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Old 05-16-2009, 03:22 PM   #1
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Is an RV cover worth the effort?

We are owners of a new 36' Itasca motorhome and store it in a public storage facility unsheltered. Bought an ADCO cover which we like. Problem is it has been a royal pain to put it on, take it off, store, etc. It involves walking the roof of our RV which is something I do not enjoy both for my safety and that of the RV.

Yeah, I read the ads, watched the video, heard the 10 minute claims, tried the various methods for installing it from the side v front to back, you name it. Maybe it's just us and our current pattern of short trips, clumsiness whatever. Bottom line is we don't like the inconvenience, time required, and safety issue of repeatedly walking on the roof.

Then it occurred to me: the vast majority of full-timers leave their coaches exposed to the elements all the time. So, do I really need a cover at all? Would a good cleaning and waxing twice a year be all I need? So my two questions are:

1. any tips for quickly and safely installing and removing/storing a big ole cover?
2. is a cover really necessary for the longevity of the fiberglass coach?

Thanks for your perspective.
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Old 05-16-2009, 04:06 PM   #2
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36' is a good sized cover. I am positively a cover fan - if you live anywhere near trees, pollen, dirty air, dust, intense sun, and/or driving rain. Ask yourself why a garage kept car always looks far better than one kept outdoors. Same idea with a cover.

Try this. The key is to develop a formula for taking it off and putting it on so it is always aligned, every time.

Yeah, you gotta get on the roof. Won't hurt a thing walking around up there - make note of where the breakables are however (antenna, solar, plastic vents, etc)!

1 - Start with cover on.
2- Pull up the sides bunching the material along the entire side on the roof. Eventually what you are trying to do is get the side material up on top so that it is spread out between the edge and the center line of the rig. Do for each side.
3 - Pull up the front and back and essentially lay it on the roof as well.
At this stage the entire cover is up on the roof and basically uniformly spread around.
4 - Work down one side and "fold" the cover over to about the center line of the rig. Repeat for the other side. In essence, each side is folded in half on its respective side.
At this stage you have a cover that looks like a Mohawk haircut. It is folded over on itself, running right down the center of the rig and is about 4ft. wide.
5 - Starting at the front roll the cover as tightly as possible all the way to the rear.
At this stage you have a giant roll of cover centered and perched on the rear of the rig.
6 - Tie some bungee cords around the cover. Roll it off the roof and drop to the ground. Don't roll yourself off!

The benefit of doing this (or any) pattern is that to put it back on is a cake walk - once you heave that bungee roll back up there. Start at the back, unroll to the front, unfold each side to the edge, and then drop the sides down. Don't get ahead of yourself, step by step on and off. You'll get it on in just a couple minutes. Same way, same pattern, every time.

Hope this helps.
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Old 05-16-2009, 04:14 PM   #3
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We store ours between trips out in the weather. Yes, you need to keep it clean, but that is one of the many pleasures of owning an RV.

We thought about getting a cover, but were told that unless you get a custom cover that fits your coach, the wind could get under it or move it enough to rub the corners and damage the clear coat.
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Old 05-16-2009, 08:38 PM   #4
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Far too much hassle for us, so we never use one. Our RVs stay outside, under nasty oaks and pines, but I don't find it a big problem to keep it nice and shiny. Wash occasionally and wax (Protect-All) 2-3 times a year. We live in Florida but travel the USA 6-7 months a year. I look at it this way: I don't cover it when I'm using it and it holds up fine, so why cover the rest of the time?

In some areas there may be acid rain or industrial wastes in the air and that is perhaps a different story.
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Old 05-17-2009, 03:24 AM   #5
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Our is 10 years old and has never been under cover. I keep it protected from the elements with a good polish that will hold up for a year. Some do not believe me when they ask its age and I have to show them the registration. It has spent a year in the desert @ Apache Junction and Fl some of its life. I think that if you have good protection it will hold up just fine with out a cover that might even chaff the finish itself.
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Old 05-17-2009, 06:08 AM   #6
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With a cover, you tend to use your coach less frequently for short trips. If you have to spend an hour getting it uncovered and an hour or more getting it covered (should be clean before you cover or you will just get dirt on the underside of the material and end up scratching your paint).

Not worth the pain to go for a weekend trip. Plus, if the coach looks good forever, you will not be forced to buy a shiny new one, another downside.
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Old 05-17-2009, 08:06 AM   #7
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Mike, what polish have you had such good results with?
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Old 05-17-2009, 11:12 AM   #8
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IN my opinion NO. I bought one for a 34 ft MH and used it one time. After breaking the dome in the shower I decided it was way too much trouble to install and take off. I ended up putting up a medal shed for the MH.
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Old 05-17-2009, 12:23 PM   #9
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I just finished washing and polishing my rig and it is a job (I don't have full body paint so the gelcoat needs a little extra rubbing at 7 yrs of age) We park ours outside under some trees but I try to wash it (including the roof) after every trip and I coat the decals with 303 Protectant periodically and use a waterless wash/wax through the season (No Wet).

I considered a cover but my previous rig had a cover and I used it once. I decided then that it was more trouble than it was worth. No question a cover keeps is cleaner and protected but I just can't see putting in on and off as often as we use the rig.
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Old 05-17-2009, 03:57 PM   #10
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Two sides to the cover issue, Inside and outside? (Well, yes, but no)

If, and I stress IF, you rig is in an area where the elements do major damage (IE: Salt spray) a cover may be a good idea

If it's in a different area (Sand for example) it may actually do damage

Alas, I can't help you in deciding save to say if sand or other debris gets under the cover and the cover has any movement at all it will mess up your finish big time
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Old 05-18-2009, 03:33 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich_in_Tampa View Post
Mike, what polish have you had such good results with?
I use Envy, inside and out. I buy it direct out of NY state.
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Old 05-18-2009, 12:56 PM   #12
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Had a cover for a 35' Winnebago. New cover and new RV. Used it one season. Lost it in a high wind while stored, but the barbed wire fence caught it and added several more holes to the ones casued by the awning and vents. I never went on top of RV to put cover on but she said it wasn't easy, especially in high winds! Finally gave it up and haven't missed it. Good wash and wax was much easier and safer to put on.
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Old 05-18-2009, 07:42 PM   #13
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We have ours in covered storage when it is in Fresno. Up at Wishon Village in CA. at 6700 feet we cover it between weekends. We started covering it last year and it made a BIG difference with up keep and dirt.

We fold ours up like RVDude says. Then putting it on is just laying it out on the roof and dropping the sides.

Since the MH stays in one site at Wishon in the sun for 3 months, I leave the cover on the roof bundled up.

IMO, from my experience in the mountains, if we didn't have covered storage, I would cover it.
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Old 05-20-2009, 10:50 AM   #14
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I bought an ADCO cover about 4 years ago for my 31' travel trailer. It WAS a pain in the butt to put on and take off. And after 2 years it started deteriorating (rotting) on the top. Pretty cheap made to me. So much for that.
I now have a 31' Class A and I purchased an 18'x36' shelter to park it under. Cost was $2000 installed. Well worth the money to me just to keep my RV clean, especially the rubber roof. Just my 2 cents. Larry
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