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Open Roads Forum  >  Truck Campers

 > Purchasing Warped Roof 1997 Bigfoot 2500 9’6”?

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HMS Beagle

Napa, California

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Posted: 12/16/21 09:15am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Where fiberglass clamshell campers don't leak is along 70' of side seam.

There is a reason a 25 year old one will sell for >$10K.


Bigfoot 10.4E, 2015 F350 6.7L DRW 2WD, Autoflex Ultra Air Ride rear suspension, Hellwig Bigwig sway bars front and rear

rutzbeck

Haines, AK

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Posted: 12/16/21 03:58pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

My 99 Bigfoot has a slight dip in that area and it hasn't caused a problem. Looking at the sealant around the other intrusions, they look like they need to be cleaned off and replaced. Also the tank vent doesn't have the vent caps on it. The vent cap helps prevent water between the camper and the vent. Bigfoot has a specific roof coat. It's not hard to do. I had a harder time getting the right stuff.

I would buy it if it was what I wanted. I love my Bigfoot and when it needs expert repair I take it back to Vernon, BC to a little shop that repairs them.

stupendous_man

USA

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Posted: 12/18/21 02:06am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks so much for the info everyone. There is truly a wealth of knowledge and experts on this website. Sorry for being neglectful of this post, I read all the input from this forums and others, and thought that the camper had a reasonable chance of working out. So, I began scrambling to get the truck ready and make the drive to Louisiana. I’m passing Texas right now, and expect to get to Louisiana in another two days.

It seems that the consensus is that the sagging roof isn’t a deal-breaker, so long as it doesn’t have any associated water damage (it is concerning that the unit is missing vent covers...). However, in new pictures the owner sent, I noticed that the anchors have what appear to be rust on them. I’m not sure what this could mean, as I thought the anchors were fully encased in fiberglass. However, perhaps the anchor pieces themselves are metal, and rust could mean that water somehow found it’s way around there. Any thoughts on this?

Pictures attached. If you look close at the second photo, you might see that the anchors don’t look perfectly straight. Could be my imagination though.

[image]
[image]

* This post was last edited 12/18/21 09:17am by an administrator/moderator *   View edit history

notsobigjoe

southeast

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Posted: 12/18/21 07:06am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The anchors are metal and rusty no big deal. They look pretty straight if not perfectly straight, Maybe bent a little from the pull of the rear jack. The pic might be fooling us. Get a better pic of that rear anchor cause they are a pain to change also if it's pulling out that could be a sign of trouble. The camper leaning down at the rear in the bed of the truck is also petty normal too. I know that some years of Chevy they had a slight slant to them to drain water. I don't know of other brands though. My final thought is I think the camper looks pretty solid. I would absolutely take the advice of all our members and go over it with a fine tooth comb and look for any water damage. I bet you won't find much. Also take a look at the cushions and mattress to see if they are moldy, start everything, run the heater, AC, hot water heater, lights, running lights, backup lights, plug to the camper, etc... Otherwise I think it's a good find. Good luck sir.

Geo*Boy

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Posted: 12/18/21 07:37am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The rust on the anchors are normal for powder coating, my 2015 AF had rust on the anchors and it has never seen winter weather. I sanded them, applied Rustoleum primer and Rustoleum white paint.
What truck are you going to load the camper on?

covered wagon

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Posted: 12/18/21 09:30am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Look very close inside the bottom of the camper in the very area of where it overhangs off the bed of the truck. Much weight of the camper rests on there and that is where you can find trouble from years of condesation and general culmination of aging with this camper. Anytime you see it not resting even in the truck bed is a concern, just make sure there's no cronic rot and does not smell moldy, terribly musty nor like old moisture smell in there. A very bright flashlight and getting in there and look is very important. This area can be repaired but if any rot to the plywood or the main camper base beams makes it more difficult. I will say these older Bigfoots are a better rig than newer and worth the effort.

HMS Beagle

Napa, California

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Posted: 12/18/21 09:46am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Rust on the anchors not important and normal for that age. Should be resprayed with something to delay further rust and improve cosmetics. It is very likely to rust through.

The anchor points themselves though should be inspected closely. On a BF, these are weldments with the tang you see hanging down through a slot in the fiberglass. Inside the tang is welded to a large backing plate, this sits on plywood to spread the load to the structure. It is possible for a long term leak to have rotted the plywood backing, then you have a structural problem. A tell tale sign of current problems is water dripping from the tang. Water ingress at the tang point is very unlikely as it is under the overhang and water runs downhill, but if very wet it will run out there. Tightening the turnbuckles may cause some drips as it squeezes the plywood like a sponge.

A leak anywhere along the side penetrations can pool on the top side of that overhang and rot the plywood. It is hard to access this for inspection, but you can see some of it by removing all the drawers and looking inside with a good flashlight. Feel around back there (being careful not to cut hands on screw points etc) for moisture. The area may be carpeted and the carpet will retain moisture. Also look for signs of mold or staining. Typical entrance points for water are the locker doors along the side for batteries, propane, refer, etc.

bigfootford

Fair Oaks, California

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Posted: 12/18/21 11:02am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

What Covered Wagon and HMS said is right on.

One place not mentioned is where the sewer drain access is. Using a flashlight look insdide and feel the walls.. There is part of the floor on the top of the door. Check that too for no sag and moisture damage.

I will mention again that my 2000 BF's vent over the door was a 12x12 vent, not a hatch.
I installed a 24x24 escape hatch that is metal framed.
The roof of these BF's are arched. The hatch can not sit flat. So I had to build up the roof with Butyl tape to compensate for the arch. As much as I tried to be careful tightening the hatch down to the roof the fiberglas arch flattened some and I ended up with a slight dip over time between the front of the hatch and the nose of the BF. That meant there was a bit of delam of the inside ceiling foam and wood inside roofing which is about 1/8". So I decided to live with the dip. That was 15 years ago.

The only leak I have had with my BF after I fixed a factory issues with a window was one from running light leak.

I do yearly maintenance for all the vents on the roof. I did replace one vent in the bathroom but not for a leak.

Oh, and if the roof vents for the black and gray tank little covers come off and it is raining water will end up inside the camper and from what I have found it will pool in the area of the sewer drain valve area. On my BF there is a little drain hole on the bottom of the camper where the valve access door is located.


The windows should all have a bit of butyl tape oozing out around the edges between the outside window frame and the fiberglass. If they do not inspect the separation and see how deep the cracks are. I had a great friend that had an 86 FB that was leaking from several windows due to this issue. He removed all the windows and resealed.
I discovered this issue after my camper was about a year old. I went around each window inside and lightly tightened the screws.... Some screws were totally loose... Boy did those window Butyl tape ooze. I trimmed it off.. 20 years later I still have a bit of butyl tape showing and no separation from the camper to window outside frame!

Hope this helps you... Our BF has almost 200,000 miles on it and has been on 2 trucks.

Jim


2000 2500 9.6 Bigfoot,94 F250, Vision 19.5, Mich 245/70XDS2's, Bilstein shocks, air bags/pump, EU2000, PD 9260,Lifeline 100ah, 200W. solar, Morningstar Sunsaver 15A/ display panel, Trimetric, Delorme/laptop, Holux gps rec,led lights, Wave-3 heat.

stevenal

Newport, OR, USA

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Posted: 12/18/21 12:09pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

A few suggestions from someone on his second 'foot.
Walk the floor carefully and completely, testing for soft spots.

Open the hatch and stand on the bed. Press on the fiberglass around the hatch in the area of the sag to test for sponginess. Also press on the flange of the hatch, looking for movement.

I fail to understand folks claiming Bigfoot didn't install escape hatches. Both my 'feet were purchased new and had full size escape hatches over the bed. I'm pretty sure a second means of egress is an RVIA code requirement, besides being a good idea. My other 'foot was a '98.

I agree the window molding is cosmetic issue. It's the butlyl seal under the window flange that is important. I've reset the molding twice now, and it's pulling away from the corners again.

For real peace of mind, consider taking it to a Sealtech testing location.

* This post was edited 12/18/21 12:19pm by stevenal *


'18 Bigfoot 1500
Torklifts and Fastguns
'17 F350 Powerstroke Supercab SRW LB 4X4

HMS Beagle

Napa, California

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Joined: 08/22/2003

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Posted: 12/18/21 02:51pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

It is a continuing shame that Bigfoot doesn't mold a flat into the roof where the hatch goes over the bed.

It is a code requirement that there be a second means of egress, I've had 3 Bigfeet, two had a hatch you could climb through, my current 10.4 has a Heki which I can easily climb through but it is not rated for escape for some reason so it has a tilt out side window to satisfy code. I ordered the 9.6 I had from the factory (about 96 I think it was) and asked for no hatch, no luggage rail, and no ladder. Why drill all those holes in an otherwise watertight roof? However I ended up with the hatch and ladder because of the escape requirements: must have the hatch, and a way to climb down.

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