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Old 11-04-2013, 09:59 AM   #1
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Sidewall de-lam and stress cracks

Because I was ignorant when it came to what to look for when buying a used RV we purchased a Arctic Fox fifth wheel that had the floor plan we wanted. What we were not aware of at the time was how poorly maintained the unit was and the dealer, of course, said nothing.

The result was there had been roof leaks causing some portions of the siding to start separating from the plywood, not too bad but obvious when one knows where to look. I have since had the roof reconditioned and thoroughly caulked and sealed.

Then I noticed a crack of about 6 inches on the sidewall at a corner of a slide. That too had pulled away from the underlying plywood. This one will be difficult to fix and may be impossible.

Bottom line is we are not sure we can even get rid of the unit or will just have to write it off. One more example of buyer beware. One really must do their homework or they will be at the mercy of the dealer.

Here is an article on the subject:
RV Delamination And Cracks: Both Are Serious Issues

My first reaction was to never buy any fiberglass sided RV but have since reconsidered. At this point I believe it was the extremely poor maintenance and hard usage that was the source of the problem and not the manufacturer's.

My search for a replacement will give points to a metal sided unit but will need to do more research to see if any brand may be more prone to fiberglass sidewall problems than another.

To say this is annoying is a masterpiece of understatement.

Sure glad I found irv2.com

GT
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Old 11-04-2013, 10:16 AM   #2
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I think the message to take from this is to have an inspection done on the rv by a qualified person and not someone who has a relationship with the dealer. But also as a buyer to do our homework and investigate the manufacture/model and year of the rig your looking at. Often if there is a problem it will have already identified by a owner. To often we the customer are taken in by the visual look of a rig and don't pay enough attention to the bones of the unit. Hope hour repairs work out for you and your able to enjoy the rig.
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Old 11-04-2013, 10:20 AM   #3
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I've had several of both and faced some delam issues. Eventually all glues will desolve leaving you with a problem. Our current Moho had a skylight leak for a while but no outside delam seen yet. A leaky rubber roof on another caused the inside panels to warp but no damage to the aluminum skin. Seems most class c overheads leak causing the wood frame to rot out. My first Rv, a 8 foot teardrop camper, the bottom of it fell to the ground while driving the truck out from under it. The whole frame was dry rotted from leaks over the years.
A fiberglass roof is a must for me now as well as monthly roof inspections. I think flat aluminum skin is the best.
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Old 11-04-2013, 10:26 AM   #4
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Maintenance of any RV roof, especially EPDM "rubber" roofs is critical. We learned that the hard way. We had some minor repairs made to our first 5th wheel. It was not done properly and only made things worse so we traded it for a newer, bigger RV, fully disclosing the damage rather than spend the money repairing a 10 year old trailer that was getting too small for us. I don't know if the dealer repaired the damage or sold it to another unwary buyer "AS-IS".
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