Full GRP vs part GRP body!

Discussion in 'Tech/Mech General' started by campa cola, Nov 7, 2014.

  1. campa cola

    campa cola Funster

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2012
    Messages:
    2,802
    Likes Received:
    5,648
    Location:
    Weegeland
    Sorry if I have wandered into a minefield here :censored: Just wondering what peoples experiences/opinions are of a full GRP body vs a part ali/wood (or not) and maybe GRP roof setup ? I noticed at the recent NEC show that a full GRP body was becoming the norm for at least one manufacturer.

    Some people have told me GRP will change colour and go brittle over time ? I know from experience ali is very soft (well on my Elddis Mh anyway:oops:) and I wonder if a whole GRP panel needs to be replaced if it get's bashed, and just how resillient is GRP to bashes and can it be repaired OK??

    I am considering buying a new MH with a garage so this is one of the first areas of my consideration.
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2014
  2. Snowbird

    Snowbird Funster Life Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2009
    Messages:
    10,141
    Likes Received:
    16,397
    Location:
    Liverpool.
    GRP is one of the easiest things to repair it the event of damage. I recently sold a full GRP bodied motorhome that was 24 years old and as good as the day it left the factory. There is of course GRP and GRP. Some of it is like tissue paper with little gell coat. A good GRP body should last a lifetime, whereas alloy will eventually deteriorate. Alloy is a soft metal and is easily damaged, once stretched it loses its shape. It also starts to grow a fungus type thing, I have a problem on an alloy garage door where the trim joins the alloy and its started to bubble.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  3. funflair

    funflair Funster Life Member

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2013
    Messages:
    4,485
    Likes Received:
    4,741
    Location:
    Guisborough
    GRP is a good way to go if you can find one, even better if it's on a full foam sandwich construction without any wood. As Dave says it is easy to repair and resists damage more than Alloy.

    The comment about gelcoats discolouring and oxidising over time is valid but on a quality GRP body it would be painted so no problem.

    I would like full GRP on our next van but not sure if we will be able to find one.
     
  4. Allanm

    Allanm Funster

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2013
    Messages:
    3,044
    Likes Received:
    4,112
    Location:
    Cotes d'armor, France
    Except for the cab, ours is GRP with a "self healing" gel topcoat. The self heal part seems to work too, we went to St Malo earlier in the year and ended up driving down a very narrow bush lined road. We could hear the scraping noise on the sides as we drove, very slowly, but there was nothing we could do but carry on. When we got out of the van, we looked along the sides and they were covered in long scratches from the brambles.
    A couple of weeks later, you can't see them!
    Allan
     
  5. peterc10

    peterc10 Funster

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2013
    Messages:
    3,208
    Likes Received:
    2,287
    Location:
    Tunbridge Wells
    I am scratching my head a bit on this, and the suggestion that GRP is rare. My 2008 C class Adria has GRP clad sandwich construction for the roof and sides (and even floor I think). AFAIK that is not at all unusual.
     
  6. Minxy Girl

    Minxy Girl Funster Life Member

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2007
    Messages:
    8,579
    Likes Received:
    9,950
    Location:
    E Yorks
    To be perfectly honest both types have pros and cons but whilst being able to get the body material you want, surely it is more important what the layout is? If you can find the layout you want and then have the choice great, if not, then the usability/comfort of the interior will far outweigh how it 'looks' on the outside.
     
  7. Funnymunny

    Funnymunny Read Only Funster

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2007
    Messages:
    150
    Likes Received:
    231
    We had a full body GRP motorhome back in the 70s a Debonair they are nothing new. Fibreglass will outlast most of the other materials around as long as the mouldings are of sufficient thickness unlike some of todays vans with paper thin overhead cabs etc.
    As for toughness, I have a sailing boat that is 41 years old, I have had it for 25 years and it takes more of a bashing in rough seas than any van on the road and has stood up to that with no problems.

    The Gelcoat finish can get brittle and fade with age but usually in areas that flex heavily but can easily be repaired and will polish up as new.

    If a one piece fibreglass van is well built it should last years and the chances of damp is certainly lessened without seams to open up, the only places to be at risk would be windows and hatches.

    The one disadvantage I can see is if built of a decent thickness is the weight issue.

    RD
     
  8. jonandshell

    jonandshell Funster

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2010
    Messages:
    5,261
    Likes Received:
    7,881
    Location:
    West Norfolk
    Our Chausson is all plastic on a wooden frame.

    It is indestructable, doesn't dent and cleans easily leaving a nice shine.

    It has so far resisted a certain Newfoundland and one of our Weimaraner's hanging by its back legs out of a window!!!!

    Not a scratch anywhere!
     
  9. Snowbird

    Snowbird Funster Life Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2009
    Messages:
    10,141
    Likes Received:
    16,397
    Location:
    Liverpool.
    That is indeed the problem with the monocoque fibreglass RMBs. They are heavy, but will last for ever. There are no joints to leak and even the floor is fibreglass. They have the same construction techniques as a moccasin. The shell is fabricated in one piece and then bolted to the chassis in one lump, not as most motorhomes are, which are built from the floor up.
     
  10. Minxy Girl

    Minxy Girl Funster Life Member

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2007
    Messages:
    8,579
    Likes Received:
    9,950
    Location:
    E Yorks
    We had a Rapido once with the special American gel coat extra thick ... :D ... no really, it was and had a special coating which made it more durable and kept it 'shiny' ... BUT it WAS susceptible to water ingress as it had a bl**dy great joint across the roof from side to side where the front cowl joined the flat part of the roof, the seam must have been nearly an inch wide and after a couple of years our had started to get what looked like small slits in it in a couple of places which I assume was the sealant deteriorating, fortunately I had been replacing a couple of skylights with clear ones and happened to see it whilst up there, so caught it before it went right through and repaired it but if I hadn't noticed it I hate to think what damage would have been caused.
     
Loading...

Share This Page