Stripped to Bare Metal: Removing the Plumbing, Gas, and Heating Components



After L and I stopped itching following the insulation removal from our 1965 Clark Cortez motorhome, we were raring to go with getting the remaining interior parts out of the RV. This means our plumbing, gas, and heating components, and the job wasn’t going to be difficult or dirty — In fact, this was likely easy and (dare I say it) fun because of that.

Initially, we decided to divide and conquer …

L quickly started removing the old water pump from the floor and disconnecting any remaining wires that previously powered the unit.

I began with the petrol heater. This old and heavy unit was well secured to the floor and took a while to get out.

While removing the heater, I noticed the fuel hose to the inlet was severely damaged.

This was due to the hose rubbing against the floor’s edge, which had worn away the line over the years — I’m sure that if the heater had been used we’d very quickly have a dangerous situation on our hands.

I did leave the other end of the fuel hose connected to the gas tank at the time as we didn’t have a replacement fitting that was suitable. Meanwhile, a quick snip of the last wire with wire cutters and the heater was free!

Moving on, together L and I tackled the hot water tank as it was a sizable and hefty unit. After a short while, there was an assortment of loose bolts, wires, and pipes disconnected and strewn around the RV.

As L lifted the heater clear from its mounts, she released a guttural roar in celebration!

The next target for our attention was the original inverter — This was the unit that took the shore power (or mains power) and made it suitable for use in the RV. This weighed a ton too (about thirty pounds) and was well secured to the wall and ceiling of the Cortez.

During removal, there were several heavy gauge wires protected within a metal sheath that we simply couldn’t unfasten from the unit or cut with our wire cutters. It was here a rather heathenish method was used — We started sawing through the wires and sheath. L began but after several saws gave-up so I stepped in to give solid words of wisdom: “The best way to saw, I find, is to go insane on it.” I’ll admit, it’s probably not the best advice … but it worked.

It was during the removal of wires from the inverter that we noticed how sketchy the wiring was in the air conditioning unit.

There were wires that were loosely twisted together and actually came apart when touched, other wires that were randomly unconnected, and still others that were uncovered; and there were also poor connections based on connectors that were lose and connectors that are not recommended for RVs.

It is amazing that there weren’t major issues when the power was turned on in the past.

With the last wire sawed, the inverter was unceremoniously dumped out of the Cortez.

While pulling out the remaining spaghetti of copper piping from the heating and water system, we noticed for the first time that the Cortez has a double-skinned floor, meaning that there was an inner wood floor … then some rock-wool insulation between the chassis (When I say “some,” it appears that several sections are completely bare due to the insulation no doubt being repurposed for cozy mouse houses) … and then an outer wood floor. A deeper investigation of this will come later though …

After taking out the inverter wires, the last jobs of the day were removing the waste water and feed pipes to the black tank. I sawed and unscrewed the old PVC piping then swiftly discarded it.

(We sealed up the black tank with plastic sheet and tape to stop little critters making a home inside of it.) That left L to unscrew the fresh water tank mounting brackets from the floor.

We finished the day feeling accomplished and happy with our progress. I could actually envision a bed in the Cortez because there was so much space!

(PS–Please forgive these photos. We got so absorbed in our work that we nearly forgot to take pictures so the majority are screenshots from our video.)

Author: Andy

Ey up! I’m the calm, laidback, English one of the two. If L is the fuel, I’m the engine -- Without her, I’m pretty happy being sat still. That said, when I’m out and moving I make the most of it. I’m super squeamish, a stickler for the rules, and if I’ve not had a cup of coffee in the morning it’s probably best to let me be. I love fishing, hiking, and vehicle mechanics and I’m not scared of learning something new!

2 thoughts

    1. Hi Frankie,
      Thank you for popping in and writing. We use a WordPress theme called Arcane, but we are moving towards redesigning our entire site so stop back in and let us know what you think once we get it up and running!
      Hope this helps!
      L (and Andy)

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