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Old 03-31-2012, 11:24 AM   #1
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Unhappy Safari Delamination

In 2006 my wife and I purchased a 2001 Safari Zanzibar 39'. Being the cautious type I did a lot of research on Safaris of this vintage, mostly online, before writing the check. After a couple of years of full-timing, much to our dismay, ripples, blisters and corrosion (under the paint layer) started appearing on the drivers side of the coach body. Since then I have scoured the RV forums for some information on this problem and possible solutions. I have found virtually nothing although every RV sales person I have talked to seems to know all about it.

Can anyone tell me if this is the best kept secret in the RV world or is the problem so rare that it doesn't warrant mentioning.
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Old 03-31-2012, 11:43 AM   #2
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The symptoms you described do not seem to me to be delamination.

Are the ripples, blister, and corrosion just in the paint layer or in the sidewall material.

I assume that the coach is fiberglass and gelcoat with paint and clear coat covering?

Corrosion implies metals and rust. This could just be screws and bolt heads corroding?

Ripples and blisters could be the gelcoat blistering or the paint coat failing. It happens on boats as well, but usually in the submerged areas.

I understand delaminating as the sidewall layers becoming unglued with an obvious bulge in the affected area.

Water could be the cause of any of the above problems. Do you have a leak somewhere?

I personally have had clear coat peeling/flaking from the underlying surface. That is just a repainting fix caused by the sun wearing out the clear coat paint.

And, I do have checking occurring in the dark color paints. It looks like chicken scratches on the panel. That is a fiberglass problem and not worth repairing on my old rig.
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Old 03-31-2012, 04:15 PM   #3
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Please post some pictures of your problem...
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Old 03-31-2012, 04:51 PM   #4
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Older Safari's were all aluminum with fiberglass front and rear caps. I do not know when or if Safari's of current vintage are all fiberglass. However, your description of the problem seem to indicate an aluminum with corrosion or electrolyis issues. I have a 97 Safari and have some of the same problems in isolated areas.
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Old 03-31-2012, 05:47 PM   #5
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Like Carl, I thought the older Safaris were aluminum sides. We looked seriously at one on a lot in Kadak, Tn around 2000 or so. That was a big plus for me then.
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Old 03-31-2012, 07:47 PM   #6
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I think the aluminum sides ended after 1998 even on the top models...

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Old 04-01-2012, 09:04 AM   #7
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mnikisher

Sorry to hear of your problem. The Safari Trek had Aluminum sides up to 2000, possibly up to the wider body in 2003. Maybe the larger Safaris also retained this construction.

If your Safari does have Aluminum sides, there is a discussion of corrosion on the Trek Tracks forum http://www.nwtfc.com/forum/portal_content.asp or, have you contacted anyone at http://www.safari-international.org/links.html

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I think the aluminum sides ended after 1998 even on the top models...

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Old 04-03-2012, 08:18 AM   #8
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Thanks for the feedback y'all. For sure Safari used a laminated aluminum panel on the exterior of their coaches through at least 2001. The story that I heard regarding the cause of the delimitation is that the EPA forced Safari, along with every other manufacturer, to stop using the tried and true effective adhesive they had been using and switch to a water-based adhesive that turned out not to be effective.

My post was really just an enquiry trying to flush out someone who might know why this problem was not a hot topic of discussion on RV forums as I was blindsided by it and am now stuck with a coach that can never be made right if I am to believe the RV service and salespeople with whom I have discussed this problem.
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Old 04-03-2012, 09:06 PM   #9
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I have a Monaco product - 2007 Monarch 30SFS SVE - (don't know if Monaco made the Safari back in 2001) which has aluminum sides and fiberglass front and back. I believe the SVE ("Special Value Edition") was the only Monarch model built with the aluminum siding. Roof is fiberglass.

Has rows of rivets horizontally midway on each side. Painted sides, front, and back with vinyl graphics.

Have stored under covered open end shed since new and no signs of corrosion of aluminum anywhere. All gets hand waxed twice a year.
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Old 04-04-2012, 08:48 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by dickiebob View Post
I have a Monaco product - 2007 Monarch 30SFS SVE - (don't know if Monaco made the Safari back in 2001) which has aluminum sides and fiberglass front and back. I believe the SVE ("Special Value Edition") was the only Monarch model built with the aluminum siding. Roof is fiberglass.

Has rows of rivets horizontally midway on each side. Painted sides, front, and back with vinyl graphics.

Have stored under covered open end shed since new and no signs of corrosion of aluminum anywhere. All gets hand waxed twice a year.
I believe that the Monaco takeover of Safari happened in 2001. Based on the stories I've heard the adhesive was used to replace the rivets used in earlier models to hold the skin to the frame. Apparently that worked until the change in the adhesive. I have been told that the adhesive breaks down if it gets wet and, of course, it shouldn't get wet if the roof and all of the body panel seams are watertight. Unfortunately the first indication that there is a water leakage problem is the appearance of blisters and/or ripples in the outer skin.
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Old 04-07-2012, 09:46 PM   #11
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If it is delamination, there are a few options. Most of the delam I have have seen is caused by a leaking window, opening, or roof. The same can be said for corrosion. Moisture intrusion is the root cause. Water gets into places that were never desinged to be wet and wood rots, glue fails, and metal corrodes.

Minor delam can be fixed as a localized repair, usually requiring removel and re-installation of a window. One company makes a flowable low-viscocity epoxy designed to migrate into delaimated areas. Of course it requires clamping and some good substrate to work.

Bad cases, especially where there is a lot of rot require removal and rebuilding, entire sidewalls in some cases.

check out www.delamrepair.com for fix-it ideas
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Old 04-07-2012, 10:17 PM   #12
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Wow, I guess I'm glad we passed on a used Safari before we ordered our 2000 DSDP!
Looked really good, wife love the floorplan. BUT I found high water marks in the storage bays and a spot above the dash where it hadn't been repaired quite right from an accident. Previously there had been major floods in the SW. I asked the dealer if the unit came from that area. All I could get was that it came from another of their lots and they didn't know any more. We walked away but my wife still talks about that floorplan.
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Old 04-09-2012, 08:50 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roady View Post
If it is delamination, there are a few options. Most of the delam I have have seen is caused by a leaking window, opening, or roof. The same can be said for corrosion. Moisture intrusion is the root cause. Water gets into places that were never desinged to be wet and wood rots, glue fails, and metal corrodes.

Minor delam can be fixed as a localized repair, usually requiring removel and re-installation of a window. One company makes a flowable low-viscocity epoxy designed to migrate into delaimated areas. Of course it requires clamping and some good substrate to work.

Bad cases, especially where there is a lot of rot require removal and rebuilding, entire sidewalls in some cases.

check out www.delamrepair.com for fix-it ideas
Thanks for the link. As you noted, delamination and corrosion is usually the result of leaks around the roof/end cap seams and windows. You don't know you have a problem though until the skin ripples up or blisters.

I fixed the roof/end cap leaks last summer but the window leak is a bigger issue. The driver's side window is the main culpret and I don't see a way to get it out without first removing the dashboard.
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