Violating a Princess!

SquirrellCook

Full Member
So this weekend we managed to do a bit more (demolition :( ) to Betty. I mentioned some time ago much of the water ingress into the habitation area was due to the fact the bonding between the windows and body was failing. A few weeks back my window man came to visit and said he was more than happy to remove a pain to two, give us a couple of days to do any repairs and then rebond the glass or replacement panels depending on if we are keeping glazing at that location.
So back to the water problem, I say water because it's beyond moisture. There must be a severe leak in the roof? So the painful job of stripping the internal roof panelling began. Such a shame because when we bought it, it was very good. In the short time we have had it, it's got grotty very fast.
With the roof panelling removed along with the polystyrene insulation it was clear that the roof was leak free and in very good condition. The only minor horror was the fitment of the upper corner marker lamps. Anita made some glass fibre boxes and these will be bonded over the back of the lights to stop any water getting in.
The cold nights and warm days showed exactly what was happening. The amount of water on the inside of the roof was beyond belief. I expect many motorhomers who think they have leaking roofs have the same problem. For the insulation to work there must be no movement of air behind the insulation. Pushed in insulation is not good enough. When it is redone, any seems that can be sealed will be before PU insulation is used to fill the gaps. This then will be taped in place to further seal it. They did use polycoated ply for the roof panels, but as they didn't seal the edges it still delaminated.
Again I'm reminded that if we had purchased a newer coach, all these problems would still exist. I guess when being used commercially they get to dry out better than being parked up, so the damp is not as much of an issue.
Shouldn't be too long now before we can do a trial mock-up of the bed frame.
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SquirrellCook

Full Member
So finally some construction, the fitting of a Maxxair, Maxxfan.
The first job was to remove a layer or two of paint from the glass fibre roof. I was worried about the quality of the bonding of the paint. I didn't want any leaks under the paint. The sanded area was then painted with polyester flow coat. In hindsight, just getting it flat would have been enough before painting again. The glass fibre resin didn't appear to react with the paint. So a days waiting before it can be touched again.
From the inside I measured and marked the required aperture. The corners were drills with a hole saw to keep them strong. I then used an air saw to cut along the lines. The Fan attachment flange was predrilled with 3mm holes. When I was happy with the position I drilled four more 3mm holes into the roof. Four screws were partially fitted to maintain the alignment and then the rest were drilled.
I was hoping I had some 18mm Buffalo Board, but I had to settle for 15mm. From this a reinforcement panel was cut to stiffen the inside of the roof.
This was clamped in place and all the holes were predrilled 3mm.
The roof was cleaned and lightly sanded as top coat is slippery. Butyl mastic tape was applied to the inside of the mounting flange. Outside of this a bead of panel bonding PU mastic was applied. The mounting face of the stiffening flange was also treated to an ample bead of mastic close to the inner edge.
Before I glued the mounting panel I drilled the 3mm holes to 4mm to help it pull down. A bit of a fight was had trying to fit all 3 parts together. Lots of clamps would have helped but I was worried about over squeezing the mastic and tape.
On completion I had a sensible amount of mastic ooze around the edges and even inside I had mastic ooze up to the mounting flange.
So three independent seals, so shouldn't leak. Once the external mastic has set I'll trim it with a scalpel and put a finish bead of white mastic around the edges and over the screws. Hoping it doesn't look like it was attacked by seagulls.

Rear door seal flange replacement I think will be the next horror to attack.
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wildebus

Full Member
Nice install. I had just one tiny leak from my Maxxfan install - through one of the screws via capillary action. Nipped up the nut and jobs a good 'un.

I know you like to keep an eye on your electrics ... I did a check on the power consumption of the fan at the different power settings. These are the results I got for mine. I'd expect yours to be very similar.

Maxxair Power Consumption
by David, on Flickr
 

SquirrellCook

Full Member
Nice install. I had just one tiny leak from my Maxxfan install - through one of the screws via capillary action. Nipped up the nut and jobs a good 'un.

I know you like to keep an eye on your electrics ... I did a check on the power consumption of the fan at the different power settings. These are the results I got for mine. I'd expect yours to be very similar.

Maxxair Power Consumption
by David, on Flickr
Not to bad Dave, I intend to leave mine on all the time to keep damp at bay. No electrics as yet, but as it’s going to be all 24volts dc dc converters will be required upping the consumption a bit. Forgetting the cost I expect multiple dc dc converters will make sense depending on how much each 12 volt item is used. Rather than one big converter left on all the time. Lots to think about on a new build rather than an evolution of a vehicle in use.
‘Another good thing about a slower build is the chance of seeing how joints weather before being sealed away.
 

SquirrellCook

Full Member
Back on the demolition yesterday to cut out some more rot! I find the cutting and welding the easy bit. My pet hate is removing trim and panels. Your never really sure how they were attached. One thing for sure, they were never intended to come apart again with any kind of ease. There is a Z shaped aluminium moulding that carriers the door seal. Counter sunk pop rivets down one side and mastic down the other. The body panel that the mastic is attached to turns out to be attached by double sided sticky foam tape! Yes Mastic or sticky foam tape, guess which one wanted to detach first! Hopefully with the aid of blocks of wood and plastic hammers I'll be able to beat the trim back into shape.
One good thing about removing the door step moulding is the access it gives me to some water pipes connecting the convections heaters. These heaters will be scrapped.
The location of the holes is perfect for the hot water pipes from the eberspacher M12. Two less holes to make. In an ideal world I'd like to do some of that plumbing now, but I don't have the boiler yet so it can wait.
There are also issues to resolve with the bottom door pivot. This mounts on top of the glass fibre step moulding, being secured to the steel frame underneath. I'm hoping that there is space in the step moulding to mount a D4 eberspacher air heater.
New steel work welded in and painted with red oxide. Scrub the step soon and remover all the old mastic. I expect I'll give the outside a sanding and the a coat of resin. This will allow me to stick some sound insulation. It doesn't stick well to the inside of old glass fibre mouldings.
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wildebus

Full Member
Good work. Have to say what you are coming up against and finding puts me off the idea of buying an old bus (I did like the idea initially).
 

SquirrellCook

Full Member
Have to say what you are coming up against and finding puts me off the idea of buying an old bus (I did like the idea initially).
To be honest we are surprised how good it is. What's worrying is that if we had bought a newer one this was still going to happen. All our hard work would have been ruined. Remember the owners of these things just want to make a profit, bodge it and get it back on the road. Plaxton kindly gave me the parts and maintenance manual for it. If any one would have followed the care instructions it would have been even better. Two things too look for. 1. Condition around the entrance step. These get a hammering from the road and passengers. 2. Boot repairs, sure sign that it's had a water/damp problem.
 

SquirrellCook

Full Member
So this weekend we managed to get the step box back in loosely. It’s a pain as the door needs to be removed to fit it.
Yet again more demolition in the back. Steel panels removed too see if it was possible to make a side door to enter the garage compartment. It should work well.
A dangerous thought was then had, why am I going to spend a lot of time and money on repairing the boot door. So the new plan is to remove the door skin and use it as an infill panel. Then insulate and frame it once installed.
 

SquirrellCook

Full Member
I was lucky Trev, as the step box it's self was a reinforced glass fibre moulding. The step inside it is as yours and showing signs of rot like yours. The new one will be made in Buffalo Board. I'm hoping this new step will also be the D4 eberspacher home.
 

Debs

Full Member
To be honest we are surprised how good it is. What's worrying is that if we had bought a newer one this was still going to happen. All our hard work would have been ruined. Remember the owners of these things just want to make a profit, bodge it and get it back on the road. Plaxton kindly gave me the parts and maintenance manual for it. If any one would have followed the care instructions it would have been even better. Two things too look for. 1. Condition around the entrance step. These get a hammering from the road and passengers. 2. Boot repairs, sure sign that it's had a water/damp problem.
I was a coach driver for 24 years and I can tell you, some of the bodges carried out by back street company's were appalling. One of the big problems with Plaxtons was the draft coming in from the front over my legs, so in winter I had a travel blanket I put over my legs to drive, passengers did give me some odd looks. Another problem was the electrics, instead of tracking down faults,the leccy would just run another wire round the problem, so you could end up with wiring that made no sense whatsoever. You're doing a cracking job, and good luck with the build.
 

SquirrellCook

Full Member
One of the big problems with Plaxtons was the draft coming in from the front over my legs, so in winter I had a travel blanket I put over my legs to drive
As you can see in the pics, Plaxton made very little effort to seal the bulkhead. With my LHE 811D your left hand would be toasty warm and right so cold you could barely use it.
 

trevskoda

Full Member
I was lucky Trev, as the step box it's self was a reinforced glass fibre moulding. The step inside it is as yours and showing signs of rot like yours. The new one will be made in Buffalo Board. I'm hoping this new step will also be the D4 eberspacher home.
I used trailer flooring from indispension Trailers,also shortened the top step so i could do away with the rubber flap in the door & plate over, who ever thought that one up,also under door lights controlled from remote key ring,handy at night.
 

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SquirrellCook

Full Member
Same sort of stuff Trev. Phenolic resin coated plywood. May well be bonded that way too. For any floor that has any chance of ever getting damp this is the stuff. Shower rooms too.
 

trevskoda

Full Member
Same sort of stuff Trev. Phenolic resin coated plywood. May well be bonded that way too. For any floor that has any chance of ever getting damp this is the stuff. Shower rooms too.
I got a sample of new plastic recycle board which is a new kid on the block,but the co selling it only sell 10 boards at a time to trade,sample is about 20ml thick and black in colour,looks the bogs dollocks.
 

SquirrellCook

Full Member
There are some impressive plastic sheet products around now. Personally I try to avoid using plastics as much as practical. Though if the product has a superior life span that's good. From my experience of plastic sheeting, they do creep and distort over time. Then there is the flammability issue too.
 

SquirrellCook

Full Member
Just when you thought the holes I've been making in Betty couldn't get any bigger, I've finally plucked up the courage to tackle the Boot area.
Surprisingly the sides of the Boot were lined with stainless steel. You might think this was a good thing. All the support structure for the boot floor had rotted away and I'd assumed this to be poor maintenance and road salt. The original idea was to reuse as much of the stainless as possible.
Whilst stripping out the panels a pattern soon appeared, any steel in close contact with the stainless had rotted away. Whilst more exposed steel was in better condition. After doing some research it seems to be a known problem with stainless next to mild steel causing the mild steel to corrode. It's not a fast process, but all the same it happens. It's the same as having aluminium making contact with mild steel. So think twice whether a zinc plated screw might be better for the job.
As usual much more work is now required, as I need to design and manufacture a new garage floor support structure. On the plus side I will now have better access and steel to weld too.
So to the plan of action for new additions. All these additions will be mounted to the front face of the New Boot. Access panels will be made as needed.
On the left hand side will be the gas locker. The floor will be steel with rear facing louvers. The sides will also be steel faced using Zintec sheet. The air cylinder is in the way and it's brackets will be a fight to cut from under the floor. I'm sure I can find a new home for it.
Based on previous floor damage due to it shedding a tyre the new boxes will need to be strong.
In the middle will be storage for four Trojan T105's. As there is a crossmember in the way I think I might have to have them fitted two up and two down if I have enough height.
The right hand side is easy. Just need to repair the tyre damage first and make a insulated box for the Calorifier. I think I will get a 22 litre one as it's worked well in Murky. This will be about as far as the hot water from the engine will go back. I'm still tempted to fit a heated towel rail in the shower room, best not worry about that now as I've a big hole to repair.
Any structure being replaced will be done one bit at a time so I don't loose my way and get a wonky boot.
The last picture is where the new boot door will be fitted.
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SquirrellCook

Full Member
Still progress is slow. This is from Saturdays efforts and Sunday's was not much better.
Anita assures me I'm making progress, but think I'm just making a mess :(
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