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Old 12-27-2010, 03:10 PM   #1
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Major Rockwood/Flagstaff Construction Flaw

If anyone is wondering why there are delamination issues, you only have to look at the way the slide seals are attached to the camper wall. They are only stapled every foot or so, and there is absolutely NO sealant between the seal and the camper wall. So there is nothing to stop water from getting in behind the seal and soaking the exposed wall where it is cut out for the slide.
Being an engineer, I tend to try to figure out where the flaws may be, and this one didn't take long to find. If you own one of these lightweights, or maybe any camper for that matter, just open your
slide(s), pull back the seal flap, and have a look behind. You may be shocked at what you find.
That open cut in the wall should be capped/sealed from the factory, but of course they only care as long as it lasts past the warranty. Like the old saying goes, they don't build them like they used to.
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Old 12-27-2010, 03:21 PM   #2
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If anyone is wondering why there are delamination issues, you only have to look at the way the slide seals are attached to the camper wall. They are only stapled every foot or so, and there is absolutely NO sealant between the seal and the camper wall. So there is nothing to stop water from getting in behind the seal and soaking the exposed wall where it is cut out for the slide.
Being an engineer, I tend to try to figure out where the flaws may be, and this one didn't take long to find. If you own one of these lightweights, or maybe any camper for that matter, just open your
slide(s), pull back the seal flap, and have a look behind. You may be shocked at what you find.
That open cut in the wall should be capped/sealed from the factory, but of course they only care as long as it lasts past the warranty. Like the old saying goes, they don't build them like they used to.
So then, with your engineering background, we can assume that you have come up with a do-it-yourself fix for this potential problem. Would love to hear what it is as our unit has two slides. Thanks in advance.

...VTX-AL
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Old 12-27-2010, 03:37 PM   #3
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As much as I hate to start dismantling a brand new camper, I will be removing the vertical slide seals. The top one shouldn't be an issue.
I will be looking for something to cap that open cut in the wall, although it may take two seperate pieces. One flat strip to cover the open cut, then a small L-shaped piece to go over the corner made by the new flat piece and the outside camper wall. If I could find one piece to do both jobs, that would be preferrable. Whatever I use, I will caulk the open wall cut first, and caulk under the corner bead. And I will probably caulk the slide seal when I put it back on. And I won't be 'stapling' it on, I will be screwing it on.
If it means not having a delamination issue in the future, it will be well worth the work.
I really cannot believe that the manufacturer would do such a butcher job. The camper is gorgeous to look at, but good looks don't last forever if there are fundamental issues under the 'skin'.
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Old 12-27-2010, 05:24 PM   #4
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Any chance you can post pics? I'm not sure I understand. On my 08 Rockwood I don't see any staples and my side seals are caulked at side panel.
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Old 12-27-2010, 05:45 PM   #5
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The newer campers may have different seals. On mine, the slide seal has a 3 or 4-inch flap attached to a hard strip, and it is that strip that is stapled to the camper. Then a soft seal is slid over that strip, and held in place by two screws, one on each end. That seal is the one that gets sqished between the slide flange and the side of the camper when the slide is pulled in for transport.
On mine that hard strip, and the soft seal over it, are not caulked like yours, and water can get under it. If yours is caulked, you should be ok. The problem with mine is that if I caulk them, then I couldn't remove that soft seal without cutting off the caulking first. And since I would still have that open cut in the wall, I figured I would hide all of the caulking while I was at it.
Your wall contruction might also be different than the newer campers, and you may not have that exposed section.
I'll take pictures once I get it taken apart.
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Old 12-27-2010, 07:14 PM   #6
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Good deal...pics will help. I'll check mine again when time permits, now that I have a better idea of whats up. I re-caulk my side strips every year just in case. After the first year I had the TT I noticed the caulking had pulled away from seal forming an entry for water. A very quick yearly task for making sure all is as should be. Figure as long as I'm checking the roof, may as well check all out seals while I'm at it. I've been using clear silicone sealant. Perhaps there is a better sealant out there for this?
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Old 12-27-2010, 07:20 PM   #7
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If I could find one piece to do both jobs, that would be preferrable.
I'll be interested in your photos. As for the "piece" you are looking for...perhaps some PVC rain gutter will do the trick. You can cut it easily to the correct width on a table saw and it would have the built-in "L" you need. Certainly cheap enough to give it a try.
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Old 12-27-2010, 09:05 PM   #8
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Thanks Willis, a trip to Home Depot is in order.
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Old 12-28-2010, 06:58 AM   #9
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Thanks for the info crocus. I'm looking forward to seeing your pics. Could save some from a really big problem.

I never got a satisfactory answer has to how the water got inside the walls of my '09 Rockwood. I was just told the delam was caused by bad glue, but then no explanation as to how water got inside the walls. One thing though, I was told by my dealer that the slide area is where most delam problems were found, however my tt had delam down both sidewalls. It was most evident around the slide and the 2 entry doors on the other wall.
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Old 12-28-2010, 07:49 AM   #10
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"I was told by my dealer that the slide area is where most delam problems were found"

One would think that maybe they might realise that there is a problem? And maybe care enough to look for a solution? It would be such an easy thing for them to cap the cut opening in the wall before installing the slide(s), and it would probably cost all of 20 bucks to do the job, labour included. Makes me wonder where else they are cutting corners?
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Old 12-28-2010, 07:53 AM   #11
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Another thought just popped into my head. I have heard some say they travel with their rear roof vents open, but that would create a vacuum in the camper, so if one is travelling in the rain, it would actually suck water right past the seals, and right into the wall.
Owning a camper used to be pretty worry free.
No longer, it would seem.
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Old 12-28-2010, 08:36 AM   #12
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That is an interesting thought. I have covers over my vents so I just leave them open when traveling to air out the camper. Recently I have been closing the bedroom vent becuase bugs and such get scooped into the vent and get mashed into the screen. Never even gave a thought to the vacuum that was forming by the rear vent that faces away from the air flow.
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Old 12-28-2010, 02:42 PM   #13
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Well, FR defeated me!
Tried pulling one of the staples out of the slide seal, and short of wrecking something, it wasn't coming out. So I have to admit defeat on my original plan.
The alternative is to follow Koodog's lead and caulk the seal to the side of the camper. At least that will stop water from getting in that way.
I am probably far more fortunate than most, as the fifth is stored in a heated shop whenever it is off the road. For one that is stored outside, and especially those that are used in cold weather, I can sure see moisture eventually working its way into that 'wood' layer under the fibreglass exterior.
I should just quit looking for things I can't fix!
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Old 12-28-2010, 03:52 PM   #14
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Quote:
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"I was told by my dealer that the slide area is where most delam problems were found"

One would think that maybe they might realize that there is a problem? And maybe care enough to look for a solution? It would be such an easy thing for them to cap the cut opening in the wall before installing the slide(s), and it would probably cost all of 20 bucks to do the job, labour included. Makes me wonder where else they are cutting corners?
You would think that they would come up with some answers to the delam problem by now.
Last March when I first took mine to the dealership for them to inspect the delam, the salesman told me they had problems with the Rockwoods and had sent several back because of delam problems (wished he would have mentioned this when I bought the tt). After the tt was fixed and I had read more on the problem I thought I would check into trading it in for a new one. Depended on how much of a hit I would have to take. I emailed my salesman asking if they would offer a “special deal” considering my circumstances (there were some ongoing problems with the tt besides the delam). He emailed back stating they have had lots of problems with the Rockwoods and knew about all the problems I was having. He said they tried to get FR to buy the tt's back but they wouldn’t. He then offered a deal I could get anywhere and said they couldn‘t do anymore without FR‘s help. By now the dealership had quit selling Rockwoods. I contacted FR to see if they might help and was told that they were in litigation with my dealer and would not work with them on any deal. They also told me they would not help me on their own because that would be like a “goodwill gesture” or “giving me a handout“ (their words). I wasn’t asking for my money back, just help me break even when I trade it in on a new FR tt. If FR and my dealer would have worked together it would have been less than $2,000 each.
I’m not saying the tt I have now will be any less prone to delam than the Rockwood I had, I’m just saying the particular tt I had was not worth keeping. The response I got from my dealer and FR weighed heavy in my decision to take the hit on the tt and buy a Prime Time from a different dealer, which actually beat my old dealers deal on the same tt, same options except the one I bought came with $3,800 of free upgrades.
So keep an eye on your tt’s. Replacement of your tt's walls is about the only fix I know of once delam has started. I was lucky they replaced the sidewalls under warranty. After the warranty is up you could be on your own to foot the bill. I have been told it could have cost up to $4,000 per sidewall.

Good Luck and Happy Camping!
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Old 12-28-2010, 06:51 PM   #15
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Without looking at my TT since it is in storage, would it be possible to brush some water seal on the exposed wood area from inside while the slide is in? If this could be done it would help stop the water from soaking in to the exposed area. This along with some chauk should help the situation.
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Old 12-28-2010, 07:27 PM   #16
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Without looking at my TT since it is in storage, would it be possible to brush some water seal on the exposed wood area from inside while the slide is in? If this could be done it would help stop the water from soaking in to the exposed area. This along with some chauk should help the situation.
I don't believe you can do that. I would have to double check, but I think all I can really see when the slide is in is the seal. For me it would be too hard to reach anyway.

The wood that you need to worry about is very thin and laminated between the styrofoam insulation and the fiberglass. When the inside of the wall gets wet the styrofoam swells and the glue breaks down allowing seperation of the laminated layers.

So even if you could brush some water seal on the edge of the wood, water would still probably penetrate the stryofoam and cause delam. Placing some kind of a "cap" over the edge, as crocus suggested, not allowing any water inside the wall would be the best fix.

On the outside you will see bubbles or a wavy look to your fiberglass. On the inside swelling may not be noticable until you run your hand over the wall and feel it rather than see it. Your wall can also develope small, hard bumps sometimes resembling a rash. Unfortunately by the time you notice, it's too late.
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Old 12-28-2010, 09:42 PM   #17
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Crocus,
We are both fortunate enough to have heated shops to store our Rv's in when not on the road. Makes these "little" repairs a whole lot easier, and can be done when time permits.
Grhodes50.... surely a bad deal with FR on your last Rockwood. Given the same situation, I'd of made the same decision you did.....buy a different brand. Keep us posted on the new rig. Your pics got me fired up to look at that model. So far so good?
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Old 12-28-2010, 10:15 PM   #18
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Crocus,
We are both fortunate enough to have heated shops to store our Rv's in when not on the road. Makes these "little" repairs a whole lot easier, and can be done when time permits.
Grhodes50.... surely a bad deal with FR on your last Rockwood. Given the same situation, I'd of made the same decision you did.....buy a different brand. Keep us posted on the new rig. Your pics got me fired up to look at that model. So far so good?
Thanks. I try to be careful when I post about what happened. I don't believe FR or Rockwoods are bad in general, just the one I got and a few others that have posted on here. So I'm not bashing FR, just the one tt I had.

Prime Time is a Berkshire/Hathaway product so it is a "cousin" to FR. So far the trailer is great. Only one trip in it, so it's too early to tell for sure. After my last experience I'm a little hesitant to rate any tt too high, too early. I still love the "feel" when I walk in it, just a real solid feeling, no soft spots in the floor over the furnace ducts or water tanks. No veneer or particle board, all solid wood. I really like the universal docking system. All the connections inside the slam shut baggage door makes everything neat and tidy.

I had one stiff drawer, contacted Prime Time and they sent me new drawer guides within a week. They have a contact page on their web site. They are very resposive and usually get back to you within a day.

The omni directional antenna does not pick up as many stations as the batwing, but the ones it does pick up come in great. At least no cranking up or down.

I am looking forward to hooking the TV up outside under the awning this spring, watch a movie under the stars while sitting by the campfire. Of course I'll make sure the sound isn't too loud, don't want to disturb the neighbors. And of course they will be more than welcome to join us if they wish.
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Old 12-28-2010, 10:32 PM   #19
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jwuertz, with the slide out I can pull the seal flap back and kindof see the exposed wall. I might try putting something on the wood edge, but it won't be easy. If the factory had screwed the seal on instead of cheaping out and stapling it on, it would have been an easy fix.
Luckily, what I thought was exposed styrofoam is actually the aluminum frame around the slide opening. They were just sloppy with the glue and their is styrofoam bits stuck to the aluminum.

Koodog, don't be so sure that buying a different model will be any better. As far as I know, all fibreglass trailers have that thin wood backing under the fibreglass skin.
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Old 12-29-2010, 11:05 AM   #20
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crocus,
Agree most constuction is similar, I was referring more about how it was handled. Wouldn't be nice in your current situation, if you could call FR and they would offer a solution, explanation of design, or maybe just hear you out?

In a perfect world...
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