Escape construction question - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-29-2009, 08:54 AM   #1
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I had a few quick questions about the escape floor construction. Is Carpet or linoleum installed over the wood floor like scamp. Or is there fiberglass shell over the wood first, then linoleum like a casita?

Second, is the wood floor fiberglassed all along the edge where it meets the interior shell wall like a scamp? The photo looks like a fiberglass strip along the edge but I could not tell for sure. Thanks


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Old 09-29-2009, 08:58 AM   #2
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Ken, the Escape has a completely enclosed fiberglass body, similar to the Casita. The difference is Escape has put in drain plugs, if water gets into the floor area it drains out.

Perhaps this page on the Escape website might answer some of your questions: Escape Trailer Fact Sheet
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Old 09-29-2009, 10:23 AM   #3
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I'll be interested to hear the details from someone who knows for sure. What I think I see is that the complete molded lower half runs around the underside of the trailer (like the Trillium). So in other words, if you looked underneath the trailer, you would see finished gelcoat. Then, in order to add strength, the floor is cored (plain fiberglass is actually rather floppy). That's the plywood you see laid on top of the floor. Then I would guess they are going to put another layer of fiberglass (gelcoat side up into the trailer) on top, and fiberglass tab (essentially using fiberglass strips like big pieces of tape) the upper floor piece to the side walls at the bottom.

I'm guessing on this stage as it has not been done (yet) in the photo.

I'm wondering how the "drain holes" work. In boats we go to huge effort to seal off the core in cored construction, because if water gets in it goes to mush and requires a big effort to fix.

Typically, where there are holes (usually for hardware) in a cored* deck or hull, we either lay those areas up in solid fiberglass; insert pieces of pre-made fiberglass board; or overdrill (oversize) the hole, fill it in with thickened epoxy, and then redrill a (smaller) hole for the fastener or whatever is going in. Then the core is sealed off, and plus there is a basically crush proof annulus (crushing of the core can cause low areas where water pools on a deck). If it's a hole with no fastener - say a large hole where a vent will go - and there is no solid glass inserted, we dig out the core around the perimeter of the hole and fill that with thickened epoxy.

Okay, that was a bit of a ramble; but I'm curious about the drain holes!

Raya

*coring has usually been vertical-grain balsa for its combination of light weight and stiffness, although now the trend is to foam or honeycombed plastics. Even lighter and more water impermeable. (Plywood was sometimes used in the past.)
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Old 09-29-2009, 11:39 AM   #4
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So far, this is the best picture I can find of the bottom of an Escape... it's Alf's 5th wheel

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And this is from the Escape website:
"In the event of a water leak or condensation build-up, there are areas in the bottom shell designed to catch and drain water to the outside" whatever that means...
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Old 09-29-2009, 11:46 AM   #5
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So far, this is the best picture I can find of the bottom of an Escape... it's Alf's 5th wheel

Attachment 23799


That does look like it is molded similarly to the original Trilliums, with the molded gelcoat on the outside (as opposed to the Boler, which has the molded gelcoat of the bottom pan on the inside and the "rough" fiberglass on the outside).

And this is from the Escape website:
"In the event of a water leak or condensation build-up, there are areas in the bottom shell designed to catch and drain water to the outside" whatever that means...

That's the part I would love to know more about I can't imagine how one would "drain" a core layer, so do they mean a water leak on the inside of the trailer (i.e. on top of the inner fiberglass floor)? I suppose they could fiberglass a tube into the floor to drain the inside of the trailer (i.e. not the wood core, but the living area). There is no real way to drain a core layer that has gotten moisture to it (at least, not a wood or foam core as we know them).
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Old 09-29-2009, 01:14 PM   #6
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Donna,

The drain holes are probably meant for any water leaks, such as condensation (already mentioned), a window left open in rain, a water pipe breaking, and others. I had a water jug run out in my car, and a proper drain certainly would have helped even though the floor is covered with a carpet. Instead I just tabbed the floor dry using towels, and I left the windows open. Luckily it was water and NOT milk....
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Old 09-29-2009, 02:45 PM   #7
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I was wondering what is installed over the wood floor in the photo. is it like a scamp where carpet is laid down on the wood? I have seen casita floor repairs where a a layer of fiberglass is cut through to get to the wood part of the floor. So I was curious in the photo what is put down over that wood.

an interesting side note, it looks like you can see how the cabinets are mounted and foam backed roof and walls are installed in this photo. If I understand it right, the cabinets are mounted to the glassed in wood. If so, I am surprised scamp and casita have not abandoned their rivets years ago for this simple design.
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Old 09-29-2009, 04:44 PM   #8
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These guys might know some of the answers to these questions: http://www.escapetrailer.com/Index.aspx?Page=ContactUs
As I understand it also, the cabinets are mounted to glassed in wood brackets thus eliminating rivets.
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Old 09-29-2009, 07:17 PM   #9
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Ken,

I agree with you on tabbed "furniture." Not that there's anything wrong with rivets, but tabbing is somewhat stronger and of course can never leak. I believe that when rivets are used it's for expediency, and therefore, in the end, price. Rivets are much faster to install, and require less skill (not that fiberglassing is rocket science, but it is messy and requires greater care in prepping and executing).

On the floor, I imagine they will top it with a layer of fiberglass that is gelcoat side up (into the trailer) and then tab that to the walls, but I'm only guessing. I say that based on the fact that the original Trilliums were built with that sort of sandwich.

Of course, as was mentioned, one could contact Escape and ask.
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Old 09-29-2009, 08:47 PM   #10
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Reace has done a fine job in making the Escape's as limited through hull as possible. He's even done something that Scamp and Casita should really, really consider. And that's to figure a different method for fastening curtain rods. In my Scamp for every curtain rod there are four rivets for the brackets right through the hull. They must have made a mistake at the factory because the front window has four slightly above the four that are being used... so that makes EIGHT HOLES in the front of the trailer just for curtains! DUMB, DUMB, DUMB. IMHO. Reace has designed a bracket that fits on the window clamp ring. If I was ever going to paint my trailer, I'd order the brackets just to get rid of the stupid curtain rivets.
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Old 09-29-2009, 11:10 PM   #11
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Hi: All...The underside of the shell is totally fiberglassed and if it weren't for the drain holes in the underside pontoons the rig would float. The floor/plywood is covered with a sheet vinyl flooring and is bolted to the frame. Here's another pic. to compliment the one posted by Donna D.
Alf S. North shore of Lake Erie p.s. The grey water tank is in front of the axle the fresh water tank behind the axle for balance.
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Old 09-30-2009, 12:17 AM   #12
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Thanks, Alf,

Sounds like the top/inside of the floor is not fiberglassed, as I had surmised it was (was inferring from original Trillium). I appreciate you setting that straight.

Raya
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Old 09-30-2009, 07:51 AM   #13
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Just wanted to add my two bits for clarity...

Construction of the lower half of the shell:

After the gelcoat is cured, we lay in the fiberglass. The sides are made to our standard shell thickness with fiberglass, where the floor area is only half as thick. Once cured, the plywood floor pieces are resin coated and laid into the shell with another layer of fiberglass. Again....once the plywood has cured in place, all the plywood joints are seamed with a fiberglass strip and the plywood is also seamed to the shell all the way around. Then the top mold is bolted on and the top shell bonded to the bottom and on and on.....

Once the shell arrives at our main production facility, floor leveling compound is laid down to smooth out the areas in the floor where the plywood seams are. This is the grey areas on the floor in the top photo. 1/4" holes are then drilled all the way around the fiberglass tab between the plywood and the shell every 3"-4" to allow any water that may get into the unit to run below the floor into the 'pontoons'. Linoleum is then laid down onto the plywood floor.

As for the complicated drains that are inserted into the 'pontoons'.....they are simply 1/4" holes drilled in in the low points to allow the water to run out.

Hope this helps....

Reace
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Old 09-30-2009, 08:24 AM   #14
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Hope this helps....

Reace
Aw gee. It was way more fun to watch the reverse-engineering discussion!

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