Paper thin bodywork

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Post by Spockydog on Mon May 06, 2019 3:47 pm

Hi all
Whilst cleaning my three and a half year old AS Broadway by hand using a cloth and a well known cleaner wax I put my finger through the bodywork!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Yep, I now have a hole in my GRP bodywork in the lowest panel behind the drivers door.
I was not using undue pressure nor am I built like Dwayne Johnson but the whole area feels very flimsy and any more pressure would result in an even bigger hole.
This area does not sit in the sun, nor has it been subjected to extremes of heat or cold. I usually clean the motorhome with a good wash wax so this is the first time I have actually waxed this panel. Registered 29/09/15 so no warranty.
Anyone heard or seen this before?
Anyone got any worthwhile ideas?
I feel like contacting AS but don't know where to direct my call/email.
I tentatively prodded the rest of the vehicle and it all seems ok.

I can't post a picture as my tech savvy doesn't extend to url and html
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Post by bolero boy on Mon May 06, 2019 4:28 pm

pwhen you say you have a hole, i take it you can't see through the wall of the van merely that the GRP has worn through....
what is underneath....does the GRP form part of a wall 'sandwich'. what's the filling.....is it wood (framework?) can it rot if the GRP has left it exposed.

I'd have no hesitation and ringing AS irrespective of any warranty 'conditions'....this is patently not fit for purpose...on a 3.5 yr old van? definitely not.

the sidewalls on my van are an aluminium sandwich construction of aluminium, both inside and outside bonded to a styrofoam closed cell foam, wood free wall....could I rub a hole in the aluminium, I'd have thought not.....but I'd have thought the same on GRP.


give them a bell, nothing to lose and everything to gain.

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Post by Peter Brown on Mon May 06, 2019 4:51 pm

Two photos, one showing the hole at a distance so the location can be understood and a close up with a ruler to give an idea of size and extent of damage. Similar driver inflicted damage on my rear panels of similar construction have not been expensive to repair with my local body man.
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Post by Roopert on Mon May 06, 2019 5:29 pm

Because of the way it's made, it's not unusual to have voids within the body of a GRP moulding. If it's just a void then it should be easy enough to fill and refinish.

If the actual total thickness is so thin that you've gone right through, it will probably need additional strengthening - but it seems unlikely, as the people who do the laying down of the GRP would typically notice such a basic error!
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Post by raymondo on Mon May 06, 2019 6:35 pm

the standard of GRP work on most (possibly all) motorhomes is abysmal!

the ones I have had have all had basic faults in the GRP, air bubbles in the gelcoat being the most common, but also insufficent lay up around hinges, locks and similar stress points also being common.

I was looking at a MH once (not an AS) and luckily it was late in the day and the sun was low revealing that the GRP side skirt mouldings had very obvious ripples!

obviously in this case when they were laying up the GRP they had the gel coat backed by tissue  but missed it with the CSM which is where the strength is.


Out of warranty of not I would be contacting AS as this is obviously a manufacturing flaw.
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Post by Peter Brown on Mon May 06, 2019 6:47 pm

Personally, I would avoid the stress and just have it repaired.

If you want to take it up with someone then the panel was made by Cheltenham Laminating. They are very approachable and would love to see it - whether they will do any remedial work depends on what they see.
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Post by Spockydog on Tue May 07, 2019 7:37 am

My finger went straight through there is a hole and behind is a void I can shine a torch inside and see the chassis. Its the lowest formed panel that is attached to the cab immediately behind the drivers door, the first bit that bulges out from the cab. I would love to put pictures up.
Cheltenham Laminates made the panel? I will look them up and see what happens
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Post by Peter Brown on Tue May 07, 2019 7:41 am

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Post by groundhog on Tue May 07, 2019 9:40 am

All of the above really, should be easily repaired but on a van so young why should you, interesting to see what cheltenham have to say.
I have a bit of experience with GRP on yachts but cannot offer any real advice I am afraid, have only ever seen holes appear on impact or GRP failure through osmosis but that would not apply to a newer van. It is a shame you cannot see INSIDE the panel as that may give a clue as to why it has failed. A mystery but certainly shouldn't have happened?
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Post by Liam on Tue May 07, 2019 12:30 pm

Spockydog wrote:My finger went straight through there is a hole and behind is a void I can shine a torch inside and see the chassis. Its the lowest formed panel that is attached to the cab immediately behind the drivers door, 
Surely if you can see the chassis then the faulty area is in the skirt, ie. below floor level and not the main body of the van? So hopefully you will have not had any moisture ingress!
I believe this is the area to which AS attach the Aluminium Skirts - I think these are bonded to the GRP body and supported with rivited stays with are attached to the chassis.

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Post by Spockydog on Tue May 07, 2019 1:09 pm

I really wish I knew how to put photos up. On this panel it has a moulded curve down towards the base of the  driver's door. There is an orange running light fitting on that panel. From that light go down 2" and forward 2" and there's the hole in the body of the motorhome. If you went to the passenger side it's the panel below the fuel filler.
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Post by bolero boy on Tue May 07, 2019 2:29 pm

in your posting box, there is an icon (close to the 'you tube' icon) that looks like a floppy disc (first icon in that grey box), tap this and another box appears and an 'insert file' message comes up.
touch this and you'll see a link to your photo library (well, that's what happens with this iPad) so browse to the photo and select it. then 'upload' the photo and this should do it.
good luck.

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Post by Roger G on Tue May 07, 2019 3:05 pm

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If you are posting pics from a PC, in the window that you are writing the post you will see the 6 grey boxes with icons along the top. Click in the left icon in the 4th grey box from the left and you will get the second box appear as shown in my pic. Click on the green select files box and find the pic on your pc you want to add, then click on it and then insert. When the file name appears in the box above, just click 'send' and it will add it to your post wherever the cursor is.

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Post by Spockydog on Tue May 07, 2019 3:13 pm

Thanks Peter for the link.
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Post by Peter Brown on Tue May 07, 2019 5:18 pm

I've been trying to work out which variation of mouldings you have by looking at Broadway photos but haven't found an exact match. Could you post another picture taken from further away.


In any event, the hole is certainly the result of a manufacturing fault as you seem to have just the Gel coat and no matting behind it and very easy to fix for a lot less than the cost of driving a long distance for someone else to fix it but I would still get in touch with Cheltenham Laminating and show them the problem.
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Post by PLOUGHLIN on Tue May 07, 2019 5:54 pm

This one?

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Post by Liam on Tue May 07, 2019 6:38 pm

So it is in the skirt area!

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Post by Peter Brown on Wed May 08, 2019 8:50 am

PLOUGHLIN wrote:This one?

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I don't think it is as the marker light is on a different panel.
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Post by PLOUGHLIN on Wed May 08, 2019 9:31 am

Peter Brown wrote:
PLOUGHLIN wrote:This one?


I don't think it is as the marker light is on a different panel.
 This one, marker light is in front of the "joint".

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Post by Peter Brown on Wed May 08, 2019 9:35 am

Yes that look like it, its an EL version same as spockydog.
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Post by Liam on Wed May 08, 2019 9:37 am

Yes, I agree, Peter, the marker light is just above and the hole appears to be in the front Cab to Body moulding but it is way down in  the Skirt region. Probably an area that was not given too much attention during the laying up process!

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Post by Spockydog on Wed May 08, 2019 10:19 am

That's the one in the second picture from Ploughlin with the marker light on the panel. The entire panel goes from the line near the top of the door down to the exhaust pipe and is one complete section. Any ideas of the best way to fix it? Gel goat filler and gentle rubbing as the weak area is about 3" in diameter.
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Post by Peter Brown on Wed May 08, 2019 10:27 am

In that area on my van you can get behind the panel and I would have thought it possible on yours too.

If you can, I would put a wide strip of not to sticky masking tape across the damage and then gently ease the gel coat back in position so its held in place with the tape.  Then use a repair kit similar to these:  https://www.amazon.co.uk/s?k=fibreglass+repair+kit+small&crid=3NHAI807XGP1E&sprefix=fibre+galss+repair+kit%2Caps%2C148&ref=nb_sb_ss_sc_5_22 to make a fibre strengthening section behind it.
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Post by rogerblack on Wed May 08, 2019 7:57 pm

Looking at your picture on servimg at high zoom it looks like there's an area with uneven bulges for a few inches around the hole. I'm not an expert but looks to me as if it's either been damaged and repaired or made poorly in the first place.

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Post by Spockydog on Thu May 09, 2019 2:37 pm

Thank you all for the links, advice etc. Got my hand in behind the panel, gently teased the broken bit back into the hole, used gel coat filler and all is well again. Now just got to remember not to wax that bit of panel!
Unfortunately a/s, Cheltenham laminates and marquis all failed to respond, but I don't care it's fixed, albeit a weak spot I don't have to travel miles to get it repaired.
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