How to fix rock chips - Fiberglass RV


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Old 04-27-2006, 08:38 PM   #1
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Hi all!
We have lots of small dings in the front lower half of the fibreglass body from what I expect are rocks thrown up by the tow vehicle over a period of the last 28 years or so. Has anyone had success in filling them so it looks decent without having to do a paint job? Today we went to West Marine to find something to fill the holes and was told by a knowledgeable (?) person there that there are two different systems - 1. epoxy or 2. polyester. They only had the epoxy type and he said that it is for boats and that for fibreglass trailers the fibreglass was most likely polyester and that the epoxy would not work on it. So then we went to Canadian Tire and looked at what they had and noticed Bondo ultra violet that says it is for fibreglass among other surfaces. Soooooooooo - what to use?
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Old 04-27-2006, 08:48 PM   #2
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When the front of my trailer looks so bad from rock chips that I feel I must do something about it, I'll just coat it with spray on (or paint-on) pickup truck bedliner. Until then, I'm just going to live with it and be happy!

-- Dan Meyer
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Old 04-27-2006, 10:45 PM   #3
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F. Bishop, if you are going to use anything use the epoxy for dents that penetrate the top gel coat to the underlying layers of fiberglas. Your knowledgeble person does not know what he is talking about in my opinion. That is the problem with many businesses today who hire someone and give him shirt to wear with the store logo and all of sudden he is an expert. Some years ago the spouse and I were in the marine and boat business and a Casita is virtually identical to most fiberglas boats. The body of the Casita or other molded fiberglas eggs are not adverse to repairs by an epoxy material. The epoxy has much greater adhesion properties and will not absorb water or moisture which can result with repairs made with a bondo type material. The blisters and raised areas you see on many self auto repairs by do it your selfers are the result of this air moisture (humidity) absorbtion. Epoxy is also less likely to crack when flexing as in this application. Bondo and similiar products are used primarily in the automotive repair industry on metal products and successfully by experts. Do a search on internet for epcxy repair material and it uses. I also believe I saw on this site a detailed process for the type of repair you are contemplating using gel coat ( another catalytic product) for the shallow chips, which is the top coat or surface of your rv. Martin
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Old 04-27-2006, 11:07 PM   #4
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F. Bishop, if you are going to use anything use the epoxy for dents that penetrate the top gel coat to the underlying layers of fiberglas. Your knowledgeble person does not know what he is talking about in my opinion. That is the problem with many businesses today who hire someone and give him shirt to wear with the store logo and all of sudden he is an expert. Some years ago the spouse and I were in the marine and boat business and a Casita is virtually identical to most fiberglas boats. The body of the Casita or other molded fiberglas eggs are not adverse to repairs by an epoxy material. The epoxy has much greater adhesion properties and will not absorb water or moisture which can result with repairs made with a bondo type material. The blisters and raised areas you see on many self auto repairs by do it your selfers are the result of this air moisture (humidity) absorbtion. Epoxy is also less likely to crack when flexing as in this application. Bondo and similiar products are used primarily in the automotive repair industry on metal products and successfully by experts. Do a search on internet for epcxy repair material and it uses. I also believe I saw on this site a detailed process for the type of repair you are contemplating using gel coat ( another catalytic product) for the shallow chips, which is the top coat or surface of your rv. Martin
I agree. Look at Epoxy.
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Old 04-27-2006, 11:39 PM   #5
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So the idea is you can fill the chips with epoxy and not have to paint?
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Old 04-28-2006, 07:39 AM   #6
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What is the age of your trailer? The older ones made in the 60's. 70's and into the 80's used polyester resin to make their fiberglass trailers. the newer ones are now using epoxy. The two systems do not mate well. Epoxy on polyester may adhere for a while but eventually they will delaminate or separate.
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Old 04-28-2006, 08:05 AM   #7
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The hardest paint/gelcoat chip repairs on vehicles to make...are the small ones. There isn't a whole lot to grab on to. In some cases, in order to fix a repair correctly you'll actually need to enlarge the area. That's why there are small bottles, similar to fingernail polish, with tiny brushes to repair paint chips.

You may find it easier and make a better repair, to make the entire area "worse." Do the repair, then paint just the "nose" area of the trailer

I consider chips a badge of honor. Shows the world the the trailer is used. In the Hot Rod World, vehicles without chips are called "Trailer Queens" and are looked down upon by those that actually DRIVE their vehicles.
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Old 04-28-2006, 10:34 AM   #8
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Well, I have to disagree that a polyester based resin is not repairable with an epoxy product. Most boat manufactures and Casita / Scamp etc do use epoxy resin as they are cost prohibitive and not needed for the additional strength they provide. Epoxy will adhere better to almost anything and the cured resin, regardless of type, in a boat or molded fiberglas trailer does not know the difference. Epoxy is almost always the choice for marine repair especially below the water line and again very few boat manufacturers use an epoxy resin based laminate. Martin
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Old 04-28-2006, 10:55 AM   #9
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So the idea is you can fill the chips with epoxy and not have to paint?
Loren, when I first got my Lovebug two years ago, several people recommended an epoxy repair kit. I didn't have a lot of flaws, but, a few. I did use the epoxy and was amazed at how close the color was to my old trailer. I am fairly satisfied with the result. It's not perfect, but, it's close.
I've not had any shrinkage nor repairs fall out in the last two years.

Cheers!
Gigi
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Old 04-28-2006, 03:02 PM   #10
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I have been building canoes and kayaks since '68. BOTH with polyester AND with epoxy and with cedar-epoxy strippers.. . Cross matching may last for a few years but you will end up doing it again.They will delaminate and you would then be doing the job again. Your marine supplier is right, and he is your best source of infirmation AND product. You can mabee get it cheaper at CTC in the automotive section BUT it is not the same quality. Listen to your marine supplier, he's the pro, and will give you the best advice.
Good luck and keep us all informed.
Jim
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Old 04-28-2006, 06:33 PM   #11
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Here are a couple of helpful links.
http://optistuff.com/info/faqs-fiberglass.html

http://www.marine-products.com/boat_parts/...repair_kits.jsp

http://www.marine-products.com/boat_parts/...air_kit_1oz.jsp
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Old 04-28-2006, 07:54 PM   #12
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Thanks one and all for the information and individual opinions! I will now mull everything over for awhile. In the meantime the weather here is beautiful and it is time to prepare to go camping!!!!!!!!!!!
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