Fixing rotten door - need advice - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-21-2011, 07:18 PM   #1
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Fixing rotten door - need advice

Early in the summer we purchased a 1974 Monarch fiberglass travel trailer, and age considered, it s in very good shape.

However, tt DOES need one urgent repair - the innards of the door are completely rotten, and it is basically falling apart.

I don't think the door is original to the trailer - it is aluminum, not fg?

Do any of you have experience with a similar problem? How is it best fixed?

Paula
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Old 09-21-2011, 08:16 PM   #2
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Inside a fiberglass or aluminum door it is quite common to have wood inserts to hold the screws for hinges , window and lock for instance. Rot develops from lack of ventilation, condensation or water infiltration. There are many cures possible, but they all require you strip the door into pieces and rebuild it. If the fiberglass shell is sealed in such way that it prevents you to access some remore areas (like hinges), you may have to cut some access holes on the inside, replace the parts and patch the access holes with fiberglass.

Hints: Standard polyester resin based fiberglass will not fully bind on old fiberglass. Even epoxy based products (highly recommended in that case) that can make a repair about six times as strong as resin based fiberglass repair will not fully bind to old fiberglass unless you use a product like Interlux Solvent Wash 202. For impeccable and extra strong finish, my favorite is Interlux Watertite epoxy filler. After that, for glossy finish all you have to do is to apply matching gelcoat or good quality urethane paint.
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Old 09-22-2011, 12:17 PM   #3
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Thank you Martin for the advice. We wanted to have a closer look, and the door literally fell apart on us. The outside and inside shell is aluminum, and that part of it is in fairly good condition, but the inside wood frame is completely soaked and rotted out.

The thickness of the wood is 1", which seems to pose a problem - we went to several lumber yards, and no one has this thickness or the equipment to cut it. I am wondering if there are alternatives that do not cost an arm and a leg?

Another problem we have is the lock. We don't have a key for it, and it is obsolete.

Paula
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Old 09-22-2011, 12:33 PM   #4
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The thickness of the wood is 1", which seems to pose a problem

You can buy some wood that is 1 1/2 thick.

Bring it to any woodworker and he can run it thru a planer to make it an inch thick and perfectly smooth. It only should take minutes.

If you have a friend who does wood working he will probably own a planer, a rather common piece of woodworking equipment.

Planers can make any piece of thinner. I have one in the cellar and use it frequently for trailer mods.
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Old 09-22-2011, 04:13 PM   #5
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I have an Escondido Burro built after the switchover to an extrusion-framed door from the previous "aircraft" style or molded fglass door. The wood inside is both a spacer for the skins and a "nailer" to catch the screws in the frame extrusions. If it falls apart half the problem (disassembly) is solved LOL. I replaced only the bottom nailer by removing the bottom channel, digging out the peckerwood, and ripping a pressure-treated 2x4 to 1"X 1 5/8" to replace. As Norm says either a surface planer or a 10" table saw (more common) is all that's needed. Most wood bodgers and handymen have table says and can rip nominal lumber to your required dimension. Arsenic-treated wood, softwood treated with Cuprinol, or white oak are all good choices. Cons are white oak might move or warp, all microbe poisons are people poisons. I doubt if ripping a few feet of pressure-treated will kill you (today) and the guy you're going to get to do it has probably ingested a whole lot more. Pressure-treated dimension lumber not available these days? Could be this plastic composition "deck" wood might also hold scews thru the extrusion channels just fine if you can find the dimensions you want, or again, have someone rip to dimension. My advice: if you have those thin styrene or lexan skins on your door try to use a sealer-caulk between these and the u-channels most particularly at the bottom exterior; if you have removable window reveals and no sealer beteen the exterior and the glass that's also a fine place for water to enter the hollow door.

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Old 09-29-2011, 11:31 AM   #6
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I stumbled upon a nice brand new trailer door and frame for only $99. It even has a screen door too.

There is one significant down side that I can see - the new door, including frame is almost 3/4" narrower, leaving a gap that needs to be filled somehow.

Considering the fact that the original door needs a significant amount of work to be restored - including a new lock that will leave a gap to be filled as the original one is obsolete - which option would you say is the better one?

paula
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Old 09-29-2011, 07:07 PM   #7
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Hi Paula,

Is that the ones at Fraser Way RV in Abbotsford, great looking door I had a look at them. One thing I noticed is the door swings the wrong way for a trailer, if it comes unlatched somehow while driving it could do alot damage. It is not going to just sit there ajar, it will swing open damage the door and the side of your rig.

Hope this helps in making a decision.
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Old 09-30-2011, 01:12 PM   #8
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Ken, yes we saw it at Fraserway. The deal is so good that we could not resist.

I realize the importance of keeping the door securely latched, but that is something we think we can handle.

Old door and frame are already removed. I will post a picture when the new door is installed - hopefully without too much trouble.
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Old 10-18-2011, 01:41 PM   #9
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New door and screen door is finally installed. Door, $99 on clearance a Fraserway RV, and Trimark lock, $59. I does open the "wrong" way, but for the price, we think it is worth it.



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Old 10-18-2011, 02:42 PM   #10
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Smile

Quote:
Originally Posted by redwine View Post
New door and screen door is finally installed. Door, $99 on clearance a Fraserway RV, and Trimark lock, $59. I does open the "wrong" way, but for the price, we think it is worth it.



pictures please!!
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Old 10-19-2011, 10:25 AM   #11
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Nice job!!
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Old 11-07-2011, 10:54 PM   #12
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Rain deflector for door

This door project proved a little more difficult than anticipated.

Door was installed and looked good, but after some heavy rain we found that it was still leaking. Door had to be taken out and re-installed one more time.

This time it appears that we got it right - there seems to be no leak.

Our thought is to finish it of with some kind of rain deflector mounted above the door - something I noticed on many rv's. Wondering if we can get some suggestions - is this something we should get fabricated - aluminum? or are the products already available in rv stores?
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Old 11-08-2011, 06:35 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by redwine View Post
Our thought is to finish it of with some kind of rain deflector mounted above the door - something I noticed on many rv's. Wondering if we can get some suggestions - is this something we should get fabricated - aluminum? or are the products already available in rv stores?
Drip caps should be available at nearly any RV parts place. Here's one from Scamp: Drip Cap For Entry Door
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Old 11-08-2011, 06:46 PM   #14
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Thanks Donna - I will have to search for one at the rv parts stores - this is our first travel trailer - I am more used to go to marine stores than rv stores

The ventura door is not flush with the trailer body, so I think we need something a bit more pronounced than the one from Scamp.
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