stress cracks over the door - Fiberglass RV


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Old 02-25-2007, 10:09 PM   #1
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Are all Bolers prone to spider cracks radiating around the door. I can't be sure, but mine seem to be getting worse.

I've had everything out of the trailer (cupboards, bunks, etc) and I'm worried that I didn't put things back in tight enough, allowing the egg to flex more. Any thoughts from the engineers in the crowd.
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Old 02-25-2007, 10:34 PM   #2
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Quote:
Are all Bolers prone to spider cracks radiating around the door. I can't be sure, but mine seem to be getting worse.

I've had everything out of the trailer (cupboards, bunks, etc) and I'm worried that I didn't put things back in tight enough, allowing the egg to flex more. Any thoughts from the engineers in the crowd.
I'm not an engineer. But, my Scamp had a tiny stress when I purchased it. I drew a line with apencil and watched it. Yup, was moving. This was about the time I started lurking on this forum. Anyhoo, what ended to be my problem was not enuff flex in my axle. Upon inspection , many things ended up being done. New axle to get some sproing in the suspension, and repairing 5 broken spots in the frame.. (now, I'm not trying to scare you-just give you an inkling of where to look ) As for the stress cracks, my firend and I decided that having the door hinges (on my Scamp) just bolted thru fiberglass was not the best design in the world.... We ended up building a sguare tubing framework to attach to the perimeter of the doorway and then bonding a piece of flat iron inside the shell to bolt the hinges to. interesting--sorta--was my first true experience with fiberglas, mat, resin, etc. I can post oictures of the doorframe, etc if ya want. Larry
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Old 02-25-2007, 10:38 PM   #3
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Hi: Our '77 Boler has some stress cracks at the top of the closet nearest the door and I haven't even replaced the Pop rivets yet...The closet is stapled down the door jamb and the staples are rusty but I am leery of changing them Possibly there is a problem with the door sill or weakness in the floor causing stress on the door when you enter and exit!!! Alf S. North shore of Lake Erie
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Old 02-26-2007, 06:47 AM   #4
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I can post oictures of the doorframe, etc if ya want. Larry
Yes please
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Old 02-26-2007, 07:00 AM   #5
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In the service we were told to stop a stress crack "without repairing it" we could take a very tiny dirll bit and drill a hole "at the very end of the crack ", thus stopping it.
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Old 02-26-2007, 12:25 PM   #6
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Ok-- hope this works... The grey piece is what we made to go around the door and reinforce the doorway. The inside shot with the vicegrips showing is where we bonded a piece of flat iron to add strength for the hinges and also to tie the hinges together top to bottom. The other shot is where we added 5 layers of glass mat covering the stress crack. (it was at a point where the factory bonded two pieces of mat in the mold--weak spot- ground right thru when prepping) Hope this makes sense... Larry



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Old 02-26-2007, 01:35 PM   #7
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I had stress cracks in my Burro. Most are actually only in the gel coat and not a crack that goes all the way through the fiberglass and they do not leak. These trailers are pretty thin shelled. I am betting most all will get them in time.

Slamming the door will cause more serious cracks in the latch area. Also, the area around the hinges can become over stressed. Boats get them as well. Keeping your trailer garaged out of the UV rays is the best thing an owner can do for longevity. Good idea to check your axels suspension system too. The sun kills fiberglass.
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Old 02-26-2007, 06:41 PM   #8
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There are two kinds of cracks seen at the door corners -- Gelcoat crazing and actual cracks that penetrate all the way thru the gelcoat and underlying fiberglass -- I have both on my 91S13.

Crazing seems to be very normal.

My crack has been slowly creeping up to the aluminum rain shield since I bought the trailer in 1999 and I have been waiting for it to appear above so I can drill the Stop-Crack hole (which changes the stress on the FG from tension to compression, BTW) and then I will fill the hole with something (doesn't leak yet because of the rain shield).

Don't know why it is cracking; my old axle's rubber seemed OK (spindles were shot) and I replaced it a couple of years ago -- I have eyeballed the frame and can find nothing wrong, but the door has sagged and I really haven't figured out why yet.

BTW, on the Scamps, there IS a vertical piece of square iron inside the FG on the leading edge of the door frame -- In fact, the one on the Scamp 19 (5W) is taller, probably to deal with the overhang stresses of the front.
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Old 02-26-2007, 08:13 PM   #9
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My door did not shut and a noticeable sag was occurring from the door opening forward to the front of the trailer. After searching and thinking for a long time, I realized that because the door opening creates a large open space, that side of the trailer did not have enough integrity to hold up over the decades. In other words, that large opening for the door allows that side of the trailer shell to sag leaning towards the front of the trailer. It was in short, failing slowly and causing a improper alignment of the door.

I had to jack up that area in front of the door opening until the opening/door jam became plum, or as plum as I could get it. At that point I inserted wood shims which was actually a 4 x 4 between the shell and the frame. Then I had 1/4" steel plates with gussets welded in placed under that area of the shell to hold it up in place. After that it held it's own great. But it was a job. At that point I also rebuilt the area where the hinges screw to the shell. I used new waterproof plywood in the wall and over glassed it with four layers of fiberglass. Now the door shut very easy.

My analysis is that the shell on the door side is weak towards the front of the opening and sags. Only the roof section is really attaching the front to the rear there. Kind of poor engineering at least on my 82' 13' Burro. The roof did not seem all that strong either. I doubt I could walk on it without cracking it.
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Old 02-26-2007, 08:48 PM   #10
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Ok-- hope this works...
Thanks Larry
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