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 > 2001 Lance 1121 Rot Repair

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NRALIFR

Truck Camping Out West

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Joined: 11/27/2005

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Posted: 01/01/14 09:04pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I've been working on my camper since after Thanksgiving, replacing the rotted panels on each side next to the bumper. This is a pretty common repair on the older wood framed Lance campers. Doesn't seem to matter if it's a filon or aluminum skinned camper, they all seem to need this repair eventually.

So first of all, what are those panels called anyway? I always thought they were called "skirts", but when I was removing the old filon skin, I found hand-written on both: "Drivers/Passenger side A Wing". I assume the person who built them at the factory wrote that. Since they hang down, "skirt" seemed the appropriate term to me. I always thought the "wings" were the parts that extended out over the sides of the truck bed. Whatever..... I think I'll just stick with the terms I've always used for this topic.

Despite being fairly vigilant about keeping the camper seams sealed up, the bottoms of the skirts have had a problem since the day I bought this camper used in '04. That's just a very difficult area to keep dry, and it's probably second only to the nose of the camper in terms of how much water it's blasted with when driving in a rainstorm. I've been fortunate that the repairs I've had to do on this camper up to now have been fairly minor. I've had to fix a couple of other small rotted areas in the nearly 10 years I've owned it. One was a very small area under the filon at a top rear corner, and the other was around the fridge drain tube where it poked through the underside of the "wing" which isn't covered with filon. Both were basically just small patch jobs. The skirt panel rot appears to be confined to the bottom 8" or so of the panels themselves. There doesn't appear to be any water damage to critical structural areas of the camper (most importantly the jack mount areas), so my plan is to replace the skirts and just patch up any surrounding rotted wood as needed.

Replacing the skirts is going to be a little more involved than the previous repairs though, and knowing this I've put it off as long as I dared. I've been monitoring their deterioration by squeezing along the bottom edge where I can get my hand around both sides. Over the past year or so, the edge trim has started to loosen up as the screws lost their hold. I actually bought the new skirts from Lance a couple years ago, and had been waiting for the right time to dig into it. Now that I have a place to work out of the weather, it's time to get started. Earlier this year, I painted several coats of spar-urethane on the raw wood of the new skirt panels to give them a little better protection from the elements.

These are the old skirts and filon panels. Pretty rotted on the bottoms, but we've all seen a lot worse haven't we?. I was happy to see that the rot hadn't gone any higher up than I suspected.

[image]

[image]

The cavities that were filled with fiberglass insulation on the old panels will be filled with blue foam board on the new panels.

[image]

These are the new panels. The one on the right is the passenger side panel where the storage compartment is located. The one on the left is the driver side panel where the dump-valves and outside shower is located. The upper half of this panel is also the inside wall of the bathroom behind the commode. I'll explain the two holes connected by a straight cut in a minute.

[image]

These are the new filon "skin" panels. Filon outside and luan inside. The luan side has also been coated with spar-urethane.

[image]

After removing the compartment doors and edge trim, I was surprised to find that the filon panels were simply attached with staples around the perimeter edges where the trim would cover them. I expected to find them fully glued to the skirt panel, and to really have to work at it to get off. But, after removing the edge trim and compartment doors, it came off pretty easily.

After removing the skin, getting the skirt panels off without destroying too much was a little more challenging. They're probably the last parts of the side structure to be attached at the factory prior to the first sheet of filon going on the sides. That first filon sheet is put on with it's top edge aligned with the roof of the camper. The height of the sheet is such that it overlaps the top edge of the skirt panel by about 6". As you can see in the picture below, there's a seam in the filon siding a few inches below the top of the storage compartment door.

[image]

The new filon sheets included with the replacement skirts are big enough to cover the entire panel, so apparently the idea is to cut the filon at the top of the skirt panel in order to get it off. The new filon seam will be just above the compartment door.

[image]

The skirt panel is attached primarily with screws. The scariest part of this job so far has been cutting off the 6" of overlapping filon from the top sheet to get to the screws underneath. Even after doing that, I find that some of the screws are going to have to be cut because they were driven in from above, and their heads remain hidden behind the upper filon sheet. I've found my Rockwell Sonicrafter to be an invaluable tool for this project. With the right blade, you can make plunge-cuts through all types of materials, including metal.

I found an added challenge on the drivers side where a bundle of wires from under the bathroom sink area was pulled trough the inner cavity of the skirt panel behind the commode, and then back into the area behind the shower. Four of these wires are 10 gauge for the electric jacks. Not wanting to cut the wires and splice them back together, I had to cut the old panel's interior paneling to get the wires out. They will need to be routed the same way through the new panel, so I cut the two round holes in the new panel with a hole saw, and connect them with a straight cut using a circular saw as you see in the picture above. I'll just cover the portion of the cut that will be visible inside the camper with a piece of trim. There isn't enough slack in the wires to move the bundle into the plumbing area below the commode, or I would have done that instead.

[image]

As I said earlier, the rot "appears" to be confined to the skirt panels themselves. That turned out to be about 98% true. I did also find a little rot damage on the ends of the piece of wood that runs the width of the camper at the bottom of the rear wall. There's a 2x2 piece that runs under the generator compartment door, and the rear entry door of the camper. The bumper is also attached to that piece. The lower support sockets for the folding ladder are also attached to it below the generator door. All I can actually see of this piece are the 2x2 ends of it. About an inch on the drivers side is rotted, and about 7-8" on the passenger side. The rot on the passenger side doesn't appear to extend under the generator compartment door, as the ladder sockets are still in solid wood. To replace that entire piece would require removing not only the bumper, but the generator, the compartment door, and the sheet metal compartment liner as well. The bumper is still solidly mounted, as I checked every lag bolt holding it on. With the exception of the one that screwed into the rotted area on the passenger side, all the others are screwed into sound wood. Being a firm believer in the concept of not creating more problems than you're fixing, I'm going to just replace as much of the rotted wood as I can without removing the bumper, generator, etc. If I ever need to replace that entire piece, I'm confident I can do it without having to remove the skirts again. Besides, I'd really need the camper sitting up higher than it is right now in order to work on that area. I've got the rear jacks and mount brackets removed right now as you can see.

This is looking into the area on the passenger side after removing all of the rotted wood I could.

[image]

The cavity is about 6-7" deep, and you can see an irregularly shaped piece of sound wood I was able to leave. Using the Sonicrafter with a coarse blade, I was able to hack it off to a fairly flat surface on the end. Using a bi-metal blade I was also able to cut off the remains of the screws and staples that were in this area. I considered several ways of filling this area back in, but finally just settled on using a scrap of some treated lumber cut to size and shaped to slide in as far as possible. This really wasn't as hard as you might think, considering the odd shape of the old wood left in the hole. I cut the wood to size on a table saw, made a few more cuts to get the majority of the material removed, then hand carved the rest.

[image]

[image]

This "plug" extends at least 7" into the hole, and overlaps the old wood by at least 5". When driven in with a rubber mallet it will go in all the way up to the pencil lines and it is very difficult to remove.

[image]

I set the plug in place by dampening everything with a little water, then coating every surface with Gorilla Glue. A couple of clamps help control the expansion of the glue while it dries. I'll cut the end off even with the edge of the filon covering the back wall later.

[image]

On the drivers side, I just trimmed the rotted wood off to a flat surface with the Sonicrafter and made another filler piece out of the treated wood. Shown glued into place here.

[image]

Before installing the skirt panels, I'm going to coat as much of the exposed raw wood of the camper that I can get to with spar-urethane. I've made a couple of test-fits and they both need a few adjustments to the edges in order to fit properly. Nothing made of wood is ever truly square, is it?

More later.

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2001 Lance 1121 on a 2016 F450


okan-star

Nevada

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Posted: 01/01/14 09:48pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Fun huh
Lance builds the wings like its future out of warranty cash flow or somthing
When I rebuilt mine I skined the inside exposed part of the wing with thin aluminum and ran it up higher than the inside floorline , when I screwed them in place I set them into geocel so its sealed to the exposed floor of the camper, I bent the alum over the edge of the wing on the bottom and front sides so the J trim seals the wing it totaly , no more exposed luon
While I had acsess I ran a few more carrage bolts thru the floor into the bumper on the wing sides

okan-star

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Posted: 01/01/14 09:50pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Also installed a black tank flusher since with the wing off acsess is better

ClassicB

Massachusetts

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Posted: 01/02/14 06:52am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks for the write up. I will need to address this same issue with the drivers side skirt on my 2001 Lance 1010 (bought camper brand new in Oct. 2000). I'm hoping Lance still provides the replacement parts for this engineering disaster.


------------------------------------------------------------------
2001 Lance 1010
1999 F250 PSD
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NRALIFR

Truck Camping Out West

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Posted: 01/02/14 07:58am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

There shouldn't be a problem getting them from Lance. They must hang on to the jigs they used to produce these panels. You'll have to go through your local Lance dealer to order them, and they'll need the serial number of your camper so they can make sure they build you the correct ones.

When I bought mine, I had to call the closest Lance dealer to me and have them place the order and arrange truck shipment directly to me. I tried to deal directly with Lance since there are no dealers close to me, but they wouldn't do it.

Brace yourself when they quote the price. They aren't cheap.

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GTO66

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Posted: 01/02/14 08:15am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

They all rot or get soft.My 2000 aluminum framed alpenlite had the same issue with the right wing.I removed all the soft wood between the aluminum framing and replaced with pressure treated wood.Used liquid nails and stainless screws then fiberglass the repair.Will do the other wing when the time comes.Your repair looks factory good job.

joe b.

Florida

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Posted: 01/02/14 08:58am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Looks like the OP is doing some nice work.

On my 2001 Lance, I rebuilt the wings using marine grade hard woods, Coosa board for the inside, a rot proof fiberglass impregnated foam, used in boat decks, and 8 ten oz tubes of 3M 5200 adhesive and all stainless steel fasteners. I only wanted to have to do this job one time. On the marine plywood I used in places, it was encapsulated in epoxy resin on all edges and both sides. But in this part of Florida I have access to many boat supply businesses.

On my Lance, the underside was not caulked from the factory as best I could tell and I failed to spot this in my yearly maintenance. The rear tires drove the water into all the underneath seams when driving in the rain. What I thought was going to be a day or twos work, turned into about 80 hours of work from start to finish.

http://www.pajbcooper.com/Lance%20Camper%20845%20Repair.htm


joe b.
Stuart Florida
Formerly of Colorado and Alaska
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deltabravo

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Posted: 01/02/14 09:18pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Isn't it nice to have a fully enclosed garage to work on the camper?

Love your new garage, and the repair photos.


2009 Silverado 3500HD Dually, D/A, CCLB 4x4 (bought new 8/30/09)
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NRALIFR

Truck Camping Out West

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Joined: 11/27/2005

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Posted: 01/27/14 07:16pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Still working on this.....slowly.

I've got the new skirt panels mounted, and I'm about ready to put the filon skin back on. Getting them sized and adjusted so they fit properly has taken quite a few hours. It's taken a little trimming here, and a little building up there. I've been trying to coat all the raw wood with spar urethane as I go along, so I have to stop and let it dry once in a while.

This is the passenger side panel. The blue is Styrofoam insulation cut to fill the voids in the panels. The old panels had fiberglass. The white spots are some epoxy filler used to fill in a few low areas in the original wood.

[image]

And this is the driver side, with the bundle of electrical wires tucked back into place.

[image]

I had to get creative to drive some screws up through the skirt panels into the wall structure above it. When the camper was built, screws were driven down from the wall into the skirt before the filon was put on. I had to cut those screws to remove the old panel.

[image]

One area I had some trouble with was this area where the skirt panels drop down next to the bumper. The panel didn't seem to match the dimensions of the wood used to build the rear wall structure, so the surface that should match up with the back wall was off by 3/8" or so. As you can see, I had to make a tapered shim to fill that area in...........

[image]

And allow this skinny strip of filon to match the surface of the back wall, and meet the side of the bumper in the right place. The corner trim will cover almost the entire width of the filon next to the bumper, but it will be a smooth transition now.

[image]

On this side, in addition to also needing a tapered shim next to the bumper, it needed another one on the side of the back wall to make the two surfaces even. There are probably easier ways to do this, but I enjoy playing with my tools.

Both shims have been glued and clamped in place here.

[image]

Having the camper tucked in the corner of the garage gave me two walls to brace against.

[image]

I'll get started putting the skin back on soon. I need to figure out how to cut the compartment openings in the filon panels after they're attached. Seems like I've seen a bit for a router or a Roto-Zip for that purpose.

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Buffettphan

New Hampshire

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Posted: 01/27/14 07:32pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

NRALIFR wrote:

There shouldn't be a problem getting them from Lance. They must hang on to the jigs they used to produce these panels. You'll have to go through your local Lance dealer to order them, and they'll need the serial number of your camper so they can make sure they build you the correct ones.

When I bought mine, I had to call the closest Lance dealer to me and have them place the order and arrange truck shipment directly to me. I tried to deal directly with Lance since there are no dealers close to me, but they wouldn't do it.

Brace yourself when they quote the price. They aren't cheap.

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What parts are you talking about?


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