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Old 09-09-2017, 09:25 PM   #1
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Is a phaeton's roof bonded or floated?

Hi Folks,

I am looking at a 08 phaeton. The roof looks good with recent caulking on seams and vents. I noticed though that the fiberglass sheet seemed to have some "play" between it and the layer underneath. Does anyone know if the fiberglass layer was just floated on on top of the lower layer and secured at the sides and vents or was it bonded over its entire surface area?
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Old 09-09-2017, 09:35 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by traildad View Post
Hi Folks,

I am looking at a 08 phaeton. The roof looks good with recent caulking on seams and vents. I noticed though that the fiberglass sheet seemed to have some "play" between it and the layer underneath. Does anyone know if the fiberglass layer was just floated on on top of the lower layer and secured at the sides and vents or was it bonded over its entire surface area?
I watched ours being built and the fiberglass is glued down, but not solidly. They used a "snake" pattern of adhesive then weighted down the fiberglass until it set. I am assuming that the '08 model is the same or similar.
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Old 09-09-2017, 10:49 PM   #3
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Thx Lt Dan, that makes sense. So there is most likely areas that were not bonded and maybe some bonding that has come loose that gives this the "floated" feeling.
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Old 09-09-2017, 11:49 PM   #4
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My previous coach was a 2009 Phaeton. The roof was installed as LtDan described. I had the coach for over 8 years, and while I had other issues that I'll outline below, I never experienced any 'play' in the roof.

The fact that the roof shows signs of fresh caulking may or may not be a good thing. If the caulking was applied after roof leaks were discovered around vents, etc., the the damage has possibly already been done.

One possible way to check is to take measurements while you're on the roof of where the soft spots are. Then go inside the coach and try to find the same locations. Remove the roof air conditioner outlet cover and/or the return cover, as close as possible to those locations, and push up on the ceiling foil inside the duct work. There should not be any 'give'. These areas would most likely be close to the fresh air vents.

Now there are some known issues with Tiffin coaches of that era.

1. Roof rail radius cracks - The roof is one piece with radius edges that make a 90 angle to line up with the side walls. The roof radius portion can devloped hairline cracks due to thermal fatique. The cracks will start off appearing as fine white lines, and will eventually get worse as they open up more.

2. Wet bay floor rotting out. The wet bay floor is wood and is subject to water intrusion, thereby rotting out the floor. The way to tell is to crawl under the coach past the wet bay fiberglass pan, and poke a screw driver into the floor panel. If it is soft then it is rotted.

3. Front DS slide floor rotting out. There was a problem with the floors rotting out due to water intrusion. The entry point is at the bottom corner of the leading edge of the DS slide. Water enters through that opening and eventually can weep through the whole slide floor. This one is a little harder to detect, but if you see an opening at that bottom corner of the slide, stick a sharp object in the opening and if the wood feels soft then it is probably rotted.

These items were so prevelent on coaches from 2007 to 2012 that Tiffin had dedicated service bays in Red Bay that only handled these repairs. They were covering 100% of the cost, but I don't think that is the case any longer. I had all three of them done to my 2009 coach at no cost to me, but that was quite a while ago.

If you're buying from a private party I would suggest asking if any or all of these items were repaired, and have them provide proof.

If you're buying from a dealer then they should be able to contact Tiffin with the SN and find out (I don't think Tiffin will provide this info to a private party just interested in purchasing a coach).

On edit: I just happened to see you're located in Spokane Valley (we used to live in CDA). Tiffin has authorized service centers on the west coast that can handle these repairs, so it doesn't necessarily mean a trip to Red Bay.
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Old 09-10-2017, 10:43 AM   #5
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Thanks Bob, This rig was serviced by Tiffin (in Red Bay) for the wet bay and roof rail issue, the DS slide was inspected for this known failure also but found to be fine. So Tiffin was on the roof within the last year. I didn't feel any "soft spots" just some flexing in the fiberglass layer where it is not bonded to the under layer. This was "here and there" and not across the whole roof. Since the sun was out when I looked at this I am wondering if the CTE (coefficient of thermal expansion) of the different layers played a part in this? In other words when warm does the fiberglass expand more/faster than the under layers? Looking at LtDan's pictures of the gluing process it shows that the fiberglass is only light bonded to the lower layers with that "snake" pattern of adhesive. Might be that this was intentional to allow for the layers to expand and contract at their own rate??? I will contact Tiffin on Monday to ask them. I know with a EDPM or TPO roof the adhesive is spread out across the whole surface (peanut butter style) so this might be different due to the materials.
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