1978 Lander Graziella 340 Bora Restoration - Fiberglass RV


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Old 10-26-2019, 01:25 PM   #1
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Name: Sigurd
Trailer: Lander Graziella 340 Bora
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1978 Lander Graziella 340 Bora Restoration

Hi guys,

I'm new here and new to being a fibreglass RV owner. I decided to sign up and share my progress as I restore this old Italian trailer that I just acquired. I'd love some tips and tricks since I have never worked on anything like this before. My usual projects involve two wheels but they are in front of one another

I'll be shooting some questions about things I'm not sure about that I would love if you guys could answer and guide me.

Here she is, I'm naming her Lassie because there was a suicidal Lassie-breed dog that kept running in front of my car and barking like mad at the farm where I bought her from.

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She didn't look too bad on the inside when I got her but as it turns out she has been leaking in various places and almost everything was rotten, even though it looked pretty good at first glance. The floor by the door was obviously rotten and the cabinets next to the door. But everything else looked rather solid. It was only later when I started working on her that I realised everything needed to go pretty much.

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I'll post more later. I need to go do some other things right now.
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Old 10-26-2019, 05:55 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sigurd View Post
Hi guys,
I'm new here and new to being a fibreglass RV owner... I'm naming her Lassie because there was a suicidal Lassie-breed dog that kept running in front of my car and barking like mad at the farm where I bought her from. .
Hi Sigurd and welcome! Are you joining us from Europe?
On the farm as a child we had a suicidal car chasing collie - never realized it was a breed trait.


There are a wealth of knowledgeable and helpful members on the forum. I'm sure you'll find answers and support. Congrats on your new project.


Sandy
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Old 10-27-2019, 05:29 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by SandyNorthFL View Post
Hi Sigurd and welcome! Are you joining us from Europe?
On the farm as a child we had a suicidal car chasing collie - never realized it was a breed trait.


There are a wealth of knowledgeable and helpful members on the forum. I'm sure you'll find answers and support. Congrats on your new project.


Sandy
Hi Sandy, yes I'm joining you from Iceland, which is counted as Europe for some reason

Haha yeah that dog made me nervous, she would go directly in front of the car, so close that you couldn't see her. And the owner would say "Just drive, don't worry about her"

Anyway here is a little picture of when I picked her up, she was road worthy despite having been permanently stationed in an RV park for some years until recently.

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Unfortunately I didn't take any proper pictures before starting to tear her apart. But what I first noticed was some cracks around the door, the door wasn't sealing properly so I though it had bulged. But I later found out that the supports around the door had been replaced from the original, as in the cabinets, and were not supporting it anymore.

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Then after looking around some more places and seeing some rot almost everywhere I decided to start tearing it all apart.

I started with the floor by the door since that was so obviously going to be trouble.

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Yep it was pretty messed up.

Then I just started tearing everything down. At one point I found something very interesting, I removed a screw that held the one of the benches to the wall and water started pouring out, or should I say gushing out.

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It's maybe a bit hard to see but there is a puddle there on the floor that my flashlight is reflecting in, it all came from that screw hole.

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This is the bench where that hole has been leaking onto and rotting away. I'm planning to replace the rotten parts of this and re-use it. Only these benches and the tables are re-useable. All cabinets are pretty much rotten through, even though they looked very good on the surface. Like you can see in the following pictures:

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Looks good on the surface

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But rotten on the inside. Some people are like that, am I right?

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Everything gone

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My main question right now is how to handle the floor. Under the top surface was rotten wood, which is the dark part of that image, but under that is I guess a thin later of wood with fibreglass underneath and then sponge under that. What I'm wondering is should I remove the rotten part and leave the thin wood-fibreglass part or remove that entirely and lay some new plywood or something over the sponge? Some parts of the wood-fibreglass layer looks rotten, like in the top-left part of the image, and some areas are completely gone, mainly by the door. Like you saw in an earlier image. What do you experts think?
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Old 10-27-2019, 08:07 AM   #4
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Sigmund - Iceland is wonderful. Our only trip to Europe focused on Iceland and I hope to return and ride horses next time.
Check the thread on Holey Boley aka Joseph's Boler restoration as he also took his down to the shell.



You do a great job with photos. The best way to get expert help with the floor may be to make a separate thread with more photos as you peel back the layers.


Can't wait to see Lassie's restoration.
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Old 10-27-2019, 12:13 PM   #5
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Welcome to Lassie and Sigurd!

Your thread reminds me a lot of our thread (on FGRV) in 2015, Fear of Fiberglassing, when we bought our Peanut. It was much the same as yours--looked mostly sound and fine, until we got into it at home. Then we found much the same rot and damage and ended up nearly gutting it.

Inner ceiling (molded) and cabinets were still okay; our 1973 Amerigo FG-16 has inner walls; we had to replace all of them, patch over 82 holes in the shell, replace the entire floor, rebuild the door framing, support the upper galley, rebuild both closets/niches...slow water leaks from the water tank and a banged-up ceiling vent did much of the damage.

It took us 9 months of 7-days a week work in the driveway under a huge tarp. We found gas lines rubbed nearly through, erosion, corrosion...

Not to take away from your project, just that it is so similar. You have a lot of work ahead of you, a lot of decisions, and you're going to really be proud as you finish it and it becomes whole again! You probably know that.

Your photos are super, clear and well-positioned. Thanks! We love photos.

Wishing you and Lassie all the BEST

"K"
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1A 9 More floor rot; water tank had cracked long ago.jpg   1A 3 Setting it down again after removing it from the frame.jpg  

Peanut 8 2016 B.jpg  
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Old 10-27-2019, 04:54 PM   #6
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Sigurd - welcome to the crowd. Fiberglass trailers are great but they still leak and any wood will rot when water is introduced. My recommendation is to find were the water is coming in and deal with that first. If you have been reading the forms you should know by now NO silicone.

Not sure about your floor, looks like the Mgf. might have had fiberglass and used construction adhesive to attach the wood to the fiberglass to eliminate float. Not quite sure about the "sponge" under the fiberglass. Probably so type of pad between the frame and the glass.
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Old 10-27-2019, 06:31 PM   #7
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Thanks for the warm welcome everyone!

Sandy you should definitely come back and ride some horses. After checking Holey Boley I think I have an easy task ahead of myself compared to them. I'm hoping I won't have to take mine completely to the shell. We will see!

Kai is that last picture the end result? Looks like you went through hell of a lot of work!

Eric, yeah I'm planning to tackle the leaks soon. My main problem at the moment is lack of a garage. I'm working on it outside in the freezing cold at the moment, and I can't even keep it where it is at right now for much longer.

Also I guess I wasn't completely clear about the floor so let me fix that. The outer shell of the floor is solid fibreglass and a part of the bottom half of the shell. So unlike Scamp or Boiler where you can remove the floor completely since it's not attached to the bottom shell. So the bottom fibreglass shell is like a bathtub that just sits on top of a simple frame. You can kind of see it in this picture:

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So then on top of the fibreglass is a foam insulation, I accidentally used the word sponge earlier, my bad Then a thin fibreglass layer, then a thin wood layer, then the rotten wood and finally there was some rubber floor on top of that had kind of rotten and came off very easily. I hope this clears up my bad explanation from earlier
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Old 10-27-2019, 06:35 PM   #8
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Actually I think the thin fibreglass was probably originally applied to the bottom of plywood or something. But then the wood rotted away leaving that thin layer that is bonded to the fibreglass and was probably protected by the resin or something like that.
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Old 10-30-2019, 06:20 AM   #9
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I had noticed a crack in the floor on the door side of the caravan which I found strange. I later noticed that there had been some repair to the frame on the right side. The repair was done badly so it is actually pushing the fibreglass shell upwards instead of it lying flush on the frame. Which then causes the floor to bulge up inside the trailer and caused this crack.

Also another thing that annoyed me in that same area is that for some reason whenever who ever owned the trailer replaced electrical cables, gas lines, or water drains they always drilled new holes and added new cables instead of replacing the old ones. So now there are at least 6 holes there. I didn't take a picture of this though.

Speaking of electrical cables. The wiring in this thing is an absolute joke. Like you can see in this little video, this is what happened when I turned on the right indicator. Disco party! https://gilli.xyz/index.php/s/ZZGd3pjBW22tRCo

When I step on the brakes the right turn signal comes on!

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Old 10-30-2019, 12:17 PM   #10
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Name: Sandra
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Cool disco party!
Very festive...

Would the traffic cop be amused enough not to give you a ticket? Guess re-wiring now goes on the to-do list.
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Old 10-30-2019, 03:30 PM   #11
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Cool disco party!
Very festive...

Would the traffic cop be amused enough not to give you a ticket? Guess re-wiring now goes on the to-do list.
Haha well don't tell anyone but the inspection guys, not sure what it's called but they give the vehicle permission to be on the road, they found it amusing enough to let it pass the inspection and just winked at me asking me to take care of it

I told them I knew of it and had just bought it and it would definitely be taken care of.
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Old 11-01-2019, 03:48 PM   #12
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I started investigating the leaks a bit. I think the belly band, or do you call i the seam? Anyway I think it's leaking where the two shells meet, almost the whole circle around. At least if you look at the following picture you can see a lot of moisture is collecting on the inside of the seam where there is a plastic piece covering it.

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And a lot of rust on all the brackets that are fastened to it. I'm not sure what the best way of resealing that seam is? Any ideas?

There was one place also I wanted to investigate because there was just so much water constantly pouring out of it. I posted some pictures of it in my earlier post where there was a puddle that formed on the floor. It was where there used to be a screw, so I cut into it a bit and dug into the foam to see if there was a crack visible from this side or something.

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But there was nothing to be seen. I don't know why there soooo much water coming from that spot since I can't really see anything on the outside of the trailer that would justify so much water.

So I guess I will have to wait until I'm able to get it inside somewhere to really tackle those leaks. In the meantime I would love some tips about how to do it. Any good sealants that I can use on the seam that would handle it? I'm hoping I can handle it without having to rip the headliner and insulation foam off. Here is what it looks like on the inside when I take that moist plastic off. It looks like some kind of hard paste was used. I'm not sure of this is just to fill the area between the foams or if this is also for holding the shells together. If it is the stuff holding the shells together then I'm not surprised that would leak because it's very hard and I would think it would crack when you put some strain on the caravan.

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Old 11-01-2019, 04:24 PM   #13
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Forget finding a miracle sealant. Read some of the various Trillium belly band repair threads for ideas.

I really can't tell a lot from your pictures. In the case of the Trillium, they used steel plates riveted to a metal cover band over this seam. Then they fiberglassed the inside, but the job was not complete nor well done. Over time, water leaks into the steel plates, rotting them out. This bulges the outer fiberglass. People try sealants which have to be painfully and carefully removed to do a full repair.

The Trillium belly band repair is done on the OUTSIDE of the trailer.
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Old 11-02-2019, 04:33 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by thrifty bill View Post
Forget finding a miracle sealant. Read some of the various Trillium belly band repair threads for ideas.

I really can't tell a lot from your pictures. In the case of the Trillium, they used steel plates riveted to a metal cover band over this seam. Then they fiberglassed the inside, but the job was not complete nor well done. Over time, water leaks into the steel plates, rotting them out. This bulges the outer fiberglass. People try sealants which have to be painfully and carefully removed to do a full repair.

The Trillium belly band repair is done on the OUTSIDE of the trailer.
Hi Bill,

After trying to read some italian forums with google translate, it sounds like this is exactly what's happening. Except in Case of the Lander the belly band is made of rubber, but from what I can tell there are some metal pins going through it which rot and leak like you said. I'll try to get the belly band off and take a look. Hopefully I won't ruin it since it seemed like it might have hardened. Wish me luck!
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Old 11-02-2019, 08:53 AM   #15
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I went out today to try to take the bellyband off. Unfortunately it is pretty much impossible to do without breaking the band itself.

Once that was off it was clear that there the rusty metals that go through were definitely cause of some of those leaks. But what I also found out is that, unlike the trillium trailers, the two pieces don't look like they are fibreglassed together. Instead that paste that I was looking at on the inside is in fact what seems to be holding the two pieces together. Which is kind of disappointing since I'm not sure what the best way to repair this is.

Any ideas?

Most obvious fix would be to try to fix all cracks with some similar paste. However the paste or whatever you would call it holding it together seems very hard and cracks when force is applied. So I'm afraid if I were to try to fix the leaking parts then by filling them with something similar then the leak would just appear somewhere else later.

Another idea I had was to remove it bit by bit and fibreglass the two halves together as I go along.

What do you guys think?


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Old 11-02-2019, 09:37 AM   #16
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How much of the interior are you dismantling? To me the perfect solution would be to completely fiberglass together the seam on the inside, then grind, fill, and smooth the outside to completely eliminate the seam.
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Old 11-02-2019, 10:52 AM   #17
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Many good points and not sure if mentioned. When replacing rusted nuts, bolts and screws ; replace with stainless steel or appropriate solid brass Hardware. Manufactures use cheap plated hardware as it all adds up to the cost of building and profit is foremost.
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Old 11-02-2019, 12:31 PM   #18
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How much of the interior are you dismantling? To me the perfect solution would be to completely fiberglass together the seam on the inside, then grind, fill, and smooth the outside to completely eliminate the seam.
I was hoping I wouldn't have to remove much of the insulation and headliner since it's in decent shape for the most part, but I'm leaning towards doing it like you said. I might get away with peeling the headliner upwards from the belly band and removing only the insulation around the belly band. That would at least save me the work of redoing all of the insulation and buying a new headliner for everything.
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Old 11-02-2019, 12:32 PM   #19
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Many good points and not sure if mentioned. When replacing rusted nuts, bolts and screws ; replace with stainless steel or appropriate solid brass Hardware. Manufactures use cheap plated hardware as it all adds up to the cost of building and profit is foremost.
Yes I will definitely be doing that. I already got a habit of doing that from working on motorcycles. But for some reason I always have trouble finding the right screws and bolts that I need here in Iceland
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Old 11-03-2019, 08:36 AM   #20
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Hard work

Seeing all these pictures makes me very happy about my decision to buy a trailer that has already been renovated by someone else!!
(I realize that we will probably find some issues as time goes on, but hopefully they will be little fixes that won't prevent us from using the trailer).
One thing that we have already discovered is that when we turn on the bathroom light switch we have no light, but the outside marker lights all come on!
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