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Old 10-22-2014, 04:48 PM   #15
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Two words... Rivet nuts.

http://www.fastenersuperstore.com/nu...ded-Inserts%29
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Old 10-22-2014, 05:46 PM   #16
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Allow me to present a different scenario…………

After literally thousands of installations of RV solar charging systems, AM Solar has NEVER LOST A PANEL!!!!!!!!! This includes both the screw-down installations on textured and or rubber roofing substrates AND the bonded installations for metal roofs (like Airstreams) and smooth fiberglass roofing found on large motorhomes.

I have been installing systems for AM Solar for 8 years and have never had a panel loosen, let alone be blown completely off the roof.

I think your dealer and their techs have quite a bit to learn about the proper technique of installing solar panels on RV roofs in general, and Airstreams in particular!!!

I have yet to use a single screw in any of my Airstream installations, and rarely even penetrate the roof at all! 3M VHB tape is a very powerful bonding agent used primarily in the automotive industry to attach body parts like roofs and other panels. It has an extremely high shear strength which makes it perfect for bonding solar panels too the proper RV roofing substrates. Proper cleaning and surface preparation is essential to assure a complete bond with the use of VHB tape

This is followed in my installations by an application of SikaFlex 221 as both a second bonding agent and a waterproofing seal to prevent moisture from potentially attacking the VHB bond.

I think it would be of great benefit to both you and your Airstream to find a better qualified installer for your solar panels…..one who will not simply put more unnecessary holes in your roof !!!!!
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Old 10-22-2014, 08:37 PM   #17
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I was waiting for Lew to weigh in. Your dealer needs to replace and reinstall the roof panels using tried and true installation methods as Lew and AMSolar advocate. Hope our dealer comes through for you.
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Old 10-23-2014, 11:12 AM   #18
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Dealer is asking for guidance from "regional manager". It appears to me the two upper brackets were not properly attached to the panel and the lower two brackets simply couldn't withstand the wind pressure and pulled out of the roof. Brackets appear to be the standard brackets provided by Zamp.

Thanks to everyone for your comments. I'll post the dealer's response when received.
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Old 10-23-2014, 11:28 AM   #19
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The installers may have over torqued the screws and in so doing left them with little to hold on to. If you install with screws it's important to not use a power tool to tighten them in. That's the problem with attaching anything to an Airstream, the skin is pretty thin and sheet metal screws have little to grip and if the hole gets stripped there's nothing. To me, Rivnuts are the best answer to a really secure installation since the glue on double sided tape tends to lose adhesion when it gets hot - and even the newer white roofs get hot.
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Old 10-23-2014, 12:21 PM   #20
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To me, Rivnuts are the best answer to a really secure installation since the glue on double sided tape tends to lose adhesion when it gets hot - and even the newer white roofs get hot.
Aircraft manufacturers such as Boeing use 3M Scotchweld tape to hold their airplanes together; I imagine it would work just as well on an Airstream.
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Old 10-23-2014, 04:06 PM   #21
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There is ABSOLUTELY NO REASON to put holes in your Airstream roof to attach solar panels……especially large ones the sizes of rivnuts, when there are proven surface bonding alternatives. Guess you guys just don't get it !

It's your trailer. Go right ahead and put as many unnecessary holes in your roof as you please…………...
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Old 10-23-2014, 05:08 PM   #22
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....I got the "Lew no-hole lecture" before I installed 4 panels on me roof. After over 16,000 miles with the panels in place, there was not a single issue with a loose or lost panel. In fact, I put zero holes in the roof. I used the VHB tape on the combiner box and ran the cables down the vent to my gray tank. Oh, and I will be doing this same process with my '15 Classic.
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Old 10-23-2014, 05:42 PM   #23
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I have no big problem with putting properly sealed holes for solar panel mounting in the roof, but now that I know there is a good alternative, VHB tape, I would not do it again. The only problem that I can see with VHB tape is that it is so strong, and so good, that if you ever do wish to totally remove it, it is almost impossible.

Go with the VHB tape system if you are doing solar systems on the roof of an Airstream.
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Old 10-23-2014, 05:49 PM   #24
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If this dealer doesn't make it right, can you tell us their name? This would save someone else the same ''solar install'' aggravation. The thought of this might show the dealer the right direction to take. I do not believe in rewarding bad behavior.
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Old 10-23-2014, 05:59 PM   #25
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If this dealer doesn't make it right, can you tell us their name? This would save someone else the same ''solar install'' aggravation. The thought of this might show the dealer the right direction to take. I do not believe in rewarding bad behavior.
You'll have to do it by private mail; the Forums have a policy against badmouthing dealers. Even if it's justified. I offer this advice because I don't want to see anyone get banned for a couple of weeks by the moderators.
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Old 10-23-2014, 06:44 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by idroba View Post
I have no big problem with putting properly sealed holes for solar panel mounting in the roof, but now that I know there is a good alternative, VHB tape, I would not do it again. The only problem that I can see with VHB tape is that it is so strong, and so good, that if you ever do wish to totally remove it, it is almost impossible.

Go with the VHB tape system if you are doing solar systems on the roof of an Airstream.
It certainly IS strong, but there IS a way to get the stuff off cleanly! PM me if you are in need of this proprietary information.
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Old 10-23-2014, 07:51 PM   #27
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You'll have to do it by private mail; the Forums have a policy against badmouthing dealers. Even if it's justified. I offer this advice because I don't want to see anyone get banned for a couple of weeks by the moderators.
Thanks for the heads up Protag. The last thing I want is a forum member being banned for anything. This is my third draft because my first would have had me banned for life.
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Old 10-23-2014, 09:16 PM   #28
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Not so fast...

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Aircraft manufacturers such as Boeing use 3M Scotchweld tape to hold their airplanes together; I imagine it would work just as well on an Airstream.

I am unaware of a single structural application where an aircraft is bonded with an adhesive. Non-structural yes, many, but not structural.
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