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 > Fiberglass bubbles

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tslon

annapolis,md

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Posted: 02/23/06 07:49pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I found small fiberglass bubbles on the outside of my trailer. By small I mean pencil eraser and dime size. The dealer claims they are just defects where there is bad adhesion. They claim as the trailer flexes during travel these week points let lose. It does not appear to be delamination as some are in an area that I could not imagine water reaching (it would have to travel up hill). Do others experience this type of bubbling?

jmrkav

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Posted: 02/23/06 08:15pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I love this story. It never ceases to amaze me what a dealer will tell someone. He's saying the manufacturer failed to spread the adhesive properly and it's coming apart, but that's OK?

It still can be and probably is delamination. Water can get in some amazing places.

wolfe10

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Posted: 02/23/06 08:21pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

A pencil sized bubble, particularly in a gel coated surface is NOT delamination. Delamination is a separation of the outer skin from the bracing/beams in the wall.

Something this small is likely an imperfection in the gel coat or filon. "Sound" around the imperfection with the hard plastic handle of a screwdriver and if it sounds the same as areas equi-distant from beams, there is no delamination. If is sounds hollow only around the imperfection (and generally it covers an area much larger than that of a pencil eraser) THAT is delamination.


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Terryallan

Foothills NC

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Posted: 02/23/06 08:28pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

wolfe10 wrote:

A pencil sized bubble, particularly in a gel coated surface is NOT delamination. Delamination is a separation of the outer skin from the bracing/beams in the wall.

Something this small is likely an imperfection in the gel coat or filon. "Sound" around the imperfection with the hard plastic handle of a screwdriver and if it sounds the same as areas equi-distant from beams, there is no delamination. If is sounds hollow only around the imperfection (and generally it covers an area much larger than that of a pencil eraser) THAT is delamination.


Do as he sayes. And if the little bubbles break. It is air, that didn't get rolled / pressed out of the fiberglass, and is trapped between the glass and gelcoat. It is an easy fix. Just break them all, sand and "paint" some gelcoat back on, and sand it smooth. then buff and wax. Saw that alot in my boat building days.


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jmrkav

Livingston, Texas

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Posted: 02/24/06 07:42pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

De-lamination, in spite of the experts here, often is between the thin fiberglass layer and the luan backing. It could also be an air gap between the outside layer and the luan but I would argue that that is pretty serious. the side walls of Rvs are not at all made like the hull of a boat. I have never saw a satisfactory repair like some are describing.

gs1dreams

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Posted: 02/24/06 08:40pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

If this trailer is stull under warranty I would force it to be fixed. It is not something you should have to deal with, even if it is a bad gloss coat.

jmrkav described De-Lamination right and IT DOES NOT HAVE TO BE CAUSED BY WATER. Water is only one cause. Improperly applied, or wrong adhesive can cause it. Also, excessive heat/cold can cause it if the wrong adhesive is used.

Most common places for De-Lamination to occur (and this came from a friend who has worked on RV's for 10+ years) is the front and back of the trailer. It even happens on brand new trailers.


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tslon

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Posted: 02/24/06 09:04pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

gs1dreams wrote:

If this trailer is stull under warranty I would force it to be fixed. It is not something you should have to deal with, even if it is a bad gloss coat.

jmrkav described De-Lamination right and IT DOES NOT HAVE TO BE CAUSED BY WATER. Water is only one cause. Improperly applied, or wrong adhesive can cause it. Also, excessive heat/cold can cause it if the wrong adhesive is used.

Most common places for De-Lamination to occur (and this came from a friend who has worked on RV's for 10+ years) is the front and back of the trailer. It even happens on brand new trailers.


The trailer is under warranty and they are repairing the bubbles. They did describe it as a defect in the adhesion. Quote "areas where there was lack of or poor adhesion". They claim it is very common and can show it to me on most of the trailers on the lot. I guess I just look to closely for any imperfections. Most of the bubbles are on the rear Bunk section (Hybrid). The rear bunk section has a metal frame around all the edges so I don't know how water could penetrate. The others are in the center of of side wall. Could be water but from where without affecting the top or bottom.

I believe the repair is injecting adhesive in the bubble and flattening it out. I still have 9 months on the warranty so if I see the problem grow then I will have to push the issue. So no one has seen these small bubbles they claim are common? I will try tapping the surrounding area to make sure it is solid.

Thanks for the tips!

jmrkav

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Posted: 02/25/06 09:30am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

They are lying to you. The are not "common" although they do occur due to poor quality control. And of coarse water intrusion is another cause. That sounds like that may not be the problem in your case. The question is, will other areas of the trailer begin to show the affects of poor adhesive or is that an isolated area? Only time will tell. I don't want to be the bearer of bad news but I have never saw a repair as you describe last for long or be acceptably smooth. The wall must be replaced. It cannot be "ground" down as Wolf10 suggested because Rv walls are not constructed like boat hulls. In Rvs the wall is a very thin layer of fiberglass LAMINATED to a thin piece of luan. It is too thin to grind down and repair properly. Also, injecting wont ork for the same reasons. I've sen this type of repair tried at the factories and have never seen a good job. They are trying to get you off warranty.

What type of trailer is it?

gs1dreams

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Posted: 02/25/06 10:33am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have to agree they can't be common. Maybe common to that trailer brand, but not in general. Which would be ufnortunate if it is common to that trailer brand.

I just took a walk through Playground RV (where I'm staying) looking at the backs/sides of the trailers here and I'm not seeing this upon close review.

Also, I have seen the fiberglass attached to the Northwood Trailers. When they applied it you could watch as they rolled out the fiberglass and then applied pressure forcing the adhesive to fill out from top to bottom in any gaps.

When I can check a '95 Fifth Wheel next to me and it doesn't have this problem and your having it and still under warranty I would be really bothered.

Before you take your dealers word for it and before looking at the ones on there lot go to a local RV park. Don't look at the brand new ones, look at the ones 3 to 5 years old and see if they have this problem. If they don't I wouldn't listen to your dealer at all about this being common nor there fix. I would call up the manufacturer and let them know what is going on.

It may be the Dealer just doesn't want the responsability of fixing it properly even though the manufacturer might be willing to do it.

Denis12866

Saratoga Springs, NY

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Posted: 03/15/06 06:27pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Do a search on Filon Delamination in RV.Net and you will see that Fiberglass bubbles can be a serious problem, not fixed well by simply injecting adhesive. It will certainly devalue your rig. I refused a new Jayco Class C due to a delaminated sidewall. They were good about it - thankfully the dealer returned my deposit before I closed the deal. I saw their attempted fix and it was rejected, even by the dealer. Filon delamination has been a continuing problem. Any quick fix will clearly look like a fix, so on a new trailer, under warranty, I'd say you should demand a new sidewall.

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