Structure repair questions, Fleetwood Caribou

dfrank

Observer
I have a Fleetwood Caribou, I believe from '98.

It has the worst rot under the fridge, compromising the hold down, and really all the undersides of the raised bottoms are failing as is the rear floor where it extends beyond the bed. Its the 11-6 variety with a big rear overhang.

I just put a flat bed on the truck under it, and am weighing my options for extending the life of this unit.

Part of me wants to drop the tanks off the rear, and make an 8x11-6 tube steel floor to support the bottom, and shore up the sides with permanent boxes, either all wood, or maybe steel angle and tube to keep the box doors more open.

As it sits now, small kayaks fit in these spaces, which is great, but ultimately not the best use of the space.

I'd like to do a full custom build, but I don't have the time to devote to that yet.

This unit is still very nice in function and appearance, despite the mostly hidden damage.

I am leary of investing too much on the shore up project, but also don't want to buy another used unit thats likely to end up with most of the same issues.

Shoring this one up is what I need to do; I just need to decide how thouroughly to do it.

I am a framing carpenter by trade, so the wood shore up ideas will be the easiest and cheapest for me to implement, but I think we may need the strength of the steel to really address the failures, at least as far as the rear overhang goes.

I'll add some pictures as I get started.

Thanks for any ideas, especially if someone has done something very similar.

Dave
 

Mundo4x4Casa

West slope, N. Ser. Nev.
Dave,
You seem to be the guy to do this project. My local RV guru/rebuilder has an industrial stapler that he used to repair my aging, wood framed Lance. This is the same gun that the factory uses. Before and after:


There are a couple capable men on here that have rebuilt campers at home. Maybe one of them will chime in with any pitfalls.
jefe
 
I've helped replace a fridge floor and frame on one of these. It started rotting because the roof vent was cracked and it let water drip down onto the wood. It's a job but sealing everything back up is where you're going to need to pay attention. Pull off all the old putty tape from everything and anything you removed. Make sure your surface is clean. Then use 100% silicone to seal it back up. Do not reuse the putty tape. If you have a rubber roof on it and want to seal up around the vents. Do not use silicone. Use lap sealant.

Sent from my WJ
 

dfrank

Observer
Thanks. for better or worse, I have continuous panels of of fiberglass not lap siding.

My fridge hatch is right where your propane is, but it looks like we have the same rotten frame board where you replaced that one.

I am reluctant to open it up quite that far, as it seems The corner jack mounts might never go back quite right, and peeling the full panel siding risks cracking it. I am curious how much steel is hiding in my corner, but assume it matches the lance in that regard, as it seems to have stolen every last detail from lance down to the spice racks and trim providers.

I've drilled out my jack mounts to use as anchor points, but I need to add some anchor points to the flat bed, to get them more equal and opposite as far as front to back angles. Note the 45 angled front chains vs the rear straps that are almost plumb. I assume they work better when both angle down and to the middle at similar angles.

I'd like them angled in a bit as well, but that wlil compromise the newly gained storage area, and it is harder to make an anchor in on the deck.

Will it help much to have them angled in towards the middle?

I read where someone just bolts the floor down, and omits the tie down entirely. It seems way stronger to secure it up higher as originally designed.

The attached photos show the gist of the issues, though the under fridge pic already has had the trim sucked back up an inch or so with 4" screws.

The white tape on the bottom, seals 2" of rigid blue foam under it which was needed for shimming above the old truck bed (sold last night thank you!) as well as for R value, as we do use it all winter.

I plan to replace this with a more structural tray of either wood or steel tubing.

I am thinking that I should drop the tanks and run flat tube steel the full 11-6 length right along the outside of the bottom, then keep foam in the middle.

How are the tanks actually connected? Will it be challenging to "jamb" extend them 2" lower?

I might also just ditch the tanks entirely and do a cassette and a grey drain, as we never camp in RV lots, and can usually just run a drain hose.

Thanks for any thoughts.
 

Attachments

Last edited:
Top