Karin's Campster Renovation - Page 7 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-03-2016, 12:00 PM   #85
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Originally Posted by k corbin View Post
So tomorrow maybe I should post a recipe for my special cookie dough in the food section? Wood flour and resin. Add flour until the mixture forms a soft dough. Spread with a spatula. It is a self baking recipe. Do not lick the bowl
LOL! Sounds *delicous*!
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Old 07-03-2016, 02:24 PM   #86
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Originally Posted by Patricia D. View Post
As always, impressive work and impressive write up. Looking forward to pics and the recipe.
I will need to make a new door for my trailer. Following from your comments on the weight of your door, if you were constructing a door from scratch, what materials would you use?
"from scratch" I don't believe that is a good way to go. You need specialized aluminum extrusions to make it work properly that are designed to have some strength. Although you might potentially get away with a Z shaped extrusion for the outer door frame and a U Channel extrusion for the door panel edge.Anyway you do have to purchase that material by the foot from a metals supplier. Typically those suppliers are not selling it at an affordable price in small quantities and unless you live in a large city you might not be able to find what you need locally. You also have to find the gasket that works with the set of extrusions you purchase. Then you need to create a panel of a thickness that fits exactly into the extrusion.

You will need to make a jig so you can assemble the extrusions perfectly squared up for the frame.

As to making the door panel it is a sandwich, a ridged foam filler with an overlay on each side. The overlay could be Filon which is a flexible fiberglass material being used as exterior flat panel coating on some trailers and motorhomes. Or you could use aluminum sheet material as an overlay. If you want a painted aluminum panel it is best to purchase one that already has a painted surface as it takes special coatings and primers to get a good paint bond on aluminum and that is much better done in a factory type application.

You will need to source hinges, screws for the hinges, a window, screen and also locks. Then you have to make the appropriate sized cutouts for the window and the lock. You will have to cut a hole in the aluminum frame extrusion for the lock plate.

All in all you can save yourself a whole lot of time, money and frustration by having a door made for you by a company that is all set up with the materials and the assembly fixtures, the cutting tools and the skilled, experienced people.

If your door is not salvageable and the budget is super tight then
it is going to be much easier to fix up a door that is having a few problems rather than to building one from scratch. Or you could find one in good shape from an RV junk yard or craigslist. If it not the perfect size check it out for the potential of cutting it down to size to fit the opening. You can make the Campster door opening several inches wider and an inch or so taller if needed.

Or you could create a lovely carved wood, Gypsy Vardo style door to fit into the opening....That could be my someday, when I am in the right mood to make it, door as I enjoy doing a bit of wood carving now and again and I do know how to make stained glass windows and have the tools for it
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Old 07-03-2016, 02:50 PM   #87
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Trailer: 1980 18' Sunrader Motorhome and 1971 Trails West CampMite Campster
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Originally Posted by shaggydoink View Post
Wow Karin! I spent time reading through your project while sipping my morning coffee, what an amazing job you're doing on this Campster. You've got mad skills and a wonderful attention to detail, very impressive!

Jonathan
Thanks Jonathan, glad it entertained you for the morning. I am enjoying your modification thread as well.
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Old 07-03-2016, 05:58 PM   #88
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Name: Patricia
Trailer: 1975 Ventura
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Sorry, I should have been more explicit in my question. The door frame is more or less salvageable as is the little window.
When the PO bought trailer there was no door, just a wooden screen door. He made one but it is too heavy and too thick for the frame. So far I have found one Texas company that makes custom doors but with exchange etc, it would be about $500.
I am not phased by the thought of having to make the door itself. I was not sure what to use for the skin but the fg panel sounds like it might work. Many of the products used in trailers are unfamiliar to me so it is great to have this help.
I am going to keep my little wooden screen door. It is a novelty.
I think I will leave the carving for another lifetime. I want to get on the road sometime in the fall.
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Old 07-03-2016, 06:06 PM   #89
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Patricia, maybe Fredericks post will give you some ideas how to build your own door, direct link: My Boomerang 1971 Compact Jr.


Now, back to Karin's rehab....
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Old 07-03-2016, 06:31 PM   #90
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Thanks for the link, Donna. You are right, I did not mean the hijack the conversation.
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Old 07-03-2016, 07:22 PM   #91
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Back from my trip, so if any photographs will help, give me a shout. Will be taking the Campster to a shop to re-install the fridge.

Good Job Karin
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Old 07-04-2016, 12:43 AM   #92
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Trailer: 1980 18' Sunrader Motorhome and 1971 Trails West CampMite Campster
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Before I put in the upright wood door frame I needed to install the new floor section that replaced the rotted area. So I mixed up some wood flour and epoxy resin. I was of course just joking yesterday about having a recipe as you just mix up some resin and then stir in wood flour until it is as thick as you need. Generally for this kind of job stir until it is about the consistency of peanut butter. If I am applying it to a vertical surface I make it a stiffer mix so it does not run down the wall. But all the work I was doing today was on a horizontal surface so peanut butter was just about right. There is a gap between the shell and the edge of the floor board I installed so I used my wood flour with resin mix to fill that up to the level of the floor board. You can see that as the lighter stripe by the edge of the opening.

The photo above is the epoxy I am using, Mas is the brand, I am using the medium hardener. The weather is in the mid 60s today so medium takes 4 to 6 hours to harden up to very firm. I do use dispensing pumps. If you have a lot of epoxy fiberglass to do they are very handy. The ratio of is 2:1 so these pumps are calibrated that one push of each creates the perfect mix. You just go back and forth between the two until you have a sufficient amount then stir it up.

So even though I now have a nicely leveled floor that goes all the way to the original level of the door frame cutout I still have problems to solve with the door installation that were created at the factory. The opening was cut to be level with the original floor however the aluminum extrusion of the threshold hits on the top of the center bumper support piece and that tips the threshold up on a slope that goes towards the interior....Oh no my cup will runneth over and will rot the floor should I leave it that way.

There is also another problem with that threshold extrusion installation. I will have not just one but four screws loose! Look at the photo above at the screw hole that is supposed to secure the threshold in place. (actually I set the upper piece down for the photo but it is identical to the lower one) As you can see the screw holes are so low that they won't even penetrate the fiberglass of the shell due to the curvature of the shell.

The solution to my threshold issues is a simple one, I need to raise the threshold up higher by about 1/2" so the screws will have material to grip into and so that the threshold is not tipped at an angle from hitting against the surface of the bumper frame. To do this task of making a threshold I did not want to use a material such as wood as that is an area that is going to be prone to leaks and I don't want to deal with any rot under the threshold. Those corner joins in the extrusion need to have very firm support under the threshold so that they don't come apart. So wood is out, that leaves metal, plastic or fiberglass....or....or.. I could make my own threshold that will be a material that fiberglass cloth will readily stick to, that will strongly bond to the flooring, be structurally strong and it won't rot. Oh yeah, another batch of my cookie dough is just the thing I need. Look everyone, I can make my own composite lumber and it is easy to do

I had some white PVC lumber on hand that is 5/8" thick, that dimension will do nicely for the height of the threshold riser. Fiberglass does not stick very well to PVC especially when you coat the surface with some Johnson's Paste Wax. So my mold the threshold in place frame was very easy to do. I used double sided tape to stick the PVC lumber to the floor. On the outside edge I trimmed the lumber so it matched the height of the pieces on the floor and then pushed it against the shell with another piece of lumber held in place with a couple of clamps. Because my wood flour mix is quite thick it is not going to drain out of any small cracks. There might be a little squeeze out of the resin mix but it will be easy to trim off.

I mixed up my wood flour and resin batch, peanut butter thick, and dropped it into the mold using the stir stick. Just work your way across, bouncing the stick up and down a few times on the blobs you drop in to get them to spread out and completely fill out to the edges and the bottom. I have slightly over filled because I am not sure how much shrinkage might happen. Tomorrow morning I will trim it to level and flush with the top surface of the form. How I will trim it to flush depends on how hard it is in the morning. Then I can remove the mold pieces get on to the next steps in the doorway modification.

Have a great 4th of July holiday!!!
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Old 07-04-2016, 04:42 PM   #93
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My molded in place DIY composite threshold is done. I have put a contrasting piece of blue tape on the floor in the photo above so it is easier to distinguish the wood colored threshold from the wood floor. I had a little more sanding than I hoped for as there was no shrinkage during curing. As you can see at the outside edge it did make a smooth transition to the outside surface of the shell. The screws that hold on the aluminum door frame will now have plenty of material to grip into. There is no flex in that threshold when you step on it I still have a layer of fiberglass to apply to the outside of the shell around the door frame area as there was a crack in that lower left hand corner of the entry. Well I consider that little project a success....but wait for it....we are not yet done problem solving for this area of the door way threshold, this fix on its own is not enough to solve the problems of the frame breaking apart at the corners.

So now I have yet another issue to solve before the lower aluminum extrusion can sit well supported on the threshold. This time the problem lies with the extrusion itself. Look above at the cross section photo of the extrusion. I have represented the top surface of threshold base I just created in the color blue, my DIY composite is of course thicker in section and the extrusion is formed at 90 degrees, I was photographing at an angle. The inside edge simply does not have adequate support for resting on top of the threshold base. There is only a 1/8" wide edge at the outside edge of the frame for it to be supported on. That is ridiculous because that is next to nothing for support. If anyone steps onto that edge is going to rotate downwards which puts a lot of stress on the screws just below that edge and if those give way, which over time will happen, then the joints at the corners of the frame will break and of course that will cause a leak.

Fortunately the fix is very easy to do. You just need to add a filler strip into the extrusion that is the approximate height and width of the channel under that frame piece that rest on the threshold. A piece of aluminum bar stock that is 1/4" thick and 3/4" wide is a good solution and it is easy to find at hardware stores or places such as Home Depot. Cut it to length, use a small amount of epoxy under the bar stock filler inside the extrusion channel to keep it in place when you are doing the door installation. It is hard enough to install a door without parts falling out while you are working. The door frame will be bedded onto a marine bedding compound or thin butyl tape when it is set in place so it is OK if the filler strip is a few thousandths too high or a little bit too narrow for filling up the channel.

Johnathan mentioned my having wicked skills. I think the most wicked skill that everyone needs in any kind of renovation work is to be able to do "if then thinking" as in if someone steps on the outside edge of the aluminum threshold extrusion what is going to happen?

Or another version of it is "why did that happen" as in why did the joints in the lower corners of the door frame have broken welds and why did the corners of the fiberglass shell fracture at the upper and lower corner of the door lock side of the frame. If I do not solve these underlying issues of structural support I will soon have more leaks.

Now I am ready to move forward with bonding my wood door frame in place. After that I will add more fiberglass to the outside of the shell around the doorway. Eventually there will also be a "how I will attempt to support an entry assist handle in a very thin fiberglass shell". But those are for future episodes of "Karin's Campster Renovation".
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Old 07-06-2016, 02:35 AM   #94
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No I did not get the wood door frame support epoxied in place today.
I have the best excuse ever....the dog ate my last mixing container
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Old 07-06-2016, 04:53 AM   #95
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Have not heard that since the school days. From the pic it looks like the pooch was just nibbling. Sure you weren't just taking an extra day off for the forth of July weekend .
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Old 07-06-2016, 09:27 AM   #96
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Originally Posted by k corbin View Post
"from scratch" I don't believe that is a good way to go. You need specialized aluminum extrusions to make it work properly that are designed to have some strength. Although you might potentially get away with a Z shaped extrusion for the outer door frame and a U Channel extrusion for the door panel edge.Anyway you do have to purchase that material by the foot from a metals supplier. Typically those suppliers are not selling it at an affordable price in small quantities and unless you live in a large city you might not be able to find what you need locally. You also have to find the gasket that works with the set of extrusions you purchase. Then you need to create a panel of a thickness that fits exactly into the extrusion.

You will need to make a jig so you can assemble the extrusions perfectly squared up for the frame.

*snipped for brevity*
It's actually not as difficult as all that. People who build their own trailers make their own doors quite often with materials that are readily available from big box or hardware stores without having all the issues you mention.
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Old 07-06-2016, 10:48 AM   #97
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Old 07-06-2016, 10:53 AM   #98
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It's actually not as difficult as all that. People who build their own trailers make their own doors quite often with materials that are readily available from big box or hardware stores without having all the issues you mention.
I did say you could make it with Z shaped extrusion and U channel. I guess you missed that sentence, it was buried in the middle section. But Z channel is not a common hardware store item although you can create it from two sections of L shaped angle.
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