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Old 09-13-2011, 01:21 PM   #1
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02 Wildwood 26BH Getting a new lid

Hello,

This is my first post, but I have been researching campers all summer. I was looking for a trailer that would be a project, but not out of control. I figured I would find something from the 80's and essentially rebuild it to fit my family. Well, I found this 2002 that has a soft spot in the roof, but no indication of leakage on the interior of the camper. I picked it up for about the price of the WDH and other accessories that came with it, so if it doesn't work out I won't worry too much.

So here is the situation, the back right corner had a tear in the rubber and I can feel an area that is soft that measures approx 6'X6'. I plan to take all of the attachments off of the roof, pull off the rubber sheet, cut any area that looks suspect and replace it with new plywood and studs if need be. There is some info on the internet about this, but not specifically about my brand or model. I know that campers are built with wood structure and I believe that the roof is one of the last things installed. This means I can attack the roof from outside. I am gathering supplies now, but I am looking for any advice since I have never done a camper roof before.
Does anybody know what the roof frame of the camper is made out of? is it 2X2 or 2X3 studs topped with 1/4" or 1/2" plywood or OSB.
I have read about and priced EPMD Sheets for the final cover, but have also heard and read about liquid roof. Everyone seems to have a different opinion on roofing material.
I thought about just trying to fix the back corner, but the weather is starting to turn here and I have an indoor area to work, so I thought I might as well take the whole thing off, make sure everything is repaired and sealed properly, and then bring it back better than new.
I know this is a labor intensive operation, but I would rather labor and do it right than have someone charge me several thousand dollars and not know what type of a job they did. I have also remodeled houses, built several wooden boats and restored vehicles and motorcycles so I would say I am either handy or able to learn. I just am looking to have the most information possible before I even start this project.

Any thoughts or ideas are appreciated.
Erik
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Old 09-13-2011, 05:30 PM   #2
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if the roof has a slight crown its probably framed with 2x6 and decked with 3/8 ply wood, you can find out easily by removing your interior roof vent trim and the shower skylight trim, you will find the rubber roof material folded in and attached in these areas, then you can see what your dealing with.
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Old 09-13-2011, 07:19 PM   #3
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Thanks for the info. Good idea to look into the vent holes and such to see what it is made out of. I went to the local RV dealer/Repair. They said that they will sometimes only repair part of the roof it it is just a soft spot. And then just put new rubber on that part. I am not sure that I want to do part of the roof if I am already taking it apart. The service guy said that they do roofing jobs weekly and will oftentimes have 5 or 6ft of rubber EPMD left over. Told me that once I found the extent of the damage and knew what I needed for rubber to stop up. He said if they had a piece that would work for me they would give it to me. He said that the seam would then be covered with eternabond. Anybody have any thoughts on this? On one hand, the soft spot in my roof is an area with no accessories mounted in the area, and it would be much easier/cheaper to replace only the back 1/3 of the roof. I guess I will know more once I tear into it.
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Old 09-13-2011, 07:28 PM   #4
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Take pictures and post often.
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Old 09-13-2011, 09:28 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Rugged Brown View Post
Take pictures and post often.
I will try.

It may turn into "take meds and drink often" We will see.
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Old 09-15-2011, 09:36 PM   #6
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Refill your drink and have a seat I wrote a long one.

I got started today after work. I got the trim off and then removed the back two vent covers (which were sun faded and brittle so they will be replaced) I found what appears to be 3/8" OSB and the trusses look like a lightweight bowstring style trusses. I did not measure the wood, but it looks like 2X2's or 2X3's. Under the OSB there is regular fiberglass insulation (which is wet and going to be replaced). Underneath the insulation is plywood or some type of particle board. I am not sure at first glance if this is the top of the cieling, or another level, but there was some wetness on this level as well, but it does not look like it comprimised the wood.
It is readily apparent that the OSB soaked up a bunch of water, but I don't see mold or anything really growing inside the roof. The main leak looks to be from the back passenger side and it spreads from there. There is about 6" of wet wood all across the back and then the wetness extends about 8' forward in an arcing moon shape (if you can picture that).
I have pulled back the rubber until I have about 1' of dry good wood exposed. I am going to replace the back two rafters for now and then put down new Plywood. I am assuming plywood will hold up better than OSB and may be stronger. I am then going to cut out all of the wood that has been wet and replace it in sections. Right now I have a dehumidifier running in the camper and a 6mil plastic sheet covering my work space. There is a frost warning here tonight and I don't see any reason to let in more water.
Seeing as my rubber is in good shape (except the corner) I am going to take the advice of the service guy at the local repair place. I am going to replace the wood and then clean and glue down the rubber I have. This might not be the best way to do it, but it is economical and maybe I can get some camping in this Fall.

Here is what I have found so far:

Rubber adhesive is stubborn. A heat gun helps, but when it is 45 degrees out it doesn't want to give up.
I don't think the PO did alot of maintenance on the roof. I took off some of the fixtures and they are dry underneath, but the sealing jobs looks fairly half a55ed.
I have some wood rafters that were wet, but not totally comprimised. has anyone ever used a wood rot epoxy repair formula to enhance the integrity of the wood and to stop rot? I have used this in houses around windows, but I am not sure about a camper. I am assuming it will work and may give it a shot.
Most of the screws in the back were rotten and broke off. some in the sides were pretty corroded. The vent covers on the roof were brittle from the sun. Mother nature still wins.
I have some pics, but my phone is not cooperating.
Sorry for the long post. Thanks for any advice,
Erik
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Old 09-15-2011, 10:27 PM   #7
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Pics

I think I attached these right.
The first pic is the roof where the soft spot is.
Second pic is a fine example of how not to seal your roof when it is leaking.
Third pic is the result of not doing routine maintenance. Hard to believe it is an 02. My dad has an 87 Prowler that has never leaked.

Do your maintenance!
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Old 09-16-2011, 09:19 PM   #8
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This morning I uncovered the camper to let it sit in the sun to dry out. When I got home I pulled the rubber back some more and cut 6 out the bad wood about 4-6 inches into the good wood. I then used an oscillating cutting tool to cut the rafters out. I only totally removed the furthest one back. The second one from the back I removed 1/2 and then I removed a 1/4 of the next three rafters and I was into solid rafters and wood.

The uppermost piece that runs around the top of the roof is somewhat soft, but feels better as it dries. I am thinking that I will use some wood hardener to firm that up so I can attach the rafters to it. Instead of rebuilding rafters like they were originally I used 2X6's and then cut them to match the radius of the roof.
---Is there going to be an issue using 2X6's? I added 18ft of 2X6. I don't think that is too much weight. I wouldn't do the whole roof though.

I then used a 2X8ft piece of 3/8" plywood for the rear piece of roof which was rotten. I used another piece of plywood cut to fit the spot right in front of that. They fit pretty tight, but I have a couple questions.

-I am going to use screws and liquid nails to attach the plywood roof. Should I also seal the seams with something, or just run a bead of liquid nails between the seams?

- Anybody see issues with using the 2X6's?

- I was going to use pink styrofoam insulation instead of the fiberglass. Any issue with this? Should I just use fiberglass?

- I am hoping to reuse the rubber roof. I was going to clean it up good and use Dicor adhesive. Thoughts??

- around the edges of the wood underneath the aluminum skin I was going to use a butyl tape or Eternabond. I have some Tyvek butyl putty tape that I used in a window install. It is 4" wide. I am thinking this would work. Why can't I use it?

I have to go out of town for a week for work on Sunday morning, so I probably will have time to think about all of this. If anyone has any ideas, I am more than willing to think about it.

Here are some pics I took. It gives you a general idea of what it was and what it will be. The roof plywood is just sitting on the roof right now. I don't have any good pics of the new rafters. I thought I took some. I will take some more pictures and update this tomorrow. Let me know if you have any ideas.
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Old 09-16-2011, 09:26 PM   #9
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Oh yeah, Here is what I learned today.

Roof adhesive still is a bugger. There is no way the rubber is ever going to blow off of this.

A labrador retriever will carry off whatever tool I need next.

A circular saw dropped from the roof of the camper will need to be replaced.

The garage roof is a great place for taking pictures.

Forest River really likes to use staples to put things together.

So far the roof project is tedious and takes alot of work, but I wouldn't classify it as hard or expensive. Repair places obviously charge for their time.

I will add an update tomorrow.
Thanks for looking.
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Old 09-17-2011, 01:42 PM   #10
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Nasty looking before picture. Nice looking repair job.
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Old 09-17-2011, 06:34 PM   #11
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Today I worked on the camper for a few more hours. THe corner was pretty much dry so I brushed on some Minwax wood hardener to stiffen up the wood around where the rotted wood had been. The stuff is fairly amazing. I used some of it on some fairly well rotted wood and it stiffened right up and petrified it. I still advocate using new wood.

So after the hardener did its thing I mounted the trusses. I used Liquid nails, screws and mending plates to attach them and tie them into the existing trusses.

I had some extra insulation from insulating my garage so I just used that rather than buy new foam or any other type of insulation.

Once that was in I laid a bead of liquid nails on the trusses and laid the roof panels down. I screwed the panels to the trusses as well. Then I used a sanding block and some 60 or 100 grit sandpaper to round the edges.

I had some 4" wide adhesive butyl tape from a window project so I used that to tape all of the seams. I am not sure why I did this, but I figured it couldn't hurt.

Once that was all done I finished up for the day. I laid the rubber back down and covered it all with a tarp. I am out of town for work now through Thursday, so when I get back I am going to install new vents, put the rubber back down, and then take off all of the caulk that was on their and redo it.

The pictures are below. There is one of my son. It is instrumental to have someone who can hand or throw you tools so you don't have to make so many trips up and down the ladder

Thanks for following along. More updates when I get home.
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Old 09-17-2011, 08:10 PM   #12
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Nice job on the repair Erik!
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Old 09-17-2011, 08:16 PM   #13
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I still need to get the rubber roofing back down. I think I am going to use Dicor adhesive and then use a 2ft piece of PVC to roll it. I have been able to get on my roof as long as I distribute my weight, but I am apprehensive of doing it. I would hate to do all this work only to fall through another part of my roof
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Old 09-21-2011, 09:32 PM   #14
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I am going to follow the progress. Where did you buy the rubber glue and how much was it?

There is a long thread on another forum out there where the guy replaced his roof, all new plywood if I recall. There is also a video of a factory rubber roof install somewhere.

If I did my roof I would build a scaffold on either side the put the roof below waist high. You can do most of the work without climbing on the roof.

Good luck.
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Old 09-25-2011, 08:56 PM   #15
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Scaffolding would have been a wonderful thing to have. I got some leftover glue from one of the local RV repair shops. It was about half a gallon they had left over and I bought it for 20 bucks. I was going to buy a gallon for $75, but this was cheaper.

I got the roof rubber all laid back down and got the trim back on. I bent some of the trim taking it off, but it wasn't too bad so I just put it back on. Today it was about 60 degrees so I installed new vent covers for the holding tanks. I also scraped the old sealant off the bathroom vent and used Dicor self leveling sealant on the vent and the holding tank vents.

My next order of business is to scrub the heck out of the roof. Like I said before, I don't think the PO did much maintenance on the roof. It is very dirty and has things growing on it in places. I scrubbed a little of the front section and it looks 100 times better. I was using Meguirs car wash detergent and a big scrub brush.

As the weather permits I am going to scrape the sealant off of the rest of the fixtures and apply new sealant. I am also going to do all of the windows and other compartments that have sealant.

Two questions:
-What is best for washing the roof? What will bring back the white without damaging rubber roof?
-I was using Dicor self leveling sealant on the roof. I am assuming that there is a Dicor that will not self level that I can use on the side windows. THis will probably be answered by the guys at the RV shop, but I thought I would throw it out here for now.

It got fairly dark tonight, but I will take more pics when I can so you can see the finished product.

Thanks for ridin along with me on this journey
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Old 09-25-2011, 09:36 PM   #16
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Whatever you use to clean the roof do not use any citrus based cleaners. And I believe distillates is a no no.best to use products made for the rubber roof. Just checked my rv shelf and the cleaner I used is not there, I did use 303 Aerospace Protectant, from West Marine, on the roof after cleaning. They may have a cleaner. I used Awesome, from Dollar General, on the black streaks on the walls, do not remember if I used it on the roof.

Yes, There is self leveling and none leveling roof caulk.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Erikh425
Scaffolding would have been a wonderful thing to have. I got some leftover glue from one of the local RV repair shops. It was about half a gallon they had left over and I bought it for 20 bucks. I was going to buy a gallon for $75, but this was cheaper.

I got the roof rubber all laid back down and got the trim back on. I bent some of the trim taking it off, but it wasn't too bad so I just put it back on. Today it was about 60 degrees so I installed new vent covers for the holding tanks. I also scraped the old sealant off the bathroom vent and used Dicor self leveling sealant on the vent and the holding tank vents.

My next order of business is to scrub the heck out of the roof. Like I said before, I don't think the PO did much maintenance on the roof. It is very dirty and has things growing on it in places. I scrubbed a little of the front section and it looks 100 times better. I was using Meguirs car wash detergent and a big scrub brush.

As the weather permits I am going to scrape the sealant off of the rest of the fixtures and apply new sealant. I am also going to do all of the windows and other compartments that have sealant.

Two questions:
-What is best for washing the roof? What will bring back the white without damaging rubber roof?
-I was using Dicor self leveling sealant on the roof. I am assuming that there is a Dicor that will not self level that I can use on the side windows. THis will probably be answered by the guys at the RV shop, but I thought I would throw it out here for now.

It got fairly dark tonight, but I will take more pics when I can so you can see the finished product.

Thanks for ridin along with me on this journey
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Old 09-25-2011, 09:48 PM   #17
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I will ask tomorrow at the RV shop to see what they have to say about the roof. They haven't steered me wrong yet. Anything made from RV's seems to be expensive. I was looking at the MSDS on the Dicor adhesive. I then went to the local Home Depot and looked at all of their adhesives. Using my smartphone I looked up the MSDS of those adhesives. What I found was linoleum adhesive is essentially the same as the Dicor stuff. I got a deal on the Dicor adhesive that I used, but linoleum adhesive may be worth a try. Linoleum adhesive was 20-30 dollars a gallon. Dicor was $75/gallon.
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Old 09-26-2011, 03:51 PM   #18
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Here is a pic of the finished corner. In the beginning there was a slit in the rubber. I have patched it with an eternabond patch.
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Old 09-26-2011, 04:01 PM   #19
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And here is what I did today.

There was a leak in the front of the trailer as well. There was a nice new strip of what appeared to be sealant like Eternabond across the whole thing. I started to inspect it, but then thought I might as well tear off all of the sealant and reseal the front seam. With heat gun in hand I started to peel off the sealant. Well then came the surprise. This was sealant over a strip of what appears to be foil backed roofing tar or something. Long story short, it is nearly impossible to get all of the tar off and I am afraid to heat the rubber that it is attached to anymore than I have. I have gotten most of it off and I have fount the area where the leak was. I am hoping to be able to use a 6"X10' strip of Eternabond to seal this and I will back that up with some Dicor sealant.

The name on the tar wrap is "Protecto Wrap" I am assuming that this wasn't made for campers. Maybe I am wrong.

The one thing that I left out about the process was the amount of swearing that went into removing it.

DON'T EVER USE HOT TAR TO PATCH YOUR CAMPER ROOF!!
Camper specific products are expensive, there is a reason they make camper specific products, and it is the same reason that divorces are expensive...they are worth it

Here are a couple pics:
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