Compact Jr popup fiberglass - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-14-2012, 06:31 PM   #1
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Name: Kris
Trailer: compact jr
California
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Compact Jr popup fiberglass

Hello lovely helpful people! It looks like the people who owned the Compact Jr before me were in the middle of refinishing the popup roof. They scraped off all the wood/etc. that I've seen in your rehab postings. My question is: What do I do now? Add a new layer of fiberglass to the inside? Add a metal or wood support frame? Just add paint or fabric to make it look pretty and call it a day? I've been able find a couple threads about this but no one really explains what to do - or why.
Thank you all! I've been taking photos and will be sure to post step-by-step instructions for other struggling people.
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Old 08-15-2012, 07:48 AM   #2
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Kris,

My top was in need of something when I got the trailer, previous owner(s) had installed a painted 'chip board' liner (yuck) and the former location of a roof vent was covered with a STOP sign.

After I got rid of all that junk, I realized the top sags if not supported with a rigid base/under-support. What I did, which could be improved upon, was to trim a sheet of 1/2 inch plywood to size, and installed shaped 'ribs' on the top to create a support for the fiberglass that had slope - peak in middle sloping to 'no rib' at the edges. I made the fore and aft ribs shorter, so that it formed a kinda of a gable effect. I attempted to 'fill' the areas between the ribs with rigid foam, shaving it to the shape of the ribs.

The previous support had been bolted through the glass, with no apparent 'unintended consequences'. I filled the previous holes, and drilled new ones that were uniform and symetric. Bolted it up with stainless hardware, using sealant beneath the top washer, and aside from one area where a small puddle forms, it's worked like a charm for 3 years now.

If I had it to do again, I'd increase the height/slope of the pitch I created with the ribs, eliminating that one puddle.
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Old 08-15-2012, 11:05 AM   #3
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Thank you Phill! That helps a lot! Beautiful work on your roof. Did you shape the ribs yourself using 2x4s or something? You must be a skilled carpenter to make them symmetrical. Am I missing a simple solution to make the ribs?
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Old 08-15-2012, 12:56 PM   #4
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On my sister's Compact Jr, I made ribs out of electrical conduit with flattened ends and bolted them into place. I achieved a smoothly arched top by setting it upside down with its edges on a couple sawhorses and then setting bricks inside until the top had deflected into a smooth curve. Then I bent the ribs to fit snugly against the inside of the top.

One thing: The newly arched top was higher than the original one, and I had to add shims under the brackets where the lift mechanisms attach to the top so that I could get it locked down again.

It works fine, but if I were doing it again, I think I'd fiberglass the ribs in place; it'd be stronger and stiffer than bolting.

Here are a couple links to my other posts that explain things a bit more:

New Modification To C-J

New Modification To C-J
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Old 08-15-2012, 02:01 PM   #5
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Kris,

I just used scraps of the 1/2 inch plywood, cutting straightlines to form a peak in the middle, then glued them to the top of the ceiling piece. I also cut 'ridge' pieces to go in between the ribs on the centerline, for a better ridge shape and to hold the ribs in place (since gluing 1/2 plywood vertical seemed a little skimpy).

I like what Steve did - load it up, upside down, to get the desired pitch, then form the supports to keep it that way. Like him, I had some adjusting to do when I put it all back together, but I was in a full restoration mode and was getting fairly used to have to make adjustments.

Good luck, and keep us posted.
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Old 08-22-2012, 09:15 AM   #6
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Name: Jan
Trailer: 1971 Compact Jr., serial#0378
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Compact Jr fiberglass pop top

[QUOTE=Steve Hilby;327812]On my sister's Compact Jr, I made ribs out of electrical conduit with flattened ends and bolted them into place. I achieved a smoothly arched top by setting it upside down with its edges on a couple sawhorses and then setting bricks inside until the top had deflected into a smooth curve. Then I bent the ribs to fit snugly against the inside of the top.

Steveó

Can you share the 'how to's' of flattening and bending the conduit? We are in the problem-solving phase of returning the convex to our lid, have been considering white pvc pipe but can certainly adapt to the electrical conduit!

Thanks!

Jan Georgen
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Old 08-22-2012, 12:52 PM   #7
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Yea - would love to see. I'm using wood 1/2s because I couldn't figure out a good way to evenly bend the conduit. Why wouldn't it just bend back?
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Old 08-22-2012, 08:57 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jwgeorgen View Post

Steve—

Can you share the 'how to's' of flattening and bending the conduit? We are in the problem-solving phase of returning the convex to our lid, have been considering white pvc pipe but can certainly adapt to the electrical conduit!
Well, I flattened the ends in a vise and then hammered them really flat; then they were easy to bend. I think I bent the curved part of the flat sections over a piece of pipe (It was a while ago ). For the center part, I used a conduit bender-a big lever thing http://cloudfront.zorotools.com/prod...6EXR5_AS01.JPG
which is designed to keep the conduit from kinking and took it slow. Conduit is made from a pretty soft steel and it bends pretty easily. As I mentioned above, there's a bit more detail here:

New Modification To C-J

...and pics here:

New Modification To C-J

Two nice things about conduit is that it's cheap, and once you paint it, it's quite presentable. Why not buy a piece and experiment with it?
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Old 08-23-2012, 08:40 PM   #9
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Thanks for your response, Steve. I will pick up some of the conduit and practice. I would much prefer doing this myself over having a metal working shop do the fabrication; hauling the lid around is problematic right now!

Jan Georgen
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Old 08-29-2012, 09:10 PM   #10
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Jan
You can also use wooden beams curved to match your roofs curve. Its about the same idea as Steve's. Here is a picture of my before and after roof
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