Edited by Russ and Tiña De Maris
Ugly fiberglass “paint” problems
One of our readers wrote asking for help with a fiberglass siding problem — their paint was getting pretty ugly. We wondered how many had the same problem, and it didn’t take long to hear back from many with the same issue. But along with plenty of complaints comes an explanation, and what some may view as unwelcome news on dealing with it.
Matt Shyrer, who is a Service Manager for the Allied Recreation Group (the manufacturer of Monaco motorcoaches, among others), wrote in:
“I looked at your pictures of the thermochecking of the sidewalls. There is no fix or paint repair that will eliminate this issue. Even stripping off the sidewalls and replacing with new fiberglass walls with different composite structure will not guaranty that your coach will not have thermocycling (gassing off of the fiberglass) issues again.
“What happens is that when the sidewall gets hot over a certain temperature it will cause the fiberglass to gas off or kick off and cause slits in the paint. This does not cause any damage to the clear coat over the paint, it just makes the paint look bad. This also does not make the sidewalls susceptible to water intrusion.
“It is a very common problem of fiberglass/gel coated walls and even new sidewalls will eventually do the same. Sanding the sidewalls you have, doing the bodywork and then repainting is going to be expensive plus the thermochecking that you see will just come back after a while.
“In the past when we were first having this problem in the industry we tried all types of remedies and none of them was a permanent repair. To do a paint repair just to make the coach look good with no guaranty that the vehicle will not do this again is going to run close to $20,000 in bodywork, paint time and materials. You could even change the colors to a lighter look and it could still come back.”
Motoring with the Mother-in-Law?
Resident RV advice columnist, Dr. RV Shrink, took on the issue of the Pros and cons of RVing with mother-in-law. Here’s a couple of missives from some of you who have done it.
Says Tom Gutzke: “My mother-in-law took two- to four-week vacations every year with my wife, our young son, and I. That made us a “four-some” which was great for many things we’ve done. She was a great traveling companion. Our son is now close to forty and my mother-in-law has passed away. I was truly blessed with having two “mothers” in my life. I wish she was still with us as we travel three to four months a year, so she could see more of the natural beauty of the U.S. – along with a few ‘quirky’ attractions along the way.”
And Paulette adds her own poignant memories: “We had lots of adventures traveling with my mother. She camped all her married life and after my father passed away, she missed it. When we asked her if she wanted to go with us in our 29′ Class C, she said, ‘Yes,’ if we really meant it. When we traveled she was a great help when we went places she had been, and could tell us great places to see. She went with us till she was 92. She passed away at 93. Left us with wonderful memories.”
Your editors had their own experience in motoring with one of our moms. She was a very prim and proper woman, with very straightforward ideas about morality. In her closing years, sadly, dementia started to creep in. One morning I woke her up where she slept on the dinette bed. She was so happy to be out on the road, and we had but a moment’s discussion of our day ahead when the door to the bedroom opened, and out came my better half — her daughter-in-law. Mom’s eyes about popped out of her head.
“Who are you!” she demanded of the wife. “I’m your daughter-in-law Virginia,” smiled my cheerful better-half, immediately picking up on the implication. “Remember, you were at our wedding?” It took a moment, but the seas soon calmed, and the rest of our trip together was without incident.
Bad manufacturing — or bad design?
Back in Newsletter 799, Chuck mentioned ongoing problems on RV assembly lines that might be a contributing factor to the overall poor quality of RVs. This drew an interesting response from Bob Hazlett.
“Read your piece and the backup Reuters article. They are using the RV industry as an example for a labor discussion. I can agree with some of it and disagree with some. But I won’t agree with the idea that this situation is the cause of the poor quality in RVs. RV quality starts in the Board Room and the design room. The manufacturing floor builds RVs based on the design and supplies they are given.
“I am a retired engineer with experience in manufacturing. I am also a full-time RVer living in a 2011 Keystone Cougar High Country which I bought new. The key word for this rig is ‘flimsy’. I am constantly rebuilding things that have fallen apart due to shabby construction. Using staples, instead of staples and glue, is an engineering decision not a manufacturing one. That is one simple example. The list is endless.
“I believe the old adage that RVs are designed and built by people who have never lived in one. I’m tired of RV makers touting their Amish craftsmen and their Amish work ethic when all I see coming out of their factories is trash.”
Don’t burn your RV down — or drown it
In “The case of Flo and the swimming motorhome,” we presented the story of the “mysterious” discovery of a “stolen” motorhome that was found in a nearby canal. A court eventually ordered that the insurance company didn’t have to pay off the insured. Here comes “Grumpyoldtimer,” a retired insurance company employee, with this:
“You would be surprised at the number of fraudulent claims presented by policyholders. If one includes inflated claims (claiming four TVs stolen rather than the actual two, for instance), the estimate is 25% of all claim dollars are fraudulent. I worked in the insurance business for 40+ years and the actual stories are legend. Arson of cars or dumping them in bodies of water and then claiming theft are common.
“Most major insurance companies have Special Investigation units to investigate possible fraud. I have testified for my old company at a trial like this one. Remember, every fraudulent claim dollar comes right out of insurance premiums paid. Some of your premium dollars paid went to fraud.
“Fortunately for honest policyholders, most companies are vigilant at detecting fraud. And many crooks are not very smart and arrogant and get caught. Even with that, too much goes to dishonest crooks. If we ever meet in person I can share stories of actual cases that will make you laugh, and sometimes just shake your head. Or cry.”