Hi all !
I have been looking at diffrent places on the web and actually was surprised to run across as many people as I have who were doing the same thing as I am going to do..
Namely, rebuilding our camper rather than buy a newer one.
We bought a 1988 Coachmen Catalina 26' class C last fall that we knew had water damage.
But it was so mechanically near perfect that I decided to buy it and rebuild.
Two previous owners and 30.000 miles and everything is operating at near perfection in regards to engine, trans, drive train, brakes all interior appliances etc.
Too bad the original owner didn't look for water issues until it manifested itself inside the coach.
As having spent 15 years in the trades as a cabinet maker and furniture builder, I have all the tools and knowledge to do the actual work, but am having to really study up on the areas I am not as confident in, namely electrical and gas.
I intent to note, diagram and photo document everything in great detail, and would appreciate any and all suggestions as to what mistakes others have made in how to proceed, things to not overlook, etc.
We intend to reconfigure the insides for a more updated and spacious (as possible) floor plan. I look forward to any helpful observations, thanks.
If you find some infor. I would thank you, to forward it to me because like you, I am trying to rebiuld a class C with water damage.So I am looking for ideas to change the floor plan.
I am having to fix some of metal frame work so it is way harded than i felt it would. But like they
say if you start something you have to finish it.
Maybe we can talk back and to as we work on our two projects
We plan on starting this fall after the last camping trip, with the focus mainly being on opening the back wall and stripping the inside of everything.
Once the cabinets and appliances are out I can take down the interior wall paneling and get a better idea as to what extent the damage is.
There are some places that I know are a total loss, but am hoping that most of the frame is intact.
I have done some mental calculations on the new floor plan, and it is not too different from the original. The emphasis was to squeeze every available square inch of floor space out of it. We have a 26' Coachmen Catalina that the company decided to stuff full as much furniture as a 40' bus would hold!
It feels cramped and busy inside.
I took out one bench seat behind the drivers chair so we had more room for the dog and I could re-mount the captains chair 4" further back to give me much needed leg room.
We lost the storage under that bench but still have plenty.
We took out the dinette table that went with that bench as we also have a small pull out table on the other wall between two other swivel chairs! I guess they thought eight people were really going to all be in this thing at one time !
The remaining bench seat contains the furnace, but I can still loose almost half of that bench as well.
I am going to get rid of the angled counter top that sticks out into the walk way and takes up yet more room and remake one that is strait along the wall to give us a couple more square feet there.
Because I don't want this to turn into 2 or more years of rebuild, I'm simplifying things by leaving the major components, toilet, shower, plumbing, water heater, gas lines etc. right were they are so I wont have to reroute lines or pipes or move holding tanks.
I have turned the bed 90 degrees so there is now almost seven feet of room to stretch out. Now that the foot of the mattress is not against the bath wall, it will enable me to expand the rear wall of the bathroom about 18 inches so it doesn't feel like you need a shoe horn to fit in on the toilet.
We are going to get rid of our 40 gallon fresh water tank and put in a 10 gal. since we never boon dock for more than one night and don't drink from that tank anyway.
This will free up more space for storage.
Since we moved the bed, we covered up a dresser on one side of the bedroom, this space will be made into an outside access storage that slides out on heavy duty ball bearing glides.
Since we are residing, we can put doors wherever we want as long as the is a void behind the wall.
We are also getting rid of the front and two side windows up on the cab over.
Less work to rebuild and less places for sealant to fail and water to creep in.
The carpet will be gone ! absolutely.
I have some red oak parquet flooring squares found at a tag sale that will do just fine.
That is about all I can give you for the moment.
If you want, sometime I can draw an existing floor plan and then side by side it with what I am planning to see the differences in area and function.
This web site is an excellent place to find people doing just what we are, giving new life to our good old RVs.
You can find multiple sources on the web for everything you will need in the way of siding, electrical, fittings etc.
Good luck and post your pics when you get going !
Here is a list of suppliers and parts sources.
there are more online depending on what you are replacing.
I personally have not used any one of these yet as I won't begin my tear down until after Columbus day weekend.
Depending on what I find, I'll most probably be looking for replacement exterior fixtures such as wheel skirts and electrical/water access doors. etc. as well as completely residing and a new roof.
The wood, insulation, wires etc. I can find at any Lowes.
I hope I know what I'm getting into !
thank you for sending this imformation
Adding Flxible Bus Restoration experts based on members recommendation:
The restoration shop is HB Industries in El Cajon, California.
"I can't say enough good things about the people there. They have been honest, upfront and very patient from the start. I dread to think what mess I would be in if had chosen a different shop to carry out the work."
Gerry Cote - firstname.lastname@example.org
Tel: (619) 561-9048
Bus Parts, Flxible, GMC's... very well regarded shop and doing a restoration for GORVs member:
HB Industries Southern California bus motors, vintage bus transmissions, air suspension, bus engines, bus brake parts, frames, etc. LINK SEE HERE
Adding Arizona RV Salvage to the list. Member used them with good results for parts: