What have I done. - Fiberglass RV



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Old 03-05-2019, 01:27 AM   #1
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Name: Jake
Trailer: Casita
California
Posts: 19
I am ...in trouble

Hi!
Iím Jake from San Diego.
Just got a smoking deal on a 83í 13í Casita .
Frame, glass and all running gear seem great but the roof vent was removed and left open for the last big rain and the interior is rotted. Iím planning on a full frame up rebuild. Iím excited and pissed and anxious and nervous and broke. Lol.
Iím a plumbing contractor and am not afraid but have no idea where to start. Cars, Electrical, Plumbing and Mechanical are non issues for me but Glass and Campers and Glass Campers in general is foreign and completely new to me.

Thanks for having me!
Look forward to annoying you all soon.
Best,
Jake
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Old 03-05-2019, 02:43 AM   #2
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Name: Steve
Trailer: 1979 Boler1700
Maple Ridge, B.C.
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You seem like you wouldn't have any problem tackling this project. For any fiberglassing info I used YouTube. Search "Boatworks Today", it's a really good resource for fiberglass repairs.
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Old 03-05-2019, 03:35 AM   #3
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Name: Dave
Trailer: Casita SD17 2006
California
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Welcome to the forum Jake. Couple comments/questions, you say the vent was off and with the last rainstorm you have rot. What areas/things are you saying is rotten? One rainstorm shouldn't cause any rot if any water is wiped up and the trailer is dried out with a blower. If there is floor rot you can bet it's been leaking for a while. Windows are probably the most common source for leaks. Removing them, cleaning the shell and frame, and then using a good butyl tape will fix those. Just a hint, when you tighten up window frame do it little by little. Give it some time between rounds so the butyl has a chance to compress. I go around what ever I'm installing like you would torque a cyl head to keep the frame from being pulled down to far in one spot and crack or bend.
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Old 03-05-2019, 05:00 AM   #4
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Name: Gerry
Trailer: 1979 Boler 1300 / 1991 Casita Freedom Deluxe
Maine
Posts: 1,554
Agree with Dave get it water tight first on the top, then replace things as needed. had a previous owner installed sky light in our Casita that looked great till the first night after we got it home and it rained hard and I went out to inspect it and the window on sky light didn't close with in an 1/8 inch.
had a 1/4 of water on all the floor by the morning but all windows were good so that was a +
We fixed the sky-light and we go camping but repairs are still being made.
Heck I bought the thing to use and being a retired plumber myself can do most anything but I can do it at my pace and still have fun camping.
Get it water tight!
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Old 03-05-2019, 06:37 PM   #5
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Name: Jake
Trailer: Casita
California
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Thanks for the replies, guys.
The floor and sub floor is completely saturated and soggy. Iíve begun stripping everything out.
I have pulled the upper floor out, both rear glass benches, the closet glass frame and next the kitchen and shower area. I think I need to crack this egg in half to lay in new floor. Is that right? Can someone recommend a thread where this is done? My goal here is to completely start fresh. Full gut then clean clean clean and paint interior. Then replace usable glass inserts and try to source a new bathroom enclosure.
Iím excited but feel this is gonna cost me more than a new one. But the custom factor will be worth it. My wife is over the moon with this. Super excited.
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Old 03-05-2019, 06:58 PM   #6
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Name: Jann
Trailer: Casita
Colorado
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaketheplumber View Post
Thanks for the replies, guys.
The floor and sub floor is completely saturated and soggy. Iíve begun stripping everything out.
I have pulled the upper floor out, both rear glass benches, the closet glass frame and next the kitchen and shower area. I think I need to crack this egg in half to lay in new floor. Is that right? Can someone recommend a thread where this is done? My goal here is to completely start fresh. Full gut then clean clean clean and paint interior. Then replace usable glass inserts and try to source a new bathroom enclosure.
Iím excited but feel this is gonna cost me more than a new one. But the custom factor will be worth it. My wife is over the moon with this. Super excited.
Don't think you need to crack the egg in half to put in new floor. Be careful or you may end up with the entire thing cracking all over. Should be able to put new floor in by bringing wood in through the door. I don't think you should have to take all the bathroom fiberglass out either. Shouldn't be any wood under the toilet or shower to my knowledge. Good luck. We had one with mold in it and took out all seats around dinette. We cleaned all seats with bleach and left them out in the sun for a couple of days. That took care of the mold. You can now get mold killer. We put in a new 2 way hot water heater and had to enlarge the hole it fit in because ours had a 3 gallon tank. We carefully cut the hole with a hack saw blade. We put in a 6 gallon tank and wired it over to the sink with a switch to turn the automatic start on it. So much nicer than the one that we had to light from outside. Ours wasn't as bad as yours but we didn't have a clue what to do. It turned out great though.
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Old 03-05-2019, 07:04 PM   #7
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Trailer: 2008 Scamp 13 S1
Arizona
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I totally agree. For someone with the right skill set, the end result will be way better than new. Huge bonus that your wife is on board, due to the time and expense. Even if you go top drawer, though, I can't imagine it will exceed a new one (a similar new Scamp is around $12K). Labor aside, of course!

Also agree- I don't think you want to split the shell to lay the new floor. In fact it will get quite floppy if you do that. If necessary, use smaller pieces.

Two things I'll add to the previous good advice. (1) Make sure you don't have a belly band leak. They're not common, but they do happen. While you've got a bare shell inside, a garden hose all along the belly band on the outside should turn up any leaks. Fiberglass repair is from the inside. (2) Check the frame really carefully. I've read several accounts of broken frames on Casitas of this vintage. Water can get inside the frame rails and rust through from the inside. If I'm not mistaken, the frame curves upward as it comes out from under the cabin in front, and that's a likely weak area. Because of the full fiberglass underbelly, lifting the whole cabin off the frame is relatively easy with a Casita to inspect and refinish/repair/reinforce/replace as indicated.

Best wishes and keep the updates coming!
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Old 03-05-2019, 08:28 PM   #8
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Name: Jake
Trailer: Casita
California
Posts: 19
Fantastic. You both just made my night.
So I’m gonna lay some large heavy cloth on the floor while I have it stripped just to reinforce the bottom. When that sets up I’ll definately pull it off the frame. I’ll media blast that and have it powdercoated. This is awesome advice. I really did not want to crack it in half. I picked this up for $2k and still think it’s a good deal. The girl who sold it had 500 messages on her phone. These things are really hot in California now.
Any recommendations for new windows and a shower enclosure? Someone has to make enclosures for these still right?
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Old 03-05-2019, 09:08 PM   #9
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Trailer: 2008 Scamp 13 S1
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Not sure, but I expect you'd have to cut the shower enclosure into pieces to get it out, which means you'd have to split the shell to get a replacement in (assuming the current enclosure Casita makes for the 16'er would even fit your vintage 13'er). I don't think you want to go that way for a number of reasons:

(1) The cost of a new enclosure from Casita plus freight would be exorbitant.
(2) As said, it might not fit.
(3) You really, really don't want to split the shell.

And most important,
(4) Fiberglass is very repairable. I can't imagine there is anything wrong with it that can't be fixed while it is inside the shell. Once you get it all cleaned up and any cracks or chips repaired, you can do a gelcoat restoration process on the inner surface. That's not cheap, but surely less than a new one.

This is the go-to thread to get you started on fiberglass repair:
You Can Repair Fiberglass
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Old 03-05-2019, 09:23 PM   #10
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Name: bill
Trailer: 2013 Escape 19; 1977 Trillium 1300
The Mountains of North Carolina
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Yes there is wood under the shower. The good news is the cabinets are riveted in so you can remove them, replace floor and reinstall.

I’d forget the shower too and just build a toilet area.

Warning the interior cabinets are structural and support both the sides and the roof of the trailer. So removing them takes some planning.
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Old 03-05-2019, 11:18 PM   #11
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Trailer: Casita SD17 2006
California
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Well Jake....THAT certainly didn't happen from one rainstorm, thanks for the pics. The shower unit was placed inside before the top half was mated to the bottom one. FWIW, I've never heard of a Casita BB leaking though guess it could. As far as the shower goes, and I'm only brainstorming here, wonder if it could be side shifted enough to give you good access to replace that section of the floor. You're going to have to do the floor in sections anyway....just one more .
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Old 03-08-2019, 10:36 PM   #12
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Name: Jake
Trailer: Casita
California
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Update.
Wow. Mold and rot abound. Really, really bad. Dave, I fear youíre correct about the one piece back bathroom wall being fitted before the halves were mated. Bummer because the shag carpet runs fully behind the tapered back wall. I hope, like you said, Iíll be able to shift it over and replace the floor under it. If not, itís getting cut in half and pulled out. I think I could seam it with a band of plastic when refitting.
Next step for me is to finish pulling the pan and then grinding and reglassing the floor (some major cracks). Once thatís done Iíll rhino line the bottom to seal any unseen splits and fit in new 5/8 ply. The wife has picked laminate flooring already. Itís about 1/2Ē with its foam underlayment so I should not loose too much headroom with the added subfloor and new laminate. Iím starting to not get soo grossed out when going inside. Once the remaining carpet and foam liner is removed Iíll sand and gelcoat the raw walls. That should go a long way to making feel clean again. I think the kitchenette is dusted and same for the overhead cabinet. No biggy tho bc these are fairly easy to retrofit with Scamp parts I think. For the rest of the cabinets and benches I think a fresh gel coat should make them ok. So if a new scamp stepped shower pan will fit the existing tapered surround Iíll be a happy camper. Here are some update pics. Not a ton of progress today.
I really appreciate all your ideas and input. Itís already made this project fun and continues to motivate me.
Thanks again, guys.
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Old 03-09-2019, 12:48 AM   #13
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Trailer: Casita SD17 2006
California
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Jake, from looking at my SD and your pic, it looks like you could pull the toilet, cut the pan and leave the shower wall in place. Should leave you room enough to do the floor r&r. Might have to cut the plumbing lines under the TT to move the pan but as I always say "ain't nothing but a thing".
Can't say I've heard of anyone using Scamp cabinets in a Casita but may be workable. Hopefully someone will chime in on that. Keep the pics coming.
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Old 03-09-2019, 06:34 PM   #14
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Why are you gel coating the walls? Arenít you going to put some kind of shell lining back on?
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