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Old 09-01-2015, 06:03 PM   #11
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Back in the day I was a riveter/mechanic at Boeing and they showed us 'scare' movies about how the engineers design the riveting pattern and material shapes to transfer loads etc.

When I see his cracks they appear in an area that is formed to add stiffening to hold up the roof and create a door opening. That door opening itself , as the largest opening in the shell, would be the spot most likely to show stress? ... unless the trailer has wings, then it would be near them ... So that 'inner' area, as it continues to crack, would result in horizontal cracks in the lower belly next. The stress cracks start somewhere and it depends on factors I can't reproduce, only guess.

My intuition is that the weight above and shifting in normal driving has created a crack where the belly bend is the greater coming down from above. It makes more sense to me that the entire shell has created the cracks at the most vulnerable place that is 'stiffened', the doorway.

I'm thinking of adding a 'stripper pole' from the counter to the ceiling. It could also hold up the headliner as a bonus!

PS looking at the picture again maybe it's just the layup is thin due to going around the corner? and all else is ok?
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Old 09-01-2015, 06:14 PM   #12
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Roof support is no issue on the bath/fridge/closet side of the 19, and there is a gable at the end of the galley to support the roof in that place.

What is there for roof support in the 15B? I would suspect there is at least one support on each side, no?
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Old 09-01-2015, 06:28 PM   #13
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In university we did some stress analysis and material strength etc. type testing. We often used plexiglass models with polarized light. The results are graphic.

Too bad this is such a complex shape to model in acrylic. It would be interesting to see the results. I'm still in the "it's not related to vertical load camp"

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Old 09-01-2015, 07:00 PM   #14
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OK, thanks to all. I will continue to look for your advice in this area. Looking at all of the experts responding I think we can agree that my "theory" of vertical load is pucky, but hey, give me credit for trying.

Too many ideas to quote, but let me go through some of the things.
The 15B has the fridge cabinet immediately to the left of the door supporting the left side. The kitchen counter is to the right, but nothing goes up to the ceiling except the framing for the screen door. Still, most of the cracks are on the left side, the most supported side.

The cracks are at the thinest area where the door "stop" is formed. It is only one layer of fiber glass in this area, and I can flex the area to some degree. ETI did put some extra foam behind the door gasket because it was not sealing and you could see light, but when I close the door I don't see any extraordinary tightness hitting that part of the frame first. The door seems to be tightest around the lock area not at the bottom.

These are some of the largest cracks I have seen in a fiber glass trailer; right now, 12 inches, and I will have to see if they grow more. It also does no good to repair the gel coat if the underlying cause remains as I assume they will just return.

I remain puzzled that we are the only ones to have experienced this cracking, however, there are not that many 15B's out there and certainly not so many with the miles on it as ours. So, it still may have something to do with the design of the 15 coupled with the miles traveled/used.

Perhaps it will be worth it to dismantle the internal trim and get a look at the fiber glass behind this area to see if there is cracking in the fiber glass itself. Thoughts on this?

Again, I greatly appreciate all of the thoughtful comments and helping me refocus on other theories of the causes. Any other ideas are more than welcome. Thanks.
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Old 09-01-2015, 07:04 PM   #15
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Quote:
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These are some of the largest cracks I have seen in a fiber glass trailer; right now, 12 inches, and I will have to see if they grow more. It also does no good to repair the gel coat if the underlying cause remains as I assume they will just return.
I think this is your best bet, to monitor to see if things change any more, and under what conditions any change might happen. Gel coat itself has no bearing on strength, but is often an indicator of something happening underneath.
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Old 09-01-2015, 07:32 PM   #16
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Tim,
I assume you're just out of warranty, but have you contacted ETI to inquire about this. You're not far from Chilliwack and they may want to take a look at it.
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Old 09-01-2015, 07:51 PM   #17
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I'm with Greg on this. I wouldn't mess with it myself.
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Old 09-01-2015, 07:56 PM   #18
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It's been a few decades since engineering school; but my guess is that you are flexing something when you open and shut the door. Probably not a problem; but I'd want to look behind it.
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Old 09-01-2015, 08:04 PM   #19
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I remain puzzled that we are the only ones to have experienced this cracking,
I don't want to slag fiberglassers but it's not an exact science when it comes to the actual layup. There may be exact materials and layup schedules but the actual results may differ. I've seen gelcoat differ in thickness ranging from paper thin to almost 1/4" thick. Layup usually is pretty consistent but it's not unusual, in areas that you know are going to be cut out, like doors and windows, to not do the full layup. Your affected area is very close to such an area. It is possible that the layup was a tiny bit under spec. The fact that you can flex it may confirm that.

I'm still not sure that your setup is the same as mine. On the 19 there's the outer shell, the part where your cracks are visible. On the interior there is the molded door frame assembly, back to back with the shell, shiny f.g. on both the interior and exterior. Is that what you have?

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Old 09-01-2015, 08:11 PM   #20
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Tim,
I assume you're just out of warranty, but have you contacted ETI to inquire about this. You're not far from Chilliwack and they may want to take a look at it.
Yes, one of the first things I did. No response from ETI yet. I did send a picture.
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