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Old 06-19-2014, 06:55 AM   #15
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It is an unbelievable pain in the @$$ to replace/repair the FG/ply siding.
Do you do lots of gel coat/fiberglass work? How did you do it? What was the damage?
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Old 06-19-2014, 07:03 AM   #16
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I don't see how fiberglass is lighter than alum. ??????

Jim
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Old 06-19-2014, 07:17 AM   #17
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So the options are wood rot with aluminum trailers, or delamination with fiberglass. Sounds like a catch 22...
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Old 06-19-2014, 07:48 AM   #18
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Fiberglass travel trailers, anything I've seen anyway, use laminated construction. The fiberglass sheeting is glued to a thin plywood (luan, and that's not even outdoor rated). The luan is glued to stiff foam blocking, along with a minimum amount of structure in key places. Examples would be in areas required to support a roof AC, around the perimeter of the panel to allow it to be fastened to another, etc. Then, the interior paneling is glued, which forms the inside lamination, finishing the sandwich. More often than not, this is done on big vacuum tables to compress the layers together evenly.

Anything laminated is subject to DE-lamination. De-lamination is generally due to water intrusion/rot, and anyone that's had anything to do with a de-lamination repair will generally not get into that position again. That said, there's a new backing material available that's not supposed to allow rot. I don't know how widespread it use is. If somebody says they're using it, I would get that in writing.

Anyway, this laminated construction is generally lighter as there is less internal structure required to support it. Kinda like a heavy cardboard box. Works great until it gets wet. New they're fine. After extended periods of time, maybe not so much. No, I'm not a fan.

Not saying the fiberglass is automatically a problem. I would like to point out that if you're going to go this way, your maintenance requirements, those that involve keeping this thing waterproof, need to be followed meticulously. Oh, and some of these laminated coaches used alum. sheet instead of the fiberglass/filon. Makes no difference. They're no better or worse.

Repairing collision damage on a laminated coach, is going to be way different than repairing a hole in a fiberglass fender or in the side of a boat. Fenders and boats aren't laminated. Generally, the fiberglass is the only structural component on those. On an RV, you have foam and luan to deal with. I've never seen a repair that wasn't obvious.

As mentioned, sticks and aluminum is by far and away the easiest to repair - from a collision or lack of maintenance perspective, and often make for good DIY projects. They also have a great reputation for going the distance when properly maintained. IMHO, the only wayt to improve on this type construction, is all alum. (Airstream/Avion)

19 years experience at a large RV dealer.... which included a LOT of collision repair work.
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Old 06-19-2014, 09:10 AM   #19
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For those of you who have owned both, was one harder to maintain/upkeep than the other? Which one kept its resale value better?
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Old 06-19-2014, 09:53 AM   #20
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This is a very interesting topic, and to be honest, I never really put a lot of thought into it. Some good info here to learn. I will put this towards the next purchase.
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Old 06-19-2014, 07:40 PM   #21
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Would love to see a cross section of a fiberglass constuction I was under the impression it was like a boat or Corvette. If the process is as before mention i maybe see why it's lighter.

Jim
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Old 06-19-2014, 08:35 PM   #22
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Would love to see a cross section of a fiberglass constuction I was under the impression it was like a boat or Corvette. If the process is as before mention i maybe see why it's lighter.

Jim
Ooohhhhhhhhh good call!! Cross sections would be nice!!
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Old 06-19-2014, 08:52 PM   #23
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For those of you who have owned both, was one harder to maintain/upkeep than the other? Which one kept its resale value better?
Not seen very many keep their resale value very well. Two exceptions, Born Free and Lazy Daze.

JMHO
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Old 06-20-2014, 08:01 AM   #24
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Cross section shouldn't be hard to come by at all if you are looking at new stuff. A dealer should be able to provide one - and Jayco especially, should be able to. Fleetwood, would be another. They used to LOVE to extoll on the virtues of laminated construction - with unpainted/untreated bare steel tubing for structural components.

The only 'glass coaches I've seen built like a boat were the old Travco motor homes, and the very small egg shaped rigs. There's a few others, but they're rare.

Below is pretty typical of what you might find for laminated walls and roofs. The white in the pic. could be fiberglass (filon) or alum. Alum. structural/framing is nice, but wasn't that common when I was working on them. Steel rusts like crazy as you might expect, and wood rots. Very little done to preserve structural components. It's like they aren't planning on these things lasting 20 years, and/or don't want to spend money on stuff you can't see?



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Old 06-20-2014, 09:05 AM   #25
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When it comes to aluminum and wood, do they at least use treated wood for framing to resist water damage? or is it simple kiln dried 2x2's that I could buy at Home Depot?
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Old 06-20-2014, 09:07 AM   #26
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Below is pretty typical of what you might find for laminated walls and roofs. The white in the pic. could be fiberglass (filon) or alum. Alum. structural/framing is nice, but wasn't that common when I was working on them.


I work for an ambulance manufacturer and that looks a lot like our ambulance walls. We dont use luan though, and our aluminum tubing is much larger.
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Old 06-20-2014, 10:05 AM   #27
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The two brands of Fiberglass trailers I considered were Arctic Fox and Outdoors RV after much research. Both were constructed with Aluminum framing and laminated fiberglass. I ended up buying the Outdoors RV Wind River product. I don't think I saw a single trailer with steel framed walls but I could be wrong. None that I considered were steel framed.

Delamination seems to be mostly on the front and back of the trailers from my research. This is why I required a fiberglass cap for any trailer I considered. The front takes the brunt of the abuse during travel with driving rain and debris.

I haven't seen many trailers delaminate on the sides but then again I was only considering 5 year old trailers for a while before I decided to go new. I didn't look at 10-15 year old trailers.
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Old 06-20-2014, 10:47 AM   #28
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Lance and a couple others use a product called Azdel. It is impermeable to water. Therefore no DE-lamination. It's used instead of luan as a backer. It would take a while to search the other companies that use Azdel but there are a few more. It's not wide spread by any means.
It really boils down to the level of trailer you're looking to buy. You won't find the corrugated aluminum sided trailers in the nicer units. IMO it's more on entry level. That's not to say there aren't entry level FG trailers, it's just that you won't find corrugated aluminum on the nicer units. Doesn't mean FG is better, it's that you can make it LOOK better. Hard to do a gloss fancy paint on corrugated aluminum.
FG trailers as stated above need to be maintained religiously to prevent DE-lamination. Caulking should be inspected every month IMO. Aluminum trailers with wood framing are not exempt from issues either. The wood walls are not pressure treated lumber and will rot if you have a leak.

So it really boils down to caulking. Get a leak on either and you have a repair.

FWIW I have a friend that has a Springdale corrugated aluminum sided TT. He recently told me he'd never get another one and that he'd go FG. Too many dings.

On the plus side for CorAl, if you're handy you could probably repair the damage yourself. Where as with FG it's probably out of reach for 95% of the owners.
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