Our '72 Compact Jr. project - Page 4 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 01-25-2010, 05:17 AM   #43
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Well, nothing like a visit from a fellow fiberglass trailer owner to get one motivated! A couple of weeks ago, DanaT dropped by my place with his Compact Jr. He lives half a county away and was researching some service options up our way.

It was GREAT to see the modifications he's made, hear his take on the trailer's design, changes, and care. He has some really neat changes already in place (check out his load lifter for the top), and offered some great safety tips. (I replaced my old hydraulic bottle jacks with a scissor jack and now have jack stands to hold it steady when parked rather than using the tippy old jacks.)

I'm adopting some of his mods, the first of which involves the drop-off at the edge of the floor. Our trailer floors are cut rectangular to drop in between the wheel wells. That's great, except that the area in front of and behind the wheel wells then leave fiberglass exposed to whatever's bouncing around in the storage areas. Further, those items have a tendency to fall or lean off the wooden floor deck onto the 3/4-inch-lower fiberglass. Today I picked up some plastic-lined foam insulation which I'm going to cut to fit in those spaces. I plan to tack it down with the handy-dandy hot glue gun; the contact won't be permanent, which will allow me to make changes if needed, but it will provide enough stick to keep it all together, particularly with all the campin' stuff loaded on top of it.

The voice of experience can also save a LOT Of time. It sure did for me! I asked something or other about the back door windows. He strolled up to mine and proceeded to remove the glass in a SNAP! I'd been putting off my back door project until I had a whole day JUST to figure out how to take the door apart and remove the glass! THANK HEAVENS, Dana got to me before I got out the screwdriver!

This past weekend, I removed and replaced those sliding windows in the back door INNUMERABLE times while I manufactured and installed some new locking/latch mechanisms. He had also shown me how to remove the interior windows - what a TIME saver!

Had a leak in one side window (driver's side), so decided to tackle that one, too. Had learned how to remove and reinstall the whole assembly while on the road last year. MUCH easier in home driveway. Visited the local window store who informed me the butyl tape, while convenient for disassembly, was old school and not really the thing to ensure a tight seal. Stick with silicone, they said. So, after removing the window, cleaning it up and cleaning up the trailer, I put it all back together with a healthy dose of clear silicone. (Note to self and anyone else reading this: next time, use PAINTABLE silicone - it's impossible to keep it off the surfaces which I hope eventually to paint!)

Still leaked!

Checked outside seal and it looked great! Opened window and I could see that water in the channel was tending toward the inside edge because of the trailer lean in our driveway (ever so slight). So it wasnt' full enough to go out the weep holes, but turns out that weeeeee solder that holds together the frame edges wasn't enough to keep the water out. I siliconed the heck out of that very end of the channel (interior) and the other end of same frame. PROBLEM SOLVED! (Now don't I feel silly for finding this AFTER removing and reinstalling the ENTIRE window frame?!)
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Old 01-25-2010, 05:30 AM   #44
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So, the trailer back door window tabs that keep the thing from sliding open when we're going down the road (or provide privacy by keeping it closed when we need it closed) had almost all torn off. Three of four were missing. So it was certainly time to replace them. The problem was two-fold: the tabs were flimsy; there was only a hole on ONE side in the partially-opened position which put undue strain on that single tab

First is the last original tab - the view from inside the trailer:


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And the flip side:


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The new, much beefier tabs. I nibbled out that last one, then slid a newly sliced bit of aluminum tubing (gathered from the local window shop's scrap bin with their blessing) as far into the latch mechanism as possible - about an inch and a half. I also had to widen the holes inside the door frame to fit these new tabs. At the same time, I cut new holes at the midway point so BOTH tabs would be doing full duty whether the window's fully closed or partially open.



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For the record, I have no fancy tools...okay...maybe a couple. But I made due with Craftsman's version of the Dremel tool, and a jigsaw, a hand file, a screwdriver and a hammer.

Thanks, Dana, for the helpful hints!
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Old 01-25-2010, 09:50 AM   #45
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Jen,

Thanks for getting back to me on the J-pin! And here I've been checking every day for a response.... I take it the locking pin is thicker? I guess your original one must have been worn down? (I'm they must all be the same thickness or the locking ones wouldn't fit in normal hitch holes - or am I missing something?)

Isn't it cool to have someone else with the same rig come by? I've had that experience with my car, and it's great to learn some new tricks

Now... can I please come out there and strangle that hardware store clerk who told you to use silicone? Butyl is *not* just "old-school" -- it works amazingly well. And if you did want to be more modern, there are things like polyurethane caulk. Never silicone! I pray that anyone reading this (and you for future windows) gets the message. I rarely post with an absolute about techniques, but.... no silicone! Here are my reasons:

1) It does not do a very good job of sealing; there will be something better for 99.99% of sealing operations (make that 100% on a fiberglass boat or camper).

2) When you have to remove it...

3) Even when it *is* finally gone (or so you think), and you are lying, spent, on the garage floor with every last curse sucked out of you... it's not gone Silicone leaves an insidious, powerful, invisible oil behind that will prevent any future paint, caulk, etc. from adhering properly. Just mention silicone around a car body/paint shop, and watch the pitchforks come out.

Okay, in case you can't tell, I'm not a fan of silicone Now that I got that out of my system, let me reiterate that I love reading about your projects, and .... how fun it would be to have another Boler owner come to visit so we could exchange tips and tricks. Neato!

Raya
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Old 01-25-2010, 11:53 PM   #46
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Hi Jen, I'm glad I was able to help you out. I learned a lot from you as well.

You did a very nice job on the rear window latches. And I thoroughly approve of your idea of adding another hole in the frame so BOTH latches are used when the window is partially open!

The Compact Jr was designed from the get-go as a cheap trailer, so Hunter used inexpensive mass-produced items. The emphasis was on getting the most product for the least money. The windows are standard house windows, which are much cheaper than camper windows. The vertical slider in the rear door was designed to be used in bathrooms and storm doors -- there the latches were adequate (barely), but they certainly are not up to the pounding they get as the trailer dances down the road. So putting in the extra holes to engage BOTH latches really helps to compensate for the extra stress that our trailers subject them to.
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Old 01-26-2010, 12:31 AM   #47
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Quote:
Jen,

Thanks for getting back to me on the J-pin! And here I've been checking every day for a response.... I take it the locking pin is thicker? I guess your original one must have been worn down? (I'm they must all be the same thickness or the locking ones wouldn't fit in normal hitch holes - or am I missing something?)
The old pin and the new pin were both NEW. On the original 45-degree angle pin with the R clip, the hitch rocked a bit. With the curved J-pin sticking back into that secondary hole, then pressing (hard) against the hitch, SQUEEEEEEEZING it in there so it CAN'T rock, it's super sound. Plus, it locks. An extra safety precaution.
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Old 01-26-2010, 12:34 AM   #48
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Now... can I please come out there and strangle that hardware store clerk who told you to use silicone? 80.gif
I'm afraid it's even worse than that, Raya! This was one of the OWNERS of a local window place (not hardware, but windows ONLY) that sells, installs and makes custom windows, and anything glass. (They made the custom shower door we needed to accommodate the county's requirements AND the size of our miniature "master" bathroom at home.)

In other applications (read: Jeep) I've found silicone to be wonderfully water resistant. But, as you say, it's a ...er...ahem....(self-editing)...PAIN to get off! And painting?! I'm probably totally screwed on that end at this point.
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Old 01-26-2010, 02:17 AM   #49
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Well, I do believe that "structural" silicone is used for some large glazing projects (such as on industrial buildings), so perhaps that's why the fellow recommended it to you. However (as you could probably tell ), I'm not a fan when it comes to using it around boats and fiberglass campers, as a caulking product. Maybe the store guy would like to come remove it, and then get rid of the fish-eyes in any future paint


On the hitch pin: I guess I'm going to have to Google up one of those locking pins, because it's clearly not what I was visualizing! Secondary hole....? Okay, I'm behind the times on that one!

Raya
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Old 01-26-2010, 11:05 AM   #50
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Here you go Raya, the receiver has two holes on one side to take the J part.

Bill K

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Quote:
On the hitch pin: I guess I'm going to have to Google up one of those locking pins, because it's clearly not what I was visualizing! Secondary hole....? Okay, I'm behind the times on that one!

Raya
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Old 01-26-2010, 12:26 PM   #51
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Since this is a forum where we all can weigh in what we do I will throw my two cents worth in too, I have posted before on this subject, polite silence is as good an outcome as I can expect I suppose on this one.

Like Raya I am in the trades, in that universe I have learned there is the right way, the best way, the most economical way, the dumb way and the favorite way to do anything, the cheapest way is usually what makes me a bunch of money when people finally get to my door to find out my bill is too high.

I do not want to speak for anyone but myself here, Raya is very correct about what some silicone's can do to paint...Many over the counter silicone's use a cure agent which is corrosive (Acetic acid, methane carboxylic acid; ethanoic acid) most are single part cures with a few being multi-part buffered cures which are more expensive like platinum cure silicone's.

Some cure with air, others can cure underwater.

Its ironic that silicone is spoken as an evil on this site from time to time, in one post I read it "doesn't stick to fiberglass" in another "its awful to get off fiberglass it never lets go" (both quotes are paraphrased) This evil stuff is magical too in its negative talking points...

( The obvious answer to the conflict of info is different people are writing about different situations and possible different silicone's)

In my mind, concerning Raya's correct comment that silicone's can interfere with some paints is a booming burning question for me? (what paint?) (what silicone?)

I would like the information and experience as a foot note to my own set of skills...

A tradesmen who paints is an artist in my book, he/she does not like anything that messes with the work...I have seen my friends go into absolute purple funks when an unknown chemistry problem hit their paint job awfully, and rightly so, its hard, hard detailed work they do.

The three points I would like to make here on silicone is...

(1) Silicone's are not all the same formulations, there are big differences in their chemistry, cure formulations and applications...not just their colors.

(2) Be aware of what you are using and what you use it on...This applies to anything fiberglass. Plastic is a chemistry too...Some of us older F.B.R.V. tubs are not even chemically the same as the younger ones...Paints have also evolved out of some known issues and into other newer issues concerning material incompatibilities. So have silicone sealants and adhesives.

(3) On this subject, one label does not fit all silicone's...The silicone subject is today different within its specific category of uses, this is compounded by its many formulations now so be warned. (which is what I think Raya is doing and wisely so)

I use marine silicone, for fiberglass, as a sealant in some specific areas...I use silicone adhesives too in other areas... A good rule to apply is "know thy stuff".

Personally, I have never had a failure that was not traced to an issue involving my failure to understand the product, either I did not understand its application, or the material I was working on.

There are the products I just like, they are familiar to me, I get a good results every time, the newest product out there cannot hook me...Its personal.

I do not doubt the integrity or accuracy of anyone's experience...I have learned allot from this site. The new silicone bottom boat paints are a trip and have me pulling my hair out...These did not exist until recently, they evolved out of the competition yacht market...There is one class A bus here that is painted in that stuff?

I do well with the correct silicons...I research my applications first...I would like to dispel the total myth that this stuff is useless and submit my satisfactory use of it for consideration here...Do not trust the label though, its there to sell the product in the store...Go to the makers M.S.D. sheets "material safety data" or to the suggested use section of the manufacturer website to check it out.

I use where applicable the below.

http://www.jamestowndistributors.com/userp...ilicone+Sealant

Ready , aim fire!!!

Happy Camping, Safe Trails.
Harry
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Old 02-11-2010, 12:01 AM   #52
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Quote:
Since this is a forum where we all can weigh in what we do I will throw my two cents worth in too, I have posted before on this subject, polite silence is as good an outcome as I can expect I suppose on this one.
(SNIP-SNAP-SNIP!)
Well, you were right, Harry. Crickets. But I DID take your words to heart and have done some research. Thanks for turning me on to Release. I've ordered a bit and will test it out. Will post here what I discover!
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Old 05-06-2010, 03:05 AM   #53
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Finally, back to Junior! Discovered that my rewire project to bring wires off floor (where boxes are dragged) and up onto walls (out of harm's way) didn't actually put them out of harm's way at all! Boxes in the cabinets bounced against the wires and yanked them from their connectors. DANG! Solution? I installed false walls inside the lower cabinets where wires had been exposed.

Using 1"x1" pine, I made an interior frame to which I connected the thinnest boards I could find (I think they're 1/4" at most). I screwed them in place to the existing cabinetry (at top edge) and the new frame at sides and bottom edges. Two screws on each edge of wood for relatively easy removal next time I have to get back to those wires - which I hope is no time soon.

We'll take it on the road next week and test it out - Camping at Refugio State Park north of Santa Barbara all week. Stop by if you have the inclination. I hear there are still lots of available spots, and the wind's supposed to let down as the week progresses.

Next project? The top - re-arching, and new canvas.
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Old 05-06-2010, 10:58 AM   #54
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Refugio State Beach is a BEAUTIFUL location Jen, might have to drop by & say hello just to see your rig in person! hehe

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