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Old 05-20-2017, 03:46 PM   #1
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Fiberglass crack repair

There are a few small cracks at the top corner of the door frame on my 19. I sent a photo to Escape last year and they said that it is not commons to see cracks like this. They recommended keeping a good coat of wax on the crack to hopefully keep it from spreading. They said if it continues to spread then it needs to be ground down and some fiberglass and gelcoat applied.

The crack seems to have gotten worse this year but I won't be anywhere near Chilliwack to have the repair done. I assume there is a boat repair place in Calgary that could handle it but I have not looked into this yet.

I am thinking the repair might be a job that I could handle on my own. Anyone done a small repair like this before and can offer some advice?

My other thought was to try and fill the cracks with some penetrating epoxy and maybe this would stop them from growing.

Here are a couple pictures, one from last year and then another just taken.

Photo from 2016

Photo from 2017


Thanks.
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Old 05-20-2017, 04:01 PM   #2
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This is unusual for sure on Escapes but don't think it is unusual on FiberglassRV. They have lots of advice on there and plenty of people have done repairs but you cannot assume that the advice is good. I would go by a couple of boat shops and ask them exactly what they would do and exactly with what and how much. Then try reading up on FiberglassRV or elsewhere (internet videos also available) until you feel you can decide whether you need someone else or can do it. Some here will have advice.
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Old 05-20-2017, 04:19 PM   #3
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I'm still going back and forth with Reace at the moment on my cracking on the roof. We're under warranty, but at this point, they have only offered to fix if I brought it in to Chilli. That is pretty much impossible for us for the next four years.
You would be out of warranty, but your crack has progressed to the point where wax won't help and water penetration will occur causing more damage if you don't address it.
It is not a difficult repair, with the exception of matching the gel coat. Where yours is located it will be an eyesore if you don't get a pretty close match on the gel coat, so you might want to get it done professionally, or take it over to ETI for repair.
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Old 05-20-2017, 04:49 PM   #4
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We took our Casita to get several boo-boos fixed at a local boat yard here in Maine and they did such a bang up job matching gel coats that even under close scrutiny you couldn't tell. The job they did was not minor gel coat cracks, much worse, but the cost, considering, was reasonable. Hopefully I won't need the same type of service for our Escape!


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Old 05-20-2017, 04:55 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg A View Post
I'm still going back and forth with Reace at the moment on my cracking on the roof. We're under warranty, but at this point, they have only offered to fix if I brought it in to Chilli. That is pretty much impossible for us for the next four years.
You would be out of warranty, but your crack has progressed to the point where wax won't help and water penetration will occur causing more damage if you don't address it.
It is not a difficult repair, with the exception of matching the gel coat. Where yours is located it will be an eyesore if you don't get a pretty close match on the gel coat, so you might want to get it done professionally, or take it over to ETI for repair.
Are they saying it is cosmetic? If it needs fixing and they have offered to fix it, they should offer to have you go to a shop with them paying. The idea that you are supposed to go up there from Arizona --- well, no.

Too bad that you did not give your Escape to someone to take up for the rally and do it then. But don't know that that could work insurance-wise.
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Old 05-20-2017, 05:19 PM   #6
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The location of your cracks are nearly identical to some I've repaired on my 21 year old 16' Casita. Mine were much more severe, with the fiberglass cracked through. It took 2 repair attempts, with major existing surface removal by grinding, multiple layers of fiberglass cloth and epoxy and doing this on BOTH sides of the fiberglass shell. I believe the corners of the door opening are a structural weak area. Both sides of my door opening had similar cracks. Other older 16' Casita's have seen similar cracking at the same spot.....but not all. It must depend on the thickness of fiberglass lay-up of the shell at the time of molding. It's not a structural big problem, water ingress into the cracks doesn't matter unless it freezes. It is something to repair, and just a gel coat fix won't likely stop the issue. Wax is of no utility to deal with your issue, in my view.

A good boat shop can do wonders, as others have said. But again, gel coat crazing is very common, if not typical. It occurs either from impact damage or high stress. Papering over your issue will help, but for a limited time. I would never let your door opening issue stop this from using the rig, but it should be investigated and repaired.
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File Type: jpg Casita door 2.jpg (49.3 KB, 34 views)
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Old 05-20-2017, 07:05 PM   #7
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"We're under warranty, but at this point, they have only offered to fix if I brought it in to Chilli"

Greg A ,
Do you have gel coat spider cracks? Jim had a bird strike on the front that caused those and since its still structural sound, Reace said keep on truckin, no problem to the shell. If you start a thread maybe we can all offer some ideas. Thanks

To the op ...yes there are many good products posted in the archives of fgrv forum. Donna can help you find those links if its in her spreadsheet.
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Old 05-20-2017, 07:38 PM   #8
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fiberglass crack repair

Quote:
Originally Posted by chemando View Post
There are a few small cracks at the top corner of the door frame on my 19. I sent a photo to Escape last year and they said that it is not commons to see cracks like this. They recommended keeping a good coat of wax on the crack to hopefully keep it from spreading. They said if it continues to spread then it needs to be ground down and some fiberglass and gelcoat applied.

The crack seems to have gotten worse this year but I won't be anywhere near Chilliwack to have the repair done. I assume there is a boat repair place in Calgary that could handle it but I have not looked into this yet.

I am thinking the repair might be a job that I could handle on my own. Anyone done a small repair like this before and can offer some advice?

My other thought was to try and fill the cracks with some penetrating epoxy and maybe this would stop them from growing.

Here are a couple pictures, one from last year and then another just taken.

Photo from 2016

Photo from 2017


Thanks.
Hi .We have a 2013 , 19 ft also . We developed a 7 in long crack on the door . I removed the door and had ordered repair kits from Marine West . Our crack was just a long crack and I always live by " a stitch in time saves nine philosophy". It is our door . Sorry putting wax in your cracks wouldn't"t fly with me . If your trailer was mine It would get fixed. I had worked with fiberglass before but I also got support from a fellow forum member . To refresh my memory I also watched video's on u tube .There is a light yellow in crack just to show where it was before being fixed . Pat
Attached Images
File Type: jpg DSC_0004 3.jpg (77.1 KB, 63 views)
File Type: jpg DSC_0003 5.jpg (77.9 KB, 54 views)
File Type: jpg DSC_0005 4.jpg (93.1 KB, 47 views)
File Type: jpg DSC_0007 2.jpg (88.1 KB, 47 views)
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Old 05-20-2017, 07:42 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by float5 View Post
Are they saying it is cosmetic? If it needs fixing and they have offered to fix it, they should offer to have you go to a shop with them paying. The idea that you are supposed to go up there from Arizona --- well, no.

Too bad that you did not give your Escape to someone to take up for the rally and do it then. But don't know that that could work insurance-wise.
I agree with you Cathy . It is under warranty and Escape should cover Greg's cost . Escape made the body and it is on them . Pat
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Old 05-20-2017, 07:43 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg A View Post
I'm still going back and forth with Reace at the moment on my cracking on the roof. We're under warranty, but at this point, they have only offered to fix if I brought it in to Chilli. That is pretty much impossible for us for the next four years.
You would be out of warranty, but your crack has progressed to the point where wax won't help and water penetration will occur causing more damage if you don't address it.
It is not a difficult repair, with the exception of matching the gel coat. Where yours is located it will be an eyesore if you don't get a pretty close match on the gel coat, so you might want to get it done professionally, or take it over to ETI for repair.
Sorry about this Greg , I thought it was fixed by now . Pat
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Old 05-20-2017, 10:27 PM   #11
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Not sure you can make it look perfect, but Marine-Tex could possibly be part of a solution:
http://www.amazon.com/Marine-Tex-Mig...rds=Marine-tex
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Old 05-21-2017, 12:39 AM   #12
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Marine West has a kit to fix . Comes with different colors to mix too. I used a old can opener to gouge out the crack before filling . You will need acetone for cleaning .After you fill in the cracks you will sand until you smooth down with different grades . You want to work about 80 degree temp . Just follow the directions on kit and can look on line . It really isn't very hard to do . The hardest part is sanding to smoothing the repair out . If you have a electric polisher you can finish the repair to really shine . Pat
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Old 05-21-2017, 10:08 AM   #13
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Thanks everyone. I think I will make some calls this week and see if I can get a professional out to do the repair for me. Sounds like the repair would be fairly easy but getting the colour to match might be an issue.
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Old 05-21-2017, 11:35 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chemando View Post
Thanks everyone. I think I will make some calls this week and see if I can get a professional out to do the repair for me. Sounds like the repair would be fairly easy but getting the colour to match might be an issue.
Good for you getting a good repair . Pat
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Old 05-21-2017, 02:24 PM   #15
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You can "stop drill" the cracks to prevent them from growing.
Take a small drill bit, say 5/64ths, and drill a hole at the head of the crack, just where it's beginning to start. The hole will relieve the stress and stop the crack from spreading.

This is a common technique used in aircraft that have developed cracks due to metal fatigue.
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Old 05-21-2017, 04:39 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by citabria90 View Post
You can "stop drill" the cracks to prevent them from growing.
Take a small drill bit, say 5/64ths, and drill a hole at the head of the crack, just where it's beginning to start. The hole will relieve the stress and stop the crack from spreading.

This is a common technique used in aircraft that have developed cracks due to metal fatigue.
Yes I forgot about that . Important first step . Glad you posted . It has been awhile since I did my repair . I think the OP wants to get it done which is fine and better then putting wax which won't do anything to stop the cracks from getting worse . If I have to do this kind of repair again I will educate myself and make sure I do it right and all the steps . Pat
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Old 06-17-2017, 08:59 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg A View Post
I'm still going back and forth with Reace at the moment on my cracking on the roof. We're under warranty, but at this point, they have only offered to fix if I brought it in to Chilli. That is pretty much impossible for us for the next four years.
....
Greg,
Is Reace stopping by to do your warranty work, As he drives across the U.S. to do others warranty work? I hope you get it taken care of. When we picked our up, we were told they will work with your local RV techs for warranty work. Thanks
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Old 06-17-2017, 11:47 AM   #18
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Hi Gocamp,
I do hear he is in Phoenix this morning but we are currently up in the White Mountains.
I requested for a resolution that they ship me a quart of the gel coat and a support pole that they are putting in the new 19's since that is the area directly under my spider cracking.
Just heard from Tammy, that they are putting both in the mail today and I should have them shortly. Awesome service, eh?
Spider cracking is not a difficult repair and will get worse if not taken care of. The biggest issue with gel coat repairs is the match on the gel coat. So now getting a quart of Escape gel coat to work with, it should be no problem to get this cleaned up.
Tammy said I'll have to get creative on putting in the stripper pole, but Pat did an excellent job putting one in recently and I'll rely heavily on Pat's advice. Ron in BC is a great resource for fiberglass repairs and I'll lean on his advice on the gel coat repair.
Fortunately, none of the spider cracking is in a visible area and I've kept it well-waxed so there has been no spread for over 6 months so far.
Thanks for checking in on this.
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Old 06-17-2017, 11:54 AM   #19
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Greg, glad you are getting that fixed. I was wondering if he was going to do that but Phoenix is no place to be. We will want to see your handywork! And you are in a good place now for the weather, I am sure, and he will not be, unfortunately.
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Old 06-17-2017, 12:46 PM   #20
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Cathy, you are so correct.
I'm hearing Phoenix could get over 120 this next few days. Part of the reason we hide out over 7000' right now.
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