unusual Fiberglass repair - Fiberglass RV

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Old 03-18-2009, 09:23 PM   #1
Perry Mac Donald's Avatar
Trailer: 1974 13 ft Boler (built in Earlton
Posts: 76
I have a big problem . My boler has a large hole in the roof , the previous owner cut a section of the roof out , it's about 24" x 36" aproximately , i haven't measured . He used this trailer as an observation station and the hole he cut was for his periscope , but thats not all he did , he also cut an 8" hole in the floor next to the axle which was a pivot point so the camper can rotate . My question to all of this , how can i replace that section of roof to retain the same profile . I thought of screwing 1/4 " ply over the hole and covering this with a layer or two of fiberglass cloth to get the compound curve , then once thats dry remove it from the roof and apply more layers till i get the thickness needed . I'll post pictures once i figure out my new camera . Thank you in advance . Perry

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Old 03-18-2009, 10:46 PM   #2
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Trailer: 1972 boler American and 1979 Trillium 4500
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It will be easier to use the plywood on the inside and lay the glass down from the outside. Work with gravity rather than against it. Did the previous owner keep the cutout?
Pictures will help.

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Old 03-19-2009, 02:29 PM   #3
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Trailer: Boler 1984
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My first thought would be to find an automotive car sunroof. Second would be to cover the hole with tinted lexan and keep your "window to the stars".
You could make a replacement patch on a sheet of plastic on an adjacent section of roof then move it ot the hole and fiberglass it in place. Or do as Roy suggests.
The hole in the floor could be filled with a plywood disc and then glassed in from both sides.
Will look forward to your pictures of your project.
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Old 03-19-2009, 06:31 PM   #4
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Trailer: Escape 5.0 TA, 2014
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I think James is on to something. Turn a negative into a positive. Here's a topic, that shows a couple of fixes done by members... the same kind James spoke about. Notice the links to Kevin's albums: Roof Vent
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Old 03-20-2009, 07:05 AM   #5
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Trailer: Casita
New River AZ
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he also cut an 8" hole in the floor next to the axle which was a pivot point so the camper can rotate .
Something like this may work for the floor

Joe and Linda
2013 Casita SD
Dodge Ram 4x4
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Old 03-20-2009, 02:15 PM   #6
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I installed plates like that, except clear, in vertical walls of rear benches for access without removing cushions.
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Old 03-21-2009, 10:17 AM   #7
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One fiberglass repair trick might help you in this situation would be if you can identify another piece of roof that has the same curvature - for example, the area in front of or behind the hole, if it doesn't have awkward things like roof hatches in it.

If there is another piece of clear roof, then wax that and laminate a thick mould (sorry, 'mold') from that - say 6" bigger than the hole size. Grind the edges of the original roof to a taper. Remove the mould and position it over the hole, using the thinnest-possible double-sided sticky tape near the edge of the hole, plus some weights to hold it down. Now laminate over the hole and onto the surrounding original roof.

Getting the wet fiberglass to stay in place is tricky, so you are likely to be limited to applying single layers of fiberglass and letting each one cure. You can wet out the fiberglass downhand on a sheet of plastic and then lift the plastic and fiberglass into position. Roller it into place and oh so carefully peel away the plastic before the fiberglass gels.

This gives you a near perfect exterior surface once the mould is removed - just some filling and fairing at the join. But overhead laminating is very messy - one layer will drop off, however careful you are....

Plan B is to use the mould to make a repair panel, taper its edges, fix it in place and then apply fiberglass tape across the joints. Probably a better way. Hold the repair panel in place temporarily with bolts through the joint and big fender washers either side to clamp the repair panel to the original roof. Once the repair panel is tabbed into place, take out the bolts and make good.

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Old 03-21-2009, 10:37 AM   #8
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Trailer: Bigfoot 25 ft
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I think this is similar to what Andrew was saying...

When I had to repair a canoe (previous life making canoes), I would press from the inside (or out) a piece of waxed Formica to follow the curves and form a "backing". Holding it in place with sticks from the opposite side of the canoe.

I then fiberglassed layers of mat and cloth, until I had built up to the thickness I needed, usually 2 layers of each. When the fiberglass had cured, I would pull off the Formica and sand, fill, sand, fill until no seam could be seen on either side. Then spray your gel coat color to match.

I hope this helps.

PS: Make sure the edges of the hole are feathered (tapered) in order to get a good bond with the new laminates.

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