Saturday, August 26, 2017

Rebuilding “Ms. Merry”, the Amerigo–And The Mystery of the Trampoline Floor–Part 3

When we left off in Part 2, we’d just finished busting our Merry’s old rear floor.  

Now, we’re building in her new floor frame Smile

Because we wanted to try and eliminate as much floor sag as possible from Miss Merry’s rump and make it strong enough to support the new, larger holding tank, we beefed up alot of her floor with new 2x4s and 2x6s to take the strain. 

We also needed to beef up her floor frame to take the strain from her new three step folding staircase that was going in as well Smile

Sadly, we’ve apparently lost some of the photos, likely when Mr. Tabs had a bad case of the busted operating systems and had to undergo emergency overhauling to get him back into functional condition Sad smile.  


As part of our process to eliminate the rump sag, we put in some diagonal bracing at the bottom of wing wall on Miss Merry’s driver side and extended the 2x6 load bearing timber clear up to the main carrier beam at the top of the wall. 

You can see Mr. Pumps the bottle jack where he came to rest on the floor when our cribbing blocks gave way and popped me in the face with a 2x3 we’d been using to stretch the framing in the rear of the driver’s side wall back into shape and remove the bend in the lumber before we secured the new 2x6 in place to carry the load from one of the Atwood Jacks.  

Miss Merry’s temporary floor can also be seen that was used while we stretched the wall.  

From underneath, you can see the new front 2x5 (We had to cut off some in order for the beam to clear the bumper) that took the place of the original 2x6 that ran the width of the floor when Merry was first built and had been cut away by the last owner and replaced with a chunk of angle iron in order to fit Miss Merry on his much newer pickup. 

A second, full 2x6 was installed and through bolted through the base of Merry’s rear wall to help remove the side to side sag that the rear end was having.   The last bit of the sag won’t be completely gone until we reinstall the interior walls that helped support Merry’s rear weight, since these bolts are accessible even after completion, we can adjust their tightness over time to take up any slack that may form in the wood as Miss Merry flexes from traveling. 

The photos of this were sadly part of what was lost, so we’ll have to take new ones later one when we show the under side work for the new mixed waste tank and the enclosed compartment.  For now, you’ll just have to go by our description Sad smile

The rear wall 2x6 takes the place of the piece of 5/8” plywood that originally was part of the over hang skirt that goes around the underside of an Amerigo’s overhang.   We had to temporarily stretch Merry’s fiberglass rear skin back just enough to allow for us to drive twelve inch carriage bolts through the bottom of the rear wall frame, 5/8” of plywood and the 2x6” stiffening beam.   A total of ten of these bolts go through the frame and the beam, with 2x3s glued and anchored over their heads.  
Why didn’t we go through those 2x3s and well?   There was no way to get a straight on angle to drive the bolts in with the extra thickness, it was barely doable with the original beams and we wanted to be able to retighten these bolts later when the wood dries and shrinks (Causing the bolts to loosen), something that wouldn’t be possible if we flipped them over and put the nuts on the inside of the wall.   So, our compromise was going through the original beam and then laminating the two, bolt heads and all together.  


Before the finished floor was put in (all once piece of plywood, now), we temporarily fitted the new stairs in place so we could drill the holes through the frame, that way we could easily punch through the plywood later to make the counter sink holes for the nuts, unlike the wall, the floor in Miss Merry will be floating, so all we have to do to tighten those bolts is to remove a couple pieces of trim and lift up the vinyl flooring. 

Once that was done, we were able to cut the finish sheet of plywood and permanently install it in place Smile

Again, the photo after it was installed was lost, so we’re using one of the later photos to show you the new floor in place as best we can.  


Once the new floor was finished, we turned our energy towards installing the extra framing being added to help support the load from the much larger three-step folding steps that were taking the place of the original two step.  

To help accomodate this, an extra 2x4 was installed in the floor frame and then from underneath, a lamination of a notched 2x6 and a 2x4 were attached and then through bolted through the floor and clear through the beam.   A section of 5/8” plywood was cut to match and then laminated onto the front to give the beam coverage as a nice clean solid surface.  


In the shot below its still in its gray primer, the finished area with its spray skirting to protect the stiffening beam of the rear wall were given four coats of flat black oil based enamel paint to finish them once in place (missing some photos here as well, we’ll include some finished ones in “Miss Merry gets a Step up!”).   The stiffening beam was also painted before the skirting board was installed.   All screw heads were counter sunk slightly and the holes sealed over with black elastomeric caulk.  

The opposite side will receive a similar treatment but with a longer board made of 1/2” plywood to match the sides of the tank compartment, which hangs down to the bottom of the bumper. 

The reason the step compartment skirt is shorter is due to the lack of a similar piece near the bumper due to lack of space, the new step unit takes up all of the space available with its clearances needed to allow it to hinge in and out. 



That wraps up Part 3 of the Trampoline floor Mystery and brings the bouncy floor to its end.   Merry’s floor is now solid as a rock and durable enough to take regular long period use off the truck without failing or being spongy.  

Next up, we’re going start into some initial work for the plumbing for the new shower and bathroom, so that we can get all the holes cut in the floor Smile.  

See you soon!

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