Off of the Grid


In the Summer of 2011, we purchased a used 28-foot class-C motor home. It had some water damage, grime, and mechanical problems. But it also had the following things we were looking for (but did not find) in other RVs:

  • Diesel engine (so we can run it off BioDiesel or recycled frying oil)
  • Propane generator (quieter than the gasoline or diesel equivalent)
  • An aft bedroom, suitable for use as the baby’s own room (we have claimed the sometimes-bedroom area for ourselves)
  • A purchase price lower than $6000 (this was the most we could ask for the sale price of our previous vehicle. We ended up getting a little more than half that amount. Fortunately, we got a break on the purchase price as well)
All of our possessions, that would not fit in our new home, were donated, recycled, or thrown away. We packed up what we had left and headed East to our friend’s house, where we started the repair/rebuild/remodel process.
We tore off the skin and found rust and rot. We kept tearing until we reached the edges of the rust and rot. Then we started replacing the rusted and rotted with new construction. We sorted the screws in sandwich bags for later re-use. We labeled each wire we encountered so that we could hook it back up later. We started out with a plan to relocate the fresh water tank so that the baby’s room was no longer burdened with it (it was under the master bed in the aft bedroom).
Just the fresh water tank relocation alone was a big task. We experimented with several places to put it before we found room for it under one of the bench seats aft of the cab.
The plumbing was all proprietary and therefore not compatible with the stuff you can pick up at any hardware store. Even the RV parts shops had nothing compatible with the pipes we found in this rig. Fortunately, the pipes all terminated with standard threaded connectors, to which we were able to connect PEX plumbing and standard household fixtures).
The wiring was all tangled into a dusty mass. We tore out all of the redundant lines and unified the connections. We installed tamper-proof GFCI outlets in the lav and baby’s room (with child safety covers). There was a thick cluster of wires in the corner of the shower stall (behind the faucets, of all places). By unifying the connections (and installing new faucets on the other side) we freed up that wasted corner and made the shower stall bigger.
(more to come…)

2 responses

  1. patric horner

    Haven’t check your site in some time. I liked your rebuilding process. I have to do the same thing, over cab leak and I hope it is at a clearance light easy to fix. How about this 670,000 hits on google for motorhome leak? That tells me something.
    So how is the new trans working out? Are you going to get the ford type, so that ford will stand behind it anywhere you go?
    Wish ours was diesel. We’ve got a 5.4 triton, which barely gets up some hills, but love it just the same.

    November 7, 2011 at 5:42 am

    • Hi Patric,
      The new transmission has taken us almost 2000 miles and all is well. 🙂


      December 13, 2011 at 5:49 am

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