Over my head Amerigo - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-05-2018, 11:30 PM   #15
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Name: K C
Trailer: 1971 Trailswest Campster
Washington
Posts: 2,172
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Originally Posted by Glenn Baglo View Post
How many times have you read, "I have gutted my trailer"?
Once or twice.....including my own renovation thread . But at least I knew enough about structure so that I did not destroy the foam filled beams that support the roof on my Campster. They are major head knockers but they are structurally essential for supporting the roof. Of course it would have made for a much nicer trailer if they had used a SIP.
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Old 09-06-2018, 10:36 AM   #16
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Name: Kathleen (Kai: ai as in wait)
Trailer: Amerigo FG-16 1973 "Peanut"
Greater Seattle Metropolitan Area, Washington
Posts: 2,215
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When we were gutting Peanut, we came to that really NICE ceiling and could see it had a great deal to do with the structural integrity--and provided built-in guides for replacing things inside as well as being somewhat integral to the upper cabinets, which we were lucky enough to have intact (except for the delaminated cabinet doors which Paul fixed).

When we took out the "putin" niche ceiling fan (disintegrated and leaking) we were able to peer a little between the ceiling layers and could see there was already some insulation in there. It was attached very tightly.

We ended up leaving the ceiling completely alone except for patching the putin ceiling/roof and painting only the putin ceiling. Luckily the POs had all left it alone, too. As it was, once the supporting walls/galley supports were out, we had to put in a temporary brace, but that was easy. (Pic below)

Luckily, too, before we really tore things up, we spent a lot of time looking at FGRVs many threads and YouTube and online...I'd like to pat myself on the back for leaving the ceiling alone, but it was partly just the luck of finding the right threads and sites and having some good timing--not going too fast, and being somewhat lazy, I could see it would be more work than it was worth to mess with it.

We kept the temporary plywood and 2x4 support inside and as untouched as possible until we had the closet walls, the putin wall, and the two galley supports in place and secured. THEN we finally took it down. As it was, we had eased the ceiling/roof upwards over several days, tap by tap, so we didn't overstress anything but got the ceiling/roof back into what seemed to be a natural original slight arch.

It kinda breaks my heart I didn't jump in immediately and caution against taking out the ceiling--I wish I had. It could have spared you a deal of work.

As Glenn said--how often have we heard, "I have gutted my trailer..."
Too often.

It took Paul 9 months, 7 days a week, 10+ hours a day to gut and reassemble Peanut. We saved everything then to use as patterns, even if we ended up making a few small changes.

Good thing he was retired but still able to do the work. Not sure we'd want to take that on again--ever.

Having pulled the ceiling out, you'll have to figure out other ways to fix it. Plenty of people do put in added bracing, made from wood & fiberglass, metal strips, carved things designed specifically for that space...it can be done, and now you have no choice.

Good luck. Let us know how you're doing with it.

Kai
"K"
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Peanut 10 2015 to 6 2016 081.JPG  
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Old 09-09-2018, 09:22 AM   #17
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Name: Steve
Trailer: Amerigo FG-16
North Carolina
Posts: 266
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Originally Posted by k corbin View Post
It looks like the ceiling was created as a SIP system. SIP stands for structural insulated panel. How they provide support in a FGRV is the outer layer, insulation and inner layer are bonded together and for a single structural unit. This is much like creating sheets of plywood. It is most likely that the bonding work was one before the upper shell was removed from the mold. That way they had gravity working for them and could also put weights on top of the inner layer to make sure all the layers had good contact while the adhesive was curing.

When you peeled off the inner layer you ruined the structural support system. This is a not an untypical thing for Newbies to do as they are not structural engineers and have no clue about SIP systems and how their roof is being supported. A lot of owners of the Sunrader fiberglass motorhomes which are also built with a SIP get into the "gung-ho" mode and tear out the inside layer and the insulation and they too destroy the structural integrity of the engineered design.

The bad news is your can't undo the harm you have done as it will be next to impossible to apply sufficient pressure to recreate the glue bonds of those original layers. You can't just hit or miss it with construction adhesives, the adhesive has to be spread across the whole of the surfaces as is done when fabricating sheets of plywood.

I wish there was a way to warn all the new owners of the FGRVs that have a SIP roof system not to tear out the layers on the ceilings when doing the renovation. But hopefully the other Amerigo owners will now understand that you should pass this warning on to new members who show up with an Amerigo they want to renovate.

KC, Great info for all Amerigo owners here.



Also when doing a renovation on an FG-16 one needs to be aware that the wall framing/paneling helps hold the one piece inner ceiling panel in place. The wall panels are attached to the fiberglass shell at the window opening frames & run up to the inner ceiling panel which is a pretty well engineered panel. Depending on which floor plan you had there were recesses & support locations for the upper cabinets molded in place.

When you remove all of the wall framing don't leave it that way for a long period of time as the weight of the ceiling could cause it to de-laminate from the outer shell.



The arrow in the pic below shows the area that the wall supports the ceiling panel.
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