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Old 07-17-2019, 01:59 PM   #1
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Advice on front panel repair

Hi we recently had front end damage to the front panel of our 2004 sunline Solaris T-2199. See attached pictures for damage. Does anyone have any advice on how to go about fixing it without replacing the whole front end with a new panel? Any help or advice would be appreciated thank you.
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Old 07-17-2019, 02:21 PM   #2
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Hi Anne Marie,

Your pic is not showing so it is hard to know what panel you are referring too. Can you try to post the pic again?
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Old 07-17-2019, 02:59 PM   #3
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I tried twice with no luck to post the pics
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Old 07-17-2019, 03:46 PM   #4
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Front Panel repair pics

Ok I got the pics to Load finally
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 9BD80343-6EAE-4E39-A4E8-39BAC536FFCC.jpg (70.0 KB, 19 views)
File Type: jpg F7B66909-8352-4B94-8755-0104B36AD543.jpg (79.6 KB, 59 views)
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Old 07-17-2019, 06:25 PM   #5
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Hi Anne Marie,

I can see now and I will create a response for you in the near future on how you can fix this and most likely not need new panels. If you, your husband or a friend has basic woodworking skills and some tools, this fix is not that hard to do with what we can show you. It will however take some time. The front siding will need to be removed, (not that hard to do with some explanation) and then you can straighten the siding and put it back on. I can also see if I can find the place out west who can make the upper siding for you if it comes to that.

Until then, this pic


shows a hole that water can leak into the front wall if the camper is exposed to the rain. Until you can get to fixing this, put some Gorilla tape over this opening to seal it up. It will last a few months if pressed down firmly

Be back soon.

Hope this helps

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Old 07-17-2019, 08:52 PM   #6
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Sounds great John. Thanks so Much!
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Old 07-18-2019, 01:23 PM   #7
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Anne Marie,

What I am suggesting on how to repair is, to undo the front wall so you can get to the back of the siding to support it while working to straighten it. While this may take longer to get the camper apart, it will ensure the siding can be resealed back up watertight. And it allows you to have all new seals on the front wall which is often a place of water entry. If others know of a positive way on how to do this without removing the siding and still contain the water tightness needed, please post how to do that.

I will explain the process on how to remove the front window and siding so you can get to the damaged area, and then how to put it all back together. The process is not that hard if someone has basic woodworking or mechanical skills, some tools of those skills and time. Not including the siding straightening time, the time needed to take the camper apart and put it back together could be 2 to 3 days (maybe more on your first time) with a helper as required when cleaning. A tarp will be needed to cover the camper after each days work until it is water tight again or inside a building. There are picture posts showing parts of this process, so you can see what you are getting into before you start.

Before you start taking the camper apart, figure out who will be straightening the siding out and buy the needed materials to seal the camper back up.

I will be referring to some picture "How To" posts on similar repairs of other campers that can help show you how to do this. Those posts have a lot more info then you need as they are dealing with water damage repairs, use the parts of them that fit your scope of work.

To take the front wall off,

1. Turn the battery disconnect switch off. Remove the battery and the LP tanks. Put masking tape over the exposed LP tank fittings to keep dirt out of the LP system.

2. You will need to remove the front left and right corner moldings. See the T2475 repair post below how to do this. (Note: do not yet remove the long left to the right front wall to roof membrane molding)

3. You will need to remove the front window. See the T2475 repair post below how to do this.

4. Take the siding off the front of the camper, starting at the bottom piece and working your way up to the large top piece. Once you reach the large top piece, you may not need to remove the entire large piece of siding to be able to get behind the damaged area. Undo the staples on the bottom of that large piece, but stop about where the two front yellow lights start. See the T2475 repair post below how to do this. Your camper will look close to this at this point.
top siding folded seam 2 on Flickr

5. Now you need to decide if you can straighten the bent siding with it on your camper, OR you need to remove the entire large top piece to get it straightened?

If you or a good friend who does auto body shop work, they will have all the skills and tools to straighten the siding out and it not look bad. This aluminum siding is very thin and bends easily. If you feel you can do this, go for it. If this is something that you cannot handle, here are a few thoughts.

A. You have a friend who can do this. Let them come and tell you if they can fix the top piece still on the camper or you need to take it off. Then go from there. The T2475 repair post shows how to take the top front siding piece off and the front cap molding between the roof and the front siding.

B. Find an auto body shop you can take the two pieces of siding off the camper to and have them straighten it out.

C. If you know or an find a sheet metal, or heating/cooling ductwork shop, they may be able to straighten the siding out. They deal with thin sheet metal all the time.

D. Decide you want two new siding pieces and replace them. See next reply on new siding. This needs to be decided and parts in hand before you take the camper apart.

Here is the T2475 repair post to help on how to take off the corner molding, window, and siding. This link will start by taking the front wall apart. 2004 T2475 Repair - Project Camper No 2


Once the siding it straightened out, here is how to put the camper back together.

Cleaning the siding and window to prepare for installing it back on.

1. You need to get plastic scrapers and scrape off all the old putty tape and butyl caulk on the siding. Then chemically clean it back to clean siding/moldings and straighten out the rough edges and screw holes on all parts. This cleaning task is time-consuming and tedious, but it critical in creating a wheater tight seal when you reinstall it.
This link will take you to where the cleaning starts on the T2475 project
2004 T2475 Repair - Project Camper No 2

This link takes you to a T264SR roof replace thread also showing how to clean and straighten the molding and siding.
A Winter Project - Roof Repair (Picture heavy)

Camper re-assembly


1. Start installing the siding. When the siding is cleaned and prepped to go back on you start with the large top piece and work your way towards the bottom.

Key points. You need new fresh butyl sealing tape on the siding folds before starting the siding install.

You need a tube of butyl caulk (Surebond SB-140) to caulk the front wall siding joints.

This link shows how to put the front siding on. in the T264SR repair post
A Winter Project - Roof Repair (Picture heavy)

Make sure the large top siding piece window cutout aligns perfectly to the window frame before stapling the sheet on.

2. When the siding is complete, then install the front window. I do not have a write up “yet” on the front window install, but I do on most any window. I have done several front windows, and there are tips unique to the front location.

This link will help show how to shim the frame to hold the window up central before installing. Your shims may be a different size, but the shims window hold the weight while you are inserting the screws. A Winter Project - Slide Opening, Frame Repair (Picture heavy)

Here is a one pic of what your window frame will be like shimed
Frt Window Install 1 on Flickr

You also need to put the butyl tape in the siding corrugations before setting the window.
This T310SR link may help too on setting windows A Winter Project - Slide Opening, Frame Repair (Picture heavy)

The biggest thing to make sure is right on the large front window is, it is must be positioned in the center of the camper opening to allow sealing surfaces of the window flange to the siding exist, especially in the four corners. The wall opening in the camper may not be square, and you may have to shift the window, either way, to ensure the seal position is intact even if the wood frame is not exactly parallel to the frame.

Suggest “before” you put the butyl tape on the window frame, to do a dry run and test-fit the window in the camper wall frame. Be inside with the window on your shims and look with a flashlight around the perimeter. Is the gap even etc. When you think the inside is correct, go outside and draw with a pencil on the siding and trace the outline of the frame on the siding. Take the window out and look at the pencil line to the opening. Take notice of the corners. There needs to be enough siding inside the edges to be able to create the pressure seal between the window and the opening. If it is not equal at the corners, left to right or up and down, shift it and try again. When you are done with the dry test fit, erase all the wrong lines on the siding, leaving the one good set. When installing the window for good, make sure the lines line up with the frame before putting all the screws in.

3. Install the two corner moldings. See this link to the T264SR on installing the corner moldings.
A Winter Project - Roof Repair (Picture heavy)

4. If you removed the large top sheet, install the front cap molding. Check that the overall length of the molding will fit between the two corner moldings. Trim the cap molding as needed to fit. Often times the corner molding move a little and will not allow the front cap molding to set in the exact right place, down flat to the roof. Check the ends at the molding it still fits. This link shows the top front cap molding being set. Scroll down partway in the post
A Winter Project - Roof Repair (Picture heavy)

5. Apply Dicor self-leveling caulk to the roof seams. This link shows the front seams
A Winter Project - Roof Repair (Picture heavy)

6. After trimming all the excess butyl from the corners, window, etc., clean up and leftover butyl on the siding with a high flash cleaner: Naphta or other. Do not use mineral spirits. Wait two ore more days for the cleaner to evaporate out of the new butyl and apply Dicor non-leveling caulk on the vertical and horizontal wall joints, front window, corner moldings. See here for tips on using Dicro non leveling. Dicor Questions

7. Put LP tanks and battery back on.

8. Go have fun camping!

I have many more pictures of the whole process short of straightening out the metal siding that are not yet in a write-up. If you need clarifications, feel free to ask, and I will add more as needed.

If you made it this far still reading… and need some help on the material list and where to get some, along with what new siding might be, let me know, I will add them.

Hope this helps

John
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Old 07-18-2019, 01:57 PM   #8
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Thanks for you quick response John. When I get a chance I will read this over and show it to my boyfriend and if we have any further questions we will let you know. Thanks again for all you time and help! Much appreciated!
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