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2015 Rockwood A122S Pop-up Camper rebuild

Discussion in 'Other Builds' started by 2DaMtns, Feb 8, 2020.

  1. Feb 8, 2020 at 5:36 PM
    #1
    2DaMtns

    2DaMtns [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Lift, tires, stuff
    My wife and I bought this camper a few months ago for a trip to Yellowstone this fall (and a lot of other trips). It's in good shape and lightly used and we got it for a good price.

    KIMG0286.jpg

    KIMG0287.jpg

    KIMG0150.jpg

    Well here it is 3 months later and the project is almost done. I'm updating to post a stripped down pic and a pic from today to bookend the build thread.

    At its worst:
    KIMG0281.jpg
    KIMG0283.jpg


    And a couple from today, 5/10:

    KIMG0259.jpg
    KIMG0258.jpg
    KIMG0271.jpg
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2020
  2. Feb 8, 2020 at 5:45 PM
    #2
    Casper66

    Casper66 grumpy ass

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    Culpeper, Va.
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    piddly stuff
    Pretty nice little campers. We camped across from somebody with one a couple of years ago it was a cool setup
     
  3. Feb 8, 2020 at 5:50 PM
    #3
    2DaMtns

    2DaMtns [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Lift, tires, stuff
    We set it up last Sunday to look at relocating the microwave, and we were thinking about putting a new top on the counter and dinette table. That turned into this...

    KIMG0283.jpg

    KIMG0282.jpg

    For reference, this is the original layout:

    2013_ForestRiver_RockwoodHardSide_A122S.jpg

    And here are some pics of what these look like stock.
    01414_khLfDAxQ4mE_600x450.jpg

    00b0b_4rAN22TVj43_600x450.jpg
    00c0c_bkrmRdoyLts_600x450.jpg

    During the process, and what partially led to this, we discovered some water had leaked in various places. Pretty sure I'm gonna replace the floor, but I'm still looking at to decide. I'm also gonna get some quotes from some welding shops about lowering the axle so I can put bigger tires on it so we can get 4-6" more of ground clearance out of it.

    For the build out, we're basically gonna make this a hard sided tent palace. We're putting in a queen bed, waterproof woodgrain floor, custom built cabinets, counters, dinette, and storage. We have a Camp Chef outdoor stove that we'll use outside when the weather is nice, and use on the counter inside if the weather is bad. We're gonna have a microwave and toaster oven/air fryer in it as well. We're doing away with the fridge, sink, water heater and water system in general, as well as the audio system. All we're keeping from the original layout is the a/c, heater, and lights. We're gonna strip the contact paper of the walls and paint them and use much nicer wood for the build out, as well as nicer hardware on the cabinets and such. It's way more than we intended to do or we probably would have bought a shittier one to start with, but, what the hell. We're going for it.
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2020
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  4. Feb 8, 2020 at 5:52 PM
    #4
    2DaMtns

    2DaMtns [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Lift, tires, stuff
    I also am going to reseal the skylights, add a roof rack for carrying fishing kayaks, and probably a solar setup. I'm also contemplating either redoing the rear bumper, or adding a custom rack to it for carrying gas cans, maybe mountain bikes, who knows.
     
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  5. Feb 8, 2020 at 5:52 PM
    #5
    Casper66

    Casper66 grumpy ass

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    Culpeper, Va.
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    '15 DCSB TRD Sport 4wd super white (sold) '13 access cab SR5 4wd
    piddly stuff
    The campers are fun to work on but having to rebuild so much IDK if that would be fun or not. On the bright side you get to make it like you want it
     
    Philrab likes this.
  6. Feb 8, 2020 at 5:54 PM
    #6
    2DaMtns

    2DaMtns [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, I'm actually looking forward to it. Figured if we do it right the first time, it ought last us 15-20 years.
     
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  7. Feb 8, 2020 at 5:56 PM
    #7
    Casper66

    Casper66 grumpy ass

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    piddly stuff
    Oh I would say so especially if you have a good place to store it. mine is outside with a cheapo car cover over it right now. I need to get it under roof
     
  8. Feb 8, 2020 at 6:00 PM
    #8
    2DaMtns

    2DaMtns [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Lift, tires, stuff
    We'll get it under storage once it's done. Our damn driveway is too steep to back it into the garage.

    It may fit if I redo the axle and put bigger tires on it.
     
    Casper66 likes this.
  9. Feb 10, 2020 at 7:43 AM
    #9
    Crfdude86

    Crfdude86 Well-Known Member

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    Those little campers are sweet!
     
  10. Mar 7, 2020 at 10:09 AM
    #10
    2DaMtns

    2DaMtns [OP] Well-Known Member

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    It has begun!

    KIMG0014.jpg
     
  11. Mar 9, 2020 at 9:15 PM
    #11
    2DaMtns

    2DaMtns [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Lift, tires, stuff
    Progress is being made, though it seems slow. I hope to make major progress tomorrow. A lot of prep and stuff that isn't terribly obvious yet.

    Contact paper stripped, and taped for paint:
    KIMG0022.jpg

    3 coats of paint on. The parts that aren't painted are going to be storage areas that I will probably line with the same flooring we use on the floor. Kind of an eyesore for now, but I'll cope.
    KIMG0027.jpg

    KIMG0026.jpg


    The corners were all a little soft. I contemplated replacing the floor, but this thing is made in a way that makes that hard. They make the frame, then put a one piece floor down, then put the walls on top of it. So, instead of tearing it all apart, or piecing a floor together under the wall, I bought some Minwax Wood Hardener and treated the soft areas. It dries clear so not much to see.

    KIMG0024.jpg

    A previous owner thought silicone was a good idea. It wasn't. I pulled the ceiling fan and all three skylights.
    KIMG0037.jpg

    KIMG0031.jpg

    KIMG0029.jpg


    Peeled all the decals and a bunch of unneeded stickers off of it.
    KIMG0012.jpg

    KIMG0034.jpg


    Soon to come: flooring, new skylights and ceiling fan, reseal all the seams on the outside, new axle, then build out the inside.

    Teaser pic of the Timbren axle-less suspension.

    KIMG0040.jpg
    Two of these go on, with no axle between them (this is possible because they're going on right under a frame crossmember). It's all bolt on. I also got new 4" lift spindles, brakes, and 6x5.5 hubs. They're rated for 3500 lb. For reference, the nut shown is 1.5" and the steel plate is either 1/4" or 3/8. This setup is pretty cool and seems super stout. I think I'll end up with something between 9-12 inches of lift total, between the suspension sitting lower, the lift spindles, and whatever size tire I go with. It'll all still tuck into the factory wheel well. The lack of an axle across it will effectively increase its clearance too. I'm certainly looking forward to getting it done and getting it out in the woods.
     
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  12. Mar 16, 2020 at 8:36 AM
    #12
    2DaMtns

    2DaMtns [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Lift, tires, stuff
    Got the flooring, heater, and AC in:

    KIMG0063.jpg KIMG0062.jpg KIMG0060.jpg KIMG0061.jpg


    Finally got the axles under it. Had to do way more grinding and cutting than I realized going in.
    KIMG0064.jpg

    Had to cut the spacer along the bottom of the frame rail shown here to keep the bolt holes away from the seam:
    KIMG0049.jpg

    And I had to notch the weld of this support bracket on each side to get enough clearance for the axle:
    KIMG0048.jpg
     
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  13. Mar 16, 2020 at 8:42 AM
    #13
    2DaMtns

    2DaMtns [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Lift, tires, stuff
    Next was deciding on a wheel and tire combo. I originally wanted to use a 17" wheel with tires between my wife's stock 2019 4runner Off-Road and my truck with OME lift and 255/80/17s. I ended up abandoning this idea for a few reasons. The wheel well on the trailer is only 10.5 inches wide. The new axle pushes the hub face out an inch compared to stock. The only way I could get such a wheel/tire combo to work would be to cut the side out of the trailer wall, seal it up, and put fender flares on it. I think that would look dumb, and it would be hard to keep it from leaking. Also, the new suspension has a 4" lift spindle on it, so I think a 31-32 inch tire is gonna put this thing too high for my wife to climb in and might get real squirrelly on the highway. I mounted a stock 4runner wheel on the hub and found that the wheel is gonna rub on the outside of the wheel well and the wall of the camper. The stock wheel has 15mm offset. Since the new axle pushes the hub face out an inch (25mm), I decided to search for cheap wheels with 40mm offset. I figured that deep of an offset would rub the suspension on the 4runner and/or truck, so I then decided to completely abandon the idea of having wheels/tires on the trailer that I could use on the vehicles. This also let me consider 15 and 16 inch wheels since I didn't have to worry about clearing brakes on the vehicles. So I did a few hours of research and found that the stock steel wheels for a 2001-2003 Xterra are 15x7 with 40mm offset and a 6x5.5 bolt pattern. I found an aftermarket replacement wheel trough AutoZone for like $60 a wheel and will be ordering them this evening.

    I'm still debating tire size. I think I'm gonna go with a 215/75/15 to start with. That'll be a couple inches bigger than the 185/80/13 that were on the trailer and will hopefully fill the wheel well enough to not look ridiculous. I'm hoping the extra 30mm of width also helps highway manners. If I need something bigger, then I'll either modify the wheel well area or try a 7.00-15 bias tire.
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2020
  14. Mar 16, 2020 at 8:52 AM
    #14
    2DaMtns

    2DaMtns [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Lift, tires, stuff
    We've had it in the garage of my wife's friend for the mods so far. I hope to get the ceiling vent and skylights reinstalled and get wheels and tires on it this Friday. Then I'll pull it home either Saturday or Sunday and start the interior build. That'll be the fun part (I hope).
     
  15. Mar 20, 2020 at 5:25 PM
    #15
    2DaMtns

    2DaMtns [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Lift, tires, stuff
    Got tires mounted on the wheels and got them mounted today. Upsized from a 185/80/13 to 205/75/15. That gave me another 2.5 inches in height, and 0.8 inches in width. The 4" lift spindle, axle, and tires gave me about 6-7 inches of lift on it.

    KIMG0078.jpg

    KIMG0079.jpg


    The 40mm offset is about perfect. 35mm would have worked. Almost went with stock Tacoma steel wheels with 30mm offset. I think they would have rubbed.
    KIMG0081.jpg
    KIMG0082.jpg

    Also sealed the ceiling vent and the new skylights today. She comes home tomorrow!
     
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  16. Mar 23, 2020 at 4:26 PM
    #16
    2DaMtns

    2DaMtns [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Lift, tires, stuff
    Progress has been slow and I've had my first major complications. The frame isn't strong enough to support the weight of the camper with this axle system with no crossmember, which I found out by almost losing one side of the axle when I pulled it home. I think it's still salvageable. The axle was designed to make it easy to add a 2" x 3" crossmember, and it sits so high off the ground it doesn't impact ground clearance, so that's only a mild mess up, I hope. That all happened Saturday. I got real pissed after the axle and decided I didn't want to mess with it so I came inside and killed some time in the house. At 2pm it was really nice outside, so I went out to start on it.

    I set it up and this happened a few minutes later:
    KIMG0084.jpg

    It was a nice day so I put the skylight aside and started working on the interior build. What I got done Saturday didn't look like much so I didn't take any pictures. I redid the rear skylight and decided to let it cure for a full day and then some to keep it from falling out again.

    Sunday I took the day off and spent it with my wife. This morning, it was cold and rainy. The weather broke at 10am so I went out to start on it. The weather went from so sunny I wondered where my sunblock was to rain, hail, freezing rain, and wind gusts. The first rain came and went and there were no leaks in the skylights or ceiling vent so I thought I was golden. Then it came a downpour and the rear skylight started leaking like crazy. I got a little work done but eventually got tired of the weather and having to move buckets under the leaks and everything else, so I called it a day. It was a really frustrating weekend.

    However, a little progress is being made:

    KIMG0086.jpg

    KIMG0087.jpg
     
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  17. Apr 6, 2020 at 6:33 PM
    #17
    2DaMtns

    2DaMtns [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Lift, tires, stuff
    I'm still working despite the quarantine because I'm "essential." Took this past weekend off to spend with my wife. I'm off all this week because I was supposed to go see my family. Rather than pick up shifts, I'm dedicating it to the camper. Got some time in on it today.

    Frame work for the bed is about done. Ran out of 1x2's or I would have framed out the cabinets. This is all 1x2 construction but is really solid because of all the corner braces. You'll notice most are wood with a couple metal ones. Tried the metal first and wasn't satisfied so I just cut a bunch of scraps into braces. I'll replace the metal ones before I'm done.
    KIMG0102.jpg
    KIMG0104.jpg
    KIMG0103.jpg

    Since I ran out of 1x2's and didn't feel like going to the lumber yard, I started cutting some plywood.

    KIMG0105.jpg


    I also cut and screwed in the panel that goes across under the bed, behind the AC there, but forgot to take a final pic.

    I'm finally getting into the funner stages (for me) and have a few cool features planned. Hoping to have daily updates for the next several days.
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2020
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  18. Apr 9, 2020 at 7:11 PM
    #18
    2DaMtns

    2DaMtns [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Worked on it Tuesday but forgot to post. My wife was off yesterday so I spent the day with her. Got another full day in today. Starting to look like a camper again.


    KIMG0115.jpg
    Bed, bed side table that covers the wheel well, and counter top. Those dark strips in the back are the hinges, not gaps.



    KIMG0116.jpg
    The counter top isn't attached yet. That overhanging portion on the left will be cut off and attached with folding shelf brackets so the bed can go up and down, but we can have the extra counter space when needed. Might do another folding shelf on the right side too.



    KIMG0117.jpg
    These three holes are for the AC vents. The space under the counter will include a microwave and storage, of course.


    KIMG0118.jpg
    The wood panel just to the left off the AC duct holes will have the air return in it eventually. Thought I'd be able to cut some slots in the part where the vents are but I didn't have room to do it without it looking stupid. There will be a panel across the front of the open area too.


    KIMG0119.jpg
    Seat boxes. The table top will double as an extra bed, of course. Storage underneath both sides.


    KIMG0120.jpg
    This side was made identical to the other, but it just wouldn't come together quite square. Its taking some creative cutting to get everything to look decent enough. I'm gonna have to cheat a little to have the table top/bed platform be square but still fit between the seats tight and safely.


    KIMG0121.jpg
    This is the heater and fuse box. All the wiring is hooked back up. I need to cut out the front panel for the heater, get the fuse box mounted, and clean up the wiring. The furnace and fuse box will be boxed in so the rest of this can be used for storage. The opening in the back right is where the water heater originally was.


    Getting closer!

    KIMG0122.jpg
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2020
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  19. Apr 10, 2020 at 7:58 PM
    #19
    2DaMtns

    2DaMtns [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Lift, tires, stuff
    Today, I got the panel cut out for mounting the heater, fuse panel, and an electrical outlet. Lots of measuring and thinking to make sure I got it right. Don't have a pic but it was like an hour two of fooling with it to get it just right.

    Started putting some carpet down on the bed platform and under it. It's only part way done and looks kind of shitty, so no pics of that either.

    Got my tabletop made and mounted. This is one of my first surprise touches.

    Table configuration:
    KIMG0125.jpg

    Spare bed configuration:
    KIMG0127.jpg

    This rail is what helps stabilize the table top when it's set up in that configuration:
    KIMG0126.jpg

    This is the same kind of rail that is on the outside of the camper where the flimsy gas grill hangs for outside use. That allows me to take the table top outside and use it as an outdoor table.
    KIMG0129.jpg

    I need to put a longer leg or make some kind of block to make this work outside. I'm surprised how stable the set up is. We have a big 3 burner camp chef stove and I think it will be fine using it on here. There is a gas hook up in that round hatch under the table. Should be a nice setup for cooking. I think I might make a longer table that can hook on here that will be covered in food safe plastic so I can use it to clean fish and game outside.
     
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  20. Apr 11, 2020 at 7:56 PM
    #20
    2DaMtns

    2DaMtns [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Lift, tires, stuff
    Another day, another update. This thing is taking a long time, but I'm trying to make sure I do it right.

    Got all that mess of wires in the one seat a little more organized.

    Spent several hours redoing the cabinet over the wheel well beside the bed. It was one of the first things I built that required more than just standard measuring and I didn't check its squareness and realized when I started cutting panels to cover it that it was too far off for me to let go. I like the new version a lot better, and the fire extinguisher is more secure in the vertical position compared to the previous horizontal position.
    KIMG0134.jpg KIMG0135.jpg


    Got the microwave mocked up. This picture looks weird, and might look like I have no idea what I'm doing. I decided to go a different direction so it looks a bit odd, but it'll all come together in the end.
    KIMG0133.jpg


    Got the counter top put on and put on this flip up shelf on the left hand side as you're facing the counter. I have to adjust the counter and shelf forward 3/4 inch so the cabinet doors I'll build will sit flush with the front of the counter. But this gives you an idea.
    Down:
    KIMG0130.jpg

    Up:
    KIMG0131.jpg

    Down with the bed folded down:
    KIMG0132.jpg


    And got one retractable clothesline put up. I have a second one somewhere. I'll get it installed when I find it.
    KIMG0137.jpg
    KIMG0136.jpg


    It's funny how the little pieces of a project make it all worthwhile. The folding shelf and clothesline really made me happy when I got them done.
     
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