I removed the belly band this weekend and I want to thank those of you that posted your removal stories, they were most helpful and thorough.
It was a lot easier than I anticipated.
I won't go over the process as it is very well described elsewhere on the site, but I will add a couple tidbits.
The original band adds almost no strength to the trailer, it just covers the joint made when the upper and lower halves of the trailer are joined. The real strength is the layer of glass the manufacturer put over the joint. After removing the band, I wanted to cover the joint with something waterproof that would hopefully add a little strength. I chose a filler with chopped glass commonly available. It is stronger than conventional body filler, but sands easier than fibreglass. Then I used regular bonds and spot filler to form and smother the join. To my surprise, the inner fibre glass sticks out of the gap in a number of places and if you grind it down, you can grind right through it before it is level with the surrounding gel coat.
A friend recommended making a curved squeegee to cover the joint with a convex band (see picture).
That worked really well, added thickness for strength, and minimized finishing. If you apply it well as my friend did in the picture, you only then need a very thin bondo cover and a little sanding and voilà.
Whole job took about 10 hours.
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