2008 Fleetwood Avalon Filon Roof Rebuild

Discussion in 'Roof/Floor Repair & Maintenance' started by s21538, Nov 7, 2015.

  1. s21538

    s21538 New Member

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    Hello,

    I am about to undertake the ultimate in roof repairs and open the biggest can of worms. I recently purchased a used 2008 Fleetwood Avalon. Other than the roof, it is in immaculate condition. Last weekend I replaced the A/C Gasket, suspecting the source of some rippled ceiling panels, which was about 1/8" thick, far smaller than the uncompressed 1" new gasket. There were also two hairline cracks that originated from the corners of the 14” cut-out for the A/C. When I removed the A/C I realized the extent of the damage. The Luan plywood essentially exploded. The only thing holding the roof together was the lower bracket for the A/C and the A/C itself. When I went back into the “Campler," I started feeling the roof and realized that that ¾ of the roof has some delamination. In addition, I noticed some discolouration at the front of Trailer on the canvas. Again upon closer inspection the front board is also, I suspect rotten.
    After reviewing many posts on this site and others, I have yet to find a total, “How to rebuild your Filon Roof." So I will attempt to document my progress. I have taken a week off to effect this project.
    Research:

    After realizing there are several difficult phases that needed to be completed I began researching how-to’s for each phase. As I see it now the distinct phases are (all phases do not represent an equal degree of difficulty):
    1. Finding a space large enough to make the repairs;
    2. Finding better or the correct materials;
    3. A/C removal;
    4. Canvas Removal;
    5. Roof Removal;
    6. Roof Interior “guts” removal (foam/luan);
    7. Lamination of filon, foam, plywood, and vinyl;
    8. Roof installation;
    9. Canvas installation;
    10. A/C installation; and,
    11. Drinking Beer.

    BTW, please chime in if you have suggestions.

    1. Finding a space large enough to make the repairs.

    After measuring the Campler and my two car garage (2 doors) it appears that it will just fit...at least the roof should allow me to close the door fully. This is a good start since this repair will probably take much longer than I anticipate. Also I clearly need some way to remove the uncovered trailer from the environment. I could cover but I would rather get it all out of the rain. However, the trailer will not fit and according to my calculations. About two feet of the tongue will remain sticking out. My intention is to lower the door to the tongue and accept door being open 2 feet. Also the Campler should clear the door opening by about 1 Inch either side. Getting it in the garage will be a test of my marriage as my wife and I attempt to back into the garage. We will be using walky-talkies.

    2. Finding better or the correct materials.

    I have been doing a lot of research on materials. I don’t really care about expense if the end product is done right. Realizing that the interior of the roof is made of Styrofoam and Luan reinforces the idea that profits are the main motivator of the RV industry. My intent, and again comments welcome, is to:

    1. Remove all the guts and replace with Foam board insulation, once I figure out the thickness required.
    2. Replace the Luan with Hardwood Underlayment Plywood http://www.lowes.com/pd_520357-53547-520357___?productId=50124674&pl=1&Ntt=plywood.
    3. Glue the entire thing together with Loctite PL Premium.
    4. Apply Vinyl wall-covering to the Plywood
    5. Replace the front and possibly the rear panels with wood instead of plywood, though This may not work as getting an 8’ board to remain straight may be asking for problems.
    6. And lastly reattach the hardware and lights to the roof using pop rivets.

    Next
    A/C Removal.
     
  2. niagarafam

    niagarafam Active Member

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    Wow, what a cool job! I love Avalons. Beautiful trailer - definitely worth the expense and effort. I think that they are my very favorite model. Sorry that that it needs a roof so soon. Too bad there is not an aluminum (one-piece) roof that you could buy or fabricate. Our Niagara's aluminum roof is definitely a strong feature. I keep the unit waxed and covered and hope it will last a long time. Keep us posted!
     
  3. Hoosier Daddy

    Hoosier Daddy Active Member

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    Tagging along...

    I saw filon referenced a couple of times but did not see it listed in your steps at the end of your post. I too have the intent of using Filon for the roof of a Teardrop project I am building so I have been researching it for a seamless roof material. There are two thought processes when using it, glued or floating. Some say to float it is best, attaching only the edges and let the material "float" on the substrate. Others glue the entire piece down.

    Atomic77 over on "tnttt.com" HERE IS HIS BUILD THREAD is covering his experience in great detail and others are providing their knowledge that may help you in building your roof. Things like...
    Page 8 he vacuum bags the Filon onto the walls with epoxy...
    but notice the first "float" attempt of the roof on page 19 with the failure further down on same page, and second attempt success on page 24 with something called " Bender's red glue".

    Just sharing what I have found so far.
     
  4. edh

    edh Active Member

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    Thanks, very helpful. I am rebuilding a roof from scratch and can't tell you how many times have gone back and forth between material A and material B,trying to figure out which is best. The real problem is a dearth of material choices big enough to allow a seamless roof. Some nice company needs to manufacture one piece molded camper roofs akin to pickup caps. How hard could it be?
     
  5. 94-D2

    94-D2 Happy Campin'

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    Don't think it's too hard to make a production roof. But given the narrow market of units to be sold, I'm sure it makes no business sense to produce them compared to a pick up shell. it would be nice to biggyback off if the shell production but again I'm sure the market share does not support the product.


    Be sure to post pics. I have a 2011 and have no idea what the roof is made of.
     
  6. friartuck

    friartuck Well-Known Member

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    #11. A session IPA then you can get the nice hoppy flavor AND still be able to drink it all day long [:D] [CB] [CB] [CB] [CB] [CB] [CB]
     
  7. Hoosier Daddy

    Hoosier Daddy Active Member

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    IPA's plug up my sinuses before I finish the 2nd one... Give me a malty Lager any time for an all day "session". [:D] [;)]
     
  8. edh

    edh Active Member

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    Re producing roofs: it would be a small market for replacement roofs, but if you also made them for new campers... I think it would work.

    I figure if someone can make an indestructible Little Tykes car that can sit outside neglected for decades and still be intact, you ought to be able to injection mold a camper roof over an aluminum frame similarly. Maybe one day we can use a plastic printer to make them...
     
  9. Hoosier Daddy

    Hoosier Daddy Active Member

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    That would be a huge mold and would need a many thousand ton IMM.
    I worked with 3000 metric ton Injection Molding Machines that made a pair (rt and lft) of full size truck wheel liners in one shot, so bigger yet for the shot the size of a 10 ft roof.
    Even Compression Molding would be be tough... worked on a 4,800 Ton presses that made hoods for the Lincoln Navigator, one molded the outer skin and the other did the inner frame work. At that time it was the largest in North America.
    The mold would cost a fortune and the machine time in $$ value... wow.
     
  10. edh

    edh Active Member

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    You're spoiling my roof fantasy... :)
     
  11. s21538

    s21538 New Member

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    Re: 2008 Fleetwood Avalon Filon Roof Rebuild: Update 1

    Good Evening,

    I have called her quit's for the evening. I started this morning at 0630 and took a few pictures this morning.

    1. Finding a space large enough to make the repairs; Found one…more on that in a minute.
    2. Finding better or the correct materials;
    3. A/C removal; Easily accomplished using a couple of 2 x4 and 2 other dudes.
    4. Canvas Removal; again quite easy. It only took about 15mins to remove all the canvas from the roof. I think replacing will take much longer. Of note, this morning was quite chilly, so I turned the furnace on for about an hour which made the rubber more malleable from when I first started when the ambient temp was in the 40s.
    5. Roof Removal; Once I removed the nuts from the studs, of which there were only 7 (one missing), it wnet like a charm. I read somewhere that the nuts were on loose. They are more than loose. They are barely on more than a few threads. It was also a heavy lift. It took six guys to lift it off. While simple, it requires manpower.
    6. Roof Interior “guts” removal (foam/luan); This was a bit of a big deal. Believe me; the thought crossed my mind if I should have even attempted this. The pictures illustrate the difference from not appearing so bad to opening the can of worms. I have completed my assessment and have concluded the following. There is water damage to 60% of the roof. It was definitely from the A/C hole location. The water then ran to the right side of the roof and forward to the front bulkhead. The luan forward of the “hell hole” is now removed down to the Styrofoam, which appears to be unsaturated by the moisture. This has led me to try and salvage the foam. The “wood” on the right side upright is shot. It is rotten and soaked. Also the wood that makes the radius on the front is also soaked and rotten. One problem that If having is removing the corner caps. They are affixed with a serious amount of silicone and I cannot get it free. I am trying to salvage them and especially since there are none available that I can find.
    Discoveries: The FIlon on the sides (uprights) is not part of the roofs main Filon section as was described on the How Its Made – travel trailer on Youtube…interesting. After removing some of the rotten material from the side the Filon popped out of the channel. I now have to figure out how it’s connected. Also, every piece of metal that touches the Filon is Siliconed or stuck on with some crazy amount of adhesive…makes for fun times.

    As a final feat for the evening. My wife and I got the Campler in the garage after 30 mins of trying. It just fits with 1" of clearance either side. Also the Tongue is sticking out, but the trailer is covered so, Yeah.
     

    Attached Files:

  12. s21538

    s21538 New Member

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    Re: 2008 Fleetwood Avalon Filon Roof Rebuild Update 2

    Holly crap I'm tired. The Mantra for today is: The nice thing about rotten wood is its easier to remove.

    I managed to completely remove the rotten wood using sure determination, a chisel, a screwdriver, a hammer and a metal puddle knife. The remaining good wood is just short of a big pain in the ass. The remaining Luan, which I have sectioned off from the good stuff is difficult to remove. It is really stuck to the Styrofoam. Tomorrow I will use my Skill saw and score it to aid the removal.

    The pictures below show the progression today.

    Discoveries: The Corner caps were screwed through the Filon and into the rotten piece of plywood. The difficult part about this is that the screws are underneath the metal exterior rails. I cannot figure out what order they put this thing together. I removed the small piece of wood from the front bulkhead. It appears to a 1/4 round cut of a 2" Dowel to make the radius. A buddy of mine and I are going to attempt to manufacture this part. The rotten wood removed from the horizontal parts of the roof were 1" thick plywood. This is a bit of a problem. Lowes/HD do not sell this. I am going to make some calls tomorrow to see if I can find any, but I suspect the cost is extreme and the availability is low. I will likely end up laminating two 1/2" pieces to make the right size. I also intend to replace the removed, laminated vertical panel with 1" of plywood instead of the Luan-Styrofoam-Luan-Filon panel. My intent is to laminate the loose Filon directly to the thick plywood. This will make it heavier but the 6' section I am replacing should make that much difference to the 500 lbs the ting weighs already.

    Rivets: I ordered 100 Bulbex Rivets http://rivetsonline.com/pr64aapab-bulbex-tribex-rivets.html from rivetsonline.com. These appear to be the rivets that I cut away to remove the side rail in the Demo phase. They make a huge anchor.

    Tomorrows Goal: Finish removing wood to set up for new Luan install. Buy 1/2" plywood, cut and laminate the new wood panels. I have a dehumidifier to try ans suck some of the residual moisture out of the lid. I am also going to treat the mold that is on the Styrofoam with Concrobium. I am having a hard time trying to decide on adhesive to stick the luan to the Styrofoam. Thoughts?

    Until tomorrow.
     

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  13. edh

    edh Active Member

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    I think you are discovering why some of us have scrapped our existing roofs all together and are building new roofs. Sometimes trying to get everything apart and keep the pieces intact for reuse is more work than it's worth, and it becomes easier just to start over from scratch... Best wishes with your project whichever way you go with it!
     
  14. Bigpopper2008

    Bigpopper2008 Member

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    Yeah but most roofs aren't 16 feet long. WOW just traded our 08 Avalon. Great PUP. Too bad you can't find a wrecked one. There is a guy on here that worked in the factory. But all of that would just be way too easy. GOOD LUCK!
     
  15. edh

    edh Active Member

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    A 16 foot roof? Geez...
     
  16. s21538

    s21538 New Member

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    16 ft....yes...its awesome....and then its not.

    Well...lets see.

    I thought I was finished ripping up the rotten stuff, having removed the wood. I left a heater on the front panel for on Monday night. I Tuesday morning it was still soaking wet. so I stuck my steel, flexible scraper, now my favorite tool ever, into the Styrofoam. The first thing that crossed my mind was Holy ****. The second thing was, two steps back. And the third thing was the comment a few before this one about starting from scratch.

    The Foam was more than wet. It was soaked. I filled a garbage bag with the wet stuff and almost broke it. It was completely saturated. So I began to lift it using my metal scraper. Again it is really easy to remove the rotten stuff. So for the last two days I have been removing wet Styrofoam. This evolution also made me realize the extent of the wet ingress. As the picture shows, it managed to get to 75% of the roof. Once I stripped the Vinyl it was much easier to see where the damage was. The water did three things. It ran between the Filon and the Styrofoam, between the Styrofoam and the Luan, and through the center channel, small gap between the 1" thick Styrofoam. Awesome!

    I solved the problem of finding 1" plywood. I laminated 1/2" today and will cut and insert in to the cavity where the rotten wood recently laid. I have been thinking about which order I should reassemble the roof. I have come up with laying the side wood and letting it adhere. Then inserting the new Extruded Polystyrene (EPS) to force tension into the now flaccid Filon. My thought is to place weight on top of the EPS and help the whole thing bond.

    I also sprayed the an anti mold agent over the surface for the evening. I am also trying to dry out the wood rail on the left side of the picture. The wood seems sound but is damp.

    I received the Blubex rivets that ordered today. Expensive, but I think it will be what is needed. If these things don't hold, nothing will.

    Tomorrow, I begin the construction.
     

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  17. edh

    edh Active Member

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    If it's of any consolation, many of us have been where you find yourself now. Water finds its way everywhere and rot can be widespread. My foam, too, was dripping wet, as was all the wood on both sides.

    Many years ago when working for an ambulance company we disinterred a body buried 40 years earlier. The cement outer vault was full of water to the brim. We pumped out half of the water and at first the casket seemed intact, until you touched it that is, when it dissolved like so much wet toilet paper in your fingers (yes, we wore gloves, and no, I will leave the description of the body to your imagination). Was much like the sides of my roof.

    It would be nice if camper leaks went straight through the ceiling to puddle on the floor, where the problem and area needing attention would be obvious. But no... first they saturate and rot everything that's higher up.
     
  18. s21538

    s21538 New Member

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    edh,

    I'm sure that the those of us that have dealt with this issue understand the emotional sinking feeling of removing soaked foam. It not only weighed the roof down, but also my will to keep going.

    Now that I have the lid apart. I have been thinking about preventing water ingress. I am going to caulk every seam on the exterior. But I have not come up with a solution to the A/C. I have replaced the old compressed gasket and will make this a regular inspection item. But is there anything else I can do prevent water from getting thru the A/C hole?
     
  19. edh

    edh Active Member

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    I'm not sure how your AC seals. If the entire roof around the opening is flat and there's only a compression seal, that seems like an invitation to a leak. It would seem like some type of caulking that creates in effect a raised lip near the opening, that would divert water around the opening, would be better.

    I don't have AC on mine so have not dealt with this. Most of those I have seen seem to caulk around the exterior of the shroud. Hopefully someone here with more experience will weigh in.
     
  20. mau5_h3ad

    mau5_h3ad Member

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    Any updates on your progress? I just tore the roof off my 14 foot palomino and am curious how your project is coming along. We're you able to salvage your sideboards and aluminium skin?
     

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