Tree Fell on Trailer - Fiberglass RV
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Old 06-22-2024, 11:25 PM   #1
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Name: Willy
Trailer: Bigfoot
Alberta
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Tree Fell on Trailer

So I'll just make this short and to the point, a tree fell on my 1979 Bigfoot damaging the roof right on where it curves to meet the back. Is this even fixable?? Or am I pretty much SOL?? I hope these pics work......
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Old 06-23-2024, 07:19 AM   #2
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Yes, it's repairable. If you don't do fiberglassing yourself, any boat repair shop should be able to cut out the damage, feather the glass, and build it back up with several layers of woven glass mat and resin. Just re-spray it a matching color paint. I used a can of Krylon Gloss White, and it matched well enough that you can't tell it from the original fiberglass gel coat.

Early on, my trailer was also damaged by a large tree branch that broke off at a KOA that I had stayed at. It was about 6" diameter at the base and probably dropped from 35 ft. up. Luckily it missed my A/C unit, but it punched a hole in the rear drivers side corner. It was on the 3 way compound curve area. I cut out the damaged section and rebuilt it myself, since I also do fiberglass. (I also used to do a lot of repairs on boats too.) I defy anyone to tell where the damage was under direct close-up visual inspection. In fact, I would say my patch is stronger than the original "chopper gun" fiberglass hull lay-up because I used several layers of woven roving glass mat and West-Marine resin, each sanded beween coats.

Don't despair Willy, it can be fixed. There's virtually nothing made of fiberglass that can't be repaired.

(Hint: It was on the rear curved part of the roof, toward the driver's side, behind the A/C unit, and between the coax inlet and the 3rd brake light over the rear window. I cut about a 15" wide X 8" high section out that was damaged from the tree branch. (Not only the area of the penetration, but the "spider webbing" cracks around it as well.) It hit with enough force that I also had to replace several popped rivets holding the rear overhead compartments to the inside overhead of the trailer shell as well.)

Fiberglass is pretty forgiving and pretty strong stuff. If it was a "stick-built" trailer, it would have probably been towed to the nearest recycle dump.
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Old 06-23-2024, 07:48 AM   #3
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I agree with Greg. Actually a simple fix, watch some YouTube totorials practice a bit on a piece of junk and have at it.
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Old 06-23-2024, 11:20 AM   #4
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Whew thanks for the replies ! Ya I was worried it wasn’t repairable , I’m not familiar with fibreglass !
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Old 06-23-2024, 11:22 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Casita Greg View Post
Yes, it's repairable. If you don't do fiberglassing yourself, any boat repair shop should be able to cut out the damage, feather the glass, and build it back up with several layers of woven glass mat and resin. Just re-spray it a matching color paint. I used a can of Krylon Gloss White, and it matched well enough that you can't tell it from the original fiberglass gel coat.

Early on, my trailer was also damaged by a large tree branch that broke off at a KOA that I had stayed at. It was about 6" diameter at the base and probably dropped from 35 ft. up. Luckily it missed my A/C unit, but it punched a hole in the rear drivers side corner. It was on the 3 way compound curve area. I cut out the damaged section and rebuilt it myself, since I also do fiberglass. (I also used to do a lot of repairs on boats too.) I defy anyone to tell where the damage was under direct close-up visual inspection. In fact, I would say my patch is stronger than the original "chopper gun" fiberglass hull lay-up because I used several layers of woven roving glass mat and West-Marine resin, each sanded beween coats.

Don't despair Willy, it can be fixed. There's virtually nothing made of fiberglass that can't be repaired.

(Hint: It was on the rear curved part of the roof, toward the driver's side, behind the A/C unit, and between the coax inlet and the 3rd brake light over the rear window. I cut about a 15" wide X 8" high section out that was damaged from the tree branch. (Not only the area of the penetration, but the "spider webbing" cracks around it as well.) It hit with enough force that I also had to replace several popped rivets holding the rear overhead compartments to the inside overhead of the trailer shell as well.)

Fiberglass is pretty forgiving and pretty strong stuff. If it was a "stick-built" trailer, it would have probably been towed to the nearest recycle dump.
Trailer looks good ! Zooming in on pic canít tell there was any damage at all
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Old 06-23-2024, 11:42 AM   #6
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Name: Willy
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Also can anyone recommend a temporary fix until I can source doing this properly? I was thinking maybe sticking poly down with butyl tape along the edges then duct taping the edge as well. Just to keep water out until I can fix it

Any suggestions are welcome !
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Old 06-23-2024, 12:25 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WillyBigfoot View Post
Trailer looks good ! Zooming in on pic can’t tell there was any damage at all
That's the way the repair should look. You can't tell where it started and where it ended, and that's what makes fiberglass so great to work with. Good luck with your repairs.

As to temporary fix, I just used some duct tape to cover the hole until we finished the trip, and to get home without any further incidents. Didn't look good, but it didn't leak either for the duration of our trip, until I could get it home and fix it right.
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Old 06-23-2024, 08:06 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Casita Greg View Post
That's the way the repair should look. You can't tell where it started and where it ended, and that's what makes fiberglass so great to work with. Good luck with your repairs.

As to temporary fix, I just used some duct tape to cover the hole until we finished the trip, and to get home without any further incidents. Didn't look good, but it didn't leak either for the duration of our trip, until I could get it home and fix it right.
Ok excellent thanks !
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Old 06-29-2024, 11:36 AM   #9
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That damage is totally fixable. There’s an old thread that does a great job of repairing fiberglass: https://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/...ass-52498.html
It helped me a lot when I restored my 1977 Scamp.
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Old 06-29-2024, 12:09 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Casita Greg View Post
Yes, it's repairable. If you don't do fiberglassing yourself, any boat repair shop should be able to cut out the damage, feather the glass, and build it back up with several layers of woven glass mat and resin. Just re-spray it a matching color paint. I used a can of Krylon Gloss White, and it matched well enough that you can't tell it from the original fiberglass gel coat.

Early on, my trailer was also damaged by a large tree branch that broke off at a KOA that I had stayed at. It was about 6" diameter at the base and probably dropped from 35 ft. up. Luckily it missed my A/C unit, but it punched a hole in the rear drivers side corner. It was on the 3 way compound curve area. I cut out the damaged section and rebuilt it myself, since I also do fiberglass. (I also used to do a lot of repairs on boats too.) I defy anyone to tell where the damage was under direct close-up visual inspection. In fact, I would say my patch is stronger than the original "chopper gun" fiberglass hull lay-up because I used several layers of woven roving glass mat and West-Marine resin, each sanded beween coats.

Don't despair Willy, it can be fixed. There's virtually nothing made of fiberglass that can't be repaired.

(Hint: It was on the rear curved part of the roof, toward the driver's side, behind the A/C unit, and between the coax inlet and the 3rd brake light over the rear window. I cut about a 15" wide X 8" high section out that was damaged from the tree branch. (Not only the area of the penetration, but the "spider webbing" cracks around it as well.) It hit with enough force that I also had to replace several popped rivets holding the rear overhead compartments to the inside overhead of the trailer shell as well.)

Fiberglass is pretty forgiving and pretty strong stuff. If it was a "stick-built" trailer, it would have probably been towed to the nearest recycle dump.

You should have videoed your doing the repair and put it on You tube.
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Old 06-29-2024, 12:16 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by WillyBigfoot View Post
So I'll just make this short and to the point, a tree fell on my 1979 Bigfoot damaging the roof right on where it curves to meet the back. Is this even fixable?? Or am I pretty much SOL?? I hope these pics work......

The big thing is to probably "fix it" with gorilla tape or a tarp now to keep it and the inside dry. Make sure you remove the loose stuff. You will note that Greg's first step in his repair he discussed was cutting out the bad part.



Part of this depends on your goal. If you want a repair that nobody can tell was repaired then probably you will need to get with a boar repair shop (or find a way to get it to greg ;-) ) But with some patience you can certainly do a repair yourself which will be at least as structural and water tight.



Go slow do several layers and make sure that EVERYTHING loose is removed before you start. You will need to start with a solid surface all around.


We are a great bunch if I do say so my self and as you go if you take pictures and post them of problems you will find some great answers here.
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Old 06-29-2024, 12:37 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by computerspook View Post
You should have videoed your doing the repair and put it on You tube.
Yeah, in retrospect, I probably should have documented the entire procedure, from cutting out the damaged area to building up several layers of the rebuild glassing. But that's in the rear view mirror now.

It probably would have been a good "follow-along-with-me" through my repair work. Didn't really think about it much back then. Just wanted to jump on it and get it done. One of those "Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda" episodes...
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Old 06-29-2024, 01:09 PM   #13
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Yeah, in retrospect, I probably should have documented the entire procedure, from cutting out the damaged area to building up several layers of the rebuild glassing. But that's in the rear view mirror now.

It probably would have been a good "follow-along-with-me" through my repair work. Didn't really think about it much back then. Just wanted to jump on it and get it done. One of those "Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda" episodes...

I bet we both have a lot of those
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Old 06-30-2024, 04:03 PM   #14
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I have to say that I'm a little paranoid about damage like this since getting the 17.5 BF! On my 13.5 with its single shell, a repair like this is doable in our own driveway. But what would we do with a double shell with insulation? Yikes! Any comforting thoughts for me out there?
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Old 06-30-2024, 04:43 PM   #15
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Name: Willy
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Excellent thanks so much this is all great info !! That’s a great thread on fiberglass fix thanks for sharing !!

I have a few places lined up that will look at it and tell me what they think. It may be an insurance thing , or may not so whether I get it done or try it myself this has all been great help. Actually that patch in the thread he does over his exhaust vent is great as I may have to do that anyway

So is mine a double or shingle shell !!??
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Old 06-30-2024, 05:00 PM   #16
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I have to say that I'm a little paranoid about damage like this since getting the 17.5 BF! On my 13.5 with its single shell, a repair like this is doable in our own driveway. But what would we do with a double shell with insulation? Yikes! Any comforting thoughts for me out there?

I would bet it is not much more than like about 4 times as hard.


The first thing obviously would be to get the damage covered as soon as possible. Getting water inbetween the two parts will make it harder. Not impossible but harder.


I would consult with big foot. Hopefully they are as helpful with their products as Scamp. I have had to do two collision repairs. Between them I probably have 10-15 hours of work and scamp's service department probably put in over an hour in giving me advice. Hard to beat them for support. About the only other company I have dealt with who did customer support as well as Scamp has been trident trikes. Here is a picture of me out on my trike as a bit of a plug for them.


But from what I can tell the insulation is high density foam. It also is likely closed cell foam. So you would not have a problem. But you can ask most importantly how to make sure it gets back dried out after an damage before the repair.


Then once it was dried you would want to repair the outside shell. This is a case where removing all of the damage first is probably going to be even more important. Actually you will likely have the advantage of a form right behind the damage to use to remake the fiberglass. :-) Well that depends on the level of damage.


Then you can look on the inside and decide if you even need to repair the that part. You might not even have damage as the foam will absorb some of the damage. And the big thing is to get the outside repaired well and water tight. Then you might be able to ignore some minor cracks on the inside.


If you have to repair the inside, that will be a bunch harder but doable. The thing is that you will need to like mask and cover everything. And then the inside will probably stink for a month or two.


But all of this would be doable.
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