Starting the Burro floor replacement - Fiberglass RV


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 09-18-2009, 09:44 PM   #1
Member
 
Name: Mike
Trailer: 1983 Burro 13 ft
West Virginia
Posts: 45
Angry

Yesterday I started stripping my "new" Burro 13 in preparation for floor replacement. Its bare down to the inner shell. I removed the original linoleum and wet/rotten subfloor, potable water tank, disconnected the wiring harness and the propane and swept and vacuumed all. I had the same results removing the hex self-tapping screws through the floor as another member did...about half twisted off. So far, about three or four hours work.
Today, I cut around the perimeter of the fiberglass mat between the floor and frame, cutting alongside the lip on the outer shell, and placed a jack under each corner and lifted about an inch to see if I'd missed any attach points. All clear. Next, I lowered the trailer jack on the tongue all the way down, blocked under each rear corner of the coach, and then raised the front trailer jack. The coach and frame separated in the rear about two inches. I then blocked under each front corner and lifted each corner with separate jacks. This gave me about two inches of daylight between the coach and frame all around. I might add here that I found the corner areas to be much stronger for such a lift than the seamed areas in the center. I carefully tried those first and found they flex way too much, so I quit while ahead. Another point....as a Burro floor gradually sags from age and constant weight bearing down on the plywood floor....not to mention rot (!)....the more weight the outer shell assumes where it contacts the frame in four areas...something to think about when considering floor condition. Live and learn, I guess. Luckily, my Burro has very little fiberglass damage....limited to one small crease where it rested on the left side of the frame tongue. The other three contact areas were undamaged. Thinking about adding additional frame gussets to extend the support for the floor further out toward the shell to prevent this. As near as I can tell, my floor was 1/2" plywood....could be 5/8"....won't know until I find solid wood. I did discover that it appears the floor is in at least three pieces from the factory. A "D" shaped piece of plywood on each end of the coach and at least one rectangular piece in the center between the "D"s....probably two. Won't know for sure until the glass mat is removed. Just a guess, but initially, it looks like the factory placed the fiberglass mat on the frame, set the plywood on top of the glass mat and screwed through both to the frame, set the inner shell on those, then brought each outer shell half in from either side and joined them. Due to the construction of the double shell, nearly all leaks would go undetected and flow between the shells to the plywood and stay hidden between the inner and outer fiberglass mats. Once wet, the plywood could never dry. The top vent, any window, even the outer shell joint should be suspect. Also thinking about glassing the two shells together at the vent and window openings, and butyl taping the joint under the trim....to stop those hidden leaks. Suggestions...?
On reassembly, I'm hoping to fit the "D" floor pieces first, and also hoping that there will be enough flex in the outer shell side and bottom lip to replace with original width pieces. Big ideas for a little trailer. After getting into it, its not as bad as I originally thought...so far. I can take pics of the progress if anyone can tell this computer illiterate how to post them. So far....about seven hours invested. Guessing another three or four to pull out the floor and glass mat underneath. Aluminum planking would make agreat floor...like my Aluma utility trailer....but can't find any thin enough.

Sorry I got so windy,
Mike in West Virginia


__________________

__________________
Mike Shackelford is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-19-2009, 08:41 AM   #2
Senior Member
 
Name: Kevin
Trailer: 28' Bigfoot Silver Cloud
Oak Park, IL
Posts: 1,115
Send a message via Yahoo to Kevin A
Thanks for your detailed descriptions! We have a UHaul 16' VT and I'm curious about the type of floor we have since the Burro and UHaul were pretty close in construction. I haven't found any soft spots yet in our 1986 model, but I should crawl under it and check out the whole bottom. Thanks again!
__________________

__________________
Kevin A is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-19-2009, 07:20 PM   #3
Member
 
Name: Mike
Trailer: 1983 Burro 13 ft
West Virginia
Posts: 45
Quote:
Thanks for your detailed descriptions! We have a UHaul 16' VT and I'm curious about the type of floor we have since the Burro and UHaul were pretty close in construction. I haven't found any soft spots yet in our 1986 model, but I should crawl under it and check out the whole bottom. Thanks again!
Kevin, if your 16' UHaul is like my Burro, you can't tell much from underneath since the plywood floor is covered with a thin sheet of rigid fiberglass mat. What I did notice while looking underneath is that the floor between the frame outward toward the bottom of the coach was flexed downward some from the weight of the camper. This allows the shell to contact the frame hard where it protrudes from underneath. The flexing of the tongue while attached to the moving tow vehicle really does a job on the fiberglass directly over the frame. I was lucky in that my Burro had been idle outside in the weather for about ten years, (unmoved...which saved damage to the fiberglass) and the rotten floor wasn't at all apparent. My floor seemed very solid when I walked on it. None of the rot was visible either inside or underneath. I did notice that the wheel well areas at floor level (outside, behind the wheels) had been patched with bondo at some point. That was all that was visible. When I pulled up the old linoleum and exposed the subfloor inside, I found that plywood to be soaked and spongy. I removed it in two pieces for the most part, which exposed the fiberglass cover inside the coach that covers the structural floor. In short, viewed from bottom up, my Burro has the fiberglass mat against the frame, the structural floor, a fiberglass covering on that, the subfloor, and finally the floor treatment. If your coach is showing some damage where the frame protrudes, and/or when you lie down and "eyeball" the floor outboard of the frame and it looks like it may be sagging slightly, chances are you either have some frame damage or the floor is soft...one or or both. My experience so far...I'm certainly no expert. Thanks for your reply.
Mike in West Virginia
__________________
Mike Shackelford is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-25-2009, 02:45 PM   #4
Junior Member
 
David and Theresa Shibley's Avatar
 
Name: David & Theresa
Trailer: 13 ft Burro
Ontario
Posts: 9
Hello Mike

Tess and I have a 1980 13' Burro that needs some floor repair. I'm following your detailed experience with great interest. We too have some floor rot and I want to replace the entire floor. Make the foundation solid before we do any interior fix ups.

As you raised the carriage were you able to role the frame out?

I'm very interested to here how you've removed the plywood from the carriage section.

If you could post some pictures that would be great.

I plan to start our floor replacement in the next week or so.

Dave

__________________
David and Theresa Shibley is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-25-2009, 05:39 PM   #5
Member
 
Name: Mike
Trailer: 1983 Burro 13 ft
West Virginia
Posts: 45
Dave and Tess...
I built "cribs" under each of the four corners of the Burro coach, using roughly 16" long sections of 4 x 4 timbers and left the wheels on for safety while working underneath cutting the mat. I removed the wheels and found the bumper on the rear wouldn't permit me from sliding the frame out toward the front as planned. I wasn't considering this when I initially placed the trailer inside the garage, so I was forced to cut the bumper ends off flush with the side rails. Had I considered this, I could've removed the frame toward the rear with no problem. Another area to consider is the two angle supports for the floor underneath the door opening. Measure carefully when locating the corner supports and you should be OK with these. Once the wheels are off, remove the four 1/2" bolts securing the axle to the frame and slide the axle assembly out to the side. This allows you to slide the frame out easily. The bare frame without axle and tongue jack weighs roughly 75 pounds...probably less. After looking at the rear bumper without the extensions, I kind of like it that way. I was considering some type of rack for a spare or kayak anyway. Since I'm computer illiterate, I'm including my email address so that we may communicate and email pics directly, rather than me making huge mistakes and becoming the forum clown. When I learn more, if anyone's interested I'd be glad to post pictures of my progress. I did discover that the plywood floor is in four pieces from the factory. The two "D" shaped pieces, one on either end, and two in the middle of the coach, joined in the center corresponding to the seam in the fiberglass mat underneath. Ideally, I'd like to replace the floor with something other than plywood that would be impervious to moisture. My wife has some serious health issues, so I'll be progressing slowly through the coming winter. Be cautious and block securely and avoid exerting too much force in removing the plywood....remember where you are! Underneath! I placed a 2 x 8 board supported by cement blocks underneath as well while working on the bottom. Its movable as I progress, and would prevent the coach from falling far enough to pin me should the worst happen.

Mike in WV dixieshack[at]earthlink.net
__________________
Mike Shackelford is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-27-2009, 08:01 PM   #6
Member
 
Name: Mike
Trailer: 1983 Burro 13 ft
West Virginia
Posts: 45
A couple more things about removing the complete floor in a Burro 13....for anyone following this thread. I'd mentioned blocking under each of the four corners. I also added a fifth support under the latch-side of the door opening. Another thing I've found is that the inner "shell" of the Burro is a structural member as well as the outer shell from its being screwed to the plywood floor. To prevent any tendency for the trailer to "spread" while the floor is out, I clamped the two halves of the inner shell together at the fiberglass flange under the dinette seat in the rear. Did the same with a board and C clamps in the front where the two bunk beds are located. It seemed to make things much more rigid with the floor out. No flexing anywhere. The floor was 1/2' plywood.
I'd mentioned bondo or some material around the floor in the wheelwells on the outside. Turns out to be some type of ceramic sealant which did NOT adhere to the fiberglass, allowing water to contact the edge of the plywood floor. Why fiberglass and resin wasn't used....? The further I go the more determined I am to use some type of replacement other than plywood....something impervious to water...aluminum T & G planking, maybe? Anyone know if resin will adhere to aluminum? All that's left of the original Burro is the shell! Oh, my...what have I done!!
Mike in WV
__________________
Mike Shackelford is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-27-2009, 09:50 PM   #7
Senior Member
 
Raya's Avatar
 
Name: Rachel
Trailer: 1974 Boler 13 ft (Neonex/Winnipeg)
Posts: 3,014
Quote:
The further I go the more determined I am to use some type of replacement other than plywood....something impervious to water...aluminum T & G planking, maybe?
I can totally understand your desire to NOT have to go through this again! I can't comment on other options, but I will say that a good marine (or good exterior) grade of plywood, well sealed with epoxy resin - especially on the cut edges - will last a good, long time. (And kept from having pools of water sitting on it from inside leaks, of course.)

Also, I would overdrill, fill (with thickened epoxy) and then redrill (to appropriate fastener size) any penetrations in the floor. That will seal off the wood, in addition to giving you crush-resistant epoxy annuli.

Raya
__________________
Raya is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-28-2009, 08:31 PM   #8
Member
 
Name: Mike
Trailer: 1983 Burro 13 ft
West Virginia
Posts: 45
Oops! Sorry about that, Raya. Great suggestion about the overdrilling, filling, then drilling to seal the edges around floor screws. At my age, cardboard would probably outlast me!

Thanks for the great tip.
Mike in WV
__________________
Mike Shackelford is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-07-2016, 10:39 PM   #9
Junior Member
 
Name: Carrie
Trailer: Burro
Georgia
Posts: 8
Hi Mike in WV, I think we are about to embark on floor replacement on our '86 Burro. I was wondering if you decided on a water-impervious replacement for the plywood? Or did you use Marine-grade plywood?

Thanks!
__________________
CJLassi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-08-2016, 02:04 AM   #10
Senior Member
 
Borrego Dave's Avatar
 
Name: Dave
Trailer: Casita SD17 2006
California
Posts: 2,920
Quote:
Originally Posted by CJLassi View Post
Hi Mike in WV, I think we are about to embark on floor replacement on our '86 Burro. I was wondering if you decided on a water-impervious replacement for the plywood? Or did you use Marine-grade plywood?Thanks!
Hi, this is a pretty old post. But, from reading many posts on replacing/repairing floors, there doesn't seem to be one answer for what type of ply to use. The original material can and does last for 40 years if you haven't had a window/vent leak that wasn't fixed for a long time. Any rotten floors are always from the inside, not from the underside from road spray. Personally, I wouldn't use the marine ply for the extra $. After you do the repair keep a close watch for any leaks that may come up later and repair them asap and you'll be good to go for many years.
__________________
Borrego Dave is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-08-2016, 01:36 PM   #11
Senior Member
 
Name: Jack L
Trailer: Bigfoot B-17 CB
Washington
Posts: 1,226
Quote:
Originally Posted by Borrego Dave View Post
Hi, this is a pretty old post. But, from reading many posts on replacing/repairing floors, there doesn't seem to be one answer for what type of ply to use. The original material can and does last for 40 years if you haven't had a window/vent leak that wasn't fixed for a long time. Any rotten floors are always from the inside, not from the underside from road spray. Personally, I wouldn't use the marine ply for the extra $. After you do the repair keep a close watch for any leaks that may come up later and repair them asap and you'll be good to go for many years.
Marine plywood is very expensive and definitely overkill as Dave mentioned, and there are many types of plywood that are less expensive than marine grade but MUCH better than the plywood available at a big box retailer. The number of "plys", the construction of the material itself, all make a huge difference. If you look at some plywood you will see hollow spots between the layers and other types of plywood have no hollow spots. I would look for something in between marine plywood and the material available at a big box retailer. A full service lumber yard should have many options. Good luck
__________________
Jack L is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 04-09-2016, 11:08 AM   #12
Senior Member
 
Name: Joe
Trailer: 1999 Casita 17' SD
Ohio
Posts: 553
If you consider your time the cost of marine plywood is small.
Everything takes longer then originally thought.
But anything but maybe card board is better then the OSB that most makers use.
__________________
Joe Romas is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-09-2016, 11:46 AM   #13
Senior Member
 
Name: JD
Trailer: Scamp 16 Modified (BIGLY)
Florida
Posts: 1,045
I used 3/4" exterior plywood and overkill by cutting and fitting and then covering each part with 6 oz. fiberglass cloth and epoxy resin, top bottom and sides.
I bought the fiberglass and resin off Ebay to save some money, but still spent maybe $250 or more. However I feel confident that the floor will easily outlast me and perhaps the kids as well.
I also used the epoxy to splice in panels salvaged from the pulled out fiberglass panels from the interior. No openings except windows and the door.
Well I added three hatches for the water and holding tank powered hose reels and an outside hatch for all of the outside accessories like chocks etc.
The key is to also seal the edges to keep water from entering and swelling the edges.
AFAIK they all rot from water collected on the top of the floor inside the camper.
__________________
redbarron55 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-15-2016, 02:41 PM   #14
Junior Member
 
Name: Kathy
Trailer: Burro 13
Florida
Posts: 17
I just bought a 1984 Burro 13 and am also trying to remove the floor! I'm very confused. The former owner removed the finished floor and what's left is some sort of 1/2" partical/plywood. Underneath that is the fiberglass shell. I don't see any "subfloor" so I'm assuming I'll try and get this plywood stuff up. This is a challenge. Can't find any screw holes and if I use a crowbar to pry it up, I'll likely damage the fiberglass liner. Any suggestions?

Also, any suggestions on what to clean the fiberglass inside and out? I need to remove all the mildew! Was going to use bleach and water. Thanks!
__________________

__________________
kdsailorgirl is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
burro


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
'83 Burro Floor Replacement Shane O Problem Solving | Owners Helping Owners 23 02-13-2016 09:54 PM
Glassing a replacement floor - Necessary? Carl G Problem Solving | Owners Helping Owners 9 05-19-2013 01:55 PM
floor replacement ralph s Problem Solving | Owners Helping Owners 2 07-26-2008 12:47 AM
Trillium floor replacement chemong Problem Solving | Owners Helping Owners 14 07-04-2006 07:28 PM
Scamp Floor Replacement Legacy Posts Problem Solving | Owners Helping Owners 18 03-06-2003 08:45 AM

» Upcoming Events
No events scheduled in
the next 465 days.
» Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by


Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 07:10 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.