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Old 02-05-2008, 01:37 PM   #1
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If your gas frame coach has a fiberglass battery compartment under the center entry stairs, you need to check under the coach for deterioration of the fiberglass. Hopefully this will help someone else catch the problem before it gets as bad as mine did! Mine is a 1999 Tropi-Cal 6371 on the Ford F53 frame, with only about 16,000 miles.

The normal out gassing from the battery charging has not shown any effect on the gel-coated interior of the box, however when I got underneath, the construction was of the box was of the chopper-gun type fiberglass constuction (with lots of bare glass strands hanging out in places), and had deteriorated to the point that the bottom corner had cracked through and two batteries were in peril of falling out and hanging by just the battery cables.

The fiberglass for several inches up from the bottom looked dried out, while above it looked like the resin still ocvered all of the glass strands and was still solid.

I considered removing the entire box, but this looked like it would be too invasive to attempt.

I first removed the batteries, and cleaned the whole compartment, inside and out with baking soda and water to remove any battery acid. After the area dried completely, I sanded the outside of the battery box with coarse sandpaper. I used a hydraulic jack and wood blocks to raise the battery box floor back into position. Then I used Bondo brand "Jelly Resin", which has the consistency of a putty, and does not run. I applied (according to the directions on the can) a layer to the battery box, followed by a layer of glass mat, and then a layer of glass cloth (woven roving would have worked too, but I couldn't find any to buy). I squeegied each layer carefully to penetrate the glass cloth, but have no excess. The only problem I found was the short working time for the Jelly type polyester resin.

After letting it cure for 24 hours it appears to have attached to the damaged fiberglass properly. I will now finish by using the traditional liquid resin and several layers of glass mat and cloth to encase the entire old box and reinforce it.

I will let you know how it turns out.
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Old 02-05-2008, 01:37 PM   #2
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If your gas frame coach has a fiberglass battery compartment under the center entry stairs, you need to check under the coach for deterioration of the fiberglass. Hopefully this will help someone else catch the problem before it gets as bad as mine did! Mine is a 1999 Tropi-Cal 6371 on the Ford F53 frame, with only about 16,000 miles.

The normal out gassing from the battery charging has not shown any effect on the gel-coated interior of the box, however when I got underneath, the construction was of the box was of the chopper-gun type fiberglass constuction (with lots of bare glass strands hanging out in places), and had deteriorated to the point that the bottom corner had cracked through and two batteries were in peril of falling out and hanging by just the battery cables.

The fiberglass for several inches up from the bottom looked dried out, while above it looked like the resin still ocvered all of the glass strands and was still solid.

I considered removing the entire box, but this looked like it would be too invasive to attempt.

I first removed the batteries, and cleaned the whole compartment, inside and out with baking soda and water to remove any battery acid. After the area dried completely, I sanded the outside of the battery box with coarse sandpaper. I used a hydraulic jack and wood blocks to raise the battery box floor back into position. Then I used Bondo brand "Jelly Resin", which has the consistency of a putty, and does not run. I applied (according to the directions on the can) a layer to the battery box, followed by a layer of glass mat, and then a layer of glass cloth (woven roving would have worked too, but I couldn't find any to buy). I squeegied each layer carefully to penetrate the glass cloth, but have no excess. The only problem I found was the short working time for the Jelly type polyester resin.

After letting it cure for 24 hours it appears to have attached to the damaged fiberglass properly. I will now finish by using the traditional liquid resin and several layers of glass mat and cloth to encase the entire old box and reinforce it.

I will let you know how it turns out.
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Old 02-05-2008, 03:29 PM   #3
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I also saw cracks on the inside of my batt. box. But I just laid down 3 layers of glass mat and resin on the inside and so far so good. Also drilled additional air holes.
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Old 02-14-2008, 04:50 AM   #4
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Just to update anyone interested:
I decided to error on the side of caution and also glassed the inside of my battery box as well. I used a layer of mat and two layers of cloth for strength. I used the liquid resin for this part of the project.
I also added plastic battery trays for the batteries to sit in to keep them from direct contact with the fiberglass. I got mine from Bass Pro Shops marine department for $7.99 each, and they fit in the fiberglass battery wells even after I added the extra layers of fiberglass. I did have to cut 4 small tabs extending out from the sides on off of each tray. I understand that some NRV's came with battery trays, but mine did not.
The last part that I plan to do is to paint the whole thing, inside and out.
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Old 04-01-2008, 02:35 AM   #5
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Just read this thread...went right to the MH...checked things out inside and outside.

No problem that I could see.
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Old 04-02-2008, 04:50 PM   #6
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I have a 2000 Tropic-Cal. A year or so ago I noticed a crack in the floor of the battery compartment. Investigation revealed (in my opinion) the box was made too thin, but I didn't notice any deteriorated glass as others have described.
I reinforced the box with a length of galvanized unistrut. I suspended it from the MH floor with threaded rod. It reinforces the battery box bottom and also supports the whole bat box.
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Old 04-03-2008, 07:41 AM   #7
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I have a 2000 Seaview and caught the problem early on. National picked up the cost of reinforcing the floor of the compartment at an RV repair shop under warranty. Guess that won't happen any more.
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