Please do not use a tarp. Even most of the PUP manufacturer's owners manuals will tell you not to cover it with a tarp.
As mentioned, a breathable cover is the answer. Adco is a brand. If you have an air conditioner unit on the roof, add one foot to the length when sizing the cover.
Let me put it this way, I have yet to see a PUP with a 13.5K or 15K air conditioner that isn't using a 20 amp receptacle inside the PUP. The PUP will have a 30 amp connection to shore power. That is sufficient to run everything simultaneously inside my PUP that draws electrical. The only exception to that is the furnace - I didn't turn it on when the A/C was on, even just for grins as there's no situation I can foresee where I would do that.
I had the A/C on, the 1,500 watt microwave, water pump, lights, refrigerator and all of the other parasitic draw devices running at the same time through my PDU/converter without problem.
In the winter, I run two electric heaters when on shore power to save on propane. I added another 120v circuit from the PDU just for the second heater as running both on the same circuit inside the PUP would indeed trip a 15 amp breaker.
It took me quite a while to change my approach to camping after 15 years of camping in tents and setting up for rain. We joked about hiring out to farmers who were experiencing drought because it rained EVERY single time we camped.
So rain was one of the motivating factors in moving to a pop up. Man, oh man! No rivers running between the sleeping bags, no wet duffle bags because they brushed up against the tent wall, etc. And a hard floor. Now we're talking.
I still wanted to set up the large tarps I have worked into a "system". It was always set up the tent, set up kitchen and eating area and then throw the tarp(s) over the whole thing.
As others have mentioned, if you have a maintained pop up, you don't need tarps over it. It doesn't necessarily have to be light-weight like a tent so it can use water-proof materials, not just water-resistant materials.
If you are getting water inside your pop up, something is wrong and you need to address it. Otherwise, open up the awning or bring a tarp to cover the picnic table, grab a chair and enjoy the sound of the rain as it bounces harmlessly off of you and yours.
And not to your point but to others, every manufacturer's instructions that I have read that addresses long-term storage says to not use a tarp but to use a breathable cover. Unfortunately, they seem to be made like a plastic paper towel and are flimsy feeling, but I wouldn't want to run the risk of using a tarp for storage. Only if the tarp is kept completely away from the surface of the pop up AND does not seal off airflow. I have seen some people who have basically built stick frames and covered them with tarps that they park the pop up under. I can see no problem with doing it that way.
I can't imagine why you would want to replace the drapes. They scream 70's even though it's an '83 model. I'm glad you found a source for the snap tape. Sometimes, just knowing the right term to search for makes ALL the difference in the world. I'm only recently getting into machine sewing and am finding out quickly that the kind of stuff I want to do out in the shop requires an industrial machine. I have my eye on a Sailrite LSZ-1 that might be strong enough. The great thing is you can sew right through that snap tape with a home machine just fine.
That PUP looks great, at least from the images. I am in the process of removing the factory vinyl striping. I finally broke down and bought a heat gun and that made a huge difference. I'm still deciding on what to put back on.
Good luck with it and keep us up to date on the freshening up of that gem.
My responses to your first four questions:
1) I would not do anything to the roof. It will be fine in 40 MPH winds. It will sway in the wind (yes, I know firsthand) but it takes an awful lot before any damage would occur. Typically, the entire PUP gets blown sideways and pushed around before anything happens with the roof. Or at least what has been reported here and elsewhere and the pictures I've seen after storms.
Honestly, anchoring the PUP frame to the ground would be more useful. Drive a couple of rebar stakes into the ground at the front and rear, attach some ratchet straps to the stakes and the tongue and rear frame attachment points and call it done. However, if he's going to have that kind of an issue at Burning Man, there's a whole lot of other people in more dire straits than your friend. I would not do a thing on the roof aspect. I don't mean to sound condescending but I think you're over-thinking this a bit.
That said, I do know of a friend who built a strap system to minimize the swaying, which generally only happens side to side and not nose to rear. Be careful about cinching those down to the ground too hard as you've just added extra load to the roof's lift system. And I would do nothing that unnecessarily adds holes to the roof as that is the single greatest point of failure with PUPs - water damage through the roof.
2) Eternabond is an excellent answer for this issue. This is the second PUP I have owned and I've used it on both as preventative measures against roof leaks. I ordered a 4" wide, 50 foot roll and did the center seam on 2006 Fleetwood. I will check on it periodically but I have full confidence that it will never leak at that location. It looks like a tape but is truly a sealant that is just in a roll form. The sealant is about 1/8" thick and is gray with a white cover for aesthetics. They dropped the lifetime warranty officially because it was being used in Antarctica and only lasting about 25 years in full exposure to the sun and extreme temps.
I have also used Dicor Lap Sealant and it is an excellent product. You just have to keep an eye on it and expect to touch it up every few years. It's the same with the other quality RV-specific sealants. Do NOT get anything from Home Depot/Lowes and apply it to the PUP. None of those products are meant to deal with the vibrations encountered with a travelling vehicle.
3) While it is pretty flat where he is going, one of the best things for adding stability to the PUP is a BAL Light Trailer Leveler. Once you see it here to see what I am talking about, you apply some lifting pressure to cradle the tire. It is locked in place.
At some point in the future, he WILL camp somewhere where he needs to level side-to-side and this thing will really shine. For the "high" side tire, BAL also makes one for the tire that stays on the ground here. I wish I had one of these and will probably get one yet.
As opnspaces noted, there are techniques for using just the plastic wedges to do the same. This effectively creates a cradle and works the same.
Be sure to use the four corner stabilizers. Chances are those are BAL stabilizers and have an "upgrade" for them. They are sand pads. I believe they are not standard but most all of the PUPs I've seen have them included and are most useful. I would definitely use something like that in the location you're going, to distribute the weight and keep them from digging into the ground and rendering themselves useless.
After I changed my springs to leaf over, I gained about 6" but my stabilizers were almost out of reach on flat ground and definitely useless wherever the ground is decently sloped, so I made the following. They work better than I expected.
4) It is possible as this is a relatively small roof with hopefully no air conditioner. Personally, I wouldn't do it but it depends totally on the quality of the drill. I burned out the gears on a lesser drill. I now use a 19.2v Craftsman with heavy duty gears and a hammer drill feature (do NOT use the hammer setting on the roof mechanism!). I use it to raise/lower the roof, deploy the stabilizers, raise/lower the modified tongue jack and the hardest job of all, raising and lowering the BAL jack mentioned above. This task far outstrips the force needed to raise/lower my 14' roof. And it is really helpful using the secondary handle to manage the force. I went to the store and bought two deep sockets: one to match the outer diameter of the roof crank that fits into the crank, and the other strictly to run the BAL leveler (much larger size). I used my Dremel to cut a slot across the end of the socket so that it matched the design of the roof crank and life has been grand ever since. I did add an 8" socket extension to make it a little easier on my hands for working space.
Now, your second set of questions:
1) You pretty much nailed the functional differences. Other differences are mostly aesthetics, such as gray and silver-tone finishes inside and out. Diamond plate on the front was used on other product lines of Fleetwood's. They put it on the front of my 2006 highwall PUP.
2) Are you talking about the lift posts at the (approximately) four corners of the PUP that support the roof? I wasn't aware that Fleetwood had stainless steel lift posts. I haven't found any SS anywhere in my PUP with the exception of the lift cables. Everything else is plated or galvanized. I was surprised to learn that the exterior skin on my '06 was actually textured galvanized steel and not aluminum as I had seen used elsewhere and on my first PUP. Sure enough, it is a ferrous metal as a magnet sticks right to it. Which is handy for some future mods I have in mind.
Regardless, I would not expect to find any other notable upgrades to the off-road models in construction. But I am neither an engineer nor former Fleetwood employee. Take it with a grain of salt.
Good luck and let us know what other questions you have.
The sidewall of the tires will say something along the lines of "55 PSI cold pressure". The manufacturers know the tires will heat up with use which increases the internal PSI, and they design the tires accordingly. You do NOT measure tire pressure when they have been running and adjust them down to the max pressure rating on the sidewall. Only when they are cool, do you adjust the pressure.
Yes, indeed. You are missing the "turn buttons". One example is this:
They make a big difference in the stability of the door frame. It looks like they were just left off when your PUP was built.
Google "turn buttons" for the distributor of your choice. I've never had luck finding them locally myself.
The issue is sidewall flexing. When the tires are not at full pressure and you are driving highway speeds, the sidewalls are flexing more than they should. The flexing causes heat and builds up, eventually leading to a higher likelihood of a blow out. While there is more than enough opinions on the matter, you'll have to decide what works for you. Two tire blow outs at lower pressure was enough to convince me to stay at max pressure. No problems after that when driving 65mph and under. That included a stint across the Texas panhandle in summer.
I'm trying to follow the terms you're using but when you say you used the test light at the outlet, just to be clear, you're talking about the bulb outlet and not some cigarette lighter type of outlet?
What about the wires leading INTO the outlet? Do you get power from where those wires come in? Could be just a bad light fixture.
And I do have a wiring diagram for 2005 and newer highwalls. Schematic just has a pair of wires labeled "To Ceiling Lights". It has never been helpful at all.
It doesn't take long to dry out the surface. The gotcha is when water is trapped in folds and along seams. THAT can take a while, days even, if you don't go out and ensure everything gets exposed to the air.
I have left it popped up for three days in the warm weather of Arkansas, only to take it down and have water drip on me from where the vinyl roof was touching the underside of the hard roof, trapping water. That's disappointing.
Bite N Hold, that is a tenuous question, at best. The Honda EU2000i is a very strong unit but it depends on what capacitors are used in the AC units. Carrier AirV might be able to start and run on a single EU2000. The Coleman ACs are pretty much a no-go without changing out the capacitor and even you're running it at max load sustained. I would not chance a $1,000 generator burning out to run the AC. Get a Honda EU3000 and be in the safe zone. 3,000 watts is pretty much the safe minimum you need in either a single generator or in a paired generator setup.
I don't have any documentation to fall back on, so this is just my thoughts.
I would leave it up fully. I do know some that lower theirs back down onto the bars. Either way, I don't think it should hurt anything. Personal preference of mine would be to have it all of the way up and have less possible wrinkles in the tenting that might lead to unintentional leaks. Highly unlikely, but taut is better than loose in this case. If it is resting on the door, that might cause it to warp some over time. And one are we don't need help with is warped doors and frames.
I guess I need to say a generator to run a microwave and 13,500 ac
In order to do so, you're going to need a generator at or in excess of 3,000 watts. Starting up the A/C is hard on the generators as the inrush of current is quite high. I can get my paired paired 2000 watt inverter-based generators to handle it and then have no problem under load.
According to the information on the graphic, you could achieve this a couple of ways while using inverter-based generators (much quieter than the open-frame units on the right side of the graphic).
You could purchase a Honda/Yamaha/Champion 3000 unit for $1000-21000 but the first two are over one hundred and thirty pounds each and all are difficult to maneuver when loading and unloading. In checking for the weight specs, I noticed actual street prices are even $200 cheaper for some units.
Or, you could purchase a pair of smaller generators that have a method of joining them together to produce a higher output than they can individually. They are easier to handle by one person and also allow flexibility in only powering one smaller generator to recharge a deep cycle battery, or combined to power an air conditioner. So you're looking at $2,000 plus sync cable for Honda/Yamaha or $1,200 plus sync cable for Champion.
With Champion sharing the same relative operating noise space as Yamaha and Honda for similarly sized capabilities, noise is less of a deciding factor. It comes down to fuel consumption, quality (real and/or perceived), price and other attributes.
No generator is quiet and cannot match solar for noise to power generated. Solar has its own limitations and expenses but can be quite a viable alternative for folks NOT needing to power an air conditioner.
In order to have air conditioning, a generator is required when shore power is not available. Someone please show me an alternative method for running an A/C when not on shore power.
As you have alluded to, please stay away from the open frame generators that people commonly and mistakenly call "contractor generators". They have their place and use, but noise level restrictions in many campgrounds would eliminate most of them.
Good luck and ask further questions as they arise.
And just a little story to manage expectations - we were camping at almost 10,000 feet altitude and I was running the single 2,000 (1,600 running) watt generator. I'm on the other side of the TV when I hear the generator bog down and almost choke out. I run inside to see what's going on and discover that my wife has decided to take advantage of the generator to run the 1,500 watt microwave. Why the manufacturer put a microwave in the camper that has 500 more watts than my household microwave, I'll never know. Obviously, I stopped that right away.
Know that high elevation will reduce the usable wattage due to the effects of less oxygen to feed the combustion of the engine. A 1,600 watt (running) generator won't handle that the higher you go. Of course, at that elevation, who needs an A/C anyway. ;)
Hard sided trailers are, in some people's minds, enough to stop a bear that is motivated. Hardly.
From this thread on RV.net:
Then, from elsewhere:
Car doors seem to be structurally stronger than the aluminum skin and 1"x1" wood construction of most RVs but even that... (National Park Service picture)
Visual evidence would suggest that anything with doors and windows seems to be a welcome mat to a bear with a heightened sense of smell and a hungry stomach or a curious mind.
Adding that much weight isn't adding THAT much weight as not even 100% of what you add will be distributed to the tongue. I have found that my PUP rides much better if I get more towards 15% tongue weight than anything less. I have weighed my tongue and it is ~420 pounds, which is about 14% of GVWR. The actual percentage is technically higher because I don't load quite up to the GVWR of the PUP (3,200 pounds).
Other than not making the bracket taller than the top of the wall of the PUP so your bed can slide forward, I don't see any problems. You would want to ensure an adequate bracing design to account for sudden changes in velocity and and direction. You wouldn't want an emergency action to cause it to break loose and go flying across the highway.