'83 Burro Floor Replacement - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-18-2010, 05:43 PM   #1
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I've seen a few floor replacement posts but I thought I would share my experience as I tackle this project. I'm a brand new fiberglass RV owner with the purchase of my 1983 Burro a week or so ago. I know NOTHING about RVs but they look fairly simple and I'm hoping my automotive knowledge will carry me through (as well as the knowledgeable folks on this forum )

So first the thin piece of wood the PO laid down came out. Next I have removed most of the screws from the fiberglass lip going into the plywood. Folks can jump in if they like but I'm assuming once all the screws are out (and any other loose ends are taken care of) I can separate the shell from the floor.


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Old 06-20-2010, 11:13 AM   #2
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Ok, I plan to really dive into the floor replacement over the next couple of days.

This may seem obvious to those who have done this but before I start hacking away I thought I would ask. So, the first picture is the bottom where I assume I need to separate the floor from the "lip". But 2nd picture (which is of the inside, and again assuming) I need to cut the fiberglass to separate the floor from the shell?

The two pictures are of the same section of the trailer. The 2nd one may be a little hard to decipher location but is the storage opening below the front seat.


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Old 06-20-2010, 02:52 PM   #3
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Trailer: 1974 Boler 13 ft (Neonex/Winnipeg)
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Hi Shane,

I can't exactly make out what is going on in your photos, but I am going to make some general comments based on the U-haul I owned (they are essentially clones). Note that I did not replace any flooring, as it was in good shape; but I did remove some (hideous, orange shag) carpeting so I got an up-close look at the edges of the floor.

So, you know you have an outer shell to the camper, and then you have a fiberglass liner (which makes up the closet, cabinets, benches, etc.). The shells and the liner are both split down the center, front to rear, like a baked potato (i.e. they were molded in separate halves). So the camper started out as four fiberglass molded pieces, plus the floor (and maybe the front bench is separate; I forget).

My guess is that when building the camper they did something like this (I may not have it just right, but you get the idea):

1) Position inner liner halves

2) Position floor

3) Position outer liner halves

Once they had it all together, the two outer shell halves were fiberglassed together on the inside (this would be under the strip of carpeting on the ceiling), and then the liner lips were probably glued (with resin) or maybe glassed in place. On the U-haul the lips of the inner liner that went over the floor wood were stapled into the floor.

So, what I see you having for a challenge (presuming it is similar to the U-haul) is that the flooring runs under the inner liner lips. You may be able to loosen the inner liner where it attaches to the floor, but you can't really move it out of the way because it is attached at the roof to, so there is no place for it to really go. But maybe you can cut the old floor up and then somehow slide sections of it out from under the lips (edit: I think I see you already have the floor removed now, if I'm making that out correctly).

Maybe you can put the new floor in in sections so that you can slide them into place back under the lips. Then you will have to make sure you have places for the joints to land.

I seem to remember that someone here did make some judicious cuts from the outside but up into the wheel well (maybe?) to slide the floor in and out that way. I think that trailer was removed from the axle in order to make room (maybe) and that it was a Burro. Have you already read that account?

It will feel great to have a new, dry floor, won't it?

Raya
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Old 06-20-2010, 04:59 PM   #4
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Thanks for the feedback Raya, the more you folks post the more I learn!

Well, I pretty much just dove on in this afternoon.....

The more I get torn out of there the more I see how it goes together, but sure is a lot of work (and the WHOLE floor is, soon to be was, squishy!)


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Old 06-20-2010, 09:06 PM   #5
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[quote]Thanks for the feedback Raya, the more you folks post the more I learn!

Well, I pretty much just dove on in this afternoon.....

The more I get torn out of there the more I see how it goes together, but sure is a lot of work (and the WHOLE floor is, soon to be was, squishy!)


Attachment 28985


Shane, the only thing securing the inner and outer shells to the trailer frame are self-tapping screws UNDER the inside fiberglass mat. They are accessed only by removing that inside mat. I cut mine out around the perimeter of the inner shell with an old hunting knife and a hammer. Drive the knife through the mat nearly parallel to the old floor and hit the back of the knife blade with the hammer while holding onto the knife handle. Works like a charm. You can guide your cut by twisting the knife in the desired direction. The best and by far the easiest thing to do to remove all existing wood is to block under the four corners of the trailer and remove the frame. Measure your cribbing at the corners and with care, the frame can be removed to the rear easily...but you'll need to remove the axle first. You need to remove the frame to replace the floor. In doing so, you'll now be able to remove the bottom fiberglass mat and have access to the groove formed around the perimeter by the inner and outer shells. This groove is where the plywood floor "nests." My floor was so badly rotted, I broke it out in chunks with my hands. The new floor went in in four pieces. A "D" shaped piece on either end and two rectangular pieces between the "D's" which all formed the floor. Use some care and common sense and its fairly straight forward. One thing to watch is when you block all four corners and remove the frame, the trailer weak point is the door opening, which tends to spread slightly. When measuring for the new floor, be sure that the door opening measurements are the same at the top and bottom. I pulled mine into place with one of those cheapo ratcheting binders sold at Wal Mart....the ones with the nylon strap. Wrapped two of them around the whole trailer and tightened them to achieve the desired measurements. As my floor rotted and the trailer gradually spread at the door opening, the gaskets on the door no longer met the trailer. The PO had two and three layers of gasket to fill the gap. With the new floor in, the door fits as it should. I advise you to seal the new wood after its been cut and trial fitted. I used epoxy resin and fiberglass cloth on all four pieces of new floor, then taped the joints underneath with more FG cloth tape and poured resin into the small crack from inside. I also taped the edges of the shell where it met the new wood around the circumference of the trailer.
This is getting too long to post....I apologize to the moderators. Give me a call if you want to talk at length. I had my Burro out over May 30th and in a pouring rain. NO leaks!
Good luck...
Mike in WV
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Old 06-20-2010, 11:06 PM   #6
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Aha, Mike, I think it was your post(s) I remember about the Burro floor -- I thought it was someone with an "M" name, but that wasn't really enough to dredge it up
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Old 06-21-2010, 09:07 AM   #7
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Aha, Mike, I think it was your post(s) I remember about the Burro floor -- I thought it was someone with an "M" name, but that wasn't really enough to dredge it up
Possibly was me, Raya, although I got valuable information from FGRV members who had floor issues and had replaced theirs. I think your analysis of the factory build sequence is right on the mark. My original floor was in four pieces from the factory. The reason for this I believe, was that plywood sheathing is normally furnished in 4' x 8' pieces and the floor length is very near 10' in overall length. Couple points of interest: my frame was sound with little rust and no cracks. By removing the frame, one can not only access the rotten floor and replace it much easier, but also reinforce the weak "bend" area where the frame exits the coach in front. I also chose to move the complete coach rearward 1 1/2" to reduce stresses to that weak area from rough roads and tow vehicle rebound. That, and a new 1800# torsion axle and 14" wheels made for a very easy-to-tow unit with no sway. I towed it to 75 mph as a test, but normally tow at 60-62 for economical reasons. My tow vehicle is a '93 Toyota pickup with a 4 cylinder and 5 speed. My 500-mile excursion over Veterans Day to our daughter's backyard yielded
19.8 mpg with about a 50/50 mix of mountains and rolling Virginia land. I also followed other FGRV'ers advice and bought a Tekonsha Prodigy controller. Amazing unit!!
THANKS to all who offered me their advice!!!
Mike In West Virginia
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Old 06-21-2010, 07:23 PM   #8
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Ok, my "floor replacement" has now officially turned into a frame off restoration.

Taking the excellent advice from Mike I did exactly what he said and now have separated the frame from the shell. As Mike said you basically just support the four corners of the shell and lower the frame. I took off the axle and lowered the frame down onto 3 furniture dollies and wheeled it easily out the back. I then wheeled the frame into the garage and put that on jack stands. I then used the furniture dollies to wheel the shell back into its spot.

Lots of work!!

The frame is now in my garage, all cleaned up, and will be getting a couple coats of POR 15 tomorrow......


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Old 06-21-2010, 07:35 PM   #9
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Aha, Mike, I think it was your post(s) I remember about the Burro floor -- I thought it was someone with an "M" name, but that wasn't really enough to dredge it up
Mike and Raya, I think this is the topic: Starting the Burro floor replacement

then there's this one: Replacing Burro floor
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Old 06-21-2010, 07:57 PM   #10
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Taking the excellent advice from Mike I did exactly what he said and now have separated the frame from the shell ... The frame is now in my garage, all cleaned up, and will be getting a couple coats of POR 15 tomorrow......
Must you procrastinate so?

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Old 06-22-2010, 05:58 PM   #11
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Today's progress was slowed down as I had a new roof put on the house and this meant I couldn't haul the frame out into the drive way until late this afternoon.

So I finished cleaning the frame up with a flapper wheel, drilled out all the broke off screws, and it was all ready for cleaning, prep, and paint.

As I type this I'm in between coats of POR 15. I cleaned the frame thoroughly with Purple Power, rinsed, cleaned again with Purple Power, rinsed, and let dry. Next I sprayed on Metal Ready and rinsed that off. After it completely dried I put on the first coat of POR 15....

(Second picture doesn't show off the fresh paint all that well)


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Old 06-22-2010, 08:32 PM   #12
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[quote]Today's progress was slowed down as I had a new roof put on the house and this meant I couldn't haul the frame out into the drive way until late this afternoon.

So I finished cleaning the frame up with a flapper wheel, drilled out all the broke off screws, and it was all ready for cleaning, prep, and paint.

As I type this I'm in between coats of POR 15. I cleaned the frame thoroughly with Purple Power, rinsed, cleaned again with Purple Power, rinsed, and let dry. Next I sprayed on Metal Ready and rinsed that off. After it completely dried I put on the first coat of POR 15....

(Second picture doesn't show off the fresh paint all that well)


Attachment 29022


Hey, fellow Burro butcher....er, I mean owner/rebuilder.....the hubcaps are in the mail and will be at your address thursday via UPS. Check your inbox or spamblocker...I sent some pics and an email or two.
Best wishes,
Mike in WV
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Old 06-22-2010, 09:00 PM   #13
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Lookin' good!
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Old 06-22-2010, 09:32 PM   #14
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Hey, fellow Burro butcher....er, I mean owner/rebuilder.....the hubcaps are in the mail and will be at your address thursday via UPS. Check your inbox or spamblocker...I sent some pics and an email or two.
Best wishes,
Mike in WV

Oh trust me, there was a huge....... "hmm, what have I done" .......as I chopped up the floor and removed the frame!!
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