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Old 12-10-2012, 10:43 PM   #1
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1996 32' Cutter Bus
Petaluma , California
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Wrinkled Roof?

We had another 68 degree day here in northern California , so I was able to get a good wash on the Cutter and I got started on my "no more leaks" project. After the cleaning, the first job was to replace my amber clearance lights with LED units. As I removed the first clearance light, it became very obvious that water is, indeed, getting past these things. Replacing these lights is fairly straightforward so we are looking way better with these new units and they should be leak free for a long time.

I started up on the roof cleaning again and checking things.



It looks pretty good except in some parts, it looks as if the roof is a bed sheet in need of some straightening out. This is especially true of the front where the seam is. My concern is that it's causing water to pool. Look closely behind the radio antenna:




Here's a different perspective on the same area:




Here is a smaller "wrinkle" behind the Fantastic Vent:




Here's the skylight which is due to get replaced ASAP. I wish I could just eliminate this thing. We don't use it and we keep it covered on the inside.



The roof isn't mushy anywhere and the space under the "wrinkles" just seems to be air. My question is - should I be concerned about this?

Also, anybody know what this roof material is?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 12-11-2012, 08:43 AM   #2
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Quote:
Also, anybody know what this roof material is?
Our roof on the 1995 is fiberglass. I'm guessing your would be the same. Those wrinkles are weird though...
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Old 12-11-2012, 08:59 AM   #3
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On the skylight, if I had an RV with one I would find a shop that works with aluminum and have them make a new "skylight" out of aluminum to eliminate it.
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Old 12-11-2012, 10:45 PM   #4
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You have a fiberglas roof. These roofs are originally contact cemented to luan plywood. Looks like you have a couple possibilities to me. Maybe when the roof was originally installed the contact glue wasn't applied evenly to both surfaces in your problem areas and have bubbled from heat expansion.Or possibly water has leaked in between fiberglas and luan causing the glue to fail in those locations, releasing the fiberglas so heat again causes the bubbling from expansion.If the roof is solid under the bubbles and you don't have signs of major water damage inside, I'd lean towards the first scenario and wouldn't worry about it to much. The second possibilty may need some attention if water is involved.
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Old 12-12-2012, 12:05 AM   #5
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Thanks for chiming in everyone!

A fellow Airforums member is advising me on all the repairs I need to stop the minor leaks we have right now. We are going to replace the skylight with a storm-rated aluminum one which will probably outlast the Cutter. I just forget the manufacturers name.... but I'll post pics when we get it installed.

I appreciate your description of how the roof was installed by Airstream Gloran! That explanation makes total sense. The rig was inspected, repairs made and the roof was completely sealed 18 months ago at a reputable rv repair shop (R-Mechanic) a week before I picked it up from the prior owner. The wrinkle was present at that time, just not so pronounced. While it was stored outside its entire life, it was kept covered most of the time. The city where the original owner lives and the city where I live are both known to have summer and fall temperatures that are commonly in the 90s and many days over 100 degrees. And the winters frequently have nightly low temps in the 29-35 degree range. I keep it stored outside as well. In addition, many of our trips take us up and down I-5 in California in the heat of summer, with temps often over 100 - generator on with the dash and roof A/C's on. It's not hard to see that the contact glue could be giving up after all these years. There's no sign of water damage on the inside. But I'll have a professional take a look at it before I replace the skylight.
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Old 12-13-2012, 07:40 PM   #6
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Adam - - I would think there is a wire conduit channel across the ceiling from one side to the fridge area at about the same position as your wrinkle mid-ship. Or is it directly above the wall at the kitchen bath divider?

You probably have a florescent lamp located about there that you could remove to try to get deeper into the ceiling cavity to better understand what is happening above or beside it.

Water penetration will always lead to major damage. Have all other points of water entry on the roof been checked? Water will travel whatever way your unit is leaning at the time.


I have no sign of any similar problem on mine, so I wonder if condensation is getting up into the roof at that point???


Dave
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Old 12-23-2012, 11:14 AM   #7
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Hey Dave! Thanks for the reply. I'll remove a few of the light fixtures and take a peek. We're currently getting a good soaking here in Northern California right now so it should show us where the water is traveling up there. I'm leaning towards taking it in to one of the reputable local shops around here and have them pressurize the whole thing to find any leaks and take care of them. It's very difficult to find the time right now since I'm working too much. I know the wrinkle is probably not a big deal, but I am worried about condensation build up.
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Old 12-23-2012, 11:25 AM   #8
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I know it does not address your issue but maybe be glad it is not as wrinkled as this guy's.
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Old 12-23-2012, 12:25 PM   #9
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Ha! Hopefully somebody had a decent insurance policy. We have a lot of big trees on this property. Fortunately, all of our vehicles and the home are Not within the reach of falling branches. And we've had a lot of large branches fall down this season.

I'll have the repair guys re-cement that wrinkle back to the plywood.
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Old 12-23-2012, 12:25 PM   #10
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That skylight has leaked before, they sort of solved it by caulking over top of old caulking.
When I was changing out the skylight of the bathroom to install a fantastic vent fan, discovered a couple of screws totally covered by caulk were rusty, heavy layer of caulk doesn't stop water from penetrating and traveling under the caulk to where it can actually pass deteriorating caulk of old install. All old caulk needed to be removed anyway to install new item, as long as you are doing same, check to see what was damaged before putting in new. Unless told specifically most techs would just install.
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Old 12-23-2012, 11:30 PM   #11
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Yes I'm sure the skylight is the culprit! We had a super rain storm today and the skylight started leaking like crazy into the inside. We pulled the skylight bezel and cleaned up all the water in there.

I was advised by a fellow Airforums member (and Airstream restorer) to get up and do a temporary repair with a few layers of duct tape after cleaning with alcohol the minute the rain lets up and we'll get it all fixed on the next sunny day. I changed the old fantastic fan out this past June and the screws were rusty to. The fantastic fan, as you can see from my earlier post, is right next to the skylight. Just to be sure, I pulled the fantastic fan bezel from the inside and was happy that all was dry in there.

I'm really considering getting an aluminum plate made to cover up the skylight hole as suggested by Wazbro. And getting a white plastic one for the inside as well, putting a block of styrofoam in between to take up the space of the hole.

I also pulled the light fixture closest to the big "wrinkle" and it was dry in there too. So I think a tiny bit of water worked its way down from the skylight and previous fantastic fan, causing the roof to separate.

Although it can be frustrating, it's actually interesting to solve problems. And there's nothing like a 16 year old motorhome, even in decent shape, that can provide you with all kinds of problems...
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Old 12-24-2012, 12:12 AM   #12
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Adam: You have to remember that the skylight is an escape route in the event that you dump the unit on its side. Its a long way to the escape window on the other side when the unit is on its side.

If you did not want the skylight, there is an escape hatch supplied to the bus industry that should probably fit that hole. I will see if I can find it.



This is the new style with the external emergency access. You probably don't want that.
You might want to call an auto wrecker that would have an old school bus/van that should have the old style hatch on the roof. That would be the first place to look price wise.

There is this style on ebay.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-22-X-22-...-/180989488067

http://www.bellrpg.net/lassoerv/RV/g...C=573&GRP=2926
There are also some marine style but they are expensive also.
http://www.surespancovers.com/roof-srh.htm
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Old 01-20-2013, 12:25 AM   #13
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Adam: I came across this in one of the AIRSTREAM Land Yacht motor home owners manuals.

Quote:

"The roof of your Airstream Land Yacht motorhome is a fiberglass compound. If it is damaged contact the Airstream customer service department and ask for the Service Bulletin on roof repairs."

If you contact them they may be able to supply this historical document that could shed some light on how your roof is put together and the best possible repair process.

I have not seen any mention of this document on this Forum or on Google so this might be unavailable now.

I would be interested in what information they give you. Keep us up to date.

Thanks

Dave
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Old 03-17-2013, 11:26 PM   #14
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The skylight install will be here. I'm going to use Eternabond on this one.
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