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Old 04-18-2013, 07:18 AM   #1
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Water damage to fiberglass exterior

The biggest problem with water damage on a camper is you typically don't know you have an issue until its too late. So once the side of your tt, 5er or mh starts to bulge out or inside wallpaper gets wrinkled its too late. The damage is done. You can seal it up and never have another problem but you can't fix the buldging fiberglass side panel.
This is caused by the delamination of the plywood and fiberglass panel. So here is my question; has anyone ever tried to fix this problem without replacing the whole side panel? I was thinking if it would be possible to drill a hole or remove trim in the effected area to gain access between the fiberglass and plywood. Then shove a hose with a spray nozzle on the end into the opening. Via air pressure force either a glue (liquid nails) or resin into the space. Then using a sheet of plywood clamp it to the side forcing the two sheets back together. Let dry and just patch small hole.

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Old 04-18-2013, 07:42 AM   #2
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I have neither needed to or have done such a repair, but I saw this video and thought it may be helpful. It appears to me if you could apply enough pressure to the wall to keep the fiberglass pushed down while the epoxy set up that it could work. Using a temporary house jack that has threads on the end of a long pipe and several layers of plywood. Use the jack against a large tree to push against the layers of ply to provide the compression to close the gap. Dry test your compression first to make sure that you can close the gap once you get the epoxy in. There may be some advantage in working in sections starting at the bottom and working up. Let each section cure completely and work your way up the wall. Now you've got to get the epoxy in the holes. :-) Report back if you figure out how to fix it. Best of luck!


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Old 04-18-2013, 07:54 AM   #3
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If the underneath is still sound, the skin can be re-glued. For small areas you can drill a hole or two and inject an adhesive, but for larger areas you may have to cut a slit in the bubble to get it to lay down again, and to provide access to spread the adhesive around. And if you need to make repairs to the backing, you can sometimes cut away a rectangle of the skin, do the repairs, and then glue the skin back on. Of course, the holes or slits have to be filled with an epoxy filler or a gel coat repair kit.

The adhesive can be a urethane construction adhesive (it needs to be a thin, spreadable type) or an epoxy resin of some kind. Contact cements work well if you can coat both surfaces and align the pieces correctly and press together, but don't provide any working time if you need to slide the pieces around a bit. The contact bond is instant!

There are products for filling and sealing rot-damaged wood underneath, e.g. Git Rot. Marine stores have more products for fiberglass repair than RV dealers.
Gary Brinck
Former owner of 2004 American Tradition
Home is in the Ocala Nat'l Forest near Ocala, FL
Summers in Black Mountain, NC
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Old 04-18-2013, 08:47 AM   #4
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Gary have you tried this? Just curious how well it works.
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