Sinking Roof - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 12-29-2018, 02:49 PM   #21
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Name: Michael
Trailer: Casita 16ft.
California
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This is just a jab given that I am not sure how the air conditioner bolts down at the flange. But if there are flange bolts that are accessible on the upper side, could you use them to hold this new support(s), whatever configuration it may be, without the necessity of drilling new holes? They could just sit on the outside edges with only perhaps a rubber washer or bumper of some kind to rest on. In other words you will be extending the air unit itself via these added members. It doesn't matter if the bolts themselves that attach it are located in close, as described above.
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Old 12-29-2018, 04:19 PM   #22
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Name: aj
Trailer: Roamer TC
Georgia
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I like to double purpose things, but AC bolts, they are all the same 3 or 4 bolts that I have seen, are not very strong or burly.

The solar issue changes everything. I cant live without at least 200 watts.

I think I can move the AC unit rearward to the rear Superfan hole. The roof part will barely clear the bathroom vent cover, I think, but the inside cover will have to be chopped off at the corner. No big deal to chop it as there is no loss of function.
The bathroom wall is very close to give structure and there is a closet on other side to help. Better than the nothing that is now.

I will still do the fix to lift the roof back up and will do it from the inside. I have room for a hand-width beam and still not hit my head in sag position, better when lifted a little.

So, I have to have a foot of some sort on the fiberglass roof to take all the load of the lift. Wondering the best way so to not stress concentrate weight on one point. Maybe run a beam lengthwise to spread the load. All this happens over a giant window.
I could cut an 5 inch radius semi-circle plate or use a long I-beam. At least this beam will be aerodynamic into the wind.
Who has done something like this putting stress on a point on the roof?
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Old 12-29-2018, 06:11 PM   #23
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Name: K C
Trailer: 1971 Trailswest Campster
Washington
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some of the newer rooftop AC units are quite a few pounds lighter in weight than the older models.
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Old 01-02-2019, 11:22 AM   #24
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Name: Eva
Trailer: home-built
California
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Originally Posted by Roamer View Post
My question is not how to do it.

My question is what happens to fiberglass that has settled over the years like this and is then pushed back up.
I am worried it might crack.
I am looking for someone who has done this type of work and seen first hand.
Can the fiberglass be bent back up? and, can I move it all at one time, or should I do it slowly over weeks or months.

The camper comes new with AC, not retrofitted as a lesser unit.
I dont need a new camper, warranty not going to happen. I am able to fix anything.
Eva here, in exactly the same shoes: 2010 Scamp 13 with factory AC, roof depressed approx 1 1/2" locally, dip only slightly larger than the AC's footprint, and the molded ridges unchanged. I removed the AC, found the adjacent fiberglass quite limber; placed a temporary post inside, and slowly wedged it up to slightly above original shape, over the course of 3 weeks, taking it up just a smidge every day. When I eventually removed the post, it settled back halfway between where I started, and the original shape. To be able and use the trailer for the season, I installed a simple hatch, bedding it in generous amounts of Boatlife bedding compound. This winter, I removed all but the corner fasteners, and put my post back in place, expecting it to come up and stay up some more. There were never any cracks. I do not plan on re-installing the AC
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Old 01-02-2019, 12:52 PM   #25
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Name: Marcia
Trailer: 16' Scamp on order
MN
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Is this really common? Starting to have misgivings about placing my order.
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Old 01-02-2019, 01:17 PM   #26
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Name: Donald
Trailer: Bigfoot 5th wheel
Colorado
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pushing up roof

I have a 1988 Bigfoot 5th wheel and had the same problem with roof sag just behind the AC. I created two beams by gluing together two, 3/4" sheets of plywood. I created a cardboard template using the roof curvature where it had not sagged. I waited for a very hot day to warm the roof. Then, I placed each beam and gently jacked them up by hammering on the bottom of an angled 2x4. Once in place, the beams were supported on each end by posts that were integrated with new cabinets I was building. The beams were lightly stained and varnished.

It has been in place for 8 years and remains solid. The fiberglass never cracked. But, I would make sure that you do your lifting when the temperature is around 90.
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Old 01-02-2019, 03:27 PM   #27
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Name: Tony
Trailer: Bigfoot
Colorado
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Originally Posted by Roamer View Post
I'm just curious if anyone has moved old fiberglass like this.

The moving of the roof and supporting it is the easy part, I have that figured out easy, the fix is super easy, but I just do not know what old fiberglass will do when moved.

note: the roof foam is 2.5 inches thick.

I had two FG trailers with roof sagging issues and discovered through extensive research that heat is both the cause and part of the cure to such issues. Fiberglass exposed to intense heat makes it less rigid while it's hot. While in a reduced strength state the weight of the AC unit will cause it to sag. As the FG is repeatedly heated and cooled it tends to retain the shape it sags to. Reversing the process with heat and then bracing the roof to prevent this from happening again is the key to a permanent fix.

My take on sagging issues is based on observations that when camper fiberglass is continuously exposed to direct sunlight coupled with the hefty weight of an AC unit, the supporting fiberglass will eventually, sag, necessitating as others have suggested, bracing the roof. This is the best answer as some FG camper manufacturers eventually learned.

Step one is determine the original shape of the roof, then (from the inside) slowly prop up the roof with a T-pole and hydraulic or scissors jack over a period of days. This should be done gradually, in very warm weather, actually, as hot as it can get, perhaps even using supplementary heat lamps. (Of course being extra careful to prevent excessive heat damage.)

Without the use of heat lamps raising the roof using the heat of the sun very slowly will help ensure that you will not create cracks in the original gel coat when trying to jack it back up in cold weather. In hot weather, with help from using a T-post and jack, the fiberglass will reset in it's original shape after a few weeks. To determine what that shape actually is easy enough by closely inspecting the roof as the T-pole is gradually raised.

I would however caution against drilling holes in the roof to secure supplemental bracing. While it would certainly work to better support the AC unit, it invites ways for moisture to eventually enter the interior. Instead, secure bracing that has been shaped or bent to match the original contour of the roof and then fiberglass that directly to the roof on either side of the AC unit all the way to the sidewalls is predictably the safest solution.

Once sufficiently fiberglassed in place, re-gel-coating the roof around the AC unit would be easy by masking off the area outside of the the bracing. The gel coat would not necessarily need to be sanded smooth either. I would leave the natural texture resulting in applying it as-is.

If you're handy you can easily do this. There are many excellent step-by-step tutorials online about fiberglassing and gelcoating to do all of the steps necessary to do a good, secure and strong job.
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Old 01-02-2019, 05:12 PM   #28
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Name: Dave & Paula Brown
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Arizona
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flintstone View Post
Is this really common? Starting to have misgivings about placing my order.
The factory started making the roofs stronger to better support A/C units a couple years back, because many owners were adding A/C to the older units that were not designed for it, and were getting roof sag.
Dave & Paula
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Old 01-02-2019, 05:25 PM   #29
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Trailer: Bigfoot
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Prior Roamer Owner

I owned one of these about 5 years ago. Nice to look at but not much in the way of intelligent design. Sleek nose looks good but provides very small bed with a one off mattress. Rest of inside is about the same, looks good but not practical , having way less space & storage than say a Bigfoot 9.5 (which I've also owned) Mine had the earlier 3 jack system & it corkscrewed itself to the ground while loading it when I picked it up. Picked up a Stabillift for it & used it for a trip to Alaska.

Anyway to your question... Mine was owned by someone prior to with very good fab skills. He removed the AC & built a full aluminum "roof rack" with curved feet/pads to the outside tubes with box tubes running crossways. 2 of them 14" apart over the AC hole, with 2 more front to back creating the 14" square required opening, probably several inches above the sagged roof. The AC was installed/sealed on top of this "rack" & another seal between the bottom of the 14" square. The inside trim kit was probably installed with longer screws, pulling the roof up to the 14" square. The rack was installed with big self tappers & Dicor. Very sturdy & never leaked the couple years I had it.
Tried to upload a photo but site wants a URL ???
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Old 01-02-2019, 10:03 PM   #30
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Name: K C
Trailer: 1971 Trailswest Campster
Washington
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pete luchka View Post
******
Tried to upload a photo but site wants a URL ???
Don't use the icon that has what looks like a photo, that one is for linking to photos from websites which is why it is asking for a URL.



Instead use the icon that looks like a paper clip. That paper clip is the icon for attaching photos you have stored on your PC.


It is not actually intuitive to use those two icons that way, you just have to learn it by a tutorial or by having it explained. Grumble, grumble, grumble, I don't like it but if I was the designer I honestly don't know if I could make it any easier than they did as there is only so much information that can be communicated by a tiny image.
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Old 01-03-2019, 07:28 AM   #31
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Name: T
Trailer: Designing and building
Florida
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Another stiffening process.....

I have a teardrop that had similar panel sag due to my lack of thinking smarter than the materials when designing and building.

The two problem spots were the top (hinge) edge of the galley hatch opening, and the center of the flat roof. Both were solved with the "jack & brace" method.

For the center of the flat roof, where water was ponding around the vent fan opening, I removed the fan, made a 5/8" plywood pad about 3" larger than the opening (1-1/2" overlap), set a large plywood pad on the floor, and slowly jacked until the roof was pleasantly convex.

When this was done I cut a pair of 1x2 fir crossbraces for the inside of the roof, making sure the grain was parallel to the flat edge - vertical to the load. I fitted these in place fore and aft of the opening, leaving a small gap for epoxy. When they fit well enough, I mixed up some thickened epoxy, gooped it on the top edge of the braces, and propped the braces in place until cured.

Problem solved. Added bonus that the faces of the cross braces are an excellent mounting location for LED strip lighting.

The galley hatch was a similar fix, though much more complicated to jack, brace, and reinforce.
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Old 01-08-2019, 07:44 PM   #32
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Name: aj
Trailer: Roamer TC
Georgia
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The floor issues caused me to hold off on the roof, but Im still thinking to move AC to the last hole, and put the Superfan in the AC's middle hole.

This is the rear opening, hoping to put AC here on the black one.

I will just remove AC for now as i will not need it until June. Save me some MPG in meantime. The holes are close enough I think I can just shove the power cord through the expanded foam insulation to the new space.
Then summer, with the free heat, will jack up roof, maybe a temp pole inside. Then put an inside brace. Im sure I will change mind several times before summer though.

I dont see a paperclip.
Go to "User CP", upper left of page when you are logged in, then "Pictures and Albums" which is six down on the left side, the "add album" on bottom left,then upload your photos to the site's storage, then use the "BB code" in the box by clicking on it 3 times rapidly to highlight it, CTRL-C to copy it, then CTRL-V to paste it into your message. Paste it between the text where you want it to appear, it will paste where the cursor is blinking.
To add more photos, go to your new album and add photos, or you can create a new album if it is different subject matter.
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Old 01-08-2019, 08:01 PM   #33
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Name: Gordon
Trailer: 2015 Scamp (16 Std Layout 4) with '15 Toyota Sienna LE Tug
North Carolina
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For what its worth.. my 2015 Scamp 16 with roof air exhibited a dip in the roof from the day it was built. Part or most of it seems to be from the side bath walls pulling down but still supporting the roof, and maybe also the weight of the A/C. Over three years later, it looks the same as it did the day I got it in Backus. Maybe I should worry about it but I don't. In other words, while I am no expert, I dont think that a little deformation is a concern unless it gets worse over time (which I expect it would if the design or construction were deficient).

Of course my comments apply to molded fiberglass campers, Scamp specifically, and might not be applicable to the OPs camper.
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Old 01-08-2019, 08:11 PM   #34
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Name: aj
Trailer: Roamer TC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pete luchka View Post
I owned one of these about 5 years ago. Nice to look at but not much in the way of intelligent design. Sleek nose looks good but provides very small bed with a one off mattress. Rest of inside is about the same, looks good but not practical , having way less space
I mainly bought it to look good.
I use for work and sometimes the camper is seen by the public and I want something to look good and not reflect poorly on the companies I represent. This should look really nice when i wax it up.
I am one guy living in it when traveling, so am fine with the sparse interior. I tow a cargo trailer, so storage not that big of a deal, otherwise yes, very lacking in storage. Lacking much on the roof as far as room for solar panels also, but I can install just barely what I need.
Storage I guess is the upper bed during the day.
I will wait, but maybe add storage on top of fridge and top of other cabinet in a few months after I give it some time.
The little opening on the right upper side are curious. Not sure why these did not get doors. I think a 6 inch pvc pipe will give the right curve to make doors so it works for storage better.

Gordon2, Im a perfectionist is the biggest problem.
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Old 01-08-2019, 08:19 PM   #35
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Name: aj
Trailer: Roamer TC
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Originally Posted by Flintstone View Post
Is this really common? Starting to have misgivings about placing my order.
Wood built aluminum siding campers are easier to fix, but fiberglass has its advantages. Knowing what you know now, hopefully you are handy, stay on top of it and at the first sign of any sag now you know what to do to prevent the woes we have.

Wood campers have lots of issues too. Mainly they need to be re-caulked all around every year or they leak. When they leak, rotten wood, and usually means retirement to a junkyard or major fix.
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Old 01-10-2019, 09:28 PM   #36
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Name: aj
Trailer: Roamer TC
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I took roof AC off, just a hole now, dont plan to put it back until maybe June. much lower profile now.
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Old 02-22-2019, 11:11 AM   #37
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Name: aj
Trailer: Roamer TC
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I jacked up roof under AC hole and got it back to stock I think, then moved back and jacked it again. Roof moved up, seems to hold for the minute I had jack off and repositioning things. Lots of creaking as I inched it up a little each day. Weather cold, so not helping.
I think there is spray foam up there, so that must be letting go. I don't think it will re-glue itself back to the original position, so what's to hold it after the brace is gone?
I think I need an internal brace. Thomcat316, you did bracesÖ Only 2 inches tall? And you just glued it to the ceiling? How is that holding up? I assume some sanding involved too?
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Old 02-22-2019, 12:32 PM   #38
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Name: T
Trailer: Designing and building
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Roamer,

I don't have the trailer here to take photos of, but what I did was:
take a stiff bit of (actual dimensions) 1"x2" lumber (ash or oak, maybe?),
cut it to the full width of the roof,
fitted it to make sure there was a bit of gap in the middle to fill with epoxy goop,
drilled a hole through each end to hold it lightly up against the ceiling,
jacked up the roof to where I wanted it,
slathered some goop along the entire length of the wood and ceiling,
screwed it gently in place,
filled the gap with epoxy goop along the full length,
let sit until cured.

About that stiff bit of wood - you'll want the growth rings parallel to the long face of the wood, and the holes also. I tried attaching a sketch, but I don't have a photo hosting account anywhere....

You will likely need to use a slightly deeper bit of wood and shape it to very near the curve you want, maybe even top and bottom so it's not a head banger. Maybe pattern with cardboard?

You'll also need to have temperatures that are good for epoxy curing; if the epoxy is still green when you release the jacks it will move on you. A heater will work, but it has to stay on until the epoxy is cured.
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Old 02-22-2019, 01:55 PM   #39
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Name: aj
Trailer: Roamer TC
Georgia
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Thanks Thomcat. I may have to wait until summer when I am not close to using it. I did outside of floor and it was weeks of epoxy smell inside, so cant imagine how long until it would quit outgassing inside.

I take it your fix is still holding strong to the ceiling. The screws are not really holding it up other than to hold the glue in place while it cured, so is all epoxy holding it together?

I meantime I will just keep the jack and brace in there when not using camper so it does not sag again.
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Old 02-23-2019, 12:29 PM   #40
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Name: George
Trailer: '73 Trillium
British Columbia
Posts: 11
Trillium a/c

Great thread and just what I needed!
I am planning on installing an a/c on my trillium and needed some ideas how to make it work.
The aluminum roof rack mentioned lit up a big lightbulb!
I just got a Toyota fj cruiser for a tow vehicle. It has a tubular roof rack and I am thinking that if I echo the style on the Trillium it will be the best in both form and function!
I just wanted to thank you all for lighting my fire!
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