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Old 01-09-2016, 04:30 PM   #1
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1977 31' Sovereign
1994 28' Excella
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FRP service history

I have read here about using FRP in place of the interior shell. My '77 Sovereign's PO, who I shall refer to as Skippy, pulled the forward sections, from the entire nose rearward to the first straight sections and sold them for scrap aluminum. He also performed several other questionable "repairs" to the old girl, which I will handle in due time before we can hit the highway.
FRP, readily available, and easy to work with, would be an easy fix. However, using it in a trailer which flexes and vibrates, I believe, is a bit beyond what its engineers had in mind. I know more than a few fellow Airstream Remodelers used FRP. Any problem with stress cracks?

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Tom Francis
Shelbyville, KY
77 Sovereign center bath
Rear twin
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Old 01-09-2016, 04:43 PM   #2
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If you're talking about the endcaps, both the front and back interior endcaps on my '59 were originally FRP.
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Old 01-09-2016, 05:11 PM   #3
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I have worked with FRP panels in building construction, those 4' wide sheets like L's or HD sale. They will take a beating when they have a material behind them, like plywood or masonry, but I would not use them without some type of backing. If attached directly to the ribs, I think the fasteners near the edges of the sheet would cause stress, enough to crack and/or break the plastic.
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Old 01-10-2016, 10:26 AM   #4
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1977 31' Sovereign
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Thanks for the comments guys.
I share your thoughts Alan. I too have used a lot of FRP in commercial settings. A backer will obviously add an elevation discrepancy which would need to be hidden under some sort of trim. If I can avoid that, it would certainly make the job neater.

Mark, were your end caps one piece? I can see where a single unit would have much more structural integrity. However, that option would not be available when fabricating with FPR, which would be multiple pieces cobbled together.
Hopefully I will get a response back from someone who attached directly to the ribs and has had it installed for many road trips. If not I'll likely attached to a Lauan sub base and deal with the elevation transition.
Thanks!
Tom
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Old 01-10-2016, 11:13 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by tfrancis View Post
Thanks for the comments guys.

Mark, were your end caps one piece? I can see where a single unit would have much more structural integrity. However, that option would not be available when fabricating with FPR, which would be multiple pieces cobbled together.
Hopefully I will get a response back from someone who attached directly to the ribs and has had it installed for many road trips. If not I'll likely attached to a Lauan sub base and deal with the elevation transition.
Thanks!
Tom
I guess I'm old school. When you said FRP I think of Fiber Reinforced Plastic (regular laid up fiberglass on a mold), and not Fiberglass Reinforced Panels, which is apparently what we are talking about here.

I retract my previous post. Sorry for the misdirection.
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