ABS VS. ALUMINUM VS. FILON

durhamcamper

Super Active Member
Apr 21, 2010
755
Pickering, Ontario
Hello all!

I know there will be a lot of different views about this but I plan to replace my P/U with a newer unit this spring. I currently own a 2001 Dutchmen Voyager and have been pretty happy with it in general. I did however need to replace the front and back roof ends last spring due to water damage issues.
This unit does not have electric brakes and there have been times I felt a little uneasy without them (driving on wet roads etc). Also, it does not have a heater, so we have been using a ceramic heater in the cooler weather which is o.k. but not great.
I/we really like the Coleman/Fleetwood Sante Fe model. It is actually the identical lay-out of the Dutchmen we now have. I also really like the idea of a one piece door because I'm 6'4" and the latch on a 2 piece door is way down low.

Reading in these forums I am constantly hearing problems about this Coleman and Fleetwood having bad roof issues. Since I just went through this last spring with my own aluminum skinned roof, I am kind of hesitant about which way to go. I don't know anything about Filon, and the constant mention of cracking or delaminating ABS concerns me as well. Any suggestions? I do know of one 2008 Fleeetwood Sante Fe that will be available in the spring (filon roof?) and think that in general this brand has got a good reputation for quality otherwise.
Or should be looking at other brands (Jayco etc) instead? I was just at an RV show this past weekend, and the Palomino we looked at just looked poorly/cheaply made. I'm not sure about the Rockwood either.
As I said, I know there may be a few opinions, but would appreciate any/all feedback, especially about roofs and what to possibly avoid.
 

Sverige

Member
Jun 19, 2013
48
The 2008 Santa Fe has a filon roof, like you said. If the Santa Fe does not have AC installed, and the roof otherwise looks good, I would not hesitate to buy it. Without AC, probably the worse thing that you would need to worry about is micro cracking at the very front and/or back of the roofs where the filon has a tight radius to bend down to the bottom of the roof. I don't think that this situation is a big deal to fix.

I have had the filon roof as well as the aluminum, and a friend of mine has the ABS. I would definitely avoid ABS. I would be slightly cautious about the filon (see above), and my first choice would be the aluminum (especially if it were the newer one piece types with no center seam). The aluminum roofs are easier to repair and much less prone to any cracking. I do think the filon roofs are built a bit more stoutly built though because of the full length aluminum side rails...the aluminum roofs typically just have quarter round lengths of wood on the interior of the side roof bends for structural support. I think the newer somerset models have switched out the wood for aluminum quarter round structural support.
 

friartuck

Super Active Member
Nov 1, 2007
2,978
Perry, MI
My '08 Bayside has a Filon roof and it is fine. The only problem was 'my bad' and was easy to repair with a fiberglass repair kit. I would not hesitate to get another Fleetwood/Coleman with a Filon roof.
 

mocamper

Super Active Member
Aug 28, 2013
1,168
I have a coleman with abs roof. I bought it two years ago not knowingly the difference and have been afraid ever since I bought it. I have been lucky only to have done a few minor repairs to it. I had rather have aluminium roof but I have what I have and otherwise it's a great unit. I put some extra roof bracing on it and now at least my roof is not sagging.
 

ghacker

Super Active Member
Nov 8, 2009
3,437
durhamcamper said:
...I/we really like the Coleman/Fleetwood Sante Fe model...Reading in these forums I am constantly hearing problems about this Coleman and Fleetwood having bad roof issues. Since I just went through this last spring with my own aluminum skinned roof, I am kind of hesitant about which way to go...

You should keep in mind that normally people only post when they have a problem. Even with the ABS roof there's still thousands with no problems. Having said that, I personally would be "gun shy" about getting an ABS. Aluminum roofs have to be the most common roof. The vast majority of PUPs have them. Filon roofs' problems seem to occur most frequently around an A/C unit. The corners have to be raduised and not a 90 deg. angle.

Finally, even if there's no mishap like a falling branch, any PUP roof will have problems eventually if it's not maintained. Kept clean, the caulking checked and replaced as needed.
 




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