Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Cleaning the outside of your camper

I found out a great product that takes little effort to clean that is CHEAP.

LA Awesome Cleaner (you can get at the Dollar Tree for $1)... spray it on wipe it off... yes that simple!

We have taped up the holes on the outside with gorilla tape (which works, but leaves tape residue). Awesome cleaner did not get the adhesive off, but goo gone worked great (I tried other products that didn't work, goo gone got the adhesive off. The dirt under the adhesive was still there, so once again used the awesome cleaner, and it came off clean.

Now for the putty, that is just old fashion elbow grease, I haven't found anything yet to get it off without any effort.

This is a picture of the hole where the power cable goes through (I was replacing it and wanted to clean around it before installing new cover).

I took pictures as I wiped, so I did not scrub at all, just wiped off. The goo gone took some, but very little effort to get the adhesive off.

How to make an old jack-knife couch like new

The couch had been sitting in front of the window without any blinds which caused the material to breakdown and fall apart. I did not want to simply cover the couch because I thought the dust and particles would just come straight through the new material eventually. I am not an expert on sewing, I know how to sew, but consider my self a novice with sewing.

The couch looked like it was separate pieces of foam, but after taking them apart I realized there was actually 4 pieces of foam (2 long pieces of foam for top and 2 for bottom). I wanted to try to save the foam and wash it like I did with the dinette seats but when I was taking them apart they started falling apart so I had to order some from . I also ordered some dust cover upholstery fabric on amazon to match my new material. I kept the wires that helped attach the foam to the frame.

First step: TAKE LOTS OF PICTURES while taking apart of every angle and seam. There were times when I was putting it back together wishing I had got a better picture of a certain seam. Also if you can mark on the old material numbers before taking apart it may help you (I did not do this but it was my after thought wishing I had done that).

I didn't take a picture of the couch on the jack knife frame, but after we took them off the main frame I started pictures. This is the back rest and seat (the back rest is upside down, you can see the material in the center falling apart.

This is the other pictures showing the back, and how the foam was...

Laid the material out to be cut...

Make sure you pay attention to direction of pattern on the new material because you want it to be as straight as possible and match the direction of the rest of the cushions made. Follow the pattern from the old material and the pictures you took. Any thing that can be sewn before attaching to the main material should be sewn now, make sure you change tension on sewing machine for upholstery material to withstand (I didn't know I had to do this until looking up how to sew a couch. I changed it to my highest setting allowed on my machine). Also there are some holes in the material to allow the metal screws to attach to the frame, but my material frayed easy so I made button holes to reinforce the material.

The top soft foam was actually one large foam that had been cut to make grooves (I posted a picture showing this above). So I cut my foam the same way (I used a cheese knife lol).

I attached the foam to the dust cover I cut using spray adhesive.

Then I laid the material on the foam and tucked the material into the grooves to pin the sides on. If you sew just the material together first before attaching the cushion bottom it helps make things easier in the end. Then put the cushion with the dust cover on by pinning and then sew that together (it makes a sandwich basically - top material, cushion, then dust cover).

I found out if you pin all the straight parts together and have someone help you hold the cushion you can sew it in the machine and then hand sew the parts that curve around. My machine did not do well with the curved parts (from the cushion pulling the material from the foot).

After the top part of the cushion is done, you put the more dense foam in, add a little fiberfill where the curved part of the top foam curves around bottom (to keep looking full over time) then start attaching to the frame using hog rings and a pliers.

And viola you have the making of a jack knife couch. (I don't have it on the main frame yet but you can see what it will look like together). I will post a picture once it's installed in the camper.

Playing catch up on my blogs...

We had a baby!! So things as you would imagine took a little break for the baby, but started to get back on track. Things that has happened since last post: Got the majority of all the walls and ceiling up, finished the couch (new cushion, new fabric - same old frame but spray painted black), checked all the wiring, started on wood frames for the dinette chairs, laid down a vinyl rug (faux hard wood floor that we got at a clearance store).

I think I will post individual post on how I did certain things like cushions, and cleaning exterior of the camper.

We put all new poly-foam insulation in.

Put new wood walls up.

Then put the flooring down. Its starting to look like a camper again!

Before we put all the ceiling up we checked that all the electrical was working and that was not fun. Let me just say before you rip apart a camper take so many pictures even if at the time you don't think you need them. Call electricians if you need a consult, and some wires have to be plugged into switches just to complete a circuit and make everything else work.

Monday, August 24, 2015

We are now proud legal owners - received our Title

This post isn't as interesting as the actual fixing up, but figured I would post anyways in case anyone wanted to know the process of getting a title for a FEMA trailer through South Carolina (I don't know if it is any different for another state). I wrote this post in June but had a baby and didn't get to actual post it.

Being so new to buying a camper, when we first purchased the camper we were told that they did not have a title but could receive one through a bill of sale. We called the DMV before buying and was told that as long as we had a bill of sale we could fill out different forms and get tags for the camper. We bought the camper thinking we could at least get tags for the camper. After we bought the camper, we took the bill of sale to the DMV and was told that we had to have a title to get tags since it was newer than 25 years old (it had not been registered before either so could not transfer registration). We tried calling the person we bought the camper from and was not getting an answer. Long story short, when we bought the camper, it was actually the son of the person who last bought the camper (he was given the camper to do whatever with but the bill of sale was signed by the father and actual owner of the camper). I called the father after going through all of the papers that was given to us in an envelope and finding his phone number. He was very helpful and ended up going through the company he bought the camper from to get a paper that allowed titling of the camper and mailed it to us (we sent him a check prior to this to cover the expenses). We got the paperwork, took it to the DMV and after going through 3 different people (then having to go to Treasurer's office for taxes) we finally got a tag for the camper and was told would receive the title in the mail. Within a week, we finally got a title to the camper. We bought the camper in March, here it is June and finally getting a title. At least we are not sinking out money into something that we can never legally claim. I have read that it is hard or almost impossible to get a title for a FEMA trailer, but I am proof that with enough effort and not giving up you can finally get it.