Fiberglass Class Cs? - Page 3 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 05-17-2016, 01:07 PM   #29
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Name: Jack L
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Originally Posted by wbullivant View Post
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).
Do you know exactly what was leaking ? Was it a factory defect or caused by a previous accident or perhaps a modification improperly done by a previous owner ? I do not own a motor home yet but Lazy Daze is one of several brands on my short list.
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Old 05-17-2016, 05:54 PM   #30
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Name: Steve
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I use to own a 1998 22 foot Lazy Daze. It is one of the best built motor homes made in my opinion. But like anything else it must be maintained. Any rv with a wood substructure is a climate for disaster if water is allowed inside the wood construction. The metal siding and metal roof is a real plus. but you have to keep the water out. I walked the roof and seam sealed the top every year before winter started. My rv was stored outside in the California sun and that metal heats up and cools allot.

Maintaining the top seal is very important.
Unfortunately in the case of most RV's no one pays attention to keeping the water out until something leaks inside. Then it's too late it has probably had minor leaking for a couple of years going un-noticed.
Worse are the rigs with rubber roofs.

I downsized to my Scamp so I don't have the large maintenance bill on a used motorhome sitting all the time. I can also get out and have a great time with my Scamp for $150.00 instead of thinking about spending $500.00 just to pull out the driveway.

I use my Scamp 10 fold to the time I used the motorhome. With just the 2 of us the motorhome was an expensive mistake and overkill for what we really wanted. Just one of those paths in life you go down and throw a U turn to get out of it.
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Old 05-18-2016, 06:53 AM   #31
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The problem with metal-sided RVs (usually aluminum of some variety) is that the metal shrinks and expands with heat and cold cycles, and that continual movement of the pieces at the seams eventually leads to the failure of the sealant. Airstream uses special sealants that are very elastic, and they even fail after a while. It's really amazing how much aluminum can expand and contract with temperature.

Fiberglass doesn't exhibit the same propensity to shrink with cold or swell with heat, so the sealants last much longer; that said, many sealants will still fail eventually from UV deterioration. Sealants have improved greatly in the past ten years though.

Any RV with a fiberglass cap-style roof that overlaps the walls by a couple of inches is far superior to any metal roof. Frankly, even the current crop of canned-ham trailers that still have joints at the fiberglass roof and side panels will far-outlast the old canned-ham style trailers that used metal because fiberglass is more stable and doesn't stress the sealants by expansion and contraction.
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Old 05-18-2016, 09:16 AM   #32
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Name: Jack L
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I would prefer a Born Free because of the fiberglass material. In addition to the information Roger H. has posted, we all know fiberglass is more resistant to minor impact and scratch damage. Lazy Daze is sill a consideration because the used market offers more units available. Many aircraft are made from aluminum panels and they go through major temp changes in a very short period. An aircraft going from a sub zero altitude into an airport in the Arizona to a 100 degree temp on the ground in less than an hour does happen all the time.
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Old 05-20-2016, 09:09 AM   #33
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Many aircraft are made from aluminum panels and they go through major temp changes in a very short period. An aircraft going from a sub zero altitude into an airport in the Arizona to a 100 degree temp on the ground in less than an hour does happen all the time.
Aircraft, however, have daily inspections... weekly routine maintenance, and regular depot-level maintenance where sealants are replaced before they can leak and cause damage. I suspect that if we did that kind of maintenance to a sticky, it would last forever too!
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Old 05-20-2016, 11:44 AM   #34
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From the Coach House writeup:



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.
I know this is a MH discussion but I couldn't let this one by. The LIL Snoozy fiberglass travel trailer has NO roof openings...
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Old 05-20-2016, 01:25 PM   #35
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I know this is a MH discussion but I couldn't let this one by. The LIL Snoozy fiberglass travel trailer has NO roof openings...
It looks to me like it has a vent fan through the roof... and it certainly has windows cut into the upper half of the hull... all are just as likely to leak at some point as on any other trailer or motorhome. There are just fewer of them than a full-featured RV with a full-sized fridge, holding tank vents, and more than one roof mounted a/c unit, TV antenna, bath vent, and whatever else folks install through their roof.

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Old 05-20-2016, 04:21 PM   #36
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Aircraft, however, have daily inspections... weekly routine maintenance, and regular depot-level maintenance where sealants are replaced before they can leak and cause damage. I suspect that if we did that kind of maintenance to a sticky, it would last forever too!
That is not true of small aircraft and there are plenty of vintage ones of those around. They do get an annual inspection and so should any RV.
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Old 05-20-2016, 06:27 PM   #37
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That is not true of small aircraft and there are plenty of vintage ones of those around. They do get an annual inspection and so should any RV.
I can't say as I'd want to fly with a pilot that didn't do a visual inspection on the aircraft every time they fly, before taxiing out. All of my friends who fly do a pre-flight inspection every time.

You're right though... every RV should have an annual inspection of the sealants used on it, regardless of the materials or method of construction.
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Old 05-20-2016, 10:38 PM   #38
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Originally Posted by Roger H View Post
It looks to me like it has a vent fan through the roof... and it certainly has windows cut into the upper half of the hull... all are just as likely to leak at some point as on any other trailer or motorhome. There are just fewer of them than a full-featured RV with a full-sized fridge, holding tank vents, and more than one roof mounted a/c unit, TV antenna, bath vent, and whatever else folks install through their roof.


Mine does not have a roof vent, nor do any of the ten others I have seen. It does look like the trailer in the photo has one. I suspect it may be an early prototype. We checked out the factory showroom model when we ordered ours in 2014. It did not have a roof vent either. I agree that it is possible the Windows could leak but not the roof.


Sent from my iPad using Fiberglass RV
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Old 05-21-2016, 02:49 AM   #39
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Originally Posted by Roger H View Post
I can't say as I'd want to fly with a pilot that didn't do a visual inspection on the aircraft every time they fly, before taxiing out. All of my friends who fly do a pre-flight inspection every time.

You're right though... every RV should have an annual inspection of the sealants used on it, regardless of the materials or method of construction.
Of course they do pre-flight inspections but a pre-flight does not include a detailed inspection of the caulking.
I would know because I used to own a small plane. Actually I am also very skilled in caulking having gone through many annual required certification classes specifically on the subject of caulking while working as an aircraft mechanic at Boeing. So yes, I am one of the people who might have put some caulking in a plane you have flown in. I guess I did the job right as here you are. When I get out to one of the rallies I could hold a seminar on caulking and how to make it look pretty as well as being properly sealed.

In forums you don't get a full resume of the person you are talking to and it is easy to assume they don't know what they are talking about just because you are not as familiar with a subject as they are.


That is me in the foreground. I was in my late 20's working on a mock-up prototype at Boeing. I learned my first fiberglass skills during that time as a Developer Prover Mechanic as we had to create custom fiberglassed air ducts now and again. But over the years I also worked in final assembly, on interiors, the wire shop and at generalized bench fabrication of assemblies from a variety of materials. Plus I have worked at two other aircraft companies. I was a lead when I left Boeing years later. I am very fortunate to have many skills in many areas that I find are of considerable use in owning vintage FBRV's.
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Old 05-21-2016, 04:52 AM   #40
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K C, I think that would be an excellent thing to talk about at a rally.
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Old 05-21-2016, 07:01 AM   #41
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Of course they do pre-flight inspections but a pre-flight does not include a detailed inspection of the caulking.
I would know because I used to own a small plane. is easy to assume they don't know what they are talking about just because you are not as familiar with a subject as they are.

I am very fortunate to have many skills in many areas that I find are of considerable use in owning vintage FBRV's.
I think that my point is getting lost in the minutiae.

Of course you're correct on both counts... and I make no assumptions about anyone, nor would I hope, that folks make assumptions about me, but just for the record, I'm intimately familiar with airframe corrosion and its attendant issues as well, but that's not really the issue here.

I'll spell this out as I think we've gotten off-track for what my point was.

Aluminum alloys expand and contract with temperature. Sealants deteriorate and lose their elasticity with exposure to the elements. Eventually they can't keep up with the expansion and contraction of the metal, and the seal fails, requiring maintenance.

Commercial aircraft sit out in the weather, but they're also inspected regularly for issues by maintenance crews, and regular preventative maintenance is performed UNLIKE how most privately owned RVs are maintained. Also, unlike RVs, the joint systems between sheets are much different on aircraft, the fasteners are different, and there are no square joints as you find on an RV roof/sidewall or flat surfaces where water would pond and search for that compromised sealant.

I hope that makes my thoughts on the comparison more clear.
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Old 05-21-2016, 08:42 AM   #42
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Name: Steve
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"...When I get out to one of the rallies I could hold a seminar on caulking and how to make it look pretty as well as being properly sealed..."

That's a skill I'm definitely lacking and would very much like to learn. I wonder, is it possible for you to post a video on the subject?
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