Roof Sagging On Our Bigfoot TT ???? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 03-18-2007, 03:08 PM   #1
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Trailer: 1991 Bigfoot 17 ft
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Hi everyone ! We're new to the site... We need some help regarding a forward dip or sagging in the forward part of our roof on our older Bigfoot travel trailer. We had planned to have it looked at by a BF dealer and repaired in the fall then my husband ended up in the hospital..so here we are...
We have seen two other BF 17 foot trailers that had similar roof issues. They aren't any holes in the fiberglass but big dips or sagging. Also on the inside of the trailer where the ceiling seams meet they sag or come apart aswell. Has anyone else experienced this ??? It suggests a previous leak to me...

I contacted BF in the fall and got some information saying repairs could be done from the inside or the outside....If we attempted to make the repairs from the inside we would be removing the wooden ceiling panels....That seems like opening a can of worms to me .... wiring , structure , .. etc...I read a post somewhere where someone was attempting to get the blue prints from BF to do repairs on theirs...Does anyone have these blueprints ?? What about repairs to the outside by removing the front section in it's entirety ?? Anyone know how thick the fiberglass is ?? Any suggestions would be great. Thanks !!! Mitch

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Old 03-19-2007, 10:58 AM   #2
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Hi Mitch! How old is 'older'. From the F/G trailers I have seen they will all sag if there is inadequate support. Our Surfside had water damage from unsealed screws, this rotted the roof supports and the roof sagged 5-6 inches. Being parked outside and level, the sag collected snow and ice in the winter. Combined with the screw holes the cupboard above the sink collapsed, and the closet rotted. With the supports rotted or collapsed the roof had little to nothing holding it and the sag was really noticeable. We rebuilt it and put in all new supports where the original ones were. (Closet, Kitchen and wooden crossover supports.) The sag is now gone and the roof looks fine.
Re: wiring and structure - in the roof, what you see is what there is. Watch out for retrofitted air-conditioners. If the roof was not braced, it will not hold it. The Bolers sag too if the brace at the left hand side of the sink is removed. (Think snow weight). The glass on the Surfside is roven - chopper sprayed and about 1/8" thick.
Maybe check for supports that were removed, snow accumulation, or cupboards that have been removed/modified.
Adam
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Old 03-23-2007, 10:19 PM   #3
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Mitch
I've been reading this site for a long time and decided to join today after reading your predicament. Several years ago I purchased a 17' Bigfoot with the same problem; sagging/leaky roof for what I thought was a good price for a fiberglass. The roof forward of the roof vent had dropped a good 6-8 inches. The inside cupboards etc looked terrible. With a little imagination and some effort it is looking healthy again. I have since sold the trailer to acquintances at a good margin and they in turn have turned down a sale at a better profit. I guess I did something right.

The roof and cupboads are supported from the inside much like a human skeleton. One has to look closely to note the three supporting ribs across the ceiling matching the ceiling seams. The ribs are fastened above the door, and inside the cupboards on the stove side of the trailer.
It would take too long to give all the details of this reno, but I can tell you I'm not a capernter or anyone with special abilities I am only a tinkerer (Sr)with basic tools and some patience. I wish now that I had taken pics of the project, unfortunately I didn't have a digital camera at the time. If there was some way we could connect I'd be happy to share with you.
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Old 03-24-2007, 08:23 AM   #4
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Welcome Leo! We're glad you joined. You are exactly the kind of person who makes this such a great place to hang out. Thanks for sharing your experience! I'm sure it'll be helpful to those who are now where you were then.

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Old 03-24-2007, 11:45 PM   #5
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Mitch
I've been reading this site for a long time and decided to join today after reading your predicament. Several years ago I purchased a 17' Bigfoot with the same problem; sagging/leaky roof for what I thought was a good price for a fiberglass. The roof forward of the roof vent had dropped a good 6-8 inches. The inside cupboards etc looked terrible. With a little imagination and some effort it is looking healthy again. I have since sold the trailer to acquintances at a good margin and they in turn have turned down a sale at a better profit. I guess I did something right.

The roof and cupboads are supported from the inside much like a human skeleton. One has to look closely to note the three supporting ribs across the ceiling matching the ceiling seams. The ribs are fastened above the door, and inside the cupboards on the stove side of the trailer.
It would take too long to give all the details of this reno, but I can tell you I'm not a capernter or anyone with special abilities I am only a tinkerer (Sr)with basic tools and some patience. I wish now that I had taken pics of the project, unfortunately I didn't have a digital camera at the time. If there was some way we could connect I'd be happy to share with you.
Hey Leo ! thanks for joining and for responding to our post. we would love to hear what you did in more detail. we can be reached at m-henri@shaw.ca. Happy trails ! mitch
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Old 03-25-2007, 12:00 AM   #6
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Hi Mitch! How old is 'older'. From the F/G trailers I have seen they will all sag if there is inadequate support. Our Surfside had water damage from unsealed screws, this rotted the roof supports and the roof sagged 5-6 inches. Being parked outside and level, the sag collected snow and ice in the winter. Combined with the screw holes the cupboard above the sink collapsed, and the closet rotted. With the supports rotted or collapsed the roof had little to nothing holding it and the sag was really noticeable. We rebuilt it and put in all new supports where the original ones were. (Closet, Kitchen and wooden crossover supports.) The sag is now gone and the roof looks fine.
Re: wiring and structure - in the roof, what you see is what there is. Watch out for retrofitted air-conditioners. If the roof was not braced, it will not hold it. The Bolers sag too if the brace at the left hand side of the sink is removed. (Think snow weight). The glass on the Surfside is roven - chopper sprayed and about 1/8" thick.
Maybe check for supports that were removed, snow accumulation, or cupboards that have been removed/modified.
Adam
Hey Adamp ! thanks for the response. Our BF is a 1980 without an air conditioner...! It never occurred to us to think of snow !!! I was thinking a tree or something else because of it's location....The inside of the trailer does not have water damage that we have found....or modifications done to cupboards...but I'm going to reinvestigate tomorrow morning !!! I've since found out that the Bigfoot design is of aluminum framing....After you rebuilt yours did you do anything to the fiberglass at all or did the realigning or resuppporting of the roof work by itself. I wonder if it would be best to replace the entire front half of our roof with new fiberglass....Thanks a million for your time and all your advise....
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Old 03-25-2007, 01:32 AM   #7
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There are two inexpensive ways to reinforce a roof. Both involve fiberglassing 2 supports to handle the weight of an A/C unit on the roof. Rebar or cardboard mailing tube long enough to reach from side to side of the ceiling. Mailing tube is lighter, but bulkier. The bow deck on my boat was stiffened with mailing tubes which were split lengthwise and then fiberglassed in place. I think that provided more support than rebar due to the fact that a tube is stronger than a solid piece. Many times there was over 350 Lbs. on the fiberglass deck without any sign of flexing.
Prop the sagging roof to the desired shape and have at it.
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Old 03-25-2007, 08:28 PM   #8
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... I've since found out that the Bigfoot design is of aluminum framing....
I find that surprising. The most recent Bigfoot construction style, used in models in the 3000 and 4000 series, is not moulded fiberglass at all, and does use aluminum framing; however, earlier designs are generally moulded fiberglass shells with support assistance from interior fittings (as Leo described) and even a plywood inner roof panel (in at least some variations). I have never heard of aluminum framing in a moulded fiberglass Bigfoot before.

Mitch, what makes you think that your Bigfoot has aluminum framing?

Bigfoot calls their recent aluminum-framed construction the Fibrecore Wall System. I'm sure it was not used by Bigfoot in 1980. The experienced Bigfoot owners in this forum can chip in with more information about what was used.

My guess is that if the fiberglass shell is not cracked, there would be no reason to replace any of it - just get it pushed back into place and restore and supporting structure. It's amazing how far the fiberglass will move given some coaxing and enough time, in warm enough conditions.
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Old 03-25-2007, 10:22 PM   #9
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I find that surprising. The most recent Bigfoot construction style, used in models in the 3000 and 4000 series, is not moulded fiberglass at all, and does use aluminum framing; however, earlier designs are generally moulded fiberglass shells with support assistance from interior fittings (as Leo described) and even a plywood inner roof panel (in at least some variations). I have never heard of aluminum framing in a moulded fiberglass Bigfoot before.

Mitch, what makes you think that your Bigfoot has aluminum framing?

Bigfoot calls their recent aluminum-framed construction the Fibrecore Wall System. I'm sure it was not used by Bigfoot in 1980. The experienced Bigfoot owners in this forum can chip in with more information about what was used.

My guess is that if the fiberglass shell is not cracked, there would be no reason to replace any of it - just get it pushed back into place and restore and supporting structure. It's amazing how far the fiberglass will move given some coaxing and enough time, in warm enough conditions.
Hey Brian ! thanks for writing too...Well a Bigfoot owner told us that they we're aluminum framing and we just assumed they we're all made that way. So maybe our vintage has a wooden frame then.... We have not taken the inside paneling down to check !!! Since we're newbies we're a little afraid to start ripping things apart. We we're originally going to have the work done at a BF dealer work shop but think we might be able to do some of this stuff ourselves. We've been inspired by all of the various postings we've seen. Lot of talented people out there who have done some amazing work..... Happy trails Mitch
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Old 03-25-2007, 11:22 PM   #10
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...inexpensive ways to reinforce a roof.
...cardboard mailing [b]tube long enough to reach from side to side of the ceiling. Mailing [b]tube is lighter, but bulkier.
...mailing tubes which were split lengthwise and then fiberglassed in place.
...the fact that a [b]tube is stronger than a solid piece.
Kurt & Ann K.
My Fiber Stream uses this method to strengthen the roof. There are [b]four half tubes spaced evenly across the roof.

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I think all Fiber Streams were built this way at the factory, to accomodate an air conditioner. It was an option, or it could be added later.
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Old 03-26-2007, 12:01 AM   #11
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My Fiber Stream uses this method to strengthen the roof. There are [b]four half tubes spaced evenly across the roof.

Attachment 7005

I think all Fiber Streams were built this way at the factory, to accomodate an air conditioner. It was an option, or it could be added later.
Wow ! That looks amazing.....Hope this isn't a crazy question but.... this was done on the outside and the inside ??? . Our trailer has two "parts " if you will. The back part runs the length until about the middle where theres a vent , then it slopes down on the front panel to the front. I'll see if I can find a photo tomorrow and post it.

This forum is fantastic ! I can't thank everyone out there enough !!!

Happy trails all !!

Kindest regards, Mitch
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Old 03-26-2007, 12:35 AM   #12
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Mitch,
Done on the "ceiling" for my boat. Frederick's appears to be on the roof outside. It's only necessary on either the inside or outside. With a little advance planning to allow room for the A/C the outside should work fine. Wiring could even be run inside the tube. Indoors headroom won't be affected if the tubes are placed outside.
Part of the fun is in the planning stages. Ponder all the possibilities before proceeding!
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Old 03-26-2007, 07:53 PM   #13
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We are interested in finding out the age of this trailer. We are going to look at a trailer for sale next weekend and have not heard of this problem before. Is this common? If anyone knows what vintage was prone to this problem we would be really glad to hear some advice.
In particular we would like to know how to spot this problem.
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Old 03-26-2007, 08:41 PM   #14
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Wow ! That looks amazing.....Hope this isn't a crazy question but.... this was done on the outside [b]and the inside ??? .
Quote:
Frederick's appears to be on the roof outside. It's only necessary on either the inside or outside.
Kurt & Ann K.
Fiber Stream did it on the outside only.

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The inside surface is "flat". I have no ensolite, no reflectix, no "rat Fur". The inside of my shell is just painted fiberglass, which tells me that mine was one of the earliest ones made.
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