Sealing 'pop-top' canvas on Trails West Campster - Fiberglass RV


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Old 10-22-2015, 08:30 PM   #1
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Name: Cathy
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Sealing 'pop-top' canvas on Trails West Campster

Any owners of Trails West Campster, Compact, Hunter I or other types of fiberglass RV with pop-up top roof: I've the canvas part with zippers made (as the original on my trailer was lost over time with previous owners.) Looking for advice on successful leak-free installation. How did you configure canvas, seal it, etc. Any photos, recommendation of materials or diagrams especially appreciated. Thanks!
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Old 10-23-2015, 06:39 AM   #2
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I used aluminum strips to reinforce the attachment between the original fabric and the body on my Hunter Compact-II. As far as being leak free, I've driven in bad weather numerous times, as well as camped in same, without any leaks, but I always keep the top down in severe weather. Here's a few pics of the aluminum strips.












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Old 10-24-2015, 10:43 PM   #3
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We have the same model, no leaks.
The top actually overhangs kind of like a canister; over on top and up underneath
There is a gap between the two flanges to hold the canvas.

If it's still and raining , no leaks. If it's windy and raining we put the top down


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Old 10-25-2015, 09:24 AM   #4
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Bob Miller and Denece - is that with or without any adhesive or weatherstripping between the canvas fabric and the trailer body? The bottom edge is where I'm having an issue with leaks.
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Old 10-25-2015, 09:42 AM   #5
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I don't know what your bottom edge looks like. On the Hunter it is a 3" high flange that the top piece fits over with the boot tucking in between. Even when driving in heavy rain we have never had any water made it way past that flange.



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Old 10-25-2015, 11:28 AM   #6
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When it is down:
The lip of the top rests on the top of the camper. The lip of the inner flange is touching the surface of the pop top. There is a pile of canvas sandwiched between and the top is snugged down with catches.
When it is up the inner upturned flange works like a curb

Is your different?


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Old 10-25-2015, 12:16 PM   #7
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My Trailswest has a wood frame around the trailer opening. Make sure that all the screws are in the wood holding it to the fiberglass frame. I have my canvas velcroed to the wood frame on the top and bottom. Only leaks are when I spray the canvas with a hose as I did not waterproof the seams (duh). I'll look for pictures.
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Old 10-25-2015, 12:37 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cathy in TX View Post
Bob Miller and Denece - is that with or without any adhesive or weatherstripping between the canvas fabric and the trailer body? The bottom edge is where I'm having an issue with leaks.
Forgot to answer.... That's without adhesive but, if I hade a need to seal it I would use regular RV putty tape before clamping in place with the strips.



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Old 10-25-2015, 01:03 PM   #9
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Let me know if you two (Cath in TX and Bob Miller) received a copy of How To Re-make

Cathy in TX and Bob in sunny CA,
Let me know if you both got a copy of making a boot? Lemon Drop, in WA, provided it to me...and I never undertook the project. Hopefully there might be something in there that will help.

On the bright side of rain getting into your EGG, I'd like to suggest a get together, again...(last time was in 2012) It would be fun to plan a meet for Compact II, Jr Hunter I, Trailswest, Trailstar?, Havasu, and any other Fiberglass trailers with a pop top (Havasu is a permanent top...but same shape/idea (and I'd like to see one in person!). Also, if anyone can tell me how to make a simple search for these, through out FBglass site.
Hope it's a go.
Barbara
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Old 10-25-2015, 02:55 PM   #10
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Is the boot pattern in the files somewhere? I am close to undertaking that project. The replacement canvas that is up there now doesn't fit right so I don't want to take a pattern from it


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Old 10-25-2015, 03:45 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Denece View Post
Is the boot pattern in the files somewhere? I am close to undertaking that project. The replacement canvas that is up there now doesn't fit right so I don't want to take a pattern from it


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There is no real pattern needed. it a long strip of material with windows in it. Put the top UP, measure from the top of the roof to the inside of the pop-up for width and then measure the length and width of the opening x 2 plus about 2" and go with it. At least two that I have seen put a Velcro lap joint, but the original boots had a tension cord at the top and bottom.



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Old 10-25-2015, 04:57 PM   #12
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I wondered what that cord on the boot's bottom is...thanks Bob. Now I know it's a tension cord. I have one side, where that cord is creeping up to the top of the boot. Wonder what I should do once I manually move it back down, into it's regular place. 3M glue...or...? I'm lucky that my white vinyl is holding up (other thang getting dirty, on the outside, where I can't reach to clean it. But my screen cloth will get replaced, as will the Velcro closures. I still haven't found a thick but flexible vinyl to use as a screen cover...it needs to be strong enough (42 years worth...just like the original) or the strong Velcro will rip it and the screens to pieces...is there variations in the closing strength of Velcro? Denece and Cathy, have you tried writing Lemon Drop (in WA), I think. She may have saved her template.
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Old 10-25-2015, 06:55 PM   #13
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The tension cord shoud be below the screws that hold the bottom of the boot onto the opening. Don't glue anything.
You will have to remove the entire boot to replace the screens and that's really something that a canvas shop should do to keep everything flat. They will also have the material for the window flaps and will sew narrow strips of Velcro into place to hold the window flap in place. I had mine reversed so that the flaps roll down, not up.


There are some vinyl cleaners & rejuvenators that will help restore the softness to the material and reduce the chance of cracks or tears. Again it a lot easer to do a good cleaning job with it off of the rig.



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Old 10-26-2015, 08:12 PM   #14
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Still reviewing the no-leak installation tips I'm receiving. Want to post a pic of my setup. Would be super to have a pop-top rally. Where was the 2012 gathering?
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Old 10-28-2015, 10:22 PM   #15
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Can you tell if your leak is an ooze under the wooden rim?
Maybe a layer of butyl tape would cure it

On our compacts the rim is a turned up fiberglass curb of a couple of inches


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Old 12-27-2015, 12:59 PM   #16
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So took my Campster back to my favorite local RV shop along with a printout of comments posted here. They gladly reinstalled, at no cost to me. These guys have been super every step of our renovation. The Campster is garage stored, so may be awhile before we are out in the rain for a test, but feel pretty good that the problem is solved. Thank y'all so much for your help!
AND if you are ever in the San Antonio/New Braunfels area, these guys on I-35 are the best!: Texas Hill Country Coach
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Old 03-27-2016, 07:47 PM   #17
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Campster canvas repair

Hi,

I had Red Hot Interiors in Bend, Oregon make my new canvas top and install it on my 1970 Campster. They also replaced some of the rotten wood that they found around the top.

Red Hot Interiors

767 SE Glenwood Dr,
Bend, OR 97702
(541) 382-8390


They said they would keep the "template" for the canvas top in case someone else ever needed to replace theirs....


They did an awesome job!
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Old 10-26-2018, 01:14 AM   #18
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Older thread but I am going to bump it because I have some information regarding the cause of the leaks. This comes from having reworked the popup canvas on my Campster.

What I found when I took the top and the framing off from the trailer was a condition that could very easily cause leaks. The top is held on along the lower edge by screws going from the inside that pass through the fiberglass flange and then into the wood frame on the outside around that lower edge. There is no sealant of any kind used around those screws. But that was not the biggest problem that I saw. The biggest issue was that some of the screw holes were so low down in the flange that any water standing on the roof could run through into the interior, especially if the trailer were sitting on even a slight sloping angle. So basically there were several holes in the water dam that were allowing water to enter. I filled all of the old fastener holes with epoxy putty and added a new layer of fiberglass cloth over them from the interior side. I made sure new fastener holes were place higher up so that standing water would not enter that way. I did replace the original wood frame on the exterior as it was rotted. I also replaced the inside trim with Doug Fir instead of using the original thin metal trim. So now it is not just the fiberglass flange that is taking a lot of the stress, the wood inside and outside is helping share the stress loads.

I also have strips of EVA foam sandwiches between the fiberglass on the interior and the new interior wood trim strip. That foam only has a little awl hole where I put the screws through. So when they go through it and tighten down the foam gets compressed tight against the fiberglass forming another gasket barrier against water entry in the area of those fastener holes. The screw threads that go through the flange have Butyl rubber tape wrapped around them. That prevents water from traveling to the interior along the screw threads. Remember that an Archimedes screw is a pump design used to bring water up from deep wells. Water will travel along screw threads so you must always put some type of bedding compound on any screw threads that penetrate the exterior and go on through to the interior. That includes any screws you use to mount the various types of inlets and outlets on the trailer and even the screws that mount the tail lights to the trailer.

Of course there is also the issue of holes in the roof for the screws that fasten the cabinet type handles on the underside of the roof. The handles people use to lower and raise the roof. Those need to have new bedding compound and sealant put onto them from up on the top side every 5 years or so. Those screws do get stressed from pushing and pulling on the handles. On some of the Campster roofs the hold down latches have screws that go through the roof. Those should also get new bedding compound and sealant every 5 years or so.

I put my new canvas on 2 years ago in Seattle. Because I am working on renovating it I have had the popup roof up 24/7 80% of the days in those 2 years. It stays up even in strong rain and wind, and there has been plenty of that, including this evening. I have not had one single instance of leaking from the popup top since I replaced the fabric. I did use a UV resistant polyester fabric that has a urethane coating on the interior. I did coat all the stitching lines on the interior side of the fabric with a urethane adhesive product called "Seam Grip" including the stitching lines on the zipper.

In conclusion there are a number of ways water can come in through the popup top but if you take the time to address them all you are unlikely to have any issues. The original design of the canvas with overlapping flaps that cover the zippers is an excellent one. Do not try to reinvent that detail as it works beautifully. Just stick with that design concept, it will serve you well.
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Old 06-26-2019, 10:40 AM   #19
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Trailer: Scamp 13 ft
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Thanks to all,

Thanks for the top and sleeve (collar) info : I have a '71 Compact II that I picked up in Lake Havasu AZ in Feb. Original owner died, Niece sold me the trailer . The collar is heavy cloth so not original, possibly did not leak in the desert conditions. I am applying Scotchguard to the cloth for now , hopefully it will not leak in sunny California, at least for now. I am heading for 2 vintage car / trailer shows in Oregon in a couple of weeks : Roseberg Graffiti week and the Rally on the River in Brownsville . . . but that is with my Scamp ! (no leaks). If any of you are going to those shows or are in those areas, watch for me or message me. I would like to meet Compact/ Campster / Hunter Jr owners. I may even stop by the Bullards Beach Gathering on the way home, but can't stay for the Rally itself. Drive safe, and Happy Trails ! David in Fresno and Sonora, CA
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