1997 Sun Ridge, need help with water damage/front wall repair

Discussion in 'Roof/Floor Repair & Maintenance' started by Gigs, Sep 12, 2018.

  1. Gigs

    Gigs Member

    31
    3
    Dec 28, 2015
    We have a 1997 Fleetwood Coleman Sun Ridge that we bought used. It’s our first pop up, but we’ve owned it for about three years and camped in it several times, including a cross country trip.

    The front box is in terrible shape and the worst part is that water has gotten in and damaged the front wall of the camper. (What’s the right term for that wall? I believe I’ve seen some call it a bulkhead and others call it a firewall)

    Well, that wall will need to be rebuilt. It has torn away from the sidewall. That led to extra stress on the bunk slide out, causing the rivets that hold the small wheel to the bunk to shear.

    I’ve also got some softness in that corner of the main camper floor, and I think I can handle replacing that when I’m working on the front wall.

    My plan at this point, after reading a lot of forum threads, is to rebuild the front wall out of wood and not try to fix this storage box, at least not now. I’m not sure about the best way to go about riveting the bunk rail back together. I’m also concerned about making the front wall connection sturdy enough so that the bunk is held up safely. Finally, I want to make sure the covering I make for the front wall is waterproof so I don’t run into water damage again. I was considering sheet aluminum or perhaps aluminum diamond plate. I’m also considering a sheet of FRP (fiberglass reinforced plastic).

    I’m looking for advice on any of those concerns and for any input on what I have failed to consider and should look out for. Thanks to everyone who has posted valuable info in the past. I’ve already learned a lot. But, I need some more help. If people are interested, I'll add some photos.
     
  2. jnc

    jnc Welcome from New Hampshire

    Well I can tell ya that the Lid needs new seals and the water heater seals were probably the first place to start leaking. Your going to open a Big can of worms when you start this project. I don't recommend doing it in stages. There are very detailed treads on complete front box rebuilds.
     
  3. Gigs

    Gigs Member

    31
    3
    Dec 28, 2015
    Thanks, JNC. For now, I’m looking to remove the box, rebuild the bulkhead, and make it watertight and useable. Maybe, later on, I will add a storage box of some sort that is separate from the bulkhead.

    I’m going to try to upload some photos of my current situation. I hope these will help make it a little more clear what it is that I’m dealing with.
     

    Attached Files:

  4. jnc

    jnc Welcome from New Hampshire

  5. Gigs

    Gigs Member

    31
    3
    Dec 28, 2015
    As long as the weather is fairly dry tomorrow, I plan to start disassembling the box so that I can get to the bulkhead/firewall/front wall and rebuild it. If anyone has got some words of wisdom for me or info that could address some of my concerns in my initial post, now is the time!
     
  6. Gigs

    Gigs Member

    31
    3
    Dec 28, 2015
    A67D7DCF-82E8-4F37-AA1E-B790D2512A7C.jpeg B45255A9-EE59-46FB-A335-9EACB2F60296.jpeg AFD92BE2-24A4-4A7E-B9C4-25F6A62E18A4.jpeg Making some progress.
     
    jnc likes this.
  7. Gigs

    Gigs Member

    31
    3
    Dec 28, 2015
    Front of the box is detached.
     

    Attached Files:

  8. Gigs

    Gigs Member

    31
    3
    Dec 28, 2015
    99C69B8E-C29F-4B13-BFE5-71DE9C31E8B5.jpeg Now the floor is out.
     
  9. Gigs

    Gigs Member

    31
    3
    Dec 28, 2015
    The wall is out. I decided to tear it out rather than unscrew it because I noticed the screws go through a metal brace into nuts, but the nuts aren’t held in place by anything. If I unscrewed it, I may have lost the nuts.
     

    Attached Files:

  10. Gigs

    Gigs Member

    31
    3
    Dec 28, 2015
    Here is my template for a new front wall out of some pretty thick plywood, 3/4” or slightly heavier. I clamped down what was left of the old wall, and drew my pattern. I had to use a square to fill in for the missing parts. But, I’ve got the wall cut now except for the small cutouts in the top corners for the wires. That’s all I could do tonight with it getting dark, so I closed things up as best I can. I am hoping to make a lot of progress again tomorrow.
     

    Attached Files:

  11. Gigs

    Gigs Member

    31
    3
    Dec 28, 2015
    I’ve got the new front wall in, and I’ve make it so it is pretty easy to remove for the time being because I may want to make some more changes. I haven’t dealt with the floor yet. I think I can leave it as is unless the softness in an osb floor. I would like to hear some opinions on that. It is a fairly small spot in the corner and I don’t want to rip up part of floor if I don’t have to. I’m considering reusing the front abs plastic piece from the storage box as the new front of the camper. I’ll need to trim, cut, repair, and paint it, but I think that might beat the prices I was quoted for aluminum diamond plate plus bending. I’d love to hear advice or feedback. I’m still unsure about a lot of th remaining parts of the project.
     
  12. Gigs

    Gigs Member

    31
    3
    Dec 28, 2015
    48FAEE76-8D4A-4A90-A16C-328220497236.jpeg
     

    Attached Files:

  13. Gigs

    Gigs Member

    31
    3
    Dec 28, 2015
    005F7960-AF35-45D2-8196-810361431BC5.jpeg
     

    Attached Files:

  14. Sjm9911

    Sjm9911 Well-Known Member

    2,108
    827
    May 31, 2018
    Nj
    Wow , what a job. I don't have any help on this as I haven't done it yet. I will say make sure you seal the top well. As for covering material, if something is too expensive , go the cheaper route. As long as it's sealed. And extra caulk , as the wind driven rain , when driving will get in. Good job so far. Im watching!
     
  15. Gigs

    Gigs Member

    31
    3
    Dec 28, 2015
    Thanks, I sure appreciate the encouragement. After tearing things apart and doing a lot of staring at the guts of this camper, another idea for the front of the camper has occurred to me: re-using the front of the box. I'm not 100% certain yet that it will work, but I think I can do it. It will require some epoxy and fiberglass cloth to patch holes and rework some spots, but it may be the least expensive route and it will look more original than my other two options.
     
  16. Gigs

    Gigs Member

    31
    3
    Dec 28, 2015
    1E2AD024-9DA6-48B0-9248-39F6404400C9.jpeg 06D46227-59D9-4E68-99CE-9A6A42DAE30C.jpeg C09C4081-42AC-43C6-A3FC-66795CECBFBC.jpeg I’ve made some more progress, mostly with the soft spots on the floor. I used Minwax wood hardener and a wood putty called Plasticwood by DAP. I had my doubts for a while because it just didn’t seems like either product was drying as fast as claimed, but I think that was just me being impatient. Once the wood hardener dried, I started with the putty. Once the putty dried, it was really solid. It just all took longer than I’d hoped because I had to build it up in layers. Anyway, it seems that I may need to trim 1/8” or so off the top wall to get things to fit properly. I started cleaning and prepping the part that used to be the fron of the box and I plan to use that and some of the other ABS pieces to make a new front cover for the new wall.
     
    Sjm9911 likes this.
  17. Gigs

    Gigs Member

    31
    3
    Dec 28, 2015
    E9067FD7-6DB5-480F-883D-577087CAD877.jpeg 2FC3E0B6-84EB-4E1B-8D18-290DFC72A8FE.jpeg D10525BB-F347-4B8D-B4A2-DF461CE03CC8.jpeg F670A67D-9EC7-4327-82EB-5314BD6C8708.jpeg I have this project mostly done, and got it finished in time for us to take it on a 700 mile round trip. You can see from the one photo that (with some modifications) I was able to get the old front of the storage box onto the front of the camper to serve as the new exterior front wall. I’d still like to make a few adjustments to ensure it is water proof, and you can see in some of these photos where there are seams and openings I’d like to address. I used butyl tape to connect the sides, and I had trouble getting the panel pushed in as far as I wanted it to go because of the butyl tape sticking to it. I’m probably going to disassemble that and redo it. If anyone has recommendations or tricks for how to position it completely, I’d love to hear them. Also, you can see the seam at the top, which I hope to close up some by repositioning the front panel. What’s the right product to use to seal that up? Also, I have to come up with a good way to seal below the panel at the frame, and I’d welcome suggestions. The brown plastic piece that runs along the top of the front wall is buckled and kind of beaten up. I’m considering buying some plastic trim with an L profile at a big box store to replace that. Again, suggestions welcome. I have several more photos of the process, and I’ll try to post them when I can, especially is there is any interest in them.
     
  18. Sjm9911

    Sjm9911 Well-Known Member

    2,108
    827
    May 31, 2018
    Nj
    Looks good, they use dicor self leveling sealent. Its a polyurethane based caulking. I think the peuce thats flapped up becomes the inside seal for when the bed is pulled out. Check Coleman pop up parts for a replacement? Now that you have room in the front, what will you put there? Truck box? Homemade storage rack? You could box it out with some galvanised pipes to hold bikes?
     
  19. Gigs

    Gigs Member

    31
    3
    Dec 28, 2015
    Thanks for the advice on the sealant and the inside seal. I’ll look for Dicor and check Coleman pop up parts, although I have a feeling the original replacement will be pricier than a generic pice at a big hardware store.

    I’m not 100% sure on what to put there, but I have a few ideas. The easier option would be to put down some sort of deck with some tie downs for cargo. I’d like to use Trex but don’t want to pay for it. I might use wood. The second option would be to build a storage box, and I have a few different ideas on that. I have some woodworking experience and could go entirely with wood. I’d probably use some type of polyurethane to coat it. I need to do some more research to figure out what will stand up to the sun and rain. Or, I could make a wooden frame and coat it with UV resistant FRP panels. Whatever I do, I’m not looking to spend a lot, but I’m willing to put in work.

    If I build a box, I’d love to put it on a sliding mechanism so that I could improve access to the storage when the camper is set up. Also, in that scenario, I envision using it as a countertop when cooking at the outdoor stove. If that’s not really clear, I could draw up a diagram and post it.

    I also like the boxes that come with the newer pop ups, but I can’t seem to find a price to buy one of those, and I assume it is more than I want to pay.
     
  20. Sjm9911

    Sjm9911 Well-Known Member

    2,108
    827
    May 31, 2018
    Nj
    If using wood , go with pt, and use spar varnish. You have time no rush! Looks great btw. I like the sliding box idea.
     

Share This Page