First Fiberglass RV: 1972 Trail Mite - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-19-2012, 01:16 AM   #1
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Name: Zach
Trailer: Trail Mite
California
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First Fiberglass RV: 1972 Trail Mite

About 4 months ago I bought a 1972 Trail Mite site unseen off Ebay. After driving halfway across California to pick it up it has been spending most of it's time taking up space in my driveway. I've spent the last couple months arming myself with knowledge from the forums, and last week finally decided it was time to get started on the project. I felt that the original fiberglass interior components were too beat up to attempt to restore, and the mechanicals were in desperate need of an overhaul, so I started by completely gutting the interior.

The Good News: No rot in the plywood floor, frame is solid, and none of the interior was glassed in so removing it all was fairly easy

The Bad News: There are about a 1000 holes from old rivets that will need to be patched, and the previous owner decided to patch about half of these with silicone, should be fun

My plan is to replace the 5 windows, patch the 1000 holes, rebuild the interior with cabinet grade plywood, install all new mechanicals, paint inside and out, and hopefully by spring take it camping.
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Old 09-19-2012, 05:17 AM   #2
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Hi Zach, welcome to FiberglassRV. We're glad you're here

If you've been reading much, you know we love pictures
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Old 09-19-2012, 10:12 AM   #3
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Congrat's! Glad you joined us!



Do post pic's. We like pic's of even of glass waiting to be brought back to life! Document your progress, you won't regret it! Good Luck with your project.
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Old 09-19-2012, 12:09 PM   #4
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Fun project. It takes quite a bit of work, but you'll enjoy the process.

Since you plan to repaint, here's my thought for your silicone plugged holes:
Get a hole saw bit slightly bigger than the silicone, drill it out. Fix with bondo glass or resin+glass cloth.

I repaired all existing opening in my trailer this way prior to painting. All openings smaller than an inch or so can be fixed flawlessly, with this technique. Large openings can be done too, but they require other tricks to get the surface to blend flawlessly.
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Old 09-29-2012, 12:21 AM   #5
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I'm finally getting around to posting some pictures. These aren't exactly before pictures, but not much has been done, so you can get the idea of what the trailer looked like when I got it.

First is the front and curbside view. The green splotches along the eyebrow are my first batch of fiberglass resin patches.



Next is the street side view



Finally the rear, the lights are new, the old ones didn't work, and the trailer was missing a spare tire mount, so that is also new.

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Old 09-29-2012, 02:35 AM   #6
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Stupid question? Probably.... Why is it bad to use silicone? I tried to search the forum for an answer but it was too difficult to weed through the posts. Thank you!
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Old 09-29-2012, 02:51 AM   #7
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Kris- The biggest problem with silicone is that paint or pretty much anything else doesn't stick to it. Since I'm painting my camper, any trace of silicone will make a spot were the paint will just refuse to adhere. It is also very difficult to remove if you ever need to get a clean surface for another reason, say installing new windows or replacing a vent. Butyl tape is much better product to use for sealing, easy to remove and works just as well as silicone without the mess. All sealants will eventually fail, when they do fail I for one would like something that is easy to remove so that I can easily re-seal.
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Old 09-29-2012, 06:35 AM   #8
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Silicone... the Devil's BANE... ACCCCCK.

Read this thread, good info: Butyl Tape, Silicone and sealing

to remove silicone, read this info: http://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/f...tml#post299447
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Old 09-29-2012, 07:56 AM   #9
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Trailer: 1973 Hunter Compact II
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Silicone sealer has one great feature, it shows you where to start looking for leaks. Unfortunately a leak in one place on a silicone sealed window can let water channel under it and travel to yet another place before it gets inside.

And on roof vents, as it ages, it starts to peel up on the front edge and you start seeing the first roof leaks after driving in the rain, usually some 200-300 miles from home.

Just a few days ago I had to remove a side window on our 1994 Lil' Bigfoot, that still had the factory (?) silicone seal over the putty tape. As I started to pull off the silicone it came off in 2-3 long ribbons, with almost no adhesion to the fiberglass remaining. This means that I, basically, had about 100+ water entry points just waiting for the next rain.


I know that any number of builders (did I say Scamp?) use (and even sell) silicone caulking, but they only have to worry about it when the coach is new and for the first year or so of any warranty, after that it's the customer/owners problem.
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Old 09-29-2012, 12:10 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KCan View Post
Stupid question? Probably.... Why is it bad to use silicone? I tried to search the forum for an answer but it was too difficult to weed through the posts. Thank you!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Donna D. View Post
Silicone... the Devil's BANE... ACCCCCK.


Kris, as you can see Donna D is our resident Silicone Hate'er ! (but she's right , so hopefully you can get a chance to read the links she provided)



Search clue! A tip I read from a member (sorry, don't know who it was) here and it works so much better for searching the forum.

The member suggested to google your question topic with the words fiberglassrv.com in the search query!

It works so much better than using the search box here!

Example, Google, Silicone fiberglassrv.com and google will take you to post with the Silicone topics. Rather than every dang post ever posted. Hope you find it works for you as well.


Also works for lost post, that you remember the topic but can't find. Adding a members name to the google search really defines it better as well.

Example- if say member, GlassDude (don't think there is such a member! ) posted a post on installing windows in a trailer and you remember the post, but can't find it and need the original info. You can google, GlassDude window installation fiberglassrv.com and it should take you directly to the original post.
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Old 09-29-2012, 06:48 PM   #11
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That looks like the trailer I saw at Oatman, AZ last winter.
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Old 09-29-2012, 07:13 PM   #12
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Zach, did you fill in the running lights that were along the eyebrow in the front (and rear)?
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Old 09-29-2012, 09:15 PM   #13
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Trailer: Trail Mite
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Byron- This one had been parked in somebody's back yard for years in Southern California.

Donna- I did fill the mounting holes for the running lights for two reasons.

One: the running lights weren't there when I bought it. As far as I can tell it would have originally had Bargman 2.5 inch round running lights. I'm planning on using flush mount LED running lights to match the tail lights, so I wasn't sure the holes would line up the way they needed to.
Two: The wiring for the running lights should be hidden by the front and rear ceiling cabinet, however the original placement is too close to the windows to allow for a 1/2 inch plywood bottom for the cabinet so I am going to have to mount them higher.
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Old 10-02-2012, 11:18 PM   #14
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Progress Update

I've spent the last week or so getting really dusty, but the payoff is here. I filled every rivet hole, repaired the broken fiberglass in the back and patched the old stove vent. After sanding all the filled holes smooth I sanded the whole trailer with 150 grit and then broke out the rattle cans. Four sprayed on coats, 20 cans of spray paint, and a lot of wet sanding later, my Trail Mite has a nice new paint job.

After the paint dried I installed the exterior lights, installed a new water inlet and waste line caps, installed a new Fantastic Vent, cleaned the old door hinges, installed a new locking door handle and riveted on a new water diverter over the door.

Curb side view: I love the new paint, it will look better with new windows though. I also think the flush mount clearance lights give it a nice look.



Rear view: Decided to add an extra tail light on each side and really like the new look. Also mounted the license plate and installed a new license light. Still need to paint the bumper.



Street side view: You can kinda make out the new Fantastic Vent up top, and if you look closely the new waste line caps and water inlet. For anyone who is wondering, the hole in the rear quarter was were the water storage tank fill was. I decided not to put a new water tank in, hard to find one the size I wanted and thought it would just be easier to have containers of water if I take it boondocking. The reason I left the hole is that I am planning on getting baggage doors for the rear quarter on each side, and didn't want to waste the time filling yet another hole.



What do you all think?
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