Alumnitite, rebuild or fix rails?

Discussion in 'Roof/Floor Repair & Maintenance' started by Jessiespense, Sep 6, 2021.

  1. Jessiespense

    Jessiespense New Member

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    I have a 2003 Coleman Utah with the Alumnitite roof. Ive searched the forum and now know these are problematic. My plan is to simply remove the roof rack, clean and then tape the seams. I currently have some sag, as seen in the picture. It doesn't seem bad to me but I'd like another opinion, currently it sags 1/4" give or take but only on the right side, ac unit doesn't appear to sag at all and left side is fine. There is some water staining on the inside canvas under the sag but nothing major. Can I skip a complete rebuild here? Or is this thing just going to slowly come apart on me? Thanks for the help guys!
     

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  2. jmkay1

    jmkay1 2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah

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    My two cents is to remove the rails and seal the seam. I tried to just caulk the rails and screw holes but found it just continued to get worse water and moisture always seemed to find a way in somewhere. It just wasn't worth the headache for me. The slide out side seemed to be my worst side on my camper and ended up getting a little delamination because of it. I never bothered to redo my roof although probably do have some mold due to all the leaking. That's something you really have to think about. What could be growing inside that roof. Good luck.
     
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  3. Jessiespense

    Jessiespense New Member

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    Was it fine once you sealed it? I'm assuming it didn't get any worse.
     
  4. jmkay1

    jmkay1 2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah

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    I caulked each screw hole and used Eternabond tape over the seam it has not leaked since and that was two seasons ago now. Still watching it closely but I think I finally got this stopped.
     
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  5. Jessiespense

    Jessiespense New Member

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    Good to know and thanks for the response. Didn't notice the sag when I purchased it, these things are selling fast around here and was worried I'd gotten into a mess because I rushed the buy. Really loved the floor plan of the Utah and glad we got it.
     
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  6. Jessiespense

    Jessiespense New Member

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    So I ended up removing the rails, to my surprise someone had installed some type of putty under them which ended up being a little difficult to scrape off. Once off I was able to lift up a little bit on the aluminum and take a peak at the wood, unfortunately it was wet. Not sure why I was thinking it would be dry considering there was a slight bit of delamination in just a couple of 4" by 4" spots inside on the luan and I pulled it home in a driving rain a few week prior but here we are.

    I ended up watching the Coleman Pop up Parts video on the different types of roofs and that was very informative and somewhat eased my worries as those pieces of wood are very thin. Hopefully in time they dry out, I'm leaving the rails off and the seam open for now, I'm likely not camping this fall anyways so I've got time to let these set and maybe some of the water will wick out over the winter. Still in a state of shock considering how well I thought this thing looked from the outside but oh well. It also appeared that someone had the end caps off and used some sealant on the inside of the cap. The wood that I could see with the cap slightly pulled back looked perfect, I'm planning on taping those end caps as well but at least it doesn't appear as if any major damage was done in that area.
     
  7. theseus

    theseus Living the Darkside... Silver Supporting Member

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    I had this type of roof on my last camper. I recommend the following. Pull the rails, seal under it with appropriate caulk and screw them back down. If I was to do it again I would replace all the screws with stainless steel.

    I did this with mine and it was fine. If I had seen evidence of leaking afterwards. I would have pulled the rails and eternabonded the seams.
     
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  8. Jessiespense

    Jessiespense New Member

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    I think I'm just going to leave the rails off as I cant really see using them that much and I'd be paranoid that it would leak again. I'm thinking caulk screw holes then go over it with the eternabond.
     
  9. theseus

    theseus Living the Darkside... Silver Supporting Member

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    If your doing that don’t caulk just use the eternabond tape. It will work just fine. Caulk is just another thing to have to stick to.
     
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  10. Jessiespense

    Jessiespense New Member

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    Thank you for the input, I was wondering if that was going to be a good idea or not. I went with the 4" eternabond so I'm thinking that should be plenty wide enough to cover everything and then some up.
     
  11. jmkay1

    jmkay1 2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah

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    I personally only caulked the screw holes and used the 4" Eternabond tape. Beware though once it's down it's not coming back up. So put it down slowly and carefully. Best have someone eye it while you place it. If you absolutely have to pull it up, a heat gun will be very helpful.
     
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  12. Jessiespense

    Jessiespense New Member

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    Gotcha, I figure I should probably lay out some line in masking tape to make that job a little easier.
     
  13. Jessiespense

    Jessiespense New Member

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    Some interesting developments on the roof. I went about aggressively cleaning up the putty with a wheel on the end of a drill and while I was at it realized the last guy had painted over the roof with flexseal. Now I can't decide if the roof was dirty before he painted it or if there is some sort of corrosion occurring but once you peel up some flexseal it gets really gritty in there, so that's concerning.

    However the major development was a plethora of smallish holes I found on the side with sag, see pic. I was aware it had a small hole when I purchased it, so that wasn't a surprise. Needless to say the other small 20 or so were.

    Here's where I'm confused. At first I'm thinking something fell on the roof and now we have holes, those holes didn't get fixed in time thus we have the roof sag. But I remember the guy telling me he had pressure washed the roof. So now I'm wondering if these holes were weak spots in the aluminum that broke through after the washing. The only way I was able to find these new soft spots and holes was because they were bubbled up slightly or maybe they were sealed slightly with some sort of putty and not sanded? Could this aluminum break down over time if water got in at the rails? Is this what happened?

    At any rate, im back to being worried now. I can't find any holes from the side of the AC all the way across to the other side of the roof so it's literally seeming like just this one side is damaged. What should I do now? Thinking JB weld the holes to give them a little substance and then Eternabond? But at this rate there's going to be so much tape on this roof ill never be able to resell it. Also wondering if more small holes will developed in the future and if that's the case maybe I just need to slap these rails back on paint the roof at the holes and pass this thing off to someone else. Any help is appreciated!
     

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  14. theseus

    theseus Living the Darkside... Silver Supporting Member

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    A falling tree limb could have made a bunch of holes. I would clean them up and the put a small patch of eternabond tape over each spot.

    The roof was originally white but they may have sprayed over their “patches”.
     
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  15. undara12

    undara12 Member

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    I also have the alumnitite roof and I have never been able to stop the leaks. I decided to remove one of the roof rack rails today and found corrosion of the roof in the photo. I broke off the corroded metal and found a wet, granular material underneath.

    Is it OK for me to bring my similar problem to the table or do I need to start a new thread? I do not want to violate forum etiquette. DSCN1384.JPG
     
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  16. Jessiespense

    Jessiespense New Member

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    Someone else can chime in but its fine by me.

    I can tell you where I'm at currently. I ended up pulling off the rails. I also had about 20 small holes, biggest one maybe was a dime but most about the size of an eraser. Pretty sure a tree limb fell on it but who knows. The previous owner had flex sealed the roof and over those wholes. I drove it home in a pouring rain and when I took the rails off about a month latter it was still wet. I also ended up using a plastic wire wheel like thing in a drill to clean up all the holes and get the flex seal out.

    Once I had all that done I just sat back and waited. I only had one side with holes and that was the side that was delaminated, I took the screws that came out of the roof rail and wedged them so that I could lift up some of the aluminum at the seam. I think this really helped to air things out because within a week I could tell most everything I could see that was wet was dry. I went ahead and let it sit like that almost another 2 weeks because I wasn't able to camp in it anyways.

    The wood is dry but its completely useless at the rail on the door side. Like it had turned to dust in a few spots. Had this been widespread I would have just sold it and cut my loses but 75% of the roof is still solid, so I decided to chance it considering I felt like I got an okay deal and really like the floorplan of the Utah.

    My first plan was to just use Eternabond tape over those holes and the seam but then I decided I wanted some sort of backing for the tape on the holes. I picked up a tube of the JB weld epoxy putty for water applications and went over all the holes. I picked up the 50', 4" wide Eternabond tape btw, after sanding the JB weld I'll start on the tape.

    Also I pulled out the endcaps enough to take a peak in there and everything looked really good. I'll end up taping those end caps up as well. I hate that its going to have so much tape on it, but I've taken pictures along the way and if we ever sell it I hope I can explain to someone else exactly what happened and why it looks the way it does.

    Finally I took a small screwdriver and had to go around testing spots looking for holes from that tree limb. Since he flexsealed over everything some where hard to find, I'm thinking you probably want to pull that other rail off too and probe the length of the rail to see if there are anymore soft spots. Does the roof sag any? Also that wet granular material should be a layer of foam I believe. This video helped me understand what was in the roof.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2021
  17. undara12

    undara12 Member

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    I noticed that the bottom of the hole I photographed was metal. I used a magnetic stud finder to prove the it was steel. I started to suspect that the cause of the hole was dissimilar-metal corrosion due to the wet foam inside the roof. The stud finder indicates that the steel is confined to the area of the hole.

    I found another hole that appeared to be from corrosion about three inches inboard of the first. I appeared as a black speck on a bubble in the roof. I probed it with a push pin and it opened up to a 1/4 inch diameter hole.

    I do not think I will reinstall the rail. I have heard of eternabond tape but have no experience with it. In the past, I have thought about replacing the rails with aluminum flat bar, but drilling a straight line of screw holes may be beyond my ability.

    I still need to clean the Geocel ProFlex that I used the last time I had the rails off. The original caulk, I believe, was latex. It did not do a better job but was much easier to clean off the roof.
    I'll report any progress or any new holes I find. Thank you for the information.
     
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  18. Jessiespense

    Jessiespense New Member

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    For me the consensus on here indicated the tape to be of high quality, it claims a life of 18 to 35 years. You'll need a small steel roller to put it down.

    I'll keep you updated as well and throw up some pictures of the final repair.
     
  19. undara12

    undara12 Member

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    Thanks. I forgot to mention that the roof sags 1/2 inch at the center. Apparently those AC reinforcements don't help much.
     
  20. Jessiespense

    Jessiespense New Member

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    You may be leaking at the gasket for the AC as well. Would be interesting to replace it and get a look at the wood around that area when its off.
     

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