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Roof HELP! Other than setting this on fire, any other more realistic options?


thewanderlustking
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I go away for a couple weeks and come back a newbie with no posts or threads, WTH lol?!  I have no watched topics and... Anyways I will stop grumbling about that.  I have more important eggs to fry.

 

(This is talking about my 1986 Mini Cruiser BTW.)  

 

I am at wits end.  "She" doesn't want me to sp[end any more money on this, but I HAVE to get it to the point it is usable, and soon.  From day 1 of our ownership of this wonderful piece of, awesome engineering (the Toyota part and NOT the back half...), the cover disguised as a roof, has leaked.

 

I am fairly sure it leaks around the Coleman AC.  I have patched it several times, well enough the leaks stopped for almost 2 years.  But now it is back.  I got replacement gaskets, then realized that the AC is glued in with 50lbs of roofing tar, or whatever they used to create a dam around it.  There is near ZERO chance of removing this unit without doing either catastrophic damage to it, or ending up rebuilding half the roof.  It could possibly be removed safety without damage, and I could also have a winning lottery ticket blow into my face...

 

The AC unit actually works AMAZINGLY good!  Eventually.  So for now at least, I don't want to remove/destroy it.  "She" wants ac.  A new unit isn't too bad, but until she falls in love with this monster, that budget won't happen.  And I am not tossing another $1k into this, on top of the damage removing the old one would do to the roof, to risk getting cooked on the budget, or worse running out of time when her patience with it all expires finally.

 

Here is what I have done so far.

 

1)  Initially the membrane, if it had one that wasn't just built up layers of RV roof paint, was peeling and leaking.  The water was going under it and traveling about 3-4' before leaking inside.  I was able to prove this as putting water on that spot created a faucet inside.  It wasn't anywhere near where the leak inside was.  I repaired this by grinding the loose bits away with a wire wheel, taping it up with some elastomer something something type tape, and top coating it with flex seal.  This was a decent long term repair and I was about to tackle redoing the ceiling inside.  

 

But then another hurricane hit.  It wasn't bad enough for me to remember its name, but it pounded s with rain.  And a new leak.  Well one in the same spot...

 

2)  This time it looked like the water was pooling back behind the AC unit and actually going up over the rear lip of the case behind the condenser.  So I tackled this two ways.  I cut and bent up a chicken wire screen, and made a taller lip for this area.  I filled the chicken wire with what I had on hand, black roofing tar.  I then took that and used it as a filler to build up the area behind it so hopefully water would run off and not pool.  I also smeared that tar in a few other places where there was some chance that it could be leaking in.  

 

The leaks got better, IE smaller.  It isn't really bad now.  Honestly I could even live with it.  But I also know that as soon as clean up and rebuild the ceiling from inside, any leaks will get trapped and do more damage.  Now during a hard storm I will get seepage and eventually some drips.  In fact as I was writing this I heard the first thunder claps.  I am now sitting out in the RV in a full downpour.  And lightning just hit a few houses away, FUN!  That was even closer...

 

Anyways it is a FULL on downpour.  About ten minutes in.  Looking up and I have a couple big drops forming, but so far the floor seems dry (my shoes did track in some wetness).  

 

Wherever the water is coming in, it is traveling.  I am not going to go outside at the moment to see where it is pooling on the roof, as the lightning strikes are still VERY close.  I see no moisture in or around the AC.  It is about 16" behind it along a wooden ceiling beam.

 

So, I need a good repair approach.  Multiple times I have put a hose on the roof and I have repaired the areas where it is obviously a problem.  But I am thinking it is still getting in somewhere else, like the roof edge/side transition possibly.  The leak starts shortly after water pools.  I don't like how the solar panels are mounted to the roof.  Too simply have screws popped right through.  8 in total.  Don't see any leaks around the ones I can see inside.  The larger back one was glued to 4 pads.  It came up off those with some tugging.  I can easily mount all 3 up slightly higher with aluminum L channels mounted to the roof braces.  While it will likely take a further hit to my amazing arodynamics and fuel economy, it will allow me to clean underneath them, or sickle remove and replace if needed.  So starting point, get everything off the roof in the way.  

 

I suspect I need to then clean, grind any loose bits off, and then reseal the WHOLE roof.  Maybe tape the edges first before putting down now coating?  I am actual okay with doing this as routine maintenance evert 3yrs or so, if it is what will keep my roof dry, I am good with that.

 

Alright, rain slows/stops and the leaks start pouring!  There isn't actually a lot of water pooled on the roof.  Some on the drivers side, but not a crazy amount. Obviously wherever this is coming in, it is traveling for sure.  I marked all the spots inside with a sharpie.  Not sure where to go from here.  Do I drill holes up through where the leaks are and see where they pop through outside???    

 

By pouring, I probably got a cup or two of water.  Not a massive amount, but enough that left in a ceiling it would quickly destroy any repairs I do.  

 

The black tar might not have been the best idea, but it was the only thing I had on hand I could "build up" with.  It is actually still pliable too.  I put it on a couple months ago.  At minimum, I need to go smoosh and smooth it out in a few places.  It is no longer oily on the surface, so it probably could be topcoated at this point.

 

So what next?  Ideally I leave that tar up there and coat overtop of it with something like Flex Seal.  I would LOVE to use that product.  I have multiple cans of the spray, and a bucket of it is reasonable at $80.  And readily available at Home Depot.  I suspect I would need 2, maybe 3 buckets.  But while I see plenty of ""Yes you can use Flex Seal on RV roofs." a few come with the disclaimer of "temporary repair."   

 

Alright so measuring down a bit lower where I can quickly take measurements, I have between 15 and 16' in roof length.  And almost 7' wide.  This gives me 105-112 sq feet to cover.  That is with some overlap on the width and not taking into effect the AC opening.           

 

Crazy Seal sounds promising, but OUCH it is expensive.  A double layer kit would be about $600.  RV Roof Magic looks more reasonable.  I can probably justify to the wife, $200-300.   Looks like I would need 3 gallons of that.  So I am probably more like $300-350 out the door if I get the cleaner and some caulk.  

 

But if I am spending more than $100 to do this, especially at the $300 range, I want to use something that's going to last me a while, and actually seal the roof up.  I ready to drop $300 on this, if it gets the problem FIXED.  

 

Alternatively, I can tackle this in sections too.  I am reasonably sure that it is the front section of my roof leaking.  There are these support beams on top of the roof that section it off.  So this isn't as crazy or bad of an idea as it initially sounds.  If 1-2 gallon's gets the leaks stopped now, then the final section is easier to afford and justify later on.  The bulk of the work is also in dealing with the front section.  The back could be done in an hour or so I suspect.  I don't have to take anything off, other than the big solar panel that is already off (at this point).

 

Alright so advice and questions?

 

1)  Recommendations as to something GOOD to use, that either keeps me under that magic $300 budget, or is so so awesome that tackling it a section at a time makes sense.  

 

2)  Do I need to clean beyond a good power washing?  I would probably get any product/application specific cleaners recommended.  

 

3)  Do I need to do anything further along the roof edge?  Tape?  Caulk?  

 

4)  Can I leave the black tar stuff on and go overtop?  I am sure this isn't ideal.  But if I pull it off I have to redo that one section behind the AC with something to "dam" it up some.  I would rather put some flex seal tape or something like that on top, then seal over that if it is a concern.  

 

5)  Would Flex Seal-ing the aluminum roof skin from underneath help?  Or hinder?  I am going to have to get in there and do some clean up with a grinder.  Currently, portions of the luan ply final skin are down.  Above that was pink styrofoam insulation, and it looks like another layer of thin ply before the aluminum outer skin.  There are some wooden cross beams, and at least one rusty steel one for supporting the AC.  I assume there is another in front of it.  Getting everything out of the way, and then flex sealing from underneath would at least clean up how it looks enough to be "campable" and give me time to see if I have fixed the leaks...  

 

My plan for ceiling reassembly after leak repair is to remove what I can, eliminate that last ply layer against the outer skin (wherever it is damaged).  Clean and probably seal from underneath.  Pink foam glued to outer skin, and then put up a final luan inside skin.  Probably with screws to the wood cross beams.  I am sure a couple of those will need replacement.

 

Right now this is at the point that if I can stop the leak, while I have some work to do inside it isn't a "cut the roof off and start over" type of job.  That is the point that would have me set it on fire, or give it to the first fool crazy enough to give me a few grand for it.  The engine mechanical and electrical systems on this, I can handle comfortably enough.  Rebuilding the interior where needed, not too bad.  I can resew and reupholster anything inside too.  But most of that is wasted effort if the roof keeps leaking and destroys it....           

 

HELP!  

 

 

 

 

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By far the easiest way to seal that AC is by replacing the worn gasket. I see you've argued getting the AC up will be impossible without destroying your roof.  I'd seek a friend or someone to help hold your roof material down from on top while someone else pushes the AC unit up from inside the camper and see if you can dislodge it from the goop. I think you will fight a continuing losing battle and destroy your ceiling by trying to seal around the AC without replacing the gasket. 

 

https://www.amazon.com/Camco-25071-Universal-Conditioner-Gasket/dp/B000EDUTNQ

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For starters I can't emphasize enough putting plywood from side to side on your roof before working on it. Puts the extra weight of you on the side walls instead of a weak roof. Yes you can get that tar off. There are several products on the market to help dissolve roof tar but I always have used WD40. Spray around edge and it will help release tar from roof. Use scraper to lift edge then spray again and lift until it's loose. A heat gun will help to soften it too but  be careful. Take the time and get it clean, replace the AC gasket properly and fix it the right way. Adding bad to worse is never  good idea. 

As far as changes to the website, a needed upgrade to the systems made us all newbies even me and Greg the owner. 17 years worth of posts takes up a lot of room and Greg has tried to avoid archiving data to make searching for repairs and information easier.

Linda S

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Alright, I have the correct Camco gasket already sitting in my parts box.  And I have help I can abuse.  But before I attempt that, I will get up there and take video or pictures of what I am dealing with for you guys first.  If you guys are STILL this optimistic AFTER seeing what I am contending with, I will go for it.

 

When I say this thing is glued in, I mean it.  WD40, a heat gun, and a scraper are not likely getting it out.  We are more at the blowtorch, sawzall, and sledgehammer end of things.  The roof was braced, and the casing was glued/sealed to the bracing.  I have somewhere between 3-6" thick of whatever it is, most of the way around the edges to contend with.  

 

But I will get those pictures next day or so in the light.  Maybe I am just overwhelmed by what I am seeing, like most would if they had to replace a head gasket in a Walmart parking lot.  I would be MUCH LESS intimidated by that.  This though...  If I damage this AC unit, or the roof, realistically the RV goes to the scrapper.  

 

So I have to approach this carefully.  For now, I am going to see if I can find some how-to videos that look like what I  am dealing with.  And while it is almost admitting defeat, this is one job it might actually be worth it for me to farm out and pay for.  There is an RV repair place less than 2 miles from me.  Assuming that they would even do it for any "reasonable" amount...    

 

Good news is, the roof is only 7' wide. I recently discovered I can pretty safely reach most, if not all of it, from a ladder leaning against the side.    The roof cross braces that are up there will also let me easily lay down some plywood on top of those too.  It wouldn't surprise me if damage was done by earlier excursions crawling across the roof from the back...  While I had tried my best to only crawl and put pressure on the braces, not easily or comfortably done.  

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More goop will not fix your problem. I would use a utility knife and cut right along the AC unit all the way around through the goop. Who ever started with all the goop was avoiding lifting the AC to changer out the gasket so I'm betting the goop will be confined to the outer edge. The permanent camper saving fix is the gasket. Water and sun are the destroyers of RVs; water will do it in quicker. Be sure to do something like Linda said to support human weight on the roof. Compromised roof structure may  have been the reason the job was avoided.

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  • 4 months later...

I tarped it up for the rainy season and walked away...  When I took a closer look at it, I realized the ceiling has to come down too.  What is left of it anyways.  SO not in good enough condition to be upset over this.  The ceiling was put up underneath the ac mounting bracket, instead of taking an extra 15-30 minutes to do it right.  Kinda the story on a lot of the repairs done to this.        

 

Last night I FINALLY got around to picking up a blade for the vibratory saw.  The leaky ac and ceiling replacement is the next major project to tackle on it.  After I go drive it some!  It is almost ready to go out for a good shakedown.  

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one kind of fix is too totaly reroof it with a rubber membrain roof these are commonl y used on old metal top trailer homes where i live in wa st . they warrenty them in that case for 10 years . i have seen those old trailers with the cheiling out inside. showing mass rust pinholes.  This stuff is what they use for roofs on modern RVS,  in my P .O.P it is the only real fix.

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On 8/11/2021 at 6:45 PM, linda s said:

What your forgetting is the AC unit has to drain. All the water from condensation is getting stuck in there and causing more damage. Hot and humid like Florida can be quite a bit too. 

Linda S

Excellent point!

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I tarped and tabled the problem temporarily.  Lol.  Linda, and everyone else above, are right though and the only real solution is to properly reseal the AC uint.  I already have the gasket set for it.  The only reason the issue got tabled, was the amount of goop previously used to fix it that I have to cut through without doing damage to the roof or the AC unit.  Oh and the ceiling is installed UNDERNEATH the interior bracket.  So I have to rip down the remaining panels to get that bracket out.  If I have to even remove it...  

 

The Cruiser is finally on the road.  I have a couple small housecleaning things to take care of (likely tomorrow) and then I can drive it to my shop sometime this week or next.  Until I prove the chassis/engine/trans are in good order, tackling this project on the house is a waste of resources.  With it on the road finally, I also have the choice to take it to the local RV repair center for a proper estimate.  They estimated 1.5hrs over the phone to replace the gasket.  If they can come close to that when they see it, might be worth letting them do it.  It is a simple enough project, but I can't do it by myself as I have a messed up shoulder, and pushing up from underneath wouldn't be worth hurting for the next two weeks.

 

Anyways, the plan is to shortly dig into this far enough to figure out if I can reasonably do it, or if it will be the first thing I farm out.  

 

     

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I rebuilt this 1991.

For exterior and roof I used 1/4 thick 4x8 sheets of PVC and glued together with 3M 5200.  I lapped the seams with 1/8 fiberglass bathroom panels on the roof.

 

Two years and 10000 plus miles the roof has held up well.  I have one minor leak in a seam just need some weather to clean and seal with 5200.

 

If I was going to do another RV I would put more camber in the roof maybe 2 inches higher in the center. Support it with strips of 5/4 decking (fore and aft) cut to 2inches in the center then every foot side to side to the edges.

 

Then cut foam to fit between them glue it down 3m 5200.  Make up a long sanding / fairing board to sand the new contour onto the foam then use the Pvc sheets on the roof.  Any holes through the roof (AC ,vents) I would pick up with pvc pads so everything is mounted a half in higher than the roof.

 

My first attempt at this roof was with luan plywood. A small amount of water and It was a mess.  I ripped it out rethought my design and went with the PVC.

 

Pvc is worth the expense.  It is very easy to work with and glues up nicely.

 

 

 

 

20180515_121701.jpg

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I would LOVE to see some pictures of the finished results!!!

 

I partially tore into a Warrior (at the junkyard) to get an awning off of it.  The construction was impressively simple and strong.  

 

Still debating what I am doing with the Coleman AC unit...  I really want to eliminate it and replace with a solar Maxx Air vent fan or similar.  It is a huge drag and drain on MPG.  But she, who will probably never go camping in it, thinks she needs the AC.  🙃   

Edited by thewanderlustking
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  • 2 months later...

HOLY CRAP this AC unit is GLUED to my roof...   Like if the labor rate at the local RV places wasn't $170-200+ an hour, it would be getting dropped off to let somebody else fix it...  It is pretty bad.  

 

 Alright, so it is the standard old Coleman 8k BTU unit.  How many bolts hold this on, just the three long ones I found???

 

With it completely unbolted (well at least the bolts I see, the third one was WELL hidden), I can't even budge it the slightest bit.  It looks like somebody lifted it up, and then liquid nailed and siliconed it to the roof instead of replacing the gasket.  I can't verify they "nailed" it for sure, but it most defiantly has silicone squeezed out between the gasket and the roof frame inside.  And then the glue/silicone/tar holding it to the framework on the outside.  I am actually concerned I will rip a section of the roof up along with the unit.  

 

Unfortunately with labor being what it is now, I am probably looking at a few hours MINIMUM to get this sorted out.  I could live with 2, even 3 hours at $170.  But it is a catch 22.  More than that means the unit had to be carefully cut off the roof, or repairs made to the roof.  Past that magic mark of 2hrs, I am likely going to either pay out the butt for labor, or need a new ac unit and pay out the butt for that...  At least if I do it and it takes me 3-4 days, it won't cost me too badly I hope.  If I don't blow the initial $300-400 on labor, I can stretch up to replacing the AC a lot easier.

 

I am finding some AC units that actually will run on 12 to/or 24v DC.   They aren't cheap, but $1500 to be able to run an AC off od color and a battery bank "might" be interesting to consider.  But this is a rabbit hole to go down later if I don't save this dumb thing...      

 

I don't have a good plan of attack in mind to tackle this.  Ugh.  I would rather replace a head gasket or even rebuild an engine than tackle this.  All about comfort zones!  Anyways, I will get my vibratory saw out sometime soon and see if I can safely cut the case off of the support bars.  We looked into it the other day and it wasn't going to be a job we could make progress on in the time we had left.    

 

My biggest concern is that any attempt to work on this is likely to make it much worse, until it is fixed.  This isn'r a project I can tackle a little bit on and then walk away or take a break.  If I end up having to replace the unit, I have a hole in my roof until I do...  

 

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A fillet knife, long slow cuts should cut through the goop. Also a hacksaw blade with tape around one end for a handle works too, just set up the blade so it cuts on the pull stroke.

Unless the 3 bolts form a triangle, 1 to the front and 2 in the back.. or the other way. There are normally 4 bolts in an AC.

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Find the model number and I will find the installation guide showing all attachments. Need exact model though. Have you removed the top cover? Inside and outside covers need to be off to see everything.

Linda S

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  • 4 months later...

I still haven't found a plate on this thing with an "exact" model number...  (I also don't have the top removed though, as that is glued in....)  Well the top "cover" comes off easily, but this is the additional generic cover over top of the unit, and not the top cover allowing you to see the naked guts.  

 

I have a paper schematic plate that says "For 6727A, 6750B, 6770A Series..." and the lower cover says Mach Series.  So I guess it is a 6700 Mach Series AC unit or something akin to that.  I think I am looking for a 6000 Series installation guide.  

 

I found the 6700 Series Service Manual on the Bryant RV site and some installation manuals elsewhere for Airxcel.  So far no hits on the 6000 or 6700 series.   

 

I have a buddy coming by tomorrow to assist in tackling this, it is going to come out one way or another.  I am at the point where I just need it done and if it does get damaged beyond repair, I am going to probably put a roof vent in temporarily until I can decide un an upgraded AC unit that can hopefully suit my needs a little better.  I really want something that can be fired up and ran off of a 12v system.  They are out there and while not cheap, at this point what is another $1500 lol?

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Removal of the roof AC starts from the inside.😁 Remove the inside vent cover. There should be 4 large bolts/screws, The AC is bolted down through the roof. Remove the 4 bolts and then a step stool and push the AC up and it should come loose.  If it's been silly ones to many times you may have to get up on the roof and use a long knife to cut the glob through enough to pry off the AC.

Edited by WME
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I have the 6727 series. The ID plate is under the top cover riveted to the chassis (rear drivers side). I have the paper manual in my storeroom somewhere.

It’s 7200 BTU and is a sealed ammonia based system. Very durable unit. Why do you want to change it?

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I don't WANT to change it but I have had a bad roof leak for a while now and need to replace the gasket and see if there are any other repairs I need to make to the roof itself.  I have made a couple kinda successful reseal-up jobs, but they are not lasting.  Currently the interior roof isn't the greatest, but I want to get that cleaned up and sorted out, and need to fix this roof leak first.   

 

The unit on my roof has been glued and screwed down to the point of ridiculousness (it can be seen in the video I took last year above).  I have tried 3-4 times to get this thing off my roof safely without any success.  I suspect when I take the kid gloves off, damage is going to be done.  The chance of it coming of without damage I feel is pretty low.  

 

I have broken a couple knives trying to cut it like WME suggested.  Whatever it is glued on with is almost as hard as the aluminum square tubes it is glued to.  A sawzall wasn't controllable enough.  I have a Dremel Vibratory/oscillating saw that I am hoping will do the trick.  

 

I have looked a few times and only found the 3 bolts.  They are in a kinda delta configuration though so that might be all there is.  I think I actually tried to get the upper cover off and found it was also glued...  

 

-=sighs=-  Alright it is what it is.  I am going to go get the tools I need for tomorrow out there and try to at least get the lower portion off.  Some idiot put some sort of indestructible steel (feels like steel anyways obviously not lol) mdf board up UNDERNEATH that instead of taking an extra ten minutes and taking the lower portion off.  SO that's going to cost some time, but hopefully less than I am wasting typing this out hahaha...  Let me try to go make some actually progress on this instead of letting it win and get underneath my skin...  

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Thank you Linda!  I will pull the trigger on that and I found the operation manual too if I get to a point where I feel like I can save this!  I did find an epic repair/service manual for it.  I do need to verify that it is the 6727 model, but that seems pretty likely to be the case.  

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the multi tool is your friend

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Posted (edited)

Yes it is for sure!!!  

 

2DE9E161-BB0F-4D08-9412-0806FFB1D8CC.jpeg

 

This is the intelligent engineering I am having to deal with...  I had tried to cut this MDF crap before with a utility knife, useless.  

 

75F9860E-75D3-4312-92FD-CB11BF4B2F0C.jpeg

 

This is the first time I have used the vibratory tool for a saw, I am impressed.  

 

2E2542F0-A1B0-47DD-9E76-FF4F1FF9643C.jpeg

 

I still need to unwire the power supply cable, but this part came down easily.  

 

C58241ED-62EA-4C50-A643-8197A1EF54C8.jpeg

Edited by thewanderlustking
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Did you miss my link to the online version?

There is virtually no difference between the 6700 models. 

All instruction will be identical

Linda S

Green part in the middle should measure 14x14. Only that is your air conditioner. 

Don't cut it larger or your going to have to replace it 

 

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Posted (edited)

I will pull the trigger tomorrow on those manuals, if I get it off the roof without further damaging the unit!  I am a little more optimistic after using this tool below.  What a pain though I'm COVERED lol...  

 

If I have a 6727 model, it only has the three bolts.  

 

I think I understand how/where the leak is occurring now though.  I DON'T think it is actually coming around the gasket to roof seam.  Unfortunately, I am getting the very distinct feeling that a P.O. (or should I say a P.A.) actually glued THE WHOLE bottom of the unit down to the roof.  I bet the leak is actually outside of the gasket ring and I am going to find a damaged spot or hole somewhere.  I can see where they siliconed the gasket itself to the roof and it oozed out underneath.  

Edited by thewanderlustking
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1 hour ago, linda s said:

Did you miss my link to the online version?

There is virtually no difference between the 6700 models. 

All instruction will be identical

Linda S

Green part in the middle should measure 14x14. Only that is your air conditioner. 

Don't cut it larger or your going to have to replace it 

 

 

 

Yes I did miss that somehow thank you again!  Whoot!  It is pretty close but it does show 4 bolts and mine has 3.  Still its close enough once that is figured out.  BTW if I do get those manuals, I will get them scanned to PDF so we can upload them onto the "library thread".  The Paper install manual on eBay was slightly more specific.  

 

Hummm it looks like I can actually get a replacement shroud or outer shell fairly cheaply...  It looks slightly different, not sure if that really matters? There are some interesting Coleman parts for sure.  I like the bluetooth control assembly.  I can find better ways to spend $500 though lol.  And I am sure that wouldn't just bolt right to the older units like mine....  

 

Man I hope this thing comes off without resorting to a wire pull saw.  That is a SERIOUSLY AWESOME idea BTW WME!  That might just be a useful trick...  If this thing IS glued all the way, I am going to try that.  I just went and pulled the trigger on the one you picked and another more aggressive one.  Unfortunately they won't be here until Thursday, but whatever.  If I don't end up using them for getting the AC off, they are good for cutting PVC pipe, and the other one is hopefully a decent emergency/survival kit saw.     

 

Alright well tools are ready to go, lower assembly is finally off.  And tomorrow is the day!  I am finally feeling better about success on this.  Although I guess at this point success is relative as whatever does happen is repairable anyways.  I am already doing repairs to the underneath of the roof structure.  Not much more to repairing the topside I guess.  

 

I am just relieved to have the first part sorted out and to realize it wasn't me being a 🤡 ...  Not sure that makes me feel better though as I am pretty sure I am in for a bigger mess than was planned for.  Oh well.  

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Posted (edited)

What a mess...  let me see if I can describe it well enough without pictures.  I will try and get those too, but for now...  I went back and reread everything that has been posted (since I initially posted this a ways back).  Lets look at a few things!  

 

On 8/11/2021 at 8:45 PM, linda s said:

What your forgetting is the AC unit has to drain. All the water from condensation is getting stuck in there and causing more damage. Hot and humid like Florida can be quite a bit too. 

Linda S

 

Looking at the installation manual Linda posted, I can't be fully sure where the condensate drain iso my 6727 (I believe that is the model), but I suspect it is somewhere obviously outside of the 14" square, but underneath the unit, so INSIDE the outer gooped ring. I think this is why a heavy rain takes a bit before it starts to get in.  Like 20-30 minutes.  Speculation, but it does make sense.  I was suspecting this before re-reading through the thread.    

 

On 12/24/2021 at 12:44 PM, 5Toyota said:

one kind of fix is too totaly reroof it with a rubber membrain roof these are commonl y used on old metal top trailer homes where i live in wa st . they warrenty them in that case for 10 years . i have seen those old trailers with the cheiling out inside. showing mass rust pinholes.  This stuff is what they use for roofs on modern RVS,  in my P .O.P it is the only real fix.

 

This would be a VERY VERY major undertaking on my Mini Cruiser.  Without destroying the roof, if probably isn't even possible to do this... At some point, somebody put three cross braces up on the roof going from side to side.  They are like 3" or so square and pretty substantial.  From what I can see where the ceiling is down inside around the middle one, they then used some 1x3 wood interior cross braces inside underneath these.  This middle brace does not extend all the way across inside, It goes maybe 2" overtop of the outer cabinet edge, cabinets, so stopping about 6-8" from the edge of the roof, top of the wall.  They countersunk and put carriage bolts up through this wood brace to sandwich the roof skin.  The roof is SUPER SOLID at this point.  There is another wood brace maybe 18" in front of this.  That one is not sandwiched to an exterior brace, and there is a 1/4" gap between it and the outer aluminum skin.   I am not sure how far this one goes to the edge, it could go all the way.  I can't tell if it has any real purpose, but it sorta looks like it could have been to support the edge of the farming for the AC cutout.  

 

I did some search and googling on the framing and construction and found this post:   

 

 

On 4/22/2013 at 7:46 PM, Oldiesel said:

Our 93 Winnebago Itasca has aluminum framing in the body in the few places where i have had to drill. Our previous 86 RBM Mini-Cruiser also had aluminum in the walls but not so in the roof where it was rotten 1x3 wood and rusted thru 3/4x3/4 square steel tube,both have aluminum skin under the floor which keeps any water that gets in from getting out!

 

The 3/4" square steel tubes are there.  Rusty but still strong and intact.  Those do go all the way to the edge of the roof/wall.  

 

These 1x3 cross braces actually sound like they could be original.  But I strongly suspect the upper aluminum tubes are not....  I think they were  posts for aluminum railing.  Finishing the description, there are two front to back aluminum tubes that are bolted, again with a carriage bolt coming up from underneath, to the side to side aluminum braces.  I suspect these are also coming all the way from inside and going through the wood brace too, but I can't see/find these from the inside yet.  This makes me a bit nervous as the quickest solution up on top, is simply to cut them.  But if they don't go all the way though and the head is between the roof and the upper brace...  Or somewhere else I can't get them driven down through....  Logically they SHOULD go all the way through to the inside.  Should.

 

Why do I need to cut them?  They are COVERED in sealant.  I will try to just unbolt them, but cutting them would also give me a little less distance to struggle through.  They do stick up about 2" past the upper brace.  The front to back braces that these hold on, are GLUED with god only knows what to the side of the AC unit case.  It is hard and glued from top to bottom and along the whole length.  If I unbolt or cut the bolts, I think I can lift or pry the unit up without too much damage to the sides and only have to worry about the insanely glued on bottom.  Also this bracing system does seem to be VERY secure.  The unit wasn't sagging down inside, and there was little real structure inside holding that framing for it.  

 

Not 100% on that though, there is a poorly done interior brace that was added below the ceiling that is bowed and goes front to back over the table area.  But I can't see the corresponding bow in the roof itself, so this brace doesn't really make sense.  I am tempted to remove the posts and see what happens...    

 

Anyways while the aluminum braces are defiantly not original (other Mini Cruiser pictures verify this), they were actually thought out really well.  If I got so motivated at some point, they would make it super easy to add a simple plank crosswalk.  They make being up on the roof very secure (if you are on them) and you can feel how much stability they add to the in between spans.  Unfortunately, they also make it impossible to put a rubber membrane down in any way that could be effectively sealed up.  But, I can attach things to them, like the solar panels and AC unit bracing, without screwing through the roof itself.     

 

So while they greatly complicate my repairs, they are likely the reason the roof has survived a couple hurricanes, big tree branches, being crawled on, and this leak hasn't collapsed it.  Unfortunately, the ceiling hasn't done quite as well...

 

Today was pretty successful.  While I didn't get the unit off the roof yet, I feel like I have a good understanding how it is all put together and a reasonable plan of attack.  Tomorrow I am taking down the interior post supports and the bowed beam, then pulling down the rest of the ceiling panels.  Hopefully, I then find the last 4 carriage bolt heads for the ac braces.  Get those unbolted or cut, and then I am ready to try peeling the AC Unit off...  I will have help, and the cable saws, on Friday.  

 

 

 

Edited by thewanderlustking
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Posted (edited)

Well it is off and wow it was a mess to get off.  The unit did not survive.  The first ring where the gasket goes was silicone.  Then spray foam that didn't go back all the way.  Then a couple rings of who knows what type of adhesive /sealant. Then some sort of tar.  Then a rubber roof coating.  Then Flex seal.  And more tar.... 

 

393807CF-1018-440D-844D-C95475510B7B.jpeg

 

There was house wiring strung between the beams to help support the load...  

 

CF00D102-6AF5-4AD4-953E-EC0B97FE6A54.jpeg

 

This is after about 10lbs of crap are removed...

 

1A5097B9-CE2D-492D-BAA9-A9BABD2BD82A.jpeg

 

This hole is inside of the sealed area but underneath where the condensate drips through.  This is why it was traveling so far from the entry and drip points...  

 

8621D1E6-506B-4041-A19E-F0CB5B24AED5.jpeg

 

Found another hole in a section we thought was good in the middle, poked it up from underneath.  

 

6318DF23-AE30-4D0D-8016-506DFB29B5AC.jpeg

 

Not sure why I took this picture???  It is possible the roof has had a membrane put on it at some point.  Maybe.  

 

A221547E-0799-4CE5-8585-B7EA630073BE.jpeg

 

The ceiling is demoed inside.  Had to remove all the cabinets.  Will be removing the settee/benches.  The flip flop couch is fairly intact.  

 

I am missing a couple pictures.  We had really good success brazing some of the holes with aluminum welding rod.  I have some spans to fill and not a whole lot of material to do so, but I do have some aluminum skin saved from the taillights I can use.  

 

 

 

 

Edited by thewanderlustking
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Well now we can see what you were dealing with. The support bracket they mounted meant the AC unit couldn't seal with just a regular gasket. They had to add tons of stuff to make up the distance. They are not supposed to be mounted 3 or 4 inches above the roof. I'd take the whole thing off. You can put some support inside. C channel can be small but still very strong. Does the roof around the hole feel like mush? Then maybe  some plywood sealed to the roof and install the AC on that. It could be bolted to inside beams to make it all work together. Sorry for the doubters. We could never have had any idea what a mess you were dealing with

Linda S

I really hate that big fat bracket. Get it out if your way so you can do the job correctly

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Believe it or not it was mounted mostly flush...  There was a regular gasket in there too, I forgot that part lol...  I suspect it was the original one, it was hard.  The front to back 3" square side brackets you see are actually for the upper shield cover.  There were two more smaller steel beams/brackets inside that.  Those held the house wire sling to take some sag out of the assembly I guess, and then were glued to the side of the case.  There was probably 20+lbs of tar filleted to those brackets and all the way around where the case touched the roof.    

 

There is essentially nothing left inside.  The aluminum with a coating of glue and remnants of the luan plywood layer.  ALL the bracing around the unit, rotted away.  Support beams, gone.  The inside is much more depressing than the outside....  

 

There are no intact beams left, other than the rusty metal ones, to bolt anything too.  Good news is that the upper side to side braces work really well.  My rambling post above was how it is put together.  I think I am going to make up new interior beams for the front two out of some multi layer furniture grade plywood laminated to the thickness needed.  I can then have the framing around the hole also be this plywood and extend to the braces.  Then I can bolt it all together.  

 

I don't know yet.  There is more demo to do inside.  I need to grind most of the junk off the aluminum ceiling skin and find any more pinholes.  I think I can repair this without opening the can and taking the roof all the way off.  Maybe, hopefully???

Edited by thewanderlustking
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