Hairline crack in the fiberglass - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 05-06-2020, 04:25 PM   #1
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Hairline crack in the fiberglass

Greetings all,
In anticipation of maybe getting out on the road sometime in the not distant future my wife and I were waxing our 2016 Classic 17A when we noticed a crack in the fiberglass at the top right of the entrance. Has anyone had any experience repairing cracks in the fiberglass. I would appreciate any counsel that you could offer. Although I have not direct experience repairing fiberglass, I am definitely a hands on type. Hopefully this is something that I can address.

Thanks for any advice you may have. Looking forward to meeting many of you on the road for some social distance camping!

Allan
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Old 05-06-2020, 06:23 PM   #2
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You might be surprised at my advice given that I've been doing f.g. stuff for a long time and have a ton of experience.

Normally when a person has a chip or a crack I offer advice on how to repair it.

In this case my advice is to do nothing. A skilled person could do a repair that was invisible but there's a learning curve and to be really blunt; the chances of an inexperienced person doing a repair less visible than this small hairline crack is nil.

Sorry, probably not the answer you were hoping for.

Ron
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Old 05-06-2020, 06:47 PM   #3
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No worries, Ron. Not too concerned about cosmetics. I am concerned that it not be allowed to get any worse. If necessary I am okay taking it to a professional.
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Old 05-06-2020, 07:52 PM   #4
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If you're not concerned about the cosmetics, do nothing. Ron will confirm, but it's just a crack in the gel coat, not an issue with the fibreglass.
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Old 05-06-2020, 08:03 PM   #5
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I've experienced a similar issue

But mine was on a '96 Casita 16'er. That area is a weak point on the monocoque (egg shell) construction. An opening, a door, a weak point for structural integrity. Your cracks are cosmetic issues only, likely not structural concerns. Marine-Tex is a 2-part epoxy that can fill the cracks and provide visual improvement. I can't speak to the color match of your Escape with the Marine-Tex, but it would be close. Wet sanding with 400 & 600 grit of the repair and polishing would diminish the visual issue and any surface irregularities.


Stress cracks in the gel coat are common on all fiberglass items, especially boats and trailers. As Ron indicated, a boat shop can do near miracles in eliminating the cracks. I wouldn't be terribly concerned, but if you can in some way, see if they telegraph through into the interior. Then you have a more significant repair.


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Old 05-06-2020, 09:29 PM   #6
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I had a gelcoat repair done on a trailer, perfect match when repaired. 5 years later the patch aged to a darker color. I would leave the crack alone and enjoy your trailer.
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Old 05-06-2020, 09:29 PM   #7
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I think that my answer was an absolute first. The first time that I've actually discouraged any owner from a DIY repair. Usually it's, go on, it's not really that difficult. But it's in a very visible area and not the best place for a first time gel coat repair.

One thing that you could do is drill a very shallow, small diameter hole at each end. That usually stops the progress of a crack unless there's an underlying structural weakness.

Or you could just measure it and monitor it. If it's not growing at some point you could consider having it repaired if it's a concern. I've repaired hundreds of cracks, chips and blends of new gelcoat on a damaged area that's been repaired with the original surrounding gelcoat. I've never used anything except gelcoat for the repairs.

Well, except for fixing Myron's little boo-boo at Q'site. He had a non gelcoat paste and it worked fairly well.

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Old 05-07-2020, 12:40 AM   #8
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Yes, this is just a crack in the gel coat, maybe from a little flexing. Your better just to leave it as others have stated. I had a few cracks in my shell on my 2007 Escape 17B. I wouldn't fix anything unless it was a major repair. I have experience fixing a few boats and Sea Doos, it is really hard to get the gel coat to match, white is not always white.
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Old 05-07-2020, 07:48 AM   #9
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If it bothers you, you might try a light activated acrylic repair kit. Best place to find is on Ebay. I repaired a chip in a Silestone counter top. The stuff is clear, but it seems to blend in. You inject the gel, then cover with clear tape to flatten it out. The included UV light then hardens the gel. Takes but a few minutes.

You might find it in colors.
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Old 05-07-2020, 07:56 AM   #10
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If you really want to see it fixed, it is not a hard thing to do if you are good and handy. If not, you could easily get a fibreglass shop to do it up for you. I did a repair, which was caused by a good hard bump, which required a bit of fibreglass touch up too. I got some gelcoat from Reace (Escape) so the match was perfect.

But like others have said, there is really not much issue leaving it as it is not structural, you just have to live with the wee crack showing is all.
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Old 05-07-2020, 08:18 AM   #11
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Take a look at a product called Magic Easy Hairline crack Fix, easy to use and does a good job of hiding crack. Used a lot on boats.
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Old 05-07-2020, 08:40 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by liveoakal View Post
Greetings all,
In anticipation of maybe getting out on the road sometime in the not distant future my wife and I were waxing our 2016 Classic 17A when we noticed a crack in the fiberglass at the top right of the entrance. Has anyone had any experience repairing cracks in the fiberglass. I would appreciate any counsel that you could offer. Although I have not direct experience repairing fiberglass, I am definitely a hands on type. Hopefully this is something that I can address.

Thanks for any advice you may have. Looking forward to meeting many of you on the road for some social distance camping!

Allan
Hi: liveoakal... I had a tree branch fall on our 5.0 roof. I called ETI and Reace advised me to wax the area with a good fiberglass wax and make sure not to buff the wax out of the cracks. Alf
escape artist N.S. of Lake Erie
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Old 05-07-2020, 10:17 AM   #13
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Had to run out to check my door area for stress cracks. Trailer certainly is old enough and got bounced around enough to get some. All good. Yes Ron you
did do an amazing job with a gel coat abrasion I self-induced at the tongue box area because my tongue box rubbed into it. Thanks again. Here's a picture from today.
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Old 05-07-2020, 12:44 PM   #14
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Thanks Myron, not ideal conditions but it did work out pretty well.

I have two comments in general about gel coat repairs.

One, I always use polyester gel coat, the same as the original surface. It's not as convenient as things like Marine Tex but it has the advantage of being 100% compatible with the original surface. This could be important if a second repair is required in the same area at a later point. You can put epoxy over polyester but you can't later use polyester over the epoxy.

The hairline crack shown is actually more difficult to do an invisible repair on than a nasty chip. I'd encourage owners to try and repair chips but that crack, while very small, would take more skill to do an invisible repair than a nasty chip would.

Ron
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