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Old 06-25-2011, 09:30 PM   #1
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1990 25' Excella
cave city , Kentucky
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Is this the end of my end caps?

There are cracks in the end caps of my '90 Excella - front and rear. I suppose they're not too bad. They look like maybe they were caused by some kind of stress. I'm not so worried - perhaps I should be. Maybe this is a symptom of an even bigger problem. The previous owner ran rivets along the cracks. I can live with the cracks; but should I?
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Old 06-25-2011, 10:58 PM   #2
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1977 31' Excella 500
Berkeley Springs , West Virginia
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Cracks as in all the way through?

Cracks in aluminum are indicative of fatigue. That is bad. Aluminum fatigue cracks way worse than steel. I've actually never seen an old trailer with cracks in the shell. Are you sure they are actually cracks? If they are, you've got trouble....

Sorry to be the voice of doom here, but this just doesn't sound good. No, you should not have to live with cracks!

Please tell us more about what's going on with your trailer. Maybe we can help out some.

Best of luck,
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Old 06-25-2011, 11:11 PM   #3
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1985 31' Excella
Fresno , Texas
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If you are talking about the interior of your Excella then this is something that happens to most units in time. They can be replaced or they can be repaired but you have to be able to work the backside to get a good repair.
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Old 06-26-2011, 06:14 AM   #4
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1990 25' Excella
cave city , Kentucky
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I'm sorry I wasn't clearer with my post. It is the interior. It's cracked, both front and rear, about 6" on the plastic end cap. The cracks are not gapping; like I said someone has put rivets along them. I'm curious if this is common?
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Old 06-26-2011, 06:26 AM   #5
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1977 31' Sovereign
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1989 34' Excella
Johnsburg , Illinois
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The cracks in the plastic interior endcaps are a fairly common occurrence, especially if the trailer has been used or lived in the South for an extended time. The ABS plastic degrades due to time and temperature and dries out and shrinks. Drill stress relief holes at the end of the crack to stop them from propagating and live with them.
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Old 06-28-2011, 07:14 PM   #6
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Fiberglass!

You can sometimes repair cracked plastic with fiberglass. I rebuilt a 1981 Honda Goldwing fairing that way.

What you do is sand or grind out say 3" on either side of the crack; thin the material down so that if you glass on a piece of fiberglass cloth, it does not stick up noticeably higher than the base material.

So for example, say your plastic in the end caps is 1/16" thick. Use a sander and sand a strip 3" wide in the plastic on both sides of the crack down 1/32 of an inch. Then, mix up your resin and hardener and saturate a piece of glass cloth and lay it over the crack. Once it hardens you can sand it a bit (not damaging the cloth) to smooth it up. Then "repaint" over the area with another layer of hardener infused resin (commonly called a "gel coat"). Let this cure a few days, and then sand it. You can make a good repair that way. You have to make sure that you sand the plastic enough to roughen it good so that the resin will adhere to it. And if you can, it's best to put a layer of glass cloth on the backside (toward the aluminum shell) of the crack too. That way you cover it from both sides.

I did a bang up repair on my Goldwing fairing that way. It's a lot of work, but you can turn out some nice results. If you have a boat repair shop anywhere near you, go and talk to their guys. They can probably steer you in the right direction.

See you on the road!
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Old 12-11-2016, 05:52 AM   #7
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1972 31' Sovereign
Smithville , Texas
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Fiberglass fix

I was wondering the same thing. I have cracks in the front endcap, which were made worse when we pulled it out of the pasture to start cleaning it up. (Wow, it's gonna take a lot of work!) I was wondering if I could fix it with fiberglass. It has cracked at several of the rivet points, and a couple of them are several inches long.
My big concern is how to take it down without making it worse. Any ideas??
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Old 12-14-2016, 07:22 AM   #8
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Fonthill , Ontario
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All is not lost. A number of people on the Forums, myself included, have repaired their plastic (ABS) end caps. A good thread to read is Sign lady's "I'm finally repairing my 1970's endcaps :-)" As always there is more than one way to do things. Do some research and decide which is the best for you. Feel free to ask lots of questions.
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Old 12-15-2016, 01:38 AM   #9
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Thanks for the tip! I will definately look that up!
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Old 01-02-2017, 11:42 AM   #10
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1994 34' Excella
San Antonio , Texas
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ABS Cement and Mesh Tape

I'm working on a similarly aged trailer and have pulled my end caps out and repaired them. I used the fiberglass method but am now experimenting with ABS cement and mesh. I happened to have a roll of fiberglass self adhesive drywall tape and it's easier to use than mesh. I found ABS to PVC cement at the HD store near us. It was less than 5 dollars for a small can. Chemically it should form a stronger bond to ABS and literally meld it together. It's acetone based and melts the plastic and cement together. Our panoramic window molding is in tough shape and I'm working on it now. It's an easier method than fiberglass and the plastic bumper repair that I did on the endcaps. Chemically it makes more sense to me. The acetone vapor is strong so working outside would be wise. I found this method by searching ABS plastic repair. It's commonly used by motorcycle enthusiasts to repair their plastic parts. Thought I'd search the forums to see if anyone had mentioned it's use.
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