Saturday, June 30, 2018

Rebuilding “Ms. Merry” the Amerigo–The new Loo–Part 1

Time for another chapter in the rebuilding of Ms. Merry the Amerigo!

This time around, we’re doing the platform for the new raised bathroom floor and cutting the holes through Merry’s new floor for the plumbing and heating ducts to go Smile

First off, we had to haul out Merry’s new Dometic 320 Series Standard Height Toilet from storage in the barn and dig out the installation instructions for the rough-in dimensions for the toilet itself.  

It took a bit to locate the instructions, as they weren’t sitting with the toilet in the box or any of the packing cardboard surrounding the toilet to protect the china bowl from damage.   In the end, I had to pull the toielt out of the box and open the lid before I found the owner’s manual, plus a free sample of TPS tank treatment chemicals included, hidden in the bowl.  


With the installation guide in hand, we now had the offset from the back wall that we needed to locate the center of the toilet flange through the floor. 

Since the new tank has our diversion valve setup on it, it offsets the tank back from the wall further than a normal straight down flange connection would allow for and still have it dumping into the tank.

The fix was to take a page from my bathroom remodel project I did on Mr. KIT back in 2009.

Using these two parts, I made an offset flange to shift the inlet into the tank far enough forward in the floor to allow to connect into the tank.  

Canplas 113628SS 45-Degree ABS Discharge Closet Flange with Stainless Steel Ring, 4-Inch by 3-Inch


Lasalle Bristol 632403 3X45 ABS 45 degree Elbow


Glued together they shift the intlet into the toilet perfectly, and from using the same setup in the past on my KIT, I know that this angle of offset does not interfere with the operation of a standard Gravity fed RV toilet.  

A small piece of 3” ABS pipe will be glued into the end of the elbow which will be glued into the inlet on the tank when the shower floor is permanently installed.   If we have to replace the tank at some future point, the elbow can be cut through using a reciprocating saw from the access hatch that will be at the front under the bathroom door. 

With the flange made, I temporarily installed a couple pieces of plywood representing the thicknesses of the rear and side walls and then snapped the dimensions of our expanded bathroom and cut a sheet of 5/8” plywood from the piece of temporary floor we had originally used in Ms. Merry when we were finishing up installing the raised ceiling and skylight dome.  

I like to call that floor section the “temporary floor” but the real reason I call it that is the initial piece I had somehow screwed up one of the measurements on and it didn’t snugly fit in the space at all the joints and had to be replaced.   Rather than waste a perfectly good piece of plywood, it got reused as a temporary work bench and when pieces of 5/8” plywood were needed that were within the dimenions of that incorrectly cut piece, I cut them from it vs cutting a piece out of a whole new sheet. 


After making the initial cutout, which was still just a rectangle at the time, I laid it back in place to make sure it fit correctly (it did!) and then marked out where the flange opening needed to be.  I added an extra little bit to the original eleven inch offset from the rear wall, using my wall representing board to simulate the walls being in place, to accomodate for cleaning behind the toilet and to take account for the extra 1/16” of an inch or so that a sheet of FRP board will add. 

Once check and rechecked, I used the largest diablo hole saw blade I had and cut the inital hole, then used my jig saw to widen the hole to allow for the forty-five degree offset on the bottom of the flange. 

I temporarily anchored the flange through the hole then aligned the pipe and then cut and installed the support board that would be going under the plywood to raise the floor and to help give it slope toward where I planed to locate the drain in the front right hand corner.  

The small hole you see is actually not the drain pipe opening, but the hole for the vent pipe that will be coming up from the tank, its pipe running from the tank under the floor and then out through the roof.  It will be visible inside the bathroom, but like the vent pipe in Mr. KIT, will be painted bright white to match the bathroom and then used like a support bar to hang washcloth rings and what not from.  

One of the things we do plan to do is use a dedicated faucet knob for the shower controls separate from the sink so we can use higher quality parts in its plumbing than the fairly cheap plastic parts that come with standard RV fixtures.  

Out of the entirety of the original shower stall, we plan to salvage the wall section with the sink and the corner to reuse in the new bathroom, and maybe the flange portion from the floor to glass into the new shower pan, the majority of the new floor will be made from FRP board, same as the bathroom walls.   The rest of the shower unit will end up in the dumpster, as its not worth trying to reuse.  

With the floor ready, it was time to test fit our new floor in place.


Fits like a glove! 

As you can see, there’s a diagonal corner in the front, this is to accomodate for a walking path from the door to the forward end of the camper.   The angle starts where the original fiberglass shower stall originally ended when installed and angles back to the minimum size bathroom door opening I thought prudent for me to fit through (I’m far from small).  

The 2x2 that goes on the right hand side will have one side of it tapered to match that angle so that all fits well.   The wall in the corner will actually be made of a piece of five millimeter plywood with FRP on the inside and wall paneling board on the outside.  

Unlike the original Amerigo bathroom door wall design, the new one will not look like a cabinet, but instead will have matching wall paneling installed similar to the rest of the camper. 

The new door will be hinged on the left side and the handle will be on the right, this will allow for the door knob to swing into the Snap-N-Nap opening and for the door to open flush to the rear wall. 

The dinette seat nearest to the bathroom will be angled on the outside, going to the minimum width for the battery compartment it will house to the normal seat width that it originally was to provide ample passage space past the new, larger bathroom. 

We plan to make the wall along the back of the dinette by the door solid, to help act as a framing member to prevent the rear walls on the tub from sagging like they originally did as the camper aged.  This wall will be built like a truss on the inside to help keep it square.   The switches for the patio light and light above the entrance will be in this wall.  

In addition to helping with the tub sag, it will also act as a lateral brace for the side to side strains coming from the rear jack mount attached next to the door.   A similar, smaller wall will be built along the back of the bathroom sink to perform a similar function on the driver’s side. 

Ah… we seem to have side-tracked a bit, time to get back on topic!

After test fitting the floor, I took it out once more and then after measuring the offset distance on the new flange, repeated the flange hole process on the main floor itself taking into account the offset of the flange pipe.  

Once again, I cut the initial hole with the same hole saw, then cut a second directly next to it and squared the opening off with the jig saw once more.   The extra opening space is allow for the flange pipe coming through the floor on its way down to the tank. 


Once the main floor opening was cut, I reattached the flange to the floor and tested it again (forgot to take a picture!), it fits perfectly, with enough space around it to allow for flexing of the camper without putting strain on the pipe. 

With the main hole done, I calculated the offset for the grey water plumbing’s passage through the floor, and widened the hole to allow space for the flexible heater duct line to enter into the tank compartment near the valves. 

Last I cut the hole for where the vent pipe will come up from the tank before doing its horizontal run between the main floor and the raised shower floor before coming up through the shower floor in the corner. 

The vent pipe will be going into the tank at the deepest end near the drain valves.  

This wraps up all that’s going to be done at this time for the bathroom, I mainly wanted to get the holes done in the floor so that when we shift to cutting insulation for the ceiling and walls, that the openings were already in place to cut out the matching holes in the insulation while its easy to do. 

Just for fun, I set the remainder of the original bathroom back in place on top of the new one to give you an idea of the size difference. 


P.S. Yes, I know the slope is off on the shower floor, I didn’t have the sloping shims in place on part of the floor, it was just sitting in their loose Smile with tongue out

Thanks again for reading!

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