Longevity of fiberglass - Fiberglass RV


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Old 12-13-2013, 08:54 PM   #1
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Longevity of fiberglass

When looking for a used camper is there a limit to age or years to avoid?
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Old 12-13-2013, 09:49 PM   #2
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Molded Fiberglass Trailers if taken care of will last 100 years or more. Their are many Bolers made in the 1960's that are still around.
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Old 12-13-2013, 10:00 PM   #3
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More than age I think condition is the factor.
Depending on your budget, skill level and interest in renos.
Some Bolers are better built than others.
The early ones had flat roofs that tended to sag and weak frames that cracked.
Mine is a 74 13ft Boler that has been dragged all over the place and the stock frame is in very good condition yet I've seen 74's on here that needed the frame replaced!
Condition is the main thing to look for,,,,,,,,,,
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Old 12-13-2013, 10:05 PM   #4
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Welcome to this forum starsea.
I think like most anything else with wheels, it will depend on how well it's been maintained and cared for. On this forum you will see RVs built in the 70's to new ones. Some of the old ones have been updated, reconditioned, and personalized to the owners taste. I think on average most molded fiberglass trailer owners take personal pride in the care of their RVs. Fiberglass trailers hold up better than a stick built unit and hold their resale value better. Take your time and find your "new to you" camper.
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Old 12-13-2013, 10:10 PM   #5
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It doesn't matter the year of the build, it's about maintenance. I've seen an all molded towable which was about 5 years old (a youngster!) that was absolutely trashed and another one more than 30 years old that was beautiful. Don't judge any all molded towable by the year of build. You'll be sorry!
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Old 12-14-2013, 02:42 AM   #6
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There are a number of things that can impact the longevity of a fiberglass structure. Polyester resin does not, for example, tolerate the Sun's UV rays well, so it has to be protected by a UV-stabilized gelcoat or paint.

Design, manufacturing quality, and modifications all play a role, too. Many fiberglass trailers, for example, have cabinet supports that extend from a countertop to the bottom-front edge of an upper cabinet or floor-to-ceiling cabinets that help support the roof; when these supports are removed by an unsuspecting trailer owner doing modifications, the roof can sag, crack, and leak.

Maintenance plays a role. A leaky window or roof vent can let enough water in over time to water log a trailer's floor and cause it to rot, weakening the foundation on which the trailer is built and causing all sorts of failures.

Fortunately, fiberglass is both reasonably easy to work with and reasonably easy to repair. Most people are capable of doing small fiberglass repair jobs as long as they read up on how to work with the stuff, but I wouldn't suggest anyone take on a whole-trailer renovation unless they have lots of time, patience, and a wide range of handyman skills.
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Old 12-14-2013, 06:22 AM   #7
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As Peter points out, wood is a bigger concern than the fiberglass. All the older trailers and many of the new ones have wood (plywood or strand board) to stiffen the floors. Many times, like my Trillium, the wood is sandwiched between fiberglass layers. If water gets in it's hard to dry out. There is also wood around windows, holding up cabinets, behind door hinges, etc. Raz
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Old 12-14-2013, 07:56 AM   #8
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Do FG trailers get the hairline gel coat stress cracks that I get in my FG canoes? Doesn't seem to cause any structural issues, it's just a cosmetic thing, I think.
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Old 12-14-2013, 09:33 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by padlin00 View Post
Do FG trailers get the hairline gel coat stress cracks that I get in my FG canoes? Doesn't seem to cause any structural issues, it's just a cosmetic thing, I think.
Yes, the gel coat on a trailer will get hairline cracks and it is almost always just cosmetic. Fiberglass boats also suffer from the same issues.

The thinner the fiberglass (more flexing ) the greater the chance of gel coat cracks. Also gel coat is harder or more brittle so it is more likely to crack.
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Old 12-14-2013, 09:38 AM   #10
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How Long Does Fiberglass Last???

Recently discovered, while excavating for a subway tunnel in Rome, was the remains of a 4 cubit (about 16') long Flavius-4 FGRV thought to have been used by Ceasar Augustus (62 BCE-14 CE) on vacation trips to Pompeii

The Flavius-4 was favored by early Romans rulers because, due to it's lighter weight, it could be pulled by a 2 horsepower team vs. the 4, 6 & even 8 horsepower teams required by those built with conventional marble construction.

Mr. Augustus was once quoted as saying "Yes, the trip to Pompeii takes a bit longer, but the scenery is nicer at that speed and we save a lot on water and hay". Also noted, as a result of having less horsepower, was that significantly fewer droppings were left on the Appian Way, something his Nubian street cleaners were especially appreciative of.

Early reports indicate that, while the wooden components had, for the most part, been destroyed by ground water incursion, that the basic febreglas (fiberglass) living module itself was still intact.

A local company has offered to pull molds from the remains and build slightly updated versions that can, in turn, be used for reinacting the well known ancient sport of RV racing in the Colliseum.

Nuff said?
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Old 12-14-2013, 09:59 AM   #11
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Thanks Bob...What a gift! Keep up the creativity humor! I personally loved it.
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Old 12-14-2013, 10:29 AM   #12
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Polyester resin, one of the two major components of fiberglass (the other is stranded glass), was introduced in the 1930's so we will have to wait a few years for Chuck's assertion to become literally true. I suspect it will.

A molded trailer shell is a seamless skin or membrane which minimizes but does not eliminate the need for internal bracing and support, requires careful gasketing of openings, and demands adequate attention to the longevity and engineering potential of other materials used in construction of the finished trailer.

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Old 12-14-2013, 10:39 AM   #13
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That was pretty good, Bob! I'm still laughin'.

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Old 12-14-2013, 12:57 PM   #14
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Again, it depends on how it's treated. Mine sat in the desert, uncovered, for many years (Probably decades) As far as I am concerned, the roof is a total loss. The PO tried to fix leaks with roofing tar, which trashed the gel coat even farther than the sun did. I tried everything I could to seal the cracks and know for a fact that the penetrations are now sealed correctly, but I still have some small leaking issues. I ended up putting a rubber roof on, I pretty much had no choice, other than re-gel coating it..that would have been cost prohibitive.

I am now faced with 3 year maintenance, just like stick built trailers are.
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