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Old 06-27-2016, 06:26 AM   #1
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Front fiberglass delamination during trip

We just arrived at our first stop of 5 on our 3 week trip and noticed the front of our 2007 Coachmen Chaparral is loose and dented. We waxed the camper before we left and didn't not notice this. We did have dampness inside in the corner on our last trip, so I recaulked everything and has been dry since. I am now trying to determine what to do. We have another 1200 miles to travel. I don't care about the dent, and would prefer to make it home and repair it myself. I am thinking of removing the whole front. But, not really knowing the construction behind it will it be OK to travel with. My trailer is aluminum framing. I was thinking of getting some white duct tape to tape the bottom seam where it is loose and flexing for a little added security. My other thought was to get one of the wind deflectors for the top of my truck to limit the pressure on that area. We would really appreciate any advice and thoughts about the situation so we can hopefully keep to our travel plans.

We are currently near Niagara, headed to Montreal next.



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Old 06-27-2016, 06:27 AM   #2
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Old 06-27-2016, 09:07 AM   #3
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I don't have an answer, but lately I've noticed a lot of the fronts of trailers pushed in while on the freeway running 60 mph. Mostly TTs. That front cap is just filon rolled over some framing members. If there's insufficient backing behind it then it will cave in. Looks like it has caught up with you. All that wind pushing on the front over time has weakened the filon and now it won't pop back out.
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Old 06-27-2016, 09:55 AM   #4
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dsmoke

I had this problem with our 2007 Ameri-Camp Summit Ridge Reserve. What happens is that when they build the front cap they put in reinforcements to strengthen it. The way it should be done is that the reinforcements should be put into the wet fiberglas and then fiberglas over them to become one piece. In many cases they put the reinforcements on after the initial cap fiberglas hardens. They fiberglas over the reinforcements. It looks good and looks like one piece but when they put it on your trailer and then you go down the road the air pressure on the front of the cap eventually causes the reinforcements to break loose and then the cap begins to flex. In my case, and it looks like in yours, it sucked in from the pressure.
When I first noticed ours I had to find a speed that the cap would not push in. Once I found that speed I tried to stay around there till we got back home and could work on it.

Good luck on getting it fixed. I did fix ours without taking the cap off. Send me a PM and I will send you some pictures of what we did.

Don
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Old 06-27-2016, 10:03 AM   #5
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I received 2 posts on another forum that it is very possible that there is frame damage and I could have bigger issues. I am trying to find a service person to come inspect it for me. Please still do reply with any other information.
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Old 06-27-2016, 11:31 AM   #6
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It could be a frame issue -- but I doubt it. I think it is probably improper construction (internally) of your cap. The fiberglass reinforcements were not put in correctly.
My fix, and it helped that the closet in my trailer is up front, was to open up the closet on both sides so you can access the cap. My fix was to install 1.5" wide strips of wood about 5 ft. long and 1/2" thick onto the back of the cap. You will need to embed them into spray foam which has great adhesive properties. I installed 5 pieces vertically. Once they dried and were in solid I installed 4 pieces horizontally across them, again using spray foam. Guarantee you that cap never flexed again.
Once that was done I bought some new cedar siding strips at the hardware store and closed up my openings in the closet.
Like I said it is a hot, messy job. Doing it yourself will seriously reduce cost and eliminate the problem of try to find a shop (this time of the year) that will take on a problem like that.
Some shops will want to take the cap off. I elected not to go that route.
Good luck.

Don
Maryland
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