One of the biggest things I learned from taking everything out of our unit was how poorly the overall construction of travel trailers are. It encompassed everything from how poorly they glued the walls together and how poorly the furniture was made. The furniture was made with what looked like left over pieces of lumber and used plastics in weird and “unnatural” ways. I do understand the reason that you use some of those materials is to decreasing overall weight. But the problem I have is that if anything happens its hard to repair and will in the end break. You can take it to a shop and spend tons of money or you just live with it and trade it off to someone else. Which is probably what happened when we bought ours. The crack was probably really small when it first began and was repaired poorly because we didn’t notice it wjhen we bought it. When they sold it to us the repair failed and that crack just kept growing. I am not bitter about it just saddened by the overall construction of the of the unit. It just felt cheesy.
Before Merriann and I decided to remodel we first wanted to go purchase a brand-new trailer. We didn’t want any more of those problems that you can have from a used travel trailer. We went down to the Seattle RV Show. But what we found was even with the newest and larger RVs the same level of poor construction existed in addition to what I thought were crazy prices. To be honest with you when it gets to about $80,000 the quality issues all but go away. But below that price you get lower quality stuff with more shiny bells and whistles that try to make you forget the poor quality.
Okay enough with rants, let’s began with de-construction.
Removing most of the interior of the travel trailer was just time consuming. Take the millions of screws out of the walls, floors and furniture. Then I first off scaped off the insulation from the inside of the wall panels to get to the crack in the fiberglass. Here, I learned that the walls were vacuum sealed together. Meaning the manufacturers make a sandwiched of a materials to build the walls. Glue them together under pressure usually by placing the walls in a large vacuum sealing device similar to what we would use to preserve meats for the freezer. The makeup is 5mm thin plywood, foam insulation, then another 5mm sheet of plywood. You need to be careful when you are taken off the old foam insulation not to make another hole in the other wall (if you are dealing with fiberglass..
Once I got that done, next up I fixed the crack itself in a none conventional way. I used 3M™ Marine Fast Cure 5200 Adhesive Sealant. The reason way was because I don’t have a shop, and here in the Great Pacific Northwest it is rainy most of the time during this part of the year (you know between January to December). This product cures in or out of waterso rain was not a problem. Plus it is flexable But this was expensive stuff 8 oz for about $30. But it sealed the crack wonderfully, the only thing that I messed up with I should have fixed the fiberglass then used this underneath the patch for a better over all strenght. But with that said I am still heappy to know that this leak will never leak again.
After fixing the leak and letting it cure I place the foam insulation and glued it back together. I took out the windows in order to fix this so while the windows were out I resealed all the chalking with this Marine grade Sealant.
While waiting for the adhesive to dry I installed a new door to the bathroom,(or head) for you navy people out there. Our old door has always been a pain be cause of the placement of the rear bed. We could never fully open it. It could only be opened about a third of the way. (And yes it was designed that way).
Can you imagine being 7 months pregnant , your husband dragging you camping and having to “slip” in to this door a hundred times. I must say Merriann was a real trooper. I am not sure I would be able to bare it. But she did.
So what we did to make the space more people (especially pregrant people) friendly is to install a accordian door. So far it has been a welcome addition to the trailer. It was lighter than the old door and way easier to go into and out of.