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Old 03-06-2011, 07:08 AM   #1
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RV under consideration has "delamination"...please explain

Good Morning All,

Well, I received the report from the RV inspection service that I engaged to check out the 2005 Revolution LE that I am considering purchasing in Florida. He gave me a very complete report but had a few areas of concern. The most important one is the presence of oil under the engine area and he suggests a thorough inspection by a Caterpillar certified mechanic and then a further written report to confirm or deny a possible larger problem. But the other major issue he discovered is an area of moisture within the wall behind the driver's seat. It is the area between the driver space and the slide (approximately 8 inches by about 6 feet). He reports that the roof looks fine but he senses moisture within the wall. He has a meter that reads such a thing. He reports that the interior wall appears dry and unrippled and the outer shell is undamged but warned me about taking it into areas where it may freeze (like New England, where I live) and that it may evenually "delaminate"...???

I appreciate all of the advice that I have received from the kind folks here in the past and would like to call upon your experience and opinions again.

Can you all please chime in on this delamination subject. I am not sure what it is and if it can ever be fixed? And am I being smart to request a Caterpiller expert to check it out? The other problems are quite minor...or so I believe...The left rear lights on the coach (brake, turn signal, back up lights) are not working, and the electric steps at the front entry are not operating as smoothly as they should. I believe that I could handle those repairs for minimal costs. But again your opinions would be appreciated.

If the owner of this coach does not want to let me check this out further and/or re-negotiate the price then I will walk away from this coach and look again at my second choice a 2006 Excursion.

I am appealing to all of you more seasoned RV'ers to tell me your opinions. Any and all advice will be greatly appreciated.

Respectfully yours,

Faith in Massachusetts

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Old 03-06-2011, 07:52 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by fansill View Post
Good Morning All,

Well, I received the report from the RV inspection service that I engaged to check out the 2005 Revolution LE ...

...my second choice a 2006 Excursion.

I am appealing to all of you more seasoned RV'ers to tell me your opinions. Any and all advice will be greatly appreciated.

Respectfully yours,

Faith in Massachusetts

KayCee and I just bought our first RV, an '05 Excursion. What a shakedown we've given it, too: we rode out the worst winter storm in two decades, sitting outside of Sante Fe, and have driven some 3,000 miles since right before Christmas.

The relamping is not a problem, as is lubricating the steps. My maintenance log shows I've done something like 40 of those small items, since November. And, I'd put my coach in the 97th percentile among dozens I inspected prior to buying it.

Of course, Caterpillar has to sign off on the engine; after that, if the inspector concurs that you can arrest the leakage by sealing that driver's side window, the chance of delamination upon freezing should be eliminated.

I introduced my wife to the idea of buying an RV while on a Thanksgiving trip to Orlando, and found that the majority of used Florida RVs we went into -- there were nearly a dozen -- smelled musty and showed visual signs of leakage. Further, one back home in Texas smelled like a new car without a hint of mildew inside, yet had carefully-concealed corrosion on chassis body-attachment hardware (sprayed with undercoating) that the steel brackets could be crumbled between my fingers.

Of course, the inspector would easily detect the latter condition for you. However, smells are so danged subjective; your water ingress could be nothing at all, or a long-term and chronic condition.

On the whole, we love our new Excursion! At $84K with all new rubber and near-perfect upkeep, it was a fantastic value that has become one of the family.

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Old 03-06-2011, 08:23 AM   #3
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The good news is, the delamination is in a relatively small area. The bad news is, it does not tend to get any better with age. Any moisture trapped will cause corrosion to the supporting structure, whether it freezes or not.

What I'd suggest is, call Fleetwood, in Decatur, and ask what they'd estimate for a repair. I suspect that would entail removing a section of the outer skin to get behind it, inspect and repair as necessary, put it back together, seal and repaint. It could get quite expensive. Because of where it is, they might be able to remove some windows and framing and just peel back the outer skin to dry things out. Bottom line, if you don't get rid of the moisture that is there, things will only get worse.

There may be someone qualified to do this near you, or where the rig is, but I wouldn't know who. While I've not been there yet (I have an appointment in early May) I've heard nothing but good things about the Fleetwood service facility.

Good luck.
Jay & Peggy Monroe with Dolly
Can't take it with you - don't plan on leaving any behind
2016 Newmar London Aire 4553, Spartan chassis
2017 GMC Acadia toad
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Old 03-09-2011, 05:31 AM   #4
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What was the outcome with the Revolution?

98 American Eagle
South Florida
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Old 03-09-2011, 07:34 AM   #5
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That was good that the inspector was using a moisture detection instrument. They work really well. I am not sure the old nose would detect mildew if the moisture was trapped inbetween the layers of the fiberglass wall or even if mildew was present. I had read up on delamination in MHs a couple of months ago. It appears the worst culprit is leaking window seals (especially at the top) that allow the water to run down around the window frame and wick into the rough cut hole for the window. The water will wick down between the layers of fiberglass and then when it freezes it expands and separates the layers of fiberglass.

The question would be when before the inspector came did it rain? If it had just rained and there was a little leak then it may not be down in the fiberglass but just hanging around the window seal.
Mike Canter
"Gunner" USN Retired, Airdale
2004 Monaco Signature 44' Conquest. Detroit 60
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Old 03-10-2011, 08:45 AM   #6
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Sorry I'm late on this one, but I'm pretty sure I know what the moisture problem is and delamination is not a major concern. The driver side window has a water drain that goes down through the sidewall and out the bottom near the front tire. It typically gets clogged with debris after 3-4 years and water backs up inside . The fix is to run a stiff piece of wire up the tube from underneath to dislodge the dirt, letting the water run out once again. This is a fairly common problem on 2003 and later American Coaches and Revolutions, which share the window design. I clean mine out every couple of years and no issues. If the problem persists, it may be necessary to remove the inner panel and physically clean out the drain trough, but most owners get by without ever doing that.

Gary Brinck
Former owner of 2004 American Tradition
Home is in the Ocala Nat'l Forest near Ocala, FL
Summers in Black Mountain, NC
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