How to Fix Fiberglass from the Front? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-08-2012, 12:36 PM   #1
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Name: Cindy
Trailer: 1978 13' Scamp
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How to Fix Fiberglass from the Front?

Hi All-
Tried to post on an older thread but didn't get enough info, so I'm posting to a new thread.

After a camping trip this weekend we will have 5 weeks to paint the outside and inside of the Scamp. We need to fix three problem areas where the fiberglass body was damaged. We will replace a rear area behind the bumper where we can access the fiberglass from the rear. But in two other areas, we can only repair from the front.

I'm attaching pictures to see what you best think we should do. We have watched many videos but they all repair damage from the back. We CANNOT repair from the back! Furthermore, must we apply gelcoat to these areas if we are planning to prime and paint the entire body anyway?

Basic step by step instructions would be most helpful of course!! Thank you for your time. -Cindy

This damage is just chipped away fiberglass:


This damage is an actual dent. I'm hoping not to have to cut away the material because we cannot repair from the back.
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Old 06-08-2012, 02:08 PM   #2
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I have never done this, but my neighbour who builds cargo trailers and small dump trucks in his back yard described this procedure to me. He also works with fiberglass. He picked up a small, old, fiberglass, class C motor home that had been run into a low bridge. When he was done, you could not see any evidence that it had been damaged at all.
Remove all damaged material. Leave no cracks.
Thin the shell around the hole gradually till you reach the inside surface. the hole should be framed by ~2-3" of feathered shell. If you could get to the inside, the inside surface would ideally also be feathered, but that is not an option in your case.
paint on resin to the feathered parts. Apply resin soaked fiberglass cloth accross the feathered parts, and the hole.
Sand it down till it is smooth.
If there are still low spots, then apply more resin soaked cloth, then sand. Repeat as required.
A good two part paint is essentially gel coat, so no under coat is required.
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Old 06-08-2012, 02:41 PM   #3
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I have glassed a kayak and had a similar repair done professionlly on my Casita. I think David's process is good.

I started using a polymer, I think, glass on my kayak. Could not sand worth a darn beacause it gummed up the sandpaper. It is suppisedly more flexible. Switched to System 3 and got an acceptible finish.

One big lesson learned is watch your temperature. If it is too cool the FB will not set properly.
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Old 06-08-2012, 02:45 PM   #4
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As David said, adding in ...
When you lay the fiberglass, start with a smaller piece over the hole gradualy increasing sizes as you near the outer surface. Remember your prep area will be tapered down to the damaged area.
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Old 06-08-2012, 03:02 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Tilston View Post
I have never done this, but my neighbour who builds cargo trailers and small dump trucks in his back yard described this procedure to me. He also works with fiberglass. He picked up a small, old, fiberglass, class C motor home that had been run into a low bridge. When he was done, you could not see any evidence that it had been damaged at all.
Remove all damaged material. Leave no cracks.
Thin the shell around the hole gradually till you reach the inside surface. the hole should be framed by ~2-3" of feathered shell. If you could get to the inside, the inside surface would ideally also be feathered, but that is not an option in your case.
paint on resin to the feathered parts. Apply resin soaked fiberglass cloth accross the feathered parts, and the hole.
Sand it down till it is smooth.
If there are still low spots, then apply more resin soaked cloth, then sand. Repeat as required.
A good two part paint is essentially gel coat, so no under coat is required.
I would use mat instead of cloth for easier finishing
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Old 06-08-2012, 03:47 PM   #6
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Mr. D White is correct. Mat is what I meant, just not what I typed.
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Old 06-08-2012, 05:52 PM   #7
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Cindy
I fixed multiple holes and cracks on my old Boler. I used woven mat rather than the non-woven (looks like a birds nest of short fiberglass strands all laid willy-nilly) because I thought that the woven would be stronger. You can get kits that contain all you need from home depot. (mat, resin and hardner) Just get rubber gloves and dollar store paint brushes. If it is hot out work in the shade. (heat makes the resin set up quickly) Sand the area so that the fiberglass bonds. Pre cut the mat to fit. Mix the resin. Paint it on the sanded area. Place the mat on the resin. Paint the mat with resin so that the whole mat is soaked. Wait 10 minutes for it to set up. May be less depending on tempurature. Sand smooth all drips and bumps. I used Bondo to smooth out the edges. Paint and you cannot tell. The body on my Boler had a 5" square hole for the furnace, a dinner plate size area that was cracked, cracks around the door and various cracks at the bottom. Now everyone says the body is excellent. (see my profile picture) sorry I did not take before pictures. This is easy work, but sticky. Don't forget to wear a mask when sanding. If you have specific questions - PM me.

Rick
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Old 06-08-2012, 07:13 PM   #8
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One tip - I use disposable Dixie cups to mix the resin and hardener. It makes it easier to mix the proper ratio and when it hardens, just toss.
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Old 06-08-2012, 07:35 PM   #9
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Margarine and yogurt containers work too.
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Old 06-08-2012, 07:54 PM   #10
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A bag if popcycle sticks works great for stirring. We used the cheap foam brushes for applying the epoxy
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Old 06-08-2012, 08:29 PM   #11
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You didn't show us any scale to indicate how big the damaged areas, but I have frequently just sealed and then covered minor damage areas with 3-4 inch round plastic vent covers. They always look like they belong where ever you put them, damage repairs don't always come out so well.
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Old 06-08-2012, 10:25 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Roy in TO View Post
Margarine and yogurt containers work too.
careful with that one, though! I had fiberglass dissolve\eat through a yogurt cup before.
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Old 06-09-2012, 12:08 AM   #13
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Ziploc containers:
Food - Non-Food - Containers - Organization - ZiplocŪ Brand Containers

When you are done, and dry -- squeeze the deform the plastic and the resin comes out entirely. Ready for the next mix.
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Old 06-09-2012, 07:31 AM   #14
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The rollers used to get rid of air bubbles and level your glass are a great help.
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