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Open Roads Forum  >  Travel Trailers

 > aluminum siding vs. gelcoat

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bcrewcaptain

Va

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Posted: 01/25/13 09:46am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

1976, got it's first coat of wax in 2009, enough said.





sherpaxc

Austin

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Posted: 01/25/13 10:46am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

What? How can that be? It's an aluminum trailer! And it's old!

Sweet rig.


08 Jayco Jay Flight 26BH
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mwebber78

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Posted: 01/25/13 11:11am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

And cheaply built! Stick and tin are entry level trailers!


2013 Jayco Eagle 334RBTS
Disclaimer for the daft: Don't confuse my opinion with facts.


mwebber78

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Posted: 01/25/13 11:29am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

LOL - entirely tongue in cheek.

The wife and I are selling our current rig and ordering a Jayco Jayflight 33BHTS, I have all kinds of love for stick n' tin

bcrewcaptain

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Posted: 01/25/13 11:16am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

mwebber78 wrote:

And cheaply built! Stick and tin are entry level trailers!


painting with a pretty broad brush there sir, considering 90% of the ones on the road are stick built

Being as it's a '76 and has logged a little over 5K miles in the last couple years, I guess it's holding up ok for one of those "bargain basement" rigs.
How much is your payment again?

BillB800si

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Posted: 01/25/13 02:23pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

mwebber78 wrote:

LOL - entirely tongue in cheek.

The wife and I are selling our current rig and ordering a Jayco Jayflight 33BHTS, I have all kinds of love for stick n' tin

=========================

We presently are looking into replacing our 2007 Jayco Eagle(hard side) with a 2013 Starcraft Autumn Ridge 346RESA (Tin & wood).
Ah that photo above reminds me of our 73 Vega with those jalousie windows. Those were happy simple days...
Happy trails,


Bill B. (Michigan)
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jmtandem

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Posted: 01/26/13 09:16am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

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One of the reasons there is some confusion as to most fiberglass vs gellcoat sidings is that they are actually absolutely identical in the RV world.

Marketing hype tends to like to use the term "Fiberglass" to describe any smooth gelcoated wood siding. If one wants to see what the siding looks like underneath, just go to any home construction supply yard and look at the backside of common, lowcost 1/8 inch wood luaun wall paneling.

The gelcoat "fiberglass" sidings are usually made with a very paper-thin coat of opaque colored polyester resin over the sparsest random glass mat possible... basically painted wood. Apparently just a few strands of glass coated with a few mils of resin is good enough to call it fiberglass. One brand name is Filon. Since 1996, some sidings are made of artificial Adzel instead of wood because of the tendency of wood to absorb moisture and delaminate from interior humidity or a rain leak. Some manufacturers have gone back to a wood base for some reason.

Some gellcoated panels are thicker (and therefore heavier) than others including a thicker polyester layer (i.e. they may also have a thicker outer paint layer of gelcoat). These may usually be found on 5th wheels and motorhomes which can somewhat stand the extra weight and premium price.

Other than a few fancy end caps, there are only a few true "boat-built" fiberglass campers, with actual real multiple layers of fiberglass - no wood - almost all of them small egg campers. These do not delaminate.

That said, the wood "fiberglass" siding is quite durable to moderate impacts and looks very nice when clean.

Wes
...



I think Bigfoot and Northern Lite are two examples of the real boat type gel and fiberglass. Filon is not the same. Good description of the difference.


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Ranger431

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Posted: 01/25/13 04:07pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

My first was a smooth side / gel coat / laminated HTT, and since then I have had 2 aluminum sided Jay Flights. None of my RVs had any issues with looking dirty or being hard to clean - I guess the difference is just washing them regularly so the dirt never builds up.

Alumium does dent if it takes a good shot, but can also be replaced easier than FG if it get scrapped, hit etc.

I do think the finish of a FG unit looks sharp, but I don't think a clean, maintained aluminum unit looks bad at all. I would buy one based not just on the finish but the manufacturer, features, floorplan, etc. For example, I would have liked to have bought a TT in the Jayco Eagle line, but they didn't offer the floorplan I wanted in an Eagle. I chose the floorplan over the exterior finish.


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Wes Tausend

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Posted: 01/26/13 12:41am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

...

One of the reasons there is some confusion as to most fiberglass vs gellcoat sidings is that they are actually absolutely identical in the RV world.

Marketing hype tends to like to use the term "Fiberglass" to describe any smooth gelcoated wood siding. If one wants to see what the siding looks like underneath, just go to any home construction supply yard and look at the backside of common, lowcost 1/8 inch wood luaun wall paneling.

The gelcoat "fiberglass" sidings are usually made with a very paper-thin coat of opaque colored polyester resin over the sparsest random glass mat possible... basically painted wood. Apparently just a few strands of glass coated with a few mils of resin is good enough to call it fiberglass. One brand name is Filon. Since 1996, some sidings are made of artificial Adzel instead of wood because of the tendency of wood to absorb moisture and delaminate from interior humidity or a rain leak. Some manufacturers have gone back to a wood base for some reason.

Some gellcoated panels are thicker (and therefore heavier) than others including a thicker polyester layer (i.e. they may also have a thicker outer paint layer of gelcoat). These may usually be found on 5th wheels and motorhomes which can somewhat stand the extra weight and premium price.

Other than a few fancy end caps, there are only a few true "boat-built" fiberglass campers, with actual real multiple layers of fiberglass - no wood - almost all of them small egg campers. These do not delaminate.

That said, the wood "fiberglass" siding is quite durable to moderate impacts and looks very nice when clean.

Wes
...


Days spent camping are not subtracted from one's total.
- 2000 Excursion V-10 - 2000 F-250 CC 7.3L V-8
- 2004 Cougar Keystone M-294 RLS, 6140# tare
- Hensley Arrow - Champion 4000w/3500w gen
- Linda, Wes and Quincy the Standard Brown Poodle
...

Wes Tausend

Bismarck, ND

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Posted: 01/26/13 11:55am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

jmtandem wrote:


I think Bigfoot and Northern Lite are two examples of the real boat type gel and fiberglass. Filon is not the same. Good description of the difference.

Thanks for the thumbs up on the description, JM.

I think Northern Lite is strictly truck campers now. If they both render, here are a couple of pics of real fiberglass trailers:

Bigfoot 17.5 foot at 3018 to 3275 pounds claimed dry weight:


Scamp 16 foot at 1750 pounds claimed dry weight:


The Bigfoot gives more room at the expense of towing ease. The seams of the two formed halves of both brands can be seen in the middle, but the joint is so well mated, the shell acts as homogeneous.

TRIVIA
The Bigfoot is indeed a great example of actual RV fiberglass construction. Like most all true fiberglass campers, they are built with the chopper-gun technique. One might say this method is more prevalent in building bathbays than boat-building though.

To see this "bathbay" underpinning, one may look at the backside of any fiberglass bathbay at the same home construction supply store as where one observed the wood wall paneling used on most smooth sided "Filon-like" camper siding. The choppergun technique is a very quick, and low cost way to build a thick, porous glassfiber reinforced core behind the smooth exterior gelcoat resin and can be easily molded in other than flat shapes.

Some boats do use this chopper technique, although hand-laid woven fabric and/or mat are quite a bit stronger and higher quality for the weight. Premium boats built this labor-intensive, hand-laid way, are therefore lighter, yet more than equal strength... but still not as light as most aluminum hulled boats.

In hand-laid fiberglass, the gelcoat is sprayed first on the inside of a very smooth form, like any other paint, then layers of fabric and resin are hand applied by roller and squeegee.

In the choppergun method, the solid pigment polyester gelcoat is again sprayed on the inside of a very smooth form. Then the chopped backing is also sprayed on by a special gun that chops continuous glass strand and fuses the chunks with translucent polyester sprayed at the same time. Very quick and far less labor than hand-laid. A similar method to chopped panel making, is also used to spray pre-chopped glass fiber and glue as insulation in building construction rather than hand staple batts into place.

Wes
...

* This post was edited 01/26/13 12:06pm by Wes Tausend *

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