Spongy Floor :-( - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-13-2015, 03:11 PM   #1
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Spongy Floor :-(

I'm getting my '82 Burro ready for some fun...the electrician comes on Monday so I've cleared out everything I can, including the bed which I keep as a permanent fixture with storage under.
From the title, you already know what I stepped on. Spongy floor. It appears that under the top layer of of rotten wood is another which is coated in a layer of fiberglass top and bottom, facing the road. I'm afraid I am going to have to replace it all. Any suggestions that will make me happy?

Sorry the photos are side ways. I can't figure out how to get them upright, but you'll get the idea.
pix one: the underside (see the black line on the road side to the left?) shows a split in the fiberglass - a straight black line.
pix two: one shot of the rotten inside flooring.
pix three: second shot of the rotten area.
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photo 3.JPG  
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Old 09-15-2015, 07:40 PM   #2
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Burro floor again! I can't find where it came from, but I received the suggestion to check the archives for help - thank you! Although I couldn't figure out how to do it on the site, I did from the web - it bounced me back where I wanted to go
:-)

So - the great resource I found suggested a fenn multi-too. First step, cutting through the inside layer of fiberglass flooring and removing the rotten plywood. Second step, replacing the bad with good wood. I've attached photos of where I am today. There is a lot more rotten wood than expected. It extends under the bench sections on the back and two sides of the burro. Such a mess! Here is my record of day one destruction. The resource made it sound do-able. I'm afraid the benches will just collapse when I get all the wood out. It is starting to look like there will be nothing holding them in place.
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IMG_0916.jpg  
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Old 09-16-2015, 08:27 PM   #3
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Day Three:

I am not confident I can repair the floor without removing the shell from the frame and I am pretty sure that will be beyond my skill set. This is what I have today:

I removed the rest of the rotten section in the center part of the floor. I'm feeling okay with that. Now I am working on the areas under the benches. This is more challenging. It seems to go all the way to edge of the wood in some areas. The bottom fiberglass is very thin in some areas and I know I can add glass to take care of that - but the extent of the dry rot has me worried.

The rot is in the back 1/3rd of the Burro and seems to extend under the bench from the door side of the body across to the stove side bench (but not under it thank goodness) and all the way to the back under the rear bench a little over the middle of the rear.

My question is, can I make the Burro solid and safe by removing that amount and replacing it with marine plywood sealed in fiberglass and bolted back down to the frame. Or, is it just too much removal and patching to be fixable without detaching the frame.

The first photo is looking into the hole for the left bench area. The second is of the center floor.
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photo 1.JPG   IMG_0920.jpg  

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Old 09-17-2015, 05:11 PM   #4
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Day Four:

Today I removed the water from the right side so I could expose the last of the dry rot. Now I'll need to work on getting the last bits of stuck wood off the lower fiberglass wrap. Looks like another trip to the hardware store to purchase a nifty new fitting for the universal tool! Yay.
The photo is a map of where I've removed the way-bigger-than-I-expected problem. I'm a bit nervous about the space between the bench and the removed wood support - I do have some fiberglass squares stuffed in to help maintain the distance, but it is not ideal I am sure.
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Old 09-19-2015, 01:40 PM   #5
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Day Five and Six:

Oh those nasty rusty screws and bolts! Today I worked on cleaning up the bottom fiber shell and after failing in the attempt to remove screws and bolts from both the metal and fiber frames - I soaked the attachments in liquid wrench. After 18 hours, they are still not moving and I'm thinking another day attempting the task and then maybe I will need to drill the things out. Ugh.
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Old 09-22-2015, 07:20 PM   #6
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Sounds like an unexpected project .... Not untypical for fiberglass trailers. Is there a way you can remove the benches and replace it with one big piece that you fiberglass to the walls?
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Old 09-22-2015, 08:03 PM   #7
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I'm not that familiar with Burro but from the picture it looks like they have the sandwich of FG top and bottom with wood in the middle.

If patched with the replacement wood patch glued/fiberglassed to existing wood, and the patch fiberglassed to the rest of the floor it should be pretty solid.

Might want to consider grinding those screws off with a 4 inch grinder, just leave them in the hole as a plug after grinding them flat with the surrounding surface.

You may want to come back even further so that the patch edges are concentric. The seam for the wood patch is inside the seam from the FG floor being patched. Then the fault lines won't line up.

Hopefully one of the folks who have been there and done that with your exact trailer will weigh in soon.
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Old 09-22-2015, 10:53 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chse View Post
Sounds like an unexpected project .... Not untypical for fiberglass trailers. Is there a way you can remove the benches and replace it with one big piece that you fiberglass to the walls?
That would be really great - and I did see one example on line where someone did cut benches out. I'm afraid my poor Bennie Burro would collapse. I've already noticed a drop in the Burro back inside vrs Burro outside skin. Yikes! I hope to correct the drop when I re-insert the glassed plywood between the inside and outside fiberglass shells.

I am planning on triple glassing the the glassed plywood sections together for strength. I think I can do it in two or three plywood pieces. Between strong attachments between the patches and the bolts to the frame I'm hoping I don't shake apart on the road. Keep your fingers crossed for me!
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Old 09-22-2015, 11:18 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RogerDat View Post
I'm not that familiar with Burro but from the picture it looks like they have the sandwich of FG top and bottom with wood in the middle.

If patched with the replacement wood patch glued/fiberglassed to existing wood, and the patch fiberglassed to the rest of the floor it should be pretty solid.

Might want to consider grinding those screws off with a 4 inch grinder, just leave them in the hole as a plug after grinding them flat with the surrounding surface.

You may want to come back even further so that the patch edges are concentric. The seam for the wood patch is inside the seam from the FG floor being patched. Then the fault lines won't line up.

Hopefully one of the folks who have been there and done that with your exact trailer will weigh in soon.
I did get the screws out after a lot of liquid wrench - so too late to implement your excellent "leave in place" idea. I think I understand what you are saying about putting the patch inside the seam. Good idea. I'll work on that with the first patch tomorrow. The first piece is almost fiberglass wrapped and ready to go! Yay!!
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Old 09-23-2015, 03:13 PM   #10
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Day Seven (or so)

I've finally put down the first section of fiberglass over the inside bottom plywood shell and have placed my fiber wrapped plywood in place. I ended up using exterior 3/8" ply and it is beautiful - no interior gaps discovered so far in the layers and the exterior is perfect. I glassed it in and tapped it into place over the still moist bottom layer. I also used a board and a couple of jacks to give a shot at forcing contact between the old existing fiberglass with its new inside sheet to the fiber wrapped plywood. It seems snug. It took some force to get the outside edge curve sandwiched into place between the two layers of shell. Finally, I added additional fiberglass all around the edge to help attach the new piece to the existing inside green shell of fiberglass.
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Old 09-24-2015, 07:35 PM   #11
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Day Eight

The last three pieces of plywood are cut and finally adjusted to fit the space. Yay!! I've worked on glassing the holes in the bottom fiberglass. That is the glass that used to be the fiber closest to the road glassing in the old rotten plywood. Tomorrow I have some more holes to fiber patch under the benches; I have to glass the sides and back of the three plywood sheets before installation. All patches bridge two support bars in the frame thank goodness. I did discover that I like the woven fiber a lot better than the random fiber. Much easier to work with. I'm starting to feel like I may get this job done.
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Old 09-26-2015, 01:42 PM   #12
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I had burro rot, too. If it's deteriorated to the consistency of pudding, it's gone, otherwise, I would try rot knot if you can get it bone dry.

We had to saw a part out, and replaced it with wood, but sealed it ourselves with fiberglass. We also fixed the leak source.


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Old 09-26-2015, 09:39 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wrestlerchic View Post
I had burro rot, too. If it's deteriorated to the consistency of pudding, it's gone, otherwise, I would try rot knot if you can get it bone dry.

We had to saw a part out, and replaced it with wood, but sealed it ourselves with fiberglass. We also fixed the leak source.


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Isn't it amazing that the little Burros hold together even with the rotten floors? I couldn't believe how much was gone and that had to be true for quite awhile. Mine was pudding too. Our leak source is next on our list. I haven't done windows yet, but that's where the water came from so it will be the next great adventure in Burro land at our house!
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Old 09-26-2015, 09:52 PM   #14
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Day Nine:

Today is the install. Finally!! We have the last three sections in place and I am starting to use those nifty elevator bolts to hold the pieces in place. I also glassed under the sections before installing and bolting. After bolting we used a board and jacks under to force the existing fiberglass skin against the new fiberglass wrapped plywood. Between that and the bolts, it should be pretty solid. Next I'm tabbing the joints and will then join it all with a solid sheet of glass.

The first picture is a shot of the new floor in the table area.
The second shot is a peek at the floor continuing under the bench area.
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