Holes in trailer from Daytona tunnel - Fiberglass RV


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Old 03-12-2006, 12:53 PM   #1
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Had the awning ties ripped out plus I want to redo the top seam. Any idea best way to fix the holes(JB Weld?) and the seam? Thanks




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Old 03-13-2006, 08:36 AM   #2
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What type of trailer do you have? I assume it's molded fiberglass. Speaking of center seam, is it a Burro or UHaul?

If it is molded fiberglass then you have a couple of options depending on how you are going to finish it. You'll get many, many different opinions so I'll through out a couple.

If you're going to paint it, then it's not quite as critical as to what you use (as long as it bonds to fiberglass). Marine Tex is a good product for small holes, but it's epoxy and it says on the pkg that it will accept paint, but not gel coat. I chose to use mesh (and fibers) to repair my holes so that I could spray the repaired area with a finished gel coat.

If you have a large opening ( I'm having a hard time seeing what size space you are talking about), then my personal preference would be reinforced fiberglass.

A few more specifics would be helpful.

As I said, you'll get a bunch of different ideas on what we each prefer. Some of us have gone through trial and error and use what works best for us.
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Old 03-14-2006, 12:03 PM   #3
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Ummm I think that may look like a stick-built trailer with fiberglass endcaps, or something similar? That appears to be the top seam between the end cap and the roof perhaps? Does that appear to be bright aluminum showing through where the awning pulled out? That seem appears to run from side to side near the front (or back) of the trailer...

Depending on your answers, this trailer may be a horse of a different color!

Help us out here... what brand trailer is this really? Can you provide over-all type photos rather than just the close ups?

Roger
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Old 03-14-2006, 03:35 PM   #4
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It was a homemade trailer. The holes are about 2 inches across. The endcap is fiberglass the rest is aluminum. I was going to bondo the holes. The endcap seam is the unsightly part. i will paint the top when I am done.

You ask and you shall see.

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Old 03-14-2006, 03:47 PM   #5
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Rather than bondo, you're probably better off using an aluminum patch riveted over the holes. That gap between the fiberglass endcap and the aluminum roof is going to be tough. It looks like the aluminum has been dented or deformed in that area. Short of cleaning all the old goop off and layering glass over the aluminum, I don't really have any bright suggestions for you on those seams...

Perhaps someone else can give you a better suggestion. Good luck!

Roger
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Old 03-14-2006, 04:03 PM   #6
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I would think the rivet patch would look bad, thats why I was thinking bondo.
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Old 03-14-2006, 04:51 PM   #7
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Yep, it'll not look like a million bucks any more, but the patch will expand and shrink with the aluminum under it, and if you use the right sealant, it still won't leak. Bondo won't, which will lead to it cracking and falling out, and leaking. Aluminum expands and contracts a lot more than steel does.

Is this a camper or cargo trailer? It doesn't have any windows!


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Old 03-14-2006, 08:22 PM   #8
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Cargo trailer, I didnt think about the expanding part, how about JB weld? Plus I live in Fl so it will get pretty hot up there.
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Old 03-16-2006, 07:24 AM   #9
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I'd use Marine epoxy as Suz mentioned. It's paintable and it's sandable and used on fiberglass boats too. I don't have the packaging information anymore, but you should read the package to find out about any limitations regarding temperture. Marine expoxy is easy to work with...and as much a fan as I am of JB Weld, I think the epoxy would work much better for this application.

Gad, don't use Bondo! Roger is dead on with his explanation. Bondo doesn't work at all well when "stretched" across different materials
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Old 03-16-2006, 01:48 PM   #10
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If you can get behind the crack in the fiberglass nose piece, you can probably restore that part pretty well. First, you need to be able to grind out an area all around the crack from the back side through any paint or insulation. Say 6" minimum all around. Bridge the cracked area with three or four layers of cloth or matt and resin. Once that's set up, you can grind out the crack from the outside. Assuming everything is dry, I'd try to seal the ragged ground edge of the crack with resin. Once everything is cured any body filler will do fine. Use primer and a finish filler like "Green Stuff" if you want a nice job. I'm assuming you don't want to fiddle with gel coat so you'll need to finish off with paint. You would need to do this to any other area where the fiberglass has been cracked.



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Not sure what's going on with the puttied areas across the top. If there is an overlap between the sheetmetal and the fiberglass end cap, these two might be riveted together to close up what looks like a major gap. That could be a problem area, closing up that gap. After that, consider removing all the "goop" and run a nice clean bead of butyl caulk along that joint. Be careful with this stuff. It is tenacious and sticks to anything, especially your finger if you try to smooth a sloppy job. Then you have stuff stringing all over .... well, try it, you'll get my drift.



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This area is the one that's tricky and I've got to go with Donna and Roger here. Added to everything said is the structural flexing across the damaged area. Bondo has practially no mechanical strength, JB Weld is better but this is a flex area. There's pretty much no way to avoid using rivets here. If you're willing to go to some trouble, this variation on Roger's idea should achieve what you want.

First cut off any crimped or bent edges around the hole. Find a decent thickness of sheet aluminum that is as thick or slightly thicker than the rest of the trailer. Flashing, as found in the hardware store isn't thick enough. If you can't buy a scrap from a local fabricator, try an aluminum cookie sheet. Form it as accurately as possible to the curve, from the inside, and an inch or so larger than than the hole. Clean the inside skin all around the hole a couple of inches. Now, (don't laugh), use some J-B Weld to glue this patch over the hole from the inside. Let it set up for a few hours while you go back to the hardware store.

Nowadays, when we say "rivet", we mostly think of pop rivets. When my Dad said rivet, he meant a small little aluminum or brass gizmo that looked like a flathead screw without a slot or threads. Find some aluminum ones, 1/8" shank size. If you've done a good job in forming the patch to the curve, 3/16" long should be enough. Get a countersink, the flatter the angle, the better. From the outside, drill 1/8" holes 1/2" apart all around the perimeter of the hole. The J-B holds everything in place and bridges any small gaps between the patch and the skin. Next, carefully countersink each hole from the outside just barely so the taper goes through the skin, not the patch. Have a helper go inside, de-burr a hole, stick a rivet through, then hold a hammer to the back of the rivet. Now, using a small hammer from the outside, gently tap the end of the rivet flat into the counter sunk hole. (Think "Airstream") It probably won't go perfectly flush. If not, you can partially level it off later with a file and sandpaper then feather your filler out a ways to blend it in. Don't worry about pretty, just be throrough. Do this for every hole. When done, you'll have a patch that's secured well mechanically to the skin and as near to flush as it's possible to get. Now you can level out the hole with body filler, sand smooth, finish off, etc. etc.

(I just reread Donna's post. I haven't any experience with marine epoxy but it sounds like as good or better than J-B. Give that a try if you don't have J-B.)

All of the repairs, above, are using well supported materials with the same expansion properties as the base material.

Best of luck!
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Old 03-16-2006, 09:08 PM   #11
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FWIW -- Last summer I removed the water tank and needed to patch the fill hole near the rear of the coach. I had an old fiberglass patch kit with cloth, resin and hardener. However, the resin had already hardened.

So as an experiment, I used polyurethane glue (Gorilla glue) as a substitute. I just pasted a light coating on the cloth and stuck the sticky cloth over the hole from the inside and stretched it taut. After setting up overnight it was ready for Bondo, which I applied both inside and outside. After this was set up I did the ususal sanding and painting.

This seemed to work just fine, not really any different than the resin supplied with the patch kit. I would not recommend this for every application at this point, but I would do it again.
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Old 03-16-2006, 09:14 PM   #12
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Since the damage is limited to the fiberglass, why not look at a replacement panel from the manu of the trailer? Or are they that much????
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Old 03-18-2006, 08:25 AM   #13
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The holes are over the frame brace. Next to impossible to do any real work from the inside.
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Old 03-18-2006, 08:39 AM   #14
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A product we use on ships and sea going tugs is Spash Zone, by the company that makes Z spar paints, < the finest oil base marine enamel paint made> Any way it is not cheap but it really works, comes in two cans of one part is yellow the other black equal parts mixed in a bucket of water by hand, made for repairs under water. It is a standard Item in any vessels DC damage control kit. dries in about 20 minutes , sandable, paintable. Flexable. easy to shape and you use water to smooth it. Have used it many times Great fix
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