Gypsy - How to dry out Aluminum sandwich? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 05-01-2011, 06:40 AM   #1
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Gypsy - How to dry out Aluminum sandwich?

I just purchased a 1988 Gypsy, which is a vintage lightweight using aluminum instead of fiberglass! (1,800 lbs for 18 footer)

It uses a thin aluminum skin on BOTH sides of a thin wood fiber "sandwich".

The problem I have encountered is how to dry out moisture that becomes trapped in the wood fiber between the two layers of aluminum.
I noticed that the baggage bin doors seemed a little heavier than I expected, and upon further investigation found when squeezed that water would oozze out! I think the doors are a little more vulnerable to this problem since they don't have tightly sealed edges, but I fear that the problem may exist in other areas.

My current impulse is to drill a few "air holes" at the top and bottom of the inside aluminum layer and hope that a few hot days may move the moisture out.

Alternatively, I wonder if there are any "water based" resins that I could somehow imbed in the wood fiber, which would help keep new moisture out.

Lastly, I may need to somehow force some warm air into the gap between the aluminum skin and the wood fiber. Any ideas on to force warm air into a small tube?

Any thoughts or experiences are most welcome.
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Old 05-01-2011, 07:17 AM   #2
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Perhaps you would have better luck asking your question on a forum of aluminum owners rather than fiberglass rv owners.
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Old 05-01-2011, 07:22 AM   #3
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Hi Barrie. Yes, it occurs to me that this is not the ideal forum, but I have a fiberglass Triple E Surfside as well, and have found this forum to be a great resource for "vintage" campers.
Do you happen to know of any good alternate forums that might be more appropriate?
PS: Are you going to the Maritime Fiberglass meet this year (in PEI).
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Old 05-01-2011, 07:34 AM   #4
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Hi Rob,
No idea where to go for help; sorry.
I am thinking about the PEI meet but by the time I pay for both the bridge and the KOA campground fee it's going to be a more expensive weekend than I want to spend; I enjoyed our meet last year at Murray Beach.
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Old 05-01-2011, 07:41 AM   #5
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I would first try to figure how the moisture got there to begin with. To dry it out, low heat and low humidity. Something small I'd put in the oven on minimal heat. For the whole trailer, a body shop with a drying oven? Actually it could be an excellent reason to visit the desert south west. I don't think adding holes is the answer. Raz
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Old 05-01-2011, 07:52 AM   #6
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I completely agree with Barrie. You'll receive more expert opinions on a forum dedicated to sticky-type trailers. This particular topic forum on FiberglassRV is:

Problem Solving -- Owners Helping Owners
Share your problems, concerns, fixes of Molded Fiberglass Trailers
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Old 05-01-2011, 06:04 PM   #7
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My stick built Lance had 3 holes on the bottom of each baggage door and the main door for the exact issue you have, water seepage will build up unless you have drain holes.
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Old 05-01-2011, 06:56 PM   #8
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I really cant offer any advice for your problem but here is a link to another RV site that I have found very helpful with my aluminum campers in the past.
RV.Net RV and Camping Forum ? RV, Trailer, Camper, Motorhome, Camping and Campground Information
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Old 05-01-2011, 08:06 PM   #9
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Cool Wood aluminum sandwich

What type of wood? I seem to recall a aluminum balsa wood sandwich. Could your wood be balsa?

Before I would start drilling holes, remember the sailor who drilled a hole in the bottom of his boat so that the water would run out.

I would try placing the panel in a small room with a dehumidifier and hope for the best. It might take weeks for the moisture to get out. Possibly placing a heat lamp to shine on the flat side or even in the sunshine on a warm, dry day.

If and when you get the wood dried out, then is the time to seal the living daylights out of that sucker.
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Old 05-01-2011, 08:23 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob vanNostrand View Post
I just purchased a 1988 Gypsy, which is a vintage lightweight using aluminum instead of fiberglass! (1,800 lbs for 18 footer)

It uses a thin aluminum skin on BOTH sides of a thin wood fiber "sandwich".

The problem I have encountered is how to dry out moisture that becomes trapped in the wood fiber between the two layers of aluminum.
I noticed that the baggage bin doors seemed a little heavier than I expected, and upon further investigation found when squeezed that water would oozze out! I think the doors are a little more vulnerable to this problem since they don't have tightly sealed edges, but I fear that the problem may exist in other areas.

My current impulse is to drill a few "air holes" at the top and bottom of the inside aluminum layer and hope that a few hot days may move the moisture out.

Alternatively, I wonder if there are any "water based" resins that I could somehow imbed in the wood fiber, which would help keep new moisture out.

Lastly, I may need to somehow force some warm air into the gap between the aluminum skin and the wood fiber. Any ideas on to force warm air into a small tube?

Any thoughts or experiences are most welcome.
Air conditioners are good dehumidifiers, run the air for an extended time,
get it inside if possible and run a dehumidifier.
take a trip to Tucson for a couple of weeks
If it is just the baggage door(s), you might consider removal and disassembly.
heat gun on low(with or without a concentrator), heat lamp at safe distance. How about adapting the appropriate sized copper tubing to a concentrator like a metal funnel
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Old 05-01-2011, 08:31 PM   #11
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and once it's dried out. I'd try to fill any voids or access points with some kind of injectable epoxy so it won't be rotting any further. Maybe check with a marine blog/site. seems to me there are boats made this way?

there's my 2cents

Quote:
Originally Posted by P. Raz View Post
I would first try to figure how the moisture got there to begin with. To dry it out, low heat and low humidity. Something small I'd put in the oven on minimal heat. For the whole trailer, a body shop with a drying oven? Actually it could be an excellent reason to visit the desert south west. I don't think adding holes is the answer. Raz
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Old 05-01-2011, 09:38 PM   #12
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Do you know if the wood on the inside between the two skins is a laminate or a solid? There is always the concern when working with wood that has gotten wet that if one side dries quicker than the other it will contract more on that side and warp. Were that to happen, it could possibly pull something (like a door or hatch cover) out of line where it would no longer fit. A laminate (like plywood) probably has a slightly less chance of warping.

I agree that weep holes at the bottom only of the panels are probably a good idea as long as the area directly under them has no possibility of pooling water that could be re-introduced into the panel by capillary action.
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Old 05-01-2011, 11:21 PM   #13
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Cool

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob vanNostrand View Post
It uses a thin aluminum skin on BOTH sides of a thin wood fiber "sandwich".

The problem I have encountered is how to dry out moisture that becomes trapped in the wood fiber between the two layers of aluminum.
I noticed that the baggage bin doors seemed a little heavier than I expected, and upon further investigation found when squeezed that water would oozze out! I think the doors are a little more vulnerable to this problem since they don't have tightly sealed edges, but I fear that the problem may exist in other areas.
That sounds like the way my baggage door is constructed.
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I had that problem too. I had to disassemble the door panel by drilling out the corner rivets and slide the edges apart from their corner brackets (they are built the same way that an aluminum screen frame is built) then I had to discard the soaked filler material and replace it with 2 thin layers of a plastic sheet product that signs are made of. (I forget where I acquired this) and reassemble the door panel and reinstall it in the baggage opening.

I would do this for a door, but not a whole trailer.
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Old 05-05-2011, 07:02 AM   #14
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Ask the local autobody shop if you can borrow their painting stall/oven. If you cant dry it.Sell it and buy a fiberglass rv... lol
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