Cracked Egg - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 11-23-2009, 04:35 PM   #15
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One good thing is that, assuming they do a good job, it will very probably be stronger than new.

The numerous fiberglass trailers I've looked at were not really built to be very strong. I think somewhat because of wanting to make them light; but also to make them economically competitive.

Doing a hand lay-up with something like biaxial cloth, epoxy resin, and tabbed bulkheads would be stronger, but would likely make the trailers too expensive to sell well.
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Old 11-23-2009, 05:38 PM   #16
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Amy, one of our neighbors got a limb through the sky lite of their fifth wheel since our incident. We do get a lot of wind up here on the island.

Raya, they are obligated to do a good job with their agreement with the insurance company - guaranteed for life. They said that where they patch the fiberglass it will be stronger than original. Someone else asked me how much weight that would add. Good question. I will probably never know.

I will let you know when I get it back or if something changes.

Dave
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Old 11-23-2009, 06:01 PM   #17
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Hi Dave,

Assuming they do a good job, I don't think you will add much weight, even if they do use a better grade of cloth or resin. They will probably do a hand layup, and thus they should be getting out any excess resin (which adds weight).

So I would think it will be stronger and better.

There's nothing wrong with you asking how, and what materials they are going to use though, if you are interested. If you're polite and they are a reputable place, they should give you clear, detailed answers.

Raya
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Old 11-23-2009, 08:30 PM   #18
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Raya said: "Doing a hand lay-up with something like biaxial cloth, epoxy resin, and tabbed bulkheads would be stronger, but would likely make the trailers too expensive to sell well."

I'll agree with you about the biaxial cloth and tabbed bulkheads, but using epoxy . . . not really.

Epoxy is really great and versatile stuff, but unlike polyester resins that are more flexible, epoxy cures to a much more rigid structure that doesn't have as much give. A tree landing on an epoxy-fiberglass egg would probably crack it. A second difference is that polyester resin can be softened and form molecular bonds with other adhesives. The two-part chemistry of epoxy cures to a compound that is wonderfully chemical resistant, but that also means other adhesives can't form molecular bonds with the epoxy matrix, only less-strong hydrogen and mechanical bonds.

There are times when a fiberglass-epoxy-resin structure makes a lot of sense. Many boat masts and spars, and many load-bearing composite airplane components are made of epoxy-fiberglass, epoxy-carbon-fiber, or epoxy-Kevlar because the epoxy can make these cloth structures very, very strong and very, very rigid. Competition rowing sculls are often epoxy-kevlar because it can be made very light, thin, rigid, and smooth, but handle them wrong and they crack.

I prefer polyester-fiberglass shells because they are easier to work with, more forgiving in manufacturing and repair, and less likely to shatter when bumped or dumped on by a tree.
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Old 11-23-2009, 08:47 PM   #19
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I'm not sure I agree on that.

From what I understand, epoxy doesn't cure to be any more "brittle" than polyester, and I don't believe that an egg made with polyester resin is going to be more forgiving of things like tree limbs falling on it than one of epoxy.

Polyester has a couple of things going for it that I think make it very attractive to builders (even good ones; I'm not saying it's a "cheap out" thing). One is that it is much less expensive than epoxy (and in many instances, does the job just fine); and the other is that it cures much faster than epoxy, which can make the difference between the repairer having to do a little bit of work at a time, over a period of days, or just getting the job done.

In terms of repairs to an existing polyester shell, I believe epoxy to have better secondary bonding characteristics (and it will be a secondary bond) even to existing polyester. (Both polyester and epoxy will have good primary bonds, but an existing trailer is past that point.)

I didn't mention Vinylester because it tends to leave a lingering odor, like polyester does (epoxy doesn't). I think it is on a par with epoxy for strength, secondary bonding, etc. (But if it were my trailer I would prefer epoxy for a repair).

In reality, I believe any of the three should be fine for the strength required of the OP's camper. But if I could build a new one any way I wanted to? I would definitely choose a layup of something like biaxmat with epoxy resin. Again, not necessary for the typical strain on a travel trailer, but still, as I understand it, superior.

My experience comes from the field of fiberglass boat building and repair.

Raya

PS: I meant to add, Dave, if you want to get an idea of the general processes, so that you are conversant with them in dealing with the repair place (I realize you might not care to do that), then I'd recommend downloading WEST system's "Epoxy Handbook." It's free. Even though WEST is a brand of epoxy resin, and so their book talks about epoxy, the techniques and terms will be the same no matter which resin they use.

PPS: Editing my edit! I went to WEST's website, and even though their handbook is free in print form, if you grab it at a store where they sell the products, it doesn't look like you can download it all in one fell swoop from the website. On the other hand, you can read it chapter by chapter (it's the same text and illustrations) by going here:

http://209.20.76.247/ss/use-guides/

Even better, they now have their publication "Fiberglass boat repair and maintenance" available for free download, a bit further down the page. This publication is really useful. The basic techniques hold true for all the various resins, and for campers, boats, and whatever, in the main. I'd highly recommend anyone with an egg to at least skim through it.
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Old 11-23-2009, 10:55 PM   #20
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PS: I meant to add, Dave, if you want to get an idea of the general processes, so that you are conversant with them in dealing with the repair place (I realize you might not care to do that), then I'd recommend downloading WEST system's "Epoxy Handbook." It's free. Even though WEST is a brand of epoxy resin, and so their book talks about epoxy, the techniques and terms will be the same no matter which resin they use.

ever, in the main. I'd highly recommend anyone with an egg to at least skim through it.
Thanks Raya. I actually do have some fiberglass experience building and finishing a wooden kayak (stitch and glue). I started with polyester but switched to System 3 epoxy. We (my wife built one too) are good woodworkers but the fiberglass finish work was a real challenge for us.

What I learned was I definitely do not want to repair a trailer myself. Glad the trailer is insured and being fixed by professionals.

Dave


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Old 11-24-2009, 01:36 AM   #21
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Oh, neat-o! The kayaks sound nice Years and years ago, one of my first experiences with fiberglassing was building a cedar strip canoe in a class and then glassing the outside. Around ten of us took the class, built the canoe, and then it was sold to pay for the class/materials. It was a neat experience.

My first "very own" experience was sheathing a ply/epoxy boat - I, too, used System Three for that. Man, that was NOT fun work: I had set aside one specific three-day weekend to do it on, and that weekend just decided it had to be in the 90s all weekend (which is really, really unusual up north where I was living). Man, I bet I lost 20 pounds just from being suited up all weekend sanding and glassing. Was I ever glad to get that done.

Sounds like you've got the best of both worlds now: You understand the process.... but don't have to actually do it

Raya
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Old 12-05-2009, 10:10 AM   #22
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Hi Dave, Hopefullly you will be getting your baby back soon.

I was just wondering how did you convince the insurance company to repair the Egg and not total it out and replace it with a new one? With that kind of damage one would think it would be over their percentage for repair.

Melissa

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Well, we finally got the damage estimate back. It is just under $10,000. They guarantee to repair it as good or better than new. They considered splitting it in the middle and replacing the kitchen and possibly the top but decided that would cost even more. We shold get it back in 3-4 weeks.

It took so long to get the estimate, I was concerned that they might that it. we were already discussing what options we would add or subtract if that was the conclusion. We would not change much but thankfuly now we do not need to consider that possibility.

Dave
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Old 12-05-2009, 10:42 AM   #23
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I did not take any convincing, The repair shop was concerned that they might total it but teir estimate was only $100 more than the preliminary estimate from the insurance company based on my pictures and description of the damage. It would cost almost twice te damage to replace it accounting for purchase price of a new one + delivery + state taxes. It isn't like there are any equivalent 09 models on the used market.

I worry a little about getting it repaired but like repairing a car after an accidental, both the repair shop and the insurance company give a life time guarantee on the work. The shop indicated that the repaired areas will be stronger than original.

It will be a little inconvenient if there are problems since the shop is 70 miles and a boat ride away.

Dave
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Old 12-05-2009, 10:54 AM   #24
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Awwwwwwwwwww, I see now. I didnt realize your Egg was so freshly hatched. I looked in your profile but the year isnt listed. 70 miles AND a boat ride? So the shop is on an island? Guess that would make sense as it's probably a boat repair place, lol. Be sure and post before and after pix when you can.

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Old 12-05-2009, 04:34 PM   #25
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Awwwwwwwwwww, I see now. I didnt realize your Egg was so freshly hatched. I looked in your profile but the year isnt listed. 70 miles AND a boat ride? So the shop is on an island? Guess that would make sense as it's probably a boat repair place, lol. Be sure and post before and after pix when you can.

Melissa
Actually, we live on the island North of Seattle. The repair shop is South of Seattle. It is a shop recommended by the insurance company that does nothing but RV body repair. They also had a local medic unit show up for a repair estimate while I was there. They do about 38 rigs a month and have a full time staff of 22. Many of the rigs I saw were the bigger motor homes & 5th wheels.

BTW, we can take a bridge adding another 60 or so miles to the drive.

Dave
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Old 02-05-2010, 03:54 PM   #26
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Well, it has been 3 months since i took the egg to the repair shop. Finally got it back! It looks just like brand new. here is what they did:
  • Removed more then 2 garbage cans of fiberglass from the right side across the roof the the left side - from the stove, across the roof vent, to the dining window.
  • Ground it down to a thin layer of remaining fiberglass then built it back up to the right thickness,
  • Finished the fiberglass to the smooth finish - spent a week of steady work doing just the fiberglass.
  • Removed the back overhead cabinets from the trailer and repaired them.
  • Repaired the refer cabinet in place, since they couldn't get it out.
  • Replaced the Fantastic fan - guess what? They had to get one special made from the factory because the roof is only 1 1/8" think, much less than most RVs. That took an etra week.
  • Replaced the awning.
  • Painted and gel coated it.
  • Made sure everything worked.

Wescraft in Fife WA did the work. They only do body work - on RVs, semi's, buses ambulances and the like including custom painting. Although this was outside their normal big rig, stick built repairs, they did excelent work and we are very satisfied with the results. They had a couple of surprises of their own like the Fantastic fan and needing to order plastic or nylon rivets from Canada.

The repair man was very impressed with the quality of construction compared what he has seen in the stick builts.

Glad to close this chapter.

Dave
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