No wonder the Burro floor is rotted - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-14-2010, 04:33 PM   #1
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Trailer: 1980 Burro
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No wonder the Burro floor is rotted

I have been doing a frame-off restoration of a 1980 Burro 13. Having completed the frame, I removed the old floor yesterday. Only about 5% of the floor had any solid plywood left. Most of it would crumble in your hand. I am actually surprised that the fiberglass body did not fall off when I towed it home this spring.

I had read here that the Burro floor was 3/4" plywood fiberglassed on both sides, however what I found was not that strong. The plywood was only 1/2" thick and it was only 3 ply. That is the cheapest plywood available and is used for walls, not floors. Only flake-board has less strength, although I have seen some eggs use flake-board for a floor, both panels are made for walls. The frame supports varied from 20 to 24" apart. The spacing is different between each support, like the welder just eyeballed the location when making the frame. The largest spacing is near the door where there is the most foot traffic. The floor must have flexed quite a bit even when new.

The fiberglass on each side of the plywood was not what I had expected. I was expecting that the wood was coated with resin and then fiberglass mat and then more resin. What I found was that thin pre-made FRP sheets were put on the top and bottom and the seams between these sheets were fiberglassed. There did not appear to have been any type of glue or resin used to bond the fiberglass to the wood. The edges of the wood were exposed around the wheel wells, so they glopped on some thickened gel coat to cover this up. They did not roughen up the fiberglass in the wheel wells prior to adding the thickened gel coat. The glossy surface on the wheel well fiberglass separated from the thickened gel coat and let water into the plywood every time it was towed on wet roads.

I had also read that the double wall construction would channel any leaks from the windows between the walls and down to the plywood. I found that the outside wall was fiberglassed to the floor very well and would not have let water get to the plywood this way. The floor was screwed to the frame with 30 lag screws, 6 in each cross member. The upper fiberglass layer covered the screw heads, which would prevent water from reaching the plywood from the inside if there was a leak, although it would be possible for water to leak around the screws that fasten the inner shell to the floor. There was no sealant used between the frame and the floor, so water could leak into the plywood at each of the 30 screw locations whenever it was towed on wet roads. The screws were very rusted, many had little to no strength left.

Andy
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Old 09-14-2010, 06:53 PM   #2
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Andy, is it possible your Burro was from a kit and owner built? Burro had some definite manufacturing issues, not only from year-to-year, but it seems trailer to trailer even the same size/year.

Best of luck in your resto!
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Old 09-14-2010, 10:53 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Donna D. View Post
Andy, is it possible your Burro was from a kit and owner built? Burro had some definite manufacturing issues, not only from year-to-year, but it seems trailer to trailer even the same size/year.

Best of luck in your resto!
Thanks for the reply Donna. The Burro kits included a finished, road worthy, fiberglass shell mounted on the trailer frame and the kit part just was installing the cabinet doors, sink, cook top, lights, water tank, carpet, etc.

It seems a lot of older Burros have rotted floors, so the floor construction that I described may just be the way that they were always made. The inner and outer fiberglass shells seem well made although the wall thickness varies a bit.

Andy
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Old 09-18-2010, 08:06 PM   #4
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Name: Mike
Trailer: 1983 Burro 13 ft
West Virginia
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Rotted Burro floors

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy B View Post
I have been doing a frame-off restoration of a 1980 Burro 13. Having completed the frame, I removed the old floor yesterday. Only about 5% of the floor had any solid plywood left. Most of it would crumble in your hand. I am actually surprised that the fiberglass body did not fall off when I towed it home this spring.

I had read here that the Burro floor was 3/4" plywood fiberglassed on both sides, however what I found was not that strong. The plywood was only 1/2" thick and it was only 3 ply. That is the cheapest plywood available and is used for walls, not floors. Only flake-board has less strength, although I have seen some eggs use flake-board for a floor, both panels are made for walls. The frame supports varied from 20 to 24" apart. The spacing is different between each support, like the welder just eyeballed the location when making the frame. The largest spacing is near the door where there is the most foot traffic. The floor must have flexed quite a bit even when new.

The fiberglass on each side of the plywood was not what I had expected. I was expecting that the wood was coated with resin and then fiberglass mat and then more resin. What I found was that thin pre-made FRP sheets were put on the top and bottom and the seams between these sheets were fiberglassed. There did not appear to have been any type of glue or resin used to bond the fiberglass to the wood. The edges of the wood were exposed around the wheel wells, so they glopped on some thickened gel coat to cover this up. They did not roughen up the fiberglass in the wheel wells prior to adding the thickened gel coat. The glossy surface on the wheel well fiberglass separated from the thickened gel coat and let water into the plywood every time it was towed on wet roads.

I had also read that the double wall construction would channel any leaks from the windows between the walls and down to the plywood. I found that the outside wall was fiberglassed to the floor very well and would not have let water get to the plywood this way. The floor was screwed to the frame with 30 lag screws, 6 in each cross member. The upper fiberglass layer covered the screw heads, which would prevent water from reaching the plywood from the inside if there was a leak, although it would be possible for water to leak around the screws that fasten the inner shell to the floor. There was no sealant used between the frame and the floor, so water could leak into the plywood at each of the 30 screw locations whenever it was towed on wet roads. The screws were very rusted, many had little to no strength left.

Andy
Andy, I also did a frame-off on a 1983 13' Burro. I shared most of your experiences when I removed the structural floor....the one between the green fiberglass mats, secured by self-tapping hex head screws. On my trailer, I found the edges of the plywood exposed to the elements behind each wheel just as you did. Where you and I differ in our findings is this: from the bottom or underneath upward, first you have the edge or lip of the outer shell. Next is the fiberglass mat which rests on the outer shell lip. Then plywood. Then, the top or inside fiberglass mat. Finally, you have the inner shell lip resting on top of the inner or top fiberglass mat and glassed in place. My point in all this is, if you look at a cross-sectional view of the edge of that plywood floor, it is very easy for a leaking window to pass water between the two shells and onto the edge of the plywood. What made me suspicious of this was the fact that my floor was in much worse shape under each window opening and around each wheel. My trailer is insulated and when the windows were out, I pried the two shells apart and looked between with a flashlight. Evidence of dirt and water infiltrating....even found pine needles between, under the large rear window. The culprit in my case was putty tape being used when the windows were installed. I cured this issue by epoxying the inner and outer shells together at each window, used closed-cell rubber tape to reseal, and by drilled at least 20 new drain holes in each window frame. I put my new floor in in four pieces, with two coats of epoxy resin (some had more), then two layers of FG cloth and resin on both sides. I taped the joints under the trailer with FG cloth and resin, as well as the lip around the perimeter of the whole coach. Taped and epoxied the edge behind each wheel. Messiest stuff in the world to work with but it sure won't leak now!
After many rains earlier in the summer, my Burro is 100% dry. I liked the epoxy resin so well that I used a second piece of plywood for my finished floor and gave it several coats of the epoxy resin. Very glossy and durable. Looks like a hardwood floor. A little white latex grout around the edges finished it off. I know I shaved at least 300 pounds off the total weight by removing the wet sub and structural floors and the old linoleum. My 'fridge went as well with a good cooler replacing that. By the way, all outside vents and access doors were replaced with aluminum checkerplate. No fridge, no furnace, no need. My stove is a Coleman camp stove used mostly outside.

These were my findings and may differ somewhat from yours...
Mike in WV
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Old 09-19-2010, 09:19 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Mike Shackelford View Post
Andy, I also did a frame-off on a 1983 13' Burro. I shared most of your experiences when I removed the structural floor....the one between the green fiberglass mats, secured by self-tapping hex head screws. On my trailer, I found the edges of the plywood exposed to the elements behind each wheel just as you did. Where you and I differ in our findings is this: from the bottom or underneath upward, first you have the edge or lip of the outer shell. Next is the fiberglass mat which rests on the outer shell lip. Then plywood. Then, the top or inside fiberglass mat. Finally, you have the inner shell lip resting on top of the inner or top fiberglass mat and glassed in place. My point in all this is, if you look at a cross-sectional view of the edge of that plywood floor, it is very easy for a leaking window to pass water between the two shells and onto the edge of the plywood. What made me suspicious of this was the fact that my floor was in much worse shape under each window opening and around each wheel. My trailer is insulated and when the windows were out, I pried the two shells apart and looked between with a flashlight. Evidence of dirt and water infiltrating....even found pine needles between, under the large rear window. The culprit in my case was putty tape being used when the windows were installed. I cured this issue by epoxying the inner and outer shells together at each window, used closed-cell rubber tape to reseal, and by drilled at least 20 new drain holes in each window frame. I put my new floor in in four pieces, with two coats of epoxy resin (some had more), then two layers of FG cloth and resin on both sides. I taped the joints under the trailer with FG cloth and resin, as well as the lip around the perimeter of the whole coach. Taped and epoxied the edge behind each wheel. Messiest stuff in the world to work with but it sure won't leak now!
After many rains earlier in the summer, my Burro is 100% dry. I liked the epoxy resin so well that I used a second piece of plywood for my finished floor and gave it several coats of the epoxy resin. Very glossy and durable. Looks like a hardwood floor. A little white latex grout around the edges finished it off. I know I shaved at least 300 pounds off the total weight by removing the wet sub and structural floors and the old linoleum. My 'fridge went as well with a good cooler replacing that. By the way, all outside vents and access doors were replaced with aluminum checkerplate. No fridge, no furnace, no need. My stove is a Coleman camp stove used mostly outside.

These were my findings and may differ somewhat from yours...
Mike in WV
Mike thanks for your insight on the Burro construction. Prior to starting work on the floor I found your previous posts among the most informative of any that I have read.

In the construction of my Burro, where the roof meets the walls, is just as you described from the bottom up, but with one difference. The difference is at the location where your description was as follows “Finally, you have the inner shell lip resting on top of the inner or top fiberglass mat and glassed in place.”. On my Burro the inner lip is glassed to the outer shell not the inner shell. The inner shell becomes the cabinets and cubbies and was held to the floor with screws. It is 18” or so away from the edge of the plywood. Any leaks that ran down between the shells would end up on the floor inside the cabinets and could not reach the plywood unless there was a crack or hole in the fiberglass covering the floor.

I am currently working on the last piece of plywood for the floor replacement. Due to the Burro construction I made the new floor in 4 pieces so that they can slide into the 1 to 1.5 inch deep gap around the perimeter. I made D-shaped pieces for the front and rear and 2 pieces for the middle, one on the street side and one on the curbside. The original floor was ˝” 3 ply plywood. I am replacing it with 5/8” 7 ply plywood. I used a router to reduce the plywood thickness at the edges so it will slide into the perimeter groove (gap). I also made shiplaps at all the joints where the 4 plywood pieces meet. My plans are to epoxy the plywood with 2 coats prior to assembly and use thickened epoxy in the perimeter groove and at the shiplaps at assembly, then fiberglass over the shiplaps and where the walls meet the floor.

You mentioned that you used two layers of fiberglass cloth on both sides of the plywood. That sounds like stronger construction than my plans. Did apply the cloth to the individual floor pieces and then do the seams at assembly? I wanted to do the same, but the interior cabinets may be in the way if I try and put cloth on after assembly.

I have significantly strengthened the trailer frame and added additional angle iron floor supports. The additional supports combined with the thicker floor should eliminate flexing. I am replacing all the windows with new Kinro glass awning windows, some of the new ones are larger than the old ones (the side windows are 6” longer). I will epoxy the inner and outer shells together at the windows both for strength and leakage prevention. I would appreciate it if you could tell me more about the closed-cell rubber tape that you used to seal the windows.

You did a great job restoring your Burro and are an inspiration to those of us doing restorations after you.

Thanks,
Andy
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Old 09-19-2010, 01:40 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Andy B View Post
Mike thanks for your insight on the Burro construction. Prior to starting work on the floor I found your previous posts among the most informative of any that I have read.

In the construction of my Burro, where the roof meets the walls, is just as you described from the bottom up, but with one difference. The difference is at the location where your description was as follows “Finally, you have the inner shell lip resting on top of the inner or top fiberglass mat and glassed in place.”. On my Burro the inner lip is glassed to the outer shell not the inner shell. The inner shell becomes the cabinets and cubbies and was held to the floor with screws. It is 18” or so away from the edge of the plywood. Any leaks that ran down between the shells would end up on the floor inside the cabinets and could not reach the plywood unless there was a crack or hole in the fiberglass covering the floor.

I am currently working on the last piece of plywood for the floor replacement. Due to the Burro construction I made the new floor in 4 pieces so that they can slide into the 1 to 1.5 inch deep gap around the perimeter. I made D-shaped pieces for the front and rear and 2 pieces for the middle, one on the street side and one on the curbside. The original floor was ˝” 3 ply plywood. I am replacing it with 5/8” 7 ply plywood. I used a router to reduce the plywood thickness at the edges so it will slide into the perimeter groove (gap). I also made shiplaps at all the joints where the 4 plywood pieces meet. My plans are to epoxy the plywood with 2 coats prior to assembly and use thickened epoxy in the perimeter groove and at the shiplaps at assembly, then fiberglass over the shiplaps and where the walls meet the floor.

You mentioned that you used two layers of fiberglass cloth on both sides of the plywood. That sounds like stronger construction than my plans. Did apply the cloth to the individual floor pieces and then do the seams at assembly? I wanted to do the same, but the interior cabinets may be in the way if I try and put cloth on after assembly.

I have significantly strengthened the trailer frame and added additional angle iron floor supports. The additional supports combined with the thicker floor should eliminate flexing. I am replacing all the windows with new Kinro glass awning windows, some of the new ones are larger than the old ones (the side windows are 6” longer). I will epoxy the inner and outer shells together at the windows both for strength and leakage prevention. I would appreciate it if you could tell me more about the closed-cell rubber tape that you used to seal the windows.

You did a great job restoring your Burro and are an inspiration to those of us doing restorations after you.

Thanks,
Andy

Evidently there were discrepancies in the way Burro's were made, Andy. My inner shell was glassed to, and screwed through, the top fiberglass mat and not to the outer shell in any way. To answer your questions about the floor coverings...I initially roughed up the plywood floor with a belt sander for tooth adhesion, then painted on two coats of epoxy resin with a brush and squeege on the four individual pieces. Then, I wrapped each piece in glass cloth and epoxy resin...two times. The only area I did not coat with cloth is the center joint. I had measured closely and the addition of two layers of cloth and resin made things too tight. After all four pieces were in place I taped the joints from underneath....taping the four pieces together and also taping the perimeter where the new floor nested into the groove. RAKA in Florida suggested thickening the resin mix when taping those joints and it worked fairly well. Did the same behind each wheel to the edges of the exposed plywood. After the new floor was taped and screwed down, (I moved the trailer to the rear on the frame 1 1/2") I poured epoxy resin in all available floor joints from inside the cabin. A word of caution: make certain that the measurements for your door opening are the same top and bottom while installing the new floor into that groove. I wrapped three ratchet binders around the whole trailer near floor level after cutting a proper-length spacer and wedging it into the door opening at the bottom. That way when you're finished the door opening should be uniform. Initially, my door opening was much wider at the bottom due to "spread" from the rotted floor and rusted lags. I also found the wood where the door hinges anchor was either stripped or rotted. I over-drilled all those, and filled the cavities with thickened epoxy resin. After trying the door for fit, I redrilled those anchor points and epoxied the hinges as well as screwing in place although I think that was a little overkill. My door now fits as it should and the new gasket seals effectively all around.
The closed-cell tape can be found at most places like Lowes or Home Depot. Closed cell means it isn't like a sponge which is open cell. Each little cell is independent and doesn't share a wall with adjoining cells. Mine had a sticky side with protective peel-off paper, roughly 3/8" thick, and was in a 3/4" x 50 ft. roll. Less than five bucks. I found mine near the vinyl replacement window department.
I also reinforced my frame at the bends in the front and put in a new Dexter 1800# torsion axle with electric brakes and went to 14" wheels as well. Tows straight with no bounce. With my 4 cyl. Toyota pickup, I averaged 19.8 mpg with mixed mountain/flatland towing from WV into central Virginia. When I initially brought it home with the same truck driving from Michigan...nearly all flat...I got 15.8 best I could do. When measuring for the new axle installation, I found the old axle was NOT centered properly. Measuring from the center of the ball to each spindle, the old was off about an inch and a half...so you are correct when you say that Burro had some quality control issues from time to time.

Some of the bad that I found. The good is it should be trouble-free and is now built the way it should've been. I wish now I had had the foresight to do as you did with the thicker ply....routing the edges. BTW, I used plated 1/4" carriage bolts when I bolted the floor to the frame. Should outlast me, thats for sure. Give me a call evenings if you want to compare notes. 304-363-0367
Best wishes,
Mike in WV
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Old 09-20-2010, 08:37 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Mike Shackelford View Post
Evidently there were discrepancies in the way Burro's were made, Andy. My inner shell was glassed to, and screwed through, the top fiberglass mat and not to the outer shell in any way. To answer your questions about the floor coverings...I initially roughed up the plywood floor with a belt sander for tooth adhesion, then painted on two coats of epoxy resin with a brush and squeege on the four individual pieces. Then, I wrapped each piece in glass cloth and epoxy resin...two times. The only area I did not coat with cloth is the center joint. I had measured closely and the addition of two layers of cloth and resin made things too tight. After all four pieces were in place I taped the joints from underneath....taping the four pieces together and also taping the perimeter where the new floor nested into the groove. RAKA in Florida suggested thickening the resin mix when taping those joints and it worked fairly well. Did the same behind each wheel to the edges of the exposed plywood. After the new floor was taped and screwed down, (I moved the trailer to the rear on the frame 1 1/2") I poured epoxy resin in all available floor joints from inside the cabin. A word of caution: make certain that the measurements for your door opening are the same top and bottom while installing the new floor into that groove. I wrapped three ratchet binders around the whole trailer near floor level after cutting a proper-length spacer and wedging it into the door opening at the bottom. That way when you're finished the door opening should be uniform. Initially, my door opening was much wider at the bottom due to "spread" from the rotted floor and rusted lags. I also found the wood where the door hinges anchor was either stripped or rotted. I over-drilled all those, and filled the cavities with thickened epoxy resin. After trying the door for fit, I redrilled those anchor points and epoxied the hinges as well as screwing in place although I think that was a little overkill. My door now fits as it should and the new gasket seals effectively all around.
The closed-cell tape can be found at most places like Lowes or Home Depot. Closed cell means it isn't like a sponge which is open cell. Each little cell is independent and doesn't share a wall with adjoining cells. Mine had a sticky side with protective peel-off paper, roughly 3/8" thick, and was in a 3/4" x 50 ft. roll. Less than five bucks. I found mine near the vinyl replacement window department.
I also reinforced my frame at the bends in the front and put in a new Dexter 1800# torsion axle with electric brakes and went to 14" wheels as well. Tows straight with no bounce. With my 4 cyl. Toyota pickup, I averaged 19.8 mpg with mixed mountain/flatland towing from WV into central Virginia. When I initially brought it home with the same truck driving from Michigan...nearly all flat...I got 15.8 best I could do. When measuring for the new axle installation, I found the old axle was NOT centered properly. Measuring from the center of the ball to each spindle, the old was off about an inch and a half...so you are correct when you say that Burro had some quality control issues from time to time.

Some of the bad that I found. The good is it should be trouble-free and is now built the way it should've been. I wish now I had had the foresight to do as you did with the thicker ply....routing the edges. BTW, I used plated 1/4" carriage bolts when I bolted the floor to the frame. Should outlast me, thats for sure. Give me a call evenings if you want to compare notes. 304-363-0367
Best wishes,
Mike in WV
I will try and attach some pictures of the new floor. The first is the cardboard mock-up, each piece was cut to fit into the perimeter groove as far as possible. The cardboard patterns were transfered to the 5/8" plywood and the edges were routed to be 1/2" thick so they fit into the groove at the walls. Ship laps were routed on the edges to join the 4 pieces together. Even though the pictures show the floor sitting on the frame, it will be installed into the shell before it is put back on the frame.

Mike how much epoxy did you use when you did your floor.

Andy
Attached Thumbnails
FloorR1.jpg   FloorR2.jpg  

FloorR3.jpg   FloorR4.jpg  

FloorR5.jpg   FloorR6.jpg  

FloorR7.jpg   FloorR8.jpg  

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Old 09-21-2010, 08:30 AM   #8
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I will try and attach some pictures of the new floor. The first is the cardboard mock-up, each piece was cut to fit into the perimeter groove as far as possible. The cardboard patterns were transfered to the 5/8" plywood and the edges were routed to be 1/2" thick so they fit into the groove at the walls. Ship laps were routed on the edges to join the 4 pieces together. Even though the pictures show the floor sitting on the frame, it will be installed into the shell before it is put back on the frame.

Mike how much epoxy did you use when you did your floor.

Andy
I initially bought one gallon of epoxy and a quart of activator, plus all the fiberglass cloth and assorted tools that came with the epoxy "kit" Andy. I coated the individual pieces with a couple coats of just the epoxy without cloth. When that dried, I added the two layers of cloth. About midway through the addition of cloth, I saw that I was running out of epoxy and ordered another one-gallon plus activator. To answer your question, the whole process took just shy of two gallons. A lot of that was thickened with pine dust to use with the taping of joints/perimeter underneath and covering those raw edges behind the wheels. I crammed every nook and cranny that I could find with thickened epoxy, then taped over all that as well. After the taping underneath, I poured all cracks full of epoxy resin from inside. I had the original linoleum floor left intact and used that as a pattern to cut the finished floor. I treated this piece with epoxy as well but without the glass cloth. The finished floor looks like a gym floor and is super easy to clean. If I can figure out the attachment process here I'll post pics of the "destruction" and "construction" processes. I mentioned moving the coach back on the frame an inch-and-a-half.....made a huge difference in the way the frame rebounds or reacts to road shock and tow vehicle bounce on irregular surfaces. That, plus the reinforced bend areas where the frame exits the coach in front. I still have about 80 pounds of hitch weight. Be sure to check to see if your axle is centered under the frame. Mine was off significantly which made the trailer off-center and scuff sideways at speed. Original factory install too, with the leading-arm Henschen axle. I switched to a trailing arm Dexter with brakes and a 10 degree down start angle. I now have great road clearance and at tow weight, the Dexter arms are just below horizontal. Axle, tires and wheels, epoxy, cloth, Poly Glow, assorted grout and sealants, all added just about $1,200 to my purchase price. Bad, but not too bad.
Best wishes from WV
Mike
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Old 09-21-2010, 08:40 AM   #9
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Andy....send me your email address so we can correspond without boring everyone with Scamps and Casitas.
Dixieshack@earthlink.net

Mike
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Old 09-21-2010, 10:02 AM   #10
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Are you kidding? I think this thread is great! And I don't even own a Burro. There are always good tips to be picked up on techniques that are common to fiberglassing, axles, or whatever (for example I love the routing-the-ply idea).

I hope you keep on talking here - anyone who's bored doesn't need to click, once they have seen the thread once they can just avoid it.

And if anyone in future gets a Burro with a rotted floor? They are going to tear their hair when it gets this far and suddenly goes offline!

Raya
(avidly following along)
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Old 09-21-2010, 02:23 PM   #11
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Are you kidding? I think this thread is great! And I don't even own a Burro. There are always good tips to be picked up on techniques that are common to fiberglassing, axles, or whatever (for example I love the routing-the-ply idea).

I hope you keep on talking here - anyone who's bored doesn't need to click, once they have seen the thread once they can just avoid it.

And if anyone in future gets a Burro with a rotted floor? They are going to tear their hair when it gets this far and suddenly goes offline!

Raya
(avidly following along)
O.K., Raya....I submit to the request to continue this Burro diatribe. I hereby respectfully request assistance in posting pics.....for some reason, I can't locate the link for doing so....or do I just cut and paste pics into the dialog?
Forgive this hillbilly for his computer illiteracy. Born way too early and have an analog mind in a digital world, I reckon.
Thanks for the kind words...
Mike
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Old 09-21-2010, 02:31 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Mike Shackelford View Post
I hereby respectfully request assistance in posting pics.....for some reason, I can't locate the link for doing so....or do I just cut and paste pics into the dialog?
Forgive this hillbilly for his computer illiteracy. Born way too early and have an analog mind in a digital world, I reckon.
Thanks for the kind words...
Mike
Mike here's a link to my post that tells about posting pictures here on FiberglassRV, there's even screen shots! Molded Traveleze
Hope it helps. BTW I agree with Raya about continuing the thread/topic!
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Old 09-21-2010, 03:32 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Mike Shackelford View Post
O.K., Raya....I submit to the request to continue this Burro diatribe. I hereby respectfully request assistance in posting pics.....for some reason, I can't locate the link for doing so....or do I just cut and paste pics into the dialog?
Forgive this hillbilly for his computer illiteracy. Born way too early and have an analog mind in a digital world, I reckon.
Thanks for the kind words...
Mike
It can't be too difficult to post pictures since I was able to do it on my first try without any assistance.

Andy
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Old 09-21-2010, 06:55 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Mike Shackelford View Post
I initially bought one gallon of epoxy and a quart of activator, plus all the fiberglass cloth and assorted tools that came with the epoxy "kit" Andy. I coated the individual pieces with a couple coats of just the epoxy without cloth. When that dried, I added the two layers of cloth. About midway through the addition of cloth, I saw that I was running out of epoxy and ordered another one-gallon plus activator. To answer your question, the whole process took just shy of two gallons. A lot of that was thickened with pine dust to use with the taping of joints/perimeter underneath and covering those raw edges behind the wheels. I crammed every nook and cranny that I could find with thickened epoxy, then taped over all that as well. After the taping underneath, I poured all cracks full of epoxy resin from inside. I had the original linoleum floor left intact and used that as a pattern to cut the finished floor. I treated this piece with epoxy as well but without the glass cloth. The finished floor looks like a gym floor and is super easy to clean. If I can figure out the attachment process here I'll post pics of the "destruction" and "construction" processes. I mentioned moving the coach back on the frame an inch-and-a-half.....made a huge difference in the way the frame rebounds or reacts to road shock and tow vehicle bounce on irregular surfaces. That, plus the reinforced bend areas where the frame exits the coach in front. I still have about 80 pounds of hitch weight. Be sure to check to see if your axle is centered under the frame. Mine was off significantly which made the trailer off-center and scuff sideways at speed. Original factory install too, with the leading-arm Henschen axle. I switched to a trailing arm Dexter with brakes and a 10 degree down start angle. I now have great road clearance and at tow weight, the Dexter arms are just below horizontal. Axle, tires and wheels, epoxy, cloth, Poly Glow, assorted grout and sealants, all added just about $1,200 to my purchase price. Bad, but not too bad.
Best wishes from WV
Mike
Thanks for the information on how much epoxy you used. I had been planning on getting 1.5 gal but after hearing your experience, I will get 2 gal. It sounds like you did a great job with the floor. I have not yet decided yet on what to use for a finished floor.

Prior to starting work on the floor I rebuilt the frame including replacing the axle with a 2000 lb Dexter axle with brakes. I used a 10 deg up angle because it looked like that was original and there was plenty of clearance in the wheel well. When I was locating the axle the frame was upside-down so it was easy to make small axle location adjustments before welding on the frame mounting brackets. I locked a loose hitch ball in the hitch and put a large washer on the threaded part of the hitch ball. The washer was large enough that it could easily rotate on the hitch ball shaft with a tape measure hooked to the inside edge of the washer. I adjusted the placement of the ends of the axle using the tape measure until both sides were the same distance from the hitch ball. It was within 1/64" when I was done.

As part of the frame rebuild, I also replaced the hitch, added an additional cross piece in front of the furthest forward cross member, and added two supports between each of the cross pieces, I also added much stronger support for the floor at the doorway. I added a 2" receiver in the rear and reinforcement along each side of the frame. I also added some angle iron in the triangle part of the frame. My source for most of the angle iron for the new frame supports is old bed frame rails that I have picked up for free. I also added a spare tire winch under the frame just behind the axle. I welded on supports in the front and rear for fold up stabilizers and numerous tie-down points on the frame that could be used to secure a tarp or lock the trailer to itself or something else.
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