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java230 Reader
8/27/15 10:47 a.m.

Figured you guys might like to see more weird build threads so here goes:

So I have been looking for a 4x4 RV to replace my RV trailer I currently have. Its awesome for ski bumming in the PNW but my truck hates to tow it. And when you get stuck in the snow with a 3k-4k trailer in tow, you're REALLY stuck. Wife also wants to be able to move around on longer drives.

After watching CL for awhile this RV popped up. The funny part is that it is the old King County SAR base rig. My wife and I volunteered for them when we were younger and I have actually slept in it before!

So on to the details. 97 E350 chassis Salem Kroger 4x4 conversion with leaf springs. Triton v10 gas, with 25k miles. Winnebago box, the box measures 17', is set up like an office currently. Built in Onan 7kw genset, AC, heat, full bath. Has lots of old lights, that i will either pull or find clear covers for. They pulled the red covers when it went to auction. It also has hydraulic levelers, which i must say are awesome after coming from the trailer! Has awnings both sides, with aluminum for the first foot, so when they retract they have an aluminum 'shell' to keep branches off them.

The bad: water damage! The molding on the drivers side rear corner is toast, meaning the ply behind the fiberglass is completely rotten. Its loose all the way to the window on the drivers side, and some around the back too. A hole punched in the roof at the cabover. Also some water, but not as bad as the back. Now its aluminum framed, so its just a matter of replacing the rotten stuff and re-sealing.

The plan is to fix all the damage, remodel the interior a bit to add a couple bed and drive it! There are lots of little bug to be worked out everywhere...Windows roll down but don't want to go up, lots of lights out, and im sure ill find tons more, but its a project. I have a big trip planned in less than a month so im hoping to at least have it sealed up by then....

Ive been wanting to take a trip up to the arctic circle and this seems like a dream rig (other than gas mileage!). Possibly a wrap of some sort on the outside.

Went for a test drive last night, and left a deposit! Going to pick it up tomorrow! Now if only I had a shop to work on it in.... Im sure my neighbors will love me. Gotta sell the trailer.

Pics from PO

Made it home! It was a beast on the ferry!

Did a bit of cleaning last night, but really its in good shape on the inside. The shower has literally never been used. Still has the Winnebago sticker on the floor. It was used for large item storage however, so its looks like someone got in a fight with themselves and a Sharpie in the shower.... But that's what we will use it for too. Great for wet skis and boots.

House batteries are toast. The paint pen on the battery compartment shows they are 10 years old.... They will be replaced ASAP, and im hoping that them getting down to 10 volts is why the heater started blowing cold last night.... We will see. Getting the batteries in and out is going to be a chore though. Not much room and a LOT of connections.

Electrical: Its a mix of nicely done and holy S. Under the dash there are a ton of wore taps, relays zip tied here and there and lots of random loose wires, most have numbered labels on them though. The RV section has a metric ton of 120 outlets. a huge inverter and a nice house panel. Everything is on solenoids to be disconnected and jumped.

There is a couple more spots of delamination I found. But im hoping to get into the worst spot soon.

Every seam on the box will be covered with Eternabond. It has good reviews in the RV world and seems like a good solution to not removing every piece of trim on the RV and resealing them hoping it will last.... Wont be the prettiest thing though.

House panel and inverter. Lots of room for solar chargers in the future!

Well as it turns out.... Someone has been in the wiring... Inverter is no longer hooked up to power anything 120V, only works off the generator... And lots of random cut wires hidden in the chases. Now im sure some of it was from decommissioning.

Old batteries need to go, replaced in 03....



Inverter/charger panel, on board charger puts out 90amps @ 12VDC

Time to glue up the delamination on the back corner. A gallon of epoxy, some medium hardener, appropriate mixing/dumping containers check. The plan is to pry the top back and dump epoxy in from there. Then clamp a piece of plywood to it to re bond the fiberglass exterior, that's the idea anyway.

Now how does one clamp such a thing?! Step 1, park next to garage, step 2, cut holes in plywood for light, step 3 cut a whole bunch of 2x4's to approximately the distance between the garage and truck.

With the help of a friend, pour in epoxy, spill it everywhere, Line up plywood, and use 2x4's to clamp!

Hydraulic levelers may have been used to increase clamping pressure... Garage made creaking noises.

TRoglodyte SuperDork
8/27/15 2:30 p.m.

Ahh,ski bum was my goal when I was a youngster.Instead I got a career. Fail. Carry on

java230 Reader
8/27/15 3:56 p.m.
TRoglodyte wrote: Ahh,ski bum was my goal when I was a youngster.Instead I got a career. Fail. Carry on

It's my weekend career during the winter. More to come tomorrow!

Cotton UberDork
8/27/15 3:57 p.m.

Wait, so that's rig is 4wd? That's awesome.

mazdeuce PowerDork
8/27/15 4:01 p.m.

What are the chances you just epoxied a sheet of plywood to the camper?
The pictures showing the whole camper aren't loading for me, but I can see enough to suspect there's some awesomeness going on.

java230 Reader
8/27/15 5:35 p.m.

In reply to Cotton:

Yes yes it is. It's got f350 running gear under it.

In reply to mazdeuce:

There was some wax paper between them,otherwise yes it would have been. I'll try to fix the pics tomorrow..

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
8/27/15 5:37 p.m.

I thought a ski bum mobile was an old Subaru wagon so you could sleep in the back.

jgrewe Reader
8/27/15 5:54 p.m.

So this is what ski bumming has come to... I moved to Breckenridge after college to drop out for a year. The road vehicle I had at the time was a Jetta diesel. That was a 52hp pre-tdi version too. That diesel badge was probably the best theft deterrent a car could have. "They'll catch us going up the hill..."

java230 Reader
8/27/15 6:12 p.m.

Yeah.... It's a little luxurious but the wife kid and dogs come along too.

java230 Reader
8/27/15 7:16 p.m.

To tie mazdeuce over:



mazdeuce PowerDork
8/27/15 7:24 p.m.

Duuuuuuude. Badass. I dig.

java230 Reader
8/27/15 9:21 p.m.

In reply to mazdeuce:

Thanks! Means a lot coming from you.

So it was originally an office. Needed beds. Cabinets in the cabover were removed, and a section of table was removed also.

plywood cut to make bed, yes its funny shaped, and snuggling is required

blurry cabover pic. Full twin bed up there.

Ikea mattress and memory foam cut to size/shape for the other.

(this was written awhile ago) Got the roof seams sealed. My hands hurt! 100' of 4" pressure sensitive roof tape....

The rotten corner is glued pretty well, there is one loose spot still but the back corner is solid! Has a gallon (literally) of epoxy in it.

Found a couple neat things, there is a hose and valve in the propane bay, close the main tank valve and you can use a normal 'bbq' style bottle to run the propane, nice to not have to find a filling station that will do the RV sometimes. There is also a camp stove connection!

Got the bed finished also, so its just about usable. But don't get me started on the DMV.....

You can see my hot box to keep the roof tape warm, cooler with 60W light bulb! Its been a balmy 20-30 degrees here, but that has kept it dry! So i got the roof sealed while the weather was dry.

bed is done

Brown santa came! Stock headlights suck balls. So cheapo lightbar! 40"cree bar, its great at lower speeds.

Two of these for the roof

All new brake components went on, the fronts decided to try to lock up on the way back from emissions testing....

Ginormous sway bar. its literally 1.25" solid. the rear is even bigger.

to be continued.

java230 Reader
8/28/15 10:14 a.m.

Last few changes before it gets used.

Volt gauge, the only other one requires the inverter to be turned on. Need more batteries....

Light bar installed.

Drove up to play in the snow! Exactly what its for. Drove out to Blewett Pass, found a nice sport by the creek with a fire pit and called it home for the night. Truck drove great, went up and over the passes at 65, which resulted in terrible gas mileage..... Slower next time. There was one really icy hill I was a little concerned about, but in 4wd it walked right up!

So it works pretty damn well so far. Along the way the roof AC came off. It was leaking and this is a winter rig... Solar panels went on.

Proper use of the shower! Ski Storage!!

Made an all important item, booze holder! Dont want broken bottles. Did I mention this thing has ~34" front springs and a rear leaf pack designed for weight of SAR gear? It rides like a brick being thrown down stairs.

Then took it and spent a week skiing Bachelor!

NY535iManual New Reader
8/28/15 1:58 p.m.

Its hard to come up with words for how awesome this is. Its literally the perfect size/vehicle to me. One question: How is the RV section insulated?

java230 Reader
8/28/15 2:07 p.m.

In reply to NY535iManual:

Its styrofoam sandwiched in the walls, its 1.5-2" thick it looks like.

bgkast UberDork
8/28/15 2:34 p.m.

This thing is 110% awesome.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
8/28/15 3:04 p.m.

That's one serious sway bar. Good lord.

My ski bum mobile, spending the night in the forests above Telluride.

cdowd HalfDork
8/28/15 3:25 p.m.

There is a whole lot of awesome there.

java230 Reader
8/28/15 3:58 p.m.

Thanks Guys!

Found a few fun things out.... Door needs to be adjusted, must be slammed hard to get it to latch all the way and seal. This has caused the frame to bend at the latch point. Door needs to be pulled and resealed.... I can see light though it.

Generator took a poop. Thought it had 1700 hours on it, turns out that's just when the hour meter stopped working. So who knows. But it was just the starter, its a bendix type and the roll pin at the end of the shaft broke throwing the springs gears etc inside the generator. The other fun part is the generator has to come out of the truck to get at anything. So it got dropped, starter replaced, plugs replaced, couldn't find an air filter locally that was in stock, so unfortunately that stayed, and it cant be changed with out removing it again! Arrg, but I wanted to take advantage of the lack of rain.

Reflectix works awesome on the windows. I could have slept all day. I was also pretty surprised to find the condensation on the inside of the windows frozen in the morning. It was low if ~20 outside, and 60 inside. seems like it works pretty well to me.

Tail lights.... It rides rough enough to vibrate the bulbs off the contacts, so I was often with either turn signals or tail lights. Rarely both. will probably get some LED replacement ones.

Batteries last the night, Solar charges them most of the way, but the controller isn't the best, So I feel its cuts voltage too early. They were at ~12.5v after a day of mild sun.

Gas mileage was right about 7.5... Oh well. At least it was about a 400 mile range.

Light bar put out some LIGHT! But seriously sucks when its foggy.

Lunch stop on the way down. Mt Hood in the background.

Us bums:

Up A baker. Cold ass night. 3 wheeling yo!


And if your not familiar with the road up to baker. It suckes in this thing.

TRoglodyte SuperDork
8/28/15 4:30 p.m.

Ya Bum, Meant as a tribute to your awesomeness. Future freestyles in tow ftw.

jgrewe Reader
8/28/15 6:02 p.m.

Sitting here in Florida, your pictures make me miss the snow soooooooo bad. Your rig needs to be in the parking lot(The beach) at Arapahoe Basin for spring skiing. Or maybe going up and down Loveland Pass hauling people back up to the top while night skiing under a full moon.

I was thinking it needed to be painted satin black but then I remembered its main mission needs winter camo so the white works better.

I'm now sad thinking of the year I had over 100 days skiing at Breck. You sir, are building some great family memories. Bravo.

racerboy000 Reader
8/28/15 8:36 p.m.


bearmtnmartin Dork
8/28/15 9:39 p.m.

I love Baker. When you are 70 you get $70.00 seasons passes. I plan to hang on for that.

Nice truck too.

java230 Reader
8/29/15 1:40 p.m.

Thanks everyone we really enjoy the truck.

In reply to jgrewe:

I do love the PNW. Desert, mountains, lakes and ocean within 2 hours of each other. I dont get that many days in, too much $$ but we get out a fair bit.

In reply to bearmtnmartin:

Yeah Baker rocks, super chill attitude there.

java230 Reader
8/29/15 2:03 p.m.

Forecast was for 5" of rain this weekend, we were planning on camping, and didnt want to cancel so we took the beast! We take it a lot of places most people dont take RV's.... Stuffed back in the woods.



Back to the build thread:

Pulled the door and re-sealed it. I could see light through on one side.....

Also moved one of the heater vents. It was blowing under the bed. Not a real useful spot for it. So it got moved more towards the center.

Real exciting pics... But the scene lights on the side and awning were pretty nice to work under!

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