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The Merciless Sun; Ravages of Time

Fate, Destiny, Karma. Call it what you will but it is a quirky deal. Things happen for a reason you know. When I bought the Old Girl back in November of 2005, I had never been inside an RV– much less a Class A diesel pusher. So I bought the Fish Bus with the idea of taking some road trips and pulling the race car trailer back and forth. Those were back in the days when I had more jingle in my pockets, that’s  for sure. Well directly, my fortunes reversed and I found myself living in the Old Girl full time.

And it was fortunate in many ways that I had stumbled on an older RV that was quality built back in the day – I just didn’t know it at the time. I know God doesn’t suffer fools; I sure got a kitchen pass on this one. Since then me and the Old Girl have seen some tough places and harsh environs. As it stands right now, she is streaked and grimy. I have not had onsite water for 20 months straight and water is just too precious to waste it on an RV bath. No water also means I have not rinsed my black tank in as many months as well. At about this minute, I can see some of you uber-anal RV types writhing in disgust. All I can say is you gotta do what you gotta do. Hell, my chrome rims are dirty and nasty too!

Anyway, I am parked west to east here and the Old

Delamination on the Old Girl

Girl has has had her driver’s side exposed to those merciless UV rays of an extra hot Central Texas summer for months. I am figuring out just how damaging UV radiation can be. It turns plastic and rubber to dust, it bleaches the color out fabric and paint worse than a bottle blond doing her roots.   In my experience, RV owners should worry about sun exposure more than just about anything else.

About a month ago,   I noticed something odd about the sun side of the Old Girl.   She has what I call the “chair rail”  down the side, I don’t know what the proper RV term would be.  It is the rail at floor level that is attached to the skin that covers the sides of your RV.   In turn, the ‘chair rail’ is somehow attached to the plywood walls and plywood floor.   I would guess it was glued on somehow.  The rail had started to buckle and pull away from the wall.  It was delamination but not delamination from a water leak.   I am convinced the buckling was due to the UV rays.  The other side of the Old Girl showed no ill effects; it is in the shade.  The Old Girl is seventeen years old which is like 115 in dog years old.  I guess some buckling and sagging is to be expected.

Of course, my main problem was to figure out how to fix it to prevent further delamination.   The quick fix would have been to run some galvanized screws in there and say ‘good enough’ but it would have looked like ass.    I had to figure out how to glue it back .

Liquid Nails - Heavy Duty no less

The problem was glue always works best if you can clamp the two pieces together. There was no way to do that. I even took the cargo door off trying my best to figure it out. So if I can’t clamp it, maybe I can super glue it. Hell, that stuff bonds immediately, I have glued my fingers together because it is so danged fast! Well, the first attempt was a failure, super glue is runny and I was gluing that rail from the bottom. Gravity took hold and the glue just ran out. I did manage to glue a finger to the side of the Old Girl so I knew I had a good batch of glue. Runny super glue was out. How about super glue gel? That would have probably worked if I could have gotten a tube as big as a tube of toothpaste. Those itty bitty tubes that hold about a spit’s worth of glue didn’t get it. I did manage to glue the back of my thumb to the satellite dish next to the work area — don’t even ask how that happened.

Scratchin’ my head, I knew there had to be some way to do this. After all it was not rocket science. The key was clamping the two pieces together and Liquid Nails was the

Not Rocket Science

adhesive of choice. “A manly man’s glue, not that housewifey super glue BS. ” he said, glancing down and noticing the hide gone from a knuckle and a finger pad. I took a landscape timber and leaned it up against the rail. Where the butt end touched the ground, I dug out a shallow hole with my sharpshooter and put the butt end in there. Then I got a 2X4 and put it between the timber and the Old Girl. It was riding high but I figured it would be just about right with some persuasion. I took that Liquid Nails and liberally shot it up from the bottom into the gaping crack of delamination. No finger skin was lost in the process. My 2lb hammer proved to be enough persuasion as I used it to drive that 2×4 and timber down the side of the Old Girl. It was tight as a bull’s ass when I got done. I wouldn’t recommend this solution on a shiny, fancy gel coat finish but the Old Girl just shrugged it off. She is tough that way.

End Note: Fate’s Right Hand by Rodney Crowell from the Tracks CD.    Crowell is one of the few Texas boys that has survived Nashville unscathed.   He writes smart and plays  it tight.

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