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Old 11-08-2008, 09:33 AM   #1
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Pesky cracks in bathroom ABS counter

My 71 has a bathroom counter which I believe is ABS. I know it is not fiberglass. It has cracks which so far I have not been able to fix. I fiberglassed and screwed the counter to a plywood base to stabilize it and have tried to fix the cracks with polyester resin, bondo, 2 part epoxy paint, other paint, and superglue and the cracks magically reappear. My hypothesis is the ABS plastic has a high coefficient of thermal expansion. In other words, the stuff expands and contracts with the temperature but the cracks don't.

I could cut out a formica insert and attach it to the top serface.

I also am considering covering the whole counter surface with wood veneer. That would require bending the veneer around the curved edges where the top transitions to the side. I have never worked with veneer. Do you think this will work?

Also I need to replace the plastic trim on the counter. The "edge nosing" is available from Inland but I don't know if the inserts that snap into the extruded aluminum frame is available. Any alternative suggestions? Formica?
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Old 11-08-2008, 09:49 AM   #2
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Curious that you have this problem today. I have noticed the same type of cracks in my bathroom. I have all of the aluminum trim and inserts but damaged one slightly removing it to reach the rivets for removal. I will try for a quick repair but if that doesn't work, I am going to make a laminated counter similar to the cook are out of 3/4 in plywood and laminate of my choice. In my last trailer, I tried to repair and finally had a friend who worked making boats in Tarpon Springs, FL make a mold of the old counter and fashion a new one. I worked great but hardly worth the trouble

Good luck. I'ld be interested in your solution. Keep everyone posted
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Old 11-08-2008, 11:22 AM   #3
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Lumatic, I have a 1966 Safari. I also have a blog documenting the restoration/repair of it. One of my latest posting is of the repairs to the refrigerator vent. It is made of ABS plastic. I am a retired mechanical supervisor. I have always stressed to my crews that we were there to fix things, not just replace them. I know Andy sell a replacement vent made of fiberglass but I think I have found a successful method of repairs. If you can get the counter top off, flip it over and lay either fiberglass or aluminum window screening over the top of the crack. The coat it with plain old ABS cement from one of the big box stores. You can build the thickness up quite a bit with this method. The only downside is that the cement is black. It ill have to be sanded then painted with the Krylon plastic paint. I believe it is called fusion. I will be posting an update on my blog tonight on these repairs.

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Old 11-08-2008, 11:33 AM   #4
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Lumatic, just thought I'd let you know (I noticed it a few weeks back, but he's probably had it awhile) but inland sells a new counter w/sink here:

Inland RV Center Inc.

Andy's picture of that counter from the same page:




As far as that edging (at least on our 69) that snapped over it,we painted it with Krylon Fushion (the rest of the bathroom was coated with white TileDoc) in an aluminum color and reattached. Has held up for almost 2 years without a scratch (knock on wood).
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Old 11-08-2008, 04:27 PM   #5
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Alumanutz- I will try opening up the crack big enough to get some ABS cement in there. Nothing to loose at this point.

Goransons- If nothing else works I will see if Andy has the counter. The one in the pic above has the sink on the wrong side. If it comes to that though I will be considering building my own counter.
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Old 11-09-2008, 12:31 AM   #6
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Sorry it's so late but I have finally posted the updated pictures on my blog. 1966 Safari ( HUGO)

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Old 01-11-2009, 11:04 PM   #7
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cracked ABS counter in bathroom

I sure would be interested in this solution as well. I just purchased a 79 Ambassador. The crack on the counter is not a large one...but ugly....and may break down more. If Inland RV sells these...I'm ready to purchase one.
I'll try the solution NUTZ came up with as my plan B.
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Old 01-12-2009, 06:27 AM   #8
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Trying to glue the ABS cover to a plywood support is most likely to cause repeated problems since the plywood changes size when the amount of moisture in the air changes and the ABS does not. The plywood, when it expands due to increased moisture, will pull the crack apart. It is better to use fiberglass or aluminum as a backer.
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Old 07-18-2009, 03:57 AM   #9
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I'm in the process of using Nutz' idea to repair the cracks in my bathroom counter. Instead of using Black ABS cement, I'm using clear PVC cement. Here are a few pics from day one. Tomorrow I'll apply another coat of PVC cement.

Reading this thread makes me wonder if the plywood support underneath, as shown in my pics, is factory or a modification by a PO? Can someone chime in on this?
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Old 07-18-2009, 04:37 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lumatic View Post
Also I need to replace the plastic trim on the counter. The "edge nosing" is available from Inland but I don't know if the inserts that snap into the extruded aluminum frame is available. Any alternative suggestions? Formica?
"insert nosing" is available from Inland RV.

Part #: 71411

Insert Nosing - Light Beige $2.75 $1.50



Is this what you are referring to? You can use formica instead, I think Pizzachop did on his remodel, or maybe it was vinyl floor cut into strips. I'm going to try using patterned grip shelf liner in mine, it comes in varying designs for your decor choice. You can cut it to the width and it has enough thickness to stay in the aluminum extrusion. It also is wipeable/cleanable. I may glue it in with a small amount of adhesive dotted on to make sure it sticks well. This won't be done until next month sometime, after we get back from our trip.

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Old 07-18-2009, 08:21 AM   #11
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Mike, that plywood was factory. It's there to give a little strength the counter top. And in the case of our '73, something to mount the undearneath cabinet to.

Did you re-glue yours while you had it out? I didn't have much luck on one part of the thing getting the glue to stick.

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Old 07-18-2009, 09:06 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Jim & Susan View Post
Mike, that plywood was factory. It's there to give a little strength the counter top. And in the case of our '73, something to mount the undearneath cabinet to.

Did you re-glue yours while you had it out? I didn't have much luck on one part of the thing getting the glue to stick.

Jim
Thanks, Jim. Yeah, I reglued the one side that came loose. I used liquid nails and it seems to be holding. It just seems like a lot of weight and was wondering if that might be the reason for the corners of my counter top to be cracking. Maybe I'll add a simple 2x4 brace or something to help hold the unit up.
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Old 07-18-2009, 01:48 PM   #13
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Corner Sink in Tradewind

Hey Lumatic, I don't know if half of a sink would do you any good, having mine replaced with another unit cause the sink had golfball size holes in it, but the rest of the counter didn't have any cracks in it. It was the old yellowed look. Don't know if you can cut out part and reuse it and then seam it together?

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Old 07-19-2009, 08:47 PM   #14
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So far the cracks have come back through every thing I've tried. Mello Mike, I'll be looking forward to a report on how PVC cement work. The sink in my 71 did not have factory plywood backing but I added it. An earlier post suggests the different expansion rate is part of the problem. I'm about ready to cut out a laminate insert and glue it to the counter top and forget about the cracks. I'd replace the whole counter but the counter structurally is OK and I'm too cheap, lazy and stubborn.
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