Considering the remodel and renovation of our 29’ Fifth Wheel was something we dreamed about but didn’t get serious about until we realized that the frame of our trailer was cracked behind the pin under the fiberglass covering and bowed in the back. For us this meant two options; we either get rid of the trailer we really loved and knew as home to buy something new or we fix this one and in the process upgrade the systems and remodel it since we were going to take part of it apart anyway.
We went with the latter. It just made sense to us to make what we had into what we really wanted versus buying something that wasn’t and possibly having some of the same issues we were currently struggling with a few years down the road. So we set out to make it happen. We moved out of it and put it in a barn so we would have a protected place to work on it. And we spent 2 months and 3 weeks rewiring, plumbing, changing out major components, adding solar and a battery bank, painting, and redecorating. While the project came to an end we don’t consider it finished. We are still striving to make it better by adding new systems and improving on the changes we made.
What we did:
The project began with taking the large fiberglass pieces off of the front of the trailer. We inspected the damage and came up with a plan to weld a combination of supports and repairs into the frame. Next we removed the slide room and stripped the majority of the inside of the main body. The goal here was to inspect the sub floor to make sure it was still structurally in tact and check for mold. After finding the floor in better condition than we expected we decided to move forward with the whole project. With all of the finished flooring, furniture and windows removed we decided to coat all of the raw wood with Kilz primer to help seal out moisture and prevent mold growth. We painted the walls and cabinets, built new valences out of cedar shingles and reclaimed fence post, and laid new laminate flooring and (minimal) carpet. It was so hot that summer we could only paint during the wee hours of the morning so during the day we worked on repairs and installing our new systems.
Another one of the goals was to try to eliminate propane. We were able to change over everything except the stove/ oven. This meant installing a new heating/ hot water system with a new fuel source (Diesel). Because of the change in components we came across challenges like where to put the diesel fuel tank and now that we had removed the old furnace, what do we do with the gaping hole in the side of the rig? The benefits of the new system have way outweighed the challenges. Other additions were a 12-volt DC compressor refrigerator (which fit in the same space as the old 2-way refrigerator, a 600-amp hour AGM battery bank, pure sine inverter, battery-to-battery charger, and 495 watts of solar on the roof (with room to expand). Speaking of the roof, we knew we needed to replace the rubber membrane. Once we had removed the old membrane we realized that some of the plywood boards were soft and would need to be replaced. When we removed the soft boards we discovered mold and decided to remove the entire roof and insulation and replace all of it. The old insulation was fiberglass; we replaced all of the fiberglass insulation on the roof and in the front cap with foam insulation. Then we put the new boards on and glued down the new rubber membrane.
We were also able to do some structural work and gain space in our storage compartment. We extended the step up to the bedroom out into the living area slightly and were able to push back the wall hiding the wiring in the storage compartment. This allowed us to gain more storage and add a ski rack. Once all the major repairs and upgrades had been completed we started putting all of the furniture, windows, slide room, and on the exterior the fiberglass pieces back in. We finished the project by installing the new trim and filling the trailer with its first tank of diesel.
Since then we have made improvements on the suspension and continue to make small improvements on our storage, organization, and power systems with no plans of stopping.