Saturday, May 19, 2018

Rebuilding “Ms. Merry” the Amerigo–Merry Glues it Up!

Since we’re back in the full swing of working on Merry for another summer, its time to keep up the pace and if all the stars align, we might actually get to something resembling done, or at least to a stage where we no longer have to stop in the winter Smile

When we were planning out how to upgrade Merry’s tanks, I decided to look over how some other folks had done theirs.  

From 2cknights Amerigo restoration, he examined how Bob Whalen converted his to use two tanks:

Below is Bob's quote from email about the setup.

As described by Bob Whalen:

“The pics show the 2 new tanks installed . the black water is a17 gal and the gray water is a 23 gal.

The new black water tank discharge does not center on the factory cutout , but I will reshape it.
The gray water discharge is just behind the bracket for the stairs.

The inlet for the gray water does go through the side of the tank so you will not get the full capacity of the tank.

I also installed a fiberglass sheet over the plywood before installing the tanks as this area is exposed to the weather when driving.

It took longer to put the toilet back in than it took to re-plumb the tanks.”

While the idea of having separated Grey and Black tanks sounded appealing, their low capacities and their two separate dump valve locations for the capacity achieved was a turn off.  

So, I decided to take a page from Mr. KIT.

Mr. KIT, much like Ms. Merry, had a single holding tank.   Mr. KIT was different in that the tank had a diversion valve setup using two three-inch gate valves.   When the outer valve is open and the inner is closed, the grey water is diverted off, either into a portable waste tank, or down the sewer hook up, leaving the holding tank for just the toilet.  

If you closed the outer valve and opened the inner, then the grey water mixed with the black in the tank.   Now, you could fill the tank all the way up by accident, but unless you were especially gifted, this would happen from showering, and would just be shower water that had filled the run of pipe.  

Since nothing drained directly into the tank without going through this diverter valve setup, filling the black tank up didn’t risk an overflow through a shower drain.  

So, I decided to recreate the diverter valve setup that Mr. KIT had with a new 40 gallon waste tank. 

Two years ago, when I first bought the tank and parts, I talked about putting an inlet in the side of the tank for the grey water and spoke of the tank and drain being exposed.   This was when I was still trying to make an impossible deadline for a Rally I was not able to make. 

Since that deadline had passed, I revised how I was going to build the bathroom its its entirety, and decided to fully enclose the holding tank into a heated compartment, with all of the main drain plumbing up above in the main cabin underneath a raised bathroom floor.  

So, with that revision, I bought an extra 3” valve that has the tangs for the hose on it and proceeded to grind the original tangs off the two valve assembly that I had bought back in 2016.   This allowed me to glue the new valve onto the end of the original, doing like a previous owner did to Mr. KIT and created the diversion valve setup.  

The one big difference on Ms. Merry’s is that unlike Mr. KIT, there’s a gate valve for the inlet pipe as well. 


Unfortunately, the new outlet doesn’t line up with the old opening, so we’ll likely close that in and then put some aluminum diamond plate along the bottom edge of Ms. Merry to hide that change and make a nice clean point for the compartment hatch that the hose will go through.   There’ll be another hatch on the underside, which you’ll reach through to pull the dump valves.  

We still need to visit the RV salvage company in the area to see if we can find the perfect compartment door to use for the new holding tank compartment to make all of this as easy as possible.  

Monday, May 7, 2018

Rebuilding “Ms. Merry” the Amerigo–Merry gets a step up!

This is post is likely going to be fairly short, compared to the previous chapters.   Sadly, I don’t have many photos handy of Miss Merry’s new steps  from when their installation was finished, so I’m going to have to try and please you with this meager offering, for now Smile.  

When you last saw Merry’s stairs, they were being test fitted into place.   Sadly they had to spend a winter in storage before they could at last be installed in April.   Sadly, even though I got an early start in March to close up some stuff on Merry due to a strange turn of warm weather, my progress has been fairly poor, due to either long bouts of sickness brought on by Oysters from the Oregon coast that for years have never given me grief, but now seem to be my baine.  

Since last August, the underfloor paneling was installed after painting, then the spray skirt that protects the stiffener beam under Merry’s rear wall, then all the joints were caulked and the underside area received two more coats of flat black paint to ensure everything was well weather proofed.  

The result is this.  


Merry’s stairs hang down a good deal lower than the originals did, so traveling with the hitch extension in is a definite must to act as a drag guard for the rear of the truck.    We’re already planning a rear cargo basket setup, which will use a dual receiver setup similar to the one on the front, for loading the generator and some other light gear onto for traveling, which will have a set of drag casters on it, similar to the rear end of a motorhome.  

With the new steps, you can now climb up into Miss Merry, when on flat ground (Our driveway is sloped, as its made from a berm that we were not allowed to flatten as it is part of the levy, so I still need a set of cinder blocks to step up to the stairs)  without needing a step stool to reach the first step.  

One of the large swing away style stair handles will be installed to help give climbers more stability than the smaller grab handle can by itself.  

Finding this particular folding stair set was actually rather difficult, as the Amerigo uses a fairly narrow stair, and most folding steps of this kind are designed for trailers, so they generally come with a wider tread, all of which were far too wide to fit in the space available on the underside of an Amerigo. 

In the end, I wound up at RV Parts Nation, who was the only place online I’d managed to locate these narrow, triple step folding stairs. 



The diagram is for the second SKU, which is 24” wide, but other than the tread width difference and subsequent housing width, different, the stairs are constructed the same.  

For the stairs I used, the SKU is 1220 and you can find them here: RV Triple Manual Entry Step

Thanks for Reading! Smile