Love Bug - Love it or leave it - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-26-2012, 12:43 PM   #1
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Love Bug - Love it or leave it

Today we pulled the door into place, it was wider at the bottom before we started working on it but now it is 26" wide from top to bottom. Still can't figure out how to lift it high enough to pull the frame out from under. Any ideas?
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Old 08-26-2012, 01:42 PM   #2
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fiberglass fractures/damage

The first 3 pics are fractures at three corners of the bug. The interior seems to be solid (not cracked), and the fiberglass looks good inside. What to do?

The last picture is the center rear of the shell just under the belly band/seam. How is this repaired? Cut out the old stuff, make a hole and replace with new fiberglass? clean out loose debris and epoxy over it? leave it alone? Maybe this isn't as bad as I fear? Please, you old pros chime in!

Thanks,
Cathy
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Old 08-26-2012, 01:49 PM   #3
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Wow !!! You've got your work cut out for you. I've seen a video on this site showing how to pull the frame out - IIRC the poster is Kevin.

He built a temporary scaffold inside the trailer. It could rest on the ground or on the frame itself. Build it to within a few feet of the ceiling. Use three (or more) jacks between the top of the scaffold and the ceiling to raise the whole shell up a foot or so above the frame. Use plywood, 2x4's or something similar to distribute the weight of the shell across the jacks. For goodness sakes - keep it balanced & have some extra hands standing by.

Once the shell is suspended above the frame build up some short saw horses or maybe cement block piers just high enough that you can run stringers across them between the shell and the frame. The sawhorses will be outboard of the widest part of the frame - including the wheels - so you'll probably need 12' long stringers.

Use the jacks to set the shell down on the stringers. Dismantle the scaffold. Roll the frame out from under.

Reverse the procedure for reassembly.

Disclaimer --- I have never done this!!!
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Old 08-26-2012, 02:04 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cat futrell View Post
Cut out the old stuff ... and replace with new fiberglass?
That's what I would do.

It sounds like you may be taking up the craft of fiberglassing. There are some good online tutorials posted by boaters. Nose around on Google.
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Old 08-26-2012, 02:26 PM   #5
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Fiberglass

Just found this link to a fiberglass tutorial posted by Rogerdat in another thread.

http://www.westsystem.com/ss/assets/...aintenance.pdf
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Old 08-26-2012, 02:31 PM   #6
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Thanks for that scaffolding idea. I hope I can find something simpler but may have to go that route.
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Old 08-27-2012, 10:17 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Cat futrell View Post
Cut out the old stuff, make a hole and replace with new fiberglass?
Cathy,

I am no pro, but if the cracks are just in the gel coat, you can sand off the gel coat and paint. I would use a good two part paint. This kind of paint is basically gel coat you can spray.
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Old 08-27-2012, 01:41 PM   #8
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Loss of gelcoat under the belly band appears to me characteristic of the "exfoliation" you see over a void or air pocket between the glass and gelcoat. In my opinion, it's pretty common and actually pretty harmless in the greater scheme of things, the greater scheme in your case being the frame and floor redo. The cracks radiating from a point on the belly band flange are from a stress riser; probably a fastener thru flanges which don't mate precisely. On the % original strength and integrity scale, they're also imo minor annoyances by comparison to what you're already dealing with.

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Old 08-27-2012, 01:55 PM   #9
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Thanks Jack,

I am expecting the worst every time I address a new problem. We are still trying to figure out how to lift the shell to get out the frame. Been thinking about making a rectangular frame of 2x 4 or 6s to fit close to the shell just beneath the belly band. Sandwiching the center most part of the shell between the 2" board and another 2" piece on the inside and putting bolts through the shell to attach the wooden frame to the shell. Allowing me to lift the frame and the attached shell by the corners with jacks. Not sure about the integrity of the belly band, even with the bolts through the shell.

what do you think?
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Old 08-27-2012, 02:10 PM   #10
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Here is a forum member that has provided extensive how-to on fiberglass repair.
http://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/f...ass-52498.html

I seem to recall reading that those "spider cracks" in the gel coat can be due to the gel coat getting stiffer and more brittle with age at a different rate than the FG under it. FG can still flex but not the gel coat so the gel coat cracks at a flex point.
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Old 08-27-2012, 02:12 PM   #11
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Thanks Roger, Ill check it out.
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Old 08-27-2012, 04:12 PM   #12
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I don't have experience lifting a trailer shell, Cathy. Retention of shape seems to be a bigger problem than clearance over the frame and hard to achieve that until the frame's pulled out from under.

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Old 08-27-2012, 05:49 PM   #13
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While pondering the trailer lifting problem (we are waiting out some bad weather here in Florida for a few days) I am going to strip the furniture.

Anybody ever used citri-strip?

And, I can't for the life of me figure out the whole ac/dc thing, much less solar. Im looking ahead trying to plan for what is coming next. Can anybody tell me if there is information somewhere about the whole thing, rather than ac here and dc there? Is there one unit that can be installed that can be wired to handle 120 and 12volt and solar or are they all separate?
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Old 08-27-2012, 06:39 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Cat futrell View Post
.............And, I can't for the life of me figure out the whole ac/dc thing, much less solar. Im looking ahead trying to plan for what is coming next. Can anybody tell me if there is information somewhere about the whole thing, rather than ac here and dc there? Is there one unit that can be installed that can be wired to handle 120 and 12volt and solar or are they all separate?
It is really not that complicated and we can help. Basically, you wire it so everything runs off the 12 volt battery. Then wire the AC converter and the solar panel to recharge the battery. Some converters have a built in fuse box, that makes wiring to all the lights and other stuff easier.
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Old 08-27-2012, 06:47 PM   #15
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Yes, I use that stripper when I am able to work at stripping the woodwork in the living room (about 4 or 5 years ago). It works, but it took a lot of elbow grease. I went through a lot of the brushes, but then, the woodwork has several layers of paint to remove.

Beats breathing in the fumes of the stronger stuff.

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Old 08-28-2012, 09:00 AM   #16
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It is really not that complicated and we can help. Basically, you wire it so everything runs off the 12 volt battery. Then wire the AC converter and the solar panel to recharge the battery. Some converters have a built in fuse box, that makes wiring to all the lights and other stuff easier.

Tom is correct that it's not really that complicated, people will help (a lot) but he is only describing the 12 volt system and how it can be tied into the AC system in an effiecient manner. You still will need at least one or two 110 volt AC outlets (plugs) available and that consists of nothing more than:
  • Heavy extension cord to plug into campground power.
  • Load center (box) with the circuit breaker.
  • A box to mount the plug in.
  • Some house wire to connect the load center to the plug.
These devices actually have color coded connectors. Black wire goes to gold colored screw, white wire goes to aluminum colored screw. Ground wire goes to green colored screw. Things like AC lights will have a black wire and a white wire that will match up by color to your wiring.

If you know anyone that has added a plug or two to a garage or basement they can easily guide you through it.

Here is a picture of the stock 110 set up for my 77 scamp. Heavy extension cord is black cable coming off the left side of the box, box has black circut breaker, white wire runs to plug that my refrigerator plugs into, not seen is a wire running off the top of the box. It goes under the dirty white ensolite up to the light over the sink.



This sort of gives me an idea, maybe a board with basic wiring such as in this picture but with the covers off would make a nice display for a rally. Throw in a switch and a light with the wire nuts showing to make it complete.
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Old 08-28-2012, 10:30 AM   #17
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Most rv maintenance manuals will have chapters on electrical code and practise relating to trailers and motorhomes but likely won't have a schematic for your brand and model as originally wired.

While you're waiting out the storm, think about this. A trailer, when on the road, is an extension of the tow vehicle electrically as well as physically. The starter battery in the tug supplies 12VDC to the running lights and signals. The hookup thru the trailer plug for this role requires four conductors. This is the simplest DC "system" for any utility, equipment, boat, or stock trailer. If the trailer has electric brakes, another conductor is required. There are a couple more roles for a starting battery (charging a second battery, motorized jacks) which only complicate the understanding while fattening the umbilical between tug and tow.

Most small camping trailers have at least one 12V battery on the tongue. A good way to understand the role of this battery is to give it a name to distinguish it from the battery in the tow vehicle. In a boat, you'd call it the "house" battery to distinguish it from the starter battery for the engine. A boat is both conveyance and domicile just as is a moho or trailer/tug lashup. So the "house" battery supplies current to the bare necessities of life when you're "at home" (lights, fans, water pumps).

Problem with 12VDC house battery is that it's a finite energy source when the recharging role of an alternator in a moving vehicle isn't available. So your battery will discharge and the lights will go out. This is a problem your motor yacht doesn't have as you can always run the diesel for a few minutes and trade petrochemical energy for juice in the house battery.

Both the boat and the trailer are going to stop sometime and both can go on "shore power" (120VAC) when "at the dock." "House" current can do several different jobs. If you have both AC and DC lights, motors and appliances, those that require AC (air conditioner a prime example) are suddenly available. In the case of your DC lights and motors, AC provides the charging current for your house battery. To play its double role AC "shore power" is fed into an electrical distribution panel which incorporates breaker-protected AC circuits and fuse-protected DC circuits in addition to a converter--a device which uses AC current to produce (or more properly induce) DC current for the purpose of charging the battery.

The side-by-side electrical systems in a trailer can also be thought of as storage-dependent and grid-dependent. Might not seem that you're in a precarious position of "dependency" when you're "on the grid," but as you know, natural disaster can change your views on that in a hurry. Having both is not a matter of redundancy but of simple and self-contained vs. complex and technologically interdependent alternatives.

The following won't help you wire the Bug but is food for thought. In the early years of electrification in the U.S. and well before AC transmission lines were available everywhere, many homes and farms had small generators and storage batteries which powered pump motors and lights. In some parts of the world, that's still the case. Electrically-speaking, camping trailers have one wheel in the past and one in the present and are also a special case of the house/vehicle hybrid.

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Old 08-28-2012, 11:55 AM   #18
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Thank you Mr. Rabbit
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Old 11-13-2015, 04:21 PM   #19
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We decided to love it, total rebuild. Even a name change. This is "Wandering Violet"

We still have things to do, some latches, side window frames (they are cut just need to be assembled, painted, and installed) mostly cosmetics. I promised pics months ago. I will post more, in time.

I also included a pic of our cabinet door latch solution. Magnetic baby locks.
These pics were taken today and the mattress from the back is still inside the house.

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Old 11-13-2015, 04:37 PM   #20
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Just realized I did not post one of the back even though the beds not in you can see the back.
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