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 > Aluminum or fiberglass trailer

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Grit dog

Black Diamond, WA

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Posted: 10/04/20 08:22am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

jdc1 wrote:

theoldwizard1 wrote:

jdc1 wrote:

True fiberglass exterior....

There are a few travel trailer that are "true" fiberglass. Built very much like a boat. The top half is built in one mold, the bottom in another. They are then "joined" together. Then they whole unit sits of a (typically) steel chassis.

They get expensive very quick as the get larger, but they tend to last a very VERY long time with few if any leaks.


Casita and Scamp come to mind.


Some people should just know when to stop typing...


"Yes Sir, Oct 10 1888, Those poor school children froze to death in their tracks. They did not even find them until Spring. Especially hard hit were the ones who had to trek uphill to school both ways, with no shoes." -Bert A.

theoldwizard1

SE MI

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Posted: 10/04/20 09:25am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

WNYBob wrote:

Look for "azdel" backed fiberglas. Lance is one mfg.
It is resin based, not wood.

True !

Coachmen makes a big deal out of this but they don't use Axdel in the rear wall.

Roof leaks still damage interior wall and rot floors.

ajriding

st clair

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Posted: 10/04/20 10:12am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Agree on the fiberglass sheets coming unglued...

Aluminum is repairable much easier and will not de-lam.

Fiberglass sheets looks a lot nicer, but can de-laminate when water damage happens and might need to be re-glued or the entire sheet replaced, which is much more complex than replacing a single strip of aluminum siding.

IMPORTANT side note:
RV's are not build like a car. They need to be maintained yearly and at minimum every two years. The "caulk" needs to be re-done every year or two, or at least closely inspected and patched as needed. This is where 99% of the water damage occurs to RVs. This is typically the source of leaks on the roof and walls. LAP sealant is the "caulk". Never use caulk and esp never use silicone. Silicone works very well, but is very hard to impossible to scrape back off. Unless the rv is headed to the dump in the next two years, do not use silicone.
Scrape the old LAP sealant off, and put new on. Lap sealant is easy to scrape off, and this is why it is used for RVs

profdant139

Southern California

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Posted: 10/04/20 10:13am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The other possible difference is insulation -- many aluminum units have pink fiberglass batting in the walls, while many fiberglass-sided units have styrofoam sandwich in the walls. The styrofoam usually has a higher "R" rating -- it provides more insulation.

But these generalizations are not always true -- I think there are some aluminum units with styrofoam.


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ppine

Northern Nevada

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Posted: 10/04/20 11:39am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Stick and tin is okay but heavy.
Most fiberglass trailers have aluminum frames and are much lighter.
I have my first fiberglass Rockwood and like it a lot.

Oasisbob

Portland Oregon 97266

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Posted: 10/04/20 03:46pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I own fiberglass but will always take aluminum. Here is why. Aluminum panels can be replaced if need be from accident. Fiberglass pre fabs are vacuum compressed and sealed. Can one ever be repaired without compromising the area? Also al hides scratch's and do not need decals. Just an all around better choice in my opinion. Ever notice when the RV industry comes up with something new it is more than for them than for the consumer? Frameless windows? On what planet is this a good idea? Rubber roofing? pre fab walls? Just sayin


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Vintage465

Prunedale CA.

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Posted: 10/04/20 03:58pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I'm a fan of aluminum framing and laminated fiberglass walls. I like the rigidity from this type construction vs. the aluminum on stick framing. That is really my biggest thing. Delamination is real. I think that the quality of the build is better today than when the aluminum/fiberglass first came out. I seem to see less delamination on later models. I also think that careful maintenance to the roof and making sure all the wall penetrations are sealed goes a long way to having an "aluma-glass" rig minus the delamination.


V-465
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kellem

Shenandoah valley,VA

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Posted: 10/04/20 05:12pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Possibly some exaggeration here on delamination issues with fiberglass.

We're on our 3rd fiberglass trailer and previous trailer was 10 yrs old and never any delam.

It simply boils down to personal preference.

ajriding

st clair

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Posted: 10/06/20 11:13am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

not to chase down the change of subject...
but years ago I read that aluminum frame trailers were warrantied for 3 years, and wood for 5 years. Why? Wood can bend and sway and is easy to repair. Aluminum will eventually crack if it is flexed enough times, and is not cheap and is not easy to repair.

The 3 and 5 years is specific to one brand, so no need to challenge that, lol.

As long as the water is kept out then wood is fine, and keeping water out is the #1 priority of any RV owner.

Water damage is almost always why delam happens. Water damage is almost always from degraded sealant at the seams.
You have to do maintenance on the caulked seams. We cannot over-stress this enough.

Aluminum frames are great conductors of heat. The sun hits the wall, the aluminum conducts the heat to the interior wall and heats up the inside. Wood does not do this.


Someone mentioned "gel-coat" No, that is boat construction like Bigfoot campers or the Burrito-style campers. That is fiberglass, but is not fiberglass sheets. Those are two different things. I have not seen issues on a fibegalss panel as the gel coat boat campers have. I would much rather have a boat-like build than a frame and panel build though.

I have flipped a bunch of Rvs, and spend time in junk yards scaviging things off old campers. I have kicked, hammered and torn up my share of wood build campers. It is amazing how strong the wood is. They build it with cheap furring strips and use cheap brad nails, no glue, to hold it together and I have to muscle it a lot to break it apart. Wood is plenty strong until it gets wet.

Gdetrailer

PA

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Posted: 10/06/20 12:10pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Vintage465 wrote:

I'm a fan of aluminum framing and laminated fiberglass walls. I like the rigidity from this type construction vs. the aluminum on stick framing. That is really my biggest thing.


"Rigidity" can be a double edged sword.

Too ridged and you cause severe stress in places you do not want.

Not ridged enough and now your rig looks like a wet noodle.

Every material has plus and minuses.

Aluminum has a bit more strength per pound of weight than wood but aluminum has some pitfalls to consider.

Aluminum does work harden when flexed creating brittle spots that over time can fracture.

Aluminum while it doesn't rust, it DOES CORRODE back into it's basic form (powder). Most other metals will create galvanic corrosion including some stainless steels so one must minimized dissimulator metal contact and especially when there is WATER or WATER AND SALT contact.

Building with aluminum requires some skill and proper tools, not gonna just toss someone on the welding line that has never touched a welder.. Fasteners must be chosen properly. AND you must still keep aluminum DRY, allow leaks to happen and over time the aluminum framing will turn to powder..

Wood as long as you keep it dry can last hundreds of yrs, costs much less to build, take very little skilled trade to build with, hence you can buy a stick built typically cheaper than an aluminum built unit.

The keeping of a trailer dry, not the materials it is built with!

Either will fail if you fail to check and replace all of the caulking periodically.

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