Sinking Roof - Fiberglass RV


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Old 12-27-2018, 06:26 PM   #1
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Name: aj
Trailer: Roamer TC
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Sinking Roof

The roof, fiberglass, is sinking under the weight of the AC.
It is a 2005 model year.
It is a panel/foam/panel construction.
I was wanting to use an aluminum beam (little smaller than a 2x4) on the roof all the way across, side to side, then a 2 foot beam or just flat metal inside.
Bolt these together through the roof near the center with 2 bolts, about 18 inches apart, and tighten slowly to lift the sagging roof back to level.
It was level at one time, settled without cracking, but I am afraid if I do it all at once it will break something.
Has anyone attempted such?
I was thinking to do it slowly over the course of weeks or months.
The center is not more than 2 inches sank.
Is that a word?
Issue is puddling/stagnate roof water and the dirt with it and hitting my head on the AC. It is no big deal, but I would like to stop it and return to original as it just bugs me.
I guess it is slightly more aerodynamic with the AC sunken, but Im willing to sacrifice that.
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Old 12-27-2018, 08:00 PM   #2
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Might want to add pictures as well as the make & model of your trailer
Iím sure someone has more experience on this than I can offer
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Old 12-28-2018, 07:23 AM   #3
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You could jack up the roof from the inside and then add stiffeners either on top or bottom of the roof.
Since you want more clearance you could work from the top or inside keep them thinner than the A/C vent housing.
If from the top you could shape two beams across the camper to fit the curve of the roof and taper them on the top for better aerodynamics etc.
I had a Winnebago BOX that had the same problem and the previous owner had installed two steel angle braces across the roof.
If you use wood you might want to encase them is fiberglass and make sure that there is drainage to keep water from pooling around them, even if fiberglassed, to prevent them rotting out.
If the beams are finerglassed to the roof it will make it stiffer and could be thinner.
In that case I would fit the wood carefully to the profile of the roof and then epoxy glue it to the surface and then glass the entire assembly for stiffness.
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Old 12-28-2018, 07:27 AM   #4
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In looking at the interior shots on that trailer, it is surprising there are no vertical supports anywhere inside that trailer, other than the bathroom which is at one end. Maybe a couple of chrome stripper poles could help!

I would do nothing that drills through the roof. That is asking for a future leak.

The inside of that trailer looks a lot like an Oliver. I would be very cautious with any work.
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Old 12-28-2018, 07:52 AM   #5
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I looked up the Roamer TC site and this is a "Stickie" with fiberglass / foam construction.
It would seem that it lacks enough support for the weight of the A/C and is a design failure.
If still in warranty I would ask for the manufacturer to fix it.
Otherwise it will be necessary to add beams to support the weight of the A/C to the only support that exists in the trailer, the side walls.
If you add beams on the roof then you add spoilers to increase drag, but that is pretty much the only choice.
When you do it you should actually pull the roof up slightly at the A/C so that there is some drainage for the rainwater and condensate.
The Winnebago I had has steel rectangular tubing across the entire rood and still dd not completely handle the issue as the water puddled between the two beams on each side.
A roof too weak for the known loads does not speak well for the structure of the camper.
I would make myself know to the manufacture immediately and firmly.
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Old 12-28-2018, 09:25 AM   #6
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Sinking Roof

See here, from an earlier thread by the OP:
https://www.truckcampermagazine.com/...roamer-camper/

Sure looks molded to me, outside and inside. And vintage, so no manufacturer support. It's not a trailer, but the issues are similar to a double-hull trailer. I wonder if the A/C is original. Fiberglass generally needs to be supported and/or reinforced for roof A/C.

My thought is I'd hate to have ugly metal beams spoiling the clean look inside or outside. I'm wondering about the feasibility of carefully cutting out just enough of the inner shell and insulation to place shaped wood beams on the inside of the outer roof shell and push gently up from inside- shaped to include a slight arch and long enough to transfer the weight to the sidewalls. Once the original shape is restored, epoxy the beams in place and trim them out or fiberglass them in place using the cut-out pieces. I'm thinking hardwood for maximum strength with less material. How thick is the foam layer between the outer and inner shells?

Just an idea that came into my head- curious what others think... It's similar to what Scamp does when they retrofit roof A/C on a unit that was not factory reinforced for it.

EDIT: I looked again at the pictures in the magazine article. Is there a center strip in the ceiling that can be removed? That might give access to the inside of the outer shell to facilitate reinforcement without cutting.
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Old 12-28-2018, 10:15 AM   #7
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1. Remove A/C from the roof, re-configure A/C system of some type in another location within the trailer if A/C is desired and repair the roof damage.

2. Sell trailer and let the next person worry about the problem.

3. Buy quality Fiberglass "Egg" trailer.
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Old 12-28-2018, 10:31 AM   #8
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Many, many, quality eggs were not designed to support roof air, particularly older ones. Not sure sag is unusual given age. But it needs to be addressed.
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Old 12-28-2018, 07:15 PM   #9
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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.
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Old 12-28-2018, 08:01 PM   #10
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Yes you could crack the fiberglass roof cap by attempting to jack up roof cap. Yes fiberglass can be "Bent Up". The success of that will depend upon the original contour of the fiberglass roof itself and if it has taken a "Set" down.

So what?

No big deal as its fiberglass which is easily repaired and sectioned if needed to relieve stress that might have occurred due to the glass taking a "Set".

Yes given the time the roof has been sagging the fiberglass roof cap could have taken a "Set" down. Either way you still must deal with the issue of the A/C unit weight which will again cause the same problem you have now unless you properly resolve the roof structure issue or remove the A/C unit and the problem it has caused. Your walls also could also be pulled in at the top of the camper particularly if those side walls are wood frame "Sticky" built due to the collapse of the fiberglass cap caused by the additional weight of the currently unsupported A/C unit.

A proper repair either way is going to require the removal of the roof A/C unit to determine the best way to repair the sagging roof. That repair may very well require bracing of the fiberglass roof to transfer the load of the roof bracing you may have to install to the wall structure of the trailer to regain the proper fiberglass roof configuration. This could also help stabilize side walls that may be "Pinched In" at the top IF you have this problem as well. Of course all this depends upon the wall construction of the trailer and its ability to take the load your new roof bracing might transfer to the side walls.

At which point you then have a decision to make. Remember you said you could fix anything!

Do you repair, patch or cover that BIG A/C hole you now have in your roof cap the result of removing the roof A/C unit and install a different type of A/C unit capable of being efficiently mounted elsewhere in the trailer if A/C is still a requirement?

Do you significantly brace the fiberglass roof cap with bracing tied into the trailer's side wall structure and hope that this roof brace plan is now capable of maintaining the proper fiberglass roof configuration AND support the heavy A/C unit that you choose to re-install on the repaired roof?

Do you completely remove the fiberglass roof cap from the trailer and start over with a different solution whatever that may be?

There are no easy "Fixes" to PROPERLY repair this "Sagging" roof problem.
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Old 12-28-2018, 08:51 PM   #11
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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.
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Old 12-28-2018, 09:42 PM   #12
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No personal experience but a member here has a Casita that was pretty heavily deformed yet he was able to bring it back into shape. Here's the journey he's had with his project:

http://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/f...ita-83328.html

I think if you worked it back a little at a time you'll have a good outcome. If you can do it during the hot summer months the fiberglass may be more pliable/forgiving.....or possibly set up some heat lamps & work under those. You may end up with some gel coat cracking but hopefully that will be all.

Best of luck with your repair, it sounds like you have a fairly rare molded truck camper there!
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Old 12-29-2018, 03:11 AM   #13
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Steve's correct AJ, a number of members have taken the sag out of their roofs by jacking them up little by little to relax the FG. You will have to do some kind of bracing although it may not need to be some huge beam.
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Old 12-29-2018, 07:21 AM   #14
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It may not need a huge beam and I would think that the fiberglass would flex with no problems back to the original shape.
I assumed that you had new camper with flat fiberglass sides and top.
If the ceiling is curved like most FGRV you could fit a fairly skinny beam made of oak or some fairly strong wood and fit to the curve from side to side, either side of the AC.
This would not have to be very "tall" as the curve would add some rigidity.
Thinking further I think that you could use some 3/4" plywood and cut bows from it and cover it with fiberglass (carefully.)
When I made my interior modifications I used cardboard to fit to the curve for templates and then got the plywood fitted after it was close.
If this were 1 1/2 " to 2" thick or the thickness of the vent so as to not lose headroom.
If the shell is double with foam in the middle you could make sure that the foam is bonded to the inner and outer shell. If the foam is bonded that should make it stiff enough.
If the shell did not have an original A/C and a hole was cut it is very possible that (if bonded originally) the added stress caused the foam to separate form the fiberglass and then sag.
If this is the case you could remove the vent cover, jack up or remove the A/C and add a wood frame between the shells and before it is installed force glue into the space between the foam and shell inner and outer.
If the cross parts of the new wood frame extended into the foam a little and some foam injected to fill the void that would help.
The wood should be glued and screwed to the inner and outer shells to make it solid so that the loads are transferred across the open area.
The key would be to immobilize the shells around the hole so that the area is stabilized and back in the original shape or a little taller so that the condensate would drain away.
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Old 12-29-2018, 09:25 AM   #15
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Name: K C
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They had that same issue on the fiberglass Sunrader motorhomes. The manufacturer decided to put a steel beam under the ceiling panel near the roof opening.



A few of the owners of the early Sunraders made before this standard modification was made to the units used a steel beam that Ikea uses to support the mattress on their queen sized beds. The reason they chose it is because it was long enough and they can be purchased for only $10.00 as an individual component without buying a bed. The design of the beam makes it easy to attach to support brackets at each of the ends.
Of course it is up to you to figure out if it will work for your situation. You can go to the Toyota Motorhome Forum and see some threads where people used it to fix the sagging roof issues. Anyway I am just presenting one solution that worked for fixing the issue you are having although of course it was done to a similar shaped roof in a similar but not identical fiberglass RV.


Here is a link to the bed frame beam from Ikea that they used. Look at the dimensions, you can always make it shorter or even a little longer with some extra material. I would recommend that you create a mockup piece of the same size out of cardboard and try it out for physical size and head clearance inside of your trailer before you decide to purchase it.
https://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/90124534/
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Old 12-29-2018, 10:08 AM   #16
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I will check the Toyota Motorhome Forum and see how it moved for them.

My roof is flat on top, flat side, and a smooth radius curve between.
I plan to use a flat beam on top strong enough to not bend under the load. I will use shorter beams inside, even could be wood, to function like a long washer.
I will just bolt the two together through the roof, the inside beam will pull up to the roof beam and become flat.

Issue is the AC unit has only 2 or 2.5 inches under it. AC attaches at the 14 inch opening, and then half the unit just has empty space under it, then supported by a piece of wood at the back. The roof is raised at the 14 inch opening, so increases strength and discourages water, but not raise under the rest of the AC.

Where I want to put the roof beam is under the AC so there is not room for a flat bar to go across under the sag. I may just remove AC for a few months, not drag it all over the country when I will never use it until summer anyway. Hardest part will be lowering it off the roof, or getting it back up there. (a few RVs ago I asked the local RV dealer is I could pay them to just hoist it up there and they refused, lol). Anyway, I dont need help how to position the beam and deal with the AC, just sharing for info.
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Old 12-29-2018, 10:49 AM   #17
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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 have moved fiberglass a large distance in the repair / resto-mod of my 88 Casita that was left to sit eight years without cabinet support by the PO. When I bought it, the center of the roof had sagged 3-4 inches and the walls had pooched out similar distances as well. As an example:

Note the bulge just aft of the fridge vents.


Note the tilting of the fender box as compared to the floor.


Note the bulge in the side of the trailer at the door opening.


I straightened this out by putting in some temporary jacking posts to stretch the roof back to proper height and building back in new bulkheads in the interior (original floor to ceiling cabinets did not come with the trailer) Fiberglass does have memory if left in one position for over time but it can be re-educated. After the roof was jacked up into place it took about 30 days for the fender boxes to finally pull back into alignment but they did come along.

Yes, fiberglass will break if you bend it a large distance over a short span. But over long spans it is quite flexible. I wasn't able to view your pics if you posted them but based on your description, I see no problem pulling your fiberglass back into position in one pull. You can penetrate permanent screws or bolts through the outside of the roof to attach your support member(s) if you have proper drainage. I see no difference sealing a carriage bolt vs. the of pop rivets most fiberglass manufacturers TT's use in multiples of tens in our eggs.

I hope this answers your question.
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Old 12-29-2018, 11:44 AM   #18
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Here are some pics for fun


The sag is actually about an inch on top. I thought no big deal, but next pic>


To make it more complicated the roof bows up. So it sank and inch and was level, then sank another inch, explains what seems 2 inch sag inside.
I will need metal with a slight upward arch to make it perfect, but maybe just settle for some sag and know that the beam will stabilize things.




See ceiling slope down to left.
The front window leaks, likely yet another failure of the dealership. I see recent repair work coupled with another of their failures. They seemed like nice folk too.


hard to see sag, but water is evidence in the photo. No leaks here that I can tell somehow. There is a seam down middle of the length of it.
Also, note the dealers solution to a broken vent cap. Duct tape is not professional.
To the left, no matter how careful I was to adhere the Eternabond tape into the inside of the curve it still pulls away…
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Old 12-29-2018, 12:09 PM   #19
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Trailer: Casita 16ft.
California
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You will have no issues moving that small amount of sag. It sounds like you have your mind made up as to the method so I won't suggest anything other than what others have said which is to make sire that your chosen fix doesn't become it's own water holding dam.
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Old 12-29-2018, 12:22 PM   #20
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Name: aj
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The water dam is the easiest fix. Nothing inside sturdy enough to support it, it is over windows and the floor is not strong. There is no good way to push it up.
It has to be outside, as I dont want to get into putting it between the roof layers. I hate to disrupt the laminar flow on the roof too.
Water can roll off the sides so not like it will be trapped.
I could almost move the AC to the rear vent hole where the bathroom wall and cabinet wall could support more weight. So far decided not to.

Im thinking an 1 Ĺ or 1 1/4 square steel tube heavy gauge might b plenty and not flex. Maybe i can get a metal shop to roll a slight curve in it.
Then two bolts should be enough. One bolt would do it, but I want to split the inside beam so not in front of the AC output vent.
Or maybe a flat bar would work inside.

Issue is this is the only place a 100w solar panel could fit. I'm not finding the shapes I need to fit somewhere else.

Given the solar issue, maybe worth it to put the beam inside and just deal with hitting my head or ducking all the time. At least then the air will flow as always over roof and I can lay a solar panel over what is on top…
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