Roof crack - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-20-2016, 10:39 AM   #1
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Roof crack

This trailer is new to me and the PO had repaired this crack. Before my first trip, I sanded and repainted the trailer. After we returned, this is what appeared. Any suggestions as to why this might be happening?
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Old 08-20-2016, 10:46 AM   #2
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Hard to say but I would check the frame and the floor for separation or cracks.
Also ... maybe install a cabinet across that end of the trailer to act as a reinforcement?
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Old 08-20-2016, 10:57 AM   #3
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What did the PO do to "fix" the crack? A simple fill job or an actual fix? You might try Capt. Tolley's Creeping Crack Cure Leave the crack exposed and keep an eye on it for a few (X).
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Old 08-20-2016, 11:31 AM   #4
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If a crack repair is not properly done they will show up after a paint job. The quick fix done by auto repair shops of slappng Bondo on such a large crack will never be adequate for as deep of a crack as your photo is showing. What you are seeing is what will always happen with the wrong approach to the repair.

West Systems Epoxy company has produced a pdf document with the instructions in it for fixing your crack. http://www.westsystem.com/ss/assets/...aintenance.pdf Go to chapter 2. Be sure to look at the illustration where they show modifying an inexpensive can opener to slightly widen the crack and then pay attention what they say to use for filling the crack. You don't have to use that brand of epoxy but you should not try to use Bondo filler for the job, not even the type with fiberglass in it as it does not have as much strength as epoxy does. Use epoxy and follow the instructions in the manual.

Do not just slap some Captain Tolley's in that crack, you need to do the job the right way. Captain Tolley's is a very good product but it is not good enough for this situation. It is meant for filling hairline cracks, it is not for structural repair. If you put it in the crack now that means it is going to be in the way of the epoxy bonding to the fiberglass shell and that means your repair will be substantially weaker than doing it the right way.

Do note that crack might actually go all the way through the shell and if it does you should be putting a layer of fiberglass cloth over the area from inside of the shell so that the area is properly reinforced. A long crack in a complex area that goes through the shell is indicating that area is very much in need of extra strength. In that case a filler that only goes on the thin edges of a crack is not a sufficient repair as there will still be too much stress on the thin shell and the crack will reopen once again. What will be needed for that fix is those extra layers of fiberglass on the inside of the shell so that the thickness is built up to be sufficiently strong for the stress placed on it.

http://www.westsystem.com/ss/assets/...aintenance.pdf
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Old 08-20-2016, 11:49 AM   #5
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Thanks all - i will use glass and resin to repair it. PO used Bondo. What is surprising is why it just showed up now as PO had repaired it some time ago and the trailer was likely used after that. I will also be adding a rear shelf so will consider some additional support at that time. Frame and floor are both in good shape.
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Old 08-20-2016, 04:29 PM   #6
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As to why it suddenly opened up? It looks to me as if you might have leaned against the roof while doing the sanding, painting or while installing the solar panel. That little bit of extra weight on the roof would have been enough to separate the Bondo filler from the cracked edges. It was already in a fragile state of repair so it was not something you could have avoided causing since you did not know it was repaired in that area. But at least it does graphically illustrate why Bondo is not a good crack filler so maybe that will save others from the error of using it for such a repair.
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Old 08-20-2016, 07:25 PM   #7
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A crack in fibreglass is caused by stress, you cannot permanently repair a crack if you do not first repair the source of the stress that caused it. The stress could have been caused by an impact from a falling tree branch in which case the stress was external and no further an issue, fixing the fibreglass will repair the problem,. It could also be caused by a broken or twisted frame could have caused it which if that is not repaired the crack will continue to reappear. There are many reasons that could stress the fibreglass, you need to find the root cause, just don't fix the fibreglass which is the result of the stress.
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Old 08-21-2016, 05:18 AM   #8
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A crack in fibreglass is caused by stress, you cannot permanently repair a crack if you do not first repair the source of the stress that caused it. ...
I have to wonder of the solar panel has anything to do with it. Either the weight of the panel on the road, or the process of installation, or even the mounting method, etc..
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Old 08-22-2016, 02:06 AM   #9
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If I had to take a guess at the cause I would say it was because someone got up on that roof either to sit up there for the fun of it or to crawl on it to fix something. You see people doing all kinds of dumb stuff such as using the tops of lightweight trailers as a scaffold platform.
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Old 08-23-2016, 07:03 AM   #10
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Here's an update. I would say from the size of the damage, that the roof was hit or stepped on, as suggested. I've now repaired it with resin and glass (x3). Should be good to go.
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Old 08-23-2016, 08:50 AM   #11
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Here's an update. I would say from the size of the damage, that the roof was hit or stepped on, as suggested. I've now repaired it with resin and glass (x3). Should be good to go.
Excellent job here and the way to do it for a long lasting repair. Everyone should take note and learn from you.
Fiberglass Dave
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