I have been putting off inspecting the bathroom further until today and decided to peel back some of the paneling and see what kind of dry rot issues we might have in there. At some point a previous owner had covered up water damage by laying paneling on top of the bad areas and I removed that. You can see some of the cover up panels in the photo below:
After removing the paneling I found LOTS of dry rot. Making matters worse the rot isn’t just limited to the paneling – it is all the way through to the structural core of the trailer. The wood is rotted so bad that I can literally remove with the vacuum. I am going to have to remove all the paneling in the bathroom and check for further rot areas.
After removing the old air conditioning unit from the top of our vintage trailer I had to find something to fill the giant hole in the roof and decided to install a skylight / roof vent. It turns out that RV skylights and air conditioning units use the same dimensions (14″x14″) so that made it very easy.
I had to do some cleanup and repair on the hole due to serious dry rot from where the seal on the AC unit was not complete and allowed water in. Luckily all the dry rot only affected the shim boards and not the actual roof rafters which bear most of the weight. You can see in the photo below where the rot was so bad I could stick a screw driver into the wood with little effort.
Using a chisel, hammer and some pliers I was able to remove the rotted wood without damaging the larger structural beams underneath it. I then cut 4 new pieces of wood to size and slid them in between the aluminum roofing and the ceiling beams and screwed them into place.
Buying the RV Skylight
After looking online for a skylight to replace our AC unit I finally settled on Heng’s 69632 14″ x 14″ Vent sold on Amazon. It was going for a reasonable price and has the ability to add an optional fan to it if you like. The one downside to this product is that it does not come with ANY mounting hardware at all. Luckily I found the Camco 25003 Universal Vent Installation Kit with Putty Tape on Amazon which helped alot. It comes with the necessary screws and putty tape so you can install your vent worry free.
The installation is simple, just clean the roof top area of debris and wipe it down with some sort of soap cleaner – simple green should work fine. Lay down the putty tape around the edges of the opening and then place the skylight on top of it making sure the vent opens toward the back of the RV. Install screws and you are done. Super simple. (Pictures of the installed product will have to come in the spring… the RV is tarped up for winter time due to a leak I cannot currently identify).
Living in the Pacific Northwest we do not have a huge need for an air conditioner on our RV and we decided to remove it. Further influencing our decision was both the age and weight of the ancient unit.
The air conditioner that came with the trailer is a Coleman and has a thermostat connected to that you can control from inside the trailer. We have no idea if it works as I didn’t both plugging it in to test it but if I had to guess it would either just not run at all or blow up on us. The thing is very old and rusted and we decided to just get rid of it.
Removing a 175lb air conditioner from the roof of an RV is no easy task. I decided the best way to do this would be to lean a 2×8 piece of plywood up against the roof line and then put the bottom of it into a wheel barrel that Amber was holding. We essentially “slid” the old AC unit off the top of the roof and down the plywood right into the wheel barrel where we could roll it to the back of my car and take it to the dump. We managed to do this successfully with no damage to the RV and no injuries to ourselves.
Up Next: Installing a skylight where the old air conditioner was.
Alright, now that she’s all tucked away in her spot for the winter, we’ve started to tear things out we don’t need, want or that doesn’t work. We got out our drills, gloves, candles, Lavender Pinesol, heaters, hammers, pry bars and headlamps to attack 40 years of dirt, grime and smell and demolish the clunky inefficient 1970’s technology. Bye, bye curtains, cushions, furnace, water heater, hinges, A/C unit and the newer college dorm refrigerator. While Chris tore out most of the big things, I took down the curtains, and started wiping (and wiping, and wiping again) the inside of the trailer out. To keep parts strait, Chris took pictures of all the original set up and parts to refer back to when he adds new stuff in. I salvaged the curtain rods labeling them to make it easy to put them back up when the time comes. The most challenging part will be the electrical but Chris is excited to learn how it all works. We’ve found a little dry rot here and there but it hasn’t really been that bad.