My corner has a lot of spider cracks - Fiberglass RV
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Old 05-17-2021, 12:56 PM   #1
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Name: Brian
Trailer: 1980 Trillium 1300
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My corner has a lot of spider cracks

Hey everybody, i’m Trying to get my trillium prepped for painting. I have been filling in my belly band (a common fix), but have decided to deal with some of the spider cracks in the body. I tackled the back corner by grinding out the gel coat with a dremel tool and filling with short strand fiberglass. I’m now on to the front area and I’m feeling a bit confused about what the best coarse of action is here. I know that there had been a large repair in the front bottom corner prior to me taking ownership. It has been repaired on the inside by the previous owner. For the outside though, is it better to just do what I was doing with the short strand fg or would it be better to do a sheet of mat and resin? It’s hard to see, but there is a lot more cracks there than in the back. If I do that, I need to go right down through the gel coat right? Any and all advice is appreciated.
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Old 05-17-2021, 01:41 PM   #2
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If you want to apply layers of woven glass or chopped strand mat for additional strength on the OUTSIDE, then grind off all of the gel coat in that area first.

Personally I wouldn't do it that way unless there is severe body damage, e.g., large holes and large cracks. I would add the glass layers to the inside and simply repair any gelcoat damage on the outside surface.

If you are repairing the front lower body, at least on my Trillium there was stone damage resulting in chipped gelcoat and some very small holes through the fiberglass. I fixed the damage by first adding chopped strand mat to the inside surface, then repairing the gelcoat. I also painted the lower front section with chip guard paint.
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Old 05-17-2021, 05:29 PM   #3
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Thanks John. Would you advise going about the gelcoat repair the same as I have already done? I have heard that just filling with regular body filler can lead to the cracks returning.
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Old 05-17-2021, 07:15 PM   #4
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I would use regular body filler for the final 1/8 inch. Some use thickened polyester resin or gel coat instead. Still others use epoxy products.
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Old 05-17-2021, 08:11 PM   #5
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Sorry, I'm a bit confused by the "final 1/8 of an inch" piece. Are you suggesting digging out about 1/8" and then just fill it with body filler? Thanks again for the responses.
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Old 05-17-2021, 09:12 PM   #6
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Nope, not suggesting digging out 1/8". If the repair is 1/8" or shallower, just use body filler. If its deeper than 1/8", use resin with chopped glass or use woven glass or use chopped glass mat to get the repair surface within 1/8".
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Old 05-18-2021, 05:59 AM   #7
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Not a FG expert but in both your crack repair and some of the belly band, I do not see evidence of grinding and tapering the fiberglass. I always taper back maybe 1/2 to 3/4 inch. It’s not just filling the defect, it’s bonding adjacent sections of FG.

I’ll defer to people with more FG knowledge.

Now on shallow cracks grinding back may be over doing it.
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Old 05-18-2021, 10:26 AM   #8
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Brian, read this thread for more info on repairing fiberglass:

https://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/...ass-52498.html
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Old 05-18-2021, 05:50 PM   #9
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It's been a while since i read that one. Its gotten long! Thanks for the tips.
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Old 05-19-2021, 06:03 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thrifty bill View Post
Not a FG expert but in both your crack repair and some of the belly band, I do not see evidence of grinding and tapering the fiberglass. I always taper back maybe 1/2 to 3/4 inch. Itís not just filling the defect, itís bonding adjacent sections of FG.

Iíll defer to people with more FG knowledge.

Now on shallow cracks grinding back may be over doing it.
Agree the expert that I hired to teach me how to fix our boler said to open up the crack like you say and told me what products the boat repair specialists use to first fill the lower depth and then how to use the boat gelcoat colour match kits to do small repairs like this one.
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