Oh my door.. with pictures - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-25-2013, 07:20 PM   #1
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Name: Cathy
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Oh my door.. with pictures

I have posted several times with questions about our door problem. Thought I had figured out how to repair...but now, I don't think so. I will make explanation then paste pics below.

It was made by PO.. two pieces of 1/4" plywood glued together with the inner layer smaller than the outer then encased in a layer of FG. The door has delaminated at the top and bottom. The fiberglass has separated from the door, and the bottom of the door has some rot. There is a duct tape repair that was painted over on the bottom of the door as well.

2 pieces of 1x (painted white) are attached to hold the curve in the door.

The door curve seems OK from the upper hinge to within 18" of the bottom of the door.

As I began prepping the door for my intended "fix" I realized that the curves were more of a problem than I originally thought. (it bows in from side to side) and the braces don't bend the door enough at the top half of the door.

I may still be able to use the following method on the bottom of the door if I can figure out a way to get the top right!

Cut 3" x 5" holes in the door above the repair, this will allow the fiberglass to laminate to itself when I work one side of the door then the other.
Rivet a piece of sheet metal bent to the correct bottom curve to the outside of door then build the door up with fiberglass using the metal as a form till I get a decent thickness. . Then remove the metal and build up the outside beyond the delamination, fairing it in to the original door.

then spray foam around the edges of the door then cut it away from the edge of the door to allow the door to seal and trimming it down to a thickness of about an inch...creating a square "bump" that runs the perimeter of the door that will recess into the door way. Then glassing over the foam bump to adhere it to the inside of the door as well as reinforce the curve.

My plan for the top of the door. was...... cut additional braces to extend to the top of the door and attach on the inside extending the braces that are there, forcing the curve back into the upper section of door.

However, I have done some test braces and can get the curve up and down untill I get to the top... because existing braces do not put enough curve in the upper part of the door. That means that the top two inches of the door must be too extreme to bring them inside the outer edge of the door way. This causes the corners to flair..even when I brace the side to side curve. Since I can't brace the top 2 inches of the door because of the door overlap, I can't see a way to correct without removing the original braces and shimming or recutting them to a proper curve. .


Well then I'm essentially rebuilding the whole door. And if there is going to be a new door then it will have a window and NO wood. Even if we could find someone to build a door, cost is a factor. My intention was to patch up this door to keep out the water and bugs then at a later date replace with a new door.

Any thoughts or ideas?

see pics
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Old 08-25-2013, 08:31 PM   #2
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Name: bob
Trailer: 1984 u-haul ct13; 1996 Casita 17 Spirit Deluxe; 1946 Modernistic teardrop
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I'm not familiar with this brand trailer so not sure what the door has to look like, but it sounds like what you have to do is build a curved door that is similar to building a hatch on the rear of a teardrop trailer. When we restored our vintage teardrop I had to rebuild the hatch. I made the curved wood ribs out of 5/8" plywood (happened to have some, you could use 1/2") cut them to the required curve and screwed and glued two of them together for better rigidity, ending up with 4 new ribs. Used .040 aluminum on the inside and outside. The inner aluminum is screwed to the ribs, the outer is riveted at the top and bottom to the inner aluminum. Is this a method that you could use to build a new door. May take some trial & error, cardboard or thin luan to make a mockup. filing or power sanding the ribs. I made a whole set of ribs, didn't like the fit, started over. If you don't like the idea of aluminum as a finished door, paint it or fiberglass over it. You can make wood inserts to fasten a door latch or frame for a window and a place to fasten the hinges. I've been in a couple Scamps that had a plain simple inside latch, same as we have on our teardrop, and readily available. Sounds like you have a time consuming project there, so take your time, explore the alternatives, and figure out what will work the best. Or is it possible to repair what you have by making a form and laying fiberglass cloth and resin. I repaired the top to a small cargo trailer by making wood ribs and fiberglassing and screwing them in place. The top looked like the old boxy Sears X-cargo roof carriers.
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Old 08-25-2013, 08:51 PM   #3
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I have contemplated building a new door myself. Im afraid I will be a little over my head.

I have a question, ? if I made a fiberglass panel using an old sliding glass door by laying up some mat and cloth, do you know how thick I could make it and how much I could bend it without it cracking?
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Old 08-25-2013, 08:53 PM   #4
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Cat
The 1/4 plywood even though flexible because of the cross grains it wants to lay flat. They make a plywood called flexi-ply that all the grains run in the same direction and it is easy to bend but I don't know the cost and availability.
The next best thing is to make your own curved plywood. First make new braces using the door frame as a pattern. Then cut some thin lauan to fit the door opening. Hold the Lauan to the opening and trace the inside opening. Then temp. attach the lauan to the braces with small screws and fit the door and braces to opening. Don't place the brace away from the hinge side too close to the edge of the door opening or it won't swing open.
After you are have made adjustment and you are happy with the fit and curve remove the screws, glue and screw the braces back in place. (Gorilla glue is strong and fast setting.)
Now start laminating more sheets of lauan to your door using your door as the cut pattern. I would use epoxy resin with fast setting hardner as your glue. You can get a bunch of small spring clamps from harbor freight to clamp the edges. Also use saran wrap on your clamp jaws to prevent them from getting stuck. Repeat until you reach the desired thickness. Also once you start using epoxy resin you have to stay with epoxy resin.
Just another option.
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Old 08-25-2013, 08:53 PM   #5
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Bob,

Forgot to say thank you for your post. Good suggestions.
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Old 08-25-2013, 08:59 PM   #6
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Thanks Eddie,

Would you by any chance know the answer to this question?


" if I made a fiberglass panel using an old sliding glass door by laying up some mat and cloth, do you know how thick I could make it and how much I could bend it without it cracking?"
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Old 08-25-2013, 09:19 PM   #7
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Just like the plywood if it was laid up flat it wants to live flat. It needs to be laid up with the curve of the door. The thickness is determined by the weight and type of cloth being used.
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Old 08-25-2013, 09:28 PM   #8
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Eddie,

There is a product called bendable birch that sounds similar to the Flexi-ply?

If the fiberglass "skin" was laid up very thin then bent then more lay up on the inside, is that sounding more doable? I really don't want a wood door.
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Old 08-26-2013, 08:07 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Cat futrell View Post
Thanks Eddie,

Would you by any chance know the answer to this question?


" if I made a fiberglass panel using an old sliding glass door by laying up some mat and cloth, do you know how thick I could make it and how much I could bend it without it cracking?"
My guess is that you could make the initial sheets 1/16" or so on the glass door and bend them to the correct contour by attaching to braces. This would give you a nice flat finish on the outside. Then build up additional layers around the braces until you have adequate thickness. Add a second skin on the inside and finish the edges.


Another option is to buy fiberglass sheets already made up.
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Old 08-26-2013, 12:19 PM   #10
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Tom,

How thick would you make the door? I guess a window would determine this in some part.

I think I may be over my head, if I am going to install a window then I must frame that within the bracing, the door latch concerns me, and most of all..the hinges. I have repaired house doors and done hinge adjustments but this is a whole different animal. How to insure that the door will support it's weight at the hinges and the placement of the hinges to insure proper movement of the door.

Just call me scaredy cat!
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Old 08-26-2013, 12:26 PM   #11
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Just a couple more random thoughts here, can you frame up the door opening in a way that you can make a flat door and not have to deal with a curved one. If you decide to do a window check ebay to see what may be available. You may find some ideas on the tnttt site for door construction as there are many members over there building campers. And finally, is it best to bail out of this trailer and find something better needing less work.
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Old 08-26-2013, 12:49 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Cat futrell View Post
Tom,

How thick would you make the door? I guess a window would determine this in some part.
I'd get the window first. On my UHaul, the FG thickness is 0.090". I'd make the door at least 3" thick in total to give it strength

Quote:
I think I may be over my head, if I am going to install a window then I must frame that within the bracing, the door latch concerns me, and most of all..the hinges. I have repaired house doors and done hinge adjustments but this is a whole different animal. How to insure that the door will support it's weight at the hinges and the placement of the hinges to insure proper movement of the door.

Just call me scaredy cat!
I don't blame you , this is a complex project. Maybe Bob's suggestion of modifying it so a flat door works is more practical. These doors are expensive, but bargains can be found, especially if you are creating the opening to fit.

Examples: http://www.ebay.com/itm/CAMPER-ENTRY...b0cee8&vxp=mtr


http://www.ebay.com/itm/RV-CAMPER-EN...b697e2&vxp=mtr
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Old 08-26-2013, 02:16 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by mary and bob View Post
And finally, is it best to bail out of this trailer and find something better needing less work.
Too late, we had to make that decision some time ago... some of that story I posted yesterday in a thread called "Hi I'm Kathleen"
We have completely redone this Bug..except the door.

We didn't realize that the door was going to be such a problem. At one point we had found someone to do a new door. When that fell through...I did some experimenting, kerfing the outside of the door then screwing bent metal strips to the top of the door pulling in the edges...then fiberglass over it all. Thought that some thin plywood and flashing would get the bottom closed up. Just good enought to get camping.

....Thought it would work, till I figured out it wouldn't. Lol

Then, at a later date have a "real" door made. Never planned to redo a real door myself.

I've been thinking about trying some Visqeen and Duct tape. If I thought we could get it down to road safely without a door I might try it.
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Old 08-26-2013, 03:09 PM   #14
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Tom,

Good suggestions Tom, thanks for the links.. For someone in my situation this probably sounds impractical. One of the things that I love about this camper is the smooth egg shape, so organic. We have invested so much in this project. I don't like the way the flat doors look. I will pull it around with big fiberglass repair spots, I just don't want to settle on the door.

You have made very good "door build" suggestions, that I had not thought of. I guess I will have to cogitate on this for a while and do some more homework.

Maybe the boat repair people are starting to slow down and we can hire an expert to do it, or mentor me.

Need to call couple of window shops and find out if the door window can be made. it is a pretty simple design. Haven't spent much time on that research, I was expecting a repair rather than a new door build.

Another member sent pictures of his Love Bug in original condition and I saw the door window. I can't put my hands on it right now but it is made exactly like the windows that are in ours. I am attaching a pic. If it looks familiar to you please let me know.

It is so nice robe able to brainstorm and bounce ideas around. Thanks so much for the input. Don't hesitate to continue comments and ideas.

Thank You,
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