Bulge in sidewall of camper - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-30-2019, 09:22 PM   #1
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Name: Julie
Trailer: trail mite
Washington
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Bulge in sidewall of camper

Hello!
Just noticed a slight bulge outward in the wall of my 72 Trail Mite. Since this shell is a vertical egg, I'm not sure what the cause could be? Kind of looks like someone large is sitting on the inside and pressing against the outside. The glass in the window on the same side was replaced this spring and it was definitely a tight fit and has been locked since. It was very difficult to open and I was afraid the glass would break when I opened it today, but it did not.
Wondering if this was the problem....? Any ideas out there?
Thanks so much and happy camping!
Julie
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Old 07-01-2019, 05:25 AM   #2
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Name: bill
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Chances are roof is sagging, which pushes out the side walls. Check for vertical bracing: cabinets that run floor to ceiling, poles on the kitchen cabinet, bulkhead walls, or whatever. If you have nothing running vertically, then that is an issue.

Things bulge for a reason, and gravity always wins.
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Old 07-02-2019, 09:54 PM   #3
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Trail Mite sidewall bulge

Thank you Bill for your reply. We also noticed that around the site of the bulge when pushed in it was solid compared to around it where the fiberglass would give al little. Maybe it's the kitchenette stressing it out? We will try to undo some of the rivets and see if that helps.
Julie
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Old 07-03-2019, 07:13 PM   #4
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Undo rivets?? As in, drill them out? I can't picture how that could help.
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Old 07-04-2019, 01:15 AM   #5
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Name: K C
Trailer: 1971 Trailswest Campster
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Originally Posted by jbenkovich View Post
Thank you Bill for your reply. We also noticed that around the site of the bulge when pushed in it was solid compared to around it where the fiberglass would give al little. Maybe it's the kitchenette stressing it out? We will try to undo some of the rivets and see if that helps.
Julie
Anything nearby to that area such as a cabinet could make the panel less flexible because that other structure will reduce the flex. But my Campster does have areas that bulge out more than others, it happens over time with heat and also the stresses on the structure. I have also seen it on rigs where one side that is always in the hot sun gets some bulging.


But uneven thickness of the surface is also not all that unusual if the person who sprayed the chop into the mold got heavy handed. When I gutted my trailer for the renovation I did find that I have some areas of my trailer that are much thicker than other areas. It was just random so I could tell it was all about the person who was doing the spraying not being absolutely perfect in the passes they were taking with the chopper gun. Watch the video in this link and you will see how easily an uneven coating can happen in the hands of someone not too experienced or someone not paying close attention.
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Old 07-04-2019, 02:36 AM   #6
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Good video KC, pretty easy to see the light spots.
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Old 07-13-2019, 10:28 AM   #7
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Thumbs down Common Problem

The frame is flexing which overstresses the shell. For starters, you need a stronger custom frame to provide the necessary support, particularly for boondocking.
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Old 07-13-2019, 10:30 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Stephen_Albers View Post
The frame is flexing which overstresses the shell. For starters, you need a stronger custom frame to provide the necessary support, particularly for boondocking.

I'm beginning to suspect that you reinforce frames for a living since you repeatedly post this questionable information.
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Old 07-13-2019, 10:41 AM   #9
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Trailer: Casita
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Exclamation Nope

It's just this defect is so common and so many owners suffer from it that they repeatedly bring up the issue. Some manufacturers are starting to address the need for strong frames, particularly for boondocking. But the majority don't
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Old 07-13-2019, 12:46 PM   #10
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The real issue is not the design of the frame as much as the age of the affected trailers, often 30-40 years or more. Fiberglass shells outlive the steel frames they rest on.

Some can be mended and reinforced, others need complete replacement. Depending on the intended use, replacement may include upgrades for backcountry use.

There is no crisis, but owners of vintage trailers do need to be aware of the condition of the chassis and take appropriate action. Comes with the territory, no different than owning a vintage car.
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Old 07-13-2019, 01:47 PM   #11
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Question Not Exactly

Jon,

I hear where you are coming from and recognize why you have your opinion. But it is not exactly true. Nearly all built-to-a-price trailer frames rust from the inside out, like cheap cars. Typically they are unsafe within about two years. Here is an example:
https://youtu.be/gQmyVbZpmVc

Tubular frames are easily corrosion protected internally but no manufacturers do it because it costs a few pennies.
https://youtu.be/cm7W7Db5vdw

No frame should age at all. With minimal service, it should last indefinitely if it is not overstressed. If you have money to burn, ignore your frame and it will be scrap in a short time and probably take down your entire investment with it. Caveat emptor.
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