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Old 08-03-2008, 07:32 PM   #1
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pamwinn
Siding problems with the T-1950

Hi Everyone,

I am posting this for the gentleman who purchased our t-1950. He is experiencing a problem that I don't recall reading about before. Any ideas or suggestions would be much appreciated. The trailer resides in Wyoming if that helps any. Below is his question:

The trailer has just been sitting in the driveway and since the hot weather set in the outer skin seems to be having some expansion issues or something.
The siding on the trailer is made from several different types of materials depending where you look on the trailer.
On the long sides of the trailer, along the top 10 or 12 inches, Sunline used what looks like a heavy vinyl or plastic one piece strip.
When I come home from work I always look at the trailer, back fence, house roof-line, etc. I look for wind damage, vandalism, or anything else odd.
About 6 weeks ago or so I came home and noticed a "dent" in the trailer. It looked like someone had taken a big yard stick or something similar and whacked the side of the trailer way up high. I immediately cursed those damn neighbor kids (in my head) thinking that they caused the "dent".
A few days passed and I noticed another "dent" a few feet away from the first one (also way up high on the same strip of siding). Another day or two passed and I had a third "dent" in the same general area. Other dents have shown up on the other side of the trailer on the same strip (right along the roof-line just under the awning).
I am speculating, but it looks like wherever they used a single sheet or strip of plastic / vinyl, the extra heat expands the siding but it has nowhere to "expand to" so it gets a crinkle, crease, or dent.
The front of the trailer (where it arcs into the roofline) appears to have a large "bowed in" area. I suspect it is caused by the heat also.
This is all new to me. The performance of the trailer is unaffected but it looks somewhat damaged.
Have you ever seen or heard of this? I am wondering if the process will reverse itself when the colder weather comes again.
You two are much more computer / chat savy than I will ever be. Can you post a question on this topic anywhere on sites that you visit or give me directions to where I can get some feedback about this?
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Old 08-04-2008, 06:48 AM   #2
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When I went to school for carpentry and when I worked building houses they taught us that with vinal siding you cannot put the nails holding it all the way in, you need to leave room for heat and cold expansion and contraction. It sounds like the nails / staples they used to attatch the siding were put in tightly and therefore there is no room for expansion in the heat. unfortunately it would be a big project to loosen them.
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Old 08-04-2008, 03:25 PM   #3
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We bought the trailer in December and as I recall he came to get it in November the following year. We never had any weird looking thing happen to the siding through the hot Georgia summer. It's weird. I would like to help him find a solution. Has anyone experienced this on a Sunline before? Could ice on the roof have caused some kind of damage?
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Old 08-04-2008, 06:13 PM   #4
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My guess is that the top run is aluminum, not vinyl. Vinyl siding won't crease or scar like you're describing, it breaks(shatters) unless you're heat forming it.

As far as the problem you're experiencing, this is a guess without seeing it... it's possible that the wood framing on the roof and upper wall has become saturated with water somehow. When saturated and heated up in the direct sun, it will expand with quite a bit of force. Is there anything near/above where you're seeing the problem where the roof or wall is penetrated by a vent or window? Any signs of leaking at all in the trailer? Is the roof bowed downward anywhere like the front pitch?

Any way you could get a few pictures posted? Seeing the problem would help a lot to get a better idea.

Hope that helps a little.
Take care,
Jason
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Old 08-04-2008, 07:28 PM   #5
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He is not much on forums and asked me to post for him. I just realized that I neglected to say this is a 2007 T-1950. One of the last made. I will ask him for pictures.
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Old 08-05-2008, 07:45 AM   #6
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I have an '06 T-1950 which has seen a few days over 100 and many below 0. I see no damage in the siding at all under these conditions. Maybe continued exposure over 100 could expand the siding to the point of stress.
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Old 08-06-2008, 08:28 AM   #7
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T-1950 Siding

I am the owner of the T-1950 with the siding problem.
The hottest it's been here in Rock Springs Wyoming is about 91 degrees.
The problem showed up during the hottest period so of course I associated the problem with the heat.
The siding strip with the issue is a plastic material. It looks the same as the main photo of the single axle trailer on the sunline club home page. In fact I am looking at it as I type this. There is a dark band of siding near the top of the trailer. The white strip of siding above that (along the roofline) is the problem strip.
I also have problems with the front of the trailer in the arc up to the roof. It is also a single sheet of plastic material with a definite bow in each corner.
I have some pictures but if I click on Img in the box above it doesn't assist in the way I would expect to insert them.
This is my first attempt at forum participation. Normally, I am strictly a spreadsheet guy.

Lance
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Old 08-06-2008, 11:03 AM   #8
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Re: T-1950 Siding

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lance
The siding strip with the issue is a plastic material. It looks the same as the main photo of the single axle trailer on the sunline club home page. In fact I am looking at it as I type this. There is a dark band of siding near the top of the trailer. The white strip of siding above that (along the roofline) is the problem strip.
That run above that burgundy siding pin stripe in the picture you're referring to is a run of polar white aluminum krystal cote siding, but you're comparing an early 90s model to an 07 model. To be perfectly honest, I thought the materials in a few spots on my camper were vinyl, but were actually coated aluminum.

Can anyone owning a '07 T-1950(or any other 07 model) confirm what material is used on the stretch of siding just before the roofline above the colored pin stripe?

I'm afraid I'm at a loss without a visual. Feel free to attach the pictures to an email. I'd be happy to post them for you here on the board.

usajasonusa@yahoo.com

Hopefully we can get a better diagnosis of your problem.
Take care,
Jason
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Old 08-06-2008, 12:38 PM   #9
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You're getting expansion/contraction inside wall or roof sections. That force is causing the siding to visibly bow out (unless that's an illusion from the picture) except where it's stapled to the studs of the wall framing. The dents are happening because that's the only place where the siding can't bow outward due to being held fast. I'm not sure why it'd happen but I'd suspect water penetration that's close to where the first dent showed up.

Hopefully others might have some insight on what you're experiencing.
Take care,
Jason
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Old 08-06-2008, 03:16 PM   #10
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With the dents occurring all around the trailer wouldn't you expect some indication of water on the inside? That is very strange looking.
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Old 08-06-2008, 05:27 PM   #11
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I believe GhettoMedic hit the nail on the head. My neighbor nailed aluminum fascia trim on his new house when it was rather cold outside. In the summer, it buckled similar to these trailer pictures when the aluminum expanded from the sun's heat. A coach this new that was well maintained should not have any water leaks severe enough to cause this type of distortion.
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Old 08-06-2008, 06:54 PM   #12
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What's the solution?

As the owner of this trailer I have not seen any water damage of any kind. It is very dry here (annual rainful = 8").
I looked at the roof last year and it looked fine.
When we got snow this winter I pulled it off the roof with a broom.
I was messing around with the problem strip a few minutes ago and I guess I really don't know if it's coated aluminum or what. It just feels like heavy vinyl. As for the way the siding is attached (tight nailing versus able to slide and expand) I had a house with that problem once. What I don't understand is that on a small trailer like this, the corners are full of sealant putty, the siding is one piece (no overlapping seams) - how could it expand anywhere under any conditions? Maybe there would be a uniform "bow" that couldn't be noticed if it was stapled / nailed correctly. Maybe they used too much material (too long) - just guessing.
Even the back of the trailer has a wavy look to the siding when the sun hits it in late morning. I didn't send any pictures of the back because a tree obscures it and I didn't think the picture would show it.
At this point I am curious about other end of the production run trailers. Did the morale of the factory workers suffer so badly that quality suffered also? I was excited enough to find one of these last trailers that I made a 3800 mile trip to get it. I feel a bit foolish now with these kind of problems and no warranty from an out of business company.
I see no solution other than a major (expensive) disassembly and reassembly of the trailer by a non-Sunline dealer.
If anyone has any better, easier, cheaper solution to this problem I would love to hear it.
PS - thanks Lode for posting the pictures for me.

Lance
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Old 08-07-2008, 08:40 AM   #13
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Our T-2499 made in Oct 2006 has aluminum siding all the way to the top on the sides of the trailer. Those dents are very strange. So far we have nothing like that.

KathyH
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Old 08-07-2008, 09:09 AM   #14
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Re: What's the solution?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lance
Did the morale of the factory workers suffer so badly that quality suffered also? I was excited enough to find one of these last trailers that I made a 3800 mile trip to get it. I feel a bit foolish now with these kind of problems and no warranty from an out of business company.
I see no solution other than a major (expensive) disassembly and reassembly of the trailer by a non-Sunline dealer.
If anyone has any better, easier, cheaper solution to this problem I would love to hear it.
PS - thanks Lode for posting the pictures for me.

Lance
I thought the closing of the Sunline plant was a complete surprise to the workers. To me it really just looks like someone hit it with a metal edge ruler or something similar. Are you SURE it isn't vandalism?
Don't feel foolish. Many of us ran out to buy a Sunline when we heard they had gone out of business.
Pam
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Old 08-07-2008, 10:24 AM   #15
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Vandalism Question

Vandalism / neighborhood kid damage was my first thought. When the other dents showed up on the same siding strip (and the equivalent strip on the other side of the trailer) I had to rule it out. It was just too consistent and coincidental.
The "bowed in" section on the front of the trailer showed up about the same time as the other dents (and the wavy siding in the rear).
Most vandals are basically lazy. They would not bother with only damaging the sections of the trailer that are hardest to reach.
When I first started getting the dents I looked over the trailer in a way that I had never done before.
There are a variety of different "outer skins" used. One type will transition nicely into the next. Some of it is obviously coated aluminum skin and I think other sections are just molded plastic sheets. The plastic sheets on my trailer are the top section of the front and rear of the trailer. I am not absolutely certain it is plastic but it sure looks and feels like it as opposed to the other aluminum skin sections.
I am going to look over the roof again this weekend. Maybe if I gently run some water up there and see if it flows to a low spot or something.
Of particular concern might be the fantastic fan installed in the front section of the trailer. I know it was installed after factory construction by the dealer.
Has anyone experienced water damage that was not evident from the inside of the trailer?
A detailed look at the roof is my starting point for troubleshooting this but other than that the only thing I know to do is show pictures to local trailer dealers and see what they suggest.

Thanks for all the response

Lance
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Old 08-07-2008, 05:22 PM   #16
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Lance,

All the outer skin is aluminum. I've seen the top stuff on the front and rear before and it is semi-shiny on the inside. I think this, along with the side top pieces, are just a thinner aluminum than the stuff along the bottom where stones can hit it and dent it.

Jon
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Old 08-07-2008, 10:55 PM   #17
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I actually had a brief discussion with my wife last night over dinner about the potential for apathetic workers on the line (and apparently in the office with all these frame redesign flaws surfacing) near the end of the days before they closed their doors... I'd love to talk to someone with some inside information but doubt ever to have the possibility.

Seeing as many trailers came off the line and aren't having problems like you're seeing, their method was founded and tested to be reliable if applied properly... that's why I believe there's another cause to the deformation.

Siding on houses isn't nailed tight for expansion and contraction but houses don't see 60-70mph winds for hours at a time (when they do you usually see them on the news @ 6). If they floated aluminum trailer siding it wouldn't take long for air to start vibrating, lifting and peeling the siding off the coach as you made your way down the highway.

Aluminum expansion happens at a fractional amount compared to vinyl... 1/8th inch over 10 feet... so you'd look at a max of 1/4" over the length of your 20' camper. So little from my experience that it would never cause a bow or denting that badly without additional catalysts and forces being applied to that run of the siding.

Vinyl, which becomes very brittle in colder weather, expands 4 times more than aluminum under comparable conditions. It’s not appropriate for the durability needs in campers and RVs so the industry doesn’t use it for siding.

So... what to do?

Water damage often doesn't show up on the interior until it's too late. The wallpaper and contact paper on the ceiling do a good job serving as an inside vapor barrier skin, masking problems.

Inside the camper, go around the top of the wall near the roof and push with your fingers to look for any soft spots that might have started in the paneling. If you do find any, be careful not to poke through it. Also cover the entire ceiling doing the same, especially around the vents and any place where the roof was opened up to run amenities… fridge vent, black tank vent, AC unit, etc. Up front I’d take a good look inside the overhead cabinet below where you’re seeing the bad bow on the front fade from the roof to the camper front. If you do it mid morning after the sun starts warming it up after a cooler night, you very possibly could feel a vast temperature difference in the saturated parts vs. the dry sections. Where there’s water, it will feel colder.

If you’re looking to dig into the job further after that I’d be happy to let you know what you need to do to take the trim and gutter off on the backside to uncover what’s under the deformed siding.

Please keep us posted on your findings. I'm sure you'll be able to come to a reasonable decision as to what you need to do to get it back to ‘ship shape’ with as little hit to your wallet as possible. I’ve got my fingers crossed and hope you don't find any water!!!

Take care,
Jason
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Old 09-03-2008, 08:42 AM   #18
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Lance:

you seem to have the opposite problem then we had - well partly anyway - our 2553 developed a bow on the drivers side behind the fridge in the hot weather - so much so, that the siding would separate at the top between the white and beige/brown strip while driving down the road - its is a 2007 model produced early in 2006.

we took it to our dealer --- as it almost appeared as if there was too much siding and no place for it to expand in the heat except out and apart - we had no issue when it was cold of course.

we had a couple of choices ---- remove the front corner and see if there was an expansion room - as the pices were just one longe piece OR remove the fridge and microwave and see what was behind the wall holding the siding on.

we decided to remove the fridge and micro - but away the inside of the wall --- guess what ---- no studs!

yup, that is wright - the studs were amost 20'" apart - hence the siding was basically nailed to nothing - given this it expanded, nothing to hold it together and started to come apart ------ so to fix it we:

> used an industrial epoxy to glue the siding to wood
> gently pulled the wood/siding in and toe nailed it to a couple of studs we put in behind the fridge and the micor
> repalce the insulation
> replace the inside wall via pl premium and finishing nailes
> put back the applicanes

now we have no problem - at leas on that side of the trailer

on the other side - there is a small crack - about 1-2 inches above the left hand radius corner of the rear door - in the white siding - i have caulked it for now - to keep the weather out - but i hate the look of it - un fortunately, i think it may be my fault - as i tipped raised the front of the trailer up really high while painting the frame and it rested on the car port - pushing the siding forward a wee bit (from what it look likes) in the heat causing it to crack - so i have no one to blame but myself.

personally, i feel that the sunline quality issue is more a myth during the 2006-2007 production years and not based on any reality.

just really help you ---- i hope that you get this figured out soon - when you do, please let u know, thanks
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Old 09-03-2008, 10:25 AM   #19
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Alex,

From what I've been told, the Sunline approved fix for that crack, which is somewhat common, is to drill a small hole in the end of the crack that's just a little bigger than the crack itself. It will prevent it from going any farther. Then just re-silicone over it again.

Jon
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Old 09-03-2008, 11:28 AM   #20
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Yep, Jon,

That is the fix, I have had to do it on both corners of my 2499. And on a few previous Sunlines. Weird though, I don't remember having to do it when Sunline used the square corner doors, just on the curved doors.
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