Casita bulkheads - Fiberglass RV



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Old 05-10-2019, 09:36 AM   #1
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Name: Shelane
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Casita bulkheads

Rebuilding our '86 Casita. We are installing plywood bulkheads to support bunks on one side. Trying to figure out how best to attach them to the external wall.

How many attachment points does the Casita factory use to secure theirs?

Also, any suggestions from you all how to best secure them? We're currently planning on using 1.5" angle brackets but would love more experienced advice.

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Old 05-12-2019, 04:10 PM   #2
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On my 1985 Scamp rebuild I installed new 3/4" plywood bulkheads by marching the wall, floor, and ceiling shape and glueing and screwing through the fiberglass.
Bonding to the fiberglass really stiffens the structure. The screws with washers hold everything together until the glue sets.
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Old 05-13-2019, 02:47 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by redbarron55 View Post
On my 1985 Scamp rebuild I installed new 3/4" plywood bulkheads by marching the wall, floor, and ceiling shape and glueing and screwing through the fiberglass.
Bonding to the fiberglass really stiffens the structure. The screws with washers hold everything together until the glue sets.
Thanks for your response. We debated FGing it but in the end we're going with 1/2" plywood and angle brackets. Fingers crossed! It'll be supported with the bunks between the bathroom and the back bed.
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Old 05-14-2019, 12:50 AM   #4
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You might want to also work in some FG. If you can get a good sanding on the shell and FG both sides it might hold up better. I have noticed that mine is trying to "spread" and has a bit of stress on the supports. Also have noticed after a lot of road time (and shakes) several screws are working their way out.



Just some thoughts from my 86 rebuild which I will be working a little more on when I get home -- several things need to be connected again.
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Old 05-14-2019, 01:13 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Shelane View Post
We debated FGing it but in the end we're going with 1/2" plywood and angle brackets. Fingers crossed! It'll be supported with the bunks between the bathroom and the back bed.
Shelane, I'm kind of scratching my head on your install. You asked about the external wall first and then mention the bed divider and bath wall. Might help us all out if you explained exactly what you're planning to do and with what for better comments. Are you talking about a full/partial support ledge along the length of the bunk on the external wall? Is the bunk going to be permanent? If permanent, since you have the wall down to the insulation, glassing in a 2x2" support would be a piece of cake and leave you with no holes in the shell. 1/2" ply and angle brackets would be my last choice for safety.
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Old 05-14-2019, 06:29 AM   #6
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If you cut through the insulation where the bulkhead goes and fit the 1/2" plywood to the wall and mark the wall with the outline of the bulkhead. Use the lines to drill holes for screws from the inside.
Run a bead of PU sealant / adhesive in the lines and press the bulkhead into place.
Run screws from the outside to hold the plywood in place while the glue cures.
You will not have to worry about the screws working loose as the sealant / adhesive will hold it in place and also stiffen the wall and become an integral part of the trailer.
I did this three years ago in my Scamp and have over 20,000 miles on it with no cracks or problems.
Here is an example where I installed the overhead cabinets to the shell and the bulkhead that forms the front where the bath and storage is located. The bulkhead was installed using the method I outlined earlier. This bulkhead is 1/2" plywood.


The cabinets are an actual member in reinforcing the shell as they are also screwed and glued together.
The resulting strengthening of the walls with the bulkheads and cabinets make the shell stiff enough to not need vertical braces and allows for the twin beds in the rear.
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Old 05-14-2019, 08:28 AM   #7
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Name: Shelane
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Originally Posted by Borrego Dave View Post
Shelane, I'm kind of scratching my head on your install. You asked about the external wall first and then mention the bed divider and bath wall. Might help us all out if you explained exactly what you're planning to do and with what for better comments. Are you talking about a full/partial support ledge along the length of the bunk on the external wall? Is the bunk going to be permanent? If permanent, since you have the wall down to the insulation, glassing in a 2x2" support would be a piece of cake and leave you with no holes in the shell. 1/2" ply and angle brackets would be my last choice for safety.
Scratch away. Once again my communication skills have been less than helpful.

So, at this point, we don't want the side bunks to be permanent. After all, the kids won't be living at home and forced to camp with us forever! So, we'd like the bulkheads to be secure, but I don't want to have to recarpet when we remove them. The original pantry was riveted in via the (flap? bent edge?) of the fiberglass frame and over the carpet and insulation, so we figured if it was good enough for them...

For reference, here are some current pics. The bulkheads (one that you see and the other against the bathroom wall) have been (meticulously) scribed to the wall curve. They will be secured to the outer wall and the floor, as well as supported by the bunk platforms themselves.

My biggest question was how often to secure them to the outer wall. The pantry had rivets every 5" or so right next to the door, but only like 3 rivets on the other side next to the sink. I was trying to decide on a sweet spot between enough support in order to reduce stress and overkill that increased leak risk. We ended up settling on 7. We'll see how it holds up.
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Old 05-14-2019, 08:30 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by redbarron55 View Post
If you cut through the insulation where the bulkhead goes and fit the 1/2" plywood to the wall and mark the wall with the outline of the bulkhead. Use the lines to drill holes for screws from the inside.
Run a bead of PU sealant / adhesive in the lines and press the bulkhead into place.
Run screws from the outside to hold the plywood in place while the glue cures.
You will not have to worry about the screws working loose as the sealant / adhesive will hold it in place and also stiffen the wall and become an integral part of the trailer.
I did this three years ago in my Scamp and have over 20,000 miles on it with no cracks or problems.
Here is an example where I installed the overhead cabinets to the shell and the bulkhead that forms the front where the bath and storage is located. The bulkhead was installed using the method I outlined earlier. This bulkhead is 1/2" plywood.


The cabinets are an actual member in reinforcing the shell as they are also screwed and glued together.
The resulting strengthening of the walls with the bulkheads and cabinets make the shell stiff enough to not need vertical braces and allows for the twin beds in the rear.
This is a great idea! If we were planning on the bunks being permanent, I can see this would be a great way to go. Thanks!
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Old 05-14-2019, 09:02 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Shelane View Post
Thanks for your response. We debated FGing it but in the end we're going with 1/2" plywood and angle brackets.
In a durability war between fiberglass and steel fasteners, the steel is going to win.

A good half measure would be using some tube epoxy between the fiberglass and the mating surface of the angle brackets. Just to take some of the load off the fiberglass around the fasteners. If the permanence of epoxy bothers you, even some 3M VHP tape plus fasteners would be better than fasteners alone. Just my 2˘

Good luck with the remodel. Looks like a fun project.
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Old 05-14-2019, 09:39 AM   #10
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In a durability war between fiberglass and steel fasteners, the steel is going to win.

A good half measure would be using some tube epoxy between the fiberglass and the mating surface of the angle brackets. Just to take some of the load off the fiberglass around the fasteners. If the permanence of epoxy bothers you, even some 3M VHP tape plus fasteners would be better than fasteners alone. Just my 2˘

Good luck with the remodel. Looks like a fun project.
That's one I hadn't thought of! Thanks!
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Old 05-14-2019, 02:45 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Shelane View Post
So, at this point, we don't want the side bunks to be permanent. After all, the kids won't be living at home and forced to camp with us forever! So, we'd like the bulkheads to be secure, but I don't want to have to recarpet when we remove them.
That clears it up a bit. I'm guessing you're talking of the carpet on the exterior wall. Easiest way for removal it at a later date would be to install the wall ledger on top of the carpet. Use 1/4-20 SS bolts through the shell with snap caps for looks. When the bunks aren't needed anymore, remove the bolts/ledger and fill the holes with white epoxy filler, done.
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