Which Trailers Have A Double Shell? - Page 3 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 04-29-2013, 11:53 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by Steve Outlaw View Post
In the 2008 Oliver's there are two layers of fiberglass each about one half inch thick with about a half inch dead air space between them...
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Originally Posted by floyd View Post
An inch thickness of fiberglass wall on a trailer the size of an Oliver would likely result in two instant blowouts!
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Originally Posted by Steve Outlaw View Post
As far as the inch of fiberglass blowing out the tires, we've been lucky so far, but you are perceptive about the weight, ours will weigh right at 4000 pounds when it is loaded up and ready to travel...
Floyd's point is that fiberglass-reinforced plastic is dense, so a inch-thick shell would be very heavy. I think 1/8" is a more likely thickness, per shell. At an inch thick, an Oliver-sized shell would weigh about a ton (2000 pounds) if it were the density of water... and if you drop a chunk of 'glass in water it sinks like a rock, so figure 3000 lb or more, for just the shell! No, even an Oliver shell is nowhere near that thick. Boat hull - yes; trailer - no.
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Old 04-30-2013, 12:32 AM   #30
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Bigfoot

No one mentioned Bigfoot. They are built single shell but use foam insulation and interior wood glued to the foam. Bigfoot called it foamcore. They glass in attaching points just like Escape does so the exterior has no buttons.
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Old 04-30-2013, 08:44 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by Francesca Knowles View Post
...the Oliver has two (one inside and one outside).

Doesn't the Snoozy have two fiberglass surfaces, one on the inside and one on the outside? Is the distinction that the Snoozy has foam between them whereas the Oliver doesn't?
Yes, the Snoozy body has outer and inner layers of fiberglass. Between them is core material (foam or honeycomb... I don't recall which), and it is all - all layers including the core - bonded together in the moulding operation. The core material is mostly air, so it is not dense like solid fiberglass. This is a "cored composite".

Most "double wall" or "double shell" designs have two separately moulded thin shells, later assembled but bonded only at the edges, with or without insulation placed between them.

The cored composite layers work together to form a strong structure. An inner shell not bonded to the outer one adds little strength, and is there mostly as furniture and an interior wall finish.

It is not yet clear to me how much of the Oliver is cored composite, and how much is an assembly of parts.
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Old 04-30-2013, 09:11 AM   #32
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If I recall correctly, MichaelM pushed insulation in between the double walls of his UHaul VT when he redid it. I believe he was able to reach most areas but it was a touchy job. Our VT does not have any insulation between the walls, so our walls do get cool in the cold weather camping, but the inside of the trailer stays nice and warm with our small ceramic heater. The floor is probably the coldest element, so we use a thin carpet to insulate that.
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Old 04-30-2013, 09:27 AM   #33
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GPJ:

The new frames will be the same as in the older models. They are welded from 2 x 5 inch box aluminum. The only steel is the bulldog hitch that has to be thru-bolted to the tongue.


floyd:

As far as the inch of fiberglass blowing out the tires, we've been lucky so far, but you are perceptive about the weight, ours will weigh right at 4000 pounds when it is loaded up and ready to travel. In the beginning the Oliver's were built outfitted with 3500 pound axles. After a couple of near failures, the company retrofitted all the 17 footers with 5200 pound axles each with three new 15 inch wheels and tires to match the now 6 bolt pattern. I further upgraded ours to 16 inch wheels with light truck tires so I feel like we are good to go.
Do I remember properly, that the original Olivers had steel frames with an option of the "heritage" version with an aluminum frame?
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Old 04-30-2013, 12:09 PM   #34
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Do I remember properly, that the original Olivers had steel frames with an option of the "heritage" version with an aluminum frame?
Toward the end of their original production run, in an effort to offer a less expensive Oliver, they offered the "Sport" model that had a steel frame instead of the aluminum one. They also offered it with a toned down list of standard features with the option to add any of the other things that were standard on the "Elite". I saw a couple of these frames being built at the factory. I don't know if they were ever outfitted and sold or not.
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Old 04-30-2013, 01:45 PM   #35
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My main concern was structural. I watched the video and thought, "That's what I would get for all that money!". The unit looked great and I wanted one immediately until I saw the building process. I do like the look of the molded-in interiors but the deluxe wood that Scamp has is beautiful. I just feel the less things to work loose, the happier I would be. Thank you everyone for your responses.
Cathy I have a 21 year old Scamp that structurally is still very very sound. No fiberglass or gelcoat cracks or any other issues if that is what you are concerned about and feel you need to look at double shell trailers to avoid? Yes I have had some of the original rivets snap after many many miles of rough road travels - but that is really what they are designed to do when they age and have been subjected to a good deal of flex over many years of travel - rivets snaps before the fiberglass does resulting in no structural or fiberglass cracking issues. When a rivet snaps its not a big deal and doesn't result in any structural issues or safety concerns. Easy to replace - a 5 min job.

As far as additional work goes - the simple fact is that many people here have never had a rivet snap. A lot has to do with how old the trailer is (the older the rivets the higher the likelihood of an occasional rivet snapping), the roads the trailer travels on and how many miles it travels and how much stuff is loaded into the cabinets. I tend to put *a lot* of miles on my old trailer each year on some not so smooth roads, so having one of the original rivets snap a year is not a big issue & it sure would not make me think I needed to buy only a double shell trailer or one with only glassed in cabinets. Having a trailer that has glassed in cabinets is a big plus because they normally have fewer holes through the hull that could possible leak but a number of different manufacturers do that but they don't have double shells. Even with glassed in cabinets that doesn't mean you will never have to replace a rivet as the trailer ages - they all have rivets holding something in place that will need to be replaced at some point.
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Old 04-30-2013, 07:30 PM   #36
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I received an informative note from another member, and I realized that some of my earlier comments could use clarification. There is always a balance between posts which are too superficial (causing misunderstandings) and those which are too detailed (so people don't read them so there are still misunderstandings, or just find them annoying), and so far I seem to have landed on the too-brief side, as I tried to provide interpretation for Floyd's comment.

My quick calculation of volume of the shell was just the shell itself, not the space inside it. Imagine a sheet of any material an inch thick covering the whole area (floor, walls, top) of a 17' trailer: if folded up and stacked into a block, would be about a cubic metre (a cubic yard, a thousand litres, 250 gallons) in volume. Most people don't really understand density, so I used water for comparison: that much water would weigh a ton, but fiberglass resin is about 20% more dense than water (a block of resin sinks in water) and the glass is much more dense than that (a block of glass sinks fast in water). This assumes that the shell is all fiberglass, which is important (keep reading...)

If that much fiberglass would weigh 3000 lb or more, then a 4000 lb trailer with a substantial frame, axle and other running gear, windows, and a full set of appliances and interior fittings cannot have a 3000 lb body. All that other stuff is the majority of the mass of a travel trailer (of any reasonable construction).

Perhaps the boat hull comparison was unfortunate, because I had previously referred to stuff which doesn't float, for an entirely different purpose. I wasn't suggesting that a sealed-up Oliver would not float; of course it would - the water line would only be a quarter metre (10") up from the floor to displace the two tons to water required to float the two-ton trailer. The boat reference was just to typical thickness of fiberglass material used in construction: the hull of a heavy boat might need a hull an inch thick of solid fiberglass for adequate strength to resist water pressure (and collision with objects in the water), while the wall of a trailer doesn't need anything like that. That much fiberglass as a solid layer would be a pointless waste of material and manufacturing effort; the Oliver is clearly more intelligently designed than that.

So, why the large observed thickness of an Oliver body? The main one would be use of sandwiched materials and cored composite construction. Steve described the roof construction with low-density material bonded between fiberglass shells to form a roof much more than an inch thick: that's not an inch of fiberglass, that's thinner layers of fiberglass plus substantial thickness of other materials of much lower density. I'm told that Oliver uses Nomex honeycomb, great stuff for this purpose. If even side wall shell layers are half an inch thick each, some of that thickness must logically be core material (such as honeycomb or foam), not solid glass fiber reinforced plastic (a.k.a. GRP, a.k.a. FRP, a.k.a. fiberglass).


So, I should have said that "an Oliver shell is nowhere near that thickness of solid fiberglass". Sorry for the misunderstanding... but now everyone who is interested knows a bit more.
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Old 04-30-2013, 07:39 PM   #37
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So, in my continuing quest, why is fiberglass construction so expensive? I noticed they use a tremendous amount of glue. To me, the difference between stick and fiberglass would be the body (shell) with just about everything else being equal? So, is the fiberglass body costing twice what the stick does and if so, why is single or double (walled, shelled, bodied) not reflect that in the sticker price? I just assumed, and yes, I know the problem with that, the more high dollar units would have more fiberglass, double the amount. What can I say, I stop and pick up pennies in the street so every cent counts to me.
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Old 04-30-2013, 08:01 PM   #38
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Cathy, it IS reflective in the costs. Check out small lightweight stick builts, then check the same size in all molded. AND, you'll notice right at THIS moment, there isn't any manufacturer building double-hull all molded trailers. The last to do so was the Oliver and it was many, many more dollars than the same size Casita (yes, I know about the expensive options).

Time is money, it costs a lot more in time to build a trailer using a mold than it does to staple or screw a trailer together.
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Old 04-30-2013, 08:12 PM   #39
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So, in my continuing quest, why is fiberglass construction so expensive? I noticed they use a tremendous amount of glue.
What glue? The glass fibers are the reinforcement in a plastic (such as polyester, or other kind of epoxy) matrix. That matrix is not just an adhesive like glue.

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To me, the difference between stick and fiberglass would be the body (shell) with just about everything else being equal?
Not quite. All common production moulded fiberglass trailer designs are built by constructing the shell then equipping it with everything that goes inside. "Conventional" trailers are often built by constructing a floor, putting everything on it while it is accessible, then putting up the walls and topping it with the roof... that makes the production easier and faster, and labour is a substantial part of an RV's cost.

Both Airstream and Class B (van conversion) motorhome manufacturers have claimed this same explanation for the relatively high cost of their styles of RV.

I would expect that putting together a double-shell body adds more labour cost.

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I just assumed, and yes, I know the problem with that, the more high dollar units would have more fiberglass, double the amount.
Although the raw materials for fiberglass are not cheap, I don't think the cost difference between fiberglass trailer brands has much to do with that. The quality and quantity of other parts that must be purchased, the labour to install them, and the labour in finishing the body seem like larger factors to me, but that's only a guess.
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Old 04-30-2013, 08:44 PM   #40
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so is the reason you are wanting hulls and skulls and wells and whatever to keep the camper warmer?

one of the best things about my casita is how warm i am in the winter and how cool i am in the summer.

are the trailers you are talking about warmer/cooler than casitas?
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Old 04-30-2013, 08:53 PM   #41
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AND, you'll notice right at THIS moment, there isn't any manufacturer building double-hull all molded trailers.
A few moments and pages later and EggCamper is indeed building a double-walled trailer comparable to the old Burros and UHauls. If they ARE NOT, it is going to be very, very difficult to explain the seamless, radiused transitions between furniture and walls, the central accousticord-covered section of the roof where the inner half-shells are bonded to the exterior, and the amazing internal vista of shiny gelcoat. If there is any fiberglass work more expensive and labour/skill intensive than spraying gelcoat anywhere but first thing on the mold and then cutting and compounding it down to look like it WAS the first thing on the mold, someone will have to tell me what it is.

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Old 04-30-2013, 09:01 PM   #42
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A few moments and pages later and EggCamper is indeed building a double-walled trailer comparable to the old Burros and UHauls.
jack
Oh CRUD, I forgot about the EggCamper. Sorry. Especially to those that own that brand...
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