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Old 03-22-2017, 11:40 AM   #1
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need help with replacing the ceiling

Hi , I have a 1982 sunline 16.5 fd that has had a roof leak for some time by the looks of things. After looking things over i'm wondering if I can replace the ceiling from the outside by removing the roof panel and the rafters , as they are sagged and need replacing . So I would remove the roof , rafters and ceiling and replace everything in reverse . I don't plan on reinstalling the AC unit and I plan on replacing the roof panel with a rubber membrane . Is this possible ? I'm just trying to avoid removing all the cabinets. Thanks
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Old 03-22-2017, 05:17 PM   #2
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Hi,

If you are taking the roof off and replacing rafters, then yes, you can install a rubber roof with out issue.

I'm not sure I understand the issue with the ceiling though. I looked up your floor plan from the 82 brochure and the 16.5FD. It looks like all the cabinets are on and outside wall. Meaning a good part of them are screw to the walls. Odds may exist they are also screwed down from the ceiling too, but that would of been after the ceiling/roof was put on.

If you have the roof off, I could see you placing the ceiling paneling in place first over the top of the cabinets. You may have to get creative on how to hold it up in the center until you get the rafters put on. Then you can go inside and fasten the ceiling to the rafters. And then screw down into the cabinets.

OR you may be able to build a 4ft section of rafters (camper running length) with the ceiling attached to the bottom of them and then place that entire 4 foot section over the top and it will rest on the walls like the factory used to do. You may need a helper to lift that section, not so much for weight but to help position it due to the size. Then build up the next section and do the same thing. You can make a lap joint at the rafter on the end for the next ceiling panel. This would only being cieling and rafters, not any of the insulation and the substrate yet for the rubber to attach to. You can add those after.

The factory I "think" built the entire camper ceiling with rafters as a unit and lifted the entire thing over the top of the camper. But they had cranes and lifts to be able to do that. I know more on the newer campers, I'm not sure if they used the same structure/method per say in the 80's like they did in the 90's and 2000's.

If you are making a new roof, suggest you make an arched roof and not a flat one like the original. This thread may help show you see how the newer campers are made with an arched roof rafter system. This is a roof repair thread but it shows a lot of how the camper is built that may help you

A Winter Project - Roof Repair (Picture heavy)

When you start this project, it would be very helpful to others and allow you to ask us questions too easier if you start a thread in the "Repairs and Maintenance" section and post pic's if you can. The pic's go a long way in helping us see what you are up against and for others to learn from in the future.

Hope this helps.

John
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Old 03-22-2017, 05:30 PM   #3
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This post may help too. Frank, built the entire camper. This link will pop in to the section where they built the ceiling and rafters as a unit and then lifted the whole thing up at once and put on over the walls.

Homemade Travel Trailer Project

We have Sunline factory tours pics too. But I'm having a hard time trying to get to them in the photo album section. If I can figure that out, I will post how to see them.
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Old 03-22-2017, 05:40 PM   #4
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Here are some of the factory pic's

Sunline Coach Owner's Club - sunlineclub's Album: Sunline Factory
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Old 03-22-2017, 06:09 PM   #5
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HI John and thanks for all the info . I just purchased my first tt yesterday and after getting it home and really looking it over I was starting to get discouraged ! Your replies and interest is what I needed to get me going . This unit has a great layout and look , just what we were looking for . What do you think about leaving the AC unit off and maybe a skylight instead for some natural light . I like your idea with a arch roof , makes sense. I really appreciate you input and enthusiasm and I will document my progress with pics. Thanks again , Mark
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Old 03-23-2017, 08:54 AM   #6
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Hi Mark,

Yes, water damage in the camper has been an issue. However if you have basic work working skills and some of the tools, this is all fixable. If you can do the labor, the cost just for materials is not that bad. Hiring this out at a dealership can be costly just due to the difference in labor cost. It is time consuming. That is the beauty of the way the Sunlines are built. You can repair them. We have had many here do rebuilds, some extensive. We are here to help with info while you do the work.

The AC unit, that is a personnel choice. Several of us camp off the grid and have no 120 V AC power to run the AC unit. What we do, is we have a Turbo Maxx fan in one of the roof vents. At night, we crack the windows open and turn on the fan in exhaust mode. It draws in cool air from the outside through the windows you open and cools the camper down well. Ours has a T stat on it so it will shut off during the middle of the night. Fantastic Fan and Maxx Air are 2 of the companies making these kind of fans. I think Camco may even has some now. The features have changed since ours and they have many speeds and even a remote control. Some with rain sensing lids. I have heard pros and cons on the rain sensing lids.

That said, AC during a brutal hot summer day does go nice. If it is 90 outside, it can be 95 to 100 inside. The fan while it helps sleep at night is not going to help as much in this situation. In these cases and where you have the shore power to plug in, AC comes in handy.

Many of the older campers did not always have AC in them. For us, I'm glad we have it. We only use it when we need it. Ours died 2 years ago and it was for sure noticeable when it no longer worked. I replaced the unit.

So, the choice is yours. There is no wrong way, to have or not to have, it is more your choice and how you camp. If you are under tree cover most of the time, then not so much an issue. If your are out in the open "enough" times, it gets old quick sweltering in the camper. I had many a nights like that in the tent with the Boy Scouts as an adult. Even 3:00 in the morning it was still hot in the tent...

Hope this helps and good luck

John
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Old 03-23-2017, 03:19 PM   #7
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Hi John , I'm rethinking the repair on the roof and thinking that I might gut the interior and reconfigure the floor plan . This is my idea . Leave the dinette where it is and put a full size bed across the back , buy a sink , stove refrigerator assy.36x24 and install just to the left of the front door . Buy a bathroom assy. 36x24 and install where the fridge is now located . Build a 24" closet next to the new bathroom . Will that work ? Where can I buy the parts I would need . I hope you can make sense out of my explanation. I would reside the exterior and be able to remove any unwanted windows , Mark
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Old 03-23-2017, 05:44 PM   #8
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Hi Mark,

You can redo the inside, some have done this but maybe not to the extent you are thinking. Here are some things to think through.

One heads up to work through. The weight and balance of the camper is driven by the floor plan and where cargo is added. Meaning the amount of trailer tongue weight per gross vehicle weight creates towing stability. For a travel trailer, ideally your "loaded" tongue weight is in the 12 to 13% of the total gross weight. 10% is the bottom minimum and you really should not target that low as a gear change on some trip may put you under 10%. The higher end is often 15% so that the tongue weight does not get too heavy for the truck. But the high end is also truck dependent.

Point being, if you rearrange the floor plan that much, you have to work to keep the loaded tongue weight in the 12 to 13% range. That will take some math or a lot of trial and error to create that balance. If you by accident get too low in tongue weight, the camper can start swaying (a bad thing) when towing speed starts going higher then 45 mph. And it if it goes real low, it will be less then 45mph. Trailer sway is something we always want to avoid when loading a camper. Sunline was really good at creating floor plans that had good tongue weight and towed well empty and loaded.

That post I linked you to on Frank's camper build talks about this weight and balance and I posted there some formulas on how to do each item. It is an "amount" of work to figure this all out before hand, but it is doable. Frank already had a good handle on this but he had to keep track of it all the time during the build.

And you have to watch out on the total weight you add does not exceed the axle ratings on the camper. Frank missed on that one and had to upsize the axle during his build.

You mentioned where can you buy the parts needed, and you mentioned a bath ass'y, and a kitchen ass'y. I have not seen camper assemblies per say like you are describing. However the raw parts of; sinks, toilets, shower stalls, windows, most anything manufactured etc, yes you can buy those as parts and then you have to build the cabinets etc.

As to buying parts like this, there are a few ways. Buy each item new from online sources or RV dealers. The web is full of RV parts once you know what they call the part you are after. This allows the most flexibility to get exactly what you want.

There is another option, RV surplus places. These places buy excess inventory from RV manufactures and sell them. Most are all new parts, but at much lower prices. But the selection changes often and they cannot always guarantee they will have it. I have been to 4 of these places in Elkhart IN near all the RV manufactures. You can build an entire camper and then some from these places. But you will have to pick and choose to create what you want. I bought some brand new windows there at a fraction of the cost. I have bought other odds and ends there too. See if there are any of these types of companies near you. I was like a 6 hour drive for me. But might be worth a road trip to go see and look.

What you are describing is doable, but it will take a good deal of time. Building a house can go quick, building a camper from scratch is time consuming as there are so many little things to work through.

Here is a thought, maybe fix the one you have so you can go camping, and learn how the camper is built and what your likes and dislikes on floor plan are. Then buy/build one in your spare time. This way you can go camping and have some fun in the mean time. It may well take over a year from first thought to fully done and that is working almost every weekend and lots of nights assuming you are still working 5 days a week. Being retired, it may go quicker.

Hope this helps.

John
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Old 03-26-2017, 07:31 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mgebo View Post
HI John and thanks for all the info . I just purchased my first tt yesterday and after getting it home and really looking it over I was starting to get discouraged ! Your replies and interest is what I needed to get me going . This unit has a great layout and look , just what we were looking for . What do you think about leaving the AC unit off and maybe a skylight instead for some natural light . I like your idea with a arch roof , makes sense. I really appreciate you input and enthusiasm and I will document my progress with pics. Thanks again , Mark
Mark,

Can you post pictures of the camper? I've read though this thread and I'm a bit confused on what is going on and what needs/wants to be done.

Thanks,
Steve
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Old 03-28-2017, 04:57 AM   #10
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Ceiling/roof replacement

HI John , You were right on with your description of how the roof assy. Is constructed . I removed thr roof skin and found the rafters attached to the side wall and by removing them was able to remove the ceiling panels . The ceiling panels are screwed down into the cabinets just as you mentioned. There is no other way to replace the ceiling . What would you use for underlayment on the roof , so I have something to glue the rubber to. I have decided not to reinstall the AC unit . I will put a power vent in its place and one in the bathroom. Any suggestions on this ? Thanks again on the very helpful advice. Mark


Quote:
If you are taking the roof off and replacing rafters, then yes, you can install a rubber roof with out issue.

I'm not sure I understand the issue with the ceiling though. I looked up your floor plan from the 82 brochure and the 16.5FD. It looks like all the cabinets are on and outside wall. Meaning a good part of them are screw to the walls. Odds may exist they are also screwed down from the ceiling too, but that would of been after the ceiling/roof was put on.

If you have the roof off, I could see you placing the ceiling paneling in place first over the top of the cabinets. You may have to get creative on how to hold it up in the center until you get the rafters put on. Then you can go inside and fasten the ceiling to the rafters. And then screw down into the cabinets.

OR you may be able to build a 4ft section of rafters (camper running length) with the ceiling attached to the bottom of them and then place that entire 4 foot section over the top and it will rest on the walls like the factory used to do. You may need a helper to lift that section, not so much for weight but to help position it due to the size. Then build up the next section and do the same thing. You can make a lap joint at the rafter on the end for the next ceiling panel. This would only being cieling and rafters, not any of the insulation and the substrate yet for the rubber to attach to. You can add those after.

The factory I "think" built the entire camper ceiling with rafters as a unit and lifted the entire thing over the top of the camper. But they had cranes and lifts to be able to do that. I know more on the newer campers, I'm not sure if they used the same structure/method per say in the 80's like they did in the 90's and 2000's.

If you are making a new roof, suggest you make an arched roof and not a flat one like the original. This thread may help show you see how the newer campers are made with an arched roof rafter system. This is a roof repair thread but it shows a lot of how the camper is built that may help you

A Winter Project - Roof Repair (Picture heavy)

When you start this project, it would be very helpful to others and allow you to ask us questions too easier if you start a thread in the "Repairs and Maintenance" section and post pic's if you can. The pic's go a long way in helping us see what you are up against and for others to learn from in the future.

Hope this helps.

John
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Old 03-28-2017, 09:40 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mgebo View Post
HI John , You were right on with your description of how the roof assy. Is constructed . I removed thr roof skin and found the rafters attached to the side wall and by removing them was able to remove the ceiling panels . The ceiling panels are screwed down into the cabinets just as you mentioned. There is no other way to replace the ceiling . What would you use for underlayment on the roof , so I have something to glue the rubber to. I have decided not to reinstall the AC unit . I will put a power vent in its place and one in the bathroom. Any suggestions on this ? Thanks again on the very helpful advice. Mark
Hi Mark,

Good for you! Your gaining.

The roof underlayment, you have a few choices.

1. 1/8 luan plywood. This is the thinnest you can go but Sunline did use it on some areas of the roofs and on all the slide room roofs.

2. The next options are 3/16, 1/4, 5/16 or 3/8 exterior plywood. Ideally sanded on the top surface and very low in knots so it is smooth. Like ACX or BCX surface grade. Here is a guide to plywood surfaces BCX and CCX | ThePlywood.com. I would not suggest OSB, as I myself have not seen OSB smooth enough and it has water absorption issues in most grades. I am not an OSB expert and I know it has come a long way, just finding a roof type that works with rubber may be hard to find on the big box stores. I would say, stick with real plywood and exterior glue.

If you want a walk on roof, then you are into the 5/16 to 3/8" plywood. The 3/16 and 1/4 really can't handle the walk on but are more stiff then the 1/8 luan. The walk on roof is really nice, the drawback is it adds weight. You are giving up cargo capacity in the camper to not overload the axles and tires. If you go non walk on, then you do like most all other Sunlines and have to lay a tarp over the rubber and put 2' x 4' wide pieces of 3/8 or thicker plywood over the tarp to span the rafters to service items on the roof.

Here is a ruff guide to how much the plywood will weigh.

Plywood Weight | ThePlywood.com

And here are Dicor instructions on how to bond the rubber to the plywood. This water based glue only works on porous surfaces so do not used something really dense like a plastic board type of underlayment.
https://dicorproducts.com/product/di.../#installation

Some other pointers

Also watch the seams between sheets. They need to be butt tight or they need a fleece tape of some kind over them to bridge the gap but yet the glue still sticks to it. I could never find the Dicro Fleece tape for sale at the time we where doing it, so we fit all the sheets and sanded then to be a dead tight joint.

Ideally screw the plywood down to the rafters. This helps with nail pops backing up and creating a stress point on the roof.

Make sure each plywood screw is at or below the roof surface. Use a sharp corner straight edge or putty knife and scrape over every screw to make sure it is below the surface. This is again to help prevent point pressure upwards on the rubber once it is glued down.

There is a 60 deg F minimum application temperature for the waterbased adhesive (901-BA). So you may have to wait for a few good days so the glue will work.

Make sure you apply the correct rate of adhesive, it soaks into the fresh plywood and you have to have enough on to still contact with the rubber. The rubber has to touch the adhesive or it will not stick. We did the math on square feet of the roof by a small section. Then poured out in a paint roller tray the right amount for that area and used it up to make sure we knew the correct rate. It looks like a lot to start with, but again the new plywood soaks it up.

Good luck and post a few pics if you can along the way. Even of how they built the camper. I never had one of the older Sunnies apart, yet anyway.

John
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Old 03-28-2017, 03:35 PM   #12
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John , thanks for the reply and the great info. I think I'll buy a staple gun so I can use the same fasteners as the factory , can you recommend a make and model ? I cleaned up the interior after making a huge mess and find it very nice to work inside with the roof off so I decided to paint the interior next , so I removed all the cabinet doors and will spray them separately. When the interior is completed I will install the roof assy. I see why they built it this way at the factory it makes total sense , not something you see a lot of today ! Thanks again. Mark
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Old 03-28-2017, 06:43 PM   #13
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Hi Mark,

Sounds like you are really gaining on your camper. Cool!!!

Which type of staple gun are you referring too? A smaller staple electric gun, a smaller staple hand gun or a larger staple air gun?

The staple gun changes depending on the size of the staple you are driving.

I have a Swingline hand staple gun, had it for about 40 years now. Still works well but looking on the Swingline site they may have stopped making the staple guns. I can only seem to find "vintage" ones that look like mine for sale, used. This gun did take it's own width staples.

The Arrow T50 hand staple gun has been around a real long time. It is the same type as my Swingline but still made. These hand guns are good for all kinds of light duty things. This one https://www.arrowfastener.com/tool/t50/

I do have an electric Arrow ET50 Pro model. This electric gun shoots the same T50 light duty staples as the T50 hand gun, but with a push of a button. I think this model has been replaced with a newer one. From my experience this stapler has worked well.
See here,


Here it is shooting T50 staples through my slide rubber roof and through the aluminum siding. This is the max it can do.


I have an air stapler. A Rigid. https://www.ridgid.com/us/en/r150fse-finish-stapler
This shoots heavy staples 1/4" wide by up to 1 1/2" long into solid oak and it can shoot them through 0.045" thick aluminum diamond plate and 2 layers if camper siding. I was shocked it was that strong. I bought this to put siding on the camper. You can turn the power down as there are times you need too or it will blow right through the material you are stapling. This has worked flawless for me.





I'm not a stapler expert by any means. The ones I have work well, I went with brand names and the warranty. The Rigid has a life time warranty believe it or not... https://www.ridgid.com/us/en/full-lifetime-warranty. Rigid however does not make a full line of staplers that I know of.

There is no one size fits all in staplers from what I know. They fit a width of staples and gage thickness and then how much power to drive it how deep seems to change the stapler from one size to the next.

Hope this helps

John
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Old 03-29-2017, 04:15 PM   #14
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John , I purchased the air stapler you recommend today , looks like I will really need it . I started on the ceiling now I'm in the basement ! Turns out the shower has been leaking for a while. The lower back of the unit is rotted through the floor . Where can I buy a fiberglass wet bath base ? Also wondering where I can buy thr material to replace the outer skin ? The way this was engineered it was always going to leak . What do you think about doing away with the shower and maybe doing a outside shower ? Thanks again ?Mark
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