TCM: Let’s talk about the specifics that made an Eagle Cap an Eagle Cap. Will the new Eagle Cap campers continue to feature molded fiberglass wall panels? Or, will they now have laminated luan backed filon walls like the Adventurer line?
Greg: I’ll let Dave Frampton, our Product Development Manager, answer that question.
Dave: The Eagle Cap line featured a high gloss gel coated side wall. We’re making the walls a bit differently, and better, as I will explain.
The old Eagle Cap side wall production started with a wet laid molded fiberglass wall that was then directly applied to an aluminum frame. When we studied this approach, we became concerned about the expansion and contraction of the different materials (fiberglass and aluminum) potentially causing a de-lamination and the weight of the resin required to make the direct lamination possible. At the same time, we wanted to maintain the very high gloss side walls that made an Eagle Cap distinct.
For the 2012 Eagle Cap line, we’re using a high gloss skin called Lamilux 4000. We’re applying the Lamilux 4000 to Azdel, a waterproof thermoplastic composite, using our in-house hot melt lamination system. The Lamilux 4000 and Azdel are then applied to our aluminum frame to create a side wall that is stronger and lighter than the old Eagle Cap side walls while maintaining Eagle Cap’s high gloss finish.
TCM: So the new Eagle Cap wall is not luan backed?
Dave: No, it’s backed by Azdel, a thermoplastic composite that’s lighter, stronger, and can’t physically rot. Azdel is a waterproof material and it bonds extremely well to aluminum.
TCM: Tell us a little more about Lamilux 4000. Does it come in rolls like filon?
Dave: Yes it does, but it’s not like what you’re used to with filon. Lamilux 4000 has an automotive gel finish. It’s similar to filon, but a much higher quality of product.
Keep in mind that the manufacturing process at the old Eagle Cap used a substantial amount of resin during their lamination process. It may be counter intuitive, but the sheer volume of resin used added a lot of weight to the old Eagle Cap wall. We saw a way to reduce the weight and increase the bond using the Azdale, Lamilux 4000, and our reactive hot melt lamination system.
TCM: Will the new Eagle Cap campers continue to feature molded fiberglass wrap around front and rear end caps?
Greg: Yes, they will. The front and rear molded wrap around fiberglass caps are one of the key features that make Eagle Cap campers unique. No other truck camper has front and rear wrap around fiberglass end caps. We purchased the end cap molds from the old Eagle Cap and are using the same front and rear caps in our 2012 Eagle Cap campers.
TCM: Have there been there any changes made to the quality of the fiberglass, resin, or high gloss gel coat for the molded fiberglass end caps?
Dave: The suppliers of the resin and gel coat have changed, but I believe the quality is higher. The company we’re using for the end caps is Miles Fiberglass & Composites in Portland, Oregon. Miles Fiberglass & Composites has produced fiberglass and composite parts for the RV industry for decades.
During my time at Western RV, we used Miles Fiberglass & Composites for Class A motorhome side walls. Here at Adventurer, we use Miles for front and rear end caps for our Class C motorhomes. We also use Miles Fiberglass & Composites for our Adventurer front nose caps. As a company, they build a very high quality product and do an excellent job with the glass. We are very comfortable using their products.
ABOVE: The overcab and kitchen areas of a 2012 Eagle Cap 850
TCM: Tell us about the changes to the adhesive used in the new Eagle Cap wall lamination?
Greg: We’re using our reactive hot melt system with pinch roll lamination. This is an important part of our Tru-Composite Construction (TCC), which is unique to our process. With our TCC technology, the Eagle Cap walls are now stronger, lighter, and more durable than they were before.
Dave: I’ve used both a reactive hot melt and pinch roll lamination system, and a resin and vacuum bonding lamination system. One key advantage with reactive hot melt over resin and vacuum bonding is 100% adhesive coverage. You can’t get 100% coverage with resin and vacuum bonding. The resin beads leaves spaces without adhesive leaving the possibility for de-lamination. This is not a problem with reactive hot melt and pinch roll system as you get 100% adhesive coverage.
TCM: Will the new Eagle Cap campers continue to feature two inch walls?