Mid 70's camper, has the textured aluminum sheets on the roof. I think it's 4 sections total, each joined together. I got the sealing tape off the joints enough to see the joint, and bent up one side where it bends down and over the siding. It looks like each end of the sheet is bent back under itself in a 180 degree bend (like a pancake flat C, or the hem of a pair of pants), with a joiner piece also with either side bent over itself, and sandwiched in between either roof section. Hard to explain, but I'm guessing it's standard fare for this roof type.
I started to bend up the sections to try to get the joiner piece out, but created a small tear in the aluminum in the process. It will be easy enough to fix/seal later, but I didn't want to keep going and create a huge mess for myself later.
Is this a situation where I'll be pretty much stuck taking the entire roof off as one piece, or is there a simpler method to getting these sections apart that I'm not thinking of?
EDIT: To clarify this a bit, actually getting the roof separated from the camper is not my issue, I know it's screwed/stapled down, but I'm hoping I can separate the sections while it's on the camper, rather than pulling approx 12 feet of roof all at once.
* This post was
edited 06/04/12 09:43pm by urbex *
1965 Ford F250 Camper Special 352/4spd - tow vehicle
1974 Juno Real-Lite - truck camper, currently undergoing rebuild
I don't know your particular roof situation, but having been in the aluminum business for more decades than I want to admit, I would suggest that your roof, although appearing in sections, is permanently seamed at the factory.
I used to install mobile home re-roofs. The replacement roofs came in a roll, but were made in 4 foot sections. At the factory, there is a nearly 180 degree hem in both roof pieces, a cleat to cover the hems in the roof, and a sealant injected into the joints. I toured the factory as a dealers installation manager.
So visualize 2 pieces butt together with about a 165 degree hem, or over bend. Then a joiner strip about an inch wide with both sides having the same hem. This part is inserted on the roof sections upside down to make a cap. They inject a sealant all along the 2 pieces to be joined and then.....
Here is the reason you will NEVER get it apart!!
They insert the section to be joined into about a 10 ton press, push a button, and WHAM!!!!!!!! a big steel press thunders down on the 2 pieces and the joiner cap to make it a permanent joint, under 10 tons of pressure. It ain't coming apart! It is as good as a one piece roof.
I forget the pressure, 10 tons, 5 tons, twenty tons? Doesn't matter, it is flattened hard and designed to be never taken apart.
If your roof is done this way, you WILL need to remove the entire thing in one piece.
Can you post any pics of your roof? Most specifically the joint in the sections?
2007 GMC 3500 dually ext. cab 4X4 LBZ
Duramax / Allison Fire Red
Bobsyour uncle gave you the correct advice about the factory crimp. Your not going to get it apart anyway without destroying the crimp/seal.
The more seams/holes/tears up there you create = more places of a possible future leak.
Remove the screws and staples from the roof sidewall overlap drip cap or awning rail.
Remove the screws from a end cap/roof lap joint.
Remove screws from the roof jacks/fixtures.
Remove the screws from all the roof jacks and fixtures.
Now simply roll the roof skin up without tearing or cracking the skin.
I've had my own RV/mobilehome repair business years back and I've found RVs/mobilehomes aluminum roof material in the south (especially Arizona) can get brittle with age as the sun works on it.
Before sealing it up look at a new unit that has been sealed correctly and copy it without making a lake or puddle up there.
"good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment" ............ Will Rogers
'03 2500 QC Dodge/Cummins HO 3.73 6 speed manual Jacobs Westach
'97 Park Avanue 28' 5er 11200 gvwr two slides
Yep, Bobsyouruncle described it perfectly, and its what I was thinking when I started to peel it apart, which is why I stopped rather than trying a bunch of different things. Seemed to be way too tight of a crimp to have been made by hand after laying the sheets up there (my first thought was that maybe the individual sheets were laid up with loose crimps, then some ran a roller over the joints similar to what is used on the edges of linoleum tile).
That said, rolling it isnt going to happen, as the sheets are about 1/2" wider than the camper on either side, with the edges folded over the side and the rear (covered by the front "siding" at the front cabover area, and is just a simple lap joint there with a ton of caulk from the PO), and stapled into the side of the plywood under the aluminum.
At this point, I've only got the ladder and side rail left to remove on the roof, and a bit of trim at the front, and the stuff should be ready to pull. I'm thinking at this point, my best bet might be to just remove the siding at the front, then simply slide it off the camper to the rear with a helper or two to support/guide it down.
Also, re: holes - the PO put a LOT of holes up there, presumably in a failed attempt to keep the roof sealed. There's also a number of other random holes that were merely covered in silicone that I'd like to try to repair before I reinstall the roof later. I was thinking of using Alumaweld to fill in the holes, as I've had good luck with the stuff in the past making some simple brackets, but had some concerns about it creating stiff spots in the roof that may cause failure/tears later on. I'm hesitant to just put caulking up there again, and looking for more semi-permament solutions (I know nothing will be maintenance free). Structurally, the existing roof looks fine, except for the many holes created. Or perhaps this is an area to just go crazy with something like Eternabond tape, and cover all the holes that way?
Couldn't you get a new one piece of aluminum and use the old piece as a template to cut the proper cutouts for the vents, etc.? I've not checked into the prices, but perhaps the cost of the new one piece and your labor would be a better and more permanent solution? I'm just thinking out loud here and not trying to tell you the best way to handle this. I've torn apart and rebuilt many old campers in the past and I've found that trying to "re-work" old parts can be a total PITA! In any event, good luck!
1995 Weekender model 910 extended cabover
Calvin, the 1996 creampuff Chev Silverado 3500 extended cab dually
I consider my labor to be free, so that's a non issue to me. I know many people go by the thought of "your time is worth something", and use the equivalent of whatever they make at their job as to what an hour of their time is worth.
In my case, I consider this to be like a hobby, I get enjoyment out of the experience, and if I wasn't doing something like this, I'd be sitting my fat arse in front of the TV So my time is worth something, yes, but not a dollar something.
That said, while I haven't exhaustively searched for replacement roof panels, the only place I've found thus far for the aluminum has been All-Rite, and it looks like it would be around $600 to have new panels shipped out to me. I've also considered replacing it with rubber, but looks like it would be even more expensive. That's WAY more than I want to spend on this, considering this is still an old camper, and I don't see myself using this one for many years. It's basically a learning experience for me (and I've already learned a LOT about what to look for when looking at used campers, despite not actually used the camper once yet, lol). I don't want to dump a ton of money into it when I likely will be building a new one from scratch in a couple years when I have a better idea of what I really want in a camper.
That said, there are some things that absolutely will be replaced with new, I'm not trying to salvage every last bit I can. Obviously any wood showing signs of rot is getting replaced. I'm putting all stainless hardware in when I go to rebuild. New vents are going in, as the old ones are getting brittle. All new wiring is going in, along with all new electrical outlets (and adding a few more). New breaker panel to upgrade from the existing single circuit 20amp service to multi-circuit 50amp. Prewiring for roof AC as well as rear wall AC (and adding the wood structure as needed to support the units). Adding dual house batteries (none originally). Adding wiring for TV/antenna (will likely never put a TV in the camper, as I believe in the "I'm going camping to get away from that kind of stuff!), and stereo system. Probably some more stuff as the "while I've got it apart" syndrome kicks in some more, lol.