Types Of Materials Used In Camper Body Panels And What To Go For
When you're tired of the same old look that your camper (Jayco, Forest River, Livin Lite, Coachmen, Aliner, etc) gives you, you have the option of replacing or sprucing up your camper's body panel. You're going to personalize the RV in such a way that it stands out from the rest. Maybe you'll add a front air dam, or start out gradually and maybe add a spoiler later. And maybe you could go with all those parts, and add wood and side skirts as accessories.
Another decision you'll have to face is that of knowing the type of material you're going for. The varieties available include ABS plastic, polyurethane, fiberglass, composite and carbon fiber. Even though some manufacturers deal in one or two of those, others offer various kinds of materials.
Not all parts are made of every type of panel material. That's because some materials are more suitable for certain parts than others are. Let's take a look at some of the options available:
Fiberglass body panels
This material is mostly used for body kit parts. They are easy to manufacture and less costly compared to other materials. However, their fit and finish is never as good as what materials like ABS plastic and polyurethane give. Fiberglass is also light in weight and never warps regardless of the temperature. It readily adheres to paintwork.
However, since fiberglass is so rigid, the installation becomes quite difficult, at the same time making the final product a little bit vulnerable. If you're not careful with your camper while driving down or uphill on a ragged terrain, you might end up breaking the front air dam. But on the other hand, a polyurethane body panel would just bend and flex.
And since fiberglass often comes out rough, it needs more work when finishing it compared to materials like polyurethane. Finally, even if you do everything right, the material is still prone to cracking.
These are just known as urethane and are popular in the manufacturing of body part kits. These are more difficult and even costly to produce. Consequently, they're quite costly to purchase. And since the end product is often easier to work with (because of the flexibility), pop up campers which feature polyurethane body parts will last longer.
In fact, a urethane body part can be coaxed into a position yet it won't crack whatsoever. When a minor impact occurs, the material will flex and bounce back rather than cracking.
However, if you're more concerned with reducing the weight of your pop up camper for whatever reasons, then urethane material is not recommended since it's heavier than fiberglass. Again, getting the paint to adhere to a polyurethane surface is not as easy. Painting requires specialized preparation before the work can commence, otherwise it will peel off or flake. Furthermore, this material is also susceptible to warping under extremely hot temperature, so environmental factors should be considered.
This is a special kind of plastic made by combining acrylonitrile with polymerizing styrene in the presence of polybutadiene. As a result, we should end up with a plastic material that combines the strength and rigidity of styrene polymers and acrylonitrile. On the other hand, the ruggedness is achieved by polybutadiene rubber.
ABS plastic tends to be compact and resistant to chemicals and heat. Because of these characteristics, OEMs use them when manufacturing body panels.
ABS plastic has a more superior fit and finish than fiberglass. It is also more expensive and heavier than fiberglass material. Nevertheless, it's somehow not as flexible to paint compared to polyurethane.
This is just a special kind of material reinforced with polymer. Carbon fiber is nothing other than carbon atoms held together with crystals (aligned in a parallel fashion to the axis of the fiber). As a result, this alignment makes carbon fiber very strong and durable for its size.
The fiber is woven into the fabric to make the material have a special appearance. This material is ideal for those who are looking for a strong body panel without sacrificing on the weight penalty typical of metal.
So when looking for some nice pop up camper body panels, you'll either decide to buy the entire body panel or replace parts which are problematic. If you decide to go otherwise, you can invest in parts starting at $9 only. View what's available in this link, http://is.gd/vKyLyj, to have a clue on where to start.
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