Bashed in front of Scamp - ideas to cover window hole? - Fiberglass RV
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Old 06-13-2016, 02:09 PM   #1
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Name: Holly
Trailer: Scamp 13'
Texas
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Bashed in front of Scamp - ideas to cover window hole?

So, my trailer came unhitched thanks to someone "helping" me hitch it up, and it ran up under my jeep bashing in the front and breaking the window. We popped the front back out, but it'll never be the same and a window won't likely fit well. Any suggestions to permanently cover/fill in and strengthen the hole? I also have to come up with a way to make the bunk bed usable again since it's now been weakened. Suggestions? I'm just sick and sad this happened, but trying to make the best of it.
Thanks.
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Old 06-13-2016, 02:44 PM   #2
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Name: Darral
Trailer: Scamp Standard 13' 2010
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If you want it done RIGHT, I would take it to a shop where they repair fiberglass boats. At LEAST they can help you strengthen it and make it to where you're comfortable with it again.

Were you using "chocks" when you were hooking up??
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Old 06-13-2016, 03:01 PM   #3
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OK, Holly, it is going to be OK. You would be amazed what can be fixed on a fibreglass trailer. There have been trailers that the roof collapsed due to snow load. They have been restored to a condition that it is difficult to tell that anything happened. Find a fiberglass boat shop that does fibreglass work. They can fix your trailer.

The front window will not be difficult to replace, once the fibreglass has been repaired.
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Old 06-13-2016, 04:06 PM   #4
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They can repair the front wall and then even if it is not an absolute perfect contour for the window they can create a fiberglass ring plate that does have a matching contour and fair that ring into the shell for the window to mount into. These things can be dealt with in fiberglass repairs without it being a complete misfit. It is a lot more forgiving and adaptable compared to trying to repair a metal car. Just realize that a bit of compromising in the problem solving might be needed to restore it to good functionality.

Unfortunately this is the busiest season for boat repairs so it might take a while before the skilled people can get around to the job. Or then again they might have a cancellation spot open...
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Old 06-13-2016, 07:39 PM   #5
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Name: Steve
Trailer: Scamp 13
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First you have to understand the front window doesn't fit the front window opening on a Scamp. It is flexed and arched into the window opening. To repair you need a new window and rubber gasket. This has to come from Scamp If the front was only pushed in and areas cracked but the window opening is still intact and attached you need to put in a new window to get everything back in shape and then repair and reinforce the shell. Humpty Dumpty can be put back together again since unlike the old Humpty Dumpty you can work on both sides of the shell.
Start posting pictures so the extent of the damage can really be accessed.
One thing to remember about fiberglass structures they want to go back to their undamaged state so if you have all the pieces of the puzzle you can glue and reinforce it back together. Unlike bent sheet metal, it gets bent, stays bent and stretched all out of shape and extremely hard to make like new.
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Old 06-13-2016, 09:17 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HollyB View Post
So, my trailer came unhitched thanks to someone "helping" me hitch it up, and it ran up under my jeep bashing in the front and breaking the window. We popped the front back out, but it'll never be the same and a window won't likely fit well. Any suggestions to permanently cover/fill in and strengthen the hole? I also have to come up with a way to make the bunk bed usable again since it's now been weakened. Suggestions? I'm just sick and sad this happened, but trying to make the best of it.
Thanks.
Will your insurance company not arrange for it to go to a boat repair shop or even allow you to take it back to Scamp for repair?
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Old 06-14-2016, 03:41 PM   #7
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Name: Holly
Trailer: Scamp 13'
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I don't have insurance on it. It's a 1986 and not worth much.
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Old 06-14-2016, 03:45 PM   #8
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Name: Darral
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You didnt answer my question above, but let me kindly suggest chocks when hooking or unhooking a trailer. They've saved me a few times.

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I don't have insurance on it. It's a 1986 and not worth much.
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Old 06-14-2016, 05:09 PM   #9
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Name: Kathleen (Kai: ai as in wait)
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We have ours insured for what we paid for it (with a $1,000 deductible) for only $4 a month. It seemed like a good idea, and ours is a 1973.

Fiberglass is AMAZING, you can fix it or get it fixed, really! Paul fixed our rusted-through lawnmower body with fiberglass...he fixed over 80 holes in our 1973 amerigo, one was 2 x 3 feet! He added/taped a piece of fiberglass scrap inside the hole, glassed all around it, and backed it with 1/2" plywood, also fiberglassed to the shell and glassed over to hold it tight; it's like the original, but even seems stronger.

We became true fiberglass converts over the winter...you will be amazed at how well it will go as long as you keep at it, forge on, the only way out is forward, don't flinch, dive in...all that good stuff.

Wishing you the very

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Old 06-14-2016, 05:22 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HollyB View Post
... Any suggestions to permanently cover/fill in and strengthen the hole? ...
I could not help but notice that most of the replies did not really address your question, i.e. how to permanently cover/fill in the hole. It sounds like you have no interest in replacing the window or restoring it to it's (near) pre-collision state.

Whether you do or don't want to replace the window, I would think that photos of the damage would help people give better advice.

How the accident occurred is a separate topic that perhaps you don't need or want to go into here.
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Old 06-15-2016, 01:25 AM   #11
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Name: Kathleen (Kai: ai as in wait)
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Thought I said how we filled in a 2 x 3 foot holein the side of our trailer: we got a flat piece of fiberglass (cut out of a bathroom wall) and cut it smaller than the hole. We taped it in and began fiberglassing around it layer by layer. As it became more solid, we took the tape off and filled in those gaps as well.

We faired it on the outside, and re-fiberglassed it again where it was really too low. Again, faired (using Bondo Hair product, a fiberglass putty kind of stuff) and kept fairing and sanding until it was absolutely smooth. Then we washed it with dish detergent and soap, then wiped it down with acetone. Then we carefully and thinly primered it with Rustoleum Marine Paint (white) and then again, sanded with super fine sandpaper (1000 grit). Wiped with a tack cloth. Then put two coats of white Rustoleum Marine enamel over it, using a small, hot-dog foam roller, rolling until all bubbles were popped. Sanded between coats. We were painting the whole trailer anyway, with this paint and primer, so it blended in very well, being good at self-levelling plus Paul is nearly obsessive with detail. INSIDE the trailer, we again worked on it, filling the low spots, sanding, fairing until it was smooth.

If we hadn't had the big piece of extra fiberglass, we'd have BACKED the hole with a piece of thin plywood paneling (probably on the inside) holding it in place with tape and covered with waxed paper OR simply incorporating the ply into the patch, using NO waxed paper and working over the ply inside and out until it was flush on the outside and smooth on the inside. We'd have layered the fiberglass "onto" the waxed paper layer by layer, using mat cloth and epoxy resin. We'd have kept at it until it was flush on the outside, taking the tape off and working on any gaps afterwards.

In many places, the inside of our trailer (where there are large flat panels someone (maybe the manufacturer) fiberglassed large plywood panels over the shell. INSIDE. Then that panel becomes quite strong and even rigid.

Anyway, that's how we did it. There are MANY YouTube videos showing how to do fiberglassing, a few hours spent watching them is a good education in it.

We would INSTANTLY be willing to work with fiberglass to repair the shell of our trailer; it's easier than it seems, it goes well, if you make a mistake, just sand it or cut it away and start again. You can use the broken bits and fiberglass over them, around them, reusing them to save on materials...

It takes a lot of sanding and prep, it takes a lot of material and money for the products, but in the end, Paul was able to fill over 80 holes to the point where they are literally invisible. We feel the trailer is much stronger now, all the big cracks radiating from around the doorway are filled and solid, the sideways cracks along the body are filled, everywhere a metal item was removed (logos, vents, etc) are all filled and totally flush with the skin...and thicker inside for reinforcement. He fiberglassed in three areas of thin plywood inside for reinforcement, and it is super.

Use a mask when sanding...find out more about polyester resin online or from someone who's done it.

Epoxy resin is pricier, I hear, but it worked up very nicely and you can also look at the thread here on FGRV under SEARCH: Fear of Fiberglassing. The advice was priceless!
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Old 06-15-2016, 04:23 AM   #12
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Old 06-15-2016, 08:47 AM   #13
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Name: Bob
Trailer: Scamp
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Just a Thought

Holly,

When we ordered our Std. 13 Scamp last fall, we elected not to have a front window. Our old 13 had a front window and rock shield, we never ever removed the rock shield. Our new 13 with bunks looks much more spacious without the window and curtains.

It sounds like your 13 is easy project for an experienced technician.

BobH.
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Old 06-15-2016, 09:20 AM   #14
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Thanks, Donna D. That's better!
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Old 06-15-2016, 01:57 PM   #15
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Name: Holly
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Thanks!

Thanks Kai, for your detailed information. I just had to patch a fist sized hole (the ball of the hitch went through the front of the camper) and it turned out pretty good - not really noticeable unless you're really looking.

So, this has me wondering about the window hole. The guy at the Scamp store advised I just cut my own plexiglass with a jigsaw because it'll be hard to get it just right anyway and he said I'd have to trim their. So, I did that (and cutting that stuff ISN'T easy since it melts and sticks back together behind the sawblade), but there's no way it'll fit back into the old rubber and won't be a good fit in a new gasket either.

Has anyone removed the old rubber and fiberglassed a new window in place? Basically taping it in like Kai did , then building a fiberglass window frame? I could use thinner, more bendable plexiglass or make a smaller window with the thick plexiglass. Thoughts?

Has anyone done this? The shell did pop out really nicely. Just a little bend in the aluminum at the front.
Thanks again everyone for your suggestions. I'll try to post pics.
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Old 06-15-2016, 02:03 PM   #16
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Name: Holly
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Click image for larger version

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The bottom one is from today after I patched the hole in the fiberglass. I added support to the bunks so the would work properly: Click image for larger version

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Old 06-15-2016, 04:17 PM   #17
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Very welcome, always hope it helps...

Looks like what you've done so far is great...smart to add some extra support.

Wishing you the best on the window area; what the heck, if it doesn't work out you can always remove it and try again, or think of a new thing to do. No matter what we've done, we always have more than one idea by the time we're sitting back looking at the finished project...and thinking, gosh, next time...we could...


And...it was sad to read about it; a shame, the kind of thing many of us have had
to deal with, a sudden mishap and there you are, in a pickle for a while.

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Old 06-15-2016, 04:56 PM   #18
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I'd suggest you keep an eye on any leaks that may form right at the belly band. The two halves are fiberglassed together right there. It's possible that area has now been compromised.
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Old 06-15-2016, 11:52 PM   #19
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Lessons I learned from the fiberglass repair experts in my marine focused neighborhood. That is their business, that is all they do and they have been doing it for years.

When I had a large opening to fill they were too busy to help but gave me good advice on how to do it myself. I used Mas brand epoxy for my repair job. But for the cloth filler to building up the area inside the opening I used a diagonal weave fiberglass cloth that is much stronger and thicker than the single ply weaves you will find at the Home Center and hardware stores. You can order it by the yard from various sources. I got mine from a company called Fiberlay as they are in my local area. The outer most layers of cloth can be the thinner type. You will also want to purchase some special nylon fabric, one brand name for that material is some smooth texture "peel ply". Peel ply gives you a surface over the top of your fiberglass cloth that is easy to run a squeege over allowing you to easily and quickly smooth out all the layers and remove any excess resin. It is very magical stuff, I would not want to do the kind of repair you have without using that product. After the resin is cured you can simply peel off the peel ply, hence the name.

You prepare your opening by putting a bevel on the both inside and outside edges of the fiberglass. The bevel helps the fiberglass bond into a smooth transition and it helps to prevent cracking along the edges of the filled area. Of course the surface must be cleaned.

if you are going to fill in a large opening that has some curve to it one thing that will help the job go easier is to create a removable backing plate. However that can be difficult if you have a surface that curves in more than one direction. You coat the surface of the backing plate with mold release so that the resin does not stick to it. The plate needs to fit snug and gap free against the wall. I just used some nylon screws and nuts through holes to hold my plate to the wall. Afterwards I drilled out those screws and removed the backer plate before adding a layer of fiberglass cloth and resin to that side of the project.

Begin by cutting the thicker fiberglass cloth panels the size of to fill inside of the opening. Then also cut a wider panel(s) that will extend past the edges of the hole, those can be thinner fiberglass material. You can use several of those wider layers making the first one against the wall several inches wider and then progressively smaller so that you have a smooth transition instead of a bulky edge. Cut your peel ply about 4 or 5 inches wider all around the edges of your largest layer of fiberglass.

Cover your work table with some disposable plastic sheeting. Lay the peel ply down, next put on the layer of fiberglass cloth that is farthest away from the wall, spread some resin, add the next in layer, more resin and so forth. Then with your partner pick up the edges of the peel ply and take your layer cake over to the wall and place it in position. The peel ply surface will let you squeege across all those layers with very little mess and friction. Work with the squeege until your patch is looking just lovely and smoothly secured in place. Leave the peel ply in place, it is easy to remove after the patch has cured.

After that part of the job has cured then remove the backer panel and work on the other side of the trailer adding more cloth and resin. Use another piece of peel ply for that work as well. By building up the layers in this manner you will be sanding down through resin and fiberglass to achieve a smooth final surface.

If you need to build up any surface irregularity you can create an easy to sand filler by thickening epoxy with micro balloons.

Boat fiberglass repair experts would never use Bondo as a filler because it is hygroscopic meaning that Bondo will absorb moisture even after it is cured. Thickened epoxy creates a better bond to fiberglass and does not absorb moisture after it cures.
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Old 06-16-2016, 11:08 AM   #20
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Trailer: 1973 13' Boler
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So, my trailer came unhitched thanks to someone "helping" me hitch it up, and it ran up under my jeep bashing in the front and breaking the window. We popped the front back out, but it'll never be the same and a window won't likely fit well. Any suggestions to permanently cover/fill in and strengthen the hole? I also have to come up with a way to make the bunk bed usable again since it's now been weakened. Suggestions? I'm just sick and sad this happened, but trying to make the best of it.
Thanks.
FiberglassIng is a skill that can easily be learned by anyone since it's so forgiving. Make a mistake? Sand it and do it again. A ton of good info on YouTube and in this forum.

I've glassed large holes, the key is good backer board. I used 1/8" door skin veneer. It's stiff but contours to the shell. Put it on the inside and screw it in place. Fill the hole with layers of fiberglass mat and filler.

You can do this!
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