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Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Firth of Fifth, or how to fix a leaking crank out window

When the original owner purchased my Scamp he paid $40.00 extra to add a crank out vent window over the cooktop. He ended up costing me a lot more than that. Apparently these windows are notorious leakers, allowing rain water to run down between the rat fur and the fiberglass shell. A waterfall may be Madrigal, but not inside your Scamp. This water makes its way under the fiberglass and soaks into the wood flooring that makes up the bottom of the sink/stove cabinet. This was pointed out to me only after I had listed the Scamp for sale. Rather than sell a scamp with a little rot, I decided to operate.

Phase 1: Remove the rot. Genesis wrote "Like a cancer cell is removed by steel let it be revealed." I carefully cut out the portion of the floor that had suffered the most rot, and like any good surgeon a bit of the surrounding "margin".  A new piece of matching plywood was set in place and sealed with epoxy and fiberglass cloth. The underside was sprayed with a rubberized coating, and the whole cabinet floor was bonded with an additional 1/4" plywood and sealed to the structure with epoxy and a zillion 3/4" heavy duty flooring staples.

Phase 2: Repair the source: Apparently the only thing holding the window in was some vintage 1987 Butyl tape and a poor attempt to caulk. Removing the window took about 30 seconds and a sharp utility knife.

What is it with Scamp's windows? As mentioned earlier in this blog, the window in the Scamp's door was too thick for the thin fiberglass and there was about a 1/4" gap that allowed the door's wooden core to rot. So be it with this vent window. It is too thick for the 1/8"in thick fiberglass wall. Weep holes designed to let rain out only encourage rain to go between the fiberglass and the rat fur... something has to be modified.

Phase 3: A new 21: drip cap will divert most of the rain away from the window, New Butyl tape and some silicone caulk for good measure, and new weatherstripping of the window frame, and new drilled weep holes will hopefully keep water outside.

Photos to come.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

So long, fare well, Auf Wiedersehen, Good bye

So long, farewell, Auf wiedersehen, Good bye.

Camping frequency is now down to once per year, and maybe twice IF I can convince some people to come and explore the Wilderness that is Northern Massachusetts.

UPDATE: SOLD.  Here is the listing for the sake of comparing to other scamps out there: Listed in July 2019. Relisted 11/15 after some minor repairs and replacing the cooktop.

1987 Scamp 13 Basic
$5,200was the asking price. It sold at a 10% discount in February.

SOLD 1987 Scamp 13. Fiberglass camper with basic layout. 10 foot camper cabin sleeps 4. Has hand pump sink, NEW propane cooktop,  and all new LED lighting, plenty of storage. flat 4 pin electrical connector to Tow vehicle. Does not have shower, toilet, heater, AC, fan, icebox, or fridge.

12v system runs USB power, and LED interior and exterior lights.

110v Shore power WFCO converter, 20 AMPS runs AC light and GFCI outlets for both 110v and USB. Also charges camper battery with a WFCO 20 Amp converter box.
Tow weight is about 1000 lbs. 1 7/8" ball. Flat 4 connector

NOTES: Tires are three years old ( except for spare). Cushions are 6 years old. The spare tire cover is a shred of its former self, the picture here is old. Drawer under stovetop is sticky.  A 1 7/8" ball is required to tow.  New wheeled tongue jack (July 20)

EXTRAS included: 30 ft electrical shore plug, wheel chocks, leveler blocks, Leveler jacks x2, potable water hose, grey water tank on wheels , toolkit, hand dolly.
All documentation since original purchase. No title required in MA. All work documented in

Can be seen in Billerica, MA by appointment only.
This well maintained and highly documented Scamp 13 can be yours for the low low price of $5,200.00 USD cash.

Thanks for looking. This Scamp is SOLD.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Repairing a sagging Scamp camper door.

When is a Scamp door not a door? When it is ajar.

Since the day I purchased it, the door on my 1987 Scamp 13 has had a huge gap at the bottom. It is about 3 inches between the bottom of the door and the floor of the camper. I have been told that this is because the fiberglass door relaxes over time, and it can be solved by cutting a series of kerfs into the wood and pouring some epoxy or resin into the kerfs and using straps to reshape the door. So I finally decided that was a thing I could do.

Did I mention that the door lock managed to shake itself loose on my last trip and is somewhere on Route 24 between Boston and Newport? 

Luckily Scamp has the door handle available at their online store.   Of course I have been down this route before. The inner part of the door lock set rattled itself loose the day I bought the Scamp. That piece is somewhere between Rome and Utica, New York, along with the newly acquired, and required Massachusetts license plate...

Repairing a Scamp Fiberglass door.

1. Remove door
 Scamp doors are hung on two part hinges with a brass ball and spring. Remove the brass ball and spring pivot bolt with a wrench and lift the door off the hinges. I suggest you replace the entire hinge. Replacements are available at the SCAMP Web site. Proceed to remove the 8 cap nuts, bolts, and washers that hold the hinges to the door and the scamp. These are #20 by 3/4" and you should buy new stainless steel replacements at the local hardware store.

First off the door hinges were severely worn.

There was enough play in the door hinges to be part of the sagging problem that the door also exhibited.  Luckily Scamp hinges are available at their online store.
2. Drain gallons of water from door.
The door should not weigh 50 lbs.  When I laid my door on its edge it began leaking gallons of water. Obviously not a good thing. Pressing on the inner shell the door seemed squishy, so instead of just cutting kerfs and applying epoxy, we are on to the major overhaul.


3. Cut Fiberglass inner shell.
The Scamp door consists of a fiberboard insert sandwiched between layers of fiberglass. I did not want to deal with removing and replacing the window, so I only cut the bottom. However the rot extended from the (leaking) window to the bottom of the door. Strip back the rat fur rug, and using a circular saw, cut the inner shell. Leave about 1/2" lip on the sides and bottom.

 CAUTION: Make sure the saw's depth will not cut the outer door shell!!!!!!!

I dug deep under the fiberglass to clean out as much of the rotted fiberboard as I could, and blew out the debris with compressed air. When I replaced the fiberboard with new particle board I slid the new board under the fiberglass as close to the window as it would go. 

4. Remove soaked and rotted "wood" from door.
No wonder the door lock came loose. These photos show the extent of the rot that was in the fiberglass sandwich.

5. Replace interior wood.
Cut strips of your replacement material. I used chip board because I had it on hand. Cut the strip at doorknob height to be wide enough to mount the lockset without spanning two boards. You can wedge the strips under the remaining lip of fiberglass. I used some construction adhesive under each strip. NOTE: if you do use construction adhesive you will need to move pretty quickly to the next step.

6. Resin and strap.
After laying a series of strips of 3/4" thick wood, now you have to make these strips into a monolithic shape. 

Mix and pour fiberglass or epoxy resin and fill the spaces between the boards you placed in step 5. Place a sheet or two of fiberglass matting in the area of the door lock and glass it in for extra strength. 

Using some cargo straps hook two of them top and bottom of the door and tighten until you achieve the correction required. You should clamp the middle of the door to a table. Allow a couple of hours for this to set.  

I didn't, but you may need to put some weight on the boards to keep them from popping up. If you do this I suggest laying down some Saran Wrap on top of the epoxy before putting the weights on. If the Saran Wrap sticks so be it.

NOTE: Mix only enough resin for this step.


7. Replace inner fiberglass sheet.
Screw the fiberglass inner shell to the new wood, and proceed to mix the remaining resin and fiberglass material to reseal the door sandwich. I left the straps on for this step.


8. Replace hardware. 
In addition to new hinges and springs, do yourself a huge favor and go out and buy all new stainless steel nuts and bolts and washers. Get some locktite thread seal, and some white or clear silicon.

9. Abatement
What's the point of doing this if you don't fix the source of the problem? The window leaks into the interior of the door. I took several steps to try and abate the leak. I drilled weep holes through the inner fiberglass at the bottom of the window, and the bottom of the door. I removed the old sealant, and re caulked with 100% silicon. The more the better. It was quite obvious that Scamp used a window whose casing wasn't deep enough to accommodate the thickness of the door. There was a 1/8" gap that was sealed with putty which had failed over the years.

Results: About 90% better.  
It seems the bottom hinge is a bit out of whack...I reused the original holes. At some point I may try and fix this, but for now the door seals well to the bottom and weighs about 20 pounds less than the wood soaked saggy door.

Notice the odd angle of the hinge on the door. I reused the original holes, so at some point I'll take it off and put in a bit of reinforcement and drill a new hole. The bungie is attached to the Scamp's cover tarp.

Don't hate me because I reused the original rat fur. 
Because I did not remove the window I decided to replace only the bottom rat fur. I had to buy a 6'x8' piece, but it was only $18.00 at the Depot. I used a spray adhesive to attach it, and then reused the original rubber molding. In my case the molding was riveted to the bottom and corners. I cut around the rivets, and used silicone to "glue" the molding in place.


Saturday, January 2, 2016

Was it Breck's or Prell?

What to do if your trailer is stolen.

Spread The Word.

Remember that old shampoo commercial where she told two people and she told two people and so on and so on?

One often hears about vintage campers being stolen. Breaks my heart when I see people listing theirs as stolen, and it doesn't seem to matter whether the camper was in their driveway, at a campground, or in a public storage facility. So how do we help one another should tragedy occur?

Photograph your trailer: Every one is unique; either a custom paint job or interior modifications will help people identify your trailer.

Document your trailer: VIN numbers, License tag numbers, Model and manufacturer numbers etc. Anything that will help the authorities identify it as yours.

List your trailer: Craigslist is a good start. List it in many places. In the stolen goods section and list it in the trailers WANTED and trailers FOR SALE ( just remember to say that it isn't...)

Share your trailer info: Besides Craigslist there are social media groups and blogs that specialize in vintage trailers and campers. Tin Can Tourists, SCAMPers, FGRV and others just GOOGLE your brand of camper. Guaranteed there's at least one group of enthusiasts.  Don't forget to post it on your own Facebook page and ask your friends to share. Just like Breck's the word will get around. Or was that Prell?

Friday, August 14, 2015

A shocking development!

In the past I have detailed my electrical upgrades; adding outlets, LED lights, new converter, etc. Well it seemed odd that after a season where everything worked as it should that this year the 110v system kept tripping breakers and snapping GFCI triggers. So I thought I'd try and isolate the problem by eliminating the GFCI. Lo and behold the 110v system worked again, Yay! Then when I put the GFCI outlet back in it started tripping again. Conclusion: Bad GFCI outlet.

Not really.

What I had forgotten about was a new outlet that I had put in downstream from the GFCI, so that it, a non GFCI outlet, would also be protected.

Like I said, I forgot about that, so I merily went along to replace the "defective" GFCI outlet.

Maybe I should take a moment to clarify something.

G = Ground
F = Fault
C= Circuit
I = Interruption

In other words a GFCI outlet is there to detect Ground Faults and Interrupt the Circuit to prevent fire or other damage to the system...or the user.

What happens when you remove the GFCI from the Faulty Circuit and replace it with a regular, non-GFCI outlet, (because, you know, it is cheaper)?   ZZZZZZ! Flash! Puff! And you end up melting things.

Remember that outlet that I forgot I added after the GFCI? Well outlets don't work so well when both the hot and the neutral are wired to the same side! This I discovered after melting the Scamp's shore power cable.

Now the Scamp has a new hole in the side to accommodate the new shore power outlet.  Lucky for me the WIFCO power controller was not burnt out.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

They say that backing up is hard to do.

They say that backing up is hard to do... Well Neil Sedaka must have had a Scamp 13.

I still can't back up to save my life, but my new 2014 Mazda CX5 has a nifty feature that makes hitching up a breeze. A rear view camera. I can easily see the hitch ball in the camera. Now no more trial and error.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Shine bright like a diamond

Refurbishing a fiberglass Scamp 13.

After overhearing a friend tell his wife that "Gary has a cool little camper, but boy does it need a bath." I decided it needed more than a bath. The gelcoat of the Scamp's fiberglass shell had become dull and caked with dirt and grime and tree sap etc.

I have been following various threads on restoring the shine to a fiberglass boat or camper, and the consensus is that it is a three step process. Clean and degrease, remove the "chalk", coat with floor polish.

Floor polish? ( See what happened two years later below)

Apparently through years of experimentation or desperation people have discovered that ZEP Hi-Gloss wet-look  floor finish will make your fiberglass shine.

Now for a confession: I skipped step two. After power-washing the Scamp and scrubbing most of the grime off the next step is to scrub some more with Barkeeper's Friend. It is a powder, like Comet, but safe for fiberglass. this seemed like it should require power tools, and I promise I will get to it soon, but I wanted to see if the $30.00 gallon of floor polish would really work as advertised.

Before washing:

What do you think? The picture shows only one coat. Since I'm going to scrub it off I stopped at one coat, but the blogs say to use several thin coats for maximum shine. Check back in a few weeks to see the final 3-step results.

Fast forward a few years...

The Scamp is looking a bit worse for the wear. A year left uncovered under pine trees has left a huge amount of sticky black mess on the roof. And I noticed that the floor polish had begun to fail. It looked as though it was delaminating. This I don't have pictures of, but imagine if you will someone peeling after a bad sunburn...  Anyway  the clean part you see is about an hour's worth of power scrubbing with Barkeepers Friend and a green scrubby pad. I used a variable orbit car polisher, so as not to put too much pressure on the gelcoat.  After Cleaning I applied a coat of a marine paste wax. It will need another coat.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Opening day!

Nothing is more exciting than opening day. Whether it be baseball season or hockey season or camping season, opening day is often a rush. Rush to get tickets, rush to get a campsite.

I will be camping in August. I know that because I had to make reservations in February. My June trip will be booked this week, but a friend tells tales of calling at least 50 times on opening day for reservations at the same campground! Which brings me to my topic. With all the internet possibilities, and services like, why is it that some campgrounds still do things the old fashioned way? The campground in question is run by the town where it is located. You can even go to the town's Web site and see all sorts of information about the campground, (however, oddly, there is no site map), such as hours of operation, phone numbers and even their AOL email address... Ah there's the problem. Is AOL even still in business?

The only way to make a reservation is the following:
1. Call the campground during business hours.
2. Mail a deposit check.
3. wait for confirmation in the mail.

While it has never happened to me, they truly will not confirm the reservation until they receive the check. They do not take credit cards.

As I said this method has always worked, but what if you are in the middle of a road trip? You are hundreds of miles away from your mailbox, and you want to make a reservation??

Let's fix this. If you run into a similar situation let them know this is the 21st century, let them know about or the KOA. Maybe they are not aware of the options out there.

UPDATE: due to their luddite ways I was shocked to find out that they had moved me from my reserved spot, which was near friends and away from the bath house, to a spot right next to the bath house. When I was signing in I assured them that I would not have reserved that site. They insisted I did... NOT. I later found a confirmation that I had in fact reserved the site I wanted.

Has any campground intentionally changed your reservations without notice?

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Get on the bus!

Look familiar? Not the iPad, the USB plug and that little adapter that you can use to power and charge USB devices from 110V outlets. USB (Universal Serial Bus) devices are more numerous now than 12v devices. You can get anything from a USB powered coffee maker to a USB powered Christmas tree. I'll bet you have a phone, tablet, or other device that requires USB either to run or to charge. In fact I just purchased a nice little portable AM/FM radio by Meloson that uses rechargeable battery that, you guessed it, charges off of USB.

UPDATE. The Meloson has been updated and now has a slightly longer battery life. This is due primarily to the ability to turn off the backlight on the LCD display. Yay!

I do have a DC to AC inverter that has a USB plug, but it is inconveniently located on the fascia of the lower bunk. Considering that at any one time I would have at least two or three USB powered devices I have decided to add an additional combo 110v and USB outlet.

Newer Technology and others offer this outlet to solve most homeowners' problem of having too many cables and not enough plugs. For about $15.00 you can replace a standard 110v outlet with one that also offers two USB ports. I chose this one because it has technology that senses a full charge and cuts off the USB power. Hopefully preventing any damage to my devices. The additional two 110v outlets will also solve the problem of having my only 110V plugs adjacent to the dinette/bed.

UPDATE: The Newer Power2U has one major drawback; some larger power plugs, and most all wallwarts block access to the USB ports. I may suggest sacrificing one of the 110v outlets and going with one of these...

Welcome to 2018 and USB 3.0 and High powered charging.

I have decided to upgrade my USB /AC outlet with a newer one capable of charging USB up to a full 2.4 Amps.  Apple's new iPhones, and a few other devices that offer high speed charging can take advantage of the higher USB power. Charging twice as fast as before.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

You'll get a charge out of this post

Battery Maintenance 101.

Winter once again and time to button up for that long winter's nap. This year I have an extra duty to perform. Besides covering the Scamp (which didn't work out so well last year) I will need to remove the battery and maintain its charge for the next few months.

I checked the Voltage just before removing the battery, and it was reading 11.4V. It had been sitting since October, and I really didn't know what to expect. I've read where letting a 12V battery get below 10.5v is bad for the long term health of the battery. Hopefully this isn't too low to be properly maintained.

When attached to shore power the Scamp's WFCO converter/charger takes care of battery charging and maintenance. I use a Battery Tender when the battery is out of the Scamp.  There's a good article on Batteries and charging here.

Battery Tender and Battery Tender Jr.

I have used a Battery Tender Jr. to maintain my motorcycle battery for years. They are designed only for maintenance, and not recommended to recharge a fully discharged battery. They provide 750 milliamps of power, and cut out when they detect a full charge.


I have upgraded my charger to a BLACK+DECKER BC6BDW 6 Amp Waterproof Battery Charger / Maintainer

Seems to do a much better job than the puny 750 milliamp Battery Tender.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Afterall it is Fall

Before I put her to bed for a long Winter's nap.

One full season complete, and I think I have most of the bugs worked out. I spent my last camping trip of the season split between New Hampshire and Maine; Plugs out in NH for two nights, and plugged in (with an electric heater!) for two nights in my brother's summer place in Maine. I still have great difficulty backing up, but luckily the trailer and Tucson combo is small enough to get turned around in some very small spaces.

I still have things I want to do to the interior. Shelves for electronics, and for storage. I am looking at the at IKEA. Modified slightly it should fit in the closet.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

The big chill

For those times when I am able to connect to shore power I was thinking I would purchase one of those little Dormitory fridges. At $25.00 and most likely only a year old they can easily be found in thrift shops shortly after the colleges close for the summer.  Finding one was not a problem. Fitting one is. The Cabinet under the stove has an opening of 17.5" wide, and 19"deep. While it is possible to find a 17.5"wide little fridge the one I found, you guessed it, is 18.5" wide. Sure it is easy to trim the opening, but what is not so easy is making a new, matching cabinet door. So for this coming trip I will set the fridge outside and secure the door with bungee. Hopefully a hungry bear won't decide to just take the whole thing.

UPDATE: Well it worked out fine, almost. I pre-chilled the little fridge at home and then set it inside my Tow Vehicle and plugged it into a 400W inverter. It did not keep its cool. Plugging it in at the campground however re-chilled it in an hour or so.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Plugs Out

Sorry Emma:
I have to apologize to my niece Emma who was trying to help me while I filled the fresh water tank on my Scamp before I headed out on my first plugs-out test ( battery only ) camping trip. I grabbed the hose and turned the water on, then went to fill the tank. Emma is three, and about three feet tall and got a face full of water as it splashed back out of the fresh water filler. Plugs-out should also apply here. The fresh water tank has no air relief valve to allow air to escape as the tank fills with water. With nowhere else to go the air rushed back out the filler hole and soaked my Emma. I plan to remedy the situation by adding a one way vent. Emma got to change her outfit, which I know she loves to do.
An Aquarium check valve should do the trick.
Penn Plax Aquarium Check Valve Air Filter

Minor successes:
After that little mishap I was off for the weekend to camp in a State Park on cape Cod that does not have electric or water hookups. I was expecting this, and had a fully charged battery. A 110V/12V DVD player with screen, a 110v Fan, and a Sirius Satellite radio that runs off of 12V. I was grateful that it all worked, and that despite a severe lack of counter space or shelf space I managed the weekend without tripping over wires and bringing the whole thing crashing down around me. I definitely want to install some sort of shelf in the corner near the front door to hold a small TV DVD combo, or radio.It will probably have to be a removable one so as not to interfere with the top bunk whenever that is in use.

Minor mishaps:
Leveling a small trailer is in many ways more difficult than leveling a larger one. Larger trailers have leveling jacks! the Scamp has a tongue jack, and some adjustable feet in the rear. No jacks on the sides! While I managed to pull in to the site it became quite obvious that there was no level area that I could park the trailer. Leveling front to back can be done with the tongue jack, but without any option side to side I spent a weekend juggling pots and pans that tended to slide off the cook top, and beer bottles that slid off the counter! I have been told of a jack that fits on the tire of small trailers. At $119.00 the price seems kind of steep.
BAL R.V. Products Group 28050 Light Trailer Tire Leveler

I think I'll stick to using my car jack and laying some LEGO style blocks under the tire.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

uplifting delight

It has been a while since my last post. This is what happens when work gets in the way of play.
However busy I may be I can't ignore the fact that camping season is nearly here. I know that some people will say that they camp year-round, but in New England most campgrounds do not open until mid May. So with that in mind there are still a few things I want to do before heading out. Tops on my list is installing the LED dome light over the dinette. NOT easier said than done. My 13ft Scamp with fiberglass shell was never designed to have an overhead dome light. No wiring, and more confounding, no place to mount a fixture. Fishing the wires is not a big deal. A small slit in the rat fur and an electrical tape will pull wires easily enough. But how to mount the light?

1st attempt: gluing the fixture directly to the rat fur.

There are three options: Drill through the roof fiberglass and rivet it, just like everything else is riveted to the shell,  affix it, somehow, most likely with Velcro, to the rat fur, or glue it to the shell.  I chose a mix by gluing it to the rat fur. A dollop of construction adhesive, and a prop to hold it tight to the ceiling while it dries. This still leave me the other options, and a fourth option courtesy of; Gluing or epoxying a wood mounting block to the fiberglass shell and simply screwing the light to the mounting block. For now we'll see how well the construction adhesive holds up.

UPDATE: For some reason this fixture burned out after only an hour or so of continuous use. Maybe a bad fixture, but some people suggest it may be a case of over-voltage, and that LEDs are more susceptible to over-voltages than other, more traditional bulbs are.

The fixture, glued directly to the rat fur seemed to be the solution, until the weight of the fixture, and road conditions caused the rat fur and insulation to pull away from the ceiling.

2nd install photos. This time cutting a spot on the rat fur and gluing a wood block directly to the FG shell, and attaching the fixture to the wood using the screws included. ( The fixture itself did not have enough area that touches the fiberglass otherwise you could just glue the whole fixture to the fiberglass without the wooden base.

routing the edge so that it overlaps the rat fur

UPDATE: The shaking and  pounding caused one of the LED bulbs to break at the base. Not sure if there's any way to cushion the lamp. Replacement LED lamps are easy at Amazon.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Electrifying events

Finding a location for the WFCO power converter in a 10ft camper is not an easy task. There are certain requirements: A flat vertical space at least 7" tall by 11" wide,with a depth of at least 8". It must be easily accessible in case of a tripped breaker or a blown fuse. It must be near the majority of existing electrical wiring. That left me with really only one choice. the left side of the sink cabinet. Not optimal, but it'll have to do. The converter has a flip open cover that in this case butts up against the dinette's seat cushion ( and thus the bed).
Initial installation required cutting the hole into the fiberglass cabinet. Not something I really cared to do since the cabinet in the Scamp is a structural component. Much like a fiberglass boat, the interior fittings on the scamp help provide structural integrity. The two black straps you see in the photos are metal rods that are attached to the upper cabinet which itself is attached to the roof. The rods prevent the weight of the upper cabinet from stressing the roof and causing it to sag. I'm hoping that once the converter is installed, and reinforced with wood and epoxy backing, the integrity will be as before.
Note the duplex 110 outlet to the left...I replaced the existing one with a GFCI version. It ain't the way I wanted it, [but] I can handle things! I'm smart! Not like everybody says... like dumb... I'm smart and I want respect!
God I love a good Godfather II reference. RIP Fredo.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Instant Expert

Batteries have become a passion of late. I have become an instant expert on battery types, relative costs, pros and cons, and the problems that arise when you have no clue how big a battery really is. After months of research and advice from fellow RV owners I decided to go on a gut hunch and ordered the Exide Orbital 34XCD Sealed Maintenance-Free (AGM) Deep-Cycle Automotive Battery. Available from Amazon for $142.00. It seemed to me to be a good compromise between a $85.00 Wal-Mart battery and a seemingly overpriced $190.00 Optima battery. Contrary to reviews on Amazon this battery came with both top and side connectors. This comes into play as the story continues.

I wanted to mount the battery on the inside driver's side compartment of my 13 ft Scamp for a number of reasons. Theft, Weight distribution, easy access to the battery, and access to storage. Try as I may I could not find a locking battery box to mount on the tongue of the camper.  I have heard tales of campers returning to their site only to discover that someone has liberated their battery...Keeping batteries outside used to be the norm, but since AGM batteries are sealed there is little possibility of it venting hydrogen gas, so I decided to mount it inside under the front bench. Initially I wanted to put it on the driver's side in order to balance the weight of the water tank, but for some reason the battery was about 1/2" too tall to fit there. It did fit on the passenger side though.
My idea was to use top mounted cables with wing nut connections to enable me to easily remove the battery for in-between use charging. However the wing thing wasn't working. The battery case wouldn't allow them, so I thought about it...I really only need to remove the battery during the winter. The converter will charge it between uses. Realizing that, I went with side mounted cables and covered the top lugs. This gave me the extra 1/8" clearance I needed. Otherwise I would have had to rout out some space on the storage area cover.

Next I wanted to mount the DC to AC converter as close as possible to the battery. They seem to work better with a shorter cable length. The converter is mounted on its side, and I made a cut in the fiberglass seat to access the receptacles. Not the most convenient spot, and had the battery fit on the driver's side as intended the outlets would have been tucked in the corner. However since these will rarely be used it seemed an acceptable compromise. Now I am looking for something to dress up the hole I cut. initially I thought I could use one of those outlet covers that people use in the garden or garage, but the converter's front plate is too large. maybe just a bead of caulk, unless you can think of a different type of outlet cover.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Three Fails in a row.

Yesterday it hit 65 F. so I went to uncover the Scamp and start work on some of the electrical and other minor things. This led to a series of failures and facepalms.

My first discovery: Blue tarps are not waterproof. I had all good intentions last Fall and purchased a canvas drop cloth and blue tarp to cover the Scamp. The idea was that the canvas would prevent any scuffing of the fiberglass while the blue tarp would keep things dry. Things did not go as planned, as when I removed the blue tarp the canvas was soaked, and some green slime had taken over parts of the top of the Scamp.

My 2nd discovery: The replacement handle I purchased for the tongue jack isn't a 100% replacement. It fits, it cranks, but it doesn't fold properly. The built in stops prevent it from folding more than about 60degrees.  It'll be fine, and certainly makes it easier to adjust the jack.

Also I made a feeble attempt to add some storage for hoses and drains. I built a 4 ft long by 4 in PVC pipe with screw caps on either end and attempted to mount it to the underside of the tongue. In concept this is a good idea. However the failure of it all is that I spent $18.00 on a 10 foot section of PVC pipe, and another 25.00 on fittings and brackets only to discover that A. I had 6 ft of PVC pipe already in my basement that has been sitting there for 25 years. (this discovered immediately after cutting the newly purchased 10ft pipe as I went to store the unused section -right next to where I stored the previously unused section 25 years ago.), and B. The brackets aren't quite right, and the pipe is not a snug fit against the frame. I think I'll have to fashion some U shaped brackets out of threaded rod. I've seen that done on the FiberglassRV forum.