Friday, August 25, 2017

Rebuilding “Ms. Merry”, the Amerigo–And The Mystery of the Trampoline Floor–Part 2

Once again, the Gang and I have had to change gears Sad smile.   We discovered that when we went up on the ladder that we couldn’t reach the entirity of the roof area that needed to be sanded and re-fiberglassed. 

So, that leaves us with the only other option at the moment since Ms. Merry can’t be dismounted from Red’s back until she’s fully put back together.  

Standing on a step ladder inside and doing it from the middle of the skylight opening.  

Yay Sad smile…….

In order to that, we will need to come back and finish one of Ms. Merry’s earlier work areas, the Trampoline Floor.  

Last year, we rebuilt the front portion of the floor as we explored to discover why Merry’s floor was so bouncy.  The rear portion of the floor was left undone do to the need to remove the bathroom, which we admit, we tried to put off as much as possible, because we knew what kind of nightmare it was going to become once we got that shower out and started tearing into the rear floor 

Unfortunately, with the need to basically stand in the middle of the toilet and the old shower pan, removing the shower could no longer be put off any longer. 

The upside is once its done, Ms. Merry’s floor will be fully enclosed at last and we’ll only be a short step away from hanging the rear section of ceiling in place so that the rear wall board can go in place Smile

The first challenge was getting out the old Aqua Magic Galaxy Toilet.  

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Out of all of Thetford’s designs, this one seems to be the one designed to be the greatest pain in the rear to remove. 

Removal requires removing a plug in the top and using eighteen inches of extensions, a universal joint adapter and a deep well 1/2” socket in order to back off the rear flange bolt. 

Removing the front bolt requires keeping the foot pedal depressed so you can use a ratcheting box end wrench to back the front flange bolt out. 

This went okay until the johnny bolt in the rear broke loose in the closet flange and started spinning, making it impossible to finish backing the nut off. 

Mercifully, the front bolt came out without any problems. 

In the end, Big Joe had to come to the rescue and with a lot of swearing, Ms. Merry’s old water closet flange gave way and the toilet went airborne, flying up high enough to clear the shower walls before crashing back onto the floor. 

At last the stubborn old toilet was out!

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Only to discover it was anchored to the floor with those damn blasted Security Screws from hell…… Crying face

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Come on Big Joe, Five Pound, we’ve got more screws to pull out….. Sad smile

Once we had popped and pulled all of the tooth grinding screws out, we were blessed with a small mercy, the flange was threaded into the tank, a couple minutes with lil’ Joe and Five Pound, and we had the flange loose and we used the remaining johnny bolt to spin it out.

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At last! 

Now, to get that drain out….. Dang it…. it’s inner cross piece broke off….. Where’s my big flat head screw driver…..

The shower drain, which I at one time thought of saving and reusing ended up having to be shattered with a flat head screw driver as the inner tree broke off when we tried to back it out.  Once it’s flange was out, I left the remaining thread in the pipe, as all of the remaining plumbing plus the old tank were on their way to the dumpster. 

At last, we were able to pull the old shower out and expose the last of the floor, untouched and unseen since Merry rolled off the assembly line in 1975.  

It was really…. really dirty……

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That’s all road dirt that had blown up into Miss Merry’s undercarriage in all the years she’d traveled, coming up around the gap in the floor around the shower drain pipe that went straight through the floor and hung underneath, fully exposed to the elements and road spray.  

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The debris is from the removal of the old shower, and the wood, ironically enough, has only surface discoloring, no dry rot was found.  

With the shower out, it was time to remove the last of the original wall paneling so that the old floor could at last be removed.

While preparing to remove the last of the old wall paneling, we found another time capsule from when Merry was originally built.  

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Still afixed to the vent stack for the holding tank, was a piece of scotch tape with notes listing its use and its source.    Much like the “Ken Smith” written on the side of Merry’s fridge, we’ve found a number of notes left behind by the folks who built Merry forty-two years ago Smile.

If we can find a way, we may preserve a few of these tid bits in Merry’s table top when we get to that stage, so they can continue to travel on with Merry.  

With Merry’s new shower, the new vent stack will be painted and visible within it, and sadly, we won’t be able to reuse the original Bristol, Indiana made vent pipes as they’re too short to make the run from where the vent pipe elbow will be to reach the vent cap on the roof.  

Once we cut off the vent pipe, it took some work with Big Joe the crowbar to break Merry’s old holding tank loose from the floor.   We had to remove it in this fashion due to the use of those dang blasted crescent moon screws that were used in every facet of Merry’s construction, backing them out was not possible.  

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As you can see in the photo, the original toilet flange was off center of the tank due to the bathroom being off center to accomodate for the vent pipe.   With the new tank and bathroom, the flange is now direct dead center on the deepest point of the tank.   We’ll go over this in a later chapter covering the cutting of the floor holes for the new plumbing and ducting for Merry’s heated tank compartment that will go under the floor.  

With the tank finally out, we were able to begin the demolition of the rear floor.

Sadly, one of the main members we had left in place broke at a large knot in the board as we were prying up the old 5/8” three section plywood that made up the original floor. 

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You can see the flimsy door skin material that was used on the underside of Miss Merry, we simply punched through it with a few blows of our feet and Big Joe.  

Looks like we’ve got some clean up to do, so stay tuned, we’ll continue the floor rebuild in Part 3 Smile.

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