Rucio's Winter Makeover - Page 4 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 02-05-2012, 04:31 PM   #43
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Jen, that new lockset looks fabulous! Any inside pictures to show what had to be done for best fit?
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Old 02-05-2012, 04:36 PM   #44
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hi jen---wow! a ton of work but looking sooo good so far. can't wait to see the next phase!
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Old 02-05-2012, 05:14 PM   #45
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Today's big job was: insulation. SPRAY FOAM. Yep, we did that.

I thought and thought about how much of a PITA it was going to be trying to jam foam sheets or reflectix in the hard to get to spaces around the trailer, and decided that it was worth investigating some of the actual properties of spray foam. I did a couple of experiments with latex foam and discovered that this what I would call "cautious" formulation would not pose a problem at all inre fears of the foam blowing the hulls apart with the force of its expansion. When I sprayed it into a little cardboard box that some Allegra allergy meds had been packaged in, nothing exploded. I thought if the foam wasn't going to wreck a weakly pasted paper box, it wasn't going to wreck a trailer.

I started by taping a 20-ish length of vinyl hose to the spray foam nozzle to extend the reach, and set about trying to fill the considerable volume of the hollow door. After dumping 3 cans into the door and seeing that it barely filled the bottom, I decided that the latex foam was just not going to cut it. So we switched to Great Stuff foam in the window & door version, blue can. This is the kind that cures soft and flexible, not super hard and powdery, but has better expansion properties than the latex type foam.

Anyway, it did the trick. We actually found that shortening the vinyl hose extender to about 10 inches gave us more control over where the foam was going. In order to direct the foam into the many hard to reach places between the Burro hulls that were not easily accessible from the open areas under the seating cubbyholes and from behind the kitchenette, we drilled several very ugly holes into the inner wall, mainly along the ceiling and front corners. Well, we'll patch those up, no big deal, including the one that accidentally went all the way through to the outside (oops).

The reason we are doing this job now, before painting, is that I realized while the camper is still mostly white (except for the areas that have been Bondo'ed and primered) we could use a strong shop light to shine against the outside hull to illuminate the empty air pockets, taking advantage of the slightly transluscent nature of the glass and gelcoat. My theory was that the foam would obscure the light from the inside as the foam covered the space. And sure enough that worked as a strategy for making sure we were getting decent coverage.

And here is the key thing about this spray foam: as long as it has a place to go, it will get out of its own way. In this window & door flexible-cure formula, there's just not enough force in the foam expansion to affect the fiberglass trailer walls. Now, if I were spraying it into a space where there was no exit and exceeded available volume, that could potentially be a problem, especially with a harder-curing foam. But in a Burro - and probably also in Uhaul and similar trailers - there are no sealed off spaces in the air space between the hulls.

What the foam does is travel around to fill the available space, and when that runs out it squelches in a very messy, ugly way from the nearest opening. That could be the hole I was spraying into, or some other gap. So the inside of my trailer now looks like it has been in a neon colored horror film, but that will all sand off.

One more note: if you try this at home, I have a couple of recommendations because it's about the messiest job ever. I trashed a hat and my otherwise useful cotton-duck coveralls because of the excess foam that was goobering out all over the place. So if I did this again I'd wear those tyvek painting coveralls and a hat I didn't want any more. Uh, I put the hat on AFTER a couple of gobs of foam dripped into my hair from ceiling holes....Great Stuff, not great in your hair, actually. Also, very sturdy protective gloves are useful for this stuff, too.

Well, some photos of the carnage.
Attached Thumbnails
insulating 4.jpg   insulating 3.jpg  

insulating 2.jpg   great stuff.jpg  

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Old 02-05-2012, 06:06 PM   #46
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Donna, nawww, I wasn't around when my dad did the door re-engineering, so alas, no photos of that process.
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Old 02-05-2012, 07:09 PM   #47
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Originally Posted by jen b View Post
Donna, nawww, I wasn't around when my dad did the door re-engineering, so alas, no photos of that process.
Ah shoot.. such is life.

Nice hair Jen
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Old 02-05-2012, 07:27 PM   #48
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Jen, cool door latch, that chrome really pops. I like the foam idea, I'm glad it worked. With that stuff in, you'll be able to heat up the trailer with just your body heat. The foam in hair reminded me of when I was under the trailer fiberglassing, I ended up with a short hair cut to get that junk out.
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Old 02-05-2012, 07:36 PM   #49
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Brought back some memories, Jen, of pouring an early non-aerosol version of isocyanate foam into holes in a molded fiberglass rudder. I forget what we were trying to accomplish but it was the last we did without althread tie rods thru the sides of the shell. It does need an escape route and can/or could then block itself such that some of the thus far unexpanded syrup badly distorted the walls of the rudder.

That Fastec paddle latch with the new reveal looks great. Your dad is fond of the plastique!

jack
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Old 02-05-2012, 08:03 PM   #50
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Hi Jen: Just wanted to let you know how much I am enjoying watching your redo. Please keep the pictures coming.
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Old 02-05-2012, 08:14 PM   #51
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Thanks guys. Jack, my dad and I both feel like there's nothing we can't do with some fiberglass cloth and resin. I might build myself a yurt or something next with it.

Next step: sanding down the unholy mess we made today, patching all the new holes, and doing the final bits of sanding before spraying on the paint primer all over. THEN....just a leeeeetle more sanding. Gawd, I think my arms are going to fall off.

We're hoping to have it to the body shop for painting by the end of this month. On my way home back to Philadelphia tomorrow I'm going to drop in to pick out my colors out of the thousands of options and discuss what sort of primer we ought to use.

After this endless paint prep, the jobs are going to get less filthy and will go a lot more quickly. Can't wait for those.
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Old 02-05-2012, 09:59 PM   #52
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Very nice and thourough job you are doing, Jen!
I like watching the progress!
Kudos to your dad, I've done my fair share of fiberglass work and it's not a walk in the park. More like a walk in the briars!
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Old 02-06-2012, 11:14 AM   #53
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Jen, just curious where you learned to do fiberglassing? I mignt need to know when I get my FG trailer. I really envy your knowledge.
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Old 02-06-2012, 05:20 PM   #54
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Laura, before we started my dad knew a little about working on fiberglass and I knew exactly nothing. We just jumped in and started figuring it out - you can, too! It's not super difficult, just very messy. It also helps that the can-do spirit is the way of our people, and the truck full of tools doesn't hurt, either.
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Old 02-06-2012, 05:58 PM   #55
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I'll offer a couple of tips.
1) ALWAYS wear a respirator when sanding/grinding fiberglass. Or at least the very best dust mask you can find. Once in your lungs, it never goes away.
2) Long sleeves a head rag and eye wear will help with the itching.
3) Nylon hose can remove some of the particles on your skin.
4) Fiberglass is your foundation -don't make it less than 3 layers thick. Smooth it up with either bondo or similar "plastic".
5) A good two-part primer is a must (ask you automotive paint dealer).
6) Take your time, it requires proper curing.
7) (This should be number one) Read all the directions!
8) Sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labor!
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Old 02-07-2012, 10:11 PM   #56
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Way to go Jen B. And Dad :-)
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