Crack "Through and Through" Hatchway - Fiberglass RV


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Old 01-08-2014, 12:54 PM   #1
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Name: Jimmy
Trailer: 1981 Scamp 13'
Alabama
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Crack "Through and Through" Hatchway

Hi Folks!
I am a newbie to the F/G camper world.
I just purchased a 1981 Scamp 13 a couple of weeks ago and as soon as the "Blizzard of 2014" scoots up towards the Artic again I will begin work.
Of course living in Mobile,Al. we don't get this kind of weather very often and quite frankly I find it sorta invigorating, but only for a day or so...lol.
I am just trying to get a handle on how to address the issue of repairing the 7" cracked fiberglass above the hatchway. I am thinking that I should use "woven roving" to do the job but at this time I am a little hesitant. Is there anyone in this forum that may have had or know of someone who had a similar problem. Any suggestions will be appreciated
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Old 01-08-2014, 01:10 PM   #2
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First place I would look at is the floor support for the hinge side of the door opening. it looks like the door opening is sprung too wide. Getting the shell pulled back in place is where you start. Once you get the shell back in place the gaps should close up. Then I would clean the inside down to clean fiberglass and use your woven roving and Epoxy making the repair rather large. Maybe a foot or so. Then I would grind and feather the out side and lay down some lighter 6 to 9 oz fabric. Then grind this up to reshape and then do minor fill work with autobody filler. Then its on to gelcoat or paint.
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Old 01-08-2014, 01:41 PM   #3
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Name: Jimmy
Trailer: 1981 Scamp 13'
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Crack "Through and Through" Hatchway

Thanks Steve!
Do you think I should "Work" both sides of crack or will the outside be sufficient?
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Old 01-08-2014, 02:32 PM   #4
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Do the major repair under the headliner where the reinforcement doesn't have to be over worked to hide it. Do the cosmetic work on the outside just making the surface flush and new. That way you wont have a big hump to hide. The fiberglass shell is so thin you want a big patch to spread the load away from the crack. Hide it that under the headliner is the way to go. Make sure you find the end of the crack and drill a hole so the crack doesnt continue. Then epoxy away.
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Old 01-08-2014, 02:39 PM   #5
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Thanks Steve!
You The Man! I'll post pix of finished work when done...
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Old 01-08-2014, 08:48 PM   #6
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I have to ask, how did this happen? We've seen similar cracks because of a broken frame....
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Old 01-08-2014, 11:25 PM   #7
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I think Donna's right.
There is no apparent surface damage to the aluminum drip cap or surrounding area to explain the fracture.
The door is not even close to fitting properly.
It appears the section of the floor between the door and the tongue has a definite problem.

Don't waste your time and money until you find the real problem.

Good luck,
John
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Old 01-09-2014, 11:30 AM   #8
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Name: RogerDat
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Make sure that the outer shell is fiberglass tabbed to the floor. Look along the edge of the floor you should see where fiberglass and cloth are run along like tape to join the shell to the floor.

Moisture can cause the wood floor to soften allowing the fiberglass to pull loose from the floor. Shell will distort if not anchored to floor. Moisture that gets in will tend to find the downhill edge. Door and front window are potential access points for moisture.

Might also want to confirm frame is solid at the joints, no cracked welds etc. and not bent. Just stretch a string along frame or use a known straight edge laid along the frame across points to check for bending.
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Old 01-09-2014, 02:00 PM   #9
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Fiberglass doesn't crack unless stress gets concentrated at a particular point. If a tree fell on your trailer, that would be one thing, but, absent a similar explanation, the only reason front, top edge of an FG trailer's door would crack like that is because the lower front edge of the door frame isn't being supported properly.

In other words, that tear is a symptom, not the disease. Either your plywood trailer floor has rotted out or the frame that supports it has failed. If you repair the tear, but don't fix the disease, not only will the problem come back, but may have made it harder to resolve the source of the problem because your tear repair will have fixed your door-frame's geometry to reflect your sagging floor.
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Old 01-09-2014, 03:13 PM   #10
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There is also a square tube on the inside riveted along the hinge side of the door opening. At least on my older Scamp. Is that tube there, and does it seem firmly attached?

Tube stiffens and supports the hinge side of the door opening. It should be a tight form fit to the trailer shell. I could see getting some door frame sag that would stress the fiberglass if that tube was not there or riveted tight. The rivets that I see on mine are not especially heavy duty.

Of course if the tube is pulling the rivets out it could be an additional symptom rather than the cause. Stress from some other source causing the tube to pull away from the wall.
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Old 01-09-2014, 06:44 PM   #11
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Name: Jimmy
Trailer: 1981 Scamp 13'
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Hi Folks,
Thanks for the further input. AS I stated in my first post that I just purchased it a couple of weeks ago and I really haven't had the opportunity to really go over the trailer. I got this camper really, really on the cheap but knowing the popularity of this camper I went ahead and bought it knowing full well that I might be buying a "Can of worms" with the crack and all. Everything in the camper is there except three of the back cushings. That said with the help of you good folks here I have a reasonable expectation that I can repair it. I asked the dealer who sold it to me if he knew anything about it and he said he did not. The previous owner from Michigan drove it down to Foley,Al loaded with stuff and bought another RV and this was a trade-in. I can only conjecture that maybe he might have had the door open and he might have backed into something which caused the crack. I did look at the frame and it seemed straight. It does not appear to have any rot on the floor anywhere. The top hinge has "Crazing" around it which suggests to me that maybe the door got in the way of something. I just don't know. It is going to get a lot warmer here on Saturday and I will give it a good going over. The square tubing on the inside of the door is there but there is a gap between the tubing and the inside wall. Not much about 1/4" - 1/2" seperation on the top 3rd and it is tight the rest of the way down.
Again I want to say thanks for the helpful suggestions from y'all and I will post more info as the work progresses.
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Old 01-09-2014, 07:57 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Mr Jimmy View Post
Hi Folks,
Thanks for the further input. ....
It does not appear to have any rot on the floor anywhere. The top hinge has "Crazing" around it which suggests to me that maybe the door got in the way of something. I just don't know....

The square tubing on the inside of the door is there but there is a gap between the tubing and the inside wall. Not much about 1/4" - 1/2" seperation on the top 3rd and it is tight the rest of the way down.

Again I want to say thanks for the helpful suggestions from y'all and I will post more info as the work progresses.
It does not have to be actual "rot" just enough moisture for long enough to soften the top layer of the plywood floor along the edge so that the fiberglass resin loses it's grip.

Should be no gap on that bar it runs tight against the wall. Could have pulled away as you suggest from trauma to the door as well as the other causes mentioned. The rivets for that bar come in from the outside edge of the door frame. Behind or next to the door seal.

I envy you the warmer temps soon to be in your area, my poor egg is looking sooo forlorn covered in snow. I do have a path cleared to the door, ever the optimist that I might get out there and fiddle with something.
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Old 01-09-2014, 08:08 PM   #13
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You may find this detailed post with pictures useful. http://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/f56/improving-door-fit-due-to-body-sag-34620.html

And this advanced search results for Door crack has some good posts from people that have dealt with this issue.
http://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/misc.php?cx=partner-pub-7757781251671730%3A1711682889&cof=FORID%3A9&do=goo gle_search&q=Door+crack&sa=Go
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Old 01-10-2014, 12:33 PM   #14
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Thanks Roger! May the Warm weather find you soon!
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