I need help from a fiberglass guru - Fiberglass RV


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Old 04-07-2014, 09:07 PM   #1
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Name: Dave
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I need help from a fiberglass guru

I don't really belong here, I have a Hallmark truck camper. It is a older model with a rare, for the time, fiberglass top. There are some small surface, and some slightly deeper cracks that have developed. I'd like to replace the top, but that's about a $5000 factory refit. I'd like a coating that I could use on the top to get a few more years out of it. I have considered epoxy truck bed liner...but that seems a stretch. I'm thinkin' that this forum holds a wealth of fiberglass expertise.... anyone want to share? the picture below is hard to see unless you click on it.
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Old 04-07-2014, 09:13 PM   #2
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Ooooo, definitely some cracking.....
There are some gurus around here.
hopefully they can help you out.

And Hello Dave.
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Old 04-07-2014, 09:23 PM   #3
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Wrinkles from aging. We all have 'em.
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Old 04-07-2014, 09:54 PM   #4
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Have a reputable RV body repair shop in your area take a look. Most all the newer square boxes are glass and the technicians today are highly skilled in white box glass repairs from tree branches, cove cracking and overall age damage. Get tem to look at it and get some estimates and advise.
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Old 04-07-2014, 10:05 PM   #5
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Because it's hard to tell the exact nature and depth of the damage,. it's hard to make a recommendation.

A few on this site have totally reconstructed collapsed roofs on Egg trailers using standard fiberglass repair methods.

One method would be to chamfer out the cracks and use epoxy resin and granulated glass fibers to fill in the crack, followed by lots of sanding and painting. As alternative to painting you could also get white RhinoHyde bed liner sprayed on the top after the first repairs. The RhinoHyde should be good for at least 10 more years.

I also suggest that you visit a local boat repair yard, this is something that is right up their alley.

Bottom line, there is no quick, or easy or cheap method hiding out there.

BTW: what year is it and is there really a "Factory" than can provide a replacement top? Many of our FGRV's are 40+ years old and we usually don't see that kind of cracking short of a tree falling on it.
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Old 04-08-2014, 03:32 AM   #6
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Hallmark still makes pop up truck campers near Ft. Lupton, Co. Mine is a 1993 with what was a somewhat experimental fiberglass top. At the time most of the tops were wood framed with aluminum and rubber, which required annual maintenance. This top is heavy, but until the last year had stood up well. Hallmark campers are now standard with a fiberglass roof unit that is made for them by an area commercial fabricator. They look to be good forever, but are stupid expensive.
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Old 04-08-2014, 04:52 AM   #7
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Dave, if you are only trying to get a few more years out of it I think a spray on covering like a bed liner spray would be the cheapest way out for you for what you want. If you want to be able to paint it, be sure to check the can for directions as some are not paintable. I've done a lot of glass work but it was for the long term and was never on the roof and out of sight.
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Old 04-08-2014, 08:11 AM   #8
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Good Information, here are a few more thoughts:

Is yours a pop-up like current production? If so, being able to remove the top for repairs will make it a lot easier to work on, and less expensive, if you can take it to a shop, rather than have to have it worked on in place. But do they really want $5000 for a new top? Isn't that almost 1/3 the price of a new camper?

If it is flat like current production, some inside stiffeners should be added to reduce flex that can cause those cracks.

Just doing an overcoat of bed liner might hold off leaks, but won't add much strength. If those cracks go clear through, you have to do something to restore strength. Some inside ribs, as some here put inside pop-up tops on 40 y.o. rigs, to reduce flexing, might be an idea.

And any bed liner material that you can apply won't hold a candle to Rhino liner. (not RhinoHyde, my bad) I had it in the back of my 2003 GMC truck and, after 10 years & 150,000+ miles of use, the guy that bought it asked if it was new.

And OLD? In our circle, your camper isn't even old enough to buy it's own beer. When yours was new, many of ours were already over 21 years old...... In fact I would call a 1994 BigFoot FGRV "Late Model"....LOL

BTW: Pop-Ups Rule..........
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Old 04-08-2014, 10:08 AM   #9
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This would work...i know someone who sealed his decks of his sailboat with it COTE-L Industries Inc.
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Old 04-09-2014, 08:30 AM   #10
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Yes, nearly $5000, but these darn campers are $30000 now. It looks like you get a top, new upper cabinets, lights, side curtains and perhaps lift arms for that...still.... dang.
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Old 04-10-2014, 07:45 PM   #11
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If the cracks are not through the glass I would sand it smooth and use Dicor roof coating for Fiberglass..
I had a Scamp several years ago that had lost the gel coat on the roof in several areas.
I sanded it all down and painted it with the Dicor in what the call Frosty White.
It came out great.
I saw the trailer last fall and the roof looks great.
The only drawback the cost.
As I remember it was around $70.00 a gallon.
I used a little less than half of the gallon.
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Old 04-10-2014, 08:03 PM   #12
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Note to OP Dave:

Watcha Gonna Do???
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Old 04-10-2014, 09:39 PM   #13
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I'm leaning toward dicor now... looks like a good option. Looks like it'd cost a little over $100, not too bad. 1 gal. should be enough to do 3 coats or so. I'm going to wait until hot weather sets in so that any moisture in the top vaporizes. I gotta say, I'd have never thought of these options without you guys, thanks.

I don't live near a fiberglass repair shop, and I'm guessin' the local body shop hasn't performed this kind of repair before. If all goes well...ultimately I may go for the top replacement a few years down the road. It depends on how much we use camper. I'd like to modernize it with a two way refrigerator, 68 watt solar and a more flexible charger/converter. I may even rebuild the lower portion to a flatbed/chassis mount set up to get more storage and improve the layout. My family is a bit lukewarm about truck camping, so we'll see.
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Old 04-16-2014, 11:08 AM   #14
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Fiberglass repair

-Big jobs: To assure quality, the repair will be carried on BOTH SIDES of surface
-Small jobs: Exterior surface body work in need to be done, only
-Cracks: with big cracks, both sides of surface need to be done and aluminum or metal plates will be added underneath. For small cracks, work only exterior surface. Using die grinder, dig or widen cracks, fill them up with F.G/resin or F.G glue(depends on how big, critical the job is). After that fill in bondo/body compound after sanding it-in this step, more than one coat would be needed if fish eyes existed- After final body work finished, prime it before paint. For best quality work, using roof glue(expensive and usually sold in large quantity for commercial facilities). For big F.G surface, use roller, small-use brush is OK-
...Those mentioned above, I had learned for years in transport truck repair for their fiberglass hoods/sleeper sky-rise roofs. Hopefully it help...
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