Pop-Up doesn't Pop All the Way Up, SOS! other routine maint questions - Dutchmen Owners
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Old 05-15-2023, 04:45 PM   #1
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New Mexico
Pop-Up doesn't Pop All the Way Up, SOS! other routine maint questions

Hi, All.


I've got an older Dutchman, 1996 pop-up. Bought in 2020, first RV and I'm not the best with routine maint.


It has a cable crank system. I've not had a problem with it until I went to check it this season. It doesn't come all the way up. After about getting halfway there, it is just too hard to crank and I fear putting more force could snap the cable. I've noticed that I need to push down the corners to get it all the way down as well.

I imagine this has to do with lubricant? I injected some all purpose grease into the zerk in the under carriage, but that didn't do the trick. I sprayed the pulleys with WD40 to no avail.

I'm thinking maybe what needs to be lubed is the sliding bars on each corner? I ordered some silicone dry lube spring, i understand i need to put something to cover the canvas so it doesn't get sprayed as well. I guess then I'll just crank it up and down some to distribute the lube and hopefully it will open more and more little by little so i can keep applying.

Another maintenance problem that's come up is with roof sealant. That has deteriorated and now I have some rotting wood. on a front corner of the roof lip the siding has become detached. My neighbor recommended I use an L bracket to rejoin it to the side part. I guess that with butyl tape underneath if I could get to the other side. I went and ordered some sealant to reapply at the seems. Anyone know how I should go about replacing the wood rot?

Also, wheel bearings. I've not repacked these yet. It's not something I've ever given thought to as a car owner so i figured it was the same deal. Now I'm reading i should do this annually. I bought some grease, do I need a special tool to remove the bearings? Any other advice on wheel/tire maint? I've not messed with them since I bought it 3 years ago.

As for the water and toilet, I don't even use those. my neighbor helped me put anti freeze in the hot water heater in 2020 and i've not touched it since. (will leaving it like that ruin it?) I don't even run with propane ever since i had a decoupling incident thanks to a bad hitch connection (has since been replaced) that broke the propane regulator. I have never been able to get the fridge to work with propane. the AC works at least, but we almost always do primitive camping.

thanks in advance. I'm not much of a gear head, but seems I need to learn lest this comfy camping machine becomes a junk heap.

-ab
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Old 05-17-2023, 01:36 PM   #2
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Welcome to the forum. Sorry you are not getting much response. Apparently few of us have experience with that model TT.

General advice: Don't delay the roof fix. Water inside will quickly destroy your TT. It may have affected your lift mechanism by causing corrosion.

Tires and axles are the next vital issue. Tires age. Tires more than 5 years old start loosing reliability. Tires that are 10 years old should have been replaced a long time ago. Tread is not the issue for TT's. Age is. Blow out damage can be costly to fix.

Wheel bearings need to be greased and adjusted. Axle replacements are expensive.
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Old 05-17-2023, 10:26 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by persistent View Post
Welcome to the forum. Sorry you are not getting much response. Apparently few of us have experience with that model TT.

General advice: Don't delay the roof fix. Water inside will quickly destroy your TT. It may have affected your lift mechanism by causing corrosion.

Tires and axles are the next vital issue. Tires age. Tires more than 5 years old start loosing reliability. Tires that are 10 years old should have been replaced a long time ago. Tread is not the issue for TT's. Age is. Blow out damage can be costly to fix.

Wheel bearings need to be greased and adjusted. Axle replacements are expensive.

Thank you much for responding. I'll certainly have to get those seems resealed and the protruding lip ticked in, and gauge the age of the tires and find where to get replacements when the time comes.
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Old 05-21-2023, 01:12 AM   #4
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Therre will be an oval stamp on the sidewall of the tires. There will be 4 numbers indicating the week and year of manufacturing.
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Old 05-22-2023, 04:17 PM   #5
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Thanks.

Update: it now cranks all the way up! I was able to get my grease gun to work and i injected into the zerk on the undercarriage. I had to pump for a while, and when it finally started to squirt out the other end it was the exact same color as what i was injecting, so that must mean that it was completely dry in there, which explains the critical failure.

The entire front side board of the roof is rotted. The aluminum lip just filled with water whenever it rained and water bled up. A tree seed was germinating in there. The whole thing smelled like fresh mushrooms. A few tiny worms were growing on the wood as well. Had its own ecosystem.

Now that the weather is dry (it's been unseasonably wet for the desert southwest). I just opened it up to let it dry out, I'll get to ripping out more rotted wood. There on the driver left there was a crack in the roof siding that was being covered with a giant patch of caulk (which also cracked and i didn't know how to maintain). That now has a ton of squishy wood that I'll need to remove as well. I'm thinking I'll need to get that from the inside maybe so I don't further break the siding.

This is gonna be a bit of work pulling out all the rot. I ordered some mold killing primer to put on the wood that's still structurally sound. I can at least replace with wood that's better than what it came with (which is thin layers piled together) replace the rusted screws and staples and join to the other wood. I'm thinking I'll need to use liquid nails to join the roof shell to the new wood.

I may need to get a tarp garage or water proof fitted sheet to go over it so i can avoid future catastrophes of this nature.

As for repacking of the wheel bearings. I took one apart for the first time. At 39 I'd never done this before. The front bearing came out easy enough, I cleaned that up good with shop towels and nitrile gloves. The second one behind the grease seal is a different story. I'll admit I became frustrated an used tools and methods that i shouldn't have, destroying not just the grease seal but also the inner bearing (yanked out a ring spring). I went to autozone for replacements and they don't have um, and no RV place is open on the weekend so I'll need to fit that in during the week.

I bought a grease seal prying tool but I think I wasted money. Got on the other side with my hydraulic jack's crank bar and jammed that inside, it came out with minimal effort. I did use the prying tool for the last bit just to get use out of it lol.

I began re-caulking as well. Can I simply apply new caulking over the cracked part of the old caulking? I did that since it looks like the old stuff is in good condition, just had a single crack down the middle (the most important part). I'm wondering if maybe it won't bond well to the old stuff and not last as long. it was just taking a ton of effort to remove the old stuff with a scraping tool so I applied that as a shortcut.

Thankfully the tires look good. I don't see any cracks on the side walls. I'll need to look closer for the date stamp, I understand the 4 digit format is WWYY.

Thanks all for your continued support. I know this may be a waste of effort given it's age but I think learning to do this stuff is how I'll learn to avoid future mistakes by gaining and understanding of how it all works.

-ab
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Old 05-23-2023, 11:48 AM   #6
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I always knock the bearing from the front side (long punch like a half inch extension). The bearing AND the seal come out at the same time.

Thanks for updating us. Sounds like you have your work cut out for you. Good luck!
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Old 05-23-2023, 02:12 PM   #7
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Can I simply apply new caulking over the cracked part of the old caulking? I did that since it looks like the old stuff is in good condition, just had a single crack down the middle (the most important part). I'm wondering if maybe it won't bond well to the old stuff and not last as long. it was just taking a ton of effort to remove the old stuff with a scraping tool so I applied that as a shortcut.

Dicore sealant is often used on rubber EPDM or TPO roofs. Dicore sealant will stick to itself if it is cleaned.
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Old 05-23-2023, 03:47 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by albarrus View Post
Thanks.

I'll admit I became frustrated an used tools and methods that i shouldn't have, destroying not just the grease seal but also the inner bearing (yanked out a ring spring). I went to autozone for replacements and they don't have um, and no RV place is open on the weekend so I'll need to fit that in during the week.
Turns out the spring that I yanked out is part of the grease seal, not the bearing.

I called an RV specialty store/shop to inquire about the bearings and seals, they told me they'd need to order, and admitted they get the parts from NAPA. I went to Napa, and even tho the clerk couldn't find part numbers on it, he was able to compare sizes and match them up to what I need.

The seal he found cost $40 for just 1! I asked if that's typical (i suddenly realized why people reuse them when they shouldn't). He took another look and found one for $5, but only had one. He told me which stores had them and how many.

To be safe I also bought two sets of bearings, each costing about $13 (4 total which adds up). However, I saw no signs of wear on the bearings or races, save for a bit of discoloration, which seems to be an effect of them sitting in the same position for so long, so I just cleaned them as best I could with brake cleaner then repacked them with grease. (the discoloration remains)

For as hard as removing the seal was, inserting a new one gave me nearly an equal measure of frustration, and may have caused some minor bending to the new seal. I used a small piece of 2x4, but it kept wanting to go in crooked, i tried for what seemed like half an hour to try and work it around with one end down in there and another outside the lip, I began to doubt it was the right size. I re-watched some DIY videos and saw that I just needed to place it dead center then apply equal force down the middle with the 2x4 standing on its side, so with gloved hand i made my best effort to get the lips to meet equally around the circumference, placed the 2x4 standing up on its side down the middle and gave a heavy blow with a rubber mallet, and to my delight the entire seal depressed into the hub, then i worked the 2x4 around to make sure it went inside level until it was flush with the hub.

I'll have to use a fiberglass repair kit to fix the side roof crack, that should have done by the previous owner instead of patching with caulk.
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