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 > Rear Fiberglass Cap Damage

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Veebyes

Bermuda & Maryland Eastern Shore

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Posted: 08/03/22 02:00pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

This could be a DIY job if you are up to the challenge. The beauty of fiberglass is that if you make a mistake you grind it away & start again. It is not a huge mystery though many are afraid of it.

I have done many small repairs on boats plus a few to the 5er ranging from little dings all the way to constructing a new top for the boat, a new swim platform & re decking a small boat.

For this job I am thinking take the part off for starters & layer up a few layers of heavy structural cloth to provide structural strength behind to start with. From there work on the outside layering a few layers of fine cloth finishing with fairing putty. It is all about the preparation before the first coat of paint goes on.


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Rick Jay

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Posted: 08/03/22 07:11pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

For those recommending replacing or removing the cracked part, isn't the white part of that rear cap one piece? That would be a pretty awkward job to remove for the average person. Certainly if working alone. It looks like the lower blue section is a separate piece, but can't tell for sure. Seeing as the crack stopped at the white/blue interface, I figured it was a separate piece.

On our rig, there is about a 4"- 6" gap between the inside of the rear fiberglas cap and the structure of our interior bedroom wall. It's wider at the bottom and narrows near the top. If this rig is built the same way, there isn't any chance of interior water damage if water gets into the crack. Also, if there is that much space, I think Veebyes recommendation to lay some supporting fiberglas on the inside is a great idea. It doesn't have to look pretty as no one will see it, so you just have to be able to reach up that high and smooth out the fiberglass. (Wear old clothes, long sleeves, goggles and gloves! LOL) If you can get things mostly aligned and solid from the inside of the cap, that should minimize what you have to do on the outside because the strength will be provided from the inside repair. The outside work will mostly be to make it look pretty. Just make sure to thoroughly clean that inside area before applying the fiberglas. It's likely to have a lot of dirt and road grit & grime collected from over the years. Clean and scrub it, if possible.

Veebyes also mentioned preparation. THAT is the key word for any type of body work. Make sure everything is properly cleaned and materials are applied according to directions. Grinding and then sanding with the proper progression of sandpaper grits. As someone else mentioned, if it doesn't quite turn out right, grind out your mistake(s) and try again. But before you spray the paint, it needs to be "perfect" or as close as you're willing to accept to "perfect". The paint WILL SHOW any imperfections in the process. Then again, it's an older rig, so I know I could easily convince myself not to dwell on "perfect". The likely mismatch in color and gloss will tip off anyone to the repaired area. But the only way around that is to paint the entire rear cap. As I mentioned before, if it's mostly unnoticeable unless someone takes a good, second look...I'd be happy.

Heck, depending upon how much longer I intended to have the rig, I could probably even convince myself to make it water-tight (a good, white tape, perhaps even Eternabond?) and just live with it.

I hope to hear what your findings are, and like others, I'd like to hear how this happened. Many of us flat-tow, so whether it was a component failure or operator error, understanding what happened in your unfortunately situation could possibly keep us from the same mishap.

Good Luck,

~Rick


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Rick, Gail, 1 girl (25-Angel since 2008), 1 girl (20), 2 boys (21 & 18).
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donkeydew

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Posted: 08/03/22 07:16pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

i had damage just like that on a prior motorhome. camping world portland
removed the rear cap and did a fantastic job on it. i had it back the following week good as new. turn in your claim and see who the recommend. the faster you get it filed the faster you can be back on the road

Bird Freak

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Posted: 08/04/22 08:41am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

dedmiston wrote:

Grit dog wrote:

Grind out the cracks, fill with kitty hair.


OK, I'll bite. What's kitty hair?

(I hope I don't regret asking. [emoticon])
kitty hair is chopped fiberglass mixed with a resin you can buy in a can. You just have to add hardener and spread after surface prep. Works great for filling holes and cracks but not for structural.


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Grit dog

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Posted: 08/04/22 08:56am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

dedmiston wrote:

Grit dog wrote:

Grind out the cracks, fill with kitty hair.


OK, I'll bite. What's kitty hair?

(I hope I don't regret asking. [emoticon])


LOL![emoticon]

At first I thought maybe it was slang, but the top mfg of autobody filler actually calls it that as well.
It's fiberglass strand reinforced resin to be used as body filler.

[image]

Here I used it (the brown stuff, green filler is bondo to smooth the small pits in the fiberglass) to repair a missing chunk in a fiberglass visor on the old truck. Filled the entire void that was broke out as well as a backing layer extending beyond the repair on the back side.


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Grit dog

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Posted: 08/04/22 08:58am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Bird Freak wrote:

kitty hair is chopped fiberglass mixed with a resin you can buy in a can. You just have to add hardener and spread after surface prep. Works great for filling holes and cracks but not for structural.

Beat me to it!

Rick Jay

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Posted: 08/04/22 09:57am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

donkeydew wrote:

i had damage just like that on a prior motorhome. camping world portland
removed the rear cap and did a fantastic job on it. i had it back the following week good as new. turn in your claim and see who the recommend. the faster you get it filed the faster you can be back on the road


Do you remember the approximate price of the repair and when it was done?

The OP was looking for an idea of what it might cost him. So far, you seem to be the best one to give him some sort of idea. [emoticon] He might be able to get an idea based upon your information.

Due to the age of the rig, it's possible this won't be covered under his insurance. For example, on our rig (almost as old as the OP's) we have "limited collision" which only pays when another driver causes the damage, so it wouldn't cover an incident such as this. So this quite possibly might be an out-of-pocket expense for them.

~Rick

donkeydew

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Posted: 08/05/22 07:15pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Rick Jay wrote:

donkeydew wrote:

i had damage just like that on a prior motorhome. camping world portland
removed the rear cap and did a fantastic job on it. i had it back the following week good as new. turn in your claim and see who the recommend. the faster you get it filed the faster you can be back on the road


Do you remember the approximate price of the repair and when it was done?

The OP was looking for an idea of what it might cost him. So far, you seem to be the best one to give him some sort of idea. [emoticon] He might be able to get an idea based upon your information.

Due to the age of the rig, it's possible this won't be covered under his insurance. For example, on our rig (almost as old as the OP's) we have "limited collision" which only pays when another driver causes the damage, so it wouldn't cover an incident such as this. So this quite possibly might be an out-of-pocket expense for them.

~Rick

over 10 years ago but just under $3000.00 if i remember right

TechWriter

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Posted: 08/06/22 12:20am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

OP Here . . .

Here's more info on HOW the accident occurred and HOW we plan to fix it.

The Safari Solution

Of the three forums I posted on, I think the best advice came from here. Thanks!


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Rick Jay

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Posted: 08/06/22 08:35pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

TechWriter,

That WAS a series of unfortunate events, for sure.

I think that's an AWESOME game plan. I've always liked the look of RV's with a mural on the back. Something your wife creates makes it so much more special! So tell me, are you going to have her paint the grill so it looks like a DP too? [emoticon]

While it's probably not necessary, I would recommend that you use marine grade plywood behind the fiberglass. It adds a bit to the price but you won't have to worry about water that splashes up on it from underneath the vehicle degrading the plywood.

PLEASE keep us up to date on the repair. I'm really interested in seeing how this turns out for you.

~Rick

* This post was edited 08/06/22 10:32pm by Rick Jay *

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