Coleman ABS Roof

Discussion in 'Roof/Floor Repair & Maintenance' started by benfrench, Oct 11, 2011.

Have you had any issues with your Coleman ABS Roof?

  1. Yes, sagging, I fixed it ..

    15.0%
  2. Yes, sagging, I got rid of it ..

    4.3%
  3. No, never had any issues ..

    32.4%
  4. Yes, cracking, I fixed it ..

    50.9%
  5. Yes, cracking, I got rid of it ..

    11.3%
  1. Sjm9911

    Sjm9911 Well-Known Member

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    They have them there just $$$
    https://colemanpopupparts.com/search?type=article,page,product&q=Roof*+brace*
    Some here made there own , search the site.
     
  2. grim509

    grim509 Member

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  3. CoolCanuck

    CoolCanuck Member

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  4. CoolCanuck

    CoolCanuck Member

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    Re injecting glue between the ABS and foam:

    So, this is a bit of a lengthy one... ;)

    This is possible to do successfully, in a DIY scenario, though I have not done it on a Coleman / Fleetwood camper with an ABS roof (yet).

    Like I mentioned previously, I have worked in the Aerospace industry for many years. Also fly model airplanes (big stuff, with up to 28ft wingspan) and have worked on Military Drones / RPV's in years past.

    The Coleman / Fleetwood roof is essentially a composite roof with an ABS - Foam - ABS layup. The strength comes in the form engineers term "a beam". ABS provides the impact and deflection strength. The foam core (the meat in the sandwich) provides the distance. Altogether you have good strength. Remember the Coleman ad with the Tracker parked on the ABS roof?

    If you remove the outer layer ABS, you have drastically decreased the strength of the roof. Impact AND Structural. No more beam. It has become the proverbial limp noodle. No amount of Grizzly Grip, Bedliner etc. will replace the lost STRUCTURAL and IMPACT strength that you once had. This is engineering 101. Pretty basic.

    I do not believe that there was any fiberglass between the foam and outer ABS layer, though I have seen some posts that claimed there was. Please, if somebody definitively knows, please post here. Yes, I have seen some pics of a yellow-orangish layer on the foam that appears to have some sort of "structure" or "pattern" to it. I think that this stems from the inner facing ABS sheets' stucture (i.e.- it was not smooth or fine grained like the visible exterior ABS layer or the inside ceiling).

    Fleetwood used ABS with a thin co-polymer of Luran S ( http://www2.basf.us/PLASTICSWEB/displayanyfile?id=0901a5e180005b42 ) . This is a UV resistant, chemical resistant, anti-yellowing material. I still think Fleetwood made a good choice. It was the PROCESS and the combined application that started causing problems. ABS with Luran S sheet material is still widely used today in the RV, Marine and other outdoor industries with great success.

    I HAVE seen ABS sheets that exhibited this type of structure/pattern on one side. I am not familiar with what Fleetwood did / used.

    I believe (from my aerospace process background) that the roof was constructed by having an outer and inner pre-formed / molded ABS shells held in upper & lower molds or forms. The foam would then be injected between the two shells (most likely from several locations / sides), starting in the center of the roof and gradually withdrawing the injection nozzles towards the edges. I do not know which type of injection foam was used. Most likely Polyurethane or Polyisocyanide foam. Google the two to see what these are about.

    ABS, when exposed to sunlight, will discolor, develop cracks (which will grow) over time. The heat / cold cycles stress the skins/foam due to the different coefficient of expansions. Coleman even mentioned this in their advertising and blurbs on the ABS roof. Hence their use of the Luran S top (exterior layer) on the ABS sheet. Water ingress (through cracks) will develop more and more delamination, as SJM9911 previously mentioned as well.

    So, with this said, when the delamination areas on my own roof gets much bigger, I will glue it back down onto the foam with epoxy resin/hardener mixture that are compatible. West (gougeon Bros) has some interesting epxies. So does System Three. There are others as well. The So, the type of glue NOT-WITHSTANDING, the method for the repair remains the same.

    "The epoxy resin" (remember, we don't know which one to use yet, as we don't know the type of foam) is mixed )with a SLOW hardener to give a longer cure time. The epoxy should have a higher deflection temperature, so that it doesn't get soft, malleable etc. when exposed to sunlight. Hence the reason for a white roof, to keep the temps in check.We want a relatively thin resin/hardener mixture.

    This epoxy is then injected into each hole using a large (20cc up) syringe that has a curved tip. I would use some 6-8" heatshrink tubing shrunk around the tip. This is inserted into the hole so that you can get to the edges of the delaminated area and then you inject the resin. What's in the heatshrink tube can be squeezed out by hand. Excess resin will end up being driven into the foam pores etc.

    When the resin has been injected, the holes are covered with painters tape and a plastic membrane (i.e.- thick vapour barrier plastic) is placed over the area. All the sides of the plastic are sealed to the ABS with a flexible putty (or, with a sealant gun). The plastic sheet has a fitting installed in the middle, which will allow you to attach your vacuum tube. If you have a vacuum pump (i.e.- for veneering), great. A fridge / freezer compressor can also be used. This will then apply a vacuum between the plastic sheet and the ABS exterior of the roof, causing the ABS to be sucked down against the foam with 14.7 PSI (if you can get a perfect vacuum. You should be able to get 12-13 PSI vacuum). The ABS will thereby be glued to the foam with about 1800 lbs/sq.ft pressure, which will give you a very nice bond.

    When cured, remove the plastic sheeting and sealant and go to the next area and repeat. When all done, sand the squeeze-out / holes slightly and paint the entire roof for UV protection.

    NOTE: This is not the complete instructions of the process, but will give you an idea. It is doable in a DIY scenario. A buddy of mine builds his model airplane wings this way on a regular basis and they come out great. However, he used fiberglass and carbonfiber cloth.

    The process could also be used if you decide to remove all of the ABS and do a glass layup. But you would need to know what you're doing
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2019
  5. mstrbill

    mstrbill Active Member

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    of course, but i never tried to park my Tracker on my Bayport! Would have been a good way to take a convertible camping.

     
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  6. Sjm9911

    Sjm9911 Well-Known Member

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    Very thought out and detailed. The only problem, is if water is still under the abs. I didnt use the vacume on mine , but i tried to dry it out and i injected the glue after i cut open the cracks. I used weights to hild down the abs. I used fiberglass tape and the abs slurry to reseal the top. Applied grizzly grip. The fixes held but the water travled and heaved it up in other sections. So it was a no good for me fix.
    I swear mine has a fiberglass layer underneath the abs, its hard and looks and feels like fibergless. Grey Fox in his picters and fixes, had none of the weird hard layer on top. So he only had foam. I think because of the diffrent manufactures they may have diffrent versions of the same roof. Hard to say. I didnt cut into mine to investigate further.
     
  7. CoolCanuck

    CoolCanuck Member

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    Well... if you have a heated garage... drill the holes and let the moisture evaporate... might take a bit though.

    I haven't seen a waterlogged roof.
    If you have a boat load (!!) of water under the ABS, then you might have to drill through the ceiling into the foam to let it out... :)

    I looked for around 3 yrs before I bought our trailer. Saw some that were awful, covered with duct-tape etc. Mine wasn't perfect, but the previous owner tried to fix some cracks on the sides with JB Weld glue. Didn't see any cracks on the roof, just a couple of minor small ones under the awning. I've ABS slurried the side cracks almost 2 yrs ago and they're still fine. Knock on ABS... :)
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2019
  8. Sjm9911

    Sjm9911 Well-Known Member

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    My pup will not fit in my garage. Lol , and next step will be to remove the abs. I'm not going to spend the time on a redue.
     
  9. Rick245

    Rick245 New Member

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    I am in the process of repairing my ABS roof on my 2000 Coleman Utah. I am the original owner and the camper is in excellent condition other than numerous "hairline cracks" and a couple areas of delamination on the roof. I plan on using G-Flex 650 2-part Epoxy to glue down the 3 areas that are beginning to delaminate. My roof is completely dry and I have my camper inside my garage. (Absolutely NO SAG in the roof at all. ) After the sections are glued down I plan to use the G-Flex Epoxy to fill all the hairline cracks. Once all the cracks are filled I will sand down the entire roof and paint it with the UPOL bedliner product - Raptor-. It comes in white and I was able to purchase two 4L boxes of the product at a fantastic price. Two bottles of the product (1L bottles) should be more than enough to put down two complete coats. I have seen UPOL Raptor used and it appears to be extremely tough and long-lasting. Hope to have my camper last another 20 years!!!!
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2019
  10. Sjm9911

    Sjm9911 Well-Known Member

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    Good luck!
     
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  11. Rick245

    Rick245 New Member

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    Thanks. How is your repair progressing? I know it will be a big job to pull off the ABS from the roof, but that will certainly allow your roof to completely dry out. Good luck to you also.
     
  12. Sjm9911

    Sjm9911 Well-Known Member

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    Im waiting for next year, i figure ill give the expoxy i used time to seperate a bit. Lol. I slapped some eternabond tape on it so it doesn't fly off when driving.
     
  13. Rick245

    Rick245 New Member

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    Good plan.
     
  14. CoolCanuck

    CoolCanuck Member

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    Rick, please post your method & results when you do this.
     
  15. Rick245

    Rick245 New Member

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    Matt,
    I have repaired all the delamination areas ( about 4 areas where the ABS was coming loose from the foam substrate). I did one area at a time and used weights to hold down each area for at least 24 hours to let the epoxy set. They all came out great...epoxy is super strong. I am currently using both the epoxy (G-Flex 650 2 part epoxy) and the ABS / M.E.K. mixture to fill in all the cracks. Both products are working well. I use the epoxy for the smaller cracks (most are very small) and the ABS/M.E.K. slurry for anything larger. So far so good. I sand down the areas after they are completely cured, usually waiting a few days. If after sanding the areas are not completely smooth I simply apply another thin coat of the epoxy. I will take a few pics before I start painting with the Raptor bedliner. Feel free to ask me any questions if you are considering doing a similar project.
     
  16. CoolCanuck

    CoolCanuck Member

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    So, how did you get the G-Flex into the voids between the ABS and foam? Drill holes & inject? If so. how far apart were the holes on the larger delam's and how much did you inject in each hole? Wondering how the G-Flex spreads out...
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2019
  17. Sjm9911

    Sjm9911 Well-Known Member

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    Ok , so not great pics, i deleted a lot . The first is after my fix. And the next are the cracks forming new. I know , wrong side but all i had on the phone. 20180823_081315.jpg 20180823_081315.jpg 20180823_081315.jpg 20190730_130916.jpg 20190730_130920.jpg
     
  18. CoolCanuck

    CoolCanuck Member

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    If it were mine and I really, really wanted to keep it...

    I would pull the ABS off and then fiberglass the top using cloth (not mat) and epoxy resin on top of the foam. Would most likely have to roughen up the hardened foam on the outside so that the epoxy/glass would have a chance to adhere. You'd need a few layers. Doable with a roller and squeegee.

    Several layers of epoxy glass will end up being waterproof, as long as they are applied on the "wet" side - i.e.- not a dry layup. I've done several of these including fish pond and they are water tight.

    When complete, a good sand to smooth out and then an application of the top coat / bedliner etc of your choice.

    Will cost $$$ though. Agin, I'd do it if I were to KEEP IT... otherwise, sell and buy something else.

    My $0.02 (we don't do these up here anymore, so $0.05 may be more apt)
     
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  19. Rick245

    Rick245 New Member

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    I didn't have to drill any holes to get the epoxy under the ABS pieces. I was able to gently pry up the few loose spots.....some actually came loose a little more which allowed me to spread the epoxy under the pieces with a "popsicle stick". I also used a large syringe which I filled with the G-Flex and attached a short length of clear tubing to the tip of the syringe. I was able to "inject" the epoxy farther underneath the ABS. I used a roller to press down on the ABS areas and then stacked weights (a lot) on top to maintain pressure till it cured. I let it set for at least two full days before taking the weights off. So far every section I have done is "rock solid". The G-Flex has a honey type consistency, so it easily flows into the hairline cracks that have appeared. I am going slow and doing a lot of "sanding between application" to get the best results.
     
  20. CoolCanuck

    CoolCanuck Member

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    Aahh... so that's where yours' and mine differ... ;)

    I don't have many cracks, though I do have a few delam areas, some over 1.5 - 2 sq.ft. in area. The ABS is no longer attached to the foam in a number of areas, but no cracks etc. to be seen in the vicinity. Hence my thought that you'd have to drill holes to inject the G-Flex.
     

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