad to see her go. We've had a lot of fun in that pop-up! She's been to the beach, to the lakes of NH, just about every vacation we've taken as a family has been in that camper. But, we're making new memories already with the Shasta, so, we may as well pass the pop-up on to another family who will appreciate and use it.
Added to the punch list:
Fix the floor / door area.
Fix the door frame.
Fix the hole in the side of the camper.
Why is this list getting LONGER??