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Old 04-15-2004, 12:25 PM   #1
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Replacement Insulation

I am in the middle of replacing all of my Black/Grey tank plumbing under the trailer. Well the fiberglass insulation looks pretty bad and I was thinking how it might be an improvement to replace it with "Spray in Polyurethane Foam".
I was wondering if anyone has any experience with this change. I could get an R value of about 6.7 per inch of foam. This would be loads better than the scanty 2" glass batting. I was also thinking that it would improve the strength of the ABS plumbing, sort of encapsulate it and keep it from rattling on dirt roads.
Thoughts?
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Old 04-15-2004, 12:38 PM   #2
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Gary:

It'd be a booger to tear out should you ever need to access the plumbing lines it (the foam) would surround.
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Old 04-15-2004, 12:45 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 87MH
It'd be a booger to tear out should you ever need to access the plumbing lines it (the foam) would surround.
I hadn't thought of that, maybe spray it just as thick as 1/4 to 1/2 of the pipe in thickness. That would give me about 2" to 3" or about R-13 to 18.
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Old 04-15-2004, 12:50 PM   #4
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Dennis

I agree with a lot of what you say but disagree this time. I inuslated all my walls with spray foam. All the small openings were covered with masking tape, the wiring and vents were plumbing vents were sprayed. Removal is as simple as cutting with a sharp serrated knife, the insulation sticks to the aluminum but peels off as a plug. I would do it again.

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Old 04-15-2004, 12:50 PM   #5
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I'm wondering how the original batts were held in place?? or were they at all?
also wondering if its worth the effort for a "fair-weather" camper. how about those hermetically sealed fiberglass batts? so you don't git all itchy, and stuff? don't know what the r-value is, though...I seem to remember "R-11" being printed on the side of some 2" rigid foam boards that I have in my basement (different project ).

might be doing similar work this season. take pictures!!
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Old 04-15-2004, 01:51 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chuck
I'm wondering how the original batts were held in place?? or were they at all?
also wondering if its worth the effort for a "fair-weather" camper. how about those hermetically sealed fiberglass batts? so you don't git all itchy, and stuff? don't know what the r-value is, though...I seem to remember "R-11" being printed on the side of some 2" rigid foam boards that I have in my basement (different project ).

might be doing similar work this season. take pictures!!
Chuck

The fiberglass was a bare batt. It was one piece being held in place by just the pipes. No stick em or tape, no nothing. I thought it was a pretty cheesy way of doing it, it crushed the batt to less than 1/2" thick under the pipes.
I looked at the web site for the spray foam and they listed R 6.7 per inch thickness.
Good ideaon the pics, I'll take some pictures before I seal it back up.
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Old 04-15-2004, 02:18 PM   #7
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so when you drop the belly pan, be prepared for this stuff to drop right out in your face with it, eh?

does sound "cheesy". and the R-value only holds true if the stuff is allowed to fluff to its intended thickness. doesn't apply if you squish it up. so perhaps I have an indirect answer to my question: it ain't doing anything, except perhaps providing the mice w/ cozy accomidations.

I guess there's not really much place for it to go, though...only needs to stay in place long enough for them to re-attach the belly pan.
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Old 04-15-2004, 03:30 PM   #8
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I just dropped the belly pan in my 72' and the insulation was fairly thin (about 3"), in very good shape, and sandwiched between the beams and the plywood which is what was holding it in. Surprisingly enough, no signs of rodents, a spider or two, and no snake skins.
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Old 04-15-2004, 05:20 PM   #9
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"Stealth Post"This is really Gary. I found 4 Wasp nests and a lot of Black Widow egg sacs. All clean now. Ya, the insulation they used is for the birds or Wasps or what ever. I'm going to use the spray foam to do away with all that.
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Old 04-15-2004, 06:15 PM   #10
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How well does foam hold/attract moisture? The bottom area of the trailer must "breathe" otherwise rot sets in the floor. It is for that reason I just take the insulation out and leave it out. To me its just a big sponge - I've also been told you don't want to tight seal the belly - it must breathe.

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Old 04-15-2004, 08:10 PM   #11
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Thinking out loud,
Wouldn't the vibration from towing the trailer just rattle the spray foam to dust?? Over time that is...... like a few years/ thousnad or more miles of towing
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Old 04-15-2004, 08:29 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by till
Thinking out loud,
Wouldn't the vibration from towing the trailer just rattle the spray foam to dust??
Several people on these forums have mentioned replacing the insulation in the walls with foam, and I had always feared the same problem. However, I recently saw an Avion in a salvage yard that had foam insulation in the walls. I was impressed by two things: 1) How well the foam had remained intact; and 2) How many voids it had in it.

There may be more movement underneath, however. Airstream frames are rather "springy".

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Old 04-15-2004, 08:32 PM   #13
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I think Andy from Inland RV said that Airstream tried the Foam insulation but had trouble with it. I know that the GMC Motorhomes used it without much trouble, and now with this Avion info. I wonder what was the main issue? John, I know you used it. it will be interesting to see how it holds up over time.

Who knows, maybe they tried an early version of it?
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Old 04-15-2004, 10:11 PM   #14
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Whats the name of the spray in foam stuff? had not thought of that but sounds like a great idea......
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Old 04-16-2004, 03:36 AM   #15
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I think there are a couple of reasons Airstream has stayed with the Fiberglas batts under the floor.
  1. The batts are squeezed between the frame and floor to keep cold from being transferred by the frame to the inside.
  2. The batts are squeezed between the frame and floor to give it a little flex under foot
  3. It passes interior moisture easily
  4. Its cheap
  5. Itís easy to lay it down. The frame and a couple of staples hold it in place.
  6. No special handling of chemical materials
  7. No extra training
  8. No manufacturing "regulatory" issues like air filtration in a factory setting.
  9. Early foam had out gassing issues that allegedly caused health issues
Just my guesses.
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Old 04-16-2004, 08:22 AM   #16
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I have thought about a few questions that have been brought up.
The "breathing of the floor" I have a Minuet with a composite aluminum floor so it doesn't matter in my case. If you were to have a wooden floor I'm kind of up in the air about, this foam is used in construction of homes and they don't worry about the ability of the walls to breath. I don't think this is a problem. IMHO
"Shaking apart", this stuff is tuff. If you were to place a 2 or 3" thick layer of foam on a piece of plywood and start to beat the back side with a hammer you would not damage the foam until you went all the way through the wood. If you were to rub something across the foam side of the board you could rub off the material but it would take some work to do it.
If the plumbing is strapped good enough I don't see this as a problem.
"How does it handle water?" The faom is aclosed cell foam and does not collect moisture, one of it's uses is for floatation in docks and boats.
It is more difficult to apply than fiberglass but I think the benefits out weigh the difficulties in application.
The foam I have been looking at can be seen at http://www.fomofoam.com
I will let everyone know how my trial comes out with the stuff, I think it will be great once done.
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Old 04-21-2004, 05:55 PM   #17
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Ok I've finished the valve replacement, along with all associated ABS fittings.

In prepping the area for foam I wanted to get a few things done in the cavity.

I removed all of the old fiberglass insulation.
Wire brushed and cleaned everything.
I rust killed all of the rust on the frame using Rust-Mort made by a company called SEM.
I coated all of the fittings and control rods with Petroleum jelly, this keeps the foam from sticking.
I dressed up for the foaming. Note make sure you are covered with clothing, gloves, and goggles you are willing to throw away. Anything the foam gets on is toast.
Covered the ground under the trailer and shot the foam.

I used 2 boxes of the foam I mentioned in an earlier post. $27.50 each from Grainger Supply, it is $24.00 + shipping each on line.
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Old 04-21-2004, 06:22 PM   #18
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Impressive. Looks like quite the job.

So, how was the valve replacement part of the job? Mine is in a holding pattern at that point. I have done a number of minor repairs and fixes that needed to be done but have been procrastinating on tearing the vavles apart.

On my rear bellypan, most of the rivets had actually worn through the aluminum and there was a 2.5' section that was just sagging down catching air and bugs while traveling down the road.

Replacing the whole section was not something i wanted to do so i got some large rivets and some large washers with small holes and riveted the washers right next to the aluminum. It seems to work out well. Kinda stopgap fix but saves me a bigger headache.
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Old 04-21-2004, 06:44 PM   #19
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I'm missing something here in the price. The link shows a product that's 1-2 $ per square foot (1 inch thick) and you have two $25 cans.
I like your go for it. Are you leaving the "air" space above the belly or adding fiber?
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Old 04-21-2004, 07:46 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psychpw
I'm missing something here in the price. The link shows a product that's 1-2 $ per square foot (1 inch thick) and you have two $25 cans.
I like your go for it. Are you leaving the "air" space above the belly or adding fiber?
The web site for FOMOFOAM says 12 bd ft per kit at $24.95 per kit. That would be 3' x 4' x 1" thick, that's about $2.00 per board foot. It is pretty expensive stuff in the smaller two can kit. My installation was about 2" thick with a build up around the pipes.


Van
The valves were not too bad to replace, VERY EXPENSIVE $53.00 each. I tried at all the local suppliers all the same price. Thetford valves are the most expensive on the market about three time more than the others.
I had to replace the adaptor from the Black Water tank to the dump valve, mine was shattered. They do not make them anymore. The old one inserted directly into the tank the new on requires you use a piece of pipe to enter the tank. This causes problems with the valve placement, it moves the valve about 2" toward the street side. I had to fabricate a metal patch and remount the dump handle guide. Not hard just a lot of extra work. The gray water valve was glued directly to the tank. Insted of pulling the tank and hasseling with that I took the guts and half of the valve from the new one and used the old half that was glued on. Works great. The rest of the fittings were inexpensive, got them at Lowes and Home Depot.
The whole plumbing job took about 2 hours with the dry fit up, and testing the valves and tanks before glue up.
One other thing I did do differently was I strapped the pipes up, plumbers tape and wood blocks. I don't like the idea of the plumbing just banging around with road vibration. I drive a lot of dirt roads and I hope this will be a little extra protection.
The belly pan is another story. Mine was rotted away on the edges so I grafted new metal on with pop rivets. Worked really good, but it still was a pain in the A@# to put back on. I used screws.
Well that's all done on to the PEX fresh water pipeing.
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