Soft Shell - Fiberglass RV


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Old 01-17-2006, 09:31 AM   #1
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Last night when I was inspecting our roof vent I noticed that the Burro has a soft side. If you were standing inside, this would be the area above the sink and stove up in the upper cabinets. It looks as though the wood that is on the bottom of the shelf has been replaced. Should there also be some bracing in the cabinet that would support the outer shell. I was wondering if any of you with a Burro could let me know about your configuration. I would like to get it back to the original structure. Thanks Jason
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Old 01-17-2006, 10:11 AM   #2
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Jason:
Could you elaborate a little? The double-shell Burros have the shells joined together primarily along the roof ridgeline and the floor. Other places where they are joined together are when windows, door, etch attach to both.
If by "soft" you mean that the outer shell seems flexible and unattached in certain spots, it ocould be normal in that the outer shell is just floating outside the inner. (I'd like to know more about what you term "shelf" also). Burros forever!
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Old 01-17-2006, 10:15 AM   #3
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Hi Jason,

The two shells of the burro taper up toward the roof vent and meld into a single layer at just about that point. Having just taken the center strip out of mine, I was somewhat suprised to find this out. I had thought the shells were somewhat all encompassing on each other, but this is not the case.

There is a "gooshy" spot by my vent at that point too, because the center strip inside is the only thing holding the vent edge trim on there. It is not screwed into the glass. Can't really do that either as the glass is single layer there. Would make leaks akimbo!

I have no wood in my cabinets except for the doors. I am not sure what you are talking about on that.
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Old 01-17-2006, 11:27 AM   #4
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The area in the first picture. It is soft all the way down between the lower and upper bend. The other side is more rigid so I was wondering if this was a problem or if it was ok. The second picture shows the inside of of the cabinets. Thought there might be some bracing in here to stiffen the outer wall. Just got our first egg and its hopefully gonna fit in my garage for a semi restoration. Thanks for the replies..Jason
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Old 01-17-2006, 01:31 PM   #5
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The wood "floor" so to speak in your cabinets is an addition from a former owner no doubt. Mine is just the glass covered in reflectix.

The roof on mine in that spot is also a bit warbly.. I think that is normal considering the surface area that is not backed up by the form of the second shell.

I haven't looked, but I would imagine the Bolers, Scamps etc that are single hulled have thicker glass to make the rigidity.
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Old 01-17-2006, 01:47 PM   #6
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... I haven't looked, but I would imagine the Bolers, Scamps etc that are single hulled have thicker glass to make the rigidity.
My 1979 Boler B1700RGH - a large (both long and wide) but otherwise typical single-shell design - seems to have about 3 mm (1/8" ) of shell thickness where I have seen it at window and roof vent openings. How thick is a Burro's skin?
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Old 01-17-2006, 02:56 PM   #7
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The pictures help a lot: It is my hunch that if by "soft" you mean that the outer shell can be flexed somewhat it is likely normal and not a problem (mine has fully finished cabinets inside so I can't check from the inside, but several points on the outside panels can be flexed a fair amount from the outside).
I don't really think this is an issue, since all these panels work together to provide rigidity, and the bends contribute a lot to this. Try pushing from the outside on various places of the shell to get a baseline for what to expect and then push on the areas you have mentioned. I suspect you will find it to be within a reasonable tolerance.
If you find an area which is too thin for your comfort and accessible from the inside you could always paint it with resin, embed a fiberglass mat in it, smear some more resin on it, and it should gain more rigidity. I am considering this process to gain rigidity along the inside of the roof ridgeline on mine, but it hardly seems like it needs it desperately.
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Old 01-17-2006, 03:17 PM   #8
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The outer and inner shell of my Burro is about 3/32" thick (just shy of 1/8"). There is a lot of flexing on the straight sections of outer shell. The inner shell has many bending points which allows for strength. Notice the small horizontal shelf like area near front? It is too small for an actual shelf but the 90 degree bend in the fiberglass adds strength. Otherwise the inner shell would flex quite a bit in that area.

My cabinets have no bottom, just unfinished fiberglass. Stuff could actually fall between the shells because the outer shell flexes so much. So to combat that problem, I bought sheeted fiberglass and cut it to fit inside cabinets along top and bottom. In the spring I will be glassing these pieces together inside the cabinet to have the cabinets as separate little cabinets. Otherwise, I will undoubtedly lose one sock between the shells. Right now I can see from the kitchen cabinets, through the tall cabinet, into the cabinets over dinette/double bed.
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Old 01-17-2006, 05:44 PM   #9
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A little flexibility is mostly a good thing as it relieves stress. Where the latches are on the Burro cabinets I epoxy glued a strip of wood on the backside so when the latch closes or opens the wall of the cabinet does not flex too much.

As for the interior of all the cabinets, I use these lightweight plastic baskets that just fit into the cabinets. This way nothing will roll around and fall out or into the small areas. Also, they are easy to take out to clean.
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Old 01-17-2006, 06:59 PM   #10
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As many others have confirmed here what you are seeing is pretty normal for the Burro design. The wood in the cabinets was likely added by the previous owner as I've never seen anything other than bare fiberglass in most Burro's.

When I replaced out defunct 2-way fridge with a 3-way and a microwave in our lower cabinets I did build a wood framework into the lower cabinet area to handle the additional appliances, but normally reinforcement around the inner shell of the Burro (even around the cabinets) is pretty minimal.

- Michael
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Old 01-17-2006, 08:27 PM   #11
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Hi Folks
Thanks for your info. I took out the roof vent to get the Burro in garage today. Noticed the top was a bit wavy. My neighbor came over and was checking out the egg. He told me that his girlfriend works for a fiberglass boat shop. Goodbye dings and hairlines! I'll keep you posted.
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Old 01-18-2006, 01:59 PM   #12
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I wanted to reduce that flexibility in the upper cabinets when you open the doors and I also didn't like the chipped, ragged edge look with the original doors that came with my Burro. Instead of screwing hinges just through the fiberglass wall you might, as Gary suggests, add a strip of wood inside to screw through, and epoxy one in the latch area as well. Simple and perfect. I did similar work to reinforce from the inside of the fiberglass bench seats. Had to act. With those openings they just didn't seem strong enough to withstand my weight.

But with cabinet work I went a bit further and incorporated that wood "splint" into part of the new front instead, for a different look. Made rabbited door frames that nest inside the opening, thus simultaneously hiding those ragged fiberglass edges. Makes everything quite solid, but reduces the opening size.

For the floor of the cabinet I used a sheet of plastic, corregated sign material. Light, durable, washable. Or, find some 1/16" thick plywood.
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Old 01-19-2006, 08:29 PM   #13
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Speaking of Soft-Shelled Burros...
I discovered that on all three roof openings on our Burro, the vents and AC were screwed directly into the fiberglass without wood to back the screws or to frame the openings. Furthermore, no putty tape was used, only dabs of silicon on each screw. The flexing of the fiberglass over time has opened up the screw holes around the vents and so they now leak. Was it "standard practice" on Burros to attach vents, etc. directly to the fiberglass without wood backing and with dabs of silicon? Or was our Burro built on a Friday?

Thanks,
Steve
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Old 01-19-2006, 09:03 PM   #14
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Quote:
Speaking of Soft-Shelled Burros...
I discovered that on all three roof openings on our Burro, the vents and AC were screwed directly into the fiberglass without wood to back the screws or to frame the openings. Furthermore, no putty tape was used, only dabs of silicon on each screw. The flexing of the fiberglass over time has opened up the screw holes around the vents and so they now leak. Was it "standard practice" on Burros to attach vents, etc. directly to the fiberglass without wood backing and with dabs of silicon? Or was our Burro built on a Friday?

Thanks,
Steve
Vents, yes. My Burro vent was installed just by screwing direct into the fiberglass. A/C I wouldn't know as I've got one of the 80's models which I've never seen with a factory roof A/C.

In the case of the vent, just prior to having our Burro painted this year I pulled the vent, cleaned and rescreened it, then reinstalled it with stainless steel nuts/bolts as well as RTV sealent along the join. The nuts/bolts shouldn't ever rust or come loose and so far the vent has been as tight as drum, even when covered in melting snow.

- Michael
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