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Old 04-19-2015, 03:57 PM   #21
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We found undisclosed leak/wood rot damage too in our newly acquired Bigfoot. Not happy! Just wanted to hook up and go. Good luck to you! Keep us posted!!!
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Old 04-19-2015, 08:41 PM   #22
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Harry, Do you mind posting more pictures of your repairs? I hope it's going well for you. Details would help as we may be entering into a similar repair. Thanks!


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Old 04-21-2015, 08:59 PM   #23
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Just found out delamination CAN happen in molded fiberglass trailers...it's not just wood/fiberglass delamination that happens in stick built trailers. Apparently, if the fiberglass has tiny flaws then air can become trapped...in the fiberglass. Then, if water gets inside (through a leak, damage, or non use of the correct Butyl tape) it can go through microscopic channels to fill the voids in the fiberglass that were filled with AIR. Now, if this happens, delamination of the fiberglass occurs. This is in fiberglass only construction, and no I am not talking about wood, or luan delamination. Then if the weather changes...the water expands and contracts causing blisters...or in our case soft spots. These will only get worse unless you grind it down and repair it.
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Old 04-21-2015, 09:37 PM   #24
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"but at least we didn't pay a lot".....really?....

hardly ever hear that from Bigfoot owners....

so if worse comes to worse it sounds like you're going to "break even"

not sure I understand the soft spot thing on the outside

it seems every other day on here we hear from people who have taken a FG trailer "basket case" over thirty years old and strip 'em down to the FG and start again....never heard of any of them complaining about "delamination" of the FG (???)... are you sure that you are not imagining "the worst" here???

and yeah, pictures of the outside would help....especially since the condition did not jump out at you when you first saw the trailer (it is right by the door!)

good luck with the repairs...."what doesn't kill ya makes you stronger"
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Old 04-21-2015, 10:28 PM   #25
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Although, I do greatly appreciate your inference of all of this being just "my imagination". It's not. But thanks. Delamination of FG happens in FG boats...quite often actually.
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Old 04-21-2015, 11:20 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by HarryHendersons View Post
There are some soft spots under the window, near where they repaired that side. They drilled the holes in and tried to fill it with the resin. It seems that they didn't take out the damaged fiberglass but just tried to patch over it. We are going to pull up some more a little lower. I think there is a leak around the belly band, and a leak around the window where it got distorted in the impact. I think we're mainly dealing with some leaking.
You may be right on the leaking. The repair sounds like more of a "git rot" type of fix, commonly used in boats. I've done some myself, effective and expensive but easy.
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Old 04-22-2015, 05:49 AM   #27
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Butyl tape

I found it at the local building supply. It is used to seal between sheet metal roofing. It was 1/2 " so I had to double it. Much to the disbelief of a certain skeptic, someone recently reported buying it at Home Depot. Worth a look. Raz
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Old 04-22-2015, 06:47 AM   #28
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You may be right on the leaking. The repair sounds like more of a "git rot" type of fix, commonly used in boats. I've done some myself, effective and expensive but easy.
Roy are you talking about the injection of epoxy/resin into the fiberglass layer to try to get it to harden back up? Right now it's pretty soft. I had no idea, until looking at boat forums that fiberglass itself could end up with water damage and start softening. It keeps going too, so eventually the rot has to be fixed. What exactly did you use that worked? I can see holes where someone obviously tried injecting the area with resin but it didn't work.
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Old 04-22-2015, 09:29 AM   #29
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Would the post, 'you can repair fiberglass' by D White help... Or is this a different type of repair??
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Old 04-22-2015, 10:07 AM   #30
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I have seen repairs on fibreglass boats where they shaved off the gel coat, to deal with delamination, I assume.
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Old 04-22-2015, 10:19 AM   #31
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Would the post, 'you can repair fiberglass' by D White help... Or is this a different type of repair??
I think it's the same type of repair...unfortunately. Was not interested...or wanting to do fiberglass repair. I also found this article which is similar. Fiberglass Repair by Don Casey - BoatTECH - BoatUS plus I've gone to the tap plastic site and watched a video. It's just a bit unnerving that I can't really fully assess the damage until I start sand off the gel coat. Not sure how far down the rabbit hole I want to go. There are surveyors in the boat world that look for this type of damage before someone even buys a boat...but even they miss it sometimes. I guess I just want to let other newb FGRV buyers know that this can happen, and to watch out for it. Not everyone is honest about previous damage.
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Old 04-22-2015, 10:46 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by HarryHendersons View Post
Although, I do greatly appreciate your inference of all of this being just "my imagination". It's not. But thanks. Delamination of FG happens in FG boats...quite often actually.
While I agree it can and does happen in boats - having spent my whole life around them I honestly don't think I would use the phrase "quite often". It would seem to me its more common to see it happen on a boat that has taken a known hard hit up against an immovable object &/or has a poorly done repair.

Having said that I am aware of one family members boat which came from a rather pricy well respected boat builder that had to be hauled back to the factory for a redo after its first year on the water, due to an issue of delaminating in the transom area - knowing the owner there will always be a question mark though as to whether it was a factory build issue or if their choose of engines used and adverse weather conditions the boat was operated in or if there had been contact with a dead head (sunken log) while running in bad weather. LOL but my scepticism as to cause is mostly due to the owner having a historical rep for being a little hard on boats & given the outstanding rep of the boat builder they may have pushed things just a tab.

Also growing up in Bigfoot country I have known lots of owners of their products (still do) including family members and I can't recall having heard anyone mention they had a problem on either a truck camper or a trailer with delamination - at least not on the ones that were considered to be actual moulded fiberglass. Bigfoot did stray from its historical roots of building smaller moulded fiberglass trailers and started making some larger trailers, that to me at least, did not actually fit that description. The later was the big reason behind them having closed their doors for a time. Got caught out in the economic down turn with to many big trailers and no market for them.

Your profile does not indicate what year of Bigfoot you own. Updating it might help people give you better answers to what ever questions you may have in regards to its construction and features.

Do you have any photos of the outside repair job?

Looking at the photos of the inside work although lacking in addressing the window issue/leak the actual fiberglass repair *may* not have even done by a DIY type especially if you didnt notice any repair on the outside of it. Fixing gelcoat to the point you don't notice a major repair is something your average DIY would have a hard time achieving.

Do you know the full providence of the trailer?
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Old 04-22-2015, 11:19 AM   #33
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I've owned several fiberglass boats and had them professionally surveyed at purchase. The marine insurer required a survey. In all cases a good surveyor used a small mallet with plastic tips on the ends of the head but a screwdriver with a plastic handle will also work also. If you tap on the fiberglass you should be able to hear a different sound when you move from solid material to something that is softer. When the sound changes from "tap" to "thud" you have found a potential weak spot. It's usually pretty obvious when you find a soft spot.


David Tilston mentioned a special tool. It's called a gel coat peeler. It's an air powered tool about the size and shape of a belt sander but it has a carbide blade and you can adjust the depth of the cut. It's very easy to cut into the fiberglass. It also works best on flat surfaces. The most common use on boats is when the gel coat and fiberglass "blister" and the repair requires all the gel coat to be completely removed. Most of these repairs are done below the waterline on boats that are in the water all the time. A gel coat peeler is very expensive and could do more damage than good if not used properly.


There is a tool that marine surveyors and boat repair places use that might be helpful. It's a moisture meter to determine moisture content. You can't do a good repair if there is too much moisture in the fiberglass. These are also expensive to purchase but a marine surveyor would probably do a moisture check for you. Good luck.
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Old 04-22-2015, 11:29 AM   #34
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I should add that the only fiberglass delamination I ever saw in a boat was caused by a severe impact on the hull. The impact was so severe the resin cracked and the glass fabric was damaged. Water got inside and did more damage. On the other hand I've seen many first hand issues of gel coat and fiberglass separating. Actual fiberglass damage is structural and gel coat separation is usually just cosmetic.
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Old 04-22-2015, 12:21 PM   #35
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The window crack being left unfixed has me wondering if perhaps the window was not broken due to the original impact. Perhaps it cracked after the fact.

Trailers flex a lot while traveling and I wondered if maybe the side wall where the repair was done has been over done to the point that area no longer flexes as the other side of the window does - something located in the middle of something that flexes & something that does not is going to give.

Or perhaps they reduced during the repair the clearance between the inner window mounting ring and the fiberglass - thats assuming there is some clearance between the two rather than the fiberglass butted right up tight to the ring. Not 100% sure if that can be an issue or not.

I know Bigfoot is not the owned by the same people it was when this trailer was built and the current owners do shy away from answering questions in regards to the build of the older trailers but the new owners and many of the workers there did work for the old company and their practices in regards to both those items may still be the same. Calling them and finding out what the current practise is might be worth knowing.
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Old 04-22-2015, 01:05 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by HarryHendersons View Post
There are some soft spots under the window, near where they repaired that side. They drilled the holes in and tried to fill it with the resin. It seems that they didn't take out the damaged fiberglass but just tried to patch over it. .
If it was mine, I would haul it to a shop that does fiberglass repairs and have them take a look at it & hear what they suggest before sanding anything down. Is there someplace not to far from you that does repairs on boats?

Those holes you see they have drilled may not have been done for the reason you believe they were done. One needs to drill holes at each end of a crack regardless of size of it (even hairlines) to stop it from going further. Also leaving the original pieces in place is also not uncommon and laying up the matting and resin behind them as has been done, is again pretty standard.

The big benefit to taking it to a boat repair shop is they will probable have a moisture meter that another poster has mentioned and be able to confirm that you actually do have a problem with moisture having penetrated the repair.
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