Fiberglass shell v bonded sandwich construction - Page 3 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 03-08-2013, 08:50 PM   #29
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In addition to the factors already mentioned, figure that a molded, rounded 'egg' trailer will get 25% to 50% better fuel economy.

Price can be a factor, however. If the 'bonded sandwich' trailer is far less costly to start with, as was mine (under $10,000 new), you might choose to buy it if you can't or won't spend the money for a comparable new molded FG unit. That's what I did... but I went into the transaction with the mindset that my trailer is basically a throwaway. It probably depreciated 30-40% in the first year, and if it develops leaks I don't catch quickly it could become essentially worthless in a very short length of time.
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Old 03-08-2013, 09:00 PM   #30
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For eveyone that is interested...There is a good video of a Prolite factory tour on youtube. It shows virtually every step of the construction in varying amounts of detail (yes, wall is a glued sandwich construction - no vac bagging). The video is located here: Campkin's RV presents the Prolite Factory Tour 2012 - YouTube

There are a couple of interesting points applicable to molded trailers too - eg. the guide talks about not sealing the bottom of the walls so as to allow spilled water to escape. Trapped water seems to be a problem with many molded units. Condensation or spills rot out the floor as the moisture cannot escape (although a couple of brands have small drain holes drilled to help in this regard).

There are also good videos of some other RV factories - in particular, several showing the Lance facility.

Enjoy....
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Old 03-09-2013, 06:27 AM   #31
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There are a couple of interesting points applicable to molded trailers too - eg. the guide talks about not sealing the bottom of the walls so as to allow spilled water to escape. Trapped water seems to be a problem with many molded units. Condensation or spills rot out the floor as the moisture cannot escape (although a couple of brands have small drain holes drilled to help in this regard).
Rather than NOT sealing the floor to the sides, I truly believe maintenance/prevention and attention is a far better solution. If you pay attention to the needs of the trailer, you should never have floor rot problems.
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Old 03-09-2013, 01:47 PM   #32
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Donna - I agree completely. But sadly, not everyone is so diligent or knowledgeable in regards maintenance and prevention - it is interesting to see how manufacturers deal with the possibility of poor maintenance - essentially trying to protect us from ourselves...and reduce warranty claims of course .
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Old 03-09-2013, 05:53 PM   #33
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Donna - I agree completely. But sadly, not everyone is so diligent or knowledgeable in regards maintenance and prevention - it is interesting to see how manufacturers deal with the possibility of poor maintenance - essentially trying to protect us from ourselves...and reduce warranty claims of course .
There was that Bigfoot Silver Cloud that had the whole interior destroyed because it sat wet for years.
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Old 03-10-2013, 11:08 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by carlkeigley
That is the wall, ceiling, and floor of the Lil Snoozy Trailer.

Particularly, this is the bedroom window cutout.

It's one of the pics in my album.
Nice path for water to get in.

On boats this sort of thing is frightening. The core material is typically removed at the edges and filled with thickened epoxy to prevent any water migration into the laminate. Once inside, cyclical freezing causes de-lamination.
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Old 03-10-2013, 11:39 AM   #35
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Rather than NOT sealing the floor to the sides, I truly believe maintenance/prevention and attention is a far better solution. If you pay attention to the needs of the trailer, you should never have floor rot problems.
Even in the entry level trailers, if you do proper maintenance (a little more often), you can get your money's worth out of the trailer. Sadly, we have seen so many used models of everything from pop-ups to giant motorhomes that were not properly cared for and I keep thinking what a shame that it is. Imagine being able to afford something so nice, and some were so nice, and just running it until it was crappy and then moving on probably often repossessed. I would always try to see a used unit of anything I was going to buy new if possible because you can tell if a unit is just showing wear and tear or neglect versus a sloppy job/crappy materials coming from the factory. It seems pretty easy to sell a fiberglass egg if you decide you don't like it or need cash which is a biggy in the RV market today.
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Old 03-10-2013, 12:13 PM   #36
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David, there is a simple answer to you question.

How many 30 year old non moulded fiberglass travel trailers do you see in use today?

I just bought a 1982 13' Scamp that hasn't moved in the seven years I've been trying to buy it.
It's been sitting in 110 degree High Desert sun in the summer and rained on in the winter.
It has no leaks.
Other than the Ensolite seam tape needing to be replaced, cosmetic, and a slight smell from being closed up for so long the interior is in great shape.

I would imagine the average age of all the trailes in this group is somewhere between 20 and thirty years old.

How about a survey to find out.

John
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Old 03-10-2013, 12:27 PM   #37
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There are a couple of interesting points applicable to molded trailers too - eg. the guide talks about not sealing the bottom of the walls so as to allow spilled water to escape. Trapped water seems to be a problem with many molded units. Condensation or spills rot out the floor as the moisture cannot escape (although a couple of brands have small drain holes drilled to help in this regard).

.
Thanks for the very informative video!

Per your remarks above:

This is a very important point, and one that certainly affects molded units too. Especially with the non-breathable shells we all have, trapped interior moisture can be as big a problem as any that may penetrate from the outside. Condensation alone can wreak havoc with interior wood- this not to mention spills/leaks as noted above.

How many rotted out floors have we read about at this forum? Here's one presently ongoing: http://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/f...ent-56851.html, and if one needs to read about more, take your pick of these.

It's also worth noting that a much-discussed and approved of innovation on Escape trailers is the installation of drainholes in the so-called "pontoons" at each side of the trailer, purportedly for exactly the purpose described above and in the video.

Francesca
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Old 03-10-2013, 01:29 PM   #38
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Thanks for the very informative video!

Per your remarks above:

This is a very important point, and one that certainly affects molded units too. Especially with the non-breathable shells we all have, trapped interior moisture can be as big a problem as any that may penetrate from the outside. Condensation alone can wreak havoc with interior wood- this not to mention spills/leaks as noted above.

How many rotted out floors have we read about at this forum? Here's one presently ongoing: http://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/f...ent-56851.html, and if one needs to read about more, take your pick of these.

It's also worth noting that a much-discussed and approved of innovation on Escape trailers is the installation of drainholes in the so-called "pontoons" at each side of the trailer, purportedly for exactly the purpose described above and in the video.

Francesca
Good point Francesca - the pontoons themselves seem to be a Trillium innovation from years earlier - I can't see any reason for them other than catching excess moisture in the trailer. From what I can tell, some Trilliums seem to have drain holes, but others (maybe most?) do not. Some owners seem to drill drain holes if they were not there before. How about yours?

To your point about rotted floors, etc. and Donna's point about proper maintenance, how many times have we heard stories of owners (thinking they are doing the right thing) tightly sealing or covering their unit for the winter (without leaving an opening for moisture to escape) and returning in the spring to find everything from mold and mildew to rot and other more serious damage.

The great thing about this forum is folks like yourself giving practical advice about things that are not in the manual.
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Old 03-10-2013, 01:41 PM   #39
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The dreaded manual. lol.
How many manuals have I encountered that really don't pertain to a product I purchase? Continuing to use an outdated manual even for new and improved products? It's good to keep a book or list of things we learn to be handy when needed. Lot's of information on this forum.
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Old 03-10-2013, 01:57 PM   #40
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Good point Francesca - the pontoons themselves seem to be a Trillium innovation from years earlier - I can't see any reason for them other than catching excess moisture in the trailer. From what I can tell, some Trilliums seem to have drain holes, but others (maybe most?) do not. Some owners seem to drill drain holes if they were not there before. How about yours?
My take on the "pontoons" in the original design is that they're a design feature unrelated to drainage- early Trilliums (or at least mine) didn't have drain holes. In mine at least the entire inside floor is fiberglassed anyway with the same material the rest of the trailer is made of. Except for up front under the bench and a small patch of visible board by the sink there's no place for water to penetrate to/past the marine plywood subfloor.

In Escape's case, it's my understanding that the wood floor is laid without the topping of sheet fiberglass sealed against the walls, so holes in the pontoons are to allow for the drainage of any condensation/leaks that might creep down that seam. Good idea!

Side note:
I did cut drainholes in four low places in the trailer, but those are for the purpose of draining washwater out- at least once a year I actually take a hose to the inside...

Francesca
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Old 03-10-2013, 02:56 PM   #41
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I can tell you from experience that the holes in the pontoons in the Escape work. I added a under sink water filter & didn't quite get the fitting tight enough. I noticed a slow drip I thought was coming from the street water connection, but on closer examination, was coming from the drain hole. Found the leak & fixed it. While it may help with condensation, the leak was the only time I've seen any water coming out of them.
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