View Full Version : The journey on our 2012 Elkridge 36QBCK - big read... sorry

04-21-2015, 11:23 PM
A little prelude before going into the mods because the ideas came up from the necessity of keeping cost down while maintaining some key aspects that our family needed. We had roughly a 35k budget to buy a 5th wheel that could accommodate our family of 6 (Mom,Dad, 2 teens and 2 toddlers). We had previously a Class-A 03 Winnie Adventurer which was OK but we ended up having to switch the dinette to sleeping quarters and back each day and that got really old with my teens who would rather sleep until 11am. So we ended up purchasing a 'project' 2012 Elkridge 36QBCK (bunk house with second 1/2 bath). Project, because it was in bad shape on the inside. The previous owner had dogs and the smell was so strong that another couple that were interested in the rig immediately walked away and said this thing should be burned down to the sales person as they walked off. We too were distgusted by the smell, but I saw the potential.

The bad:
The bunk house bedding was torn, the mattresses smelled like dog urine, the slideout fascia closest to the door was ripped off from the frame (the door seemed to have been caught behind it when they attempted to close the slideout. One cabinet door was ripped off the hinges and the door was partly split down the seam.
In the dinette area the cushions and carpet too smelled strongly of dog, the air return cover was badly mangled up from scratching, the microwave had rust damage and right under the microwave the cover strip was swollen up indicating clear water damage. The linoleum had some tears.
The main bath shower tub was cracked and in the mast bed room there was some more damage to cabinetry and again dog smell galore.
Outside all the weather strips (D-seals) were completely deteriorated. They were so bad in places that it became a gooey tar like substance.
The screen door which uses the same hinges as the main door was snapped off on two of the three hinges and basically prevented the screen to close properly.

The good:
With this laundry list of items to fix we gave the sales guy a very aggressive offer which was well below our budget. Three days later the sales guy called back and we took possession after I did a thorough functional walkthrough of the rig. Luckily all the appliances were in working condition and the big ticket items (furnace, water heater, refer, AC and landing gear/stabilizer) all checked out.

The mods:
Initially we thought that removing the dinette and pull out coutch and than use our carpet cleaner would do the trick in eliminating the dog odor. Well, lets just say that I was completely wrong. ;-) I ended up ripping out all the carpet in the bunk house, the dinette area and master bedroom, including the steps and small hallway. To our surprise we found the same linoleum also under the carpet which immediately let me fix the patch in the kitchen area that had rips in it. Found the same L-shaped piece and took an exacto knife and swapped out bad with good. In the master I removed the bed framing so that I could cut out the old stinky carpert around the slideout piston.
At Home Depot we found a carpet that was nearly identical in color but much heavier weight. We ended up ordering 19 yards which came to about 360 with tax. The transition from carpet to linoleum I finished off with brass colored aluminum stripping to prevent the carpet from frising out and the carpet on the dinette slideout we ended up giving to a carpet specialist to sow edging on. - BTW all the smells are completely gone.
The cracked shower tub was removed. Getting the glass side panels and door out of that small space was sure a workout, but in the end it looks really nice. The old tub was fiberglass reinforced which I found out once my arm started to hive from trying to disconnect the drain pipe from the bottom of the tub. The new tub is all plastic and uses Styrofoam pads. At the end it all came out nice and you can't tell it isn't the original tub.
In the bunk area I fixed the fascia that was pulled off from the frame and fixed up the cabinet door before I mounted it back on the cabinet.
The screen door had to come off all the way and I really dreaded to spend 400 on a new entrance door with screen door and the logo wouldn't match. So I went to the local hardware store and looked for brackets that might work and found some that were a perfect fit. I had to cut a small rectangular shape into the side of the door for the new hinge to have room, but I was able to hang the screen door and the pivot points are only 1/8 of an inch off so the main door and screen door still open and close with each other.

I need to install latching brackets for the screen door because that was also busted. We are also building a full 8ft dinette that will allow up to 8 adults to comfortably eat. The dinette will be made out of 3/4 in high grade maple plywood and 2x2's for structure. I will finish off all the corners with 1/4 round. In another post I asked for some help to locate the brain for the 8 switch LCI controller that allows to control the slide outs, landing and stabalizer gears. Initially nothing would work at all but after finding the controller realized that the remote was not paired any longer. With the new found info and the ability to engage up to 8 devices (including polarity switching) I have decided to try to make a manual leveling system with new landing gears from Ultrafab with individual motors and their Twin II power rear stabilizer/leveling jacks. The basics are that the current remote function for landing gear will engage both front landing gear motors and the same will go for the rear stabilizer. For the left and right side I will use some simple relay trickery to make sure that the current really only goes to the left side motors or ride side motors, but I need to decide what functions on the remote I will call out for those two extra functions. Worst case I could buy a separate RF controller that could be used but knowing that two of the four functions already exist with the current remote is probably the best way to go.

Well we paid about 7k below retail cost for this 5th wheel if it was in excellent condition. With all the mods and changes so far we have spend about 4k. I was really eyeballing the ground control 3.0 system but at 3k alone it just was not in the stars (the new landing gear, rear stabilizer and the needed wiring/hardware only came to 1200). The remainder of the budget will get bedding, a TV for the bunk house and some other entertainment equipment.

'Lil Guy'
04-22-2015, 03:59 AM
Wow. Sounds like you definitely have a plan. Good luck in your endeavor.

04-22-2015, 05:17 AM
Wow! You did a lot of work. Has to be very satisfying. Post some pictures when you have an opportunity would love to see all you have done. Great Story! Thanks for sharing.

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

04-22-2015, 06:48 AM
I didn't take a lot of pictures, but here a few of the whole rig and some of the carpet work.

The little round head screws are barefoot tested by the way. They don't hurt and aren't even uncomfortable.

I have more of the pics of all the damage but they are on another computer... I'll follow up.

And thanks for the encouragement. It has been very rewarding to get this all fixed and making it our own.

04-22-2015, 06:54 AM
WOW!! What a great story....taking a rough rig and making it your own! I agree with Keith, I would love to see pictures of all that you have done.

04-22-2015, 08:04 AM
Awesome project, sounds like it's really coming together. Can't wait to see some more pictures.:cool:

04-22-2015, 10:08 AM
Welcome to the Heartland family. Looks like you got the Elkridge made to fit your family and did a good job.

Now be sure and check out our Heartland Owners Club (//heartlandowners.org/content.php/128-heartland-owners-club-portal). Join us at a rally when you can and meet lots of the great folks here and make friends for a lifetime.

Enjoy the forum and your new to you unit.

Jim M

04-22-2015, 11:18 PM
Found some of the original pictures from before we started working on it.

The veneer on the door I'm not sure how to fix yet. Replacing the door seems overkill, but fixing that baseball size hole will also be a bit of a challenge.

BTW forgot to mention that I got two 12V 100AH deep cycle batteries on the way and I have a 200W solar charge kit that I still need to mount on the roof. Thinking of using extruded aluminum struts that reach the entire width of the roof so that I can attach the actual mounting bracket on the side wall rather than drilling holes into the roof and then hope the sealant I use will actually do the job from preventing water penetration.

I'll post some picks of the finished items soon. The screen door for example is functional now but it isn't very aesthetic... I had to mount through bolts on the hinge side that stick out a bit and the hinges are silver. A little paint - white like the rest of the exterior - would make it look much better. At the end of the day we are ecstatic about the fact that we were able to pull this off. We can't wait to go camping this summer.

04-22-2015, 11:32 PM
That second shot you posted is something we've had going on with our 2013 Heartland Trail Runner . . .

Our springs and axles are shot (being replaced next week), and I've noticed that when we put our slide out, the dinette seats are coming apart when we have the slide out . . .

I'm not sure what started this, other than the trailer bottoming out on top of the tires and caused this damage, but I guess I'll find out once the axles are replaced and we can see what happens when we put the slide out!

36244 36245 36246 36247 36248

I don't have a shot of the dinette handy that show how it is coming apart, but it is the same as in the post above . . .

04-23-2015, 07:08 AM
That second shot you posted is something we've had going on with our 2013 Heartland Trail Runner . . .

Our springs and axles are shot (being replaced next week), and I've noticed that when we put our slide out, the dinette seats are coming apart when we have the slide out . . .

I'm not sure what started this, other than the trailer bottoming out on top of the tires and caused this damage, but I guess I'll find out once the axles are replaced and we can see what happens when we put the slide out!

36244 36245 36246 36247 36248

I don't have a shot of the dinette handy that show how it is coming apart, but it is the same as in the post above . . .

Ouch!! That looks like could be really dangerous if it's scaring up the tire and blows when you are on the highway. On mine this is the rear slide out, so no contact to the tires. The previous owner really must have left something between the wall and the slideout before checking and then extended the slideout with the object in the way and it pulled the fascia off the support frame. There is also a door handle mark further up on the same piece - it's all particle board, so it takes really no force at all to damage it.

04-26-2015, 11:18 AM
Sorry, it's been a busy week. Here some pictures with updates...

This first picture shows the carpet cut but not yet nailed down. Also it doesn't have the edging sown on yet.

Here the stairs. This was some work! the old carpet was wrapped around the steps and I had to remove the middle step to be able to remove the overhang. The curve seemed tricky at first but I just cut the carpet as I was laying it down against the wall.

Here a picture of the almost done new dinette. It is 8ft long and will be able to seat 6 comfortably and with a little squeezing 8. The three seat sections will be piano hinged so we have additional storage. Where the 3/4 maple plywood comes to the corners of the 2x2's we will use the quarter rounds the make a nice transition. I'll upload some close ups when I get that done
Here the new shower tub. Still need to apply new caulking around the seams. The shower hose was upside down, which I didn't even notice until I took the picture. I have turned that around in the meantime ;-)


And here one of the new rear stabilizer legs. Going to remove the old ones today and if time permits install the new setup.

04-26-2015, 01:23 PM
Yup...all five tires are shot...they are Blowmax's so they where getting replaced anyways...

07-28-2015, 10:42 AM
An update since my last post...

Since my last post I have completed all the tasks I was hoping for. I now have 4 corner control of my alignment setup using front landing gear and rear stabilizer/leveling jacks. The sway is still notable, so will likely invest in some additional bracing. Inside the table and sitting nook for the TV are done and all the other things that I planned to complete.

I noticed during our 4 day trip to Yosemite that the rear black tank shutoff valve did not latch, again something that was broken when we bought the rig - luckily the tank was nearly empty when I hooked it up . Rather than pulling down the insulation panels and investigating how to fix the shutoff I opted to install a new shutoff right at the very end of the hose hookup. I will cut off the bayonet and then glue on a new serviceable shutoff with new bayonet.

For entertainment I ended up doing the following...
I ended up replacing the original crank up/down antenna with a low profile HD antenna with built in signal meter. I re-purposed our ASUS N900 router (has external antennas) to be the hotspot for all TV and steaming connections. I did this with 3 Nexus Player boxes (master BD, Main room and Bunk installed with KODI (latest install of XBMC) and a small 2TB NAS that has lots of the little kids cartoons installed. I added two HDHomeRun ATSC tunners so that up to 4 connections can be made to watch over the air TV again via KODI. This particular setup allows any device that is KODI compatible (iOS, Android, PC) to connect to OTA TV signal and access the NAS with previously recorded TV shows that I copied to the NAS.

The router is configured such that I have a private network secured with WIFI passwords and I am using Repeater mode and a panel antenna to pick up distant WIFI hotspots within the RV park (where available) to rebroadcast the WIFI signal. This I have not tested yet, but from looking at others that have tried it it seems to be achievable.

One thing I am still hoping to achieve is the ability to placeshift our tailgater Dish TV reception to the same WIFI network so that we can watch satellite TV on all the connected TV's. I am thinking of getting an older Slingbox M1 and give that a try, but I am still reading up on the actual capabilities.

07-28-2015, 10:50 AM
Ouch!! That looks like could be really dangerous if it's scaring up the tire and blows when you are on the highway.

We ended up getting a new trailer two weeks after we had the other one fixed.