|Luan - Covered
|covered - covered caps
|FRP - Panduit
|FRP - Covered
|Plywood + end caps
|sintra / expanded pvc -console
|Panduit Wire Tray Cover|
|Removing the Old Stuff
|wire tray cover
|Cabinets and storage
|Bubble wrap - luan
I found a company on line in Orange County, Ca called Trim-LOK-Inc.
I had to buy a minimum 250" roll at $125.00 plus shipping (can't remember the shipping cost). The part number of the stuff I got is 100B3X1/4-GRGB. It comes in black but if one wants to get a custom color you can, if you order 5000 feet.
I think it took about 75 feet to do all the windows in my coach, not counting any of the windows in the cock pit. Sobrieto
Here's the Designer's Brain Dump -- some biases,
things to bear in mind....
First, our coaches leak, so anything you use on the interior walls should be able to get wet and dry out without taking on stains. Note especially that the nice plush, foam-backed knit headliner stuff used in many cars will turn permanently brown in the first rain. There are plenty of good options, though. Vinyl's an excellent bet. We've got a nice one that we got from Jim Bounds, and was not horribly expensive. It comes in all kinds of textures and colors, and is easy to work with.
Second, the walls below the beltline (everything below the bottom edge of the windows down to the floor) and the pedestals under the couch and dinette all take a lot of abuse. Choose a fabric here that can't get scuffed, snagged, or stained, because it will look shabby very quickly (I've seen this happen within *weeks* of a new upholstery job). A lot of people run low-pile carpet on these surfaces as one good solution. Even cheaper: I used a fuzzy nylon headliner material Jim also sells, in a color matched to the vinyl. It's lightweight, water won't hurt it, dirt doesn't show, it refuses to ding, and it gives the interior a nice acoustic quality.
Third, I'm a big fan of neutral-colored walls. There are several reasons for this:
A) Choosing a neutral color will save you a lot of money in the long run. The walls are far and away the hardest decorative element to replace. You don't want to do it more than once every decade or two; and if you choose the right material in the right color, you shouldn't have to.
I did the Engine in a pale grey-beige-taupe color from ceiling to floor, including the window valences. My thinking was that in 4-5 years, I'll be able to completely redecorate the coach if I want to (and after the kids have had their way with it, I'll want to, believe me), just by changing out the easier and cheaper stuff -- upholstery, bedding, and any worn flooring. The neutral walls will be worked right into the new decor.
B) The wall color has a huge visual impact on the whole interior. Picking a wall surface in a light, calming color opens the space up. Save the strongly-patterned or textured upholstery for the dinette, couch, and bed cover. This way, the walls become the backdrop; and the upholstery does the talking. (Also, good upholstery doesn't come cheap, so minimizing the amount needed saves $$$ and lets you splurge on something nicer and more durable.)
On the other hand, putting a louder color or pattern up on the walls tends to make a small space feel smaller. (My galley suffers from this effect, but I love my copper walls anyway.)
C) To keep any future update as easy and cheap as possible, I did the front seats in the same vinyl as the ceiling. Also, because the seats are the tallest item in the forward cabin, making them blend into the walls visually opens up the interior.
D) Bear in mind that colors go in and out of style. Bright colors can be out of favor in 1-2 years (which means finding coordinating upholstery and other items may get tricky); but neutrals can hang around in the market for 8-10 years. This means that when you want to replace interior elements in future years, it'll be a lot easier to find things that match.
E) I'm personally not a fan of bright white. It reflects a lot of road and sky glare; and it shows every speck of dirt. You will probably be happier in the long run if you choose something in a beige, grey, very pale yellow or green, ivory/almond/eggshell, or other softer neutral tint. It'll stay cleaner, be easier to look at, and give your interior a lot more warmth and character. Sara
ATWOOD FURNACE UPGRADE
I installed the 22K BTU Atwood this winter. Like you, we are fair weather campers and never plan to camp in sub freezing weather. Prior to installing this furnace, we used a 1500 watt electric heater which worked marginally OK down to about 40-45 degrees outside (we like it cool, 65-68 degrees for sleeping), so we were getting about a 15 degree rise over ambient with the electric heater. 1500 watts is equivalent to 5100 BTU/hour, about 1/4 the 22K Atwood output. Armed with that information, and believing a low output furnace running most of the time is thermally more efficient than a high output furnace running in spurts, I chose the 22K Atwood. On a cold day this winter when ambient was 33 degrees in my garage and in the motorhome, I turned on the furnace (garage doors open, no benefit from radiant sun heat, dead calm). In one hour it was a toasty warm 70 degrees in the motorhome. I had just put in a new ceiling with extra insulation above it, and the ceiling itself is perforated vinyl with a full 1/4" foam backing. Furthermore, unless you put additional outlets in, our ducting system is marginal for even 22K BTU (just my opinion, not based on science!). Most people will disagree with this assessment because conventional wisdom says to use at least a 30K BTU furnace. That's what this forum does best, and that is we can all share our opinions, right? Having said that, I suspect on a windy 30 degree night, it would get pretty chilly in there, but don't expect to encounter such conditions the way we camp. Regardless of which size you select, I highly recommend the flush mount for appearance reasons, but it is more of a hassle to install.
Ray, 76 Ganza, Syracuse, IN
COACH WATER HOSE
I ordered my line and fittings direct from Flair-it, out of
about half the cost over buying through a local plumbing supply,
hardware or motor home sales. www.flair-it.com
has a catalog and price list. I found that buying a full roll of tubing
was cheaper than buying it by the foot. If you buy Flair-it get the
Flair-it wrench and tube cutter. You will be glad you did. Good luck.
Set aside a full day to replace it all. I haven't been able to find my
ticket but I think the cost was around $150.00 for all the line and
fittings. Charles Wersal
STOVE ELECTRONIC IGNITER
Not since I installed my Howell TBI, have I made a 20 year jump in technology for my GMC. Now my stove lights like all of the new ones, just by pushing a button on the front panel of the stove.
I finally found an electronic igniter with 3 outputs that we can use to automate lighting our stoves. I called Brinkman (800-468-5252) and ordered a replacement igniter for their 810-2600 BBQ. I ordered this way because I could not find an after market igniter that had 3 outputs. The $7 price is excellent. Someone might be able to find a better source for this product.
I mounted the unit in the right hand corner and connected the unit with Teflon wire to each burner. Now to light a burner, just turn on the gas and push the button, the unit will spark continuously until the button is released. I may have to change the electrodes to a stainless wire, but we will see how it goes.
Here are the pictures of the installation. gene
Here is the link to the 5 output igniter
The igniter I bought was not a kit, it was a replacement part so no
instructions, wires or electrodes came with the unit.
The knob on the front is part of the circuit, and since the front of the stove is coated with plastic, I ran a wire under the knob, through the mounting hole, to a screw inside the stove for a ground connection.
The wire I used for electrodes and connection were Teflon so they could withstand the heat and hold off the high voltage of the spark. BBQs normally use a stainless electrode with a single wire from the unit to the electrode. You can see these at a BBQ shop. gene
12 VOLT REFERS - TWO TYPES
I also have the 12v/110 model and have stated before that it works exceptional. It definitely uses a thermostat. If set too cold I get frozen beer and that is not a good thing. I wouldn't know what to do without the 12volt option and can't imagine living without it. Maybe the three way fridges were dogs when it comes to the 12volt option?
Michael - you are talking apples and oranges here.
The 12 volt dc /110v ac model that you have is an all electric and it has a compressor which uses freon just like your house refrigerator has. These should work the same using either source of power and yes, they do use a thermostat. The 110 volt ac input is changed to 28 volts ac by a transformer to run the compressor. The 12 volt dc is inverted and stepped up to 28 volts ac to run the compressor.
The model that Arch was discussing is an ammonia/water circulating
model that uses heat to vaporize the solution and circulate it through
the tubes and fins. This model doesn't have a compressor with
freon. Since there is no motor, it depends on the vapor
rising due to heat and the liquid being returned to the bottom by
gravity. Thus, it must be
relatively level to operate properly or the gas and liquid will get
in the coils. The propane flame heats the fluid in it and turns
it to a gas. It also has a 110 volt heating element that puts out
about the same heat as the gas flame (possibly a little less or a
little more depending on the gas orifice and the altitude of
also has a 12 volt heating element that only puts out about 1/2 of the
that the 110 volt element does. This is because if it had the same
as the 110 volt element it would burn up the wires leading to the
unless they were extremely large gauge. It would also draw down
your battery in a relatively short time. In this type of
the 12 volt operation is meant only to try to hold the temperature of
refrigerator. In very hot weather it will fail to do so.
The Norcold instructions specifically say:
"DC Electric operation is less efficient that the AC Electric and Propane gas. Use DC electric operation only to maintain the refrigerator temperature while in transit and if the other energy sources are not available. Do not use DC electric to initially decrease the temperature of the refrigerator."
So, when comparing 12 volt operation, it is important to know what
type of refrigerator you have.
PROPANE GAGE REPLACEMENT
my panel propane gage in my "77 Royal. JRV Products still has org.gages in stock (gold only).- $18.00. (714)-259-9772
Regards, Joe Hewitt
When I did my coach I discovered spaces that had never been foamed. I wanted to get the best Insulation possible without making a big mess. I decided to use solid sheet urethane foam from Home Depot. I used the foam that has aluminum foil laminated to it. Cutting each piece to size, then using the foam-in-a-can for adhesive ( it works great) I stuck it into place then foamed the edges. Viola! Minor trimming and your done. That's what I did. Hope it can help someone else. Bob Cook
This technique was used by Norman in this great explination and sets of pictures. Note the cover of the cable ways also.
I did have some success with the covering for the cable tray at the roof wall seam. In measuring the track width of the aluminum tray I found it was exactly 3 inches wide from the top face edge to the bottom face edge. I then noticed a scrap piece of "Panduit" wiring tray lying in the junk in my garage. The cover supplied with this tray has a toothed lip which locks nicely over the edge of the aluminum rails on the GMC cable tray. It is made from white PVC (although it comes in other colors or could be painted or covered with fabric) and the Part No. C3WH6 Panduit Tray Cover is also exactly 3 inches wide 8-). It comes in 6 foot lengths, packed 6 to a box. I hope to get my hands on a carton soon. If you're interested in the spec's, the web site is: <http://www.panduit.com/> . Do a parts search on "C3WH6" and you can see the picture and cut sheets. The rails measure 18 feet each, so a box of 6 covers should do the job end to end.
Today I went across town to a local electrical supply house and bought 36 feet of the stuff. It works! Very nicely I might add. It set me back $1.74/foot or $67.82 w/tax. If you only need a piece to replace the section over the door, then your cost will be lower accordingly. When in place, the cover fits, very tightly and curves slightly concaved. I had to use a bit of force (small rubber hammer) to work it over the rail lips, but once in place, it locks. If you want to finish the cove in some other color or a fabric, I suggest you do so before final attachment. It can be removed with a large screwdriver twisting under the wer edge/corner and slowly working it back over the bottom rail lip, but you may mar your finish if you are not very careful. It cuts with a carpet knife or box cutter where needed for wire clearances. It only took me about 15 minutes to install, but you must remember, the inside of my 75 E II is naked at the moment 8-).
There is room to route at least four 1/2-inch cable bundles without
stressing the cover at all. I removed the original cable ties and
attaching screws, so the channel is clean and clear, no snags.
I also used the resulting screw holes to fill the region behind the
with urethane foam to seal the roof seam from the inside and to fill
the void so that water cannot migrate into the chase. A cable
string or fish tape can easily be used after-the-fact to add cables in
the future, although I plan
to load it up while I have things torn down.
For the new 120VAC trunk, I plan to install a single 10-2 feed
down the kitchen side chase and two of them on the dinette side.
One, a direct line to the air conditioner and a second to supply
receptacles which will be located in the floor of the overhead cabinets
and any of
my electronic toys. I plan on having an additional 10-2 trunk
for the 12 VDC down each side as well, which will be fed from the
house batteries through a new fuse panel. No more frame grounding
return circuits to foster electrolysis and corrosion, a complete copper
circuit path will exist. There will be plenty of room for CATV
antenna coax, phone lines, and speaker wires as well. My new
cabinets are on a truck headed south, so I had to nail this one before
REFER CABINET MODIFICATION
I was taken with Jim Wagner's picture of his modification to the cabinet under the Refer. I have not been able to find this basket,
Great set of pictures!
So I took another approach. I removed the original cabinet doors, turned them over so that the finger pulls were on the top. Put a piano hinge along the bottom and a brace at the top, so that the doors would tilt out. I used hydraulic door braces to retract and hold the door open. I have always wanted to hide the kitchen waste basket, so I put a U shaped piece on the door so that the basket goes in and out with the doors
CONVERSION FOR DIN MOUNTING
Most all modern day
radios are DIN which means it uses a 2x7"
retangular opening for a cage for the radio to slide into.
room in the original bezel for a DIN cut out. Actuallt the upper and
opening is exactly the right size, you cut bend back or cut off the 2
with the hole for the shaft radio off and the DIN cage will fit right
need for a rear support, the radios have a fraction of the weight the
had so supporting the back is not needed. I pull off the locking tabes
cage, I would rather a crook take the radio than mangle the dash trying
unlock it. As far as mounting goes you may want to also pick up a DIN
plate, depending on how fat the radio trim ring is, you may leave
of the original radio opening, the trim bezel covers that.
there is to mounting in a new radio, it's actually pretty easy. Wiring
a little challenging. Early models use a "common ground"
circuit that cannot be used in modern radios without adapters
that degrade the sound a bit. Late models have "descrete" wiring
which means there are 2 wires gong to every speaker. This is what you
all modern radios. You will have to run new wires if you have an early
Ken, I think your coach is a late model. You should have 8 wires going
speakers-- if you do it is descrete. If you have 5 wires, you should
There have been soooo many advancements in radio design lately and the prices as sooo cheap compared with the past, a nice radio in dash is not an expensive deal as it used to. You can get them with inputs to run your TV or I pod into, GPS and DVD if you like and again the prices are cheap.
Good luck on whatever you do, if you have any questions. please let me know, JIM BOUNDS
DIN is an acronym for the "Deutsche Institut fur Normung," a German standards and measurements organization. Basically, DIN indicates that a device conforms to an accepted standard of dimension or configuration. A DIN radio/receiver is one that will fit in a dash opening having a width of 7.2 inches and a height of 2.1 inches. Normally it is mounted with a rectangular metal bracket (der DIN sleeve) provided with the receiver.
The DIN sleeve is designed to mount in the radio spot of the auto or whatever. It features a flange on the front edge to allow the sleeve to flush-mount in the radio opening. Some DIN sleeves have a top and bottom so be sure you mount it correctly
Once installed, a series of "V" or "U" notches in the top and bottom of the sleeve can be bent behind the vehicle's trim panel or the faceplate of a trim kit. You just use a flat-blade screwdriver to secure the sleeve in place.
After putting in the sleeve, the receiver slides into the receptacle where it locks in place. Hence, no mounting to the tuning and power knobs which no longer exist. (You see, the digital age has changed things a bit - you're in the 21st century now). By using a combination of small clips on both the receiver and sleeve it gets locked in making it harder to steal but more attractive. Of course, whose going to rubber neck into a GMC? The location of these clips often vary based on model or manufacturer. Generally, you'll use the DIN sleeve that came with the radio because the guts may not be based on a standard. Just the space and the box (sleeve).
Now, when you want to remove the sleeve legally, use the removal tools to release the receiver from the sleeve. The manufacturer should provide this. As to plugs, etc. nearly everything is standardized.
And, say thanks to the wife for getting the iPod. It has helped my Apple stock price to rise way above my original purchase price by a factor of 10 in about five years (God bless capitalism).Byron Songer
Never say never! No, its not any easy job running wires but there are very few things worth doing that are easy.Bend straight a coat hanger (poor mans pull wire),
Run 4 wires behind the driver side panel to its top rear corner. Pull off the "A" frame rear plastic trim and run all 3 wires up to the overhead cabinet on the driver side. Run one wire up to the front 3 1/2" speaker in the front cap, run the others to the inside of the overhead cabinet and along the back wall. Stop one of the wires @ 1/2 way back in the overhead cabinet (this is a good place for a 6 1/2" spk. facing down. Run the other 2 wires behind the closet cabinet back to the rear cabinet on the driver side. Fish one to the driver rear 4x10" spk location then pull off the rear headliner trim and route the last wire over to the pass. side 4x10 location.
Snake 2 wires past the glove box and behind the pass. side wall panel to its top rear corner. Remove the "A" frame trim and run the wires up to the overhead cabinet. Run one wire to the front 3 1/2" spk and the other back to the new 6 1/2" spk location
Hey, you're done! Yep, it will eat up a good portion of your day but it is dooable. Forget the old wiring, run all new spk wires. I would also run a new power wire up front and connect it to the living area battery. This way, you will not be using the chassis battery for music and kill it. The power converter or generator will keep the living area battery charged while you leave the chassis battery for your get away.Hope this helps, if you need more specific info, give me a call,Jim Bounds
Here is the console I installed in my 75 PB. The trim is beige which matches, but it doesn't show on my photos.
This one is from the Astro/Safari van which means it is longer, which allows for the map lights to be used at the dinette or davo behind the driver seats. It also has a dome light which I wired to the existing switch. Compass and temperature work fine. Temp. requires a sender and lead, compass only needs 12v. Hope you can use these. I can explain how I mounted this if you think anyone is interested. I picked the console up on ebay for $50. It is conversion van surplus. (they install tvs).Al & Carol
FRESH WATER DRAIN VALVE REPLACEMENT
The valve is actually screwed into the fitting . This valve is removed and replaced with a ball valve. gene
Electric - Toilet Chemical Dispenser
You just do not know how much I hate to pour the chemical into the toilet for the Black Tank. So when I saw this suggestion, I jumped at the chance to build one for my GMC. I had just replaced the Black tank so I was too familiar with the connections to the tank. I found my perfect location where the kitchen sink enters the Black tank. Now I pump the tank with my Macerator, and a 4 second push of the dispenser button, and the entire job is complete and ready to hit the road. No messy bottles to store in the bathroom and no pouring into the toilet.
Be sure the output from the pump is higher than the top of the bottle..otherwise it will siphon out all the chemical.
I used a glass Mayo bottle because I did not want a plastic bottle that might wear through and leak into the coach. I wrapped it with good old Duck tape so that it would not rattle. A large peanut butter plastic jar would work just as well and might be easier to install. You might want to use a windshield washer bottle as the original article suggested.
I thought since a lot of the GMCs' have this same location that
I do, and I owned the washer pump, I would do it this way.
The sink cleanout is still accessible by removing the bottle. The pump
came from JC Whitney for $9.00 (75RJ3025U). I found the pointer
to the original article on Scott's links page where he pointed to this
really interesting Fulltimer. The actual article came from
someone else who submitted it....... what a tangled way we find
information on the web.
I love it, Gene
HOT WATER HEATER
DEMAND HOT WATER HEATER
I just posted some of the exterior pictures of my tankless water heater installation.
Here is the link.....
I researched many different brands, sizes
and their output levels, I decided on the Aquah 6L, I got it on Ebay
removed the refrigerator, tore all of the dried out paneling off of the
outside wall, reinsulated the outside wall and then pop riveted sheet
metal on it.
On top of the water heater I connected some high temperature flex silicone coated duct hose approx 3" diameter available from McMaster Carr, it's good for 550 degrees.....I then wrapped that with some thin hi temp insulation covered with a high temp tape to hold it all in place........I ran that up and terminated it right under the refrig roof vent.
Before I installed it I did a lot of testing in my basement with the unit hooked up to a propane tank and my cold water supply. With 40 degree water going in, I could get 140 degrees out with everything running full tilt. Naturally you can adjust it and control it very nice. The exhaust temperature right on top of the unit at the stack was 290 degrees, 6" above that it dropped to 250 and then dropped very fast after that. With the tubing on, the temp at the end of the tubing near the refer vent is approx. 180 after you run it for awhile.
You have to remember that this thing is not ON very much of the time, only when the faucet is on, people tend to think that they have to have an insulation system that can handle 40,000 BTU's for 24 straight hours....... Whether taking a shower and turning the head on and off as you wet and rinse, or washing your hands or doing dishes, I don't think it stays on for more than 30 seconds at a crack.
I absolutely love this thing, and I'm not burning a lot of propane to keep 6 gallons hot all the time.Ray
HOT WATER HEATER TIMER
I got this great idea from a GMC Cascader. He got tired of his hot water heater coming on when there was no water in the tank and burning out the element. He replaced the switch with a mechanical timer that fits in the same location.
I did the same. Now we have an indicator that the heater is on and a safety drop out that will require the owner to turn on the heater when the coach is plugged in to the AC.
Lots of heater elements have burned out because of this ( Mine was), and causes the generator to come up under load (which is not good).
Here are pictures of the installation.
This is a low cost and easy way to solve this problem.gene
WATER HEATER REPLACEMENT ---- THE HIDDEN BOLT (11/18/05)
HOT WATER HOSE REPLACEMENT
How many feet of what sizes of hose do I need to to a complete >replacement?Larry
50 feet. 51 if you also replace the hose on the pop off valve on
the water heater.Arch
Hose is 5/8 " ID --Emery Bill Brown - 77 Buckeye Cruiser
GMC MOTORHOME COVER
Thanks again for the tip. ( J. HOXSEY)
the cover I ordered from Camping World is a
Tyvek/Polypropylene cover # 13231 20-24' long and it fits my 26' GMC
perfectly, except it is a bit wide, but that does not matter. Peter Huber
The rebuild shop for coils is:
Address: RV Mobile Inc., 11715 HWY 99 S., Everett, WA 98204
Phone: (425) 355-1170
Fax: (425) 348-3473
I used them to get a new eyebrow board for my norcold. Mike in GB
One of the best sites on the web for absorption refrigerators is www.rvmobile.com. They have extensive info on trouble shooting specific brands and models.
Here is the link to their info on how to vent an absorption reefer.
For those considering replacing your reefer and not decided on what route to take, check this link.
Another good source for Refer repair --Fritz
REPLACING YOUR REFRIGERATOR
Refrigerator replacements have cropped up the last few days on the Net. Most people are talking about using absorption type (propane-fired) refrigerators for replacements. This would be an acceptable option if your coach already has outside vents cut into the sidewall and roof for this type of refrigerator.
However, for those that are still using the original compressor type Norcold refrigerator, I would suggest you consider buying another compressor type for replacement before you go chopping holes in your beautiful GMC.
Our 1974 GMC had already been converted to a Dometic propane refrigerator before we bought it. That means we will have to replace it with a compressor model before we get a paint job, so we can get rid of that roof vent. The side vent will be converted to a door for an outside storage compartment.
The newest compressor type refrigerators are much more efficient than the original Norcold, and they don't require vent holes to the outside -- the small amount of heat from the condensor (1/7 of the heat output of an absorption type) can be safely dissipated inside the motorhome, as there are no propane fumes to get rid of. The absorption type also has to be within 2-3 degrees of level to operate; the compressor type can operate up to 30 degrees off of level (presuming you would want to walk uphill to get to the other side of your coach) :>)
Compressor Type Refrigerators:
Our company builds large custom sleepers for trucks, and we have been using the Norcold DE-461 for a long time. This model had some severe problems a few years ago after they started using the new refrigerant R-134a, but they got their problems resolved, and are performing very well now. We have also used some Nova-Kool units, either at the customer's request, or because one particular model fits under a countertop. These use the Danfoss compressor, which is a bit more efficient than the compressor used in the Norcold.
Last week at the Louisville Truck Show I saw a new refrigerator which has some advantages over the Norcold. The brand name is Tundra - they have been building small refrigerators for the marine market for some time, but they have just introduced a larger double-door model. This will fit in the same space as the Norcold, but it has 8 cubic feet of storage space, and the Norcold has 6.3 cubic feet. This also uses the Danfoss compressor. We will be getting one of these units for evaluation - I'll let you know how it compares.
For those that are interested, I have made a little chart of these models, so you can see how they compare. If your email reader doesn't use a monospaced font the columns won't line up - in this case, copy the chart to your word processor and convert it to the Courier font.
DE-461 6.3 52-7/8 23-1/4 24-3/4 72@12 VDC
T80 8.0 52-3/4 23-1/4 22-3/4 60@12 VDC
RFU8000 6.8 52-7/8 23-1/4 23-1/2 60@12 VDC
Absorption type (propane)
N-641 6.3 52-7/8 23-1/2 24 360@120 VAC
RM-2652 N/A 53-3/4 23-11/16 24 360@120 VAC
Additional information is available on the Websites of these
Absorption - http://www.norcold.com/n800.cfm
Compressor - http://www.norcold.com/acdc_de461.cfm
Tundra - http://www.tundra.cc/tundra/frige.html
NovaKool - http://www.novakool.com/products/rfu8000.htm
Hope this helps those looking for refrigerator replacement options.
Erv Troyer Lagrange, IN
REFER PROPANE CONSIDERATIONS
A lot of the GMCs with
interior came out with an all electric refrigerator where the floor of
refrigerator compartment is several inches below the bottom of the vent
on the side of the coach. A lot of these coaches have been
converted to a combination electric/ propane gas refrigerators.
refrigerator that operates on propane is installed in these
there needs to be several holes cut in the bottom of the refrigerator
compartment, and through the wheel well,
to allow any propane leakage to vent out the bottom of the refrigerator compartment. Propane gas is heavier than air and if there is any leakage from the refrigerator it can collect in the bottom of thecompartment and create a very serious fire hazard, if there are no vents to allow venting out the bottom. Propane can leak from loose fittings and/or from the propane burner if there is a failure in the starting mechanism.
There should be several
2-inch diameter (or larger) holes cut in the bottom of the refrigerator
compartment and through the adjacent wheel well, with a metal pipe
connecting the holes in the refrigerator compartment floor to the holes
in the wheel well. These pipes should be sealed where they go
through the floor and through the wheel well so propane does not leak
into the living area. A screen should be placed over the opening
in the refrigerator floor to prevent any unwanted small critters from
getting into the coach. You can place a metal deflector over the
opening in the wheel well (leave room for venting) to keep water from
being thrown up into the refrigerator compartment. If the
refrigerator is located in areas other than over the wheel well,
similar vents need to be installed to allow propane to vent out the
bottom of the refrigerator
compartment. Other coaches (either
GM interiors and/or
others) that have been modified to add larger refrigerators may also have the same safety issue if the floor of the refrigerator has been lowered below the vent in the side of the coach without adding additional vents in the compartment floor.
There is an additional propane fire hazard on some of the 1973 GMCs (and maybe later models) that came from the factory with a propane line running through the right wheel well. The line is on the exterior side of the wheel well just a few inches from the rear tires. If this configuration had existed on our 76 Royale, our coach probably would have been burned to the ground a few years ago when we had the steel belts brake on two different 4-year-old rear tires while traveling around 60 MPH. The broken steel belts destroyed everything within the vicinity of the wheel well and I'm sure would have destroyed the propane line if it had been in the wheel well. I showed the photos of my damaged wheel well to a friend with a 73 GMC, and he would not drive his coach until he moved the propane line out of the vicinity of the wheel well.
If you don't want to move your propane line, at least put an automatic shutoff valve on your propane tank that will close when it detects high propane flow.
There is a guy Mac McCoy, affectionately called The Fire
Guy. If you have been to FMCA, GoodSam, and Escapees, rallies,
you might have seen his fire
prevention seminars. He is sponsored by RV Alliance and he
one heck of a show using wet foam fire extinguishers to put out a road
flare, which is almost impossible using other extinguishers. His
pitch is, that for us RV types, the wet foam works on all three classes
of fires, cleans up better, and comes in handy sizes. He recommends you
have 5 of the extinguishers.
More good information about Wet Foam Fire Ext. by Richard
I just returned from a 3 hour fire seminar by "Mac the Fire Guy" This was a Escapees
rally in Stockton, CA. and I went for the day just to see Mac do his thing. He has
an excellent presentation and great demonstrations on real fires. Mac
sells Coldfoam products and has a new 1 liter one that I bought that is
rechargeable by owner. He is somewhat cheaper than other vendors
I have seen. I am going to ask Mr. K if he will start selling
Coldfoam Ext. here on the
Here are some bits of what he said.
The Kiddy foam ext. is gone as Rick said. It was a good ext. but could not be user-refilled and was poorly marketed. Foam is still the ext. of choice in Europe. (Mac bought the last 1200 Kiddy he could find, and they are all gone)
DAMAGE CAUSE BY FIRE
3 Dsl. pushers to 1 Gas Motor Home
7 MH to 1 Truck
YOU HAVE 20 SECONDS TO ESCAPE A MH FIRE
fire doubles every 20 seconds
60 seconds fully engulfed MH.
travel with your propane tank full, it will vent before it will explode
CAUSES OF FIRES IN MH
Refer is the number 3 cause of MH fires
70% of fires caused by 12 volt wiring
49% of fires are type A
45% of fires are type B
1% of fires are C - turn off the power and these become A or B fires.
very harmful for respiratory illnesses
causes more damage to MH than a small fire would cause
cannot be reused because the powder clogs the valve.
They always leak down.
becomes toxic after hitting fire
not very effective in the open
designed for enclosed electronic fires.
HOW MANY FIRE EXT. DO WE NEED.
Mac recommends 5
1 MH glove box(spray can- SC)
1 doorway(1 liter)
1 toad glove box(SC)
McCoy Enterprises, Inc.
581 Lancaster Dr. SE, #17
Salem , Or 97301-5642
His web site
These guys are selling a large variety of foam extinguishers
Paul's Potent Potty Potion
1 cup Pinesol
1 cup Fabric Softener
1 cup ammonia (lemon scent)
1/2 box baking soda
Mix in one gallon jug. Add water to make a gallon.
Add one cup per tank.
Propane Regulator Replacement
If you read the cinnabar article they recommend up grading to a dual stage regulator. Mine seemed ok but as everything is on these GMC, my single stage regulator was 20 years old so I replaced it. .
--2 stage regulator--$18.30gene
PROPANE GAUGE FOR COACHMAN AND
I called Coachman to try to get a new propane gauge to replace the broken one in my 78 Royale monitoring panel (the panel was made by Wemac Industries). Coachman told me to call Jenson Wemac. I called and apparently he has sold his remaining stock to JRV Products. JRV Products number is 714-259-9772;
their fax number is 714-259-9454.
The cost of the gauge was $15 plus $3 shipping. The gauge I received was an exact replacement.
JR Wheeler 78 Royale NC
IMPROVED READING LIGHTS
Remove the halogen lamp from the track mounting base and discard the base and transformer. Drill two holes in the electrical cover plate, one for the light bracket and one for the switch. Paint the base plate to match your cabinetry. Mount the light base and the switch on the plate. Drill overlapping holes in the underside of your cabinet so that the switch and the lamp wire will be recessed. Connect wires to existing OEM light. Enjoy your evenings under a good light. I have two in the "living room" and one over each twin bed for reading. Anybody who can't find the materials can drop me an e-mail and I'll get them for you. Gary
One of the nice features of the GMC Motorhome is that we have hot water every time we stop because of the heat-exchanger from the engine. Hot water in the bathroom that is. To get the hot water to the kitchen sink we have to waste water until the hot water reaches reaches the sink.
The Yandina web page describes a neat way to save water and not fill your black tank.
Mount a valve (12 volt or manual) at the sink that connects to the hot water pipe and run a small hose from the other side of the valve to the fill pipe of the fresh water tank.
Now when you want hot water at the kitchen sink, open the new valve until the hot water arrives, and the cold water goes back into the fresh water tank. You now have instant hot water with no water wasted.
Yandina describes timers, temperature controllers, etc , and other various options if you want to get fancy. They also include part numbers for the parts.
This is a great feature for those of us that mostly dry camp. The feature even works when the water is heated using the shore or generator power.
This is similar to the pump I use in my upstairs bathroom in the house to always have hot water
A one piece molded cover. Danny Dunn (little skimpy)
901-755-7863 fax 901-743-1169
Appx: $65.00 John
Dashhugger --- (800)
336-1806 e McNeilly firstname.lastname@example.org
http://www.dashhugger.com/ Corrected price $145 including shipping. Gary
I talked to Steve at Dashhugger and he wasn't aware there was an early and a late stye dash.
Dashtopper was and said
that 73-76 was early and 77-78 was later style.
Dash Hugger wants $85 and Dash Topper wants $140.
De Davis of
Fullerton, CA has a source/supplier that makes a beautiful
fitting GMCMotorhome Dash Cover that sells for $96 including shipping.
The supplier has 3 different patterns which is required to fit
all configuration of GMC coaches. The coach year &
model (Palm Beach, Kingsley, Royale, etc) is required to ensure
the proper fit. The Dash Covers come in several different
colors to fit ones color desire.
De Davis can be contacted at the following e-mail address:
deAusUSA@hotmail.com Phone number (714) 871-3618
Nutone Inc. is located in a section of Cincinnati called Madisonville, at Madison and Red Bank Roads. Their telephone numbers are:
Nutone stopped making these a year ago March. However, parts can be obtained
from R&I Enterprise, Inc.,3650 Turtlecreek Road, Lebanon, Ohio 45036
email@example.com Steven Hoffman
Besides the blender, Nutone made a mixing bowl, knife sharpener, meat
grinder, sausage stuffer, coffee bean grinder, shredder and perhaps other
attachments. My wife has one in her countertop in our house. I just ordered
some replacement gears for a mixer head from this company and got them in
<< hope this will not be as big a blow to you as it was to me. I talked to Nutone today because I wanted to put in one of thoes units that mount in the counter top that can be a blender or hatever.
They stopped making them in March of 98. If I had only ordered one when I got my GMC my house could have been even more cluttered with one of the things I wanted.
Does anybody know of anything that is like the Nutone unit? >>
I know this is old but if anyone wants, I will try to help. My company is a wholesale distributor of Nutone Products (among other lines). Regarding the Food Center... Nutone sold its Hamilton Beach Division which produced the Food Center in limited quantities under a contract which expired, and the two companies could not reach an agreement on order size ( Nutone only wanted 10,000 made at a time and the Hamilton Beach Group felt that that was too few to be profitable) so the product was dropped from Nutone's offerings.
I checked my warehouse and we no longer have and "drive units" but
may have some accessories. If any one is really wanting anything, I can
check other distribution to see what is left available. See Ya on
WINDSHIELDS - WINSHIELD GLASS
Olsen's Auto Glass (800) 926-5736 Eugene, OR
Windshields -- new glass $395 per side installed.
It is a bit more expensive than that price that was posted some time ago (now about $585 each side, no gasket) but there was no crating charge and their work is warranted. I would highly recommend them to anyone. (5/24/06) Jerry Lee
Lyn: There is also a source for the U.S. made Viracon
windshields up in
> Eugene Oregon @ They are $295 per side . It is Duncan Systems limited.
> Their main office is in Elkhart, Indiana. They can be reached at ! (800)
> 551-9149 . I too live in San Diego, so I just drove up there last summer
> and bought two. Oregon has no sales tax and shipping is expensive. About
> $125 per side with crating, so it justifies a trip up which is 1000 miles
> exactly from San Diego.
Some folks worry about breakage during installation because they do not guarantee against breakage when you carry them in to an installer. Was not a problem for me. I had them put in in El Cajon at Glass America at about $100 per side. Still way under prices Sirum or others charge. In my opinion , you don't want to get the foreign made ones, they actually need to be installed with a hammer because they are such a lousy fit. Phil
window kit has everything you need to rebuild the sliding
windows on the drivers side and passenger side. It has replacement felt
top bottom and front. Even has a piece of fuzzy stuff for the
divider bar. Jim also
includes for free two new screws for the catches. It cost me $23
shipping. The nice thing is the felt is housed in a piece of rubber
instead of the old metal track. Should not rust the way the old stuff
did. There was enough felt rubber track that I replaced the
piece of plastic fill strip on the inside of the window. Arch
Furnace Fuse Replacement
I finally got to the point that I had to check the fuse on the furnace. I slid a piece of 1/2 inch rubber hose 8 inches long over the fuse holder cap. That worked like an extension on the fuse cap. I was able to easily remove and replace the fuse. I left the hose on the cap as the cabinet door closed OK with it installed. Next time I will not have to look for a piece of hose.Russ
A COLD GMC IN THE WARM
"Rooftop Air conditioners my favorite subject"
Dick, you are absolutely correct "temperature at the discharge is relevant to the intake temperature."
The only correct method to check the cooling output of our 120 VAC roof-mount units is to compare the temperature of the air coming out with the temperature of the air inside the coach, going into the return air grill. This is the temperature differential (TD). (Tech types sometimes call this the "evaporator Delta-T") The air temperature outside the coach has very little direct effect on the unit's cooling output.
The TD you can expect will typically be about 20 degrees; if the
inlet air is 90 degrees, the outlet temp will be about 70 degrees. Does
this mean that we can only expect to cool the coach to 80 degrees if
the outside temperature is 100? Nope, not so - because the roof-mount
air conditioner is in "recirculate
mode" all the time - it never draws outside air into the vehicle. The cooled discharge air will be circulated around the coach, picking up heat and moisture, and then drawn back into the AC and cooled even further. The inside air temperature will thus continue to get lower, but with each degree of temperature drop inside, the heat gain through the walls and windows from the outside will increase. Eventually, the amount of heat coming into the coach will be equal to the amount of heat being removed by the air conditioner, and no further temperature drop will occur. In a poorly insulated coach, that was
painted black, and had the grandkids running in and out all the time, it would be possible to have properly working air conditioners, but only reduce the inside temperature 5 degrees.
As is obvious, the cooling performance of the air conditioner is only a part of the answer of how cool you can get the inside of the coach. Don't forget to look at the other end of the cooling problem, too - keeping the heat out in the first place. Add insulation, tint the windows, paint your GMC all white (ugh!), add insulation, keep the windows closed and the shades drawn, add insulation, grab that campsite in the shade and park East-West, not North-South, and of course, add more insulation.
Now, Doyle, you can see why there is no easy answer to your
stated "I have two AC units that seem to blow very cold". I have
many air conditioners, and I still do not trust my hands to really tell
if it is working properly. I would suggest you use thermometers
check the TD
on both of your ACs to make sure they are working as they should. If they are, then you need to work on the other items to keep more of the heat from coming inside (or get bigger air conditioners?)
More on TD (temperature differential) - high humidity will decrease
the TD, perhaps to 17 degrees difference, and in low humidity
conditions the TD will increase, sometimes to 24-26 degrees. More air
blower speed) will decrease the TD, yet will increase the cooling
Low air flow (low
blower speed, dirty filter, dirty coil, etc) will increase the TD, but cooling output will be less.
I know, I know - some of you are thinking "we just asked this guy for the time - and he tells us how to build a 17 jewel watch!" Sorry to be so long winded - just couldn't help it. Goes back to my service seminar days, I guess.
Next weeks lesson - "Why a plugged cap tube causes low head
Troyer Lagrange, IN
A WARM GMC IN THE COLD
Jim Anstett Loveland Colorado
It was 5 below that night in northern a New Mexico State park. Two
GMCs were parked next to each other. The wife and I got up at
about 7am I still had warm water to shave. I turned the furnace back on
as my wife had turned it off about midnight said she didn't want hear
it run. After breakfast I called
on the CB to ask our friends next door if they ready to roll."No way" there water tank and pump and all the lines were frozen and said they were too. They said there furnace never shut off all night. Why the difference? Just a lot of little things I will try to tell you about them, most take time but not much money. I must point out GM is not unlike most all motorhome builders that believe motorhomers would not want to use their motorhome in the winter and that's the way they built them. So lets start from the front
and work back. That cold draft that comes up your pant leg. I tried to block all the little holes and cracks that let the cold air in but never could find them all. So I built a shroud between the grill and the radiator to make sure all the air that goes thru the grill also goes thru the radiator core this not only completely stoped all the draft but help cool the engine and transmission in the summer. If you wish to do this just take a sheet of cardboard and duck-tape a make a three piece pattern [top and two sides] I would not cover the bottom. Take your pattern to your local furnace co. or tin shop and have them form your shroud out of paintable galvanized tin. Next the roof, the way I did it I took down the ceiling panels removed the sparse factory foam and cut and fitted sheets of 1/2" celotex it comes with 2 layers of aluminum on each side between the roof struts. Then I added full sheets of the same under the struts. this gave me 1 full inch of celotex and 8 layers of aluminum. I then covered the ceiling panels with white vinyl.
Anyplace I could not fit in celotex , like the fiber end caps and over the bath room I used Fiberglass bats. In our unit we have one sky light in the bath plus two fan-tastic fans ceiling fans, I made snap on covers of celotex and glue-on vinyl to match. To insulate the walls I used celotex everywhere I could and added fiberglass bats I also lined the area on both side top and bottom of the refrigerator and the outside wall behind with two layers of celotex.I used fiberglass insulation behind the panels next to the drivers
and passengers seat. Most of the wall panels were then covered with carpet. I also used fiberglass insulation under the dash and in the walk in door. The door window and the large rear window I double pained with Plexiglas [note you lose the emergency exit] I'm sure to hear from someone on this. One of
the best things I did to stop the cold draft flowing down over the beds was to build a tray to hold the bottom of the drapes. It consists of a flange of 1" bolted to the wall a 90 degree out 11/4" out and then up 2" up.all made of galvanize metal. After this I glued on a 1/8x21/2" oak trim, now you can disconnect the bottom of the drapes and they will open and close without hanging up. As you know GM placed the water tank on the aluminum floor where it most likely can freeze it can be left there but you should at least place 2" of Styrofoam under it also between the tank the out side wall do not block it away from the heat. Same goes for the water pump. However on my Motorhome I moved the water tank to under the dinett seat.and the water pump to under the refrigerator I also moved the water pipes that were above in the ceiling to just above the floor. most of the water pipes are now inside the furnace heat ducks. I have always had a recirculating toilet so I don't have any water in the outside tank to freeze. under the kitchen sink I installed a 30 gal. grey water tank also with 2" styrofoam to take from
both sinks. now comes the good part HOT WATER HEAT I installed a Y in each of the hot water hoses off the engine that goes back to the hot water tank under the sink in the bath room with a gate valve shut off.I then ran copper pipe and circled the walls with a system of fintube exchangers just like a
home. I also installed exchangers under the water and grey water tanks . by the time you stop at night you have a 40 to 60 gal.hot water bottle.that's about it guys except to tell you when we used to go snow sking we could sleep in our motorhome at 20 below and the furnace would not run half the time. I
park inside when not on the road but if pluged in a very small electric heater or a couple of light bulbs would prevent freezing. I have never drained the water except to put in fresh. Sorry to be so long winded but I didn't know what part to leave out. thanks.Jim Anstett
I see you have not as yet had a deluge of answers so I will attept to
give you a brief untechnical overview. When you decide exactly what you
are going to do then please advise and I'll happily be more specific...
also I may be able to supply some pics... Also I am sure there will as
always be many bits of input and probably argument. So at risk of
getting pelted here goes...
> However. Twenty-five-year-old fiberglass is not the most
> going. Even the bathrooms that weren't originally some dastardly shade of
> mustard (I saw a few -- sorry, Manny, it's just not my favorite color) have
> yellowed to that shade over time. And the years can show up as surface
> scratches and dullness, too.
Sara you are right here as some people do very little to maintain
fibreglas either inside or out. Somewhat similar to some boat owners.
> I know fiberglass is very resilient and versatile stuff. But I'd like to
> understand more about what can be done, and how it gets done. Rumor has it
> that it can be re-surfaced to restore the original gloss; is this done by
> coating, or just buffing? Can it also be re-colored?
You can probably restore the gloss, yes. If it is totally scratched
deeply then it may not be restorable without resurfacing. More on that
later. Here's some general rules that have worked for me over .. well,
too many years of working with the stuff. Firstly please be aware that
the surface you are looking at is NOT fibreglas .. it is a polyester
based gelcoat which only covers and protects the actual fibreglas..
looks nice too.
A little trick that usually gives a good indication of whether you can
bring it 'back to life' or not is to lick your finger and rub vigorously
a small area (pick a bad spot) and the colour depth you get when the
surface is wet is pretty much what you will have after restoration. If
the colour is still intact (ie not completely oxidized) then you can
polish the hell out of it and get it back to a decent colour depth and
If the surface is in good nick then clean (soap and water) and
with Gel Gloss (available from most bathroom sales places) or use a good
quality fibreglas polish available from most marine stores. This method
will probably do most all the bathroom units inside our motorhomes as
they are not exposed to direct sunlight. Another good one is Meguires
H.D. Colour Restorer No.44 which also protects from scratching.
If the surface is not so hot (ie slightly oxidized) but still not
heavily scored then you can use a good professional cut polish like
Meguires No.1 followed by No.3 and finally a glazing wax and gloss
enhancer like Meguires No.45. If No.1 is not available try the next best
thing from a marine store Mequires Super Duty Fiberglass Cleaner No.49.
Be aware that both of these products are made for machine application
and should be used with care as it is extremely easy to cut polish right
throught the gel coat. Then you have a problem you don't really want.
Recolouring can be done with proper surface preparation and a new
gelcoat spray application followed by a lot of polishing and buffing.
However I would not recommend this proceedure for an amateur. Even most
pros would not recommend it in any but the most extremely oxidized
situations or if the customer insists on another colour. Lots of work
and often is tricky not to buff away the new coat. Not normally a
realistic option. I have done several boats this way and will tell you
it's easier to prep and paint with a good quality two part paint like
Imron, BASF or several others.
Fibreglas cannot be reshaped other than the amount of existing flex in
flat areas... ie it is not like some plastics that you can heat and
reshape very easily. Be careful... over flexing is an extremely easy way
to crack the Gelcoat. Not a good idea to try to bend shaped fibreglas !
> Patched (invisibly)?
Yes and in good hands invisibly. Mind that even a lot of so called
fibreglas experts can't usually do a perfectly invisible repair.. this
requires a very good eye and understanding of the colour spectrum, also
the newer materials are often not exactly quite the same as the older..
but a good guy can often do it with 98% accuracy . Another problem that
often shows up later particularly on weather/sun exposed surfaces is
that the new repair will show later as it oxidizes at a different rate
than the older surrounding gelcoat. If you are speaking only of minor,
not all the way through the gelcoat, scratches then it usually best to
polish them out rather than apply new material. Holes do of course
require fibreglas repair as well as recoating of gelcoat. Deep cracks
cannot be polished out but can often be made less noticable.
>Do the walls take screws well, or does everything hung on them
> have to be glued?
Screws are best placed in areas that have strong backing ie. a piece of
wood glassed behind the laminateor where the FRP makes full contact with
a frame member or other surface. There are ways to hang things on
unsupported FRP (fibreglas) but care must be taken not to overload the
laminate and fracture it. The lamination in our units is quite thin as
are more of these type installations as they are designed only to
support their own weight and not all of last weeks washing or a grab
bar. In many cases if you must put something up gluing with a two part
epoxy works well. Note that whenever you must put a screw throught the
FRP be sure to predrill the hole.
Any other hints and tricks, cool features and add-ons to
> consider, and mistakes not to make as part of a bathroom remodel?
Most cool feature for a bathroom I have seen lately is the wall
or semi recessed watertight toilet roll container/dispenser... ;)
> OK, these are some really naive questions -- but I've never had to work
> with this stuff. And perhaps the collective wisdom on GMC bathroom
> restoration might be a useful addition to one of the permanent collections
> of information on somebody's website. ALL these bathrooms are going to need
> rehabbing eventually.... Sara
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