1978 Boler Complete Restoration / Rebuild - Page 4 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 02-10-2013, 01:19 AM   #43
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Name: Slavomir
Trailer: 1978 Boler
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How to Fix this Cracked Egg Corner?

As I'm working on the underside of the body to get it ready to sit on the beautiful new frame, I'm scratching my head about a challenge that lies ahead.

One of the previous owners unfortunately rammed one of the top back corners into something, crushing it inward. The fix is pretty terrible with pieces of fiberglass poking out in places on the inside (I think the problem was left hidden by the old ensolite and not touched from the inside), and the outside is a mess with cracks and unevenness...with who knows what used to patch it.

My question is how to best fix this so it is structurally sound but also smooth and perfect, matching the other top corner. I know I'll have to sand it all down real good, tear out some of the crushed fiberglass on the inside, apply fiberglass mat and bondo. Does this sound about right?

And then how do I make the curves proper and not rippled like it is now, considering the corner curves in all directions? Just carefully sand?

Any help would be much appreciated! Thanks in advance! Here are a couple pics of the mess.

The inside:

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And two from the outside:

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Old 02-10-2013, 06:56 AM   #44
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You're on the right track for your repair. I read the description before I got to the pictures and expected something awful. This shouldn't be too bad to deal with.

I'm sure you're going to get all kinds of help. Check this out for something really bad. Read all six pages and you'll feel much better about your own repair: Advice repairing caved in Scamp 13 roof
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Old 02-10-2013, 10:09 AM   #45
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Slavomir,

What great work. We are currently working on our own little guy, I'm impressed with all that you have done.

IMHO, and from my struggles with OCD and perfectionist tendencies, you may want to reconsider perfection in that corner. It may not have been perfectly symmetrical when it came from the factory. I am def. not one of those "good enough" people, but I have become keenly aware that part of the beauty of these little gems is that they are rather organic in their shape. That is to say, no straight lines to speak of.

From the work that you have already done it looks like you have a good eye and you will likely achieve a nice result using a tape measure, straight edge, cardboard, and your own good senses to get that corner done.

I would remove any fiberglass that is broken and or damaged. You might do this a little at a time from the inside, so as not to lose the corner that exists. in other words, cut out a section that is bad then replace it from the inside, then the next section until you have removed all of the damaged fiberglass.

Then build it up for support from the inside so that you have a good base to work on from the outside.

You can then use a piece of cardboard and trim it to the shape of the curve that you wish to duplicate. marking top and bottom. use that as your guide. you can make more than one cardboard template (top to bottom, side to side) and even do angles to guide you as you build up the outside curve.

To help make the template (i saw this somewhere but can't find the link), cut a curve that is close, not exact in the cardboard, and have someone hold it steady in place. tape cardboard (tabs) from the camper to the template to build the proper curve. Then draw and cut new template using the modified piece as your guide. I would mark the location , top and bottom, of the corner from where the template was taken, and then make corresponding marks at the location where the template will be used. You can use your measuring devices to help you mark the locations.

Example, distance from the window edge, distance from the bottom of the shell (or ground if it is level) etc.

Best of luck. Can't wait to see more pics and updates.
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Old 02-10-2013, 11:09 AM   #46
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No problem, Slav... Do everything just as you have mentioned in your post. Sand really well, inside and out, and then make your FG repairs. Lay a couple layers of matte, making the second overlapping layer about 6-8 inches larger (both directions) than the first. When dry and hard, knock it back as necessary to smooth out any roughness. Your insulation and wall covering (and upper cabinet?) will hide any imperfections.

If the exterior damage isn't too bad (and I couldn't see much) just do what the professional car painters would do prep with FG filler (or Bondo), then prime and paint.
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Old 02-10-2013, 03:21 PM   #47
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Donna, Cat, Robert,

Thank you so much for the good word on getting that corner fixed. Wow, Donna, the fix of the collapsed Scamp is quite a job and well done...my problem is nothing in comparison! I'll have a look at that in detail.

Cat, I'm definitely a perfectionist...but not as bad as I used to be! I definitely want it to look great when done. You do have a point about these being somewhat organic and perfection is perhaps not quite possible.

Robert, yes, not too worried about the inside as it will be covered by Reflectix, fabric and a cabinet. Hard to see real well on the 2D pic, but the surface is uneven and rough. But I am less afraid of tackling it now!

Thanks again, everyone!

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Old 02-11-2013, 11:56 AM   #48
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Cutting fiberglass?

What techniques/tools do you guys use to make cuts in the fiberglass? I've read a bunch here on the forum and general Google searches and it seems there are as many ways as varieties of wine!

What I've gathered is people use: Dremel (with various attachments), jig-saw, zip cutters. Seems like a lot of opinions on blades too. Use masking/painter's tape to minimize splinters, and use lots of protective gear because a mess will be made. Sounds like you really can't use a hand-saw for metal (for smaller cuts, less mess) because the glass is so hard.

I'll have to make various cuts, from small and precise, to curved, to new openings for windows once corners are built up, to panels for closing up old vent openings. And of course a few round holes for various ports (water, electrical, gas lines).

Your experiences with various tools and techniques would be much appreciated. I really don't want to reinvent the wheel and make a mess for myself. Thanks everyone!
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Old 02-11-2013, 12:07 PM   #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slavandheather View Post
What techniques/tools do you guys use to make cuts in the fiberglass? I've read a bunch here on the forum and general Google searches and it seems there are as many ways as varieties of wine!

What I've gathered is people use: Dremel (with various attachments), jig-saw, zip cutters. Seems like a lot of opinions on blades too. Use masking/painter's tape to minimize splinters, and use lots of protective gear because a mess will be made. Sounds like you really can't use a hand-saw for metal (for smaller cuts, less mess) because the glass is so hard.

I'll have to make various cuts, from small and precise, to curved, to new openings for windows once corners are built up, to panels for closing up old vent openings. And of course a few round holes for various ports (water, electrical, gas lines).

Your experiences with various tools and techniques would be much appreciated. I really don't want to reinvent the wheel and make a mess for myself. Thanks everyone!
You Can Repair Fiberglass
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Old 02-11-2013, 12:10 PM   #50
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Slav,

I use a dremmel for some things but have found an oscilationg tool (like this one) Amazon.com: Porter-Cable PC250MTK 2.5-Amp Oscillating Multi-Tool Kit with 36 Accessories: Home Improvement to work great for fiberglass. Much less dust. We bought ours at Harbor Freight for $30.00.
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Old 02-11-2013, 01:00 PM   #51
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I went to my local TapPlastics store and they had everything I needed to do the repairs and lots of knowledge and advice. I know they have them in WA too. But the best advice was to check out their webdsite. You may have all the materials, if so just go to their website. They have several how-to videos on making repairs just like yours. I purchased a little squeegee for $.50 that is very pliable and works in the curves really well to make sure you don't get the ripples you're concerned about. Good luck.
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Old 02-12-2013, 10:25 AM   #52
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Don't try to do without the best tool in the world (well, level-pegging with a Dremel, maybe) for fiberglass repairs, the angle grinder - or as a former wooden boatbuilder I used to work for called it, the 'electric spokeshave'.

But this, emphatically, does not use a grinding disc but a sanding pad/cup which takes sanding discs - something moderatly fine, like 60- or 80-grit, is called for. This is a powerful but delicate tool, so it is applied with the lightest touch and absolutely no force at all. It will for example, sand out the inside of an egg's corners which almost nothing else will do as well.

I've found that outside a work environment, the very cheapest angle grinder works just fine for years until eventually the fiberglass dust gets in the works, so under $30 should get you the cheapest 4.5" grinder and sanding pad/discs.

And I did put a new sanding disc in to take photos but drew the line at cleaning the grinder at all......
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Old 02-12-2013, 11:17 AM   #53
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Awesome, thank you guys for the great suggestions! I'll take all these and put them to good work!
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Old 02-17-2013, 05:00 PM   #54
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Body & Frame Fit

Progress has been slow lately - just not much time/energy. But here is where we are. With the frame being new and good and straight, I knew there were going to be some potential issues with fit in a couple spots because of issues with the old frame and not perfect angles on the actual body.

We lowered the body onto the frame, and sure enough a couple problems developed that need body adjustments. Right now I'm addressing just the front tongue rail fit into the pre-formed original body grooves. The original frame was really tight here and I knew I'd have to make an adjustment.

Here is a pic of the problem areas once the body was lowered:

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Since our Boler's body was molded with the floor as a single piece (no wood), the cutting is a bit screwy, involving several layers. I decided to first open up the areas by 1 inch on each side, but then changed my mind for about 0.75". Ended up using mostly a couple hand saws with fine tooth (for metal), and it was easy enough. But the angles near the floor pan needed a bit more work with a rasp to smooth out and a bit with a Dremel and a small cutting wheel.

Here it is from the outside with things opened up (note the rotted open FG damage on the left side of the opening):

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And the inside to give you a glimpse of the original form-fitting mold:

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As a sideline, I ended up with some of the fine fiberglass powder generated by the Dremel in my eyes. My glasses and safety glasses were not enough and I'll need to get some goggles. I have some irritation but hoping it will work itself out.

I am using the 3M 6000 series respirator with the 2091 P100 filters when working with the fiberglass. For those of you with great experience, please let me know if this is sufficient. Thanks.


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Old 02-20-2013, 12:53 AM   #55
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More Frame & Body Fitting

Equipped with goggles to keep that fiberglass dust out of my eyes and a new multi-speed oscillating power tool for cutting, it's time to get back to work. With the body back on the frame, my hope was that one more adjustment and things will be good.

Body back up on cinder blocks. I'm beginning to feel like a monkey with extended arms from the 6 or 8 times we've lifted and lowered the egg.

The oscillating cutter worked very well and a panel was cut out on the right side just inside the entry. The frame now has the needed 1/4 inch breathing space. I will modify this panel and glass it back in to accommodate the extra space.

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For a better visual of what the problem was, the tight spot is circled on the frame in the below pic. I wish I could have foreseen this and had that frame support welded an inch over from current position. Oh well, a little extra work should get things ok. It might not be perfect, but should be functional in the end.

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With the body lowered again, things look really good. One small cut needs to be made in the back, then I'll finally start work on the underneath...and then it will be lowered for hopefully the final time!
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Old 02-22-2013, 09:42 PM   #56
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New Boler Signs / Badges

Our Boler didn't come with the metal badges that so many of you guys have. All we had was a cheap plastic sign by the entry door. We will probably hold on to it and attach it to the inside of one of the cabinets once they are made, but I kind of wanted something on the outside.

My initial internet searches a couple months ago didn't produce anything, but this time around I found a company in California that does lettering and badges for cars - the same kind you find on modern cars.

I went ahead and ordered up two sets of BOLER letters (only caps available) and they came in today. I'm very happy with the look. These are the 1" italic style letters. I'm planning on putting a set to the left of the entrance door and one in the back-left, below the window.

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For any of you interested in this "modern" and clean option, check out Chrome Car Letters here. Oh, and I should mention that with delivery the two sets were a very reasonable $25!

Here is a pic of the original that came with our rig:

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