Couple Questions from a Newb

evan_nugget

Member
Nov 15, 2020
11
Virginia
Just purchased my first pop up: 2001 Coleman Utah. I downloaded the user manual and have been perusing it in my free time. I have a couple questions I'm hoping some experienced folks can help me out with.

1. The most important: I learned AFTER I'd bought the camper about Coleman's disaster that is their one-piece ABS roof. Well mine has plenty of cracks that POs had tried to seal with RV vinyl tape. Anyone have suggestions on how to make sure these cracks or the tape doesn't leak more? I was thinking about removing all the old tape and re-sealing it with new tape or maybe some Flex tape, then lightly caulking the edges of the tape to make sure it'll stay down. Of course, I'm always open to other ideas.

2. The user manual said that under NO CIRCUMSTANCES should a Coleman pop up be tarped for storage, something about moisture and condensation. Being that I don't know how structurally safe my roof is (though it did survive a hefty rainstorm and was basically dry), will it be OK with a tarp on it?

3. Can anyone give me some tips on how to get the canvas to fold neatly when taking down the camper? I'm having a particularly hard time with my slide out canvas and wall canvas not playing nicely when its time to put the roof down.

4. These last two are pretty Coleman (or Fleetwood, I guess) camper specific. Does anyone have a photo of the roof seal that runs around the top and is used to seal the camper up when its stowed away? I'm not sure if mine even has one, I know the previous owner said it "might need to be replaced". I have a noticeable gap between the side of the camper and the roof when its stored, even with the latches as tight as they will adjust.

5. Finally, can any Coleman pop up owner provide me the dimensions of the dinette table? My camper did not come with a dinette table (I knew this before i purchased) and I'd like to either source a replacement or perhaps make one if I'm unable to find an OEM replacement.

Thank you all for the time and for any advice you can give!
Evan
 

Dingit

Super Active Member
Mar 8, 2017
2,024
There doesn't seem to be consistent guidance about tarping. Sure, the manufacturer said not to, but they also sold a highly failure-prone roof. So...they probably didn't know their product as well as they should have. I'd probably compromise with a tarp resting on pool noodles or something.

As far as the table goes, The length should be exactly that of the dinette and the width should be exactly what it takes to fill the gap between the seats so that it can ride on the ledge between them in travel (and be a bed support if needed). If you don't need to to be a bed, I'd instead make it something comfortable.

Google a brochure for your year--probably one on this site. It will actually list the table size. Confirm measurements before you cut in case they made last minute changes.

For canvas, get a long tool that isn't sharp and poke as far as you can when the top is half down and again when it's almost closed (or have another person poke all around as it goes down with a final poke at the end). Eventually you'll figure out what works for yours. With mine, you pull all the slide canvas out before shoving in the slide or it'll snag. Just poke poke poke. No real folding on mine (but I have a different model--some popups need folding).
 

generok

Super Active Member
Gold Supporting Member
Feb 7, 2013
3,402
Anchorage, AK
I don't have much experience with ABS roofs specifically. If the previous owner (PO) used Eternabond tape, you may cause more damage removing it than simply inspecting it and adding more if there are new cracks without tape. Some folks like Flex Tape, but Eternabond is kind of a go to product in the RV world, and has a proven track record. YMMV.

Again, conventional wisdom says not to use plastic tarps for storage since they can and do trap condensation. If you're looking to cover, look into an RV cover. They typically breathe and don't suffer from the same issues as plastic tarps.
 

Sjm9911

Super Active Member
May 31, 2018
11,730
Nj
The abs is broken. The roof will not leak because the foam core inside is one peice. The tape is basicly holding the abs together so it dosen't fly off down the road when it catches wind. If it does leak, then the foam is broken, in that case the roof is shot. If you have a roof mount, check the seal on that, ditto on the roof bracing and the ac seal. Those should be the only holes through the roof.
The seal can be purchased on colman pop up parts. Its a rubber bulb seal. If you have black rubber around the bottem edge of the roof you have a seal. When closed it will compress on the bulb and make, well, a seal.
Get a breathable cover. Any moisture trapped inside a tarp that heats up will make the roof delaminate more. ( unless your going for that, check on removing abs roof )
 

jmkay1

2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah
Oct 10, 2013
7,494
Northern Virginia
In regards to folding the canvas I found it's a combination of stuffing and folding the ends in like you would a package. The use of the bristle side of a broom is also a big help by pushing the canvas further in and less bunching at the ends. In the wind, is usually between man vr beast and hope you get the upper hand or as minimal pinching as possible. The slide out canvas I find is always going to have a little pinching. Especially at the skirting.

Read up on the roof section regarding ABS roof repair. Many here have used a truck bed liner like grizzly grip to seal the roof from further damage. I'm thinking about that on my alumitite roof right now.
 

kcsa75

Super Active Member
Gold Supporting Member
Sep 9, 2013
5,622
Kansas City
Only thing I can add is to avoid FlexSeal/FlexTape like the plague. I've heard too many horror stories of folks who used that on their campers and ended up with a mess.

There are products out there created specifically for Campers/RVs. Generok mentioned Eternabond tape. For any type of caulking or sealing joints, you want to use Dicor.
 

evan_nugget

Member
Nov 15, 2020
11
Virginia
The abs is broken. The roof will not leak because the foam core inside is one peice. The tape is basicly holding the abs together so it dosen't fly off down the road when it catches wind. If it does leak, then the foam is broken, in that case the roof is shot. If you have a roof mount, check the seal on that, ditto on the roof bracing and the ac seal. Those should be the only holes through the roof.
The seal can be purchased on colman pop up parts. Its a rubber bulb seal. If you have black rubber around the bottem edge of the roof you have a seal. When closed it will compress on the bulb and make, well, a seal.

Thanks Sjm! I appreciate the know-how surrounding the ABS roof. Mine isn't leaking, so I'm thinking the foam piece is intact and doing its job. I reckon we'll tape it up and let it slide. As for the seal, I do have a black rubber looking piece around the bottom edge of the roof but it doesn't look at all like the roof seal offered on coleman pop up parts. Makes me think the entire seal is gone, but I'll check it out tomorrow and maybe post up a picture.

There doesn't seem to be consistent guidance about tarping. Sure, the manufacturer said not to, but they also sold a highly failure-prone roof. So...they probably didn't know their product as well as they should have. I'd probably compromise with a tarp resting on pool noodles or something.

As far as the table goes, The length should be exactly that of the dinette and the width should be exactly what it takes to fill the gap between the seats so that it can ride on the ledge between them in travel (and be a bed support if needed). If you don't need to to be a bed, I'd instead make it something comfortable.

Google a brochure for your year--probably one on this site. It will actually list the table size. Confirm measurements before you cut in case they made last minute changes.

For canvas, get a long tool that isn't sharp and poke as far as you can when the top is half down and again when it's almost closed (or have another person poke all around as it goes down with a final poke at the end). Eventually you'll figure out what works for yours. With mine, you pull all the slide canvas out before shoving in the slide or it'll snag. Just poke poke poke. No real folding on mine (but I have a different model--some popups need folding).

Dingit - thank you so much for the helpful tips and tricks! I noticed there was what looked like a coat rack hanger on the floor the first time I set up the camper (metal rod with the round plastic feet on the ends), I'll bet that was the long, dull poker tool they used! On the table, I'll do some measuring as well as look up the 2001 brochure, I had it pulled up a few days ago so I should be able to find it easily. In terms of the roof tarp, mine is held up and off probably 75% of the roof by the AC unit located in the middle. If I can get the roof taped back up maybe I'll leave it uncovered and see if its leaking, just don't really wanna be putting it up and down in the dead of winter to check if there's water inside, hence my desire to throw a tarp on it.

In regards to folding the canvas I found it's a combination of stuffing and folding the ends in like you would a package.

Read up on the roof section regarding ABS roof repair. Many here have used a truck bed liner like grizzly grip to seal the roof from further damage. I'm thinking about that on my alumitite roof right now.

Thanks for the input jmkay - I'm sure I'll get the hang of it the more I use the camper. I've heard of bedlinering the roof of the camper - someone was able to find a white that matched the original roof color and just roll it on. I might do that if I can get these cracks in the plastic smoothed out and taped down.

I don't have much experience with ABS roofs specifically. If the previous owner (PO) used Eternabond tape, you may cause more damage removing it than simply inspecting it and adding more if there are new cracks without tape. Some folks like Flex Tape, but Eternabond is kind of a go to product in the RV world, and has a proven track record. YMMV.

Again, conventional wisdom says not to use plastic tarps for storage since they can and do trap condensation. If you're looking to cover, look into an RV cover. They typically breathe and don't suffer from the same issues as plastic tarps.

I appreciate the insight generok! Not sure if what they used was Eternabond, it sure is sticky in some spots. Problem is that its peeling up in some places, especially around some of the curving roof lines, allowing water to slide underneath it. Those'll have to be replaced. No super large cracks that haven't been taped up yet, just a hodge podge of little ones.

On the tarp, I'm just afraid to leave the top open to the elements. The inside of the camper is clean, smells nice, and dry. I'd like to keep it that way, and since the camper is new to me I'm not sure how badly it leaks, or if it even does at all. I know that RV covers aren't waterproof though.

Only thing I can add is to avoid FlexSeal/FlexTape like the plague. I've heard too many horror stories of folks who used that on their campers and ended up with a mess.

There are products out there created specifically for Campers/RVs. Generok mentioned Eternabond tape. For any type of caulking or sealing joints, you want to use Dicor.

Good timing kcsa! Was just talking to grandpa today and he suggested flex tape! I guess I'll pony up for some Eternabond to make sure its a clean seal that looks great and doesn't cause too many issues!
 

flingwing1969

Active Member
Jul 6, 2013
617
California Cascade Range
Another issue the ABS roof has is spread. the weight of the roof across its flat surface, coupled with the flexibility of the ABS inside and outside skins and foam interior, caused the roof to bow downward and the sides to spread away from the top of the box. Coleman installed a brace in later years to help keep the roof rigid and my 2002 Sante Fe has one - a metal bar mounted transverse across the ceiling inside - I'm not sure when they began installing them at the factory but you likely have one. Without it, your roof will bow and the weather seal will not make proper contact with the top of the box.

sDSC00713.JPG
 

evan_nugget

Member
Nov 15, 2020
11
Virginia
Another issue the ABS roof has is spread. the weight of the roof across its flat surface, coupled with the flexibility of the ABS inside and outside skins and foam interior, caused the roof to bow downward and the sides to spread away from the top of the box. Coleman installed a brace in later years to help keep the roof rigid and my 2002 Sante Fe has one - a metal bar mounted transverse across the ceiling inside - I'm not sure when they began installing them at the factory but you likely have one. Without it, your roof will bow and the weather seal will not make proper contact with the top of the box.

sDSC00713.JPG

Yes, pretty sure I have these braces in mine.
 

Sjm9911

Super Active Member
May 31, 2018
11,730
Nj
I think arounf 1999 they had them on all the abs roofs. Grey fox would know. I forget. My 2000 had one and I think the 1999 could get them if they wanted one.
 

flingwing1969

Active Member
Jul 6, 2013
617
California Cascade Range
I think arounf 1999 they had them on all the abs roofs. Grey fox would know. I forget. My 2000 had one and I think the 1999 could get them if they wanted one.

The day I bought my 2002 Santa Fe, I stopped in an RV yard to properly wire my TV for the trip home. I parked near the shop and there was a Coleman Bayside (I believe it was) and the roof was completely caved in - centered around the AC. I wish I had a photo of that mess, it looked like someone had dropped a wrecking ball on top of the AC. That was maybe 8 years ago, I knew about the ABS issues when I bought my PUP but the roof only had a very few and very micro cracks - it has since become worse, but nothing major, yet.
 

vagov

Super Active Member
Aug 13, 2012
5,078
Pittsburgh, Pa
Can’t recall exactly. But I think My 2001 Utah. Had a inside brace? I had the abs roof and it was in great shape, maybe I got lucky , my brother in law had a 2006. And he had a aluminum roof
 
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evan_nugget

Member
Nov 15, 2020
11
Virginia
The day I bought my 2002 Santa Fe, I stopped in an RV yard to properly wire my TV for the trip home. I parked near the shop and there was a Coleman Bayside (I believe it was) and the roof was completely caved in - centered around the AC. I wish I had a photo of that mess, it looked like someone had dropped a wrecking ball on top of the AC. That was maybe 8 years ago, I knew about the ABS issues when I bought my PUP but the roof only had a very few and very micro cracks - it has since become worse, but nothing major, yet.

Can’t recall exactly. But I think My 2001 Utah. Had a inside brace? I had the abs roof and it was in great shape, maybe I got lucky , my brother in law had a 2006. And he had a aluminum roof

Haven't yet got the tape off to assess all the cracks - I know I've got two that are pretty major. I think the rest are just small stuff.
 

southern gal

Member
Jul 6, 2018
94
South Georgia
Just purchased my first pop up: 2001 Coleman Utah. I downloaded the user manual and have been perusing it in my free time. I have a couple questions I'm hoping some experienced folks can help me out with.

4. These last two are pretty Coleman (or Fleetwood, I guess) camper specific. Does anyone have a photo of the roof seal that runs around the top and is used to seal the camper up when its stowed away? I'm not sure if mine even has one, I know the previous owner said it "might need to be replaced". I have a noticeable gap between the side of the camper and the roof when its stored, even with the latches as tight as they will adjust.

Check this link out -
https://colemanpopupparts.com
They sell the piece that goes around the roof. Look for roof seal. There are pictures, also, of what it looks like on a camper. That may give you an idea if your seal is proper. Btw, this website is great for buying replacement parts.
Hope this helps.
Southern Gal
 

mowmow

Member
Sep 2, 2020
21
My Mom bought a popup truck camper and she and my Grandma traveled all over the USA in it every summer for a few years. They used my Grandma's cane to push the canvas in while it was being lowered.
My Grandma went to heaven (age 97) and I now have her cane. I used it to push in the canvas on our maiden camping trip in our N2U pup. It worked great. Fits under the dinette seat, and can also be used to squash big spiders, chase away raccoons, etc.
 

evan_nugget

Member
Nov 15, 2020
11
Virginia
Well thank you all for the helpful tips and tricks you shared with me! Got some of that white Eternabond and a tube of RV roof caulking and spent the last couple nice days removing the old tape that was coming up and replacing it. Left the old stuff which still looked glued down alone. Used the caulk to lay a light bead around the edges of all the tape as an added piece of mind. It poured hard last night so today I raised the roof slightly and viola! bone dry inside. Guess those repairs are holding. Got the dimensions of the dinette table off the 2001 Coleman brochure - guess I'll make a table out of some good quality plywood and pick up a set of folding legs for it.

Also found what looks like a collapsible closet coat rack bar in the front storage compartment. The kind with the big blunt plastic ends. So there's my poker tool to make sure that canvas folds up flat. It's all coming together now, but it wouldn't have been possible without all y'all's help, so thank you!!
 




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