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Old 05-15-2014, 07:23 PM   #1
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Meet Gertie

So, this isnít a home build or a SMB, but I thought the layout of my van might be of interest to some of the home builders. This is a 1987 Get-Away build on a Ford E-150 that I bought from some dude who lives in the mountains with a beard down to his belly.

It is set up like a hybrid of an RB50 and RB13 (dinette). The dinette table can be placed between the seats, but there is a folding plank on the back that flips forward as a bed board, so you sleep lengthwise.

It has the same back storage as the RB50, and part of the side storage. It could be nice for someone who wants to have a dinette but isnít short enough to sleep width-wise.

I didnít really like the way it was set up because the bed plank created a large wedge in the back when it was folded up. It would work better as a trifold that could be folded flat. I removed it and am using the back platform for the dog (Iíll have a custom pad made for it when I reupholster the dinette).

I will be renovating the interior this summer, and Iíll post if I do something particularly interesting.
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Old 05-15-2014, 09:50 PM   #2
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Re: Meet Gertie

The layout looks like it would be very convenient. How about some more photos of he outside?
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Old 05-16-2014, 09:21 AM   #3
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Re: Meet Gertie

Our buddies had a Getaway van like that, with a Chevy 350 in it. Does yours have the big fixed top?

I remember playing Pinochle with 4 people at the dinette.
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Old 05-16-2014, 01:27 PM   #4
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Re: Meet Gertie

It sure is tall. The extra height is used for the bunk bed. In looking at my interior, I'd be hesitant to try to use a bunk with a voyager top. Even with the extra height, it still feels a little claustrophobic. Ok for kids though.


Here's an exterior and open back shot.
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Old 12-07-2016, 09:02 AM   #5
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Getting started

I spent some time getting to know the van and how I use it. I finally have a little free time and space to begin renovating. Most everything will get either updated or changed. I am hoping to do it somewhat incrementally, working from the top down, so the van is usable during the process.

I have specific goals in the process:
1) To have better insulation.
2) Lighten the vanís load a bit.
3) Have a functioning galley and electricity. Most of the appliances/electrics donít work right now.
4) Moderately reconfigure the layout to suit my needs better. (I have a few, what I hope are, clever ideas about that)
5) Mechanical upgrades will be mostly springs/shocks and such, done at a shop when funds are available.

Up to this point Iíd only done a little bit...

They have a dinette and then a platform in back. The dinette would convert flat and then a hinged cushioned board would unfold over the dinette so you can sleep lengthwise.

I got rid of the folding board, and as it turns out, the platform is an excellent spot for my big dog. I am short so I can sleep widthwise on the dinette. Just removing the cushion board and the particle board table gets rid of 53#. I am using plywood for the dinette bed until I can rebuild it.

I removed the shag carpet and microwave (additions to the original), installed a new house battery (only one 12v plug seems to work in the electrics, and no charge is coming in) and changed the disintegrating curtains. I also installed Fatmat inside the doors. Just that little bit made a huge difference in the rattle level. I replaced the ceiling vent with a fan that temporarily uses said 12v plug. You can see in the fan picture how there is only a thin layer of foam for the ceiling. It is just for the quilting deco, not thermal at all.

I tore out the cabinets and am pulling down the headliner today. Will post when I have the upper insulation in.

btw, I discovered that Get-Away, a Canadian company, still exists and does custom work now.
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Old 12-09-2016, 11:46 AM   #6
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So I removed all the upper cabinets, paneling, and bunk bed platform. I tore out the quilted top, which I was glad to see go. It was damp and mildewed. There is also some leaking in the front left corner. Only one casualty in the removal, the closet, but I was planning on deleting that anyway.

The next step was to put up some furring strips for support and insulate, but that fiberglass is looking mighty thin in places (all the bright spots in the pics). I am not sure if any moisture is getting through. In theory the quilting could have been absorbing it from the atmosphere, but given the left corner was more saturated and that is where there is a big thin spot, I am thinking some seepage is occurring. There are a few pinholes in places I need to seal anyway, but I am toying with the idea of coating the interior with an epoxy like WEST system before I insulate. That would waterproof and reinforce. I donít know much about fiberglass though. Anyone have any thoughts?
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Old 02-06-2017, 07:31 AM   #7
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Things are moving along very slowly in the van. Between the rain and overcast days, there is a lot of condensation that builds up on the interior of the roof, even before I step into the van.

I spread a couple of coats of epoxy to help strengthen and waterproof the top. The fiberglass is very thin in areas and there were a bunch of pin holes throughout. Eventually Iíll need to redo the gel coat on the exterior, but that is a bigger project than I want right now. I used the West System for the interior. It is a neat process.

I started putting up the reflectix, but my sunny, dry days ran out. Iíll have to wait for the next one in about a week. (It feel weird writing those words while living in the Central Valley).

I was going to try to brace the top better by affixing furring strips to create a rib, but the top is too curved to get the wood to fit it properly. It was very creaky last time I went on top, however I donít anticipate having to go up there much, so Iíll let it go.
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Old 02-06-2017, 06:34 PM   #8
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Have you considered Raptor lining the top instead of gel-coating? It's much easier DIY and cheaper also. Plus you can color match it to your van.
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Old 02-06-2017, 07:03 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stillvanin View Post
Have you considered Raptor lining the top instead of gel-coating? It's much easier DIY and cheaper also. Plus you can color match it to your van.
I'll have to look into that more. One of the downsides of gel-coat is I'd probably not be able to keep the dual color of the top. I think the colors are more limited.

Thanks for the tip!
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Old 08-27-2017, 08:36 AM   #10
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I am now finally returning to the tasks I was supposed to finish last Christmas vacation.

My next step is to add some reinforcement to the fiberglass top. I think I have a good plan with balsa wood strips fiberglassed to the roof. I am not sure what would be the best dimensions for the wood.

I am leaning toward 1/2”x2”x48”. Anyone have an opinion? Especially the thickness. 1/4” seems too thin to be effective. I can go up to 3/4” with the vendor I am using. I can also go 3” wide, but I don’t see particular benefit in doing so.

On a separate note, the epoxy coating has done a great job in keeping out moisture. I wasn't sure if the moisture in the van was solely condensation or if water was seeping through the thin areas of the roof. Turns out seepage was a big culprit. It filled in all the pinholes too.
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