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Old 07-17-2019, 05:20 PM   #1
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No ladder on new Berkshire 37a

I am about to take delivery of a new XL 37a that does not have a rear ladder. I asked my sales person about this and she said that this unit was ordered without a ladder and does not have the proper backing under the fiberglass back and roof to add a ladder at this time. I stated that a rear ladder is important to me for maintenance and cleaning reasons.

Has anyone experienced this and if so, what did you do about it? Has anyone added a ladder, and if so, how did you prepare the body and roof to handle the weight and prevent water intrusion?

thanks
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Old 07-17-2019, 05:24 PM   #2
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Welcome to the forum its a great place to get your questions answered. Ladders being add on items I would all new Berks would have backing plates installed. I would check with the factory once you have the vin. #
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Old 07-17-2019, 06:27 PM   #3
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I ordered my 2019 with no ladder. I had a long convo w the guys at the FR plant about it and why I felt like it clutters up the look of the rear cap and makes it look ‘cheap’ (my opinion)

And after I took delivery and thanked the FR guys for all the custom things they did, they said that they are discontinuing ladders in the future on the Berkshires. Not sure if they will or not, but that’s what they said. Sooooooo sorry about that ?
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Old 07-17-2019, 06:37 PM   #4
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No ladder on new Berkshire 37a

In reality, I’m just as interested in cleaning, inspecting, etc the roof as anyone. Here’s the problems:


A full length ladder on the back is big, ugly, clutter-y, and in my opinion, really cheapens the overall look of the coach.

Obviously, I’m not the only person who felt this way because several years ago, FR decided to install the ‘half ladder’. So the half ladder addressed the cluttered look of the full ladder. But you had to store the bottom half of the ladder in your cargo area. So it took up space in your cargo area AND you had a piece screwed into and permanently fixed to your rear cap and paint job. The half ladder still looked bad and cheapened the look of the nice class A coach.

My argument was that if you have to store a piece of the ladder and “fetch” it whenever you wanted to go on the roof, you could easily just store a nice aluminum extendable ladder in there instead. This way you don’t have to have the half piece bolted to your cap. AND you can have your extendable folding ladder to use for other things like cleaning windshield, wash the coach, and chop any branches in your way. And of course you can go on the roof with it too. There’s obviously other uses for a foldable ‘mobile’ ladder but you get the idea. The one that bolts to the cap is ONLY good for getting on the roof. That’s it.

Plus it’s a piece of crap super thin aluminum skeleton thing that’s screwed to thin wood and fiberglass. They get jacked up and pulled off the cap regularly.

I had some other unique/custom things that I wanted done when the coach was built... but the ladder was the number one thing I just couldn’t get over. This crappy thing screwed/bolted to that nice freshly painted full body paint. And FR was the ONLY manufacturer willing to do this for me. That’s why I bought my Berk. Newmar and tiffin couldn’t care less and literally told me that the ladder will get screwed on but I can take it off if I wanted to later. But the paint job was gonna have screw holes on it no matter what. I love the way my rear cap looks. So clean and smooth and gorgeous paint job. No clutter. I suspect more manufacturers will follow.
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Old 07-17-2019, 06:46 PM   #5
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Here’s the ladder I got. It was about $50/$60 at Home Depot. and it’s beefy as hell. It folds up flat, very light, and can be arranged in a tall upright ladder or A frame.

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Old 07-17-2019, 07:05 PM   #6
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Just chiming in..

I don't have a Berkshire, but i think this is all kinda a universal issue so I'll comment. I live in the middle of the woods, Literally. trees from the edge of he house and driveway all around. So when we have th slides open on the camper for a few days at home, I get aggravated because I drag out my 20' step ladder and get on the roof to blow off the slides etc to keep from the pine needles and little sticks getting up under seals when i pull in slides etc.. i told my wife that the next camper will have a ladder on back of it. I just bought a 2019 Keystone 5v'r and was thrilled to have the ladder on the back. When I backed it down the driveway, the added length put the tail end over my retaining wall I built for extending the parking area, and guess what.. the first rung of the ladder is about 7 feet off the ground. I used a ladder to get to my ladder. BUT at the campground it sure is nice having it back there and being able to get on the roof without the need for another ladder. It;s one less thing I need to carry. I get on my roof before and after every trip, and at least while at the campgrounds it certainly is beneficial to me. I don;t care about looks, I like it!
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Old 07-17-2019, 07:38 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrigas View Post
I am about to take delivery of a new XL 37a that does not have a rear ladder.

I was this close to buying an XL 37A. Very close. Love everything about it. But I got 34QS instead because of the shorter length and state parks, etc etc.

Plus I already had a big garage at home and it’s 40’ deep. But the inside dimension is like 38’ and the 37A was a tad too long to fit it

But the 37A is a beast and you’ll love it! Get a nice beefy folding ladder and you’ll be set.
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Old 07-18-2019, 05:56 AM   #8
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We use ours fairly regularly on our 11 390RB we have friends with an 18 that have had multiple problems with theirs it wasn’t installed like ours. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. I’ve climbed it to remove a very determined bird that started a nest under the slide awning right on the top of the slide box. It’s a tool to us, don’t think the back is a gorgeous part of our coach. We leave the lower part installed.
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Old 07-18-2019, 07:16 AM   #9
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I agree. I wouldn’t buy one without a ladder built in.
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Old 07-18-2019, 07:29 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by uralman View Post
I agree. I wouldn’t buy one without a ladder built in.


Hopefully that rinky dink ladder doesn’t pull off the back of your rv when you’re standing on it. Many people have those stories unfortunately.
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Old 07-18-2019, 07:33 AM   #11
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I don't have a burk I have had a class A with a ladder and my TT has one. I have given this thread some thought and I think if I had to do it over I would not get the ladder installed. With the installed ladder you are restricted to one way up one way down and depending on what you are doing you may have to walk the entire roof with something like a collapsible ladders now available they are easy to store and can be positioned where you want to work on the roof. JMHO
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Old 07-18-2019, 07:34 AM   #12
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I have been using those rinky dink ladders for 20 years and no problems.
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Old 07-18-2019, 07:37 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeaDog View Post
I don't have a burk I have had a class A with a ladder and my TT has one. I have given this thread some thought and I think if I had to do it over I would not get the ladder installed. With the installed ladder you are restricted to one way up one way down and depending on what you are doing you may have to walk the entire roof with something like a collapsible ladders now available they are easy to store and can be positioned where you want to work on the roof. JMHO

Not only that, but you can of course use the ladder for other things too. It makes total sense.

ESPECIALLY since the Berks have been using that ‘half ladder’ system, you have to “store and fetch” the other piece in the cargo storage bay anyways. So what’s the point of it? Might as well just have a nice ladder under there instead.
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Old 07-18-2019, 07:47 AM   #14
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No ladder on new Berkshire 37a

Clearly people have mixed opinions about the ladder. Just like they do with floor plans, and fireplaces, and TVs at the dinette, and split sinks VS double sinks, and drop down euro beds, etc etc etc. Get whatever works for you. We’re all out there RVing and enjoying our lives.

I’m just glad FR is doing the ladder as an ‘option’ now instead of ALL of them coming like that. You can always add a ladder, but once you ruin that paint job and put a bunch of holes in it, there’s no good fix for that if you don’t want the ladder there.


I’m not sure how many people are super comfortable climbing their little bolt-on ladder and then reaching their left arm way over and cleaning the lens on their rear camera. I forgot about that one. But obviously w a diesel back there, that lens needs regular cleaning. I have to wipe mine constantly. Could you stand on the roof and bend down and reach it that way? Maybe. But most people would feel way more comfortable on a strong, legit ladder positioned exactly where they need it.
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Old 07-18-2019, 01:34 PM   #15
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Check with manufacturer to see if t the roof on your unit is able to be walked on. A lot of times the reason there is no ladder is because the roof in not made to sustain the weight of a person walking on it. If the roof is bowed, that's usually the case. You have to do everything from the sides with a ladder, or put a piece of plywood on the roof big enough to straddle two support beams for you to get on.
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Old 07-18-2019, 02:28 PM   #16
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Telescoping ladders

Leave the back cap unmarred and buy a telescoping ladder similar to an OxGord or an Extend-and-Climb. Pick the model that meets your climb height requirement and the weight of the person (+tools) who will be climbing it. Fits into smaller storage spaces than any other type.
Note that USA-made models include a factor of safety in their load ratings and most non-USA-made do not. For non-USA buy a load rating at least twice the anticipated load.
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Old 07-18-2019, 03:54 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uralman View Post
I have been using those rinky dink ladders for 20 years and no problems.
Ditto, and IMHO they do not detract from the appearance at all!!!!
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Old 07-18-2019, 04:18 PM   #18
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Rear Ladder

30+ years of motorhomes. I would never accept a motorhome without a rear ladder. Now matter what some dumass told me. It's a great convenience for getting on the roof. Plus, you can purchase accessories that hook onto the ladder such as chair racks. What do you do if you are out camping and need to get on the roof?

My Humble Opinion.
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Old 07-18-2019, 07:02 PM   #19
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I'm surprised that no one has mentioned putting on a cover. Perhaps a lot of people don't use a cover. But my rear latter is a blessing getting the cover on an off, i.e. climb the ladder and roll it out from the back to the front! I store the lower half of the ladder on its side up against the frame between the two main Berkshire compartments. Can't even tell it's there. Regarding portable ladders, are you sure there isn't a high potential for rubs and scrapes leaning a metal ladder up against the side even if you have pads on it? Also, I'd recommend being very careful about the angle and footing of a portable ladder. I suspect most falls come from wrong placement or over-reach. To each his/her own!
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Old 07-18-2019, 07:14 PM   #20
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I like having a ladder. I keep my flag pole on it. I have a telescoping ladder too for access to other areas.
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