Shrinking Bellyband Trim - Fiberglass RV
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Old 07-04-2018, 06:43 PM   #1
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Name: Kevin
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Shrinking Bellyband Trim

Our 1988 Bigfoot Silver Cloud has black plastic trim inserted in the bellyband all around the trailer. This plastic trim seems to be shrinking and now is about 18" short of the door on the front side and 6" short of the door toward the rear. It appears to be all one long piece of trim and none is missing. Is this normal with old trim and can a new plastic trim insert be found somewhere? I probably need about 63' for replacement.
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Old 07-05-2018, 09:03 AM   #2
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You can put in more, or heat and stretch the existing stuff. An RV dealer will sell the trim.
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Old 07-05-2018, 10:49 AM   #3
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We bought a 1300 last spring, about 6 inches of the black insert was missing. Seller said he put a new one last year and it shrank, he had to add some length, and it shrank another 6 in....
I bought a roll of the stuff at my local RV center, cut a length to put where it was missing, and sure enough it shrank too and now it shows 1/8 in gaps at both ends!
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Old 07-05-2018, 10:57 AM   #4
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shrinking belly band trim

Yes, this is a very embarrassing crisis, and the real question is: Is the belly band trim shrinking OR is the belly and the belly band expanding?
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Old 07-05-2018, 11:24 AM   #5
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Name: Kathleen (Kai: ai as in wait)
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All too familiar with that expanding belly band...

WE also had the same issue, nothing likely missing, merely shrunken...also our trim was holding mud and moisture against the screw heads, almost all of which were rusted nearly entirely through. In some cases there wasn't enough of them left to unscrew with a driver; Paul had to grab them with some clamping thing and untwist them that way. SOME had become mere rust spots inside the wooden belly insert.


WE decided after putting in new wood, cleaning everything up, sealing the new screws, cleaning the aluminum band...everything...


to just paint with black enamel right over the new screw heads inside that channel that once held the rubber trim.


Voila. LOOKS about the same, lets the screws completely dry out between getting wet, no mud or grit accumulates, or if it does it easily rinses or wipes away when Paul washes Peanut...


Photos showing our paint-instead-of-rubber solution:
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Old 07-05-2018, 12:45 PM   #6
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vinyl shrinks over time. This shrinkage is also seen in vinyl gaskets on windows and doors. But it is not just a shrinkage issue it is also an installation issue. When putting in the trim the installer has to be careful not to pull or stretch the trim as it is being installed. If they do so then within a few weeks the trim will resume its original length leaving the ends of it several inches too short.

When I put in new trims of this type I leave them overly long at the end for a couple of weeks so they can resume their orginal length. Then after they have had time to come back to their actual length I trim them to the final size. A lesson I learned by experience from not taking that over stretched a bit factor into account.
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Old 07-05-2018, 01:08 PM   #7
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That's good advice KC. Don't stretch it, just set it in the channel. It also depends on what type of band you use, how tightly it fits in the channel, and whether the ends are allowed to float or are secured. On my Escape I swapped out the black band for a red one a couple of years ago, and it has not shrunk a bit. But, the belly band on these is secured by end caps with a screw that not only holds the end cap, but goes through the end of the vinyl. Click image for larger version

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Old 07-05-2018, 01:24 PM   #8
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Agree with k corbin. When I replaced the vinyl insert in the Trillium 4500, I compressed into the slot. That was a couple of years ago and the problem didn't return. Of course, now I am in the process of permanently sealing (removing plates, patching with Bondo glass, etc) the Trillium center band, and have gotten rid of the aluminum trim forever.
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Old 07-05-2018, 01:36 PM   #9
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When we were cleaning up our sticking windows, I noticed there was a gap in the gasket (to prevent leaks and air, NOT decorative trim) where the vinyl/rubber had pulled back. It was surprisingly easy to massage it back into touching...but how could I hold in there?

Resorting to one of my skills, I used heavy buttonhole thread and sewed those ends together. Paul was able to put the windows back together easily, the thread is still holding, and until it rips through the rubber/vinyl, if it ever does, so far, so good. Screws and caps sound great, but this area was small and narrow and I never know what's going to get in the way of something else...the thread really didn't impact anything as far as either of us can tell.

Not suggesting anyone else do this, but it seems to have worked for us--for now.

Also, the idea of leaving the stuff LONG to begin with and letting it creep to its favorite length before final trimming is GREAT! But only applies upon installation of new gasketing, of course.

Kai
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