fixed my water tank with Fiberglass - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-28-2018, 04:00 AM   #1
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Name: Gerry
Trailer: 1979 Boler 1300 / 1991 Casita Freedom Deluxe
Maine
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fixed my water tank with Fiberglass

On our yearly Fall camping trip, with our new to us 91 Casita, the second stop in the Lake George area, I filled the water tanks with potable water at the filling station and drove to our site only to hear this booming sound when it was parked. I looked under the camper thinking one of the stabilizing jacks failed but no, it was a crack in the water take along the bottom edge from front to back.
I need to tell you this wasn't the tank that is found under the bench seat but, I think, was an add-on as 2/10GAL tanks under the trailer held on by a flange at the top with screws. Again I will say I do not know what the tanks are made of but some sort of hard plastic? Or maybe Fiberglass?

We finished our 12 day 1200 mile road trip using bottled water and campground facilities but after camping 20+ years in our Boler we didn't find this too much of a problem.

I resolved to fix this with some fiberglass and epoxy/resin when I got home and mentioned this on another thread here and was told by other members that it wouldn't work.

I had the stuff anyway so I did it making sure it was clean the tank was clean and I made my patch go 2 inches on each side of split. I let it cure and I then put another patch over the first and let that cure.
I put water into tank about a week later and it held water fine. I then mixed up another batch of epoxy/resin and filled the weave to 100% and we'll see how long it lasts.

I think the whole problem was that the Casita didn't have any mud flaps and all road debris, even dust, would come off tire onto this bottom edge of tank and ware it thin.

My plan is to install mud flaps or even build a protective box around the tank and we'll see how long it lasts.
I respect others opinion on this and after getting messages saying the only fix was a new tank or a plastic weld I was prepared to not be upset when it failed but I worked just fine... Maybe the tank was fiberglass to begin with.
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Old 09-28-2018, 08:50 AM   #2
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Good fix, Gerry!
The roof mounted AC cover on my Scamp19 had a bunch of cracks when I bought it, and I thought, well, that piece cannot be too expensive to replace. Then I found that they cost about $300 - $400 new. Glass cloth and resin adhere well to the material, and after spray painting with white Rustoleum, it looks great and has been good for close to five years.
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Old 09-28-2018, 09:15 AM   #3
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Name: Gordon
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Originally Posted by Paul O. View Post
...
The roof mounted AC cover on my Scamp19 had a bunch of cracks when I bought it, and I thought, well, that piece cannot be too expensive to replace. Then I found that they cost about $300 - $400 new....
Most RV Air Conditioner Shrouds (covers) are closer to $120-140 US (not $300-400).

But a free fix is nice.
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Old 09-28-2018, 10:54 AM   #4
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Name: Michael
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The success of your patch bonding to the tank will depend largely on the material that the tank is made of and how well you cleaned the tank prior to application. Fiberglass bonds well to fiberglass if it is cleaned well. Plastics can be one of many polymers which will determine the degree to which the fiberglass resin penetrates and thus bonds/adheres to it. The real test will be when you road your unit and the tank flexes.
As an aside, was there any taste or odor from the water in the tank after you applied the patch?
Cheers!
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Old 09-28-2018, 12:40 PM   #5
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Cool Fibreglass patch !

Reminds me of one of our annual 10 day, year-end wilderness canoe trips through Pukaskwa National Park (in Ontario), with 8 senior hi-school students, in the mid-1990's. We (instructors) always took fibreglass cloth, and clear resin, on these adventures. After severely damaging a canoe in a rocky rapids on day three, we repaired the 2 inch 'hole' with a cardboard patch from an Aunt Jemima pancake box, and sealed it over with fibreglass cloth and resin. The repair, held well for the balance of the trip down the Pukaskwa River, and the next three 3 days on Lake Superior. The 'Jemima' patch remained clearly visible as an honoured school 'badge', for the next several years of continued student use. Hope your fibreglass patch does as well.
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Old 09-28-2018, 01:21 PM   #6
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If you rough the bonding area up good and use epoxy with the fiberglass you might well get a good bond.
Polypropylene is hard to glue, but it might be something else.
Your best bet is an epoxy glue or something for the poly.
I think your repair will work just fine and if not you are just back where you started so no real loss.
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Old 09-28-2018, 05:09 PM   #7
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Name: Gerry
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul O. View Post
Good fix, Gerry!
The roof mounted AC cover on my Scamp19 had a bunch of cracks when I bought it, and I thought, well, that piece cannot be too expensive to replace. Then I found that they cost about $300 - $400 new. Glass cloth and resin adhere well to the material, and after spray painting with white Rustoleum, it looks great and has been good for close to five years.
When I had my 5th wheel, I did the same thing. The cover was in such bad shape I had to reinforce the slates with fine strips of cedar and then I glassed over it all and it held up till I sold the camper 5 years after.
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Old 09-29-2018, 10:06 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by gordon2 View Post
Most RV Air Conditioner Shrouds (covers) are closer to $120-140 US (not $300-400).

But a free fix is nice.
Right you are! I do not remember how I got that price, but everything RV was new to me and confusing then. I just took another look, but, as you say, free is good and I am keeping my fiberglass patch.
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Old 10-06-2018, 10:34 AM   #9
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Name: t
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Long term you may find that the water has caused problems with the fiberglass. Ask any fiberglass boat owner about blisters on the hull below water line. Those that leave their boats in the water year round will know what you're talking about.

Short term I doubt its a problem and if you store the trailer dry I suspect that you'll never have the problem.


I'm surprised that much of anything will bond to Polyethylene. The stuff is pretty low energy, not much will bond to it.

As for the road debris battering anything behind the tires look into what road racers call "Helicopter Tape". Was designed by 3M to be applied to the leading edges of composite rotors to keep airborne debris from causing those same problems in a part that supposed to keep our guys in the military airborne and safe. Pegasus Racing carries it. Use sparingly, one layer only.
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Old 10-06-2018, 11:16 AM   #10
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The question is what kind of fiberglass resin is used.
Polyester resin will have more problems than epoxy which will hold up much better.
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Old 10-06-2018, 01:33 PM   #11
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Name: Mike
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Hi - chances are the tank is made of hdpe, or something similar. G-flex epoxy would be much better repairing this type of plastic. I've used it to repair both my potable water, and gray tank on my 1999 Scamp, and it has never failed since being repaired over five years ago. The stuff is expensive, but works great!
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Old 10-06-2018, 02:47 PM   #12
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Long term you may find that the water has caused problems with the fiberglass. Ask any fiberglass boat owner about blisters on the hull below water line. Those that leave their boats in the water year round will know what you're talking about.
Blistering only happens under certain circumstances and is not something "any" boat owner will have experience with. Most boats never have the problem regardless if they are left in the water or not. It's definitely not something to worry about with a simple tank repair.

It seems unlikely the OP's tank is made of polyethylene. There may be some, but I know of no glues that will bond to it very well. Usually, welding is the way to fix it or install fittings on those tanks. Since he did find a way to fix it, I say "great" and don't worry about blisters.
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Old 10-06-2018, 02:53 PM   #13
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Blisters are a semi-regular occurrence with fiberglass boats here on the Coastal Desert. I'd venture that most all glass boat owners in the area know about it, know someone that experienced it, or have experienced it themselves.
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Old 10-08-2018, 05:18 PM   #14
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Name: Gerry
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Originally Posted by redbarron55 View Post
The question is what kind of fiberglass resin is used.
Polyester resin will have more problems than epoxy which will hold up much better.
Hey JD, I used this epoxy / resin product called the West System. With a 6 oz mesh sheet fiberglass that I had left over from my canoe building days.
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