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Wednesday, January 24, 2018

MOTORHOME MODIFICATIONS *B* Bathroom Floor Fix, Booster and Blocks and Family Memories

I am going to start off the new year with posting three of our motorhome modifications at a time. I will post repairs, modifications, or neato things we have found for RVing.  I have lots of pics in my files so I will do them in alphabetical order.

Underneath that stuff, I will post my regular daily stuff..... kinda sorta fun, eh?

So here it goes:


Bathroom floor repair and replacement:
In October of 2009, we noticed some softening of our bathroom floor, along the edge of the cabinetry on the passenger side.  

So we pulled back the vinyl flooring, only to find our subfloor was rotting!  Upon further inspection, we had three sources of water intrusion. 

  • It turns out that the wheel well area had a leak from the outside and the underside of the flooring was exposed and it seems it was kicking up water when driving in the rain.  
  • Our washing machine had never been winterized properly by the previous owners.  We found out it had a cracked pump, and we replaced it, but not before the damage was done with with leakage over a year or so? When winterizing, you have to not only get antifreeze IN the hoses going in, but also IN the pump for the water that goes OUT. Lots of folks miss that step.  
  • the worst intrusion was along the three horizontal bands of aluminum on the exterior.  The top edge of the band allows water in if the clear caulking has worn away.  We sealed it up again with ProFlex clear silicone, that is UV resistant.  It's a good idea to recheck these three bands of trim around the sides of the Safari motorhomes of our vintage.  We now inspect it and fill in any gaps YEARLY ! 

Until we started to tear up the floor, we never realized the damage was this severe.   

First we needed to remove all of the vinyl flooring.  Over the bad part of the floor, it was easy to pull the vinyl flooring off, but the rest of the flooring was stuck firm with glue!   In the photo below was on the driver’s side of the rig, where it was glued down tight and firm.  So it meant we had to be down on our knees and using a putty knife for a few hours to get it all torn out. 

We did not have to pull out the toilet, we only had to remove the plastic pedestal housing that surrounds the actual base.  That made that part of the job even easier! 

Now for the messy part:

replacing bathroom floor 9

This was the tough part! 
replacing bathroom floor 7  
(did you know RV washer/dryer combos have CEMENT block weights inside to help with counterbalancing the spinning action? So they are MUCH heavier than household washing machines... ack! ) 

replacing bathroom floor 8

We found the wood was more and more rotten, the deeper we dug.  We wore masks and gloves to protect us from the moldy wood that we are grabbing and tearing out, piece by piece.  We were finally down to the chassis frame and rigid foam insulation.

replacing bathroom floor 10

From the bottom up, outside, we cleaned and sealed the wheel well with spray-on pickup truck bedliner.  We also resealed the side trim strip on the wall with a new bead of some ProFlex clear silicone, that is UV resistant for outdoor applications.  We will be sure to keep checking it for any future leakage!

After ripping out the rotting wood, we also realized the location of the space alotted for the washing machine in the cabinetry had the unit sitting on just ONE brace of the chassis frame!   That very heavy 150 pound machine, plus the weight of water when it is in use, was only centered on one piece of the frame?  That meant the four corner legs of the machine were not on any support other than the flooring and vinyl and foam insulation? hmmmmmm

So we beefed that up too with more bracing  on each side before sealing all the bottom up and laying the subfloor and underlayment. 

replacing bathroom floor 15replacing bathroom floor 11

Once we got all the bad wood out, we coated the leading edge of the good wood on the remaining floor with this hardener product, just to be sure no rot would spread any further.  The wood was now dry and ready to lay in the two pieces of wood on top of each other.  The sub floor and underlayment are also both of treated wood.   We coated the two new wood  sections with a waterproof sealer on all sides and edges too. 

replacing bathroom floor 14

We worked like a team, (just like when we built our house together)  and it was a fun project, once we got the rotting wood out!  We laid in the two new layers, firmly screwing them down and sealing in between with the layers with construction adhesive.  Now the new boards brought it up to the same height as the old floor, so all was level and ready for the new flooring across it all.  

replacing bathroom floor 16replacing bathroom floor 17

Now the fun part starts!  Laying on the new flooring!!  It’s a laminate product similar to the new hardwood floors, but this in a faux ceramic tile design… almost a match for the previous color of vinyl we had in there, and it matches our carpeting very well too. 

replacing bathroom floor 1replacing bathroom floor 18

It was just measure, cut, click…  what fun!  

The angles around the shower/tub and sink were a bit complicated, but we used paper templates and transferred the angles onto the panels.. Easy Peasy! 

But for extra peace of mind, now the whole washing machine was put in a heavy duty *drip pan* to prevent any future possible damage too.  The rubbery plastic pan was from the local farm supply store called a "Rabbit Droppings Pan"!    It allowed us to slide it in the cabinet easier without damaging the new flooring too. 

replacing bathroom floor 20replacing bathroom floor 21

It sure made a huge difference in the stability of the flooring through that whole area.  It must have been rotting away under there for years, each time we drove in rain or snow! 
PS....  in 2015 we added two bicycle tire inner tubes, one on each side of the washing machine.  Once in place, we inflated them with air to help add stability during the spin cycle.  It works WONDERFULLY! 

Steve finish-nailed the trim thresholds back into place on both doorways, and added new quarter-round trim behind the toilet and in front of the cabinets.  We put the corrugated base-surround on the tub again, and the pedestal to the toilet back into place. It looks as good as new!

And here is ...... 

replacing bathroom floor 22

P.S. we also added a wooden toilet seat later to the Sealand toilet,
a regular household one bolts right on the same bolt pattern.

Blocks for under the leveler feet:
Steve cut three big slabs of thick 2x10 planks for putting under the feet of our hydraulic levelers.  Our motorhome has three, two in the back and one up front in the center. Kinda like a tripod.  

He added eyelets and a rope to each block. The front leveler is centered between the two front tires near the axle and is a pain in the butt to push a block wayyy under there into place. We found using the long awning pull down rod in the eyelet lets us push it right into place. The ropes make it easy to pull them out so you do not have to get down on your knees to pull them out of the mud!  Also we can bang them together to knock off the dirt by holding the ropes instead of the blocks.  

We set them into this large rubbermaid tub to keep the excess dirt out of the carpeted compartments in our motorhome basement.

Booster for WI-FI and cell signal:
I know there are more recent items out on the market, but we bought this about seven years ago and it still works great for us.  When we travel, we have Verizon on both our tablet and our cell phone for data. When we are way out in the boonies, this device helps us to strengthen the signal. It is made by Wilson, the trucker antenna company.  It can run on either 12 volt DC or 120 AC.

Whatever device we are using, whether it is the cell phone or the tablet, if we are at only 1 or 2 bars, we set it down next to this Wilson booster, and it increases the signal up to 3 or 4 or even 5 bars!  Amazing!  Of course if there isn't ANY signal at all, it is not of much help. LOL

We set up our little tablet or cell phone as a *router* and it draws in our data signal (we only have 5 GB to share in a month so we use it sparingly) We select the tethering mobile hotspot feature on the menu. We set it near the booster to increase the signal. The data signal is then made into our own little private WiFi zone in our rig so we can both operate our laptops anywhere inside the rig or out under the awning.

It also helps boost a weak free WiFi signal in campgrounds too. We set it next to our laptops and it pulls in the signal. If we move it away, the signal fades and logs us off. 

It does need a "ground plane" of a metal base for the magnetic antenna to pull in the signal.  Since our rig is all aluminum, that is a problem. We found that a steel metal cookie sheet or a steel serving tray works well and we stick the antenna to that.

When we were boondocking wayyyyy out on Rattlesnake Point at Elephant Butte State Park in New Mexico they had free WIFI in the park. We were at least 3/4 mile from the nearest park WiFi tower and could not get a signal. But one we plugged in the Wilson booster, we got 3 bars and were in boondocking bliss with free WiFi! 


It is Wednesday morning as I write this.  Steve has been out on one pickup and dropoff for his part time job. He is home in between and has to go out again. He sure likes the flexible schedule and enjoys keeping busy and helping the elderly in wheel chairs get to where they need to go.

Today the roads are clear and the temps are in the mid teens but the skies are clear.  We are due for a warmup by the weekend, perhaps in the 40's??  Most of our snow is gone, and hopefully some of the ice will melt as well on the weekend.

I am feeling better, but not 100% yet. Hoping to have enough lung strength to go out and walk the dogs some if the weather warms up. They have been soooo rambunctious in the house and really need a couple miles walked off them each day.  We play throwing the ball out in the backyard and also tossing toys up and down the hallway, but that isn't enough to wear them out.

Yesterday was two memorial days for us....  2 years ago it was the passing of our step father, Lowell. Cancer is a horrible thing. I lost both my dad and step dad within 2 months of each from cancer. I really miss him and we have such fond memories of our time spent together. The dogs miss him too!

He and Steve always found projects to work on
during our vacation trips to Florida. 
They both always needed to stay BUSY! 

We sure miss him a lot....

Also, it was the 15th year of the passing of my first sheltie, Akasha.

She was also fondly known as "Kasha-Burger-DipDog-YoYoHead-SpaghettiBrain".  We bought her as a pup in 1989 and she made it almost 14 years. She was such a great dog.  She was perfect with the kids, and totally trustworthy around the babies.

I trained her and showed in AKC confirmation and obedience trials, did herding events, canine good citizenship demonstration programs and even school visits.   I trained her like a "trick horse" who paws the ground in answers to questions.  I got her to where she would bark on command with each crook of my finger.  So kids would marvel at how she could "add" numbers, say her ABC's, say their name by barking the syllables, etc. She would go get her big squeaky pencil toy from her crate and bring it out to get ready for lessons etc. All to the giggles and delight of the school children. She sure was a special dog.

Akasha as a pretty pup! 

We had fun at dog shows throughout her first few years

She trained on India Runner Ducks, Barbados sheep and goats for herding fun.
One time she wanted to herd seagulls on the beach, 
and it blew her little doggy mind when they all flew away!!!!

She loved riding between my legs on the four wheeler
and went many miles on trails with us over the years. 
She would hop on and beg for a ride, even when it was turned off.

Our dog shows were fun, (but expensive!) 
and she was always a blue ribbon winner in my mind! 

This was on our last night together.  
She had a bunch of seizures in a row and was pretty much paralyzed.
We had to do the kind thing, and let her go the next morning.

She will be waiting for me at the Rainbow Bridge.

After she was gone, I prepared all the fur I had saved from brushing her over the years. I blended it with some wool and mohair for length and color, and spun it into yarn.

Then I wove the yarn into a throw in her memory. 

It still smells of her, faintly, and I cherish it. It's great for naptimes.  But the throw does shed as much as sheltie dogs do! Since she passed, we have had 7 other dogs, and all of them give it a sniff now and then. I tell them about what a Good Girl she was.  She was my Heart Dog.

Excuse me now while I go and cry for a while. 

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