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Wednesday, October 18, 2023

Trailer Repairs - 1A - Insulation

This may come under the heading of the initial refurbishing because I've known for a long time that big errors were made and would have to be fixed.

For approximately 6 months of my year-plus on the road with Sunny, the ceiling has been falling down. Condition as of this morning. The only thing holding up that center piece is the light fixture and the vent trim.

Mistakes made- or at least lessons learned. I originally decided to use the green foam insulation for the underneath layer because at the time, it was cheaper than the white polyurethane. Now, the green foam has about doubled in price and they are about the same.

Meanwhile, you may remember my troubles with getting anything to stick to the fiberglass. The Loc-tite Ultra seemed as if it was going to work. However, it did not hold up to the constant vibrations of towing. Most of that has let loose. A few pieces are still glued or jammed in tight enough that they are still up.

Also, the butyl tape was not up to the task of holding a ceiling in place.

Before I was finished with the trip, we had used two different temporary measures to hold up the ceilings. Marie thought this one up. There is adhesive backed velcro hidden under the edge of the foam, and she ran a long string back and forth across the kitchen area. That worked very well, but certainly isn't a permanent solution. And you can see the string stretched and allowed the whole thing to sag a lot.

The other thing we did was across the area above the bed/table. I bought long pieces of the kind of edge fitting you use with paneling because it was rigid in the short direction and flexible in the long direction. We jammed a couple of those above the walls like the hoop stays in a covered wagon. Not elegant, but they kept the foam ceiling in place.

So... the ongoing problem is twofold-- I need something that sticks to the fiberglass, and I need to replace the green foam. I already knew that contact cement will stick to both the fiberglass and the white polyethylene. But the contact cement dissolves the green foam.

Last week I ordered more of the polyethylene foam for the underneath layer. It arrived on Saturday. But I still was wanting to find an alternate product that might really stick to the fiberglass.

1. The foam company had no idea. 2. I contacted 3M, and they actually have an industrial tape that they said would work. However, it would cost about $1000 to get enough to do the trailer. No- at least, I hope not. 3. I called Scamp. They are the company that makes the most popular fiberglass trailers, and they are known for being very helpful to owners of any brand of fiberglass trailer. They recommended a spray adhesive I'd never heard of, but they said they are not licensed to sell it to me. I found it on line. Well, it's made in Canada, and they can't ship it to the U.S. I spent about an hour, and did find a U.S. company that could sell it to me. I have a can on the way. More about that later.

So today, I got busy (the weather was nice) and started replacing the green foam on the ceilings. I started with an easy area first, above the door. Since the layers of foam are now both the same color, it's not going to be as easy for you to see what I'm doing. Right now, I'm pulling down all the green foam, cleaning off any glue that still clings to the fiberglass, cleaning the fiberglass, and replacing that layer with strips of white 3/4 inch foam.

I've decided to use the contact cement to glue to foam to the fiberglass. That layer isn't as precise a job and the contact cement is relatively inexpensive. The main problem with it is that once you touch the two surfaces together, you can not reposition the products.

The glue I have coming should allow for some time to reposition. That will be important to put that finish layer back in place.

Some of layer 1.

I didn't get a lot done. That's the bad news. The good news is that it's going to work, and I made a start.

Here's the kitchen ceiling, back down to the fiberglass. Sigh.

The bigger problem is that I've discovered that some of the places where I actually fiberglassed braces to the shell have come loose. I suspect the problem is that danged epoxy paint (the pinkish color- applied by previous owner ). I'm not taking the entire trailer back apart. But I will have to redo a couple of pieces, sanding off that paint. And I can't do them for a few days because it's supposed to rain for the next three days. You may recall, the fiberglass won't set up in high humidity. Maybe I can just do the sanding.

I also forgot that there is an issue with the front upper storage unit. It has come "unseated" a bit. I hope that isn't going to be a horrible problem to fix.

I sure hope there are going to be enough decent days to get this project finished. Sunny and Marie and I have a trip planned for January.

See Trailer Insulation


Ann said...

You sure have learned a lot during all these improvements and repairs.

The Oceanside Animals said...

Lulu: "Wow, there sure are a lot of little details when it comes to fiberglass! But one thing I know is you don't want the ceiling to fall on your head!"

Rayder said...

This is a step above the little cans that you can't control and have to use all at once. Use what you need and you can let it set for 30 days and it won't go bad. It's on the shelf in Lowes. They sell an adhesive foam for it that sticks to anything.
A little bit of money to set up, I used it to stick the same foamboard to a wood ceiling.