Alumitite Roof and Rail Repair Inquiry

Discussion in 'Roof/Floor Repair & Maintenance' started by M5Maniac, Jul 26, 2017.

  1. M5Maniac

    M5Maniac New Member

    Mar 8, 2016
    I have a '05 Fleetwood Valor 3951 with the 3 piece Alumitite roof with the roof rails. The rail on the passenger side, toward the rear, separated from the roof awhile. Any water that pools in the corner where the separation is, leaks into the popup.

    This weekend I am going to take off the rail(s), put Eternabond along the seam and reinstall the rail. However, in lieu of gluing down the rails, I want to use roofing screws. I swore someone else has done this, but I can't find their post. I would like to know the length of the roofing screws. It looks like 1" could be the smallest I can get. Does anyone know if that will go through the ceiling inside? What is depth do I have to work with?

  2. jmkay1

    jmkay1 2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah

    Oct 10, 2013
    Northern Virginia
    Following this thread. I remember reading something about the fix, but don't know the size of three screws needed. I'm thinking though in addition to the eternabond you will also need to put something in the screw holes to make it water tight in addition. Just not sure what it is boaters use to do this.
  3. mstrbill

    mstrbill Active Member

    Mar 17, 2013
    Austin , Texas
    from this topic on PUX:

    I'm an owner of a 2004 GTE Niagara with a, "gasp", Alumitite roof. My PopUp has been stored outdoors on my driveway 24/7/365 since 2004, and still no leaks. My dealer, (or perhaps traveling technicians from the Fleetwood Factory), made sure the roof was sealed properly before delivery to me. There is a clear bead of polyurethane sealant at the endcaps, and you can see it underneath the rails.

    Two summers ago I found a nice pre-owned 2004 GTE Bayside with a, "gasp", Alumitite roof for my sister to accompany my family on camping trips. Although it had no visible signs of leakage inside. It also didn't have the obvious visible sealant that mine does. So I re-sealed it. It took one Saturday morning. Unfortunately my sister prefers motorhomes, so she traded it in.

    If you do not see sealant underneath your Yakima rails, they will pop right off when you unscrew them. First clean the roof really well with soap and water, dry it off, remove the rails. Carefully and diligently clean underneath the rails and the aluminum seam with some alcohol, (the cheap rubbing alcohol from the drugstore is good - it will not remove the white paint like mineral spirits, paint thinner, or other solvents might). Clean the underside of the aluminum extrusion track really well, and wipe down with the same alcohol. Place a 1/4" bead of good white polyurethane sealant, (not silicone caulk), and replace the rail. Place a dab of sealant on the tip of each screw before installing it. Carefully wipe up all uncured sealant where you don't want it to be before it hardens. You're done.

    The endcaps are a little more involved because they are held in place with double stick tape. The potential to crack one by removing it exists, so try to NOT remove them if at all possible. However, the only place the water can actually enter is at the corners of the roof. The Alumitite was first assembled as a big flat lamination, then the front/back/sides were folded, so there are gaps at each corner covered by the plastic endcaps. if your endcaps do not already have sealant clearly visible at top edges, use some thin wood, (I used popsicle sticks), or plastic to wedge under the edge to gain some access, clean and wipe down with alcohol, then lay a bead of polyurethane sealant. You're done.

    If any of your existing sealant is cracked or chipping, break off the damaged sealant, (it's hard and semi-flexible), and replace with some fresh white polyurethane sealant.
    BelchFire, R2D2Tim and M5Maniac like this.
  4. M5Maniac

    M5Maniac New Member

    Mar 8, 2016
    Well, I kind of went rogue with bits of information from here and there. The screws I used were #8x 5/8" pan head sheet metal screws. I tried to get roofing screws, but the smallest I could find was #9 x1".

    This was the issue I was having. When it rained or when the AC was running, water pooled along this "passenger side" rail. After it pooled for awhile, water would eventually drip inside.

    Below is a close-up.

    Below is the new rail "end cap"... a about an 1-1/4" longer than the old cap. I ended up having to cut the rail. I used the new pair in front (for better aerodynamics).
    The rail came up pretty effortlessly with a little putty knife and pressure. I think i was mostly held down by the lap sealant. My variant of the rails have no screws at all.

    The glue that was supposed to hold down the rail was hard as nails and was separated from the aluminum roof on one side or the other. But with a angled handle scraper and a rubber mallet, the glue came up. I did nick the aluminum at the start, so be wary if try this at home.
    Once both sides were scraped clean, I used Clorox wipes to get all the remaining dirt and grime. Then did a wipe down with acetone on a rag, then finally used Eternaclean spray for the final clean.

    20170730_132904.jpg 20170730_144449.jpg

    Attached Files:

  5. M5Maniac

    M5Maniac New Member

    Mar 8, 2016
    Here's the piece of rail i had to cut off for the new end cap.

    I thought I had a pictures of the Eternabond tape laid out and pictures of the rails with holes through them [FAIL]. I used 1.5"x50' Eternabond. I laid it end to end with a 1/16" overlap. Then I rolled it out with a hard roller to get the grey goop to seal properly. I also pushed down on the overlap with a putty knife. Afterwards, I drilled holes in the railings, 16" on center, starting from the new "front" end cap hole. I added extra holes in the back to support the end caps and help put the rail back down on the buckled roof. I drilled smaller pilot holes on the roof itself and put in the #8 x5/8" sheet metal screws. Each screw got Dicor lap sealant. Then I applied the lap sealant everywhere else.







    Overall, it was a two day project, mostly because I had to run around finding parts and cleaner and everything else. But it was a nice weekend and kind of therapeutic to do the work. Now i need a big rain storm, which we are getting today! Fingers crossed

    Attached Files:

    BelchFire likes this.
  6. FleetwoodDrak

    FleetwoodDrak New Member

    May 1, 2018
    Nice work. How has it held up? I have an 04 Niagara that I’m currently about to seal up. There was quite a bit of silicone beneath the tracks on mine but was still leaking at the track ends.

    When you say you drilled holes in the track every 16”, was that to avoid using the original holes?

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