7x16x6.5 Featherlite Build

Converting Cargo Trailers into TTTs

Re: 7x16x6.5 Featherlite Build

Postby featherliteCT1 » Sat May 13, 2017 4:00 pm

Yesterday afternoon, while standing in the trailer, much to my dismay, I noticed that I could see daylight coming through one of the seams where the exterior aluminum panel was riveted to the rear corner of the trailer, near the ramp door. I pushed on the panel a little bit with my finger and more daylight came through. The aluminum panels are lapped so that the seam is oriented towards the rear. So, I went outside, and with a little plastic bottle filled with water, squirted water towards the seam. I went back inside and saw that the water had leaked through the seam and puddled on the floor. Same thing with the other opposite rear corner.

I was especially concerned about road dust from a dirt or gravel road infiltrating the wall cavity … hidden from view … and then getting wet … repeatedly … over time, accumulating into a moldy mess. Or maybe I am blowing things out of proportion.
I went to bed stewing in my mind weather it was an isolated manufacturing mistake where someone forgot to caulk or use sealing tape or whether the entire trailer was built this way. If the latter, what kind of a piece of &^%$#@! did I buy?

Today I removed one of the interior wood walls on the trailer. I discovered that all of the exterior aluminum panels I exposed are riveted to the posts without any caulk or seal at the lap joint.

If I had known this in advance of buying the trailer, I would not have bought it. I would have bought a trailer with glued on exterior panels.
A contractor buddy of mine who build steel buildings recommended that I caulk the seams with Geocel silicone caulk. He said it is far superior product to anything he has ever used, by a large factor.

Now I am asking myself whether it is a good thing to allow the wall to breathe and dissipate any condensation that might arise. I doubt it, but pose the question. I am having a hard time justifying this kind of a design.

You can see the seams in the photos I just uploaded with this post.

By the way, I just spent three days reading every post I could find on this forum about insulation and about best insulation practices, including the practices set out in the 1,134 page long “2013 ASHRAE Handbook” (American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers. My Gosh, this stuff is PhD level physics!

I hope to eventually share if an how I plan to insulate the trailer …. i.e., with or with air gap, which way to face a radiant barrier (if any), how to deal with condensation, and how to deal with solar gains and losses due to convection, conduction and radiation.

Teaser: Henry 587 coating is good for the roof!

Ron
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Re: 7x16x6.5 Featherlite Build

Postby featherliteCT1 » Sat May 13, 2017 4:15 pm

IMG_1109 (480x640) (2).jpg
interior corner
IMG_1109 (480x640) (2).jpg (150.78 KiB) Viewed 1920 times
IMG_1110 (480x640).jpg
interior post seam at rivets
IMG_1110 (480x640).jpg (134.6 KiB) Viewed 1920 times
IMG_1111 (480x640).jpg
exterior corner
IMG_1111 (480x640).jpg (142.91 KiB) Viewed 1920 times
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Re: 7x16x6.5 Featherlite Build

Postby featherliteCT1 » Sat May 13, 2017 4:16 pm

IMG_1112 (480x640).jpg
exterior rivets and seam at post
IMG_1112 (480x640).jpg (116.4 KiB) Viewed 1918 times
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Re: 7x16x6.5 Featherlite Build

Postby flboy » Sat May 13, 2017 4:19 pm

I think that is typical... I did the water test with all my plywood down while I was insulating and found some similar issues. I fixed them and moved on.. No way I was toting that trailer back up to Georgia for warranty work...

I think some breathing of the walls is good between the Aluminum and insulation. I taped it all off well and foamed where needed to ensure no thermal bypass.. But at the end of the day, I think there will be condensation and there needs to be some air exchange to prevent mold and to dry out. For that reason, I did not seal along the bottom of the panels at the frame like I see a lot of folks do. If water gets in, I want it to run right back out.. The insulation will not absorb the water so no worries. There should no be any water getting getting in... I am mainly thinking of condensation ... but you never know..
Don (Flboy)


YouTube Video of Finished Trailer:

https://youtu.be/MUcMM86LA2g
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Re: 7x16x6.5 Featherlite Build

Postby McDave » Sat May 13, 2017 4:36 pm

I had LOTS of gaps and daylight. Not at the wall seams, but practically all around the nose at the floor. Didn't see any sealant or tape either at seams. My wall panels are screwed on and overlapped toward rear.
I'm with Don, maybe run a bead of sealant of your choice on the inside. That still looks like superior workmanship and materials to the average CT. Certainly better than mine. Pace Journey 6x12.

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Re: 7x16x6.5 Featherlite Build

Postby Iconfabul8 » Sat May 13, 2017 5:16 pm

It might be a bit pricey but blow the walls with closed cell foam and problem solved. And you will have the best insulated trailer around! :D
Last edited by Iconfabul8 on Sat May 13, 2017 6:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 7x16x6.5 Featherlite Build

Postby featherliteCT1 » Sat May 13, 2017 6:15 pm

Iconfabul8 wrote:It might be a bit pricey but have the walls blown with closed cell foam and problem solved. And you will have the best insulated trailer around! :D


Thanks for the feedback!

Several posters on this forum have raised concerns about “oilcanning” (see definitions below). Most are in the context of foamy trailers but some are in the context of cargo trailers. If there is a problem, I think the problem applies in both contexts.

I suspect that there could also be a problem with the aluminum cycling between expanding and contracting thereby breaking the adhesive bond between the aluminum skin and the foam insulation.

I do not want to be the Guiney pig.

Below is a sampling of comments from this forum concerning this issue.

CoventryKid » Mon Mar 20, 2017 6:00 pm I checked out this option when I was building my CT. I was told that the company could not guarantee there would not be "oil-canning" - definition: Oil Canning can be defined as visible waviness in the flat areas of metal roofing and metal wall panels. In technical terms, oil canning is referred to as elastic buckling (more commonly known as “stress wrinkling”). It can occur in any type of metal panels: steel, aluminum, zinc, or copper. I decided I didn't want to take the chance. I installed rigid insulation
viewtopic.php?f=42&t=68141&p=1199666&hilit=oil+canning#p1199666

by GPW » Tue Jul 14, 2015 9:21 am Re: Oilcanning ... After studying this problem on many local local cargo trailers ( and they are Everywhere here) , it was concluded those trailers skinned during the Hottest months of the year , did much Better , showing little if any bucking of the skin ... The Physics reason is during the Hot times , the metal is fully expanded , during the cold months , the metal contracts and tightens up further... If the metal is applied in it’s Cold contracted state , when it gets warmer and expands its sure to buckle if held down at fixed points (rivets, screws) We’ve seen 50%-50% oilcanned trailers on the streets .. Just saying viewtopic.php?f=55&t=63781&p=1136490&hilit=oilcanning#p1136490

by Jack Olsen » Sun Jul 12, 2015 3:01 pm adhering the aluminum to foam would probably (as Fred points out) have problems with the thermal expansion rates of the two materials.
viewtopic.php?f=55&t=63781&p=1136265&hilit=oilcanning#p1136265

GPW » Fri Feb 03, 2017 6:56 am RE: Aluminum .... All the “oil canning “ can be pretty much avoided by attaching the Aluminum when the weather is the HOTTEST .... metal fully expanded , so when it cools it will only shrink and tighten up further ... We arrived at that deduction by checking with several Cargo trailer owners in the arrea , The most wrinkly ones in the summer were the ones made in the winter ... Summer made were all drum tight ... Just sayin’ ..
viewtopic.php?f=55&t=67807&p=1195579&hilit=oil+canning#p1195579
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Re: 7x16x6.5 Featherlite Build

Postby featherliteCT1 » Sat May 13, 2017 6:20 pm

flboy wrote:I think that is typical... I did the water test with all my plywood down while I was insulating and found some similar issues. I fixed them and moved on.. No way I was toting that trailer back up to Georgia for warranty work...

I think some breathing of the walls is good between the Aluminum and insulation. I taped it all off well and foamed where needed to ensure no thermal bypass.. But at the end of the day, I think there will be condensation and there needs to be some air exchange to prevent mold and to dry out. For that reason, I did not seal along the bottom of the panels at the frame like I see a lot of folks do. If water gets in, I want it to run right back out.. The insulation will not absorb the water so no worries. There should no be any water getting getting in... I am mainly thinking of condensation ... but you never know..


I admired your insulation job when I viewed your build. Thanks for explaining your reasoning process.
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Re: 7x16x6.5 Featherlite Build

Postby featherliteCT1 » Sat May 13, 2017 6:24 pm

McDave wrote:I had LOTS of gaps and daylight. Not at the wall seams, but practically all around the nose at the floor. Didn't see any sealant or tape either at seams. My wall panels are screwed on and overlapped toward rear.
I'm with Don, maybe run a bead of sealant of your choice on the inside. That still looks like superior workmanship and materials to the average CT. Certainly better than mine. Pace Journey 6x12.

McDave


Yes, caulking the seams on the inside of the trailer seems to be the right thing to do.
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Re: 7x16x6.5 Featherlite Build

Postby EZDog » Sat May 13, 2017 7:53 pm

I am pretty sure that my Featherlite has VHB tape between the studs and outer skin but I also can not check just now either.
I have had the walls off and noted this on mine.

Regardless since this is a new trailer and you are not happy with its construction as it lets the outside in easily the first thing I would do is talk to your dealer before doing another thing to the trailer.

This seems like a clear defect in manufacturing if I understand you correctly?

I can also not see exactly the issue you wrote about from your pics,where is the gap?
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Re: 7x16x6.5 Featherlite Build

Postby McDave » Sat May 13, 2017 9:31 pm

Yep, +1 on contact with the dealer. It would also be nice to know the exact assembly process, is something missing (tape, sealant, etc.) and is this a intentional amount of "play" to allow for expansion? You might try inspecting said defect at early a.m. and then at hottest part of p.m.. You'd almost have to expect some change, yes? This could be a normal expansion stress relief joint. I don't know that, but I could see that being a possibility. May not be time to panic, just yet. But let's see what the dealer has for an explanation. Don't volunteer any explanation, make him explain it to you.
And then you can teach us.
Good luck,

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Re: 7x16x6.5 Featherlite Build

Postby featherliteCT1 » Sun May 14, 2017 6:00 am

EZDog wrote:I am pretty sure that my Featherlite has VHB tape between the studs and outer skin but I also can not check just now either.
I have had the walls off and noted this on mine.

Regardless since this is a new trailer and you are not happy with its construction as it lets the outside in easily the first thing I would do is talk to your dealer before doing another thing to the trailer.

This seems like a clear defect in manufacturing if I understand you correctly?

I can also not see exactly the issue you wrote about from your pics,where is the gap?


The gap is all along the seam, where VHB would be if there was any. The gap is too small to see in the photos and barely visible to the eye.
Thank for the info.
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Re: 7x16x6.5 Featherlite Build

Postby featherliteCT1 » Sun May 14, 2017 6:01 am

Thanks McDave ... good strategy ... I will call the dealer Monday.
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Re: 7x16x6.5 Featherlite Build

Postby featherliteCT1 » Sun May 14, 2017 7:07 am

Update … special thanks to Ezydog for telling us that his Featherlite trailer has VHB tape, which prompted me to look closer. Upon further inspection, the stud exposed when I first took off the wood wall board does indeed have VHB tape between the stud and the exterior aluminum panel. The VHB tape is recessed a bit behind the stud and hard to see, but VHB tape is there. However, I now notice that the particular place on the exterior panel at that stud where I pushed with my finger the other day is not well bonded to that stud, which made me originally think there was no VHB at all. But, the adhesive bond is broken for only about two inches. The rest of the VHB tape on this stud appears to have good adhesion. If this is an isolated case, this is no big deal, I will just caulk it.

However, it remains that there is no VHB tape on the two rear seams on at the rear corners of the trailer. Again, if this is an isolated case, this is no big deal, I will just caulk it.

Thanks for all your help!
Ron
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Re: 7x16x6.5 Featherlite Build

Postby hankaye » Sun May 14, 2017 10:15 am

featherliteCT1, Howdy;

I noticed in this pic. that you posted that the rivets appear to be very close to the edge of the skin.

featherliteCT1 wrote:[attachment=2]IMG_1109 (480x640) (2).


When I did aircraft sheetmetal work the rule was 2 times the diameter of the rivet form the hole center
to the edge of the metal. Example, 1/4" rivet, hole center 1/2"" from edge.
That row of rivets appears to be almost, if not, right on the edge. Could be the angle :thinking:

hank

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