1979 17' Bigfoot TT Roof Sag - Fiberglass RV


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Old 02-02-2013, 10:41 AM   #1
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Name: Morgan
Trailer: 1979 Bigfoot
British Columbia
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1979 17' Bigfoot TT Roof Sag

Hi all,

I just purchased a 1979 Bigfoot Travel Trailer that had been previously gutted. The previous owner had started a "restoration" but gave up. He had PL'd 1" foam board to the fibreglass, then 1/8" MDF to the foam board. I have finished stripping most of his work and have come to find the ceiling has a major sag all through out.

I have found threads throughout the forum discussing this issue but nothing with some sound advice. How was this supported out of the factory, was the fibreglass strong enough to support itself? Is there a way to strengthen the fibreglass with another coat of fibreglass? Should I frame in roof truss's out of wood to support the peak? Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Here are some photos.....
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3.jpg   4.jpg  

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Old 02-02-2013, 10:59 AM   #2
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The roof is supported by the cabinets - so if someone removed any of them and left the trailer out with a heavy snow load that could well be the cause of the sag. If it was left outside a few winters ago 09/10? when we had all the snow for extended time and no one cleared it off or put something inside as you have done with the 2 x4's to give it extra support that could have also done it in. More than one egg has seriously cracked due to heavy snow load & lack of roof support - although I havent seen a cracked Bigfoot - not that it hasnt happened though - more often than not its an older Boler. Often people remove the iron or wood spindles found between the kitchen counter and upper cabinets not realizing they are a needed support.

Sorry have no idea as to how you might fix that.

Below is a photo of a lower mainland boler that didnt make it through the winter of 09/10.
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Old 02-02-2013, 11:19 AM   #3
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Thanks for the reply Carol. There are thankfully no cracks, just sag. Do you know of any photos/diagrams of the supports between the kitchen counter and cabinets? Or even a photo of the framework holding up the cabinets? Anything t all to help me get started on a fix... The only wood I've found attached to the shell is a 1x2 strip on the seam of the 2 fibreglass shells.
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Old 02-02-2013, 11:26 AM   #4
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Actually Bigfoot has supports fiberglass into the ceiling. Have you pulled down enough to see them? See Ken's post here: Stretching my 1988 17 ft Bigfoot
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Old 02-02-2013, 11:38 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by morges876 View Post
Do you know of any photos/diagrams of the supports between the kitchen counter and cabinets? Or even a photo of the framework holding up the cabinets? Anything t all to help me get started on a fix... The only wood I've found attached to the shell is a 1x2 strip on the seam of the 2 fibreglass shells.
Actually I cant even say for sure that they had the spindles between the counters and upper kitchen cabinets!! Sorry but I do know that the closets and bathroom walls would all be acting as supports.

If you want to see a lot of photos of various aged Bigfoots and how the interiors where layed out take a look at the Sold Trailer Section Bigfoots on Fiberglass-rv-4sale.com. Lots of photos in the ads to look through of various year Bigfoots which should help give you some ideas.

I dont know where your located but you might want to give Escape Trailers a call - they have been fixing a lot of none Escape fiberglass oldies for people who attend our trailer meets .... might get some info from them on what the best approach for fixing the sage might be, might even be worth letting them fix the sag part for you..... prices are very reasonable.
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Old 02-02-2013, 01:02 PM   #6
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I just took a look through some old photos - the older Bigfoots and I seem to think some of the newer as well also have a support wall on the left as you come through the door. Usually has shallow cabinet on the bottom half and the upper half is more open - have seen it with shelves or spindles on the top half to give it a bit more open feel. But if it was me and I know the old trailer already had a sag issue I sure would consider adding a bit more support by putting spindles or something at the end of the counter to the upper kitchen cabinets as well to help it out a little - take a look at Scamp photos you will see that is what they do.
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Old 02-02-2013, 03:26 PM   #7
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Bear in mind that free advice is worth what you pay for it. My epoxy wooden boat background would have me laminating up a couple of ash bows to the original roof profile, and epoxying them to the inside of the roof. The inch of foam insulation would allow bows that deep ending up flush with the interior roof.
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Old 02-02-2013, 05:44 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Donna D. View Post
Actually Bigfoot has supports fiberglass into the ceiling. Have you pulled down enough to see them? See Ken's post here: Stretching my 1988 17 ft Bigfoot
Morgan, the link Donna has given you is a good one. You might want to try and contact Ken H. using the Private Message feature here, he is the party who's trailer the thread is covering. He also did a Surfside redo that was amazing. Pretty sure he would be able to give you some good advise on what best to do. I seem to think he is working in Coquitlam area or at least he was a couple of years ago.
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Old 03-01-2013, 01:05 AM   #9
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Name: ken
Trailer: beachcomber tm 15
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roof sag

Quote:
Originally Posted by morges876 View Post
Hi all,

I just purchased a 1979 Bigfoot Travel Trailer that had been previously gutted. The previous owner had started a "restoration" but gave up. He had PL'd 1" foam board to the fibreglass, then 1/8" MDF to the foam board. I have finished stripping most of his work and have come to find the ceiling has a major sag all through out.

I have found threads throughout the forum discussing this issue but nothing with some sound advice. How was this supported out of the factory, was the fibreglass strong enough to support itself? Is there a way to strengthen the fibreglass with another coat of fibreglass? Should I frame in roof truss's out of wood to support the peak? Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Here are some photos.....
If it were my trailer I would prop the roof up with boards to get it level. then I would get some light stainless angle iron and fiberglass it to the roof on the outside. If you put on two or three layers of glass over it it should hold the roof up and keep it from sagging.
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Old 03-01-2013, 06:01 AM   #10
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The removal of transverse carrier walls and beams on posts (the cabinets and "pass thru") allowed the sag. Replacing them would divide the span and remove the sag. Retrofitted joist systems in roofs over unsupported and also flexible walls are not the optimum solution but if you are inspired to take that route, I'd go with the glassed-in battens inside. Amazing that after nearly a century of mouthing platitudes about "form following function," very few of us recognize what keeps the teepee standing!

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Old 03-01-2013, 10:59 AM   #11
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roof sag

Hi Jack. I agree that putting back cupboards and such is the proper way to fix the sag . The outside fix would work without tearing out the interior. It is just another idea , you know food for thought.
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Old 03-01-2013, 04:16 PM   #12
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You might want to check the sides too. removal of key support is going to move stuff around. When you plan on putting replacement support back in you may find the sides pushed out as the top sagged down. Keep focused on keeping the door alignment good as you go. You dont want to get most of the way done and find the door and opening have a big issue to resolve.
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Old 03-03-2013, 10:38 PM   #13
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Glad to see others with a bigfoot. I got my '74 15' last spring and was wanting to take out all the wood cupboards but my dad warned against it.
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