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The Waki Way - Living full-time in a motor home

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We always seem to get asked the same questions about living somewhat off grid in a motor home, to which the answers seem to spark a dozen more questions! So (to give our voices a rest!) here's the answers to our most frequently asked questions...

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The Over-cab Section

Posted 15/3/2012

The over-cab section is essentially our bedroom so we want it to be as warm and sturdy as possible. We were originally going to just cap over what was already there with a heavy duty plywood board and pop our mattress on top, but investigations at the weekend revealed yet more rot so it had to all come out as well. Much to my dismay it also meant that a piece of plywood that we had already put up had to come back off to get to the corner :S

I came home from work the other day to what looked like a disaster zone as Ryan on his day off had torn most of the rotten soggy battens out from the bed section, pulled off the plywood and also a lot of the insulation to get at it all! Not only were the battens rotten but the metal itself was very corroded, and even had some small holes in the curved part at the front. I got the last pieces of the plywood chiselled off of the bed platform and cut out the old bed framework.

While I was on the roof painting (see 'The Roof - part 2'), Ryan got it all cleaned up and sanded down. He also applied a good coat of zinc chromate (an anti-corrosion aluminium primer) as we had done on other areas of corroded metal that were uncovered, though none of them were quite as bad as this part! It still needs filling to plug the holes, Ryan said he wants to use fibreglass for that part - it withstands flexing better than bodywork filler and that area does get the full force of the wind and weather when driving, which is probably why it's so bad.

The previous bed design consisted of three sections of mattress, the middle one of which slotted above the curved part of the cab ceiling. This was useful for walking into the cab to get in and out of your driving seats if the bed wasn't in use, though I always did seem to forget that the floor dropped away there and would mostly fall into the passenger seat! As we will be using that bed full time we are building a solid bed platform so won't be able to use the headroom there, but hopefully it means I'll take better care ducking into the cab in future!

The upholstered edging to the curved cab ceiling stood above on the platform at nearly an inch, and as headroom is a very precious resource to us now we realised that it would be a waste of valuable space to put the plywood board on top of the upholstery!

Coach-builders dateCoach-builders dateI decided to undo the fabric and padded covering and take off the protruding lip so that the board could go on flat to the existing platform.With the lip gone I pulled the fabric back over the edge and glued and stapled it down again, like new! :)

An interesting discovery was the date hand-written by Waki's makers on one of the wooden layers under the fabric 10-9-85!

                                                                  * * * * * *

As I'm writing Ryan is sitting on top of the bed platform putting the insulation back into the corner wall. The bed now has a new framework in place and the heavy plywood boards cut to size though still needs fixing down permanently, but the curved section of the over-cab needs to be finished first. We have also been investigating the walls around the sofa window and into the kitchen which has unearthed a few areas that need replacing too but that's for another day.

Thanks for reading, night night! :)

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About us:

My name is Sarah and in 2011 my husband Ryan and I decided to buy and re-fit an old motor home - we named it Waki and now live in it full time in the UK!

We live neither on or off-grid, rather somewhere in between, and are not the first and I dare say not the last to choose this way of life... read more>> 

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