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Aluminum vs FRP

[ATTACH=JSON]{“data-align”:“none”,“data-size”:“thumb”,“data-attachmentid”:10220112}[/ATTACH] I’ve recently looked at a 1995 merhow, gorgeous trailer, only catch is it’s made out of FRP and some of it needs to be replaced.

I’ve yet found another trailer, another merhow, for about a grand less, sold by a woman who needs it gone. Again, gorgeous trailer, 1994 Turfman, and wary about what I’ve heard with FRP and merhows I asked her if it was aluminum, steel, or FRP. she didn’t seem to know what FRP was, and said it was steel frame aluminum skin. To me, it just doesn’t look like an aluminum trailer, and I think it’s FRP and she doesn’t know it. It’s about a 5 hour drive, and id rather not be surprised with the fact that what I drove that far for wasn’t as described. Figured Id ask the community what they think of the pictures and see if any of you can spot what it’s made out of. Thank you!






I had a FRP Merhow. It was about that vintage or maybe older. I bought it used ( did not look like it had been cared for that well) and about half of the time I owned it- it was stored under cover. The FRP just disintegrated so that the outer walls were just aluminum - the inside layer basically had rotted away. I sold it cheap.

If you look at this trailer check the inside walls really carefully. Beware if they have been painted or bondo-ed. I think they stopped using the FRP for this reason - it just doesn’t last.

Mine had aluminum skin. I think the FRP was the inner ;layer. I can’t tell from these pictures. Maybe Grinandride can tell you more about this.

FRP (Fiberglass Reinforced Plywood) used to be used to make a very attractive trailer - but seem to have gone out of fashion because I don’t think they lasted that well, and were expensive. Newer manufacturing systems have gone a long way to prevent rust. Aluminum is light, but not strong, and does not rust. All aluminum trailers have run into problems with the floors corroding and to does not get the same strength of steel. Best answer seems a combination of steel for strength and aluminum for lightness and not rusting.

That is what I chose over twenty years ago. My trailer has not spent a night under cover up in the PNW where it rains all winter and does not have any rust on it. Well maintained, it has been excellent. It also has spray foam inside which helps regulate heat and in the winter it does not drip.

Like so many things… FRP might be OK until it is not. Fiberglass Reinforced Plywood or Product… Coating over plywood back then, yes, rots inside out and you will likely not notice till there is a lot of damage… Look for any ripple / pucker or bulge… Generally it is not worth fixing properly after it has rotted… life can be extended some with liners properly installed

Now, you can also have rot in aluminum and aluminum on steel, even in trailers you think are “all aluminum”…

Best bet, take it to someone who knows and knows where to look for damage that is often not visible.
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I had a 1997 FRP Merhow Turfman. The FRP was awful! I will never buy anything made from FRP again; it just rotted all over the place. Run away from FRP!

I once emailed Merhow to ask a question about my new aluminum Merhow and they responded right away. I bet if you got the VIN from the seller, you could ask Merhow about the trailer.

I took mine to a boat repair place and they were able to replace parts of the FRP that were damaged due to water damage. You might ask around the trailer repair places and see if they know anybody who works on boats. I dont remember it be exceptionally expensive, I think one section they replaced was about $400 or $500. They also fixed the leak so that it didnt re-occur.