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Old 07-21-2018, 04:03 PM   #1
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Sidewall Crack in Rockwood Signature Ultra-Lite

Hello all..

First off I want to thank everyone for their input. This site has been a very valuable resource for me.

I have a crack in the sidewall in one of the corners by the slide out. I know I'd posted previously about that but can't find it now. Anyway.. I've been doing some research on how to fix myself and honestly, I'm nervous about doing it.

One local shop recommended the entire section be cut out and replaced with new plywood and fiberglass. They'd blend it in and I likely wouldn't be able to tell it was repaired. Cost was between $1100 and $1300. They'd bill me for actual labor.

The other shop recommended that they just install a piece of trim over the damaged section and screw that down. They'd seal it up and make sure it didn't leak. However, I'd see the repair. Cost for this was in the $200 to $300 range.

Obviously, I like the price of just covering it up with trim and sealing it up. Money's a little short right now and an inexpensive repair is really appealing. However, if i'm opening a bigger can of worms by introducing a bunch of new holes that will need to be monitored and repaired frequently as well as remaining weak, maybe I'd be happier just biting the bullet and paying more up front for the complete repair.

Interested in what your thoughts are and if you think securing a piece of trim over the damaged section and sealing it off could be a long-term solid repair.

Here's a photo of the damaged wall. There are actually two cracks here. One that goes straight up (the black line) and another that goes diagonal (covered with caulk currently). The area under the crack is de-laminated and the entire section (about 12" around it) is de-laminated. The wall is soft and moves in and out when the slide presses against.

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Old 07-21-2018, 04:05 PM   #2
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I am scared to comment. BUT.........maybe my thought is......if you do the inexpensive repair, and see how long that lasts..........then why would that be a binary choice? That is, why couldn't you STILL do the other more permanent repair later if that one didn't work?
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Old 07-21-2018, 04:07 PM   #3
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I am scared to comment. BUT.........maybe my thought is......if you do the inexpensive repair, and see how long that lasts..........then why would that be a binary choice? That is, why couldn't you STILL do the other more permanent repair later if that one didn't work?
Great point. I guess I could. I'd hate to waste $300 by doing the inexpensive repair now but that makes sense.
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Old 07-21-2018, 04:09 PM   #4
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Stupid photos didn't load..

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Old 07-21-2018, 04:09 PM   #5
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That IS a consideration. If it lasts a long time, good decision. If it lasts a short time, you wasted money.

Man, don't take MY advice! I am unsure which is best.

Sorry you have to make that choice.
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Old 07-22-2018, 12:26 PM   #6
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cheap fix

hey 007matman, i may be way off on my thinking, but if the structure of the wall is not going to be fixed for $300, then why not clean the area and apply some of the eternabond tape? is it possible to get any type of glue into the de-lam area? could a silka adhesive be squeezed into the area?
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Old 07-22-2018, 12:37 PM   #7
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Most likely neither repair will hold because neither approach solves the underlying problem. More likely you have failed welds in the aluminum header that goes across the top of the slideout. Each time you move the slide it is pulling or pushing against that beam and flexing the skin causing the surface crack. There is a slim chance the aluminum frame is ok but the slide is not adjusted right and not stopping soon enough. Whichever it must be fixed first.

The trim fix will likely only last a few cycles of the slide. The other 'fix' may last longer. But the Rockwood has a laminated sidewall that is glued to both the aluminum frame and rigid foam insulation. The entire structure gets its strength from this sandwich and cutting out too small of an area provides no strength especially if the frame is broken.

You need the underlying problem correctly understood and that will dictate a proper surface repair.


on edit: There is also a third possibility that might be the best case problem. The top rail of the A&E slide topper is only attached to the sidewall skin rather than into the aluminum header. It should have been mounted lower to hit the header, higher to hit the top frame or extended further to the right and carefully attached to each vertical stud. Anyway, tension from the topper spring is pulling the skin away from the underlying foam/frame. If this is the problem, then either remove the slide topper entirely, move the top rail to a secure location, or add a stronger aluminum (1/4" thick, painted white) rail under the existing rail and again secured into aluminum framing not just the skin.
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Old 07-22-2018, 01:19 PM   #8
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Sidewall crack

I agree totally with Larrytbm. A waste of time and $ if the structure is not addressed. I had a FR Flagstaff same issue. After opening the interior wall, the aluminum frame was perfectly fine. What was not was the OSB filler piece on either side of the rough opening for the slide. Briefly: if the slide itself is 12’, they framed the opening 13’ to receive the 12’ slide. Leaving a 6”filler piece either side of cheap OSB sheathing. Then applied the interior luan and exterior gelcoat. There is no structural integrity at all. In my case the wall had gotten wet from not having a slide topper, and the OSB deteriorated, leaving the fiberglass to flex each time it opened and developed the crack, and it kept growing even after a couple of “1/8 stop drill” holes.
Lot of work, but I restructured the entire opening, re glued the laminate each side and sold it better than new.
Good luck. Thankfully I’m a retired home builder with the time, tools, and knowledge.
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Old 07-22-2018, 01:29 PM   #9
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Patch it with entrabond and monitor it for movement If it doesn’t move so the cheap trim patch. Otherwise you are into a larger repair.
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Old 07-22-2018, 01:39 PM   #10
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Thanks guys.

I really think the wall is moving too. However, both of the guys that.looked at it thought it was just the delamination showing and the internal structure was fine.

When I operate the slide I can see the wall moving when it goes out or in.

Anyone want to give an overview of how I'd fix if it was the aluminum structure? Would I cut into both the interior and exterior? How would I go about replacing the materials I removed? I'm pretty handy and willing to try it.
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Old 07-22-2018, 02:24 PM   #11
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Sidewall crack

Do not cut exterior anything! Leave the fiberglass intact. In my case I dismantled everything from the interior exposing the framing or lack of it and the deterioration of the OSB sheathing that was used as side fillers 6” by the total height each side. I think I partially opened the slide to perform the work.I remember having to carefully reinstall the slide gasket seals on exterior same as they were removed.
I milled two new end studs using pressure treated material, I reheated (6”fillers) using CDX plywood then installed new rigid polystyrene insulation and installed new interior laminate paneling. Came out excellent! Glued and screwed framing where possible and glued all exterior I’ll call it gel coat fiberglass. Used glue, clamps and some real framing ingenuity to shore up the interior so that I could press against it from outside for it to set up cure and hold. (One week fingers crossed) I used my front end loader and bucket and “made a temporary wall “ on the exterior so as to make the “sandwich”work. Sounds confusing I know, if I come across some pictures I’ll PM them to you. A real head scratcher but ultimately very doable. Was rock solid when operating the slide. For the 8” crack I did a fiberglass mesh and repair and dust painted it. Was noticeable up close only and no water intrusion ever. I actually had to point the repair out to the perspective buyer, and he was fine with it. Unit was a 2004 FR Flagstaff BHSS
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Old 07-22-2018, 04:43 PM   #12
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I would do more analysis first, with a helper verify both interior and exterior wall movement. Is the other side ok? Does the top move more than the bottom? Is the movement only at the end of slide travel or is it progressive? I would disable or remove the slide topper to see if movement is less.

I agree you should do repair work from inside. You may be able to remove a full 48" wide panel with just a single horizontal cut (ceiling will be the other horizontal edge). Use a oscillating multifunction tool being careful not to cut into studs. Pry up one edge and use a hand saw to cut thru the glue and foam along the back. You may avoid damaging the face of the panel.
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Old 07-23-2018, 05:34 PM   #13
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I am not saying this will fix your problem but you may consider giving it some thought, I did a repair above my small slide out which use to be a bed and bunk, but l made a TV / play area. The ceiling was starting to sag approximately 1/2 inch, l took a 10 ft. piece of 1 inch decking board ( pressure treated) and l ripped it down and screwed into the Aluminium header. I had to take a screwdriver and locate the header. I also put Gorilla Glue Construction Adhesive on the wall where l placed my new board for extra stability along with the screws, l also filled each hole l made with my screwdriver. Using the same method l think you can reinforce your wall, you could cut your board with in 3/4 of and inch of the slide out molding, locate your header and wall studs on each side of your slide out , use your glue and screw into the header and wall studs, this is only reinforcement. I painted my board before installation, and used Dap caulk to trim out with. Give this approach some thought ,l believe it will help stabilize the wall and cut down on mClick image for larger version

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Old 07-23-2018, 05:34 PM   #14
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Old 07-23-2018, 05:51 PM   #15
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I wouldn't open the interior wall or exterior wall unless it was my last alternative, l did a major roof repair on my TT , which has a Composite roof( luan ,Styrofoam and luan all glued together, it can be fixed but requires a lot of work and time, because everything has to be glued and compressed, there is nothing to screw into. There needs to be ceiling trusses which would help tie the exterior walls together to give the TT strength but there are not any, l believe that is why the slide out gives ( my slide out is doing the same as yours, but not as bad of a crack) , the floor system is also similar but does have some light weight tubing for reinforcement, the walls only have Aluminium studs on each side of the Slide outs that's it. As some of the others advised using Eternabond over the cracks. Or the molding if you can first minimize the movement in the wall.
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Old 07-23-2018, 05:54 PM   #16
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Sounds like some good repair advise here BUT PLEASE NOTE pressure treated wood is not to be used touching aluminum. There will be a chemical reaction basically a severe corrosion issue. Those of us that are fishermen are alway modifying and tinkering with mods and repairs on aluminum boat and this has been a well known issue.

https://www.ehow.com/how_7844027_sto...ated-wood.html
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Old 07-23-2018, 06:03 PM   #17
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Sounds like some good repair advise here BUT PLEASE NOTE pressure treated wood is not to be used touching aluminum. There will be a chemical reaction basically a severe corrosion issue. Us fishermen are alway modifying and tinkering with mods and repairs on aluminum boat and this has been a well known issue.
I didn't let it touch, l never removed the luan paneling only took a flat head screwdriver to locate header, then filled my holes with construction adhesive as put a substantial bead behind my treated board. But that's could advice .
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Old 07-23-2018, 06:07 PM   #18
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I didn't let it touch, l never removed the luan paneling only took a flat head screwdriver to locate header, then filled my holes with construction adhesive as put a substantial bead behind my treated board. But that's could advice .
Yea your good if it does not touch.
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Old 07-23-2018, 06:18 PM   #19
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I want to make another note, l tried other Adhesive's, but they didn't work well, the Gorilla Glue Construction Adhesive, works well in high temperatures, it doesn't react with the Styrofoam ( melt ) and it also does not set up real fast, so there is work ability, l glued 2 layers of 1/4 luan on my roof, it has been a year with no separation.
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Old 07-23-2018, 06:20 PM   #20
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Also Gorilla glue has no fumes or gazing.
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