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Old 10-29-2009, 11:57 PM   #1
David Edwards
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Default Screwless aluminum panelling on an enclosed trailer

Anyone have any experience with this? I have an enclosed featherlite 24, and I am planning on outfitting myself in stages. Before I can add a tire rack and a few other things, I need to brace for the ac unit, wire, and panel it. I hate the way FL does it with the screw heads exposed, and was wondering if anyone had done the screwless panels themselves and could give me some insight as to how they're adhered, and how well it holds up. I've looked at, and taken pictures of, some new ATC trailers done this way and it looks really sharp. Looks like they're screwed in top and bottom, and adhered in between.

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Old 10-30-2009, 12:55 AM   #2
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It's a 2 part 3M adhesive that is applied as it's blended.

It's not hard but you have to follow the procedure or the panels won't stay bonded.
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Old 10-30-2009, 01:16 AM   #3
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Thanks Chris. Any idea of what the adhesive is called, and a good place to buy panels?
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Old 10-30-2009, 10:43 AM   #4
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That's a very low-load application. You could probably pick up something like Liquid Nails at HD. The higher-strength adhesives specific to aluminum will be permanent.

If money is no object, consider this.
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Old 10-30-2009, 10:53 AM   #5
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Let me look. We have this stuff at work.
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Old 10-30-2009, 11:14 AM   #6
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I got some replacement panels for my trailer from ATC and they supplied them with some super sticky industrial double stick tape.
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Old 10-30-2009, 11:38 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Juan Lopez View Post
I got some replacement panels for my trailer from ATC and they supplied them with some super sticky industrial double stick tape.
Yes.
3M also makes VHB and UHB (ultra high bond) 2 sided tape. If the surface is cleaned/prepared properly, you will NOT be able to get them apart easily.
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Old 10-30-2009, 12:12 PM   #8
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Done properly the panels also overlap each other. I believe from the rear to the front. At least this is how it is one on Pace trailers.

Keep in mind though, because of this, if u ever need to repair a panel in the rear, you will need to remove all the panels that come before it....
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Old 10-30-2009, 02:50 PM   #9
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How about some photos as you go. I want to clean up and improve my feathterlite '24 too.
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Old 10-30-2009, 09:01 PM   #10
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I resided our 24ft trailer after it was stolen and stripped a few years ago. The new trailer manufacturers are using 3m VHB tape. There is a special cleaner and prep agent to use on the metal before sticking the metal to the tape. The stuff is rated for something like a stage V hurricane or tornado or something to that effect, lol. Our local 3m rep came in and helped us side the trailer.

I can tell you that with one panel, we accidentally got a corner stuck before the panel was straight. About 8 inches of one corner was stuck. It took 2 guys pulling the aluminum panel off, with 2 guys hitting it has hard as they could from the inside to get the panel lose. Needless to say, the panel was ruined it was bent so badly.

Rivetless is the way to go.


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One side done, before the final trim was added.....
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Old 10-30-2009, 09:23 PM   #11
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nice work!

a thought.... you may have been able to save the aluminum panel by using denatured or isopropyl alcohol. you let it seep in at the tape/aluminum seam and let it soak. the alcohol should soften up the VHB.



Quote:
Originally Posted by PorscheDoc View Post
I resided our 24ft trailer after it was stolen and stripped a few years ago. The new trailer manufacturers are using 3m VHB tape. There is a special cleaner and prep agent to use on the metal before sticking the metal to the tape. The stuff is rated for something like a stage V hurricane or tornado or something to that effect, lol. Our local 3m rep came in and helped us side the trailer.

I can tell you that with one panel, we accidentally got a corner stuck before the panel was straight. About 8 inches of one corner was stuck. It took 2 guys pulling the aluminum panel off, with 2 guys hitting it has hard as they could from the inside to get the panel lose. Needless to say, the panel was ruined it was bent so badly.

Rivetless is the way to go.
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Old 10-30-2009, 09:30 PM   #12
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does anyone know where i can get large, fiberglass/composite, pre-finished panels like ones that TPD uses?
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Old 10-31-2009, 12:05 AM   #13
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Thanks everyone; this is a good start. I spent time photographing different trailers at Ofest, and have been doing so at races for a while now. The latest ATC's I've seen have a pretty sharp way of using mouldings and caulk to finish off the edges seamlessly as well; same basic principle as in a house. The only thing I have in there now is a N2 tank holder, and a rubber mat in front of the car so my bins and tires don't slide. The coolest things I've seen are carpeted paneling w/ e-track running down the sides, and recessed ceiling lights. Then from there a roll in tool box, and assorted holders.

My dilemma is with the cabinets. I don't know whether to do a top and bottom set in the front straight across (its a vnose), or do something modular. Meaning using maybe two rolling boxes that would line the walls of the v nose; then they would be modular and I could take them in and out, instead of taking the bins in and out of the cabinets. I only want to have one set of tools and spares, so it might make the shop stuff easier to get to being in droors rather than bins. I could still do a top cabinet for small stuff, and maybe have one solid countertop welded in over the roll cabs. What do you think?

I'm still getting used to what I need to bring, and what to have handy on this higher maintenance car, so I haven't been in a rush to commit to anything so I can see what I really want, and build it once. My plan is to atleast panel it up to the nose until I figure what I want to do w/ the cabinets, and wire it for lights, ac, and plenty of power outlets, then do the kickboards and etrack so I can attach things to the walls. That will let me get a tire rack in and tidy up all the loose stuff a bit. Everyone I've talked to seems very relaxed about loose things not being a problem in a trailer; is this true?

I'd be happy to post pictures as I go w/ the project; there's not much out there on this.
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Old 10-31-2009, 12:17 AM   #14
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Like a house, you can pre-wire for outlets, switches, lights, AC, etc. before you panel the inside for down the road. Even if you don't use it, it's there in case.
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Old 10-31-2009, 12:15 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Edwards View Post
My dilemma is with the cabinets. I don't know whether to do a top and bottom set in the front straight across (its a vnose), or do something modular. Meaning using maybe two rolling boxes that would line the walls of the v nose; then they would be modular and I could take them in and out, instead of taking the bins in and out of the cabinets. I only want to have one set of tools and spares, so it might make the shop stuff easier to get to being in droors rather than bins. I could still do a top cabinet for small stuff, and maybe have one solid countertop welded in over the roll cabs. What do you think?
Hi David
I have a CargoPro (Thule) enclosed with a vnose, and bought it already paneled and with cabinets top and bottom in the nose.
If I was designing it from scratch (as you are, and in some ways I wish I was), I would put cabinets in the upper (as you mention) and design the lower without the cabinets for the toolbox etc. items that are heavy and that you would like to have open to you.
Having said that, I do find the lower cabinets very useful for stuff that is too big for the (small) upper cabinet.
My toolbox is actually sitting on the shelf formed by the top of the lower cabinet, secured by brackets. This does mean its not a roll in/out toolbox, and so my tools are are a 2nd set. Fine for the track, though, as I don't do any major repairs or adjustments a the track (in fact, since my mechanical skills are limited, I don't need a ton of tools. I just need them for my friends).
So, I like your instinct of the upper cabinet/lower open and flexible.
The sides are carpeted part way up, then white paneling above. Makes for a very nice interior. I have e-track along the sides, but that is only for the cargo bars that run crosswise and serve as my tire rack (CargoPro was negative about tire racks attached to the sides if the walls were not reinforced at the factory, though many have done it).
Hope this helps.
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Old 10-31-2009, 12:15 PM
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