Boler floor - Fiberglass RV


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Old 11-04-2010, 08:20 AM   #1
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Boler floor

Good morning everyone,
I am preparing for the spring by making sure I have everything lined up for my '73 boler project. Sorry, no garage so it's going to have to be in my driveway (much to my wifes chagrin) I want to take the boler off the frame. I have my frame list of to-dos while it's off, but that's another thread. I wanted to get any clarification on the shell / floor set up. I have seen re-build pics that show new plywood going down on top of the frame, which I assume gets bolted to the frame, and the shell gets bolted to the new plywood? I am a little confused about the construction. From the inside, the shell and floor seem a completely fused unit. From underneath, it's all glassed. I am not having any really significant sagging. but why do people have to put this other plywood down? Can anyone please clarify what the construction is so I can have an understanding of what I'm in for. I have to replace bolts (one of which was rotted completely), but I assumed they go into the frame, not a sub-floor. Is three two parts I simply can't see because it's all together. Thanks for any reply. I hope everyone is having a great day.
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Old 11-04-2010, 04:41 PM   #2
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astroboy,

All Boler floors are not the same, so let me see if yours is similar to the ones I'm familiar with before I get all detailed in my description.

Is your floor gelcoated on the inside of the trailer? In other words, it's shiny/colored on the inside, on the flat part of the floor and on the vertical sections between the dropped areas and the rest? This is the type I know (and will describe once I know it's what you also have).

Raya
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Old 11-04-2010, 06:06 PM   #3
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Dear Raya,
Thanks. Yep, thats what I have. I'm preparing myself for taking the frame off and what is underneath, I also want to get an idea of the cross section of material. The underneath looks like raw fibreglass. I have seen people replace the floor, but I don't think I have a floor problem. In fact, it seems slightly off the frame, I can send a picture if you want. there is only a slight flattening in the very middle where it noticeably comes into contact with the cross bar. I'm also concerned about what I will be placing screws into. Thanks if you have some experience to help me.
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Old 11-04-2010, 08:35 PM   #4
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astroboy,

Okay, it sounds like you have the type of Boler floor I am familiar with (and what I would guess is the most common on Boler 13, although I think not all are the same).

Pardon me if I'm going too far back to basics, but I don't know what your familiarity with fiberglass is.

So, these Boler 13's have a molded fiberglass floor (although our shells are all molded, some MFRV's don't have a molded floor; Scamp for example).

How it works is, you have a female mold. You then build the item "backwards." So, gelcoat is sprayed into the mold first (this is what will be the shiny outer shell or in the case of the floor, the floor top). This is a type of polyester resin. Then either fiberglass cloth or chopped strands of fiberglass (I suspect chopped strands) + polyester resin are either laid or "shot" into the mold. What ends up on the top of that pile is the rough "back" surface you see under the trailer or on the inside of the shell (under the ensolite).

Then, they unmold the part, and, Voila, you have a shiny shell or floor piece.

But.... fiberglass is actually kind of "floppy." Especially in flat panels. So the shell is curved and/or has braces or other stiffeners. The floor has a core, like a boat deck. This core separates two "skins" of fiberglass and makes a relatively strong/light flat panel.

I'm not sure the exact order of how things were put together, but you have an upper and lower shell that are joined at the belly band (fiberglassed inside; band is cosmetic). Then you have the floor panel, which is fiberglass tabbed (think wide strips of fiberglass "tape") to the shell. If you look under the trailer the tabbing goes between the floor and the shell, just a few inches above the "skirt" part of the shell.

The floor is attached to the frame with a series of self-tapping screws that run along the frame rails. Some are under the front bench, some in the lower kitchen cabinet (near toe area), some in the closet (next to the wheelwell) and some under the rear benches. From what I have seen some newer (later 70's) Bolers also have tabs welded to the frame and bolts/nuts for additional attachments there. Check the self-tapping screws as I have seen them rust/loosen and they are not too substantial to begin with.

The whole body is offset toward the kitchen side on the frame. I believe this is to give the most possible open floor space -- since the kitchen is deeper than the closet, and since the main floor area is "sunken" into the frame, this offest allows a wider open area in the middle of the trailer.

But back to the floor: I have seen some floors where there is "coring" material in most of the floor; others I have seen only run the core partway into the edge sections. If this is the case keep in mind that the core-less edge sections are not going to be as sturdy as the cored sections.

In terms of putting screws through the core: There is the potential for leaks into the core to rot it out. This would cause a failure of the rigidity. A similar situation takes place on boat decks. However, in order for that to happen, water has to get in. This would generally happen from inside the trailer on a Boler (as does most damage!) (vs. water spraying up from roadway).

On boats, what we do to isolate the core where fasteners go in/through is to overdrill the whole (say, 7/8" hole), and then refill it with thickened epoxy. Then we redrill the fastener hole through the center of the epoxy plug. This not only protects the core but provides an annulus that keeps the core from crushing when you tighten the fastener. Now, this is probably overkill on our trailers, which are not all that strong to begin with; but it certainly does not hurt if you do it. If you want to experiment, you can take a close look at the screw you pull out of any given hole. If it smells a bit punky or has dark or wet core on it, then go ahead and overdrill. This will bring up a core sample. If you do have wet core, oftentimes overdrilling will be enough to get back to clean, dry core. In this case it would be a good idea to do them. I'm doing mine, but that's because I've re-cored too many boat decks!

In general I think the molded fiberglass floor in the Boler 13's is a nice feature.

If I missed a question, just let me know. I may think of something additional, and if so I'll probably come back and edit.

Raya
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Old 11-04-2010, 10:08 PM   #5
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thanks, so when someone is replacing those bolts, they have to re-tap? some of these screws will not go back into the holes I don't think if they go into the frame. I am familiar with standard fibreglass manufacturing. What was most perplexing when I see posts regarding replacement of the bottoms, thinking mine was a self contained unit. I guess since it doesn't seem to have a spongy feel, I may be ok. Once it's off the frame I'll get the best look underneath. I guess the main thing I wanted to confirm that I didn't have to do anything else to the base to reconnect the frame to the shell unless i discover issues with it once it's off. thanks for your help. I will be in touch if I have other questions. Anything you may have for advise, greatly appreciated.
Regards,
Kyle
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Old 11-04-2010, 10:24 PM   #6
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Hi Kyle,

On the frame fasteners, they are likely self-tapping type screws going into the metal, so they may never have been tapped like with a tap and die set, if that's what you mean. In which case there wouldn't really be anything to "re-tap." I wouldn't be surprised though if the holes in the metal frame have wallowed out and so you would need to go to a larger fastener.

There are some trailers, like the Trillium for example, that are made in just two pieces - top and bottom "bathtubs." On those you would see that the gelcoat is on the underside of the trailer (facing the road) and the insides of the storage compartments are the "rough" fiberglass backside.

Raya
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Old 11-07-2010, 03:42 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Raya L. View Post
astroboy,


.....So, these Boler 13's have a molded fiberglass floor (although our shells are all molded, some MFRV's don't have a molded floor; Scamp for example).....

.....In general I think the molded fiberglass floor in the Boler 13's is a nice feature......


Raya

Hi Raya,


How do the Eggs that don't have a molded bottom attach the floor to the fiberglass shell, And what keeps the floor from getting wet from the underside?

What brands besides the Scamp practice this?

Thanks,
Kip
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Old 11-07-2010, 05:00 PM   #8
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My '71 Boler has a 5/8" plywood floor which is tabbed into the shell. As far as I know, currently Scamp uses OSB for the floor. Someone posted a picture of the new Scamps being built where you can clearly see how the floor is constructed. Here's the thread:

Scamp Factory...Here is, How do they do that?? (Pictures)

There isn't anything keeping the underside of the floor from getting wet, but there's nothing preventing it from drying out either. This is why most water damage is from water that collects on the inside of the trailer - it doesn't dry out as easily because it's inside and it's usually trapped by furniture, etc.

Peter
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Old 11-07-2010, 06:21 PM   #9
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Hi Kip,

I will second what Peter said. Most water damage is from leaks to the interior - on any of our eggs - from what I have seen.

The Scamps I have seen, as he mentions, tab the OSB floor (I think the older ones had plywood) to the shell. To picture the tabbing, think of a strip of ~4" masking tape going all the way around between the edge of the floor and the shell on the inside, only the "tape" is really fiberglass fibers and resin. In the case of Scamp I would guess fiberglass mat and polyester resin, although I am not sure.

Here is what I know of some of the popular camper brands:

Compact Jr. --- fiberglass shell wraps under about 10" on the sides; sheet of plywood sits on top of it overlapping the wraps slightly; whole works bolted to frame to hold it together.

Boler 13 --- as mentioned previously, molded fiberglass with wood core and fiberglass bottom skin.

Scamp --- plywood or OSB coated with neat resin (or painted?), tabbed to shell at perimeter.

Casita --- two "bathtub" shells, so floor is part of bottom shell. Probably cored?

Trillium (original generation) -- two bathtub shells; plywood in some areas to do core type duty in floor (?)

U-haul --- plywood floor with some fiberglass mat (?) and resin coating it. Floor somewhat interwoven with outer shell and liner.

Burro --- from what I have read, similar to U-haul but maybe just resin coating (?)

Bigfoot 13 -- two bathtub shells. Floor relies heavily on integrity of core for support (not frame).

Raya
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Old 11-08-2010, 07:03 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Steckhan View Post
My '71 Boler has a 5/8" plywood floor which is tabbed into the shell. As far as I know, currently Scamp uses OSB for the floor. Someone posted a picture of the new Scamps being built where you can clearly see how the floor is constructed. Here's the thread:

Scamp Factory...Here is, How do they do that?? (Pictures)

There isn't anything keeping the underside of the floor from getting wet, but there's nothing preventing it from drying out either. This is why most water damage is from water that collects on the inside of the trailer - it doesn't dry out as easily because it's inside and it's usually trapped by furniture, etc.

Peter


Peter,

This is very interesting. Thank you!

Top Picture. Is the white maze some kind of film to protect the floor from inside moisture?

Pictures 2 and 5 looks like they also use the OSB to build the various compartments, risers and such, rather than fiberglass. Wonder how they frame that

Picture 3. Is that silver wall covering "Reflextix" ?

Picture 7 appears to be more of what is shown in picture 1. What is it?

Thanks,
Kip
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Old 11-08-2010, 07:15 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Raya L. View Post
Hi Kip,

I will second what Peter said. Most water damage is from leaks to the interior - on any of our eggs - from what I have seen.

The Scamps I have seen, as he mentions, tab the OSB floor (I think the older ones had plywood) to the shell. To picture the tabbing, think of a strip of ~4" masking tape going all the way around between the edge of the floor and the shell on the inside, only the "tape" is really fiberglass fibers and resin. In the case of Scamp I would guess fiberglass mat and polyester resin, although I am not sure.

Here is what I know of some of the popular camper brands:

Compact Jr. --- fiberglass shell wraps under about 10" on the sides; sheet of plywood sits on top of it overlapping the wraps slightly; whole works bolted to frame to hold it together.

Boler 13 --- as mentioned previously, molded fiberglass with wood core and fiberglass bottom skin.

Scamp --- plywood or OSB coated with neat resin (or painted?), tabbed to shell at perimeter.

Casita --- two "bathtub" shells, so floor is part of bottom shell. Probably cored?

Trillium (original generation) -- two bathtub shells; plywood in some areas to do core type duty in floor (?)

U-haul --- plywood floor with some fiberglass mat (?) and resin coating it. Floor somewhat interwoven with outer shell and liner.

Burro --- from what I have read, similar to U-haul but maybe just resin coating (?)

Bigfoot 13 -- two bathtub shells. Floor relies heavily on integrity of core for support (not frame).

Raya
Thanks Raya!

Seems you have some serious and accurate knowledge on this subject.

Had several bass boats over the years and the different methods of building the hull, sprayed woven roven vs hand laid and such, were so interesting. Even more amazing is how thin the finished product is. Yet incredibly strong.

Kip
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Old 11-08-2010, 08:46 AM   #12
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Kip,

Picture 1 shows a bare lower half of a Scamp shell. The top half and the floor have not been attached yet. You can see the concrete factory floor where the floor will be.

Picture 2 shows the front of the lower half of the shell with the floor and frame attached. It's hard to tell, but it looks like the top half is also attached. The OSB in the picture is the floor, and the black parts are the frame. There are curved strips of OSB tabbed into the shell partway up that will be used to attach and support the lower front bunk.

Yes, picture 3 shows the Reflectix that's glued to the fiberglass underneath the interior material.

Picture 5 shows the rear of the lower half of the shell with the floor and frame attached. The top half isn't attached yet. There are similar curved strips of OSB tabbed into the shell partway up that will be used to attach and support the dinette bench seats. You can also see that the wheel wells are formed separately and fiberglassed into the shell. On the left side of the picture, in front of the wheel well you can see where the drop floor meets the edge of the shell. That is where the door will be - the opening for the door hasn't been cut out yet.

Picture 7 shows the interior front of the shell with the interior material glued over the Reflectix. This interior material is referred to colloquially as "rat fur".

None of the pictures in that thread show any covering over the OSB floor. I think they just end up gluing carpet to it. My Boler had linoleum glued to the 5/8" plywood.

Peter
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Old 11-08-2010, 04:44 PM   #13
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Re: The Boler 13's, I wonder if the plywood vs. molded fiberglass floor was an age thing. I've only seen Bolers in the 1974 to '77 range (in person) and they all had the molded floors. Peter, I note yours is a '71. Anyone else with a Boler 13 that has a plywood floor care to give the year/builder detail?

My hunch is that it was not an buyer's option whether to get a plywood or molded floor in a Boler 13 , but rather more that it was an age thing (my first guess) or a factory/location thing (my second guess). But, I don't know.

Raya

PS: In my previous summary I should have said "most" or "many" Boler 13's have a molded floor.
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Old 11-09-2010, 02:11 PM   #14
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Thanks Peter!
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