Need advice on a few repairs to my beautiful "new" Casita - Fiberglass RV


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Old 03-05-2016, 01:11 AM   #1
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Indiana Lynn's Avatar
 
Name: Lynn
Trailer: Casita Spirit 16'
Indiana
Posts: 154
Lightbulb Need advice on a few repairs to my beautiful "new" Casita

I am a happy camper to have purchased a 1999 Casita Spirit16'. I need advice on how to re-attach the white rubber molding around the door opening. It is loose on the upper right corner only. It does not seem that the molding would stretch to fit the opening anymore. I am afraid to try to pull it tight for fear of it ripping. And I don't know what adhesive I should use. Any suggestions?

The door looks to close pretty tight, seems to seal, and does not leak. I towed it home in the rain and it was not wet inside. I see no water damage anywhere around the door area. Don't want there to be. This FGRV is in almost perfect condition and I want to keep it that way. It has always been parked inside when not recreating and I will too. Right now nothing leaks and none of the black window seals seem dried out like the door seal molding. Top hatch molding was replaced recently when Fantastic Fan was added.

I am attaching photos of the door latch plate too. It is worn in the center where the striker bar hits. The result is that the door does not latch as tight as it should. PO said he was going to screw a little plate of metal onto the existing latch plate - to make up for the metal that has worn off. Maybe I just need another latch entirely because I have another issue. I bought this Casita to take my late brother's daughters camping and the 8 yr-old one is autistic. I need to be able to lock the door from the inside and it does not now. Before you call CPS, consider the alternatives: a) Logan wandering the campground alone at night, or b) me tying her in her bunk. Where can I get a door latch with a combination on the inside and where is the best kind of place to get this kind of work done near Indianapolis? Mt. Comfort RV is near but I bet they charge the big bucks to work on units they don't sell.

Speaking of bunks, one hinge on the upper side bunk is loose. (Yes, I have front and side bunks! Can sleep me and all 3 little girls without giving up the dinette.) As u raise and lower the side bunk only (see photo with blue tweed fabric,) one end of 1 hinge slips 1/8 in or so. It is the one that has a heavy metal fall guard that flips up and chains to the wooden side supports. Should I worry about this?

While I have u on the line, I broke the thin fiberglass door that the electric cord comes through as it exits the side of the trailer. It opens with a key and then there is a small hole that the cord comes through. It ripped from that hole to the bottom of the little door. (Yes, on my test camp the night after I brought it home, I pulled the cord out a little AFTER putting it in the little hole in the door.) A very jagged tear - see painful photo. A piece came all the way off. What is the best substance to try to glue that little trap door back together? I know it will be fragile but it will look better. Next time I will pull the cord ALL the way out before putting it in the hole. I just need a temporary fix because I intend to replace that trap door with a permanent exterior plug and a cord that detaches entirely. I don't bugs or vermin entering until then tho so I want a temporary solution other than the steel wool in the photo.

The only other problem I see is some slight cracking at the corners right above the belly band and on the front window shield (the only thing the prior owner did not wax and buff.) The 4 photos below are each of the 4 corners. I am including other photos in case any of you experienced FGRVers spot something else I need to pay attention to.

Hopefully some of u have advice. Explain things in layman's terms as much as possible please! My first trip with the girls is 3/23-26, so please tell me what is really important to do before then, and what can wait till after.

Thanks, Lynn
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Old 03-05-2016, 03:33 AM   #2
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Name: Dave
Trailer: Casita SD17 2006
California
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Hi Lynn, think the door molding has just shrunk over time, (some of the window rubber does the same thing in the corners). Not sure but the ones I've had on SOB trailers were just a crimp/push on fit. You may just find an end, pull it off and work it back in place and add a piece as a filler if you don't want to replace the whole thing. It should be just a cover for a finished edge for looks. As you're going to change out the electrical door later, how about just using duct tape for the time being....only on and to the frame so there is no tape residue on the shell. I replaced the plastic door on mine with a little larger one as it made winding up the cord easier and I also keep adapter ends and such in there too. I know a lot of folks replace the plastic door with a plug type connection for bugs and more inside storage but now where do you store the cord? It's going to take up space some place and on my Casita I'd have to cut in an inside hatch door to gain that little bit of storage. Just not worth it to me but YMMV on that. If you look at some of the posts of that mod you'll see that they also had to make up a faceplate to cover the big opening as the plug connection is a lot smaller than the door. Can't help you with the gelcoat cracks, they just happen and are not a structural problem, just visual . No idea on the door lock and no call to the CPS from me. I applaud your determination and love to the kids. Hope someone can help you out with a lock fix.
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Old 03-05-2016, 05:21 AM   #3
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Name: Jack L
Trailer: Bigfoot B-17 CB
Washington
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I can help with some of your issues. Like Borrego Dave stated, the trim around the door has shrunk. Heating it with a hair dryer (wait for a hot day) will allow you to stretch the plastic and some adhesive could be added if necessary. Goop brand is a good product or 3M makes some great adhesives they sell thru auto body supply places. They are expensive but work well. Adhesive may not be necessary so try just stretching it first.


The power cord door can be purchased at many RV supply places. Amazon lists it for $26.17 JR Products E7132A. You would also need some butyl tape for this job. Eliminating this door and going with a 30 amp twist lock would require a new cord or cord end and some sore of conversion hardware. Again Amazon lists one kit for $89.66 Marinco 30ARVKIT. There are other options (cheaper) but Marinco is very good quality. Some electrical skills would be necessary if your DIY skills are not up to the task. I have the same set up on my Bigfoot as you have presently and if I was changing to the set up you describe I would figure on spending at least $150 for the parts. Some sort of adaptor plate would have to be obtained also. You could replace the door several times for the cost of the conversion.


The hairline cracks in the photo are cosmetic gelcoat cracks. This is NOT a structural issue. Grinding them out and filling them with gelcoat and matching color is possible but it is "beyond my pay grade" so I would forget about this and spend the time you saved having fun camping.
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Old 03-05-2016, 12:01 PM   #4
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Name: Jennifer
Trailer: Burro
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crack cure

As some have mentioned in other forums, I'm going to try Captain Tolley's Crack Cure for the cosmetic cracks, to keep water from settling in them, freezing, and making them worse over time. I have kept my trailer outside this winter, and mold even grew in some of those spiderweb cracks, so i know water is staying there.
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Old 03-06-2016, 03:02 AM   #5
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Name: Lynn
Trailer: Casita Spirit 16'
Indiana
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Great advice so far. Glad to hear this door seal is probably cosmetic. If it doesnt stretch with heat, I will cut and put in a new section and glue with bondo.

I think I want the extetnal plug. Since we have no heater and just an icebox, there are no other orrifices. Propane stove vent has an external vent but it closes all rhe way and latches. I like the idea of keeping out all critters. Plus, I can not trust Logan not to pull or trip on the cord from the camper to the electeic pole so, if I repair or replace, it could just get ripped off again. I will use duct tape on the back for now.

What do people hear about the bunks holding kids beyond 75 lbs? Anyone worried about that one giggley hinge on the top bunk?

So, any ideas on how to lock us in at night?

So fun to see people I have been reading for years like Borrego Dave and Jack L commenting on my posts!
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Old 03-06-2016, 04:22 AM   #6
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Name: Dave
Trailer: Casita SD17 2006
California
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Lynn, I've been thinking of the door lock issue. Not sure how tall the 8 year old is but you may consider installing an inside slider type "lock" on the upper edge of the door. Kind of like you would see in a commercial porta potty. Not that it would have to lock per se, but something that's out of hands reach for the young ones and would keep them from opening it. One thing that you need to remember is not making a lock that can't be unlocked quickly if you all have to get out fast. I can see some options in my mind but they would all would require drilling at least one hole in the shell. That's something I would do and have done without a seconds thought to a leak. Same goes for your bunk question. I have never seen the bunk connection you have in person but if the hanger you're asking about is on the wall....a small machine screw and a snap cap would tighten it up. Nobody's ever noticed the few extras I have on my Casita .
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Old 03-06-2016, 06:28 AM   #7
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Name: Jack L
Trailer: Bigfoot B-17 CB
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I would also want a lock that could be opened quickly in case of an emergency.


How about a loud audible alarm if the door is opened? I've seen advertisements for these for people who stay in motels or hotels so they are easily portable and batteries are self contained.
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Old 03-06-2016, 06:50 AM   #8
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Name: Jack L
Trailer: Bigfoot B-17 CB
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jwjenn View Post
As some have mentioned in other forums, I'm going to try Captain Tolley's Crack Cure for the cosmetic cracks, to keep water from settling in them, freezing, and making them worse over time. I have kept my trailer outside this winter, and mold even grew in some of those spiderweb cracks, so i know water is staying there.
I've had spider web cracks in the roof of my Bigfoot for 4 years and have had no noticeable change. Also had them on the deck of a boat with same experience. Both surfaces were relatively flat and horizontal surfaces so they stayed wet longer. They did bother me, but I never tried to fix them and they never changed.

If you us Captain Tolley's be absolutely certain you have no moisture it the area of the repair. If you seal moisture in between the fiberglass and gel coat you will have other issues.

I've never used any Captain Tolley's products but they have been around for years and do have a good reputation.
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