My 1976 Palm Beach Total Overhaul

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I like the fact that one could stick their head out of them much easier than the original. If they were defective and had to be updated to correct defects then I would have to agree that charging for the updated parts is not cool.


you know, I recall reading on GMCnet (while searching for something totally off that subject lol) that someone had three huge rolls of the original laminate that they had acquired from GMC somehow when the motorhome production cam to a halt. it was a ten year old post that I wont even attempt to find again but I do wonder whatever became of that.

could/would you replicate your existing layout easy enough if someone were interested in purchase? its really is nice!

Agreed, should have been a freebie. Cost of doing business, but no dice. What's annoying is that it's such a stupid oversight. You don't put the handle for a sliding window anywhere other than the middle or it will bind, these are about 1/3 of the way up from the bottom so when you pull it it lifts the top rear edge and binds up. I've figured it out and can work them fine now just takes some finesse, but still annoying.

I lost a bunch of my files on a corrupt drive so replicating would take some work, and I've got way too many other projects going at the moment (building a house by myself primarily), I appreciate it though!
 
After much deliberation and back and forth we came up with an ambitious design. Tile walls (in an RV? GASP), a Walnut shower pan and countertops (WOOD near WATER? GASP) and a nice modern aesthetic. Both are completely doable with the right materials and know how.

First order of business was the shower pan.

Glued up from a solid chunk of Black Walnut:
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Designed in CAD so the water flows where it’s supposed to:
Capture

And then 18+ hours of CNC machining:
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That’s 18 hrs cutting time condensed into 4 images.

It’s roughed out making a stepped bowl, then I go back in with a ball nose bit and follow the contours advancing down the length by .001″ at a time and it comes out like the last photo. Smooth as silk.

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Add some Finish and we’re done!

Next we made up the countertops for the bathroom. We wanted a seat in the shower so we decided to waterfall a ledge of walnut over into the shower space. Waterfall means it’s made from 1 piece of wood cut at 45 degree angles so the grain flows all the way across the piece and waterfalls over the edges. This one was a bit more complicated because it had to waterfall back the other way as well, but we got it done! It also extends without waterfalling across the back as a shelf, also from the same piece of wood.

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Tile in an RV is tricky business. An RV moves and flexes as it goes down the road unlike a house. So the Tile has to be able to stand up to a fairly constant earthquake scenario.
There are a few strategies we employed to make this work, the first is the red stuff. It’s a waterproof membrane that we used to coat the entire bathroom. It ensures that should water get through the grout and thinset that the wood below doesn’t get wet.
The thinset must be flexible, this is key. You don’t want your glue cracking and flaking off the wall. Same goes for the grout, it has to be a flexible formulation so that the whole thing can move as needed. Finally the tile has to be small and flexible. We used a 1×1 resin tile that’s made of epoxy and will flex, but most importantly it’s small so most of the flex takes place in the grout lines (again: flexible)

We cut a copy of the bathroom wall to layout the complex tile layup (the thinset dries fast):
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And then got to work:
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And the finished Product (still needs some trim around the edges):

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That’s 18 hrs cutting time condensed into 4 images.

wow.. the result is fabulous though. that deserves some kind of award or something. actually your whole interior does! Im imagining your new home is a log cabin made out of solid maple with completely smooth wooden interior walls. lol but whatever it is, no doubt it will be just as impressive as your GMC


how did you attach the wood in the upper corner where the wall meets ceiling in that last photo?
 
wow.. the result is fabulous though. that deserves some kind of award or something. actually your whole interior does! I'm imagining your new home is a log cabin made out of solid maple with completely smooth wooden interior walls. lol but whatever it is, no doubt it will be just as impressive as your GMC


how did you attach the wood in the upper corner where the wall meets ceiling in that last photo?

Thanks!
New house is pretty minimal actually, modern lots of windows (like a gmc) a little wood. Too much wood is overwhelming, it's got to be just the right amount :D

All the trim pieces like that are held on with 3M VHB Double sided trim tape. The stuff holds on and doesn't let go. I use it extensively. It's what holds all the trim pieces on modern cars.
 
I’ve painted trucks, walls, boats, and LOTS of countertops but this one was more job than I wanted to take on!

I randomly met a guy who happened to own a custom shop that loves doing oddball jobs like this. After this experience they are not interested in doing any more (sorry guys!)

We made the 5hr drive up to the paint shop and left it in their capable hands. This is not easy for me! This is the only thing on the whole coach we outsourced, so the lack of control drove me NUTS for the 4 weeks that they had it.



And a little before action:
paint before

Here you can see some of the body work, we moved the refrigerator under the counter, removed the stove vent hood, moved the electrical cord to a quick disconnect in the rear and the water fill to city water connection (also on the rear panel). That meant that we needed to patch some massive holes in the body. To do this we used 3m Panel Bonding adhesive and adhered a piece of 16ga aluminum to the inside wall with about a 3″ overlap in all directions. This leaves a recessed filled hole (as seen in the above photo). From there it’s back to the panel bonding adhesive. Another sheet of 16ga was cut to fit perfectly, curved on an english wheel to match the body contour and then adhered to the interior piece with rivets and 3M PBA. The rivets were removed when dry and ground flush the whole repair was then sanded flush with the rest of the body for a seamless super strong repair.

The basic plan was to scuff the old paint and clean it up, patch any issues and paint. No problem!
I dropped it off with a paint chip and a photoshop mockup. We wanted to stick with our theme of retro-modern so we went with a light 70’s green but with some gloss and a hint of blue to it to give it a more modern color scheme



GMC color

3 or 4 days later I got the call. The original paint was too far gone, what did I want to do?

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I expected this, I’d been working on it for a year I knew the paint was crap. They were confident that it was salvageable but ultimately I knew better so I said STRIP IT!

And off they went.
2 straight weeks of 2 man 8hr days ended up with:
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We ended up taking it down to bare aluminum and SMC and starting 100% from scratch, which was fine by me because now I Know it was done right and I don’t have any nagging worries about the quality of the underlying paint screwing up my fresh stuff.

After 4 long weeks we got the call that it was ready:
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In all of her glory:

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We are thrilled with how it turned out, it looks great all around.

Some thoughts on others painting a GMC:
Make sure your shop is aware of how big a job it can turn into. My guys were great, but I can see it being an issue with other shops.

Expect to spend 10K minimum for a decent paint job. 15+ for a good one unless you get lucky and find just the right shop.

Use high quality paint, the paint to paint a coach this size should run anywhere from 1500-3K by itself. Don’t cheap out here!
 
Here's the finished product:

She’s a Looker: Finished Tour

This is going to be a simple post, basically just a walk-through of the finished product.
Here we’re standing at the door looking forward:
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Cabinet spaces and kitchen :
The drawer under the dinette houses a yeti cooler (read beer and ice accessible from outside with the door open)
We’ve since replaced the fridge with a much nicer stainless Vitrifrigo (which we LOVE).
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Under the full size sink is the water heater and storage, the dinette also lifts for storage space. We keep all of the tools and spare parts under there normally. To the left of the faucet is the flush mount water pump switch, there’s another on the bathroom wall.
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Here’s from the door looking the other direction.
The spice rack in the top right it CNC Cut to hold the jars so they don’t move around while driving.
We love to cook, so spices are necessary enough to build into the design. We also love wine, so of course we had to build in a wine rack!
The sliding bathroom door is Black Walnut and frosted glass, like most everything else in the coach.
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The top drawer is ~36″ deep and holds all of our utensils
Below that the large cabinet slides out and is a trash can.
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Here are the side cabinets, virtually all of our storage.
The right most door houses the electrical panel, then shoe storage, then clothes in the middle and pantry on the left.
The right most drawer is clothes, middle is misc junk, and left is dishes. Below that are in-wall speakers. (Can’t live without good music!) Behind the glass sliders is just random junk storage, extra toilet paper, lanterns, etc etc.
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The Pantry:
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Electrical Hub:
Victron Battery monitor (must have)
Inverter switch
Shore Power Voltage Readout
See-level tank level indicator
Generator switch and Hour Meter.
Below compartment has a master volume control for the stereo as well as an HDMI plug for the TV (we usually keep a Fire Stick or Apple TV plugged in)
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The Bathroom:
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And finally the bedroom area:
The TV recesses into the footboard for travel.
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Hi Justin,
The coach is beautiful! Good Job! You are an inspiration for all of us. How is that glass bowl sink working out in the bathroom? Have the road vibrations affected it enough to develop a leak around the drain? After using the coach for a while now, in hindsight what would you do differently?
Russell
 
Hi Justin,
The coach is beautiful! Good Job! You are an inspiration for all of us. How is that glass bowl sink working out in the bathroom? Have the road vibrations affected it enough to develop a leak around the drain? After using the coach for a while now, in hindsight what would you do differently?
Russell

Hey Russel,
Thanks for the kind words, apologies for the delay in getting back to you, busy building a house.

No issues on the sink no leaks on any fittings thus far.

I honestly can't think of much off the top of my head that I would do differently. I'm not happy with the way I attached the rear bed area Walnut trim, it was a nightmare and it's still not right.

Also didn't do a good enough job priming before paint, we've got a some plywood grain starting to leak through the white paint so it will have to be redone eventually which is obnoxious. Should have used killz.
 
I've been meaning to ask you....sorry if I missed it; did you coat the plywood subfloor with any type of waterproofing like epoxy resin or something similar. I considering doing that to combat any future unnoticed leaks.
 
At the very least i'd seal anything you cut or router....alot of the marine and pressure treated lumber is only partly penetrated with sealer unless its stated someplace.
 
More questions I should've asked long ago:
1. Where do you get that powder coated aluminum sheeting?
2. What is the price for something like that?
3. Can you explain vise grips in your utensil drawer? How'd you get approval for that?
 
More questions I should've asked long ago:
1. Where do you get that powder coated aluminum sheeting?
2. What is the price for something like that?
3. Can you explain vise grips in your utensil drawer? How'd you get approval for that?

For some reason I never got notifications about these posts I'm sorry!

The aluminum came from Advanced Plastics, TAP plastics, Piedmont Plastics, etc should carry it.

Total for all the pieces I needed was 348, I don't remember how many I used so I can't tell you price per sheet but it's not bad at all.

HA!
We brought along a good bit of wine, but forgot the corkscrew, so we did a while two seek trip using vice grips and a large screw as a corkscrew. Worked just fine!
 
For some reason I never got notifications about these posts I'm sorry!

The aluminum came from Advanced Plastics, TAP plastics, Piedmont Plastics, etc should carry it.

Total for all the pieces I needed was 348, I don't remember how many I used so I can't tell you price per sheet but it's not bad at all.

HA!
We brought along a good bit of wine, but forgot the corkscrew, so we did a while two seek trip using vice grips and a large screw as a corkscrew. Worked just fine!
Hi Justin, if you're signed up for email notifications on a given thread/topic, you'll stop getting the notifications if you don't view the thread/topic after receiving a notification. In other words, when you view the thread/topic it resets the notification mechanism.