How To Fix Caravan Stress Crack
How To Repair A Caravan ABS Stress Crack
Ok before we start can i say that this is a DIY repair, If your caravan is still under warranty the manufacturer will sort it out for you if not and you don't want for fork out for a complete new panel then this may be the answer for you, I have repaired quite a few without any problems and damp issues...
The cause of Stress Cracks in abs caravan panels is in my opinion a manufacturing fault, some years ago allegedly bailey were fitting panels without first pilot drilling the panel and hence causing the panels to crack when under stress, other manufacturers are probably guilty of this too, but over the last few years manufacturing techniques have improved and it looks like this will be a thing of the past, finger crosses.
Where To Start
So you have found a nice little stress crack, after you have stopped crying lets get to work....
- Stop the crack in its steps
- Make the crack bigger
- Fill the crack
- Sand the filler
- Use touch up paint
- T cut the area and polish
Stop The Crack In Its Steps
To stop the crack from spreading drill a small 2mm hole at the end of the crack, don't worry because we will be filling this shortly
Make The Crack Bigger
Sounds a-bit backward but your going to need an area for the filler to adhere to, the crack is only hair line at the moment, this is not wide enough for the filler to stick so i found a small needle file that fits in the end of my battery drill but a small flat screwdriver will do the same job, you only need to widen it 2 or 3 mm.
Fill The Crack
I was recommended Gel Coat Filler by Plastic padding because its water proof and over paintable so you can match it in with your original paintwork, follow the instructions on how to mix it, Its a two part paste that you simply mix together, it has a working time of 8 minutes and goes of in 15, fill the crack, I over filled and then sanded back after it had gone off and this method seems to work ok.
Sand It Down
Very carefully sand down the filler, I started off with 600 grade wet and dry and finished with 2500 for a nice smooth finish, this is the most time consuming part of the job try to keep your sanding to the are of the filler.
I must emphasise that this is a DIY job and if you don't feel confident then take your van to the repair shop and they will sort it for you and again if your van is under warranty don't touch it. this fix is really for caravans that are not financially worth spending thousands on a complete panel or the same in the repair shop. but if you are confident at DIY and you've some time on your hands you can stop the cracks from spreading and make a nice finish, its nor going to stop other cracks appearing and they will over time, lets hope that the new manufacturing techniques have sorted this issue, good luck anyway if you decide to have a go. Forgot to mention the costs. The gel filler is around 12 quid and the touch up paint was £20 I had some wet and dry and T cut but there not expensive and always come in handy...