Gel coat? and rivets leak - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-10-2018, 05:37 PM   #1
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Name: Evan & Sue
Trailer: 1986 13' Scamp
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Gel coat? and rivets leak

What are the options for a worn thin gel coat? I tried to attach pictures but we think that is what we are facing.Any good solutions?

We think we like our rivet leaking solution. Fastenal #71819 1/4 20x3/4 slotted truss head screw with #1170960 acorn nut and 1/4" washer all stainless with 1/4" neoprene washer under the bolt head. Not original equipment but seems to work. Has anyone else tried this? We first did the leaking rivets and so far no leaks for about 1 year. Pictures attached.
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GelCoat.jpg   Fiberglassand bolt.jpg  

AcornNut.jpg  
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Old 06-10-2018, 07:49 PM   #2
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Evan & Sue, welcome to the forum! Good to have another FGRV owner here.

I can't comment on the gel coat. Regarding the fasteners, I did the same thing on my 1974 Boler 13 (since sold), and others on the forum have as well. I replaced the rivets with stainless steel machine screws and acorn nuts. I didn't incorporate neoprene washers, but others on this forum have. I also applied thread lock to prevent nuts from vibrating loose.
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Old 06-11-2018, 09:37 AM   #3
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On the second picture, I can see some gelcoat crazing. That's not normally a structural issue, it's just cosmetic. I can't tell on the others, but if the gelcoat has been rubbed out enough that it's starting to show the layup colors, it may be time for paint, new gelcoat, etc.

My preferred solution for both problems is thin coats of Sherwin Williams best enamel paint. De-wax, use a random orbital sander at 220 grit, use a tack cloth, then one of those cat's paws small foam rollers. Put the paint on in very thin coats (to prevent bubbles) and you will have a long lasting finish that will make people think you have a new trailer.

The crazing might need a bit more prep. Glazing compound, bondo, etc. You don't want to leave the cracks open before covering them with a finish coat.

This technique worked on my Tanzer 22 sailboat for the five years I had it, with no discernable fading. And I kept that boat in the water, so it was a fairly harsh test.

All that, but fiberglass is rugged. You don't really need to do any of this if you don't have the inclination. It will just sit there and not do much of anything!
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Old 06-11-2018, 10:28 AM   #4
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Two things on gel coat. It would seem to me the repair might require removal, which doesn't sound fun.

Fortunately we aren't the first to to see it. Members, or auto and fg boat repair shops have no doubt faced failed gel coat. They will post here, or have posted on the web. There may be businesses built around it.

A third point. Perhaps people just, sand it, paint it to cover, and apply new gelcoat if they want. I might do that.
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Old 06-17-2018, 12:02 PM   #5
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Is painting really a good solution? My 1983 Burro's gel coat is all chalky and I've been thinking of some kind of fiberglass polish/cleaner/restorer/oxidation remover. What do all you experienced fiberglassers think?
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Old 06-17-2018, 12:23 PM   #6
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Although opinions vary, general order of desirability (most to least):

1. some kind of fiberglass polish/cleaner/restorer/oxidation remover

2. Poliglow/Zep/etc if 1 doesn't work

3. Gelcoat re-coat or paint if the gelcoat is damaged or patched

EDIT: Painting is a good solution if the gelcoat can't be restored or if you just want a different color. The marine topside paints work very well. Others have used automotive paint.
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Old 06-17-2018, 12:48 PM   #7
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Thanks! I checked with a vintage rv place about restoring the gelcoat and they quoted me around $4k at least - out of my budget :-) Are any of the restore/paint options something I could do myself?
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Old 06-17-2018, 03:00 PM   #8
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This won't help much, but when you are inside sleeping, you won't notice that the finish is chalky.
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Old 06-17-2018, 03:04 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wenrob View Post
Thanks! I checked with a vintage rv place about restoring the gelcoat and they quoted me around $4k at least - out of my budget :-) Are any of the restore/paint options something I could do myself?
Wow that a lot of $$$$$$$!!!!!!!! You will find much discussion on this forum of the "do it yourself" variety for all three of the options I mentioned above.
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Old 06-17-2018, 03:40 PM   #10
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Wendy, if what you are seeing on the gelcoat is chalking and dirt, then try scrubbing, polishing and waxing your camper.
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Old 06-17-2018, 03:41 PM   #11
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Wendy, I suggest you start a new thread and post your question again, along with some pictures of your camper. You will get lots of feedback.
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Old 06-17-2018, 10:15 PM   #12
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If this was my problem I would strip the outside with bar keepers friend. Then I would seal any minor cracks in shell with captain trollys creeping crack cure. Then Zep the outside shell to make it all perdy again. Keeping up with the Zep every year or two will keep the trailer looking good until you give up maintaining it.
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Old 06-20-2018, 11:29 AM   #13
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I have been working with fibreglass on boats for about 30 years now and see this issue on a regular basis. The thin gel can easily be repaired by either painting or regelling. Painting would be the cheaper way to go. You can get a good polyester based boat paint pretty cheap and it does a great job. Gel oat would need to be sprayed and then long hours of wet sanding. Either way just requires a good sanding with a 80 grit to start and finish with a 320.

As for the cracking. This is caused by the years of stressing that area. We see that a lot on boats where they lean against the dock. The easiest way is to notch each crack with something like a v type bottle opener and then filling it with a fibreglass filler and then sanding. There is no need to start a structural repair.

Hope that helps!
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