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Old 06-23-2019, 12:59 PM   #1
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Cracks in Fiberglass

We are newbies and have an Apex Nano that is still under factory warranty. Upon inspecting our camper after a trip, we noticed spider cracks in the fiberglass along the upper front corner. Would these cracks present a problem in the future? We would love any information on this situation. What to do with such cracks? Expectations of repairing them while under warranty. This group has been so helpful with questions and information. We really appreciate this forum.
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Old 06-23-2019, 03:57 PM   #2
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Spider cracks in fiberglass normally represent stress in a layer, the layer is starting to fail. USUALLY the spider cracks relieve the stress, and there is no further failure. IF the stress has been relieved by the cracks, filling the cracks with resin and gel coat is sufficient.

If the stress is not relieved by the spider cracks - they reoccur - the stress must be relieved before any fiberglass repair is going to hold - which means cutting or grinding out a section or several layers. You then have to rebuild the fiberglass with cloth and resin.

This assumes we are talking real fiberglass, and not some other similar material.

Fred W
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Old 06-24-2019, 06:24 PM   #3
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Spider cracks in fiberglass

Fred W., thank you for the information. The material is fiberglass. The spider cracks are appearing in the upper front corner near a seam that ties the side to the front. Any further thoughts?

Thank you for your help.
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Old 06-24-2019, 08:41 PM   #4
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Are the cracks growing in number, length, or depth? Take photos and record the situation today. Then take photos again after you tow somewhere. That way you have some history. If the unit is under warranty, take it in, after taking photos. And take more photos when you arrive for warranty work.

If there is any increase in the cracks, the joint behind the cracks is not stable and needs to be repaired first. If the joint is not stable, filling cracks is not sufficient, cracks will reappear.

Dealer may not want to touch it, and claim it's not under warranty - really depends on how visible/severe the cracks are. Read your warranty carefully, then bump it to the Forest River division that made it if the dealer refuses you. Your photos will be invaluable here. Again, I'm assuming this is not very minor, barely visible stuff.

If your dealer won't touch it, and you don't want to do it yourself, some auto body shops know how to work with fiberglass. You might be able to get Forest River to reimburse the auto body shop.

hope this helps
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Old 06-25-2019, 08:26 PM   #5
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spider cracks in fiberglass

Fred,

Your information helps a bunch! We noticed the cracks toward the end of a recent trip. It's unfortunate that we did not take pictures at that time.

Pictures were taken today and we returned from that trip about two weeks ago. The cracks look like they have grown. We will post a picture.

The camper is at the dealer for warranty work. The dealer also took pictures. They first said that it looked like the whole front panel needed to be replaced. Then, they backed down and said that the cracks didn't look too bad.

Have you experienced spider cracks in your fiberglass? Your help has been greatly appreciated.

Jeff and Liz
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Old 06-25-2019, 08:37 PM   #6
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spider cracks in fiberglass

Fred,

Here are two photos.

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Jeff and Liz
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Old 06-25-2019, 09:21 PM   #7
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The cracks are the lesser of the problems. It looks like you have delamination where the bubble(s) is up near the top of the photo.

My A-frame doesn't have real fiberglass. It uses Filon for the panels, which is a thin fiberglass-like coating on top of a foam core. But just like fiberglass cored with wood, water weeping through penetrations or edges ruins the bond between core and fiberglass resin.

I have built a fiberglass boat from a kit, rebuilt a wood boat with fiberglass over plywood, and repaired fiberglass on boats. Boats with fiberglass-encased wood stringers were the worst. Once water got inside the fiberglass casing, the wood would rot. The fiberglass needed the wood core for strength, so the boat would fall apart when the wood core got wet and rotted.

I once tried to repair rust holes (from a crappy dealer install of the roof rack) in the roof of my Toyota Corona wagon with fiberglass. The patches failed because the unibody stressed the roof too much and caused too much movement, beyond what the fiberglass was capable of.

Glad to hear your dealer is taking care of you. That's not always the case based on stories here on the forums.

just my experiences
Fred W
2019 Flagstaff T21TBHW A-frame
2008 Hyundai Entourage minivan
camping Colorado and adjacent states one weekend at a time
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Old 06-25-2019, 10:22 PM   #8
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Yikes! The top of the rig is dirty as our ladder was too short to clean it. We will check it out tomorrow. Canít really see it in the photos. Weíre not familiar with bubbles indicating delamination. We have only seen very obvious delamination in other RVs. .

Noticed that you are camping in Colorado and nearby. Our camping trip covered Utah and too few places in Colorado. We often visit family in Evergreen, CO. Love Colorado!

You certainly have experience with fiberglass. Appreciate your experience!

Jeff and Liz
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