Fixing scamp door - Fiberglass RV


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Old 02-21-2010, 04:49 PM   #1
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So I ignored your advice...(yes Larry I'm talking to you )

My 1977 scamp door was off the charts heavy and it has been pestering me for some time. I inquired about "scooping out the guts" and refiberglassing it. Many said OH NO Brandy don't do that....so that was all the go ahead I needed

I'm happy to report I peeled off the lining...removed the window, cut gently around the edges and scooped out the insides. They were definatly ICK...and had been dampened at some point and time and some rotting. The material was similar to peg board, and gave off a serious almond smell (odd).

I just got done fiberglassing in some support boards and will figure out what to put in the empty space tomorrow. Then will refiberglass that panel back on, wait for it to dry. Go to the fabric store and get more fabric to recover...reinstall a few things then VIOLA My door will be back on. Weighed all the removed material and 12 pounds was taken off the door. It is MUCH lighter thus far. When I put the door back on the other day it fit much more snug. I think the weight was pulling it in an odd way. Photos later on


Okay Updated...I cut three pieces out. The reason I did this is I was afraid the door would straighten out when i removed the interior guts. When I refiberglass the 3 pieces back on today I plan on using a strap wrapped around the door to ensure its shape is maintained...the second photo just shows the pieces placed on top to check fit
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Old 02-21-2010, 06:07 PM   #2
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Hi Brandy,

I did the same today on my 77 Scamp door. Weird smell eh? I found it to be more like cherries.

It's amazing how light the two halfs are without the soaked core. I have to buy some sort of coring material (haven't decided on the product yet) and also reshape it as it had a two inch gap at the bottom. I may go with an aluminum frame.

Good luck with your door project.

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Old 02-21-2010, 06:43 PM   #3
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FYI...

The "material" you've discovered soaking up all that water is called "coir."

Coir is made up of the fibers found between the hard, internal shell and the outer coat of a coconut. They are processed and compressed into a mat, then eventually stuffed between the fiberglass skins of your Scamp doors. Luckily for us Scamp owners with leaking windows, they are immune to mold and mildew.
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Old 02-21-2010, 09:33 PM   #4
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It sounds like you are getting to be quite the fiberglassing expert. Are you busy? It sure is nice in Seattle lately.

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Old 02-21-2010, 10:18 PM   #5
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I was just thinking about your project, hope its drying out and you'll be on to camping in no time...fiberglassing reminds me of paper mache. It is not nearly as difficult as I imagined...keep in mind, all my projects are being covered. If I had to go professional I might need some more schooling

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It sounds like you are getting to be quite the fiberglassing expert. Are you busy? It sure is nice in Seattle lately.

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Old 02-21-2010, 10:23 PM   #6
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AWWwwww very cool to know, thats an interesting fact. It was very heavy, and seemed like water ruined it over time. With the numerous screw holes thru out, water seeped in and did its damage. The boards they fiberglassed across as supports were rotten. Its been an interesting process. I promise photos to come.


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FYI...

The "material" you've discovered soaking up all that water is called "coir."

Coir is made up of the fibers found between the hard, internal shell and the outer coat of a coconut. They are processed and compressed into a mat, then eventually stuffed between the fiberglass skins of your Scamp doors. Luckily for us Scamp owners with leaking windows, they are immune to mold and mildew.
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Old 02-22-2010, 10:10 AM   #7
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Brandy---- so where are the pictures??? I certainly hope you are documenting this so other forum members can see that fiberglassing is not only for "Professionals". Larry
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Old 02-22-2010, 10:45 AM   #8
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I don't know about Scamps, but from what I've seen Boler used many different materials over the years for "door stuffing" in many arrangements. I would be a little surprised if Scamp was totally consistent, although I suppose there is more potential for that given that they only have one factory. Still, I wouldn't be sure until I actually saw the inside of a door (yes, I've seen too many boats that were "supposed" to have "x" material but had "y" instead ).

Here is one thing to keep in mind when you are re-coring your door:

The door has a curve, yet gravity makes it want to be straight. So you have to build in a way for it to keep a curve. Some people have done this with a frame, and that works, but.... you have the means right in front of you to do it with core. Since you have de-cored your door, that's probably what I would do in your shoes.

So you have three missions:

1) Get the curve right.

2) Repair the door so it will hold that curve.

3) Keep the inside of the door dry.

On #3, that is important whether or not your core materials can rot. Besides the obvious weight and general "ugh factor" of a soaked door, the water can also lead to debonding (where the core and the skin separate) which will cause a failure. This holds true for non-rotting as well as (potentially) rotting core materials.

It's the same story in fiberglass boats, which almost all use a cored deck structure (and some now have a cored hull as well). In early days it was not all understood well, but even now that we know, many boats are still built without adequate water protection to the core, in my opinion.

Luckily, you are not trying to crank out 2,000 trailers to a price, with paid labor, so you can take the extra time and care to make yours right, without worrying about going over budget, angering the boss, etc.

So, for the sake of my post, let's say you are going with a new core and then a fiberglass skin (again) on the inside.

Let's assume your door had the right shape (fit in tight at the bottom), and if it doesn't you can post back and that can be a separate issue (that you would want to correct before proceeding).

So, you get the hideous old core out of your door (that "sweet" smell was probably a styrene/fiberglass smell). Here are more steps you will want to take. The order can vary slightly. Also, I am leaving out some small details to keep the post from being uber long.

1) Remove hardware and window

2) Clean and prep inner surface of outer skin (sand off core and rough up fiberglass surface; clean with acetone) (normally I would say denatured alcohol or acetone but since there might still be traces of mold contamination....)

3) Clean and prep flanges that remain of old inner skin (sand to give tooth and solvent wipe)

4) Decide whether you are going to try to re-use inner skin, or whether you are going to lay an entire new inner skin. Either can work

5) Decide on core material (balsa or foam are common choices) and have proper thickness on hand. Given the curve I would go for the scored material

6) Bend core backwards (like a cut mango) and fill scores with thickened epoxy

7) Bond core to inside of outer skin with epoxy. Fair until level

8) Now you might have waited until cure to go on. If so, wash off amine blush with water and a 3M scrubbie, then sand and wipe

9) Use epoxy to bond inner skin to core, and/or lay up new skin. If new skin, run it over your "flaps" on the old inner skin so that you have at least an inch or more of overlap. If you are using the old skin, match it up so edges are flush

10) If new skin was laid up, fair it and go to step 14

11) If old skin was used, you now need to sand/prep the area for about 2" outside the cut lines on both sides. If you dish them, you will end up with flush surface; otherwise it will stand proud

12) Now lay on "tabbing" over cut line (you can use fiberglass tape to avoid hairy edges, although you will get a slight ridge if you did not dish the sides)

13) Fair as desired

14) wash amine blush off of whole thing, light sanding, wipe, then you can paint

Keep in mind that the bond between skin-core-skin is what keeps the door curved. It functions like an I-beam where the core serves to keep the skins separated, and that's what gives it the strength. Conversely, that's why a soggy door will sag; the skins have effectively de-bonded and there is no more "I beam."

Edit: Oops, I forgot to address #3, which is to keep future water out of the core.

I would do it like I do on boats, and, as a bonus, you will already have the materials to hand Basically, although you do use caulk or other material (such as butyl tape) to "bed" the hardware, you don't want to completely rely on that to keep water out of the door's core. I like to "close out" the core. There are a couple of options:

1) After you core the door, "reef out" the core for a half inch or so around the hardware/window openings, and then fill those areas with thickened epoxy (for screw holes you can just drill a larger hole, fill the whole thing, and then re-drill your new, smaller hole).

2) Lay those areas up with solid glass/epoxy as you re-core the door.

Now, you still bed your hardware in order to keep the water out of the inside of the trailer, but when it fails (and it will, they all do in time) all that happens is you see a bit of water coming into the trailer and you know it's time to re-bed the window, the door handle, or what have you. What you *don't* have is water silently and evilly seeping into your door core.

A side bonus is that you also get a firm annulus so that when you fasten your hardware to the door, there is no tendency for it to suck the skins together, promoting leaks.

Raya
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Old 03-05-2010, 05:17 PM   #9
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I went through this process on our Scamp a couple of summers ago. The "stuffing" was definitely not "coir". I think it was just heavy old fashioned chipboard.

The problem wasn't only the weight, but as it saturated it also 'grew' a little which made the door straighten out.

Getting the chipboard all out was impossible, however by using a pressure washer I got most of it.

Anyway, nice write-up.
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Old 07-16-2010, 02:26 PM   #10
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5) Decide on core material (balsa or foam are common choices) and have proper thickness on hand. Given the curve I would go for the scored material
Would expanding foam be suitable as a core material?

Kevin
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Old 07-17-2010, 12:15 PM   #11
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The following pictures - from the Scamp web site a few years ago - show how the doors are built at the factory.

-- Dan Meyer

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