Palomini Fiberglass camper - Page 4 - Fiberglass RV

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Old 11-22-2015, 01:14 PM   #43
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Name: Bob
Trailer: 1973 Hunter Compact II
Posts: 7,912
Originally Posted by Roger H View Post
Doing all of the through-hulls on the roof of the Bigfoot 25RQ was about $400, and necessary. And that's a cost that goes with long-term trailer maintenance regardless of brand. I've had to do re-sealing of something on almost all of the ten molded fiberglass trailers I've owned over the years... and on at least some of the half-dozen Airstreams I've owned as well.

And if fiberglass trailers don't have the same issues, why then are there so many that require a frame-off restoration after twenty years because the floors rot through? Airstreams are no different...

My point wasn't that I'm trying to "level the playing field" at all, it's that many folks have an unrealistic view of the true maintenance needs of fiberglass trailers... especially because of posts like yours. They still require maintenance and re-sealing, just not for roof seams.

My point was that if buying new, and knowing what you're looking for, it is entirely possible now to find a "stickie" that will likely have just as long a service life as a molded fiberglass trailer. That wasn't the case just ten or fifteen years ago. I'm seeing new construction with fiberglass capped roofs with a 3" coved edge around the trailer... and much better seam bonding that has been possible in the past, and significantly improved sealants, and more use of torsion axles and aluminum box framing. The demands of the marketplace are leveling the playing field through better construction techniques. That's not taking anything away from molded fiberglass trailers, it's just increasing the new trailer buyer's field of possibilities for long-term ownership, depending on what they're looking for.

Most on this site don't seem to be in the "Buying New" category, either by choice or necessity and I didn't think that we were including Airstreams, and their issues in the mix either.

While a "FEW" FGRV's on this site have had floor damage that required frame off reconstruction, (my 43 y.o. FGRV has never needed any floor repair, much less frame off level repairs.) there is no reason that an equal or greater number of stick-builts would not have succumbed to that same issue. (unless one argues that the walls will act as sponges to absorb water before it gets to the floor... LOL) That said, the wall damage usually done, before water ever gets to the floor, would make any frame-off repairs nearly an impossibility with stick-built construction. And I believe that many, if not most, of those floor replacements reported were in 30-40 y.o. rigs, an age by which most stickbuilts are long gone.

To summarize our points of agreement:
Stick builts and FGRV's all share common areas that must be maintained.
Stick builts have edge seams and roof seams that must also be maintained.
Stick builts require more preventive maintenance.

And those of disagreement:
When leaks occur in FGRV's, they are usually no more than cosmetic, the damage is usually repairable, and structural integrity is usually not compromised.
Stick builts often allow water to leak inside wall construction, is often undetected for years, and can lead to unrepairable damage.
FGRV's require substantially less preventive maintenance.

And on other topics

Wrap-over molded fiberglass roof's have been around on some Americana models since at least 1984. Those with that design are noted for having fewer problems with leaks.

I was recently at the Los Angeles RV show, with a claimed 1200 RV's on display, and I would bet a case of Stella that, with the exception of the more economical composite construction walls, more than 2/3rds of them are still being built in basically the same manner as those built 20 years ago, including inadequate edge sealing and, heaven forbid, many are still using ribbed siding, well known for leakage at front and back vertical edges.

And at that show, McBrides RV, a major player in SoCal RV repairs, in a seminar for would-be RV owners, suggested a minimum set aside for "Conventional Construction" trailers, after the warranty ran out, of $75 per foot of length. When asked about FGRV's he didn't have a figure, but guessed "About $25 a foot, but you don't see any here do you?"

In another 10 years I will check in with my local RV shop and see if they have had to go out of business, of if the are still flourishing repairing leaks on the 2015 crop of stick-builts.


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