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Old 09-24-2006, 09:03 PM   #1
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1976 31' Sovereign
telluride , Colorado
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Getting on top of my Airstream...?

...I've searched the forums and not found the answer to this one. How can I get on top of my lovely Silver Bullet (76 Sovereign Land Yacht) to seal seams without damaging her? Her skin is so very soft!

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Old 09-24-2006, 11:22 PM   #2
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Try these links. this topic has been discussed several times - still, it takes some fortitude to go there....

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Let's have a polishing party: I'll supply the trailer and buffing supplies. BYOB (bring your own buffer)

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Old 09-25-2006, 04:35 AM   #3
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I pulled our truck up close to the street side...stood on top of the cab and got on that way. Stay on the ribs! Good luck
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Old 09-25-2006, 06:43 AM   #4
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on a hot tin roof!

Originally Posted by janars
...How can I get on top of my lovely Silver Bullet...
Everybody agrees that once up on the roof you must stay on the ribs, but getting up is the problem. Standing on top of your tow vehicle may give that vehicle a dent in the roof!

What I do is lean an extension ladder up against the gutter over the entrance door. It's a very strong part and with someone weighing down the low end of the ladder I am able to get safely over the curved side and up to the peak. The ladder needs to be at a bit of an angle to accomplish this and the metal to metal is slippery so put a rubber car mat between the ladder and the gutter.

Best of luck,

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Old 09-25-2006, 06:57 AM   #5
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I use an extension ladder against the awning, towards the front. Make sure the awning is tight against the skin. I have a Care Free, not a Zip Dee awning. Not sure of a Zip Dee's strength. Step ladders are dangerous, too easy to "kick out" in my opinion.
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Old 09-25-2006, 07:27 AM   #6
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I did all the reseal last spring and the best way for us was we rented 4 sections of scaffoling for a week I then went and bought 2 12 ft boards from a lumber salvage yard. I set the scaffoling up on each side and ran the boards across the top of the trailer. Worked great for us and no damage to the top.
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Old 09-25-2006, 08:52 AM   #7
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I went up for the first time a few weeks ago and it's no picnic. While the riveted areas are very strong, they are not very wide either. I went up to check a leaking front skylight and with the competition from the TV antenna, it's very easy to step into a non riveted area.

Bottom line it's one thing to get up there, another to try to perform some work. The suggestion to get a working platform up over the top seems the best way to safely work up there. In the meantime I took the trailer to the dealership who is now removing the skylight and doing a reseal of it.

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Old 09-25-2006, 11:05 AM   #8
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1976 31' Sovereign
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Thanks for all the quick and helpful replies! I think I'll try the extension ladder thing, I agree that the stepladder does tend to "kick out" too much. And I'll get a little help from my friends...
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Old 10-13-2006, 02:48 PM   #9
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House roof

I did some work on my roof by backing up the trailer allong the eve of my buddys house that was about the same height as the trailer then with some manuvering I was able to get to all of the areas I needed. JUST BE CAREFULL, My trailer is only 16 feet and I can move on the pavement by hand. Do not turn your polish job into a pannel replacement party.
I plan to brining the trailer to the station here and do some "training" on the ladder truck so I can polish the top. That might not be a option to all.
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Old 10-13-2006, 03:24 PM   #10
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This is not recommended

Our last outing... while filling with diesel in Flagstaff a 50 or 60 mph gust came thru.. My rear roof vent (which was closed tight) blew off!! Would you believe sun rot, and I park in covered parking! So after chasing it across the parking lot, I suddenly realized...hmmm good thing it’s not raining. So now you know the why I needed to get on my roof....This however will be the example of how not to get on your roof... I remember reading some time back only stand on rivets while on the roof (that's where the ribs are) So I took out my 8 foot ladder and recruited a hand to hold it and placed the ladder parallel to the rear bumper.. Climbed up and very carefully boosted myself onto the roof without putting any weight on the end cap... I'm in pretty good shape but this is very tricky. So that is the easy part. To get down, I sat on the edge of the white roof where to end cap starts... feet hanging over the end cap, again carefully not putting any weight on the end cap and put a tip toe on the top step of the ladder. If you have ever done dips...this is a dip but 9 feet up. Not recommended. So I safely achieved my dismount and then realized.. opps.. forgot the damn duck tape on the roof.. So I did it all over again. One last time this is not the recommend method to mount the roof.
"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."- Mark Twain

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Old 10-13-2006, 03:53 PM   #11
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BB55, you're not the guy I saw this summer down at Brookings with the sat. dome and A/C on the roof are you??? Something tells me that it was a newer 16'er. I had to take a pic with my phone to record it but forgot to wipe the lens cover off.... very poor photo.
I was going to post it with a title that said "who says you can't take it with you."
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Old 10-13-2006, 04:48 PM   #12
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I've been up there lots of times repairing caulk & polishing. I use an 8 ft. step ladder. I set it next to the door, steps facing toward the rear. I use the awning as a balance (no weight put on it, really) and hop on the other side of the awning. I stay on the rivets while working up there & never go on the endcaps (I know I read about this & Andy from Inland tells how to do it as well). The endcaps are "like eggshells" he said. My husband & son who both weigh between 185 & 200 lbs also have been up there w/o any problem.

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Old 10-13-2006, 04:50 PM   #13
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Oh, I did forget to say that I usually have someone around to hold the ladder and if there isn't anyone, I take my cellphone in my pocket in case of a wipeout!

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Old 10-13-2006, 08:37 PM   #14
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I have one of those folding aluminum ladders that can be opened up into various positions. For getting up on top I leave it folded in half and lean it against the side. I have used two pieces of foam pipe insulation from Home Depot to put around the parts of the ladder that come in contact with the body. I usually lean it against the awning rail. For repairs near the sides I have been able use my ladder as a normal a-shape step lader with good results.

When up on top I find it very usefull to use soft rubber knee pads. It makes the work more comfortable, they have good traction and the surface is protected. I stay near the ribs but otherwise have not had any problems and I weigh in at about 240lbs.


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