rain2shine was recently published by RV Inspiration for our tireless work on "Woof Way," a complete C-Class rebuild we did for a non-profit mobile dog rescue. The breakdown of the project is below, but be sure to check out RV Inspiration's article for a deeper dive into the project!
PROFILE OF WOOF WAY DOG RESCUE
At rain2shine ventures, we enjoy giving each project a unique name. This was no different for our first non-profit RV. “Woof Way” is a C-Class that rain2shine converted into a mobile dog rescue. Woof Way was a true labor of love due to the conditions of the C-Class when it arrived at the shop. However, as animal lovers with a long history of fostering dogs and adopting rescues, we were up for the challenge!
I have broken this project into phases below:
Living Room: Removal of all furniture: Started with removing all the screws with an Impact and a set of bits; most commonly the square bit.
Removal of all curtains and brackets.
Removal of all cushions
Kitchen: Removal of the fridge and surrounding cabinetry.
Bedroom: Removal of bed frame, mattress, fresh water tank (under bed), upper cabinets, wardrobes, nightstands, curtains and brackets..
Bathroom: Removal of shower (and surrounding walls), bathroom walls, cabinetry, toilet, stink pipe, and black tank.
Passenger Side Wall: The entire wall was rotten and delaminated. My hand was able to go through the interior wall and pull out saturated wood. We ended up having to remove the siding completely. First we took down the awning, and took out the windows, storage doors, vents and rails. To prep the corrugated siding to reinstall, we scraped off the remaining wood and glue. We then had to remove all the remaining rotten wood and insulation from the interior. Once there was nothing left, we installed new exterior paneling (luaun). Then we installed new insulation and finished it with another layer of paneling creating a new interior wall. Next, we glued the siding back onto the exterior panel and clamped it down until it dried. Once it was ready, we reinstalled the railings.
Driver-Side Wall: We removed the remaining rotten wood from the d/s wall and installed new insulation and panels.
Back/Rear Wall: We rebuilt the back wall, replaced the window as well as all new siding ordered to match from a company in California.
Flooring: While the passenger side wall was off, we cut all the soft spots out of the floor and replaced them.
The Loft was completely saturated and rotten. We opened the nose above the windshield after removing all the corner rails. Then, we drained the water and took out all the old, rotten wood. Once the wood was removed, we discovered that the frame was corroded. So, we pulled the frame out, cut-out the corroded areas and welded new aluminum beams into place. We chose to then add extra beams to create a better structure and used Lauan for the bottom panel of the frame and reinstalled. Next, we cut insulation boards to fit within the frame, glued them in and installed another Lauan panel on top. Following that, we installed ¾ plywood on top of the Lauan.
We enclosed the front window in the loft to prevent any more leaks. These windows in any C-Class have a tendency to leak and cause all kinds of damage.
There was quite a bit of delamination. Therefore, we removed the filon/fiberglass. Then, we glued and installed new Filon, reinstalled the rails, etc..
This was damaged beyond repair and required a new ceiling & roof with a new A/C, 4 new MaxxAir fans and 1 vent.
We rebuilt all the window frames that were damaged in various places.
We installed new electric steps as the original steps were manual and broken.
We installed a new electric awning.
Our client had a few ideas about the redesign of the C-Class and we were happy to oblige. They didn’t want the TV, microwave, oven, bathroom or shower. They did, however, need a fridge for medications and wet dog food. Additionally, they wanted a pull-out pantry to store canned dog food. The client was also interested in an exam/care area, kennels, and a small desk for working on the road. Their final request was to have calming (blue/green) colors throughout the RV.
As someone who worked a few years with dog rescue groups, I knew firsthand what different transport vehicles looked like from the inside. While fostering dogs, I’d meet the transporter on Friday evenings to either rehome a dog or receive a dog to take home while a forever family was found. I was in contact with the transporters a lot and knew what was lacking in their vehicles, what could be done better and to always expect the unexpected–sick dogs, dogs going into labor, and more!
Because of my past experience and the knowledge I gained from transporters, I suggested a dog bath station that could also double as an exam/care area. Surprisingly, I found a “Pro Dog Bath” on Wayfair that would be perfect and I ordered it right away.
I had a clear vision in my head of not only making their rig a transport vehicle for dogs but a welcoming vessel for showcasing dogs at adoption fairs.
I drew up the design and converted it into a 3D rendering for my RV techs to assist them in knowing where to add extra wiring and plumbing throughout.
Foundation and Structure: We started by installing a new subfloor and then built new knee walls to add support to fit the design from everything we took out. The first knee wall on the driver side is the pull-out pantry.
Cabinetry: We built all new upper (with flush mount lights) and lower cabinetry for the “kitchen”. We removed the new cabinet doors and drawers, sanded all the new Lauan and cabinetry to prep for primer and paint and blew all the dust off with an air hose. Later, we reinstalled all the cabinet doors and drawers (with catches), drilled out for the new handles and attached them.
Heating and Plumbing Systems: We reworked the systems (i.e. furnace, ducting, tankless water heater (new), etc. to fit under the new cabinetry.
Countertop: We made a pattern for the countertop and took it to a local countertop maker where we picked out the Corian. The pattern included space for the mini fridge and desk. Both would go next to the lower kitchen cabinets within the area of the 2 knee walls on the d/s.
Painting: We used our Graco paint sprayer to prime the ceiling, walls and cabinetry. The cabinet doors and drawers were done outside on risers. Then, we taped off the walls and cabinetry with kraft paper. The ceiling is SW 7005 Pure White Satin (Superpaint). After painting the ceiling, we removed the tape and kraft paper from the walls and sprayed them with SW 6749 Embellished Blue Satin (Superpaint). Then, we removed the tape and kraft paper covering the cabinets and retaped the walls with kraft paper in order to spray the cabinets. The upper cabinets were painted with SW 9165 Gossamer Veil Semi-Gloss (Proclassic), while the lower cabinets were painted with SW 6990 Caviar Semi-Gloss (Pro Industrial).
Lighting: We installed 4 flush mount ring lights and one 3-way cage light towards the back.
Loft: We cut a new insert for the loft out of ¾ plywood. The clients didn’t have one when they brought it.
Flooring: We installed LVP throughout including the loft area and wrapped the bottom of the insert in matching fabric to the cab ceiling.
Washing Station: We installed the new pro dog bath by bracing it to the wall and adding new plumbing.
Installed new light switches, USBs, thermostat, tank sensor monitor, water temp monitor, propane gas detector, and converter.
Cut bracing underneath the camper to make room for the freshwater tank. Built a cage to house the tank and installed/welded it with anchors and brackets. Reworked most of the plumbing for the new design and dog bath.
Final Touches: We trimmed the ceiling and floor with corner round molding.
We used stencils to paint different size paw prints above the sink area and a dog rescue quote above the entry door.
DECORATING: The most fun part, SHOPPING!!!
We knew we wanted something to hang leashes and towels in the bathing area and found the perfect hooks: dog butts with tails sticking up. Additionally, we felt it was important to have a full grooming station. We found a cute cabinet to fit the space and ordered towels, brushes, shampoo and conditioner. We searched online for cute dog and rescue decor, picked our favorites and placed them throughout the RV.
This C-Class ultimately became a brand new RV. Our client was SHOCKED when they saw their new mobile dog rescue for the first time; it had come such a long way since they originally dropped it off! They couldn’t wait to take it home and put it to good use. However, there was one missing piece. Due to the deterioration, a good chunk of the budget was used just bringing it up to code. Because of this, our client chose to install the dog kennels on their own. Finally, the project was COMPLETE! Rain2shine ventures was so honored to be a part of something that will truly make a difference in the lives of man’s best friend. We hope to do more commercial projects in the future as mobile businesses continue to be on the rise. I mean, what consumer can resist convenience?