3950 roof soft spot - Dutchmen Owners

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Old 12-25-2019, 10:38 PM   #1
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3950 roof soft spot

We left our rig in Florida this summer and it got quite moldy on the outside (fine on the inside - left the a/c running at 85F). I was on the ladder cleaning the edge of the EPDM and discovered that the roof kind of inline with the back edge of the main slide and the rear of the a/c is ... EPDM only - no support underneath.

Two questions:

1) how far apart are the roof joists

and

2) had anyone had the a/c leak in this area?

TIA, Joe
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Old 12-25-2019, 10:41 PM   #2
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What year is your RV? Any pictures? The rafters are 16" on center.
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Old 12-26-2019, 02:09 AM   #3
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It's a 2011 per my profile.

There's nothing to see - the EPDM is there but there's nothing underneath it.
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Old 12-26-2019, 04:21 AM   #4
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There is 3/8" decking over the rafters and TPO rubber over the decking. If you are stating that you feel nothing under the rubber then the decking is rotted out. Dutchmen did not use EPDM, that's a different type of membrane than TPO.
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Old 12-26-2019, 02:22 PM   #5
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Thanks for pointing out this is TPO. I did not know that. I'm hoping I can cut and peel back the membrane, replace the rotted decking and seal the cuts with eternabond tape.

The other question remains: where did the water come from? Is this the a/c leaking condensate or is it rain coming in a bad seal around the base of the a/c?
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Old 12-26-2019, 02:41 PM   #6
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Try lifting up on the A/C to see if it is loose. If this is a middle A/C with the quiet cool, the one with return vents at the edges of the inside ceiling rather than right under the A/C, you can remove the A/C shroud to gain access to the 4 lag bolts holding the A/C down. Remove the lag bolts and roll the A/C up on it's side so you can see the duct opening. Take a look at where the A/C gasket was on the roof. The TPO should look very clean all the way around the opening. If not this will tell you where the leak was at. Also if the roof is rotted out under the A/C you are going to want to do this in the place where you are going to do all the work. Once you remove the lags there may not be anything to put them back into and then you have to worry about securing the A/C again.

Some pictures of the general area would be helpful.
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Old 12-26-2019, 03:18 PM   #7
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The area inside the marker lines is soft / totally rotted out. It's solid by the a/c. There's a tiny scratch in the membrane in the middle of this area but it doesn't appear to go all the way through but maybe it does - where else would the water come from?

I apologize for the state of the roof - I'm in the process of cleaning it. All that green and dirt is from one summer in Florida.

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Old 12-26-2019, 03:24 PM   #8
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Here's a photo of the scratch I mentioned in the previous post. I guess I'll know if that's the source when I open things up. I'll DICOR it in any case.

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Old 12-26-2019, 03:34 PM   #9
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I would say you have more issues than just that spot. If the A/C isn't leaking yet it's going to. The membrane is questionable also. If you are the original owner and within 12 years of the original date of purchase I would contact Alpha Systems.
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Old 12-26-2019, 06:37 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Revere411 View Post
I would say you have more issues than just that spot. If the A/C isn't leaking yet it's going to. The membrane is questionable also. If you are the original owner and within 12 years of the original date of purchase I would contact Alpha Systems.
I'd appreciate some education:

1) what about the a/c makes you think it's going to leak? Age?

and

2) what's wrong with the membrane? It's almost 9 years old.

Thanks, Joe
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Old 12-26-2019, 06:53 PM   #11
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The picture sho was s a seam in the decking at the front of the A/C that is very uneven. The decking should be fairly smooth. Sometimes there will be a bubble in the membrane every 4 feet. The pictures look like something different. I have seen a few Voltage units look like this and it was a rafter issue. If you go inside and look across the ceiling you may be able to see where the rafter is starting to collapse. This could be because of water intrusion, if you were up north I would say it was because of snow load.

The pictures of the membrane look like the membrane is deteriorating. I don't look at it as a scratch I would look at it as a crack from deterioration. Although I am looking at a picture and not the actual membrane. I would have to see it in person to be for sure. You may want someone local to at least check it out. If you call Alpha they may be able to suggest someone in the area. (574) 295-5206, ask for Monica.
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Old 12-26-2019, 07:39 PM   #12
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This is an extreme closeup of the membrane. This is maybe 1/2 inch long.

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Old 12-26-2019, 08:54 PM   #13
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That looks like it is deteriorating to me. Alpha would be the experts on it. Anyone that comments on here would just be giving their opinions. If it was mine I would have it replaced.
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Old 12-28-2019, 08:55 PM   #14
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I sent DW up on the roof to check for more soft spots. She didn't fall through so I guess it's just the one spot.

She finished cleaning the parts of the roof I couldn't reach from the ladder. It looks pretty good (from a distance).

Next is to open up the roof and verify the extent of the damage.
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Old 12-28-2019, 09:02 PM   #15
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You should take pictures as you go.
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Old 12-29-2019, 12:10 PM   #16
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That "scratch" looks like a weathered membrane crack. Those roof membranes are very thin, usually somewhere in the 6-8 mil range. That roof is probably about at the end of its life span. I know they give a warranty but if you read the fine print it doesn't really do too much for the end-user. Contact the manufacturer and see what they have to say.

Have you seen any signs of water spots or damage on the inside anywhere in that area?

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Old 12-29-2019, 03:06 PM   #17
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AFAIK the warranty is 15 years material only.

There are no signs of leaks anywhere inside the rig.

Twice in the 9 years we've had it, a few drips of water came out the return for the main a/c.

Does painting the roof with liquid rubber work?
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Old 12-29-2019, 03:11 PM   #18
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I'm sure some people do it, but I personally don't reccomend it. Even if you look at a product like RV Armor you have to fix the roof before you apply it.

The liquid rubber is something you have to continue to maintain.
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Old 12-29-2019, 06:39 PM   #19
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I'm going to cut 3 sides of a rectangle from about 3" in front of the next roof truss in front to about 3" behind the next truss to the rear. I'll cut 4" from the side to 4" from the a/c so I'll have something to tape to when I've done the repair. Flap 'hinge' in the front of course.
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Old 12-30-2019, 03:00 PM   #20
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I contacted Alpha and asked them to comment on the appearance of my roof. Here is their reply:

"This is a normal look for an Alpha EPDM rubber roof. The top, white layer starts to crack and chalk away revealing the black, bottom layer. We have a two-part roof recoating system to make the roof like new again; it is a primer and a top-coat. I have attached instructions for the roof recoating system and it can be purchased through Camping World. The brand name is the Alpha SuperFlex Rubber Roof Coating and the Alpha SuperFlex All-In-One Adhesive & Primer. "
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