83 Burro restoration - Fiberglass RV


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Old 11-01-2018, 06:51 PM   #1
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Name: George
Trailer: 83 Burro
Illinois
Posts: 55
83 Burro restoration

I just bought an 83 Burro that needs a new floor - and also needs the leaks repaired. Before buying it, I saw some great posts on this website from people who had replaced the floors in Burros before. That helped me out a lot and gave me the confidence to make the purchase. I've got the Burro on jackstands, and the trailer removed now. My plans are to remove the rest of the flooring, line up the Burro perfectly on the jackstands (right now, the bottom of the door is wider than the top), and then cut the new floor in 4 pieces of 1/2 inch marine plywood. I plan on putting a layer of fiberglass on the top and bottom of each floor piece (except for the couple inches near the seams), paint the top, bottom, and edges with epoxy paint (except for the couple inches near the seams), and then place the floor in the Burro. Next, I'd put two layers of fiberglass on the seams, and put another coat of epoxy paint on the top and bottom. I'd like to hear comments on this. If I'm doing something wrong, or if I could do it better another way I want to hear about it. Advice from people who have done this before is priceless.
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Old 11-02-2018, 01:41 AM   #2
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Name: K C
Trailer: 1971 Trailswest Campster
Washington
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Applying epoxy paint when it serves no real purpose will decrease your bank account and your leisure time. But if you really like surfaces, exposed or not, to have that "finished" look then make yourself happy and do it.

Your floor is not going to get significant UV exposure either on the interior or the exterior. Protection from UV is a good reason to paint fiberglass that does not have a protective gel coat on it but if you don't have that situation don't bother with it. The epoxy paint won't add any strength so don't bother with it for that. The resin is going to waterproof the surfaces (you should apply resin on the edges of the plwood) so you don't need to add epoxy paint for waterproofing since you already waterproofed the surfaces.

But could it benefit to paint it with epoxy for other reasons? Maybe, if you thought that would make it easier to clean the underside. I can't comment on how much it will help since I don't know how good you are at getting a smooth resin surface on top of the cloth.

On the interior side, no reason to coat it with epoxy if you are going to put other floor coverings over it. The paint won't significantly increase the strength of the floor and it won't increase the waterproofing of the surface, the resin you applied was sufficient for that. But if the painted epoxy is going to be your finished floor surface then it makes sense to put several coats on it for a wear layer.


My opinion is don't even buy any epoxy paint unless you plan on using it for a finished flooring surface. Instead send me an Amazon gift certificate with the money you saved by not buying it as thanks for saving you all those hours of labor you don't need to do. That is the only way I can prove to anyone my opinion is not worthless after all.
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Old 11-02-2018, 07:05 PM   #3
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Name: George
Trailer: 83 Burro
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I appreciate the honest reply. The reason for the epoxy paint is that I don't trust my ability to cover the edges with fiberglass. Call me Mr. belt and suspenders.
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Old 11-10-2018, 08:17 PM   #4
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Name: George
Trailer: 83 Burro
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I'm just about done fiberglassing the new floor pieces. I'll be installing it in the camper Monday or Tuesday. The floor sits on a thin fiberglass lip. Then I have to put a couple layers of fiberglass from the top of the floor to the inside of the camper. I was wondering about sealing up between the lower lip and the flooring. This would keep water from splashing up into this lip. But it would also keep water from draining out (if it got up there somehow). How have other people done this? I was thinking about putting a layer of fiberglass between this lip and the bottom of the floor.
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Old 11-10-2018, 09:28 PM   #5
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Name: Daniel
Trailer: '82 Burro 13'
Northern VA
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From what I can tell from your post, you'll be fiberglassing the top and bottom and once the lip is sealed, then it should be water tight then. When you're talking about water draining out, are you talking about from the inside of the camper?

If so, I'm thinking if everything is fiberglassed and sealed, you could drill out a small drain hole in the floor, then use epoxy (or whatever resin you are using) and coat the inside of the hole so water doesn't get into the wood. I've seen for boats, at least for mounting hardware, people will drill an oversized hole, fill with epoxy, then drill a smaller hole so there's no chance of water getting into the wood.

For the lip, if there's any gap when you put the floor in, you could used thickened resin, either with filler or fiberglass strands, and fill it in, then overlap with fiberglass to seal it all in.
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Old 11-11-2018, 05:24 AM   #6
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Name: George
Trailer: 83 Burro
Illinois
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Dan, Thanks for the reply. I had the same thoughts on making it watertight by sealing the top and bottom of the floor's edge. I just wondered why it wasn't sealed before, and maybe somebody knew a reason why I shouldn't seal it.


I'll go ahead a seal it up.
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Old 11-11-2018, 07:43 AM   #7
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Name: K C
Trailer: 1971 Trailswest Campster
Washington
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GWMattson View Post
I appreciate the honest reply. The reason for the epoxy paint is that I don't trust my ability to cover the edges with fiberglass. Call me Mr. belt and suspenders.
You don't need to put fiberglass cloth on the edges, just apply the resin without any cloth. Resin is the sealant, the cloth is not a sealant.
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Old 11-11-2018, 08:05 AM   #8
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Name: K C
Trailer: 1971 Trailswest Campster
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GWMattson View Post
Dan, Thanks for the reply. I had the same thoughts on making it watertight by sealing the top and bottom of the floor's edge. I just wondered why it wasn't sealed before, and maybe somebody knew a reason why I shouldn't seal it.


I'll go ahead a seal it up.
The reason they don't seal it has to do with keeping production cost under control. They can't justify the labor and materials cost of sealing the edges of plywood floor panels for a maybe someday situation where there may or many not be a leak happening. You can justify it but a company that has to make a profit can't justify doing that extra step when it is not essential to do so. They don't want or need to have their workers exposed to extra chemical use time for non essential tasks.

Seal it or don't seal it. It won't prevent leaks from happening. Potentially there are issues with sealing panels because if water does get into them it is harder for it to evaporate and dry out. But of course the flip side is it is harder for water to get into the panel. When it comes to floor panels you typically have fasteners going into the wood so you won't end up with a perfectly sealed surface. Your trailer, your choice, it is not a situation where there is only one right answer and one best solution. I have epoxy on my floor so I am making sure that where I have fasteners the water can't get into the edges of the plywood. It is not going to be 100% perfectly sealed, that is impossible for me to achieve on a trailer that is approx 50 years old.

Don't over think it, just take measures to keep leaks out of the trailer and be careful to wipe up spills right away. The people who have problems are the people who don't pay attention and keep an eye on things. You are not one of those people.
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Old 11-11-2018, 08:20 AM   #9
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Name: bill
Trailer: 2013 Escape 19; 1977 Trillium 1300
The Mountains of North Carolina
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Casita has used a top and bottom sealed floor for a long time. But they upgraded it in the mid to late 2000s. Basically, every penetration through a "sealed" floor is a possible leak source. And with the floor sealed top and bottom, once water gets in, it can't get out. Instead it is held in place to rot out the plywood or OSB. One can argue that is the worst design.

So in the upgrade, Casita drills an oversized hole for each penetration, from memory, its 1 1/2 inches, maybe 2 inches. Then they have a fiberglass plug (maybe its plastic) that fits into each hole, with a center opening (maybe 3/8 of an inch. These plugs are fiberglassed in. So if water leaks through a penetration (electrical, propane, water) it can't get to the plywood floor.

This is all from memory on my tour of the Casita factory a few years ago. So I could have some details wrong.
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Old 11-11-2018, 03:25 PM   #10
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Name: George
Trailer: 83 Burro
Illinois
Posts: 55
Thanks for the post. I'm always guilty of overthinking things. I just came in from removing a window and spending about a half hour deciding how to keep leaks from getting in, and how to seal up the space between the inner and outer fiberglass shell in case leaks do come in. I think the solution is to seal around the window well with silicone or closed cell rubber weatherstrip and watch for leaks like you suggest.

This site is a great resource. I appreciate every comment.
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Old 11-11-2018, 04:05 PM   #11
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Trailer: 2013 Escape 19; 1977 Trillium 1300
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I'd never use silicone on fiberglass, endless threads on that topic.


See here:

Why is silicone bad?
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Old 11-11-2018, 06:38 PM   #12
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Name: George
Trailer: 83 Burro
Illinois
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Thanks for the warning about silicone.
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Old 11-13-2018, 08:48 PM   #13
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Name: George
Trailer: 83 Burro
Illinois
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I wish the previous owner had read the links about silicone. The first window replacement went well. On the second window, I immediately noticed rusted screws. When I removed the inner frame, I saw more silicone than I had ever seen. I spent the last two nights cutting out the window and cleaning the window and trailer. Getting the last layer of silicone off wasn't easy. I finally resorted to sandpaper. I think everything is clean now, and I can install the window tomorrow. The good news is that I looked at the other windows, and they don't appear to have the silicone that this window had.
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Old 11-13-2018, 09:57 PM   #14
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Name: Bill
Trailer: Burro 1983 13'
Wisconsin
Posts: 138
Wasn't me!

Hi George,

This is Bill the previous owner.
At no point have I used silicone on
any part of the Burro nor have I ever
had the windows out. Now as for the
RV dealer I purchased it from or the
original owner I can't honestly say
what they used. The repairs I did to
seal all the exterior lights was with
RV putty and the sealing at the outside
outlets and the few window areas are
done with DAP acrylic latex caulk the
one WITHOUT silicone! I'm sorry you
had so much trouble and hope the rest
of the project goes well! I can't wait to
see what you do with her!

Good luck,
Bill
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Old 11-14-2018, 05:10 AM   #15
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Name: George
Trailer: 83 Burro
Illinois
Posts: 55
Sorry for the accusation Bill. I should have said "A previous owner" instead of "The previous owner". It must have been someone before you.

I looked at the exterior lights, and I like the way they were sealed. I haven't checked out the outlets yet. I did order a power inlet to replace the mouse hole though. I'm going to look at every hole in the shell before I take this out of my garage.

The floor pieces are ready to go in. I'm waiting on a fiberglass order that should arrive Thursday. Then I'll install them, seal them togetherr and to the shell. I'll put some pictures on this site soon.
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Old 11-14-2018, 09:09 AM   #16
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Name: Bill
Trailer: Burro 1983 13'
Wisconsin
Posts: 138
Thanks for the apology George.
I just wanted to set the record straight.
It sounds like you are really making
progress on her. If you are like ANY of
the engineers I know this thing will be
bullet proof when you are done! Lol
Looking forward to the photos of your
work. Are you thinking of doing a
paint job as well? Also there is no
converter wasn't one when I got it
but I always boondocked and had the
solar so never really plugged in. I did
redo the 110 and put in a 30 amp box
One of the previous owners had the 110
with exposed wires under the sink!
I did replace all the light fixtures and
put in LED bulbs.
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Old 11-14-2018, 11:05 AM   #17
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Name: George
Trailer: 83 Burro
Illinois
Posts: 55
I don't think I'll be painting it. I think the shell looks pretty good. Especially when you consider it's age. I've just got a little gel coat touch up to do. I also plan on keeping all of your new lighting. I was a little upset that I had to remove the ceiling trim you put in so I could take the windows out. I was careful and didn't damage it and should be able to put it back in. I do plan on getting a different converter so I can charge the battery off the alternator, AC, or the solar panel. That can wait though. Right now, getting the floor back in and all leaks fixed is my priority.
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Old 11-14-2018, 03:18 PM   #18
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Name: Bill
Trailer: Burro 1983 13'
Wisconsin
Posts: 138
The. ceiling is one my favorite things
in the camper! I didn't think it would
be that hard to remove. The shell
really is in pretty good condition
for her age. Once you get the floor
in the rest should seem easier.
(I hope!) lol
Remember this group loves photos!
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Old 11-14-2018, 09:55 PM   #19
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Name: bill
Trailer: 2013 Escape 19; 1977 Trillium 1300
The Mountains of North Carolina
Posts: 2,478
Registry
Lots of information on polishing the old FG trailers. I followed the recommendations of Randy Bishop. It really makes a difference!


Check this out NOT Poliglow...Time will tell..
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Old 11-16-2018, 04:17 PM   #20
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Name: George
Trailer: 83 Burro
Illinois
Posts: 55
I had hoped to have the floor in by now, but I ran out of fiberglass cloth. UPS lost the cloth, so I finished up with the windows and started looking at the rest of the camper. There is a rubber strip that's been added over the door. It looks like a rain gutter. On one side of it, whatever was holding it on isn't holding anymore. I have no idea what to use for gluing this rubber strip to the fiberglass shell. Does anybody know?

I contacted UPS help, and after about 5 minutes I got through to an actual person. They found my package. I'm not sure where it went to, but it must be far away. It's scheduled to arrive on Monday.
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