Fiberglass Class Cs? - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 05-16-2016, 02:39 PM   #15
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Born Free mohos are not, and never have been fully molded fiberglass. They do, however use molded front and rear caps, and all of the side panels are fiberglass over a wood frame with insulation. I was leery of the framing initially, until I found out that the reason they continue to use framing is because it's readily repairable from accident damage, and the coach can be reconstructed as-new. The roof is a single piece of molded fiberglass with about a 2" overlap on the sides. The only roof seams are at the fiberglass nose and rear caps. In the old days of 'stickies' the roof was seamed on the sides as well, and that's where most leaks occurred.

Born Free is on their third exterior design since the 1990s. There was a new sleeker exterior introduced in 2008 (the one posted here) and another yet newer design introduced with the current models in 2014, but they're all still recognizable as Born Free.

Born Free and Bigfoot are, were in fact, competitors before Bigfoot closed in 2008. They have no business relationship at all. Born Free is located in Humboldt, IA. Chinook went out of business and has re-opened in Las Vegas building Class B-vans on the Sprinter chassis.

Coach House in FL, AFAIK only build the smaller B-van and B+ motorhomes rather than true class C coaches. While Born Free does compete in the B+ market with the 20-22' Built for Two (now called the Jewell) most of their models don't overlap the Coach House offerings.

I could be wrong, but I don't believe that there is anyone still building a fully molded-fiberglass motorhome any longer.
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Old 05-16-2016, 02:48 PM   #16
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Oh man see why I should never get involve in motorhome discussions. Let's talk all-molded-towables
Born Free did make one or two prototype 21' travel trailers based on the 26' rear side bed motorhome layout...
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Born Free TRAILRLODGE2.png  
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Old 05-16-2016, 02:55 PM   #17
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The Coach House shell is about the best design I have seen:

Luxury Motorhomes - Fuel Efficient Downsized Class C (Class B-Plus) RVs - One-Piece Shell

Any unit not maintained properly will leak where ever their is an opening, vents, rivets, windows, etc. Also, toilets, water heaters and sink can cause water damage inside when they fail.
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Old 05-16-2016, 05:04 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Cathy P. View Post
The Coach House shell is about the best design I have seen:

Luxury Motorhomes - Fuel Efficient Downsized Class C (Class B-Plus) RVs - One-Piece Shell

Any unit not maintained properly will leak where ever their is an opening, vents, rivets, windows, etc. Also, toilets, water heaters and sink can cause water damage inside when they fail.
From the Coach House writeup:

Quote:
Most RV bodies consist of many pieces joined together, and where they are joined represents a potential for failure. Our one-piece shell is stronger, more durable, quieter and safer than multi-piece designs, and its aerodynamic shape improves fuel efficiency.
And of course, this is the issue that surfaces over and over. As you said, the fact is that all RVs have through-hulls in the roof for tank and appliance venting as well as the A/C unit, and other vents, and that without proper maintenance those are the primary failure points; typically not the seams of the roofing or side body materials. But it's a great sales point that folks gobble up... The first Born Free I had did in fact have a roof leak... it was where the aftermarket solar panel wiring was led through the roof. None of the factory through-hulls ever leaked. The Super C Born Free I have now had a roof leak when I bought it; I suspect that it was from a fastener along the trim that they put over the roof-to-nose-cap joint. Some surface cleaning and self-leveling sealant took care of it nicely.

Leaks of the type I've had, I've also had in molded fiberglass trailers. I woke up to a steady cascade of water falling on me in bed in one of my Scamp trailers one night. I isolated the leak to something going on with the escape hatch/vent and put a plastic grocery bag over the flange which stopped 99% of the leak for the rest of the night. The next day, I was able to look on the roof, and nearly all of the silicone sealant the factory had used over the mounting screws on the vent was loose and/or missing. So I cleaned them all off and re-sealed them... good as new.

My point is that my experience kind of dispels that "one piece molded fiberglass no-leak" mantra that we hear so often.
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Old 05-16-2016, 06:18 PM   #19
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Coach House motorhomes are molded fiberglass. They even take it a few steps further with one piece inner and outer shells. There is no belly band.
Sounds tricky - physically putting a one-piece inner shell inside a one-piece outer shell. Kind of like putting a ship inside a bottle, but they assemble the ship one stick at a time. So I wonder how Coach House does it with whole pieces (no seams)....
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Old 05-16-2016, 06:35 PM   #20
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I always encourage shoppers to try to see something used to see how a unit holds up. It is fairly easy to tell the difference between stuff that is due to poor materials/workmanship versus abuse.

We have had enough rvs now that I can do a walk-around and show someone the areas that will leak. The newer lower end ones are just

Bornfree has an excellent reputation as does Lazy Daze.

If something like a molded fiberglass truck camper would work, Bigfoot makes some nice ones: Truck Campers - Bigfoot RV - Truck Campers & Travel Trailers - Recreational Vehicle Manufacturer as does Northern Light: Camper Construction | Fiberglas Clam Shell Design and Innovation I saw a Northern Light from the outside in a campground and was very impressed!
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Old 05-16-2016, 06:46 PM   #21
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Sounds tricky - physically putting a one-piece inner shell inside a one-piece outer shell. Kind of like putting a ship inside a bottle, but they assemble the ship one stick at a time. So I wonder how Coach House does it with whole pieces (no seams)....
It's magic!
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Old 05-16-2016, 06:50 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Cathy P. View Post
I always encourage shoppers to try to see something used to see how a unit holds up. It is fairly easy to tell the difference between stuff that is due to poor materials/workmanship versus abuse.

We have had enough rvs now that I can do a walk-around and show someone the areas that will leak. The newer lower end ones are just
Absolutely, Cathy. I always look for how many ten, twenty, and thirty year old examples of any given unit are still on the road. That's a pretty good indicator of what to buy and how they'll hold up.

The purchase price may be more, but you'll also get a better return on that price when you go to sell. I had my 23' Born Free for almost three years and sold it for what I'd bought it for.

The real hidden costs in buying a motorhome, of course, are the chassis repair expenses. Springing for a new engine or transmission in a fifteen year old unit may not make a lot of sense financially. Chassis repairs in old coaches can add up quickly if you're going in just looking at the living portion of the coach.
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Old 05-16-2016, 07:37 PM   #23
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Sounds tricky - physically putting a one-piece inner shell inside a one-piece outer shell. Kind of like putting a ship inside a bottle, but they assemble the ship one stick at a time. So I wonder how Coach House does it with whole pieces (no seams)....
My comment about a one piece inner shell was not entirely accurate. There are portions of the interior that have an inner shell but it's not throughout the coach. The outer shell is a one piece molded unit though. Here's a video from 2008 that shows the build process. I don't know why it's not listed on the manufacturer's website any longer.
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Old 05-16-2016, 07:52 PM   #24
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Sunradar for the win!
Sunrader.com | The ultimate Toyota Motorhome
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Old 05-16-2016, 07:55 PM   #25
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Noooooo, Scamp Motorhome for the win! scamp motorhome?
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Old 05-16-2016, 08:12 PM   #26
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I agree with Roger H about the Coach House not being a true Class C regardless of what the manufacturer claims. However, the 272XL with slides is real close and is very spacious inside. If my wife and I were to seriously tour the country this would be ideal.
I was actually talking about the earlier B-van Coach House coaches that were still built as a Class B on a van body with a single wheel rear axle (rather than the dual wheels of a Class C,) but that they widened the body by a foot or so at the rear.



The 272XL is beautiful and is most certainly a Class C coach.

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Old 05-17-2016, 11:57 AM   #27
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Can't help but comment on Lazy Daze as I purchased a used 98 model in 2000. I don't believe they state it anywhere on the web site (and it it possible that things have changed) but they are built with a wood structure except for a few metal reinforcing parts. The outer skin is aluminum panels with lots of joints but a one piece roof. The aluminum is bonded to thin plywood and the walls are filled with FG insulation with plywood on the interior surfaces. Over the eight years we owned it we had five different leaks. The problem with the structure is that the FG insulation absorbs the water, then the plywood backing of the aluminum skin rots. Finally small bumps appear on the aluminum skin and by this time a full blown repair is needed. I completely removed the interior plywood in the rear bedroom, removed the soaked insulation, replaced rotted structural members, and used foam sealant in critical areas. Finally I sold it to a dealer in 2008, explaining what repairs I had done. It would have been too embarrassing to sell privately as I was sure more leaks were in process.

This was definitely a learning experience and I came away from it with a conviction that hidden parts in an RV structure should not absorb water and should not rot. It is telling that on the current Lazy Daze site they make no mention of the composition of the structure or insulation, only that they will repair it free for the original purchaser (heaven help the next buyer).
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Old 05-17-2016, 12:04 PM   #28
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