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Old 04-13-2011, 12:45 PM   #1
Dave Stanley's Avatar
Alpine Owners Club
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 41
Rear Ladder

Hey guys, Lin and I just returned from a 4 1/2 month trip to Vegas & Yuma. Had a few things along the way, but nothing as major as our leaking radiator last fall. Just day/night shades and the front door
opener, [ not the dead bolt ] left me outside. Thankfully, Lin was on the inside. Also loss the top shroud to our front A/C on the way home while crossing the Mojave desert.

This leads me to 2 questions;

1. Where can I find a new door handle ? Repair man "Mike" from Desert Mobile RV in Vegas [ who, is highly reccommended ] said I should replace it as it is worn.

2. Losing the top shroud off the A/C made me realize, it would have been a lot better to have a rear ladder, so I could have had a look-see when it first started thumping.

All help greatly appreciated.... Thanks Dave

Dave Stanley
2005 38 FDTS 04 Jeep Liberty
Vacaville, CA
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Old 04-13-2011, 01:47 PM   #2
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Alpine Owners Club
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Surprise, AZ
Posts: 646
Front A/C Cover

Dave, the front A/C cover is my #1 nemesis! I have been driving down the highway, heard a banging noise, and then saw the cover flying off to the side of the road. I'm just glad it didn't cause a problem for other drivers!

Those covers seem to be slightly larger around than the mounting edge of the A/C. My son & I used some weatherstripping (5/8" or so IIRC) from Lowe's to help fill the gap around the mounting edge. We also used #10 size screws (IIRC) with flat washers & lock washers. I'm not convinced as yet that our modification is 100% reliable but I've only had to tighten the screws a little after taking a trip of 2000+ miles. I use a 2' bungee cord across the top of both A/C units to make sure they don't fly off.

FYI, the rear A/C isn't any better but I don't think it gets hammered by air flow like the front A/C.

I have given thought to adding a rear ladder but so far I rely on a colapsable 14' light weight ladder on board. I dump the air bags & bungee the ladder between the front awning & bedroom slide awning for safety.

Bob Bowers (Surprise, AZ)
2003 Alpine Coach 40' FDTS
2014 Jeep Cherokee Lattitude
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Old 04-13-2011, 10:38 PM   #3
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FWIW - Ran into an alpine owner at Turtle Beach Thousand Trails CG, who said the company who built all the ladders for WRV is in So Cal. He never did send me the name. Supposedly, the end cap was reinforced if the ladder option was ordered, and there were up to 6 models of ladders used for the different coaches. It has come to light that not all rear caps are reinforced, so don’t assume yours is.

The best way would be to remove the rear cap, have the whole thing reinforced, and then find a reputable company to put the ladder on before you re-install the cap. Seems to me, the rear cap is in two/three pieces, but don't quote me on that.

One owner has had nothing but trouble with his factory installed ladder, it bends, leaks, cracks the fiberglass, etc. After hearing his tales of woe, I'm glad I don't have one, as I got enough things wrong/fix with it now.

We carry a "little giant" 17' ladder in the big smart bed, it fits fine. Costco sells them, and I then can get it out and do anything I need to do while on the road. I carry a piece of carpet to lie over the top so I don't scratch the side of the coach.

FWIW-2: In thinking about having one installed, I have learned that I need the ladder out anyway if I need to clean the windshield, and I would need it out if I was doing work on the sides if it was up high. It's safer working on a ladder than leaning over the side of the MH to fix something. So before you have one installed think of how you would need to carry another ladder anyway. How many 5th wheel owners do you see going down the road with the ladder option and another ladder tied to the factory installed one, now why do you think that is?
Monty & Janet - 2007 Alpine APEX 40 MDTS
S/N - 75715 - Retired - Master Certified RV Tech
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Old 04-13-2011, 10:47 PM   #4
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I really like the look of my rig without the rear ladder. It looks more sleek and is certainly easier to clean. I use this to get on top:
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2003 Alpine 40FDTS (400HP)
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Old 04-13-2011, 11:41 PM   #5
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Certainly folds up smaller than the Little Giant, but if you ever use one, you won't leave home without it. Bar none, it's the safest ladder you can use.
Monty & Janet - 2007 Alpine APEX 40 MDTS
S/N - 75715 - Retired - Master Certified RV Tech
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Old 04-14-2011, 07:52 AM   #6
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I have the one like Takepride and it works great for betting in the roof. I prefer an 8 foot fiberglass ladder for general coach cleaning.
Wayne & Kathy
05 Alpine 40FDQS #75330 Towing 24' car hauler, 2012 Spyder, 2003 Harley FatBoy
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Old 04-14-2011, 04:45 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by takepride View Post
I really like the look of my rig without the rear ladder. It looks more sleek and is certainly easier to clean. I use this to get on top:
Me too
2001 34' Alpine Coach
2008 Jeep Rubicon or 2012 Ford F150 4x4 Lariat towds
or a couple of different trailers
Retired in Apple Valley, California
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Old 04-14-2011, 09:42 PM   #8
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I had the latter added as an option when I ordered our coach. Wouldn't be without it even though I carry a smaller one for work around the coach. It's just darn convenient.
Jerry and Judy
Fremont, California
2017 Dutch Star 4018
toad 2012 Jeep Wrangler Sahara
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Old 04-17-2011, 07:57 PM   #9
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I love the way the Alpine looks without the ladder...just beautiful in my opinion.

However after owning our Alpine only 5 months...I would swap the appearance for a permanent ladder in a heartbeat. I really miss having one. It's a pia to dig one out of the basement...when you want to check something on the roof ...or rinse off the awnings ...or anything else that you just want to be up there for a few minutes to do. I find myself neglecting things that I would have checked out immediately on all the other motorhomes I have owned...just too much hassle.

I have a Little Giant too...got it for Christmas. Great ladder and you really need one for some things....but I still really MISS a permanent ladder for everyday use.

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Old 04-18-2011, 08:38 AM   #10
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Jerry, who manufactured your ladder, can you send pictures?
Dave, Bobbi and Fenway
2005 38' FDTS Alpine Limited, 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited
Cape Cod, MA
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Old 04-18-2011, 10:47 AM   #11
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Regarding the door.. Depends on who made it.. I got my replacement from my dealer when mine broke.

I now have a fabricator (Very advanced body man) who can build new parts for me.. Very handy thing to have, but he's not cheap and he's in Redford,MI.

Page 2: The ladder.. at over 300 pounds though the ladder itself held me,the supports did not.

I had a convertable ladder (Extension/step) already "in stock"it's a 14 footer in the extension mode (Big enough for me to use as a roof ladder.

I had the above mentioned fabricator bend me a couple of "J" jooks (think lower case J) these were bolted just below the roof line where the ladder used to be.

I put an "Assist" bar from the bath isle down near the bottom of the rear cap

The convertable hands on the hooks and is both tied and cable locked to the grab bar.

That ladder is rated 250 pounds, and can safely hold 350 pounds and being as when it is in roof-ladder mode it's slanted it is way easier for me to get on/off (i'm a former roofer, among other things) and in step ladder mode..Wash and Wax anyone?
Home is where I park it!
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Old 04-20-2011, 07:50 AM   #12
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The door was made by PTL Engineering and they can supply you with replacement parts.

My front AC shroud blew off in a recent storm (while parked) so I replaced both with the new style cover from Dometic. This include replacments for all the foam pieces and fits much tighter than the non-OEM ones I have seen. I used #10 screws with rubber faced washers and also put a drop of threadlocker on them.

I don't think you have the option of installing a ladder if your coach wasn't built with the reinforcing pads. I also carry the Little Giant ladder previously mentioned.
John and Mary Knight
2015 Newmar Ventana 4311 - wheelchair accessible
2015 Cadillac SRX Luxury AWD
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Old 04-20-2011, 11:51 AM   #13
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To install a ladder aftermarket, you should (not sure if you have to) remove the rear cap (think it's in three pieces), and have the ladder contact points reinforced on the rear cap prior to installation. This will cost a big wad of money, unless you can take the cap off, haul it somplace and have the work done. I would think the little giant ladder is a much cheaper option. Is a ladder already installed on the coach a nice thing, you betch, but, the cost aftermarket would be in the thousands to have it done correctly and "SAFELY". Just MTCW.
Monty & Janet - 2007 Alpine APEX 40 MDTS
S/N - 75715 - Retired - Master Certified RV Tech
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Old 04-21-2011, 12:51 PM   #14
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I have a 2005 Alpine Coach 36 mid door and had a ladder installed when I purchased it (the rear cap was reforced for a ladder starting in 2005). The problems that I find are, the plastic caps on the end of the ladder that hold the steps crack if more than 200 pounds go up the ladder (I'm 180, but still have the problem) thus making the ladder a safty hazard. Also if I leave my FMCA decal on the ladder while traveling all the screws that hold the ladder to the cap start to work out and requires constant retightening. Desen't happen if I take the decal off.
As for the front AC, the screws holding the AC also work out from the buffeting of the wind. After every trip it means another trip up the ladder to tighten the screws. So far I haven't found a cure, even by using larger screws.
Capt Bravo

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