Removing 1982 Burro from trailer to replace floor - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-15-2003, 11:43 PM   #1
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Removing 1982 Burro from trailer to replace floor

Here's where we are at...
BACKGROUND (read post called "Big problems with 1982 Burro)
Using a Dremel tool with a cutting wheel we cut long strips of the floor's top layer of fiber glass, from behind dinette seats to periphery of shell. In doing so, we discovered that all the wood was wet pulp and could not be salvaged or reconditioned with hardners.

Our idea, based on a post, was to cut the wood away from the outer shell, leaving the shell intact on the trailer frame and removing the wood in pieces within the camper. With the Dremel, we cut through the fiberglass at the edge of the wood floor, trying to expose the "open space" between the outer shell and its fiber glass connection to the floor. In using this strategy we found that it worked okay in a small area where the edge of the wood was easily defined, but as we moved along, we found there were areas where the wood was not defined, because there was actually putty between the floor's edge and the outer shell. At this moment we saw DAYLIGHT (literally!).
This techniques might be workable in a small area, but we need to remove ALL of the wood and quickly realized that this strategy would not work (too many holes, etc.)

So, now we realize that we need to lift the shell off the trailer (did we really just say this?). We have read the threads on this, but need more specifics.
We are going to remove all the bolts connecting the shell to the trailer and use jacks and wooden supports on all 4 corners and slowly lift the shell up until we can slide the trailer out.

QUESTIONS
What is the best way to remove the floor from the shell as the outer shell wraps around the floor and is adhered to the underside?


Should we cut out as much of the wooden floor as possible before lifting it and then cut out the remaining wood around the periphery after it is jacked up?

Any suggestions about supporting the camper, while jacked up, with the floor removed?

Oh yeah, and when it is time to put it back together with a new floor, should we first attach the floor to the shell and then the shell to the trailer or should we attach the floor to the trailer and then lower the shell onto it? We assume that the new floor will have to be put in in pieces, especially since the outer shell wraps around the underside of the floor.

We are considering Rhino coating (used for truck beds) the new floor (top, bottom, and edges). We've seen some mention of this in older posts, does anybody have any additional experience with these types of coatings.

We look forward to your ideas and suggestions.

MartyG & KayG
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Old 08-16-2003, 07:46 AM   #2
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whoo-yee, what a job. I think this is the first Burro reflooring I've heard of. most of the others have been Bolers. if the floor is wrapped around, I would think the floor would go in after the frame. but then if you bolt through the floor? My Surfside is bolted through the floor, but also has fiberglass all around. taking off the frame would have no effect if I had to change the floor wood.

someone has the instructions for a kit Burro. they might have information you could use. They bought it put together, so no first hand experience. have you tried searching here for Burro stuff?
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Old 08-16-2003, 07:54 AM   #3
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My 81' Burro was a kit. The brochure shows they were really put together trailers that you finished yourself. The windows and shell were all attached to the frame.
I looked at the floor when I replaced the carpet and thank goodness it seems ok.
I couldn't really say tho how exactly it is put together.
I sort of had the thought that you pull the bolts and the floor came up with the shell, as they seem glassed together. But that may have been done after mating the shell and trailer.
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Old 08-16-2003, 11:05 AM   #4
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Floor repairs

It would be a good idea to bring the trailer to a boat repair person for an opinion, they do this work all the time and would probably be happy share a few ideas with you. I would love to offer an opinion or two but without seeing it first hand, it would not be fair.

I have done lots of this type of repair and can tell you that it looks tough, but once you dive in its not so bad. Good luck
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Old 08-16-2003, 04:22 PM   #5
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OK, I just had the opportunity to crawl under my Burro.
The floor sits on a two inch shelf at the bottom of the shell. So it is conceivable to rip out the rotton floor and section in a new floor then glass them together again while leaving the shell on the trailer. It looks like my floor may have been three or four sections. Getting around the inner walls could be a problem. They are screwed to the floor but glassed to the shell at the roof. Then again maybe you can just slide under the inner shells.
At any rate, I now feel that it would not be a total disaster if my floor rotted out, just an inconvienence.
Also maybe it would be a good time to think of some sort of shower pan with cover arrangment. Someone did that with an Aliner, I think it was on this board.
Go for it Martin, take lots of pictures and let us know.
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Old 08-18-2003, 06:55 PM   #6
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No hard experience ... but I've always thought Burros were actually two shells in one ... an inner shell contained within an outer shell ... all on a wood floor.

I know the newer ones were, but don't know about the older ones.

This could add a level of excitement when trying to lift the shell off the old floor.

Have faith, Marty.

We'll brainstorm it with you.
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Old 08-18-2003, 09:12 PM   #7
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Charles,
You're right about the inner shell. And the top of it is glassed to the outer shell, but the bottom of the inner shell appears to be screwed to the floor. Since to original floor seems to be in sections, I think one may be able to scootch a new section under the inner walls and slide it over to the lip on the outer shell. The floor is not one piece.
Just a guess from looking at it. Hope I never have to find out.

The outer shell is resting on the frame, It might work without lifting the shell at all.
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Old 08-18-2003, 09:35 PM   #8
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progress report

We've continued to remove sections of the Burro's floor finding more rotten wood, mold and mildew. It is actually starting to smell a whole lot better!
All screws holding the inner shell to the floor have been removed. All but a few of the bolt-headed screws holding the floor to the trailer have been "removed" as well-only 1 of these actually unscrewed, 50-60% of the heads cracked when attempting to turn them and the rest were so darn stuck despite all the digging, cutting and lubricating that we had to cut the floor out around them.
With gentle prying and cutting, using a chisel and a handled hacksaw blade, we were able to separate the outer shell's "lip" from it's attachment to the undersurface and edge of the floor. It appears that a "bondo" type of product was used to make the connection.
Tommorrow we hope to be able and lift the shell off the trailer, remove the rest of the wood and begin the new floor. Still undecided on whether to use regular exterior or marine plywood. We'll have to reassemble the floor in pieces fitting them to the contours of the outer shell using the old floor as a template where possible. These pieces will be fiberglassed together but we are still thinking of a "coating" ("RHINO" or a do-it-yourself version) on at least the undersurface for better waterproofing. Our helpfull next-door neighbor made a "bomb-proof" suggestion (knowing that we find these kinds of ideas irresistable!): a sheet of 1/4" aluminum on the undersurface of the floor! Anyone have any reactions to this concept?
Started taking pictures yesterday and will continue doing so but getting them on-line will take a while since we've never dabled in that before. (We're actually shooting old fashioned FILM and will need to get it digitized.)
Lets hope that there isn't TOO MUCH excitement lifting this Burro up. Even though it is double-shelled we're counting on the strong vertical seam and very gentle, slow and even jacking to maintain the integrity of the camper body on its short ride through space. Just keep your fingers crossed that there won't be any strong gusts of wind!
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Old 08-18-2003, 09:55 PM   #9
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To Lift or Not to Lift?

Just saw pjanits post in response to Charles.
You know- you are right-the outer shell sits on the trailer frame, the floor is in pieces anyway and, since I now have no screws holding my inner shell down, I believe that with some effort you could push new sections of the floor under the inner shell, why lift the body off the trailer? Well-our main reason is that we can't figure out how you would achieve tight connections, seal the undersurface of the floor and encase it in fiberglass (fabric and resin) if it is down on the trailer frame. If you have any ideas about this let me know! There's nothing I'd love to do more than return those 4 jacks I bought unused and in their original packaging!
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Old 08-19-2003, 04:55 AM   #10
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How about once you have the pieces cut , schmoozing them top and bottom with fiberglass resin before installing. Then once installed just glass the seams together? Also my floor doesn't have any fiberglass on it just the resin over the wood.
The 1/4 inch aluminum seems like overkill and maybe a little heavy. Probably 1/32 inch or thinner would do if you really think you need it. But my 81' has the original floor and the bottom looks ok still.
I am pretty sure you're rot came from the inside not the outside as any water on the bottom would just drain off.
I would also slop that lip on the bottom with something before sliding the floor over it. Come to think of it I would slop the frame also.
By the way, you should inspect the frame with a very strong light and look for any cracks. My frame was repaired sometime in its past. It had bent and broken right where the "A" part of the hitch joins the main frame. It was beefed up with 1/4 inch angle iron welded on.
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Old 08-19-2003, 07:01 AM   #11
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>>aluminum under floor

No! No! No!

Don't do it!

Don't put an aluminum panel against the under side of the new floor.

No matter how tightly you bond the aluminum against the floor, part will vibrate loose and trap moisture up against the wood floor, causing the new floor to start to decay even faster. The aluminum would reduce the air flow against the wood and not allow the wet floor bottom to dry!

Much better to have the bottom coated with resin, fiberglass and fiberglass cloth or like you say, rhino lining (from a gallon jug at a local auto parts store).
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Old 08-19-2003, 11:01 AM   #12
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Pete and Charles-Really appreciate your reply posts. Not having any experience with travel trailers we really didn't think about the long term effect vibration would have on the aluminum panels. Nertz to that idea. As the demolition continues today we'll keep in mind the piecing together concept,coating each section individually and then seaming them good and watertight-it could work.
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Old 08-19-2003, 04:04 PM   #13
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Too bad you're not in Illinois,
Charles and I could come over and help, help drink you're beer that is, while we watched you work.
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Old 08-20-2003, 06:24 PM   #14
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Pete- we'll keep a few cold ones ready for you and Charles. If there is one thing I really enjoy it's having a bunch of guys just sitting around drinking beer while I'm working!
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