Fiberglass Failing? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-24-2017, 11:19 AM   #1
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Name: Steph
Trailer: Scamp
Texas
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Fiberglass Failing?

I've recently noticed a couple of things on my Scamp's body.

First, I can now see a prominent seam about 3" up from the waistline. It's more noticeable in some areas more than others but you can pretty much see it all the way around.

Second, the area around the little "kitchen" window appears to be sunken in. It flexes a little when I push on the area off of the bottom left corner of the window. Pushing around, it gets firmer near the front radius of the body and closer to the roof. That makes sense as I assume the fiberglass is thicker and provides more structure in the transitions. Also, this appears to be one of the lesser supported areas from the inside of the trailer so...maybe all Scamps do a little wiggling there???

So, my questions for the more experienced/more knowledgeable fiberglass gurus out there are these:
-Should I worry about either of these things?
-What can I be doing to make sure this doesn't get worse?

We ARE planing on doing some fiber glass repairs (shark bite from a blowout + other general road wear) and painting the whole thing this fall. I'm hoping that will help seal it up and stop any issues that may be happening.
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Old 06-24-2017, 04:24 PM   #2
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Name: Darwin
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Scamp Quality
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Old 06-24-2017, 05:32 PM   #3
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Name: Gordon
Trailer: 2015 Scamp (16 Std Layout 4) with '15 Toyota Sienna LE Tug
North Carolina
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My Sept 2015 Scamp 16 has similar "features" but generally in different places. It is too new to know if the shell is too thin in places to be a problem. My best guess is, that in my case at least, it is OK.

Off hand, no way to reinforce it comes to mind except stripping out the interior, and glassing in more sheets.. something not practical 99.99% of the time.
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Old 06-24-2017, 07:17 PM   #4
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Well, that makes me feel better and not at the same time.
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Old 06-24-2017, 07:40 PM   #5
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Name: Gordon
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Originally Posted by StephLeach View Post
Well, that makes me feel better and not at the same time.
LOL, well... as Darwin so eloquently stated, "Scamp Quality."

I appreciate your mixed feelings because I have seen ripples, distortions and such in the shell.. it is not smooth like an egg. I might be concerned if I could easily push in some section of the shell. And I know that Scamp roofs have caved in from too much heavy snow on top. But unless there is a failure, I would not be too concerned. if a crack or something does develop, then its time for a repair, and the repair is quite doable. Just ask Fiberglass Dave.
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Old 06-24-2017, 09:10 PM   #6
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That "seam" above the belly band is not something I have seen before. Scamp hand lays a strip of fiberglass mat around the inside of the belly band to seal and bond the two halves together. It looks like that might be about where it ends. I wouldn't be too concerned, but you could monitor it for any change over time.

The window dimple reflects a general weakness/flex in that area. My newer Scamp looks about the same, perhaps not so pronounced. The Scamp shell depends on much of the interior cabinetry for its strength. The closet by the door and the vertical support between the galley and upper cabinet support the upper shell. If you wanted to provide additional support near the kitchen window, it wouldn't be too hard to add another twisty metal support on the stove end of the galley matching the one on the sink end. Scamp sells them, or you could make your own support of some kind. A little gentle pressure to the roof in that area before adding the support might take out some of the dimple. I'm not saying it's necessary, but it couldn't hurt.

I agree with Gordon- Scamp's fiberglass work is not high precision or top quality, and it's pretty thin, so some waviness is par for the course and not a cause for concern. This shell has survived 34 years and, barring mishap, it should be around a few more.

Fiberglass failures not related to a traumatic event (like a tire blowout) more typically involve stress cracks around windows and doors. Once in a while the belly band develops a leak due to a failure of the inner sealing strip, not often. I've also seen one or two with severe UV weathering in which the outer gelcoat was completely gone in spots and it was eating into the fibers. Time to fill, sand, and paint.

The frame and shell attachment also deserve a close inspection. Some shell issues can be traced to a loss of frame support around the perimeter of the shell. Make sure the frame is not cracked or deeply rusted. In addition, make sure the shell is solidly fiberglassed to the floor all around. Finally, make sure your axle has some life left in it. An aged-out axle makes for a very harsh ride, which is not great for frame, shell, or anything else.
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Old 06-24-2017, 10:45 PM   #7
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Name: Steve
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Does your trailer still have the twisted wrought iron support running from the sink cabinet up to support the over head cabinet?
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Old 06-24-2017, 11:08 PM   #8
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Name: Francois
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seam....

that seam 3 inches above the waistline....that's most probably an extra layer of FG mat laid all around the top half near the waistline to thicken/reinforced the area where the two shells are going to meet / get bolted together......not supposed to show in the finished product...but in yours it's sort of obvious.....then again nobody driving by would notice
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Old 06-28-2017, 07:29 PM   #9
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Name: Steph
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Thanks everybody!

Yes, I still have the twisty support in. And, I've never taken the closet out or done anything crazy like that.

I do need a new axle. Sounds like that should be sooner than later. I've got some forum searching to do...
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