Rebuild--rear-ended Uhaul CT13 - Page 6 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-23-2015, 07:05 AM   #71
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Name: Gary
Trailer: UHaul CT13
Iowa
Posts: 226
I'm quite willing to let "fiberglass Dave" White retain any and all claims to fiberglass expert. His long post was a great encouragement to tackle all this before I ever began. It does get easier though, with practice... and while I'm still not all that fond of working with it, the practice is making me less and less reluctant. [returning to the patching of cracks now is going to seem very straight-forward]

I've changed my mind a couple of times on what to do to further finish off the exterior of the spare recess. Still kind of like the idea of a license plate mounting inside the spare itself..... or maybe a plain wheel cover with the license plate slightly recessed into it. [not sure a wheel cover would grip the "backside" of the steel rim properly] Or, just create a cover for the whole spare recess--that'd keep the sun & dust off things better, of course.

I'll wait, and mull that over, while I return to repairing cracks n breaks.
Gary
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Old 07-24-2015, 01:22 PM   #72
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Name: Gary
Trailer: UHaul CT13
Iowa
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Another day... a bunch more cracks/breaks mended. [Since this week was planned to be spent in CO, I'm relatively guilt-free working on the camper for much of the week. If not on vacation, at least doing vacation-oriented work!] Three pics attached:

[1] My Rube-Goldberg-style prepping. Lots of tape--stretched as it was stuck down, to help draw the pieces back together. And where the contours weren't right still, some boards clamped to the bumper bracket to hold wooden blocks in place to press the back-panel inwards a bit more.

[2] Before grinding the interior side of the breaks, I draped paint-prep plastic film to keep the fine f/g dust out of the front 1/2 of camper... and moved the battery box out of the way [but kept the wires connect in 2 groups as they were on the side of the box]... and wrapped the converter/controller in plastic. Then made the dust fly!

[3] And then applied f/g matte n resin to the left rear corner... 3-4 layers. This was the most-broken-up side of the damaged back-panel, so feels like distinct progress. Wrapped up before lunch... probably tackle the opposite side this afternoon............... Gary
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Old 07-26-2015, 06:27 AM   #73
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Name: Gary
Trailer: UHaul CT13
Iowa
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One more piece of the puzzle. Patched cracks/breaks on the other half of the back-panel Friday evening... still need to re-glue the center seam between window and spare tire recess, and a few other misc cracks, but almost done with the patching of the inside surface of the outside panel. Decided to use what little time I had Saturday to fabricate the hardware for securing the spare in the recess... the tire sits on the bottom of the recess, so just needs to be kept stable n secure [it isn't "suspended" by this bolt-thingamajob]. 4 Pics attached:

[1] Sawed head off metric bolt & brazed a pivot-rod to the end of the bolt, and then sandwiched this pivot-rod between 2 bits of scrap steel... the flat piece will glue to the inside face of the spare recess, with the bolt sticking through the f/g to the rear.

[2] Tack-welded the 2 plates together and glued the assembly to the f/g with automotive seam-sealant.

[3] Fitted the spare, and tightened up the spare with the hold-down disc from some old Toyota trunk-mount.

[4] Overall view of the trailer rear... spare firmly in place with 1.5" or so between it and the bumper... back panel "structurally sound" once again, though some ways from being pretty just yet.

All for now.............. Gary
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15-0725-04c.JPG   15-0725-04d.JPG  

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Old 08-13-2015, 01:52 PM   #74
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Name: Gary
Trailer: UHaul CT13
Iowa
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Brief detour from structural work to paint mixing. No formulas that I know of to match the color of gelcoat in U-Haul campers. So took a piece from the interior to a local paint supplier... had it scanned, which came up with a generic paint mix... saw a paint chip in their generic book which also looked close... had 8 ounces of each mixed in acrylic enamel. [much like the machinery enamel you might get at a tractor supply store]
Neither seemed close enough, but mixed equal parts together, and tried that yesterday... not bad!
Fairly inexpensive paint, at least by auto paint standards... ca $115/gal.
1st pic shows interior scrap clamped to scrap but from the back of my camper where the spare recess now is... the larger scrap was painted up to the edge of the factory vinyl. And then this morning I removed some of the vinyl and buffed the original gelcoat. Acceptably close for my purposes... if this helps anyone else trying to do some touch up, well, great.
Pics 2 & 3 are from the paint cans, showing color code from Dupont's Spectramaster catalog, and formulas for the sample 8 ounces. [note: formulas are "cumulative"]
For what it's worth...................... Gary
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15-0813-02b-2.jpg  
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Old 08-23-2015, 08:27 PM   #75
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Name: Gary
Trailer: UHaul CT13
Iowa
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10 days passed, time to get to repairing again...

This afternoon, decided to mend the broken-apart vertical seam between the spare tire recess and the bottom of the back glass. This had been glued together at the factory with some dusty-pink adhesive, and then lightly spanned on the inside with some fiberglass cloth/resin. In the accident, the glue cracked/sheared, and the light fiberglass band across it tore in half.

I ground out any torn-up bits of the fiberglass band, and ground out broken bits of the pinkish adhesive first. Cut strips of matte in widths from 1" to 4" wide. Then mixed resin & catalyst, and poured about 1 oz of it into a separate cup, and added the "grinding dust" back into it until it was fairly thick. Paddled this thickened goop into the crevice left from my earlier grinding until it was fairly level with the interior skin, and quickly added the 1" wide strip to it... followed by 2" & 3" & 4" strips of matte. Voila!... no more broken back-seam.

Enough "work" for a Sunday afternoon............ Gary
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Old 08-24-2015, 10:04 AM   #76
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Name: Dave
Trailer: Trails West Campster, CampStar, Uhaul, Fiberstream
Washington
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What I like about you and your project is your fearless attitude. You started out with the smaller stuff, learned from it and moved up to custom work. Fiberglass is a great medium and you have learned well. Congrats to you....Fiberglass Dave
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Old 08-24-2015, 12:45 PM   #77
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Name: Gary
Trailer: UHaul CT13
Iowa
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Dave,
Thanks so much for the kind words.... your own lengthy post on working with fiberglass was a great encouragement to me to go ahead and dive in.
Don't know as I'm "fearless" so much as blissfully ignorant and generally inventive........ so, I enter into something like this with some knowledge, thanks to folks like yourself, and then improvise/make-do as I go along. [Seems to work out okay most of the time.]
Gary
p.s. I guess having spent 40 years improvising and making-do has probably helped some, too.
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Old 08-24-2015, 07:46 PM   #78
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This repair is pretty awesome! In looking at the original wreck, it was hard to believe it could come back to life. A stick trailer would definitely have been totaled -- beyond repair. And yet, gain some fiberglassing skills coupled with Merkin ingenuity, and resurrection ensues.
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Old 08-25-2015, 07:15 AM   #79
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Name: Gary
Trailer: UHaul CT13
Iowa
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Thanks--encouraging words.

Probably a good summary, too...... gaining some fiberglass skills, through just studying a bit and then jumping in....... and then just problem-solving [good 'ol 'Merican ingenuity] as you go. Fiberglass work seems to respond to that approach pretty well--a fairly forgiving and learner-friendly medium compared to welding-and-metal-shaping, for instance.

Having worked in auto body shops for the last 20 years helped a lot, in hindsight, too..... in finding the nerve to jump in. So long as a vehicle has enough retail or sentimental value, it can be resurrected from a pretty hard hit and still be roadworthy & safe. So, I looked at this project through somewhat different eyes than a lot of folks would.

But even with that, the encouragement of folks on this forum and the U-Haul Facebook page has meant a lot........... Gary
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Old 08-25-2015, 11:39 AM   #80
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Name: RB
Trailer: 1992 Casita Spirit Deluxe
Virginia
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I learned how to do FG repairs on snowmobile engine cowls back in the '80s. I was a teenager with a shredded cowl after a belt explosion. Fixing it involved learning all the good stuff about layup and so on in combination with learning about skim coats of filler, scuff sanding, and glazing putty...

People came out of the woodwork when they found out I knew how to patch fiberglass. It kept me in summer fun money the rest of the way through high school. The dirty secret is that it's easier to work in than metal if you know what you're doing...
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Old 09-05-2015, 06:53 PM   #81
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Name: Gary
Trailer: UHaul CT13
Iowa
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RB,
Nice to have some history with fiberglass repair... sounds like you did well.

I managed to do some getting-ready work this afternoon. Labor Day weekend, after all, better get ready for some laboring:
[1] When the camper got hit from behind, the glue bond between inner and outer shells was broken all around the window opening, so I glued the two layers back together again today. I used a 3M product, like we use in auto repair... 2-part urethane glue... very viscous when mixed, so doesn't drool out of the joint and make a big mess... seems to stick well to anything & everything. Took about all the Visegrips I own.
[2] Then removed both the water reservoir and the power converter from under the back seat area. [took pictures of hoses & wires, and labeled each wire on the converter] Probably will replace the converter with a modern unit when I buy a new solar panel, but removed it carefully just the same. [maybe someone's "restoring" one and would like the old unit... it looks to be in sound condition]
[3] And then, just cleaned up and vacuumed some. Hope to spend some time later this weekend gluing in flanges to bridge the cut lines from when I removed the inner panel/portion. [that should make sense when I post some pics of it]

keepin' on........... Gary
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Old 09-06-2015, 07:36 PM   #82
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Name: Gary
Trailer: UHaul CT13
Iowa
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Another bit of work done this afternoon. Started to glue flanges on one half of the cut-line from removing part of the inner shell earlier. I figure to glue these all around the cut, and then when I set the inner shell pieces back in place, they'll rest on these flanges [and be glued to them].

I got a piece of 1/8" ABS plastic, and cut it into 2" wide strips... then cut them to length needed for different spots along the cut-line. Where there were right-angle corners, I clamped the strips to a piece of angle-iron and heated the corner with a heat gun until it softened... bent it around the angle-iron, and waited a bit for it to cool. ABS is thermo-set plastic, so once it cools in this new shape, it stays put. Then marked a center-line on the pieces and sprayed the ABS with a glue "prep"... softens the plastic surface a bit [or some such], so the glue sticks better.

The glue used is a 2-cartridge, mix-in-the-nozzle-tip thing, so not the best for the DIY-er without the applicator gun. [Sorry... I had the applicator gun already... just needed the right kind of adhesive for bonding to plastic & SMC etc] Similar glues are available online, which don't need special equipment to apply. After clamping up, peeling the tape off removed most of the glue that squeezed out.
As I go up the vertical part of the cut, I'll use short screws to hold the pieces together where there won't be room for clamping.

More news as it happens. Happy Labor Day........... Gary
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Old 09-06-2015, 07:55 PM   #83
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Name: Gary
Trailer: UHaul CT13
Iowa
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p.s. A quick look online for "2-part glue fiberglass repair" yielded a bunch of different products......... the link below had 2 or 3 different products which would probably work similarly to what I used, without the need of a dedicated applicator gun. Longer search would no doubt reveal other options.

Adhesives
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Old 09-08-2015, 07:37 AM   #84
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Name: Gary
Trailer: UHaul CT13
Iowa
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Last update for Labor Day weekend flurry:
Finished glue-ing in the flange pieces [line of screws you can see in pic below] without incident. Twisting & tugging on the glued-in strips didn't tear them loose, by the way.

By evening, did initial fitting of 2 pieces of inner shell removed long ago. Almost finished trimming and fussing with fit when it was time to quit for the day. Some idea at last of just how much the spare "recess" intrudes on the sleeping space... once mattress is fitted, with foam pad on top of it, the bump shouldn't stick up much, though obviously it will be a hard spot compared to the mattress surrounding it. It'll be on "my side" of the sleeping platform, so that minimizes potential woes... if it's an occasional nuisance, it's one I created, and I'll live with it. [The wife & I are medium-sized people... I think this is still going to be a huge step up from sleeping on an air mattress in a smallish tent.]

Once I finished trimming & fussing with fiberglass edges where they meet the spare recess, I think I'll put off gluing the shell pieces in and do some insulating with 1/4 polystyrene and/or Reflectix first... maybe pull some new wiring etc while that back end's opened up still. [I say maybe because the psychological benefit of gluing the pieces in may out-weigh the practicality of doing the the additional work to wiring & insulation now.]

All for now................. Gary
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