Longevity of fiberglass - Fiberglass RV


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 12-13-2013, 08:54 PM   #1
Member
 
starsea's Avatar
 
Name: star
Trailer: Park Liner
South Carolina
Posts: 66
Longevity of fiberglass

When looking for a used camper is there a limit to age or years to avoid?
__________________

starsea is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-13-2013, 09:49 PM   #2
Senior Member
 
FTTRV's Avatar
 
Name: Chuck
Trailer: tp
Washington
Posts: 649
Molded Fiberglass Trailers if taken care of will last 100 years or more. Their are many Bolers made in the 1960's that are still around.
chuck
__________________

FTTRV is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-13-2013, 10:00 PM   #3
Senior Member
 
FRED SMAILES's Avatar
 
Name: Fred
Trailer: 13 ft Boler
Kootenay's of BC
Posts: 901
Registry
More than age I think condition is the factor.
Depending on your budget, skill level and interest in renos.
Some Bolers are better built than others.
The early ones had flat roofs that tended to sag and weak frames that cracked.
Mine is a 74 13ft Boler that has been dragged all over the place and the stock frame is in very good condition yet I've seen 74's on here that needed the frame replaced!
Condition is the main thing to look for,,,,,,,,,,
Fred
FRED SMAILES is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 12-13-2013, 10:05 PM   #4
Member
 
David Clinkenbeard's Avatar
 
Name: David & Sandy
Trailer: 2012 Escape 5.0
Texas
Posts: 43
Welcome to this forum starsea.
I think like most anything else with wheels, it will depend on how well it's been maintained and cared for. On this forum you will see RVs built in the 70's to new ones. Some of the old ones have been updated, reconditioned, and personalized to the owners taste. I think on average most molded fiberglass trailer owners take personal pride in the care of their RVs. Fiberglass trailers hold up better than a stick built unit and hold their resale value better. Take your time and find your "new to you" camper.
__________________
David

"I haven't traveled everywhere...but it's surely on my bucket list."
David Clinkenbeard is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-13-2013, 10:10 PM   #5
Senior Member
 
Donna D.'s Avatar
 
Name: Donna D
Trailer: Escape 5.0 TA, 2014
Oregon
Posts: 25,064
It doesn't matter the year of the build, it's about maintenance. I've seen an all molded towable which was about 5 years old (a youngster!) that was absolutely trashed and another one more than 30 years old that was beautiful. Don't judge any all molded towable by the year of build. You'll be sorry!
__________________
Donna D.
Ten Forward - 2014 Escape 5.0 TA
Double Yolk - 1988 16' Scamp Deluxe
Donna D. is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 12-14-2013, 02:42 AM   #6
Senior Member
 
peterh's Avatar
 
Name: Peter
Trailer: 2005 19 ft Scamp 19 ft 5th Wheel
Oregon
Posts: 1,555
Registry
There are a number of things that can impact the longevity of a fiberglass structure. Polyester resin does not, for example, tolerate the Sun's UV rays well, so it has to be protected by a UV-stabilized gelcoat or paint.

Design, manufacturing quality, and modifications all play a role, too. Many fiberglass trailers, for example, have cabinet supports that extend from a countertop to the bottom-front edge of an upper cabinet or floor-to-ceiling cabinets that help support the roof; when these supports are removed by an unsuspecting trailer owner doing modifications, the roof can sag, crack, and leak.

Maintenance plays a role. A leaky window or roof vent can let enough water in over time to water log a trailer's floor and cause it to rot, weakening the foundation on which the trailer is built and causing all sorts of failures.

Fortunately, fiberglass is both reasonably easy to work with and reasonably easy to repair. Most people are capable of doing small fiberglass repair jobs as long as they read up on how to work with the stuff, but I wouldn't suggest anyone take on a whole-trailer renovation unless they have lots of time, patience, and a wide range of handyman skills.
peterh is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-14-2013, 06:22 AM   #7
Raz
Senior Member
 
Raz's Avatar
 
Name: Raz
Trailer: Trillium 2010
Vermont
Posts: 4,669
As Peter points out, wood is a bigger concern than the fiberglass. All the older trailers and many of the new ones have wood (plywood or strand board) to stiffen the floors. Many times, like my Trillium, the wood is sandwiched between fiberglass layers. If water gets in it's hard to dry out. There is also wood around windows, holding up cabinets, behind door hinges, etc. Raz
Raz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-14-2013, 07:56 AM   #8
Senior Member
 
Name: Bob
Trailer: Escape 5.0 TA
W. Mass
Posts: 440
Do FG trailers get the hairline gel coat stress cracks that I get in my FG canoes? Doesn't seem to cause any structural issues, it's just a cosmetic thing, I think.
padlin00 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-14-2013, 09:33 AM   #9
Senior Member
 
Name: Jack L
Trailer: Sold the Bigfoot 17-Looking for a new one
Washington
Posts: 1,471
Quote:
Originally Posted by padlin00 View Post
Do FG trailers get the hairline gel coat stress cracks that I get in my FG canoes? Doesn't seem to cause any structural issues, it's just a cosmetic thing, I think.
Yes, the gel coat on a trailer will get hairline cracks and it is almost always just cosmetic. Fiberglass boats also suffer from the same issues.

The thinner the fiberglass (more flexing ) the greater the chance of gel coat cracks. Also gel coat is harder or more brittle so it is more likely to crack.
Jack L is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 12-14-2013, 09:38 AM   #10
Senior Member
 
Bob Miller's Avatar
 
Name: Bob
Trailer: 1973 Hunter Compact II
California
Posts: 7,912
How Long Does Fiberglass Last???

Recently discovered, while excavating for a subway tunnel in Rome, was the remains of a 4 cubit (about 16') long Flavius-4 FGRV thought to have been used by Ceasar Augustus (62 BCE-14 CE) on vacation trips to Pompeii

The Flavius-4 was favored by early Romans rulers because, due to it's lighter weight, it could be pulled by a 2 horsepower team vs. the 4, 6 & even 8 horsepower teams required by those built with conventional marble construction.

Mr. Augustus was once quoted as saying "Yes, the trip to Pompeii takes a bit longer, but the scenery is nicer at that speed and we save a lot on water and hay". Also noted, as a result of having less horsepower, was that significantly fewer droppings were left on the Appian Way, something his Nubian street cleaners were especially appreciative of.

Early reports indicate that, while the wooden components had, for the most part, been destroyed by ground water incursion, that the basic febreglas (fiberglass) living module itself was still intact.

A local company has offered to pull molds from the remains and build slightly updated versions that can, in turn, be used for reinacting the well known ancient sport of RV racing in the Colliseum.

Nuff said?



Bob Miller is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-14-2013, 09:59 AM   #11
Member
 
David Clinkenbeard's Avatar
 
Name: David & Sandy
Trailer: 2012 Escape 5.0
Texas
Posts: 43
Thanks Bob...What a gift! Keep up the creativity humor! I personally loved it.
__________________
David

"I haven't traveled everywhere...but it's surely on my bucket list."
David Clinkenbeard is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-14-2013, 10:29 AM   #12
Senior Member
 
rabbit's Avatar
 
Name: Jack
Trailer: '98 BURRO 17WB
Delaware
Posts: 2,548
Polyester resin, one of the two major components of fiberglass (the other is stranded glass), was introduced in the 1930's so we will have to wait a few years for Chuck's assertion to become literally true. I suspect it will.

A molded trailer shell is a seamless skin or membrane which minimizes but does not eliminate the need for internal bracing and support, requires careful gasketing of openings, and demands adequate attention to the longevity and engineering potential of other materials used in construction of the finished trailer.

jack
rabbit is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-14-2013, 10:39 AM   #13
Senior Member
 
rabbit's Avatar
 
Name: Jack
Trailer: '98 BURRO 17WB
Delaware
Posts: 2,548
That was pretty good, Bob! I'm still laughin'.

jack
rabbit is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-14-2013, 12:57 PM   #14
Moderator
 
Gina D.'s Avatar
 
Name: Gina D.
Trailer: '77 Leocraft 17 & Former Burro owner and fan!
West Coast USA
Posts: 9,014
Registry
Again, it depends on how it's treated. Mine sat in the desert, uncovered, for many years (Probably decades) As far as I am concerned, the roof is a total loss. The PO tried to fix leaks with roofing tar, which trashed the gel coat even farther than the sun did. I tried everything I could to seal the cracks and know for a fact that the penetrations are now sealed correctly, but I still have some small leaking issues. I ended up putting a rubber roof on, I pretty much had no choice, other than re-gel coating it..that would have been cost prohibitive.

I am now faced with 3 year maintenance, just like stick built trailers are.
Gina D. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-14-2013, 03:16 PM   #15
Senior Member
 
peterh's Avatar
 
Name: Peter
Trailer: 2005 19 ft Scamp 19 ft 5th Wheel
Oregon
Posts: 1,555
Registry
Gelcoat cracks occur because fiberglass and gelcoat have different characteristics when it comes to hardness and flexibility. Fiberglass resin is always softer and more flexible than gelcoat.

In many ways you can think of gelcoat like you can the glass fibers in fiberglass. Thick glass, like you'd see in a window pane, can flex some, but not a lot. An example of this is when you're sitting in your home at night during a wind storm and see reflections from things inside your home bend and change as the wind forces your window to flex a bit. Make the layer of glass very thin, like a strand of fiberglass thin, and the glass can bend a lot more. A layer of fiberglass cloth is as flexible as the denim in a pair of blue jeans because the stransd of glass are so thin.

The ideal fiberglass-gelcoat combination is to make the fiberglass thick enough that it is less prone to flexing and the gelcoat thin enough (one or two layers of paper thick) that can bend with the small amount of flex the thick fiberglass still has.

Cracks arise when the underlying fiberglass is thin, making it more prone to flexing, and/or the gelcoat is thick, two or more layers of paper thick, and the gelcoat can't bend as much as the underlying fiberglass does.

In trailer construction, the gelcoat gets sprayed into the mold first, and its thickness can vary quite a but. You want the gelcoat layer to be complete and uninterrupted, and it's easy to spend just a moment longer spraying it into an area than you need to. Then the fiberglass gets blown in on top of the gelcoat, and it's equally easy to get complete fiberglass coverage on top of the gelcoat, but still have some areas be just barely thick enough to cover while other areas are good, thick, and solid. When thick gelcoat meets thin fiberglass and you apply force, the thin fiberglass will flex while the thick gelcoat will resist that flex. The result is a broken-window effect with shards of gelcoat still stuck to their underlying fiberglass.
peterh is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-14-2013, 07:56 PM   #16
Senior Member
 
MyronL's Avatar
 
Name: Myron
Trailer: Escape
New Mexico
Posts: 827
Registry
For hardness and non-flexibility I personally prefer the all iron trailer excavated in New Jersey not too long after the Flavius was discovered.
Attached Images
 
MyronL is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-14-2013, 08:15 PM   #17
Senior Member
 
Bob Miller's Avatar
 
Name: Bob
Trailer: 1973 Hunter Compact II
California
Posts: 7,912
The NJ rig looks all the world like a rolling Hoosgow. Nice looking tires though.

But you had better call out about a dozen Clydesdales if you want to more it very far.



Bob Miller is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-14-2013, 09:22 PM   #18
Senior Member
 
MyronL's Avatar
 
Name: Myron
Trailer: Escape
New Mexico
Posts: 827
Registry
You could be right about the Hoosgow utility. Could get real hot inside...I thought those doors were an early form of air conditioning. Somebody moved it out here to the Land of Enchantment during the iron age. I am certain that took mammoth power. Tires are clearly pre-firestone-age.
MyronL is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-16-2013, 03:59 PM   #19
Senior Member
 
David Tilston's Avatar
 
Name: Dave W
Trailer: Trillium 4500 - 1977, 1978 (2), 1300 - 1977, 1973, and a 1972
Alberta
Posts: 5,849
Registry
Quote:
Originally Posted by starsea View Post
When looking for a used camper is there a limit to age or years to avoid?
I have six Trillium trailers that range in year from 1972 to 1978. The fibreglass is the least concern. The windows and their associated seals need work. I have been shopping for fibreglass trailers approaching three years now. I have only found three that were beyond repair. I bought what I thought was a trailer that was beyond repair. I am now repairing it. Fibreglass is a very forgiving media.
http://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/f...now-61473.html

Three examples of Trilliums I would consider salvage only.
http://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/f...tml#post434528
Two in this one.

http://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/f...0-a-59212.html
The frame had been removed from this one.
David Tilston is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-17-2013, 05:45 AM   #20
Senior Member
 
Jane SC's Avatar
 
Name: Jane and Greg
Trailer: 1985 Uhaul CT
South Carolina
Posts: 213
Best post I have read, Bob. Go Romans!
__________________

Jane SC is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Fiberglass campers for dummies? Fiberglass 101? LurkerDan Care and Feeding of Molded Fiberglass Trailers 46 04-18-2015 10:30 PM
Longevity of the Ancient Eggs Gary Lynch General Chat 12 12-03-2005 03:19 PM

» Trailer Showcase

Trill One

Laurie

Scamp

Gilda
» Upcoming Events
No events scheduled in
the next 465 days.
» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 11:15 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions Inc.
×