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Old 10-17-2013, 08:37 AM   #11
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Thanks for the electrical heads up.

A Few Roof Inspection and Maintenance Tips

I mentioned in my New (bee) post above that a trailer roof should be inspected at least 2 times per year. My schedule is Fall and Spring. I figure the Fall inspection catches things before they have a chance to do damage over winter storage. The Spring inspection should reveal any problems caused by the harsher winter temperatures and conditions. Many manufacturers recommend more inspections during the year.

It occurred to me that maybe a few hints as to what to look for would be appropriate. I have little experience with RV roofs proper, but I have over 40 years of roof maintenance related experience including various membrane roof types. I'm certain that there are more detailed roof inspection overviews on the World Wide Web, but this should at least provide some basic information.

An undamaged, properly installed good quality roof membrane material should be good for many decades of service. 50 years is commonly bantered about for EPDM service life in my area of the northeast. Problems and leaks are usually related to seams, joints, improper coatings, and phyical damage. Transistion areas to other materials such as metal or plastic sheeting sets up differences in expansion and contraction. It doesn't help us that as an RV is rambling down the highway the entire frame and structure is shifting about with most every bump.

In the past I have mentioned that I lay down planks and padding for roof work, and I still do at times. I have since become more confident about my 2001 23b roof. Now I first step gingerly around to test that the roof is solid before applying my potentially 225# foot solidly to the roof surface. I have learned that there is a small area in the right front that I will not walk upon. So, I can't say that I recommend walking willy nilly over your roof surface, but after some careful checks if you find the roof solid you should be fine.

Some membrane roof basics.

On the RV's that I've seen, the membrane material itself is glued onto the roof substrate. That prevents the roof membrane from lifting due to wind forces.

Transitions to other materials (metal, plastic, plumbing, HVAC, etc.) need to be sealed to the membrane system. That is accomplished by clamping a pliable sealant material to the membrane (typically along the sides, gutter), or by pouring a self leveling sealant (generally two part type) onto the areas of transition (transition to curved walls, pipe vent stacks), or by using a compression gasket such as where the HVAC unit rests upon a support frame to seal to the membrane.

The pourable sealant areas are easily identified by the pools of sealant which are found wherever it is applied. The clamp areas often will have a bit of sealant oozed out between the clamp device and the membrane. The HVAC gasket can often be seen by getting down to eye level at the roof.

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My suggestions for general inspection in no particular order includes:

Check all poured sealant seals to assure adhesion to the membrane or sheet material and to look for alligatoring or stress lines.

A visual inspection is effective. Any areas which may appear doubtful can be checked by trying to lift or push the sealant with a fingernail. It should not lift from the membrane. Alligatoring or stress lines can indicate that the sealant is being pulled. Random spider cracks are not generally a concern, but any continuous long cracks should not be ignored because that may indicate future failure areas.

Check for anything protruding up against the membrane.

Any little bumps or humps should be investigated. Along the edges of my 2001 roof I have noticed what feel to be staples which have worked their way up out of position. I considered using a padded or cushioned hammer to try to bump them down, but I concluded that the potential damage wasn't worth it. My repair for those areas has been to use a mesh with lap sealant, or Eternabond Tape patches over the bumps.

Check for any cuts or abrasion on the membrane surfaces. It is better to add sealant which isn't needed than to suffer the consequences of a leak.

I really like working with the the Dicor Lap Sealant Self-Leveling product. It is very sticky and will flow into any low areas. Be very aware that it will not stay in place on vertical surfaces because it will sag and drip. I was successful using it on the upper gutter edge on my roof by using a very small amount as I moved the tube tip along. The Dicor flowed in and improved the seal to metal transition.

Adding roof repair mesh to the sealant repairs will add strength and help improve the sealant effectiveness where the previous sealant has been stressed at material transitions. The roof repair mesh also gives the self-leveling sealant something to help keep it in place. I found that by using the roof repair mesh I was able to seal over staple bumps close to the edge and continue over the edge angle when necessary. I used sealant with mesh as a quick repair where my plastic A/C cover showed some cracking.

Here is some text for Alpha roof systems. The basics apply to all roof systems just be certain to use compatible sealants.

During routine cleaning (3-4 times a year), all caulk and sealants should be inspected for voids or cracking. If the caulk is cracking, pull up any loose caulk. Do not use any tools, such as a putty knife, that could puncture the rubber roof membrane. If you cannot pull the caulk off by hand, it is still adhered to the roof and should be left alone.

Clean the areas to be re-sealed using regular soap and water. The area must be dry before continuing.

Apply a generous amount of Alpha Systems 1010 Sealant over the top of any existing caulk in the area being re-sealed.

To order products now, call 800-462-4698. Please allow 3-5 business days before product ships from our facility. Shipping charges will be added to your order.

Solvents should not be used during cleaning. Solvents can damage existing caulk and may weaken plastic parts that are present on the roof.

In the back of your owners manual under maintenance is a section showing all areas that are to be sealed and information on the type of sealant used. Your Jayco dealer is your best source for purchasing aftermarket product.

Some related links.



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Old 11-17-2013, 05:16 PM   #12
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Other flammable gases than propane may trigger your Propane Gas Detector.
(As always, the original thread/post can be accessed by clicking the blue arrow after the member name in any quote box.)

Originally Posted by VicS1950 View Post
The propane gas detectors in RV's are not sophisticated enough to discern propane from other flammable gases. The basic purpose of the RV units is to warn of the presence of flammable gas, not really detect a specific gas type. Given the fairly basic design there are many things which the detector may respond to. I'm quite certain that some RV anti-freeze makes the list because some do contain alcohol.

As to other triggers. Propane was once a common propellant in aerosol cans. Many manufacturers try to avoid it because it is flammable, but it is not uncommon to find it in your household products. In some cases the products themselves include alcohol in the ingredients.

Some more detail is below for those who may be interested. vic

Caution and Environmental Hazard

Many propellants are flammable, so it's dangerous to use aerosol cans around an open flame. Otherwise, you might end up with an accidental flamethrower. Another possible danger is inhalation: Some aerosol cans, such as whipped-cream containers, use nitrous oxide, which can be harmful if inhaled in mass quantities. To learn more about the propellants used in aerosol cans, check out this site.
Up until the 1980s, a lot of liquefied-gas aerosol cans used chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) as a propellant. After scientists concluded that CFCs were harmful to the ozone layer, 70 nations signed the Montreal Protocol, an agreement to phase out CFC use over the next decade. Today, almost all aerosol cans contain alternative propellants, such as liquefied petroleum gas, which do not pose as serious a threat to the environment.

Typical Propellants

Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG)

Aerosol propellant grade LPG consists of high purity hydrocarbons derived directly from oil wells, and as a by-product from the petroleum industry.
They consist of a mixture of propane, isobutane and n-butane. These propellants are used in most aerosols today, and have been used for many years in household aerosol products.
These gases are flammable, and this is reflected in the classification of aerosols which contain them.

Di Methyl Ether

This is an alternative liquefied propellant, and is more common in personal care products, and some air fresheners.

Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs)

These liquefied propellant gases used to be very common prior to the discovery that they were affecting the ozone layer. They are no longer used in consumer aerosols in the western world. They are however permitted in inhalation aerosols, as used in the treatment of asthma.

Non-soluble compressed Gasses. (e.g. Compressed Air and Nitrogen)

These are sometimes seen in consumer products, and are an environmental alternative to LPG.

Soluble compressed Gasses (e.g. Carbon Dioxide)

This is another alternative to LPG, but has limited use, mainly with alcoholic systems, such as air treatment products, deodorants and personal care products.

Originally Posted by VicS1950 View Post
Not that anyone asked...

There are some who recommend against using RV anti-freeze products containing alcohol. The claim is that alcohol can adversly affect some of the RV plumbing system components. I agree with that thought. Not so much because I'm certain that the alcohol will hurt things, but that Propylene Glycol anti-freeze (without alcohol) is less likely to deteriorate the plumbing parts. It may even help to keep seals soft and working properly longer by providing lubrication.

Read the product labels closely.

FWIW. vic

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Old 11-21-2013, 09:08 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by VicS1950 View Post
Per standards Special Trailer tires are speed rated to 65 mph, not 60 mph. Sorry to be a broken record, but anyone who runs their trailer tires at too low a pressure may be setting themselves up for tire failure and even handling problems. You don't need to listen to me, you can research what the experts recommend in the links below.

A Canned Response

Most special trailer tires are speed rated to 65 mph. Speed rated is not speed limited. Tire pressure can affect the speed range. Too little tire pressure is a greater sin than too much pressure. Consult your tire manufacturer information.

Personally I would not run my trailer tires at less than the max rated pressure listed on the sidewall. In my experience that mode gives good wear and puts the tire in a range for higher speeds.

Below is some specific information for
Goodyear Marathon Tires

Special Trailer ("ST") Tires

Goodyear Marathon trailer tires are widely used in a variety of towable trailer applications and are designed and branded as "ST" (Special Trailer) tires.

• Industry standards dictate that tires with the ST designation are speed rated at 65 MPH (104 km/h) under normal inflation and load conditions.

Based on these industry standards , if tires with the ST designation are used at speeds between 66 and 75 mph (106 km/h and 121 km/h), it is necessary to increase the cold inflation pressure by 10 psi (69 kPa) above the recommended pressure for the rated maximum load .

o Increasing the inflation pressure by 10 psi (69 kPa) does not provide any additional load carrying capacity.
o Do not exceed the maximum pressure for the wheel.
o If the maximum pressure for the wheel prohibits the increase of air pressure, then the maximum speed must be restricted to 65 mph (104 km/h).
o The cold inflation pressure must not exceed 10 psi (69 kPa) beyond the inflation specified for the maximum load of the tire.

More info is here:

If the link doesn't work then just add www. to this


What Carlisle says:


Underinflation is the number one cause of trailer tire failure. Low
inflation pressure elevates tread temperature, especially as speed

Review - Practices for Safe Trailer Tire Use

– Maintain air pressure at the maximum PSI recommended on the
tire sidewall.

What etrailer says:
Expert Reply:
Trailer tires should ALWAYS be inflated to the maximum psi rating as indicated on the tire without exception. The reason is that if under inflated, because trailer tires are built with a thicker side wall to handle more vertical load, a lower pressure will cause excessive heat build up and cause the tire to fail.

As always, the original thread/post can be accessed by clicking the blue arrow after the member name within any quote box.
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Old 01-12-2014, 02:56 PM   #14
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It is so that if the ball does come unhooked the tongue will be caught in the chains and maybe not fall to the road surface making it easier to steer to the side of the road
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Old 03-01-2014, 05:01 PM   #15
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All great information, thanks to all.
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Old 03-09-2014, 11:19 PM   #16
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Thanks for the sticky post - very helpful. I will be coming back to this after I pick my TT up, so that I do not forget all of the helpful tips.
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Old 04-21-2014, 03:28 PM   #17
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Since reading this I have noticed that my chains occasionally (but not always???) scrape the ground. I don't quite understand why and was curious how to go about correcting this. I do always cross the chains.
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Old 04-27-2014, 01:53 PM   #18
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Thanks for the infor, Vic. Will remember to keep this post handy. I do have a question regarding the emergency brake cable. Just got back from weekend trip. My son, helpful that he is, accidentally pulled the emer. cable pin out while unhitching. I assumed this locked up the trailer brakes but move the trailer back and forth while still hitched and didn't noctice any pull. He put the pin back in but now I worry, should I pull the wheels off to see if brakes are set? Do I need to take to a rv center to have brakes reset? Any suggestions would be appreciated.
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Old 08-11-2014, 06:56 PM   #19
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We cross are chains over to catch the trailer if it comes un hooked. Lol at least that's what I always hears
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Old 08-11-2014, 07:05 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by micron View Post
Since reading this I have noticed that my chains occasionally (but not always???) scrape the ground. I don't quite understand why and was curious how to go about correcting this. I do always cross the chains.

If your chains hang a little to low just twist them a couple of times before hooking them to your TV.

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