suction cups and the gel coat? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-11-2020, 04:50 PM   #1
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suction cups and the gel coat?

I watched a couple videos on the you tube channel 'My Scamp Life' regarding a budget awning. I have a Clam ez up and like it much, except when it's hot. We were out at Stonelick state part just east of Cincinnati for the Fourth of July. It was hot. We put up the Clam but hardly used it. Walking around the campground, I was jealous of the awnings attached to the campers. Anyway the budget awning has a tarp held up by two poles and 4 vacuum suction cups stuck to the camper. It seems doable for our purpose.

My question, is there a concern using suction cups on the fiberglass gel coat?

Oh, one more thing, if anybody has tried something similar, how did it work?

Thanks for your input.
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Old 07-11-2020, 07:22 PM   #2
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As long as the finish/gel coat is smooth enough there should not be any problem.
Gel coat is not paint, it is chemically bonded to the FRP and is part of the structure, a suction cup should not harm it.
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Old 07-12-2020, 09:56 AM   #3
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My experience has been that the suction cups to not hold for a very long period of time, in spite of having thoroughly cleaned the surface. If I go back to them, I am going to put a light layer of epoxy on the cup before attaching. Right now, I have a Keder rail w/ the accompanying "male" insert (Rope") that I will attach to the awning material, tarp or otherwise. I got it from https://www.sailrite.com/search?keywords=keder
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Old 07-12-2020, 10:13 AM   #4
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I'm wondering if the porosity of the gelcoat causes suction cups to fail after a time. That's been my experience as well - in some locations the suction cup holds, in others, it does not.
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Old 07-12-2020, 01:10 PM   #5
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I use a suction cup shower head holder if rinsing myself or something else off with the outside shower, but after use I remove and store it. It has been my experience that after a period of time, suction cups do lose their grip. I would think that the weight of an awning/tarp would create a much greater “pull,” causing the suction cup to lose its grip much sooner than if it were holding a lightweight object.
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Old 07-12-2020, 01:20 PM   #6
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I have been experiencing with suction cups on gel coat for a few years.
I tried several brands from command strips to wet and stick to clamp downs to turn and locks. My conclusion is that heat is the enemy, especially for command strips.
But they will all hold for a bit, some longer than others with turn and locks holding the longest in my experiments.

My favorite awning is a 12' x 12' or 10' x 10' canopy put over top the trailer because you can leave it up in rain and winds (bungeed all around to the trailer and staked at four corners).
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Old 07-12-2020, 01:51 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony D View Post
I watched a couple videos on the you tube channel 'My Scamp Life' regarding a budget awning. I have a Clam ez up and like it much, except when it's hot. We were out at Stonelick state part just east of Cincinnati for the Fourth of July. It was hot. We put up the Clam but hardly used it. Walking around the campground, I was jealous of the awnings attached to the campers. Anyway the budget awning has a tarp held up by two poles and 4 vacuum suction cups stuck to the camper. It seems doable for our purpose.

My question, is there a concern using suction cups on the fiberglass gel coat?

Oh, one more thing, if anybody has tried something similar, how did it work?

Thanks for your input.
I used industrial velcro (sold by the foot at most hardware stores) on the trailer, and regular velcro sewn on a piece of rip stop. Two aluminum poles from Campmore and some stakes. Six 8" velcro strips on the trailer lets the wind through the gaps. Good for a season. The down side, despite being rated outdoor, the velcro to glue strip fails. Removal requires a putty knife, generous applications of Goo Gone and a hair dryer. Takes about an hour. The up side is no holes in the trailer and its cheap.

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Old 07-12-2020, 06:35 PM   #8
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Thanks all, I have the screw tight suction cups. I have one stuck to a window right now. The marketing says itíll hold 22 lbs. Iíll put down some marine wax to fill in the surface on top of the trailer and see what happens. Itíll give me something to do when we go out again at the end of the month. Iíll let you know how it goes.

Razís set up is what Iím shooting for.
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Old 07-13-2020, 04:32 AM   #9
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The picture I posted was in the Outer Banks, about a 100 yards from the ocean. Most folks with commercial awnings don't dare to use them there for fear of them being ripped from the trailer. The velcro simply tears away. I've thought about suction cups but stuck with the velcro for that reason. I'll be interested to hear how the suction cups work. Please report back.
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Old 07-18-2020, 11:23 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by tua View Post
My favorite awning is a 12' x 12' or 10' x 10' canopy put over top the trailer because you can leave it up in rain and winds (bungeed all around to the trailer and staked at four corners).
Costco sells a 13x13 Coleman which is the best I've seen/used to date. For our 5x12 teardrop it gives great shelter from in front of the door, down one side, and around the back far enough to be a galley patio. It shelters the other side well enough to have the window open as long as it's not a driving rain.

Same sort of tie down arrangement - camstraps to the trailer, stakes at the feet, corner lines to stakes. When we expect rain we set it at the lower height to give better shelter.
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Old 07-19-2020, 11:02 AM   #11
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Costco sells a 13x13 Coleman which is the best I've seen/used to date. For our 5x12 teardrop it gives great shelter from in front of the door, down one side, and around the back far enough to be a galley patio. It shelters the other side well enough to have the window open as long as it's not a driving rain.

Same sort of tie down arrangement - camstraps to the trailer, stakes at the feet, corner lines to stakes. When we expect rain we set it at the lower height to give better shelter.
Excellent! 13 x 13 even better! With a 6ish foot wide trailer, it leaves plenty of space on door side for a shaded sitting area or canopy from rain. With a teardrop even more space!
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Old 08-02-2020, 08:05 PM   #12
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Went camping at Findley state park in Ohio. Very nice place. Anyway, set up a 6x8 awning using 4 suction cups, two poles, and a medium weight tarp. It worked great. I left it up in the rain and it didnít come down until we broke camp. My question now is do I just leave the suction cups attached or do I take them off when not in use?
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Old 08-02-2020, 08:42 PM   #13
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Nice!

I'd pop them off. UV isn't good for plastics, and losing them on the road would be annoying.
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Old 08-02-2020, 09:59 PM   #14
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Nice!

I'd pop them off. UV isn't good for plastics, and losing them on the road would be annoying.
Especially for the motorcycle behind you.
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Old 08-02-2020, 10:59 PM   #15
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Especially for the motorcycle behind you.
As an annoying teen, I went on one of those autumn agricultural trailer hayrides. We were heading to the remote site, going state highway speeds, and a case of Mountain Dew fell off.
In front of a motorcycle officer.
Who was not amused.

Our arrival was delayed.
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Old 08-03-2020, 06:52 AM   #16
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i used a busdepot.com awning (they're made for vw bus campers) on my casita for several years. they sell a set of 3 serious suction cups that worked well. several things i learned...the fiberglass needs to be clean. i used alcohol to clean where those suction cups were going to be. i found a product with the unfortunate name of "suck a lot" which when applied to the cups helped. i suspect that it was basically glycerin. the spot where you put the suction cups needs to be very flat. on our rounded trailers that's an elusive location. if i was going to be on a site for a while i'd tie the thing down over the trailer's top with para cord to the ground on the street side. erection this awning was a bit of a chore to accomplish with one person (i travel solo) and took a while. all of these caused me to switch to a clam shelter and i agree, they're hot in the summer.

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Old 08-03-2020, 09:11 AM   #17
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Your right, I need to remove them for travel. It did take some effort to get them off standing on the stool.

As far as the flat surface goes, the two middle suction cups were good and flat. I used a 6x8 tarp. That put me on the rounded part of the top. They both stuck just fine.
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Old 08-03-2020, 06:40 PM   #18
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Awesome!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony D View Post
Went camping at Findley state park in Ohio. Very nice place. Anyway, set up a 6x8 awning using 4 suction cups, two poles, and a medium weight tarp. It worked great. I left it up in the rain and it didnít come down until we broke camp.
I'm always looking for easy hacks and this looks great!
Thanks for sharing Tony D and thank you especially for the picture!
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Old 08-03-2020, 07:50 PM   #19
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You can purchase the channel for awnings that have rope sewn into the edge. Attach to camper with 3M VHB tape. Then use small piece of aluminum tube with para cord and washer to slip through a grommet. Tube goes in track, washer won't pull through grommet.

Like the suction cup it allows one to use different size tarps. I have a 5x7 bad weather, a 7x9 general use tarp. With a 10x12 for good weather. Although the 10x12 has held up well during some solid rains that is a lot of sail area if the wind kicks up. The first two are common cheap poly tarps, the 10x12 is a nice nylon tarp.

My thinking is the poly tarps would rip out the grommets before the track would rip loose. Having to replace a cheap poly tarp would not be a big problem, oh wait there is one stashed under the front couch cushion :-)

Sort of bummed reading that the Commander hooks do not last well. We were going to use some for hanging stuff from.
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Old 08-04-2020, 04:54 AM   #20
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Thanks for posting a follow up. I ordered the parts to give it a try. Hopefully an improvement over the velcro.

Two thoughts:

-it would seem alcohol wipes would be a good way to prep the surface.

- I use bungie cords as part of the pole tie downs. Adds a little give in high winds.
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