If you’re going to build the best, why not seal it up so it lasts a lifetime. Today so many products are built with plans for their replacement through functional obsolescence or just plain wearing out. We have engineered a chassis that should last a lifetime so I went after the best method to protect it from the elements.
Originally I looked at powder coating. Any places that the tubing butted rather than having a welded seam would eventually rust in the untreated area. That ideal was out the window.
Next I moved on to the bed liner market. There are too many options here to list but what we found was not all coating are created equally. I looked at different self applied products. My previous experience was either they were too brittle and would crack off or they were too soft and the would wear off. Plus they are just plain messy to deal with.
So I went to the Pros –
I contacted a number of the big name companies to see what they could do. The clear stand out was Inyati Bed Liners, here in the Phoenix area. They have been in business for over 20 years but what stood out to me most, besides the South African accent the gang has was how much they just want to do it RIGHT. They have an Industrial Group within their company that services the US Military in coating military vehicles, aircraft and ocean vessels. That’s what I was looking for.
Here’s what they do for the military in some applications so that’s what I wanted for the Turtlebacks.
First the chassis is completely sanded with 36 grit sand paper, top and bottom. We even sand the flat panels before they are assembled and welded together to insure 100% preparation.
After the trailer is sanded it is completely degreased. This removes the oils that new steel comes with to prevent rust and the oils used in the cutting process. Now comes the goodies to seal it up.
We apply a thorough coating of an Iron Phosphate solution. This process is a complete rust inhibitor under everything. The logic behind this is if there is a scratch that goes all the way through the top coating this will stop the spread of the rust under the epoxy and polyuria to come. All of our points for the sealing of the rig are important yet this one is all too often overlooked by coating companies. Inyati employs the lessons learned from their military coating experience.
Next all of the seams are caulked to insure a complete seal of the untreatable areas. Even the gaps between the electrical conduits and the frame.
After all of the nooks and crannies were sealed up a 2 part epoxy coating is sprayed top and bottom. They even flip the trailer over to be able insure a complete coating of the entire off road trailer. The effort made by Victor and Barry is commendable.
After the Epoxy coating is partially cured it’s time for the Polyuria rubber coating. I say partially cured because the epoxy gets hard and by applying the coating on it at the right time allows for a chemical as well as a physical bond. We get a coating for extreme applications, a proprietary blend of coating that is extremely durable and pliable to handle the rigors of expedition camping.
There are some areas that the Polyuria coating is masked from on our chassis. We do this to insure a proper bond for our exterior skins, not much sticks to a polyuria coating. Additionally we do this to keep our chassis within tolerance. The coating all said and done is about plus or minus .050”. This additional material would make it difficult to keep our skins within the tight tolerances we require for the fit and finish we create.
Lastly Inyati applies a UV coating. This coating adds some sheen but it’s main job is to keep the polyuria coating from turning gray in time in the sun.
We build into every step of our off road camping trailer the details to keep you exploring and relaxing for years to come.