Small bubbles on the side of an RV ; can they be popped ???

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Dave in Lake Villa

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Jun 18, 2007, 11:50:09 AM6/18/07
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The RV has fiberglass sides and there are about 4 small bubbles close
together half way up from the ground . The RV Dealer says 'no
prob'...they can be simply popped to let the air out. Is this of
little concern, or, is it a major concern ? THANKS, Dave.

Janet Wilder

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Jun 18, 2007, 1:24:48 PM6/18/07
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Sounds like delamination.

--
Janet Wilder
Bad spelling. Bad punctuation
Good Friends. Good Life

Matt Colie

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Jun 18, 2007, 2:47:35 PM6/18/07
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Dave,

Just what do you mean by small??

Most boats are fiberglass these days, and many have situations like this.

It is Never "no prob".

I need to know more to give a better answer, but a real common boat
problem (even refereed to as Boat Pox) is a failure of the laminate to
bond to the gelcoat. If you "let the air out", you have done nothing
better than try to push peeling paint back on.

Matt Colie

Dave in Lake Villa wrote:

Bruce

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Jun 18, 2007, 3:38:41 PM6/18/07
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Is this under a sticker, decal or banner? If this is the case, then popping
and pressing the decal back is fine. If this is under the gel coat, then
that is a different story.

Bruce

"Dave in Lake Villa" <DaveInL...@webtv.net> wrote in message
news:2009-467...@storefull-3233.bay.webtv.net...

Dave in Lake Villa

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Jun 18, 2007, 4:55:54 PM6/18/07
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Thanks everyone . Further...the small bubbles are a little less than
the diameter of a Dime, they are not under or over a decal, etc.. but on
the wall of the RV not near anything close ; the RV Dealer said he
would take a razor blade and make a small short slice into each bubble
so it lays flat. I assumed there was air in each bubble...but perhaps it
is delamination. Question : How expensive is it to fix it correctly if
it did not adhere ? Can someone venture an educated guess ? Other than
these bubbles, the RV looks in great shape with no other blemishes,
damage, etc. Thanks, Dave.

Matt Colie

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Jun 18, 2007, 8:47:04 PM6/18/07
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Well Dave,

You know that my day job is working on boats - Right?

It isn't air in there. It might be outgassing from the resin, but here
is more than you probably wanted to know.

Bubbles like that are typically where the laminate (chop) did not adhere
to the gelcoat. Do you know how this is done? They spray the gelcoat
in the mold first then put the composite inside the color coat. The
composite (laminate/fiberglass) is actually sprayed also by a nifty
thing called a chop gun. It mixes the resin and catalyst (hardener)
right in the gun and draws in a yarn of glass fiber that gets cut into
small pieces as it is coated with mix at fired at the mold. Gelcoat is
also often sprayed with a mixing gun but with that gun doesn't add yarn.

Now the problem. All this stuff works great when it works, but it
doesn't take much to make it not work.

A couple of drops of water falling on the color coat prior to laying on
the glass will cause just such a problem, and cutting them and pushing
the bubble down will do little good. Failure of either mixing gun would
cause that problem over a much larger area.

Now the answer you were really waiting for. To repair this correctly,
the blistered gelcoat has to be removed the exposed surfaces cleaned and
new gelcoat filled in. Around here, if that is all that need doing, I
would expect to pay 60~100$ (depending on the actual area) for this job.

If you are in the Lake Villa by Waukegan, that should be about right.
If you find the right glass guy, you will never be able to locate the
repair again.

Good Luck

Matt Colie

Dave in Lake Villa wrote:

Dave in Lake Villa

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Jun 18, 2007, 9:05:03 PM6/18/07
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'You know that my day job is working on boats - Right?'

REPLY: No. Actually i had no idea. But youre obviously the man with the
info on this subject.

'Bubbles like that are typically where the laminate (chop) did not


adhere to the gelcoat. Do you know how this is done? They spray the
gelcoat in the mold first then put the composite inside the color coat.
The composite (laminate/fiberglass) is actually sprayed also by a nifty
thing called a chop gun. It mixes the resin and catalyst (hardener)
right in the gun and draws in a yarn of glass fiber that gets cut into
small pieces as it is coated with mix at fired at the mold. Gelcoat is
also often sprayed with a mixing gun but with that gun doesn't add yarn.
Now the problem. All this stuff works great when it works, but it
doesn't take much to make it not work.
A couple of drops of water falling on the color coat prior to laying on
the glass will cause just such a problem, and cutting them and pushing
the bubble down will do little good. Failure of either mixing gun would

cause that problem over a much larger area.'

REPLY: I appreciate you sharing this with me. I have a deeper
appreciation for how its done now.

'Now the answer you were really waiting for. To repair this correctly,


the blistered gelcoat has to be removed the exposed surfaces cleaned and
new gelcoat filled in. Around here, if that is all that need doing, I
would expect to pay 60~100$ (depending on the actual area) for this job.

If you are in the Lake Villa by Waukegan, that should be about right. '

REPLY: Well, based on me getting this RV for well under the NADA RV
Price Guide, $100 is a welcomed expenditure to have it repaired right.
Yes, im in Lake Villa near Waukegan, Illinois .... does that mean you
are in my area also ? If so, when i pick up this RV , would you be
interested in repairing it correctly for me ? If not, then i might go to
the Auto Body Shop at the bottom of my street since i know he works on
Corvettes which are fiberglass also. But, my first choice is yourself.

Dave

Matt Colie

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Jun 19, 2007, 8:08:24 AM6/19/07
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Dave,
I appreciate the offer, but I am in south east Michigan about half way
between Ann Arbor and Detroit. I just happen to have worked in
Milwaukee and in Chicago at different times.

While I do a pretty good amount of structural glass work, I have two
people that I leave the gelcoat work to because they both do better at
it than I do.

The Corvette shop sounds like a very good plan. Go talk to him and if
you can get in his book, I'm sure he can get it right.

If you can't get into someone's schedule, don't fret, just wait until
fall. The blisters won't change and about then the boat shops are
starting to get hungry and looking for anything to keep them going until
they can go into winter mode.

Good Luck Guy

Matt Colie

Dave in Lake Villa wrote:

Message has been deleted

Dave in Lake Villa

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Jun 19, 2007, 9:08:43 PM6/19/07
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'If the unnamed rig is not a Chinook, then it doesn't have fiberglass
sides. It just has styrofoam sides with a 1/16" inch fiberglass skin
glued to the styrofoam or intermediary luan plywood which become unglued
in the presence of moisture. Doesn't take much for badly constructed
sidewalls to start becoming unglued, evidenced by bubbles in the skin.
It just gets worse and worse, until the sidewalls totally disintegrate.'

REPLY: Its a Trail-Lite brand Class C. ANd its that shiny fiberglass
appearance on the outside. Same as a Coachmen Class C. from what ive
seen. The RV Dealer is going to 'burst' the bubbles tomorrow then im
going back to see how it looks. Will advise.

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