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 > Your search for posts made by 'HMS Beagle' found 64 matches.

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  Subject Author Date Posted Forum
RE: Time to Develop a Solution for Scissor Stairs (Bigfoots)

I like it!. There would need to be some way to lock it in the middle, or it will migrate to the side while you drive. I would not depend on the square tube bumper for much strength, it is not attached to the shell with that in mind.
HMS Beagle 11/24/20 09:39am Truck Campers
RE: NL Skylight lug broke off

If this is a Heki skylight, it is par for the course. The Heki is a great idea, poorly executed from cheap materials. They work fine as long as they are never in the sun..... Again if Heki, parts are available from Dometic USA for an exorbitant sum and long lead times. Cheaper and quicker on European eBay sites.
HMS Beagle 11/01/20 04:30pm Truck Campers
RE: Time to Develop a Solution for Scissor Stairs (Bigfoots)

This is what I did on my BF10.4: One difficulty with the BF basement campers is the basement door must remain accessible, but placing the first step below it is a very large first step down from the door. I've used this since 2013 and it has worked very well. On my prior BF9.6, I built something slightly similar, but it was mounted on a hitch extension instead of the camper. The scissors steps are much more stable and safe feeling, if they are rigidly attached. If you are up this way you are welcome to have a look and a try. There is a simple video demonstrating.
HMS Beagle 11/01/20 11:59am Truck Campers
RE: Firestone Ride-Rite Airspring Defective Design Bent Brackets

To be fair, they are built to a price point. The bags they are using have approximately 5" of travel between fully extended and bottomed. A typical pickup has 10 or 11" of travel in the leaf springs. You do not use 11" of travel for bumps (typically), the springs are made that soft so that the ride isn't unreasonably harsh when empty, yet can still carry a load by compressing them. This compression is the sag that air bag helpers attempt to limit. The problem is the bags must be set at a height that does not overextend them when empty, nor bottom them when loaded, and this is a large compromise: if set to not over extend, about 1/2 of the load carrying ability of the steel springs cannot be used as the air bag bottoms. If set to use all of the load carrying of the springs without bottoming, they will overextend when unloaded. You are instructed to install them in the former way, but then must run higher pressures and higher loads on the air bags to keep from bottoming them. That results in the high and very progressive total spring rate that people complain about with air bags. A related problem is that the stiffness of an airbag is proportional to its installed height for a given load carrying ability. On true air suspensions the bags are 10" or more high. It isn't possible to do that on a pickup using the inexpensive brackets that these kits use. I've installed 6 of these kits over the years, they have their place in eliminating sag for not much money, but they come with significant limitations. On my current truck I installed true air suspension and the difference is huge.
HMS Beagle 10/30/20 09:27am Truck Campers
RE: Firestone Ride-Rite Airspring Defective Design Bent Brackets

I have for years believed that the Firestone brackets were under engineered. It is just a poor design all around. I had one set that I attempted to install on an F350, no way it was going to work well, even hoping that no damage was done to anything. I called the tech support line and the guy that answered said that they had sold thousands of them and never recorded a complaint. Of course, he took no notes, no name, was not interested in the details at all. Proving that if you do not record any complaints, you can say on the next phone call, "we've never recorded a complaint". Air suspension works extremely well, and all HD pickups really should have it. But the air bag band aids sold by Firestone and Air Lift are for the most part very poorly engineered. The bracketry is weak, and the design limits suspension travel to a fraction of what it is supposed to be.
HMS Beagle 10/27/20 06:08pm Truck Campers
RE: Fixing the skylight on BF10.4 - picture heavy

I know what you mean. I've got a fair amount of work into fixing the issues with this one and making it more useable for me. A new camper would be starting all over again. That's why I've thought about building one from scratch, that is also a very large effort. But it would be designed not to leak and be maintainable, both are qualities lacking in the commercially available offerings.
HMS Beagle 10/17/20 10:33am Truck Campers
RE: Fixing the skylight on BF10.4 - picture heavy

OP, Very nice work and pro finish! The 5th picture down you said "Note that they somewhat missed the hole required of the shower." What were you referring to? Thanks, Joe I suspect that this camper, built in 2008 but purchased new by me in 2013, was very early in the 10.4 production. Maybe the first. If you look at the picture there is a 5 inch gap between the opening in the shower (covered by plywood in the picture) and the roof, and the skylight flange only overlapped that side by 3/4". On the other side, 3". Basically, they missed. When I did the living room remodel on the other thread there were some similar boo-boos hidden under the carpet. They had cut a piece of floor away, realized they went too far, then stuck it back together bridging the cut with a million staples. By the time you've built the 5th one or so, you probably don't make these mistakes. I'm not ragging on Bigfoot, still the best camper made in my opinion (at least for less than 100K). It's just that the bar in the RV industry is so very low, you don't have to do much to be above the bar. width=640
HMS Beagle 10/16/20 05:17pm Truck Campers
RE: Fixing the skylight on BF10.4 - picture heavy

There is no reason, none, that they can't fab a curved base for the skylight. I've thought if I ever ordered a new Bigfoot I would delete the skylight. The only excuse I can think of is that they use the same mold (I think) for the 10.4 and 10.6, with the shower in different places. This is easily handled with a mold insert. Honestly with a weeks work on the mold they could improve their product significantly. It would cost them very little extra for each camper. I did order a new one years ago, a 9.6 and told them I wanted no roof penetrations: no rack, no antenna, no ladder, etc. It came with the ladder, required for fire egress I was told. This one, purchased new-old-stock, has a bunch of extra potential leaks.
HMS Beagle 10/16/20 05:06pm Truck Campers
RE: Fixing the skylight on BF10.4 - picture heavy

I eliminated over 30 screw holes - many of which were stripped at the factory anyway - and I think any leaks associated with these penetrations. It could have been done so much easier at the factory with minor mods to their mold. If they simply put a molded plinth of about 1/2" tall under each penetration, they would eliminate probably 99% of the leaks, even with the cheap caulk and all the screws, because water runs downhill.
HMS Beagle 10/16/20 02:30pm Truck Campers
RE: Fixing the skylight on BF10.4 - picture heavy

The flanges where trimmed so they no longer overlap. This left almost no flange on part of the plumbing vent cap, but I am confident it will never leak, until gravity fails and the water can climb over the tube bonded inside. width=640
HMS Beagle 10/16/20 02:26pm Truck Campers
RE: Fixing the skylight on BF10.4 - picture heavy

The edge of exposed epoxy was painted with PU paint, as epoxy has poor UV resistance. The skylight was set in 3M 4000UV sealant, and no screws were used at all. The sealant is far stronger than the screws, and does not involve drilling 20 leaks into the roof. The new plumbing vent cover was set the same way. It would have looked better if I'd cleaned all the old sealant off the top of the skylight flange, but a little bit of it was still stuck well, and heck - nobody will see it anyway. width=640
HMS Beagle 10/16/20 02:19pm Truck Campers
RE: Fixing the skylight on BF10.4 - picture heavy

The frame was set in West Six10 epoxy. I've already removed the masking tape protecting the roof from squeeze out. The tape going left (towards the camper centerline) is to prevent the frame from sliding off of the roof in the wet epoxy as it sets width=640 width=640
HMS Beagle 10/16/20 02:15pm Truck Campers
RE: Fixing the skylight on BF10.4 - picture heavy

Here is a view along the contoured edge, You can see the curve of the roof which the flat skylight flange was asked to accommodate. The curve is approximately 3/8", either the flange and skylight must bend that much or you would have to have that much caulk at the ends. width=640
HMS Beagle 10/16/20 02:13pm Truck Campers
RE: Fixing the skylight on BF10.4 - picture heavy

Fiberglass sheet like this is very strong, but can be cleaved between layers easily. To limit the grinding, I plowed slots at the appropriate depth every 3" or so, then chiseled out the waste and cleaned it up by grinding. It doesn't need to be perfect as it will be set in a bed of thickened epoxy which will fill in the gaps. width=640
HMS Beagle 10/16/20 02:10pm Truck Campers
RE: Fixing the skylight on BF10.4 - picture heavy

My fix involved cutting a frame from some 1/2" G10 fiberglass sheet, then cutting and grinding the curve of the roof into the bottom of it, leaving the top flat. Grinding fiberglass is an unpleasant chore, obviously they could have molded this shape into the fiberglass shell with no effort at all at the factory. width=640
HMS Beagle 10/16/20 02:08pm Truck Campers
RE: Fixing the skylight on BF10.4 - picture heavy

I removed the skylight and cleaned up the mess. The gelcoat was sanded back in preparation for the fix. Note that they somewhat missed the hole required of the shower. width=640
HMS Beagle 10/16/20 02:06pm Truck Campers
RE: Fixing the skylight on BF10.4 - picture heavy

Of course the cheap RV caulking that was used on top of the skylight flange had long since failed. While this is secondary to the butyl, it does no good at all at sealing, and only makes cleaning it off a messy chore. width=640
HMS Beagle 10/16/20 02:04pm Truck Campers
RE: Fixing the skylight on BF10.4 - picture heavy

First step was to fix the plumbing vent. I cut a short piece of G10 fiberglass tube, slightly enlarged the hole in the roof to fit, and sanded the gel coat back for a good bond. Then bonded the tube into the hole with a fillet of thickened epoxy. Even with no caulking at all, this creates a 1.5" wall that water will have to climb to get into the roof. width=640 width=640
HMS Beagle 10/16/20 02:02pm Truck Campers
Fixing the skylight on BF10.4 - picture heavy

Bigfoot builds a very nice camper shell, then severely compromises it by how they install the roof penetrations. The skylight in the shower on mine leaked just once (wind? tilted the right direction?), I wanted to fix it permanently. There were two basic design issues: the skylight flange is flat and the roof curved, and they attempted to overlap the flanges of the skylight and plumbing vent cover. This resulted in gaps of more than half an inch, which were expected to stay sealed (at least until the warrantee expired) with a huge pile of butyl caulking tape. It did not last long. width=640
HMS Beagle 10/16/20 02:00pm Truck Campers
RE: I remodeled my BF10.4 living room - picture heavy

Typical good seating has about 3-5 deg slope to the seat, and 20 degrees slope to the back. Typical camper dinette is 0 and 90. They are forced to do it so that the cushions can double as a mattress on the occasion when the dinette is converted to a bed. An occasion that never happens in our (and I suspect, many) campers. The aforementioned BF 5th wheel had a huge U shaped dinette across the back, with picture windows on 3 sides. We never used the back of the U, and ended up taking the cushion off of it leaving it at home, used the seat for storage.
HMS Beagle 10/12/20 06:32pm Truck Campers
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