Holes through the shell - Fiberglass RV


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Old 12-31-2014, 12:40 AM   #1
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Holes through the shell

OK, I've got a question and I'm SURE I'm going to take some hits with this but I just have to ask. Why are so many people against putting any new holes through a fiberglass shell to make any mods that make it better for how they want to use their trailer to be better for them? Fiberglass has such a small expantion/contraction rate over a metal stick built that to me it's a non issue. Butyl tape and common sence to seal them is so simple. All of the posts I've read talk of old long time installed windows, vents and a few rivets that finally gave out, leaked and caused some damage. After reading 1000's of posts it really doesn't seem that any more than a handfull of folks are trying to keep their trailers box stock which is great.
Anyway, that's my question to the group here. Has anybody really had a problem by putting a few extra holes in their fiberglass shells and had a problem with it ?
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Old 12-31-2014, 05:55 AM   #2
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I had no issues installing several new baggage doors/compartments in my EggCamper. I also drilled a lot of holes for antenna and removable power cord modifications. That said, my EggCamper only had 2 vents in my roof whereas the all of my mod's were on the vertical sides. I feel limiting your horizontal openings will on the long run cause less leak issues than the vertical openings.
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Old 12-31-2014, 06:03 AM   #3
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No hits from my end Dave. Like you said: common sense, proper application, butyl tape all the right stuff and make your trailer your own. I added a shademaker awning and rail with blind rivets to my scamp as I wanted an awning and couldn't afford the one scamp uses. Care and love in the work and I'm happy with my decision as I now have a useable awning on my previously "raw" trailer.

I think some folks like to keep more stock. Scamp certainly uses plenty of rivets, even for curtain rods as you know. Each year or so inspecting rivets by taking off snap caps from ones that don't quite look right seems prudent.

My trailer was in an accident with PO so I had several to replace that weren't sitting right and one above the closet that had been leaking pretty good.

In short if it makes the trailer your own I say go for it. I guess there are things some folks do that a seasoned FG owner should say "whoa horsey" but to my mind this isn't one if them.

I ask questions too and admire and respect you for posting on what can be a touchy topic. Although I've taken many "hits" there's still plenty of great folks here that will advise you in a respectful way, cautioning with grace, and certainly advising no if harm is on it's way.

I don't think modding out your trailer by adding a few things that need rivets should be one of them. Perhaps it also arrives from other trailer manufacturers that glass in wood blocks for stuff ( maybe park liner?). Anyway, Godspeed.


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Old 12-31-2014, 10:40 AM   #4
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It doesn't bother me any. When I removed my curtain rods I put rivets and caps back in the holes so I didn't have to repair them. Same thing when I removed the stupid florescent light fixture over the sink and replaced it with a paper towel holder. Added new holes with rivets and caps and plugged up the unneeded holes with the same. As far as I can tell no one knows the rivet count on a 13 foot Scamp. I would like to find a side hatch for the rear driver-side under bench compartment that I know the hatch wont leak. I am not in the least worried about the hole I cut leaking but worry about the quality of the hatch and lid leaking.
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Old 12-31-2014, 10:46 AM   #5
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It's really a cost-benefit thing. Will the added value of whatever the hole is for outweigh the cost (maintenance & potential leaks/cracks)? And that makes it a very personal decision.

Except this: the nature of molded fiberglass trailers is that they will have a number of owners over their lifespan. So, it makes sense to at least consider how the next person might view your decision. Resale implications are part of the cost-benefit analysis.
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Old 12-31-2014, 11:01 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Borrego Dave View Post
OK, I've got a question and I'm SURE I'm going to take some hits with this but I just have to ask. Why are so many people against putting any new holes through a fiberglass shell to make any mods that make it better for how they want to use their trailer to be better for them? Fiberglass has such a small expantion/contraction rate over a metal stick built that to me it's a non issue. Butyl tape and common sence to seal them is so simple. All of the posts I've read talk of old long time installed windows, vents and a few rivets that finally gave out, leaked and caused some damage. After reading 1000's of posts it really doesn't seem that any more than a handfull of folks are trying to keep their trailers box stock which is great.
Anyway, that's my question to the group here. Has anybody really had a problem by putting a few extra holes in their fiberglass shells and had a problem with it ?
You are absolutely right.
The whole discussion against through the hull fasteners is a strawman argument, and pretty much unfounded nonsense.
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Old 12-31-2014, 11:11 AM   #7
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No hits from me either! Have cut some pretty big holes into the sides and roof of my trailer in order to make it functional for me. No leak issues.
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Old 12-31-2014, 11:37 AM   #8
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Floyd, to call it a strawman argument assumes there is no cost associated with through-hull fasteners. I'll agree that maintenance/leakage issues are overblown, but there are real costs.

Here are two I have experienced: (1) snap caps only last 3-4 years in high-altitude AZ sun, and (2) the protrusions make cleaning and waxing the exterior more work. I don't mind the rivets holding the cabinets, because the value I get from the cabinets far outweighs the nuisance factor. But every time I wax my trailer I do resent having to work around 24 rivets for curtain rod holders.
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Old 12-31-2014, 01:55 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Jon in AZ View Post
Floyd, to call it a strawman argument assumes there is no cost associated with through-hull fasteners. I'll agree that maintenance/leakage issues are overblown, but there are real costs.

Here are two I have experienced: (1) snap caps only last 3-4 years in high-altitude AZ sun, and (2) the protrusions make cleaning and waxing the exterior more work. I don't mind the rivets holding the cabinets, because the value I get from the cabinets far outweighs the nuisance factor. But every time I wax my trailer I do resent having to work around 24 rivets for curtain rod holders.
Every Strawman argument must have a plausible sounding base from which to spring. Your assumption provides that base. The admission that it was overblown knocks out some of the stuffins'.
The strawman still remains, deterring any crow which might constitute an entree for me in this case

There are real costs to anything, overall none less than through the hull construction.
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Old 12-31-2014, 02:48 PM   #10
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I have no problems with drilling holes either, unless they were for stupid stuff from the factory. Like the stinky slinky tube on the front of a Scamp, like that's attractive and all those blasted rivets/snap caps just for curtains. I'm certainly with Jon on THAT one.
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Old 12-31-2014, 07:18 PM   #11
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Nothing wrong with rivets! Do you realize the current state of the art pick up truck is held together with over 2,300 rivets and adhesive? The aluminum bodied 2015 Ford F-150 is 700 to 800 lbs lighter than the 2014 model increasing the payload and mileage. The F-250's will be aluminum by the end of 2015. Chevy and Chrysler are scrambling to do the same. Mercedes is also jumping on the band wagon.

Rivets hold most major buildings, bridges and other structures together and have for a long time.

I've repaired 60 year old airplanes and helicopters using thousands of rivets. I was always amazed how light, strong and versatile they are. Leakproof too, if installed with a little skill, care and craftsmanship. As in anything you do, measure twice and drill once.

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Old 12-31-2014, 09:20 PM   #12
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Smile Rivets ?

Maybe a good question, would be what type of fastener has worked and also looked good in FG inside and outside.
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Old 12-31-2014, 09:40 PM   #13
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I like rivets and I've been proud that with my teeny tiny hands I was able to do something meaningful to me. Yeah I hemmed and hawed and I was nervous to drill into my new trailer but the work with my awning was done with love and care and I think they are a great fastener. I even enjoyed repairing the bad ones - satisfying! Aircraft use them , bridges and other machinery. If the mods make you happy, and they are done to the best of your ability, enjoy! Everyone writing here loves their little trailer, right? Yes! Whoever gets my little baby after I crump can complain all they want about my mods. It won't matter to me cuz I'll be camping with my Lord.


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Old 12-31-2014, 10:15 PM   #14
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Welcome Tom to the forum! I always liked the look of rivets or anything mechanical. I like to see how things are put together. Washing and waxing around rivets and caps just gives me an opportunity to make sure everything is in good order.

Wendy, I always liked your willingness to tackle new things. There's a sense of satisfaction you get when you stand back after a challenging repair, and admire your work. Some will never know that. Happy New Year!!

Tom
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