Stabilizing the lifted roof for the wind. Any ideas?

Discussion in 'Stabilizing Your Camper' started by roadtrip, Apr 5, 2014.

  1. roadtrip

    roadtrip New Member

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    Well I just discovered this forum so I have been asking questions that I always wanted to have answered. Here is a tough one to see if anyone has come up with anything creative other than buying a hardside camper. I have a 1999 Fleetwood/Coleman Sea Pine. I have stabilized the box really well but my issue is when we get some windy weather. Of course the wind buffets the tent material and makes a lot of noise. In addtion if it's windy enough the wind rocks the roof back and forth. Any way to stabilize those roof pillars? [PU] Mike
     
  2. Unstable_Tripod

    Unstable_Tripod Well, there's your problem!

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    Instead of trying to stabilize the pillars I recommend "go with the flow" and open the windows 25-30% all the way around. This will allow air to flow through and reduce pressure on the sides of the camper. The roof should move less, too. That said, PUPs are pretty robust and can take a lot of wind. I was in hurricane-force winds in Death Valley with a Fleetwood Yuma a few years ago and while the wind tore my Gizmos off, bounced the trailer around and actually blew the wheel chocks from under the tires, the roof held up. I opened all windows all the way for that storm. Of course, it goes without saying that you will not have the awning up under windy conditions. It would put severe force on the roof and probably get blown off anyway.
     
  3. ghacker

    ghacker Active Member

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    Haven't been in winds quite as high as UT but our Bayside has been in winds 50-55 mph. The roof does rock and roll a bit and can get noisy but held together with no problems. Letting it sway a bit may be better than trying to stabilize it.
     
  4. Jimbow

    Jimbow Active Member

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    Being from Texas I've rocked and rolled in a few storms with serious winds and have lived to tell about it. The first storm, with 50+ winds caused us to exit and wait it out in the truck. From that vantage point I realized just how stable things were. While it felt crazy dangerous on the inside, it looked perfectly safe from the outside. This past trip to Big Bend we needed to secure everything around the campsite, take down the screen house, etc. But the pup handled it just fine. Now of course there are conditions that being in a pup is the wrong place to be, but for my experience they can handle some serious winds.

    Now for a practical solution. To keep the roof from swaying you would need to attach four guy lines to the four corners and run them out at 45 degree angles to each corner. Or eight guy lines, two in each corner. The attachment would be difficult unless you are willing to put holes in your roof, something I would not advise doing.

    Your Coleman uses the door as a safety for keeping the roof up in case of a catastrophic failure of the lift system. You might also consider adding wood poles (2x4s) between the roof and the trailer body to give you piece of mind that the roof will not fall on you.

    Also, sleeping on the dinette or coach (I'm not certain of your configuration) may also help in a storm.
     
  5. Heartman_wa

    Heartman_wa Active Member

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    I have been in some realy wind storms also (E. Washington in the spring) 55-60 mph winds pull in the awning and the rest was fine. It does make for a harowing night the first few times but in 8 years in the pup never really had a problem
     
  6. Sharon

    Sharon Dover, FL

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    You should have two support poles for your pup already if you do, make two more that match. So you have one for each corner. I did and it worked great and helped to support the roof. Also , here in Florida, camping always means a storm is going to hit.

    Our last trip, a tropical depression came up the same week we camped for a week at Fort Desoto, it stormed everyday and blew so hard, but we stayed, And parked the pup close to trees on one side, and tied the lift arms to the trees and ropes to the other two with ground anchors and it really helped keep the pup roof from swaying. Dont tie them tight, just enough to stop the roof from moving a lot. And open the windows a little.

    Sharon
     
  7. Unstable_Tripod

    Unstable_Tripod Well, there's your problem!

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    Because of their proprietary lift system and the one-piece door that acts as a safety device, the Coleman/Fleetwwod campers don't come with two roof supports like some other brands of campers.
     
  8. rabird

    rabird Howdy!

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    roadtrip

    I tighten the shepard poles more in windy weather, this worked well in my '96 Coachmenn PU.

    It had at least 6 different holes to adjust the shepard pole length ~6" in total. I'd start @ about the middle setting and as I could, I'd lengthen them.

    The L&W lift system and the two piece door of that era did not require safety posts
     
  9. Sharon

    Sharon Dover, FL

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    Ours was a coleman, and had the two poles for supports. And the little studs on the sides the poles sat on. Maybe because it was a older coleman it came with them. it was 1985. So I thought most pups came with those support poles. But guess not.

    Sharon
     
  10. kitphantom

    kitphantom Well-Known Member

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    Our Cobalt is the newer generation of Coleman lift systems, and does not have extra supports.

    We have had both pups up in some pretty strong winds (50+ mph - in the driveway, no less). The tenting does tend to flap a bit, but so did the ground tent. Both have made some other noises, which are a bit unsettling until tracked down; one is the roof clips swinging in the wind. I actually cut a piece of shelf liner to try to keep that noise down on the previous pup, but it proved to be a pain to remember to put in on every time we set up the pup.
    We don't have the awning out in high winds, though had a sudden burst last year, which lifted it off the legs and the awning draped over that side of the pup - interesting to exit the pup with it there.

    As long as the pup is well stabilized, once the bunk ends are fully extended, shepard's poles snug and the like, it all seems pretty stable. It was breezy when we put it up yesterday, I'll be restocking it this week, so it'll be in the spring weather for a few days. At the moment, the winds are 10 mph with gusts to 21, so not bad.
    If we get into a threatening weather situation, we'll seek shelter. We had a ground tent shredded (it was fairly old and sun-worn) in a micro-burst at Arches, 9 years ago, and that was without warning, so we know it can happen.
     
  11. seigell

    seigell New Member

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    These claims of withstanding 50+ MPH Winds... Do you realize that is the same as pulling the fully raised Pup along a Freeway Onramp at Full-Speed ?? (And likely Broadside instead of End-on... Because of the larger "sail area" along the side of the Tent...) IDK!!...

    In any case, having one of the worst possible cases - a Large Highwall Pup with 26ft end-to-end of "sail area" standing 10-11ft above the ground - I'm not so sure about the Structural Integrity at anything passing the mid-30s MPH gusts.
    I camp-out with the Pup, often boondocking, at locations in SE Arizona where that 10-11ft height towers several feet over what pass as "trees" (mesquite and other desert brush), in support of my Astronomy "Habit". These shrubs do very little to deter or deflect the predominant daytime winds. And as I'm trying to sleep late into the morning after a night spent with my telescopes, I am often awakened as the daytime breezes shake the bejezus out of the roof and tent walls. I've often stared upwards to watch the roof shell moving a good 6-8in side-to-side, even though the struts and shepherds poles are tight and the 3ft deep diner slide add their structural support. I normally have to ride these days out with almost all the windows down, at the mercy of the Summer High Temps or Chill Spring / Fall Temps when I'd truly love to get extra sleep with the A/C or Heater at full-blast.
    It always seems that the wind is either quartering or broadside no matter how I try to setup end-wise into the forecast wind.

    I've thought of adding guy-lines from the roof latch hooks, if they were a little more solidly attached to the roof sides.
    I've also thought of adding something internally as cross-bracing to stiffen the uprights laterally - perhaps adjustable poles which hooked into small plates in the corners just under the bed rail-slides that join at the center plate on each end where the shepherds poles attach (but this would probably need to be reinforced a bit). This would make 3x "structural triangles" at each end. (And these poles would be shorter than the width of the bed-ends, so could ride around tucked under the mattresses like the end-support poles...)

    Anyone see any merit (or problems) with this daydream ??
     
  12. Loraura

    Loraura New Member

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    Parking the tow vehicle to block the wind, and turning the pup to have the narrow end face the wind can help.
     
  13. seigell

    seigell New Member

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    Positioning the Pup the correct direction into the wind is at best a crapshoot, as the wind usually varies by 45-60* throughout the day (at least in AZ).

    And this Highwall Pup is just plain BIG - the Box is every bit as high as the Truck Bed on my 4x4 RAM 1500 and the Roof eclipses my Cab by easily 3ft - so the Pup is usually a Wind Break for the PU...
     
  14. Dubbya

    Dubbya Wherever you go, there you are...

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    Obviously, you'd lower the roof for an approaching T4 tornado but other than that, it's confidence, trust and comfort most people soon acquire through experience. Looking back at where we started and considering how much the DW tends to worry, it's truly amazing to watch the her roll over and go to sleep without a care in the world and we've been through some pretty big storms.

    Even the dog is fine with the sound of flapping canvas, the creaking and swaying roof and everything else. As long as there's no thunder or hail, it's all good.
     
  15. kitphantom

    kitphantom Well-Known Member

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    In most of the campsites we've had, moving the pup and/or TV to best encounter the wind is not really an option. We used to swing the previous pup around for best orientation to the site, but can't do that with the Cobalt. Not sure how I've move the TV most places, either. On top of all that, as seigell indicated, the wind direction is not usually from one direction only throughout the day.
     
  16. Riveyman

    Riveyman Member

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    A HUGE THANKS to this thread and all the posters!!!

    Sat night while camping in the Outer Banks on Hatteras, the winds where the most I've ever experienced. The PUP was rocking and rolling (ok, wasn't actually rolling but felt like it). The noises that it was making had me worried [:!] if the roof could handle it. I laid there for a bit before picking up the phone and searching the forums. Found this, and it really put my mind at ease.
    Unzipped the windows (as suggested) a bit in both bunks (it helped a bit) and was able to actually get some sleep [SNZ]. The winds roared all night long. If it wasn't for the screeching of metal on metal every so often, I'd probably have slept all night. Had to keep grabbing the bunk canvas support pole and pushing/ pulling it, to stop the screeching.

    When we got up the wind was still crazy, but all was good.

    Looked to see what the winds were, but none of the web sites I tried had the wind info. They all listed them as NA. Go figure. I'd have to guess 20+ mph.
     
  17. Dubbya

    Dubbya Wherever you go, there you are...

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    Yeah, the first few windy nights are a little unsettling but you'll gain confidence in the lift system, roof and canvas as time goes by. A year or two down the road and you'll sleep through hurricanes.

    We've been through some really rough storms but I'm always amazed at how much wind the lift posts, awning and canvas can take.
     
  18. ghacker

    ghacker Active Member

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    You have to keep in mind that wind numbers are obtained from what's broadcast on the radio and/or personal experience. Wind speed is usually calculated with an anemometer which is placed 20-30' above the ground to minimize local terrain effects. In practical terms terrain, structures, vegetation, etc. result in lower actual ground level wind speed. For example, we normally pick shaded sites which will cut down the wind speed considerably due to turbulence.
     
  19. kitphantom

    kitphantom Well-Known Member

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    We had to have the lift system serviced after my early July trip, it had encountered probably 2 or 3 season's worth of high winds. And at a couple of places (Catalina SP/Tucson, Bluewater Lake SP/NM and Whitestar/Twin Lakes CO), the winds were higher than we usually encounter and for longer periods of time. By the time I got to Twin Lakes, the roof did not go up all the way at first, though it finally got high enough - when I walked away in frustration - to put the door in. I called the RV shop at home, made an appt for as soon as I got home, and they said the wind could definitely have effected the cables and system that much.
    After the next trip, we had to have them work on it again (no charge) as something was binding.
    We expect wind in many of the places we camp, but this year has just been crazy. We leave later this week for 2 weeks in AZ and UT, so I hope it stays calm. (We have reserved the campsite in Arches NP where we had a tent shredded in a micro-burst a few years back.)
     

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