Plastic mouldings ABS and GRP
Quite often, front panels are made from acrylic capped ABS plastic and some manufacturers have been known to use a gauge too thin for the purpose. These have been replaced under warranty in the event of failure, but this is not good news as this a standard material now for the fronts of caravans.
Different types of plastic
GRP (often called fibreglass) is usually rough on the unseen face and smooth on the other.
ABS plastic is normally smooth and shiny on both sides except when it is used for dark coloured bumpers where it tends to have a textured finish.
Although ABS can be repaired if necessary, there are far more GRP repairers out there who do a great job, partly because it is easier to match colours with GRP. Caravan repairers generally prefer to replace complete mouldings, which can be expensive. If you wish to attempt your own repairs, then in the UK you can buy Sikaflex 512 adhesive sealant and a surface filling compound. For more permanent repairs there are purpose formulated ABS repair kits which are more expensive at about £100.
Sheet GRP panels
These are often used in place of sheet aluminium which was used in the past. Skilful specialists can repair localised damage.
Monocoque body shells
These single moulded structures give massive strength and light weight. There seam free construction ensures there is never any ingress of water problems.
This was the traditional cladding for caravans, pre painted aluminium sheet. These are always full of holes as there are loads of screws holding all the external parts, like lights, number plates etc. When the bedding sealant fails, the caravan starts to leak and this is the normal demise of the previously dry van. When a caravan made like this receives damage, the normal strategy is to patch it up with a new piece of aluminium over the damage.
About campervan conversions
Campervans use their original vehicles steel bodies, so they are just repaired at a car body shop, just like a car would be. This is quite an attractive proposition when you think that any other body types may involve long waits for parts to arrive.
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Source by Rick Lomas