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Old 06-03-2015, 12:53 AM   #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FMLNM View Post
We don't know what the setup time might have been. The previous owners had brought it to eti for routine maintenance and then decided to buy a new one. We bought it sight unseen from NM. We asked Reace to add a few things..including solar...and we picked it up a month or so later...
Difficult to tell from the photos exactly what failed. Epoxy sticks well on gel coat as long as you follow some general rules:
The ratio of resin to hardener must be correct. Like spot on correct.
The resin must be properly mixed.
The curing time and temperature need to be right. If its cooler, it can take DAYS to cure certain epoxies. I would NOT tow a vehicle that had a solar panel epoxied on in the last day. Let it cure completely.
As epoxy cures, it can develop amine blush on the top layer of epoxy that can inhibit curing and reduce the bond too. Warm water and a scuff pad or scotch-brite will remove the amine if it develops.
The gel coat should be sanded/scuffed thoroughly to help the bond. Not shiny where the joint is.
The area where the epoxy is to be applied needs to be SUPER clean and free of any waxes, polymers or coatings. Wipe down with acetone works.

I have also encountered a "bad batch" of epoxy a couple times. Either the hardener would not cure the resin, or the resin cured improperly.

I am not saying these steps were not followed. I have no idea how Escape epoxies the rails. But I am saying that when I have done it this way, the joint always holds up, and I've bonded several dissimilar materials to each other this way. Then again, if the gelcoat let go from the fiberglass, a well prepped surface and a good cure may not have prevented it.
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Old 06-03-2015, 01:22 AM   #42
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I am thinking that maybe removing the gelcoat in the area to be bonded might help, with the resin adhering to the resin, but really, the resin should bond to the gelcoat quite good.

Interesting to hear Reace's take.
That is what I was thinking too . If that was epoxy and removed the gel coat and that is why it failed . Removing gel coat would bond better but if for some reason it failed that is a lot of roof damage . We know going down the road air going under panel is putting a lot of strain I would think on that panel . Pat
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Old 06-03-2015, 01:26 AM   #43
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I also saw somewhere epoxy needed 24 hours to cure before use .I was a little confused Escape only needed 3-4 hours for job . Pat
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Old 06-03-2015, 01:29 AM   #44
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I also saw somewhere epoxy needed 24 hours to cure before use .I was a little confused Escape only needed 3-4 hours for job . Pat
Depending on the epoxy used it can be hours to days for curing. I imagine they use a polyester resin, as opposed to epoxy resin, as that is what is used for fibreglassing the shell. Though not positive.
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Old 06-03-2015, 01:38 AM   #45
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Depending on the epoxy used it can be hours to days for curing. I imagine they use a polyester resin, as opposed to epoxy resin, as that is what is used for fibreglassing the shell. Though not positive.
I guess we just need to get answers from Escape and I am sure Escape will take care of this and put our minds at ease . Pat
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Old 06-04-2015, 10:25 AM   #46
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I'm having a hard time trying to figure out how the solar panel blew off. I realize that at highway speeds there must be an updraft force of some measure on an elevated solar panel but wouldn't the Max fan and various roof vents diffuse this force?
I wonder if some sort of fairing on the lead edge might eliminate this updraft?
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Old 06-04-2015, 11:17 AM   #47
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At the time we were driving through a nasty thunderstorm on the open plains of eastern Colorado. Lots of crosswinds. The good news is that the trailer towed well in those winds.
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Old 06-04-2015, 11:20 AM   #48
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Been playing phone tag with Reace as we have been driving up to South Dakota. Now that we are here and will stay put for several days it should be easier. We've emailed photos to him
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Old 06-04-2015, 08:52 PM   #49
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Finally caught up with Reace today...our being in an area with sporadic phone access delayed us connecting. Reace looked at the photos we emailed to him and said that indeed some of the gel coat tore off. So, the epoxy did not fail...we just had really bad wind at just the right angle, etc.
He said we are the third case. He also said he had his fridge vent tear off in Texas...
Once we get back home we will contact him and he will ship us a new panel and some gel coat. Since we are so far away we will need to take care of getting it installed locally. Seems fair to us. The panel had been on for 2 years and it WAS a fierce windstorm and the epoxy did not fail....
As for reinstalling, Reace said that at least one of the other two cases ended up bolting through the shell when they reinstalled. We may go with epoxy plus bolting...we'll talk to a local shop and check it out. Not sure how they will remove the remaining epoxy on the roof...or if they even need to...
Reace also said we should not have plugged the two ends of the cords together ...probably caused the 30 amp breaker that they install between the panel and the battery to flip. So we have disconnected the ends. Everything else is still working fine in the trailer. We'll have to check out the breaker and let the installer know to check it.
So that's where we stand till we get home and find a fiberglass repair shop...
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Old 06-04-2015, 10:24 PM   #50
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I hope I'm not jumping the gun on this nor do I want to offend the fine folks at ETI but I think with our build to start fairly soon, I am going to ask them if they would put in extra reinforcing strips in the roof and bolt the panel to the roof. I had assumed that was the way they were mounted anyway. We run the great plains a lot, especially Interstates 70, 80, and 90 and the winds can really blow out there let alone getting into a squall. I have seen empty tractor trailers get blown over on their side. I would be more than willing to pay extra for this and it would give great peace of mind. Plus can you imagine the liability involved if the panel went through someones windshield? I will run this by ETI next week and see what they say. And that's why our trailer is being named "Spirit of the Plains" Loren
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