Awnings, Decals, and Supports… Oh My!

June 28, 2020 (by Jimmy)

Angela and I have been planning for the summer. My current job project ended earlier this month, and we plan to stay at Shawnee Forest Campground until July 6th. We are then going north to Wisconsin for about a month. New projects are in the till but look to start about the end of summer or the beginning of fall. While waiting for the next project, it seems like a great time to move north to cool down (chase 70s) and enjoy an area of the U.S. that we fell in love with on our trip back in 2017. While at Shawnee Forest Campground, though, we had a few maintenance issues that required attention.

Dad, would you get on with it?

There are three items that we decided should be addressed in addition to some maintenance. We needed to remove the deteriorating decals, to replace the awnings over the three slide-outs, and put in floor supports in the bay beneath the bedroom. All these need to be complete prior to us moving. The oxidized decals have been an eyesore for a long time. Our slide awnings will not survive another move, and we do not want to get out of bed one day and find ourselves standing in the basement.

The decals on the RV have been deteriorating since we bought the RV six years ago. They now make the RV look bad. We decided to remove the decals that were oxidizing the worst. To do this, I bought some ABN rubber eraser wheels. I’m not sure what ABN stands for, but you put this rubber wheel on your drill, and it removes the decal. It takes a lot of elbow grease to make it work, but it totally removes the decal with no destruction of the RV paint. The biggest issue is that some of the adhesive and residual color will stick to the RV. To remove that, I first wash the decal area with soap and water using a soft scrub brush; then apply a product called “Goof Off”. This removes the remaining adhesive, and the result is the underlying paint void of decal and adhesive.

 

Decals Before
Ugly Cracking, Curling, Oxidizing Decals
There it is ABN = Auto Body Now
Decals After

For the other issues we hired a local repair guy. Rodger Hughes runs 618fixmyrv.com. This was the first time we have used someone for annual maintenance other than Shelby RV in Savannah, TN, but we needed an expert for the remaining tasks. If we did not replace the awnings, we feared damage to the RV when pulling the slides in and out, so we did not want to move without addressing this. Our air conditioners are usually maintained in the spring, and our roof is inspected then, too, but Shelby’s repair was closed when we came back from Arizona. We called Rodger, and he said he worked out of Marion (about 30 min away), but he planned to come by on the weekend and would look at it then. He came by, looked at the awnings and AC, provided a rough estimate, and we set-up the repairs. Roger came out with his crew. Of course, I had to harass him about bringing white awnings instead of something colorful, but he and his crew were in good humor and did a great job for us.

Measure, Cut, Attach to Roller, Install, Repeat
Working on Awnings and Air Conditioners
Awning Before
Awning After
The awnings turned out great, although a nice blue would have been cool. We discussed the floor support job after Roger finished the awnings. He took some measurements, made some calculations, and we set-up his return to complete the floor support job. He came back with support jacks, metal grinders, welders, yeah, not a job I could have done myself. He jacked up the floor, put in a support beam to hold it in place, and then welded supports in the floor, so that the floor would not move once the beam was removed. I was impressed. Of course, he asked why I thought the floor sagged, and I did say it was underneath the bed, so… Okay, well, we got a laugh out of it.
Sturdy board for support, tarp for debris, hydraulic jacks to lift support beam
Jacks supporting metal beam to push floor back into place.
Weld and grind supports into place to keep floor solid.
Finished product
Support Before
Support After

I still have a few decals to remove before we leave, but the repairs that were done were required maintenance items that could have kept us from traveling. Hiring Rodger to do what I couldn’t do was a good experience. His team was professional in the work performed and the fee reasonable. When you live in an RV full time, things will break, or you will see things that give you pause. Pay attention and question things that don’t look or sound right. Keep up with your maintenance; you will be glad you did.

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