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Leaky roof


Lughead

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Hi Nube here. Could do with some advice on my roof please.

 

I have owned a Pilote Atlantis A5 for the past 10 years.

 

https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=pilote+atlantis+a5&hl=en&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=g9dhUYKBDdD70gWM84CIBw&ved=0CAoQ_AUoAQ&biw=1920&bih=993

 

I believe that the outer layer of the roof may be Polyester but I'm not entirely sure. It certainly isn't aluminium.

 

I've been getting a few leaks in the last few years on the front seams of the over-cab. These have been resealed by a local repairer but having collected the van from its winter storage, after the bad one we have just had, I found another couple of leaks and my repair guy is overrun at the moment. So, I cleaned off one whole side of the van and resealed it myself. Not the neatest job in the world but looks good and watertight now.

 

However, there is a small area (about 6"x6") around the area of the leak on the front of the over-cab, on the top of the roof where there are small hair-line cracks on surface of the roof. I wonder if the water from the leak froze and expanded and cracked the surface. Everything seems solid but I'm wondering what to do about it. Should I just spread a thin layer of sealant over it and see how it goes or is there a better product, or should I leave it?

 

I've also found some de-lamination up there, in the area where the roof sweeps down from the over-cab to join the main body of the van. Is this something I should worry about or leave well enough alone?

 

The plastic sections of the molding that covers the corners are beginning to crack as well. These sections appear to be bedded on a wad of glue/sealant. Should I be looking into replacing these? Can I do this myself?

 

I think it is time I took more responsibility for this van. It has served us well and we don't want to be rid of it just yet.

 

Thanks for any advice.

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Guest 1footinthegrave
Sounds like a fibreglass skin to me, we had one on a coach built we owned with the rest being aliminium, hard to say for sure though, and you do not say what product you've used to deal with the leaks, I suspect unless you've thoroughly cleaned the area of old sealant first and have not used a specialist product such as Sikaflex you'll be doing it again soon. As for the area you speak about if the surface seems to have hairline cracks I'd bet it is for sure fibreglass, and a bit of de-lamination. Can't advise further as I'm no fibreglass specialist, perhaps seek out a boat yard for advice. ;-)
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Guest 1footinthegrave

As I said I'm no expert,but I was advised to use Sikaflex 512 when I had problems on a previous van, it is a flexible sealant forming a very tough rubberised seal on curing, and a few bob to buy, where as the one you have chosen is a non setting type. And to be perfectly honest I'm not sure what product and under which circumstances you should use one or the other, all I can say is Sikaflex cured the problem on my previous van. Sorry I can't be more helpful than that. ;-) No doubt others will be along that may have more knowledge of your problem to advise, good luck with it. ;-)

 

Oh I should add I believe Sikaflex 512 is used to bond the likes of solar panels and sat dishes to roofs, so must be pretty potent stuff. But you've done the job now, and are aware of the weak point to keep an eye on, nothing more infuriating than a leak, especially a roof leak

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Guest JudgeMental

Are you sure it's delamination? As GRP skin roofs can sometimes be designed so that they float and are not bonded to the surface underneath...this is to allow for expansion and to avoid cracking in hot/cold weather.

 

I would talk to Pilote or talk to Peter Ayres of motorhome Coachcraft as he knows his stuff. Probably just need local repair where it's cracking and seals resealing properly with syxaflex good luck.....

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Guest JudgeMental
Lughead - 2013-04-08 8:28 AM

 

Just checked in an old Motorhome mag that our van was featured in and it says that the roof is GRP.

 

So what would I do with those hair-line cracks?

 

Seek expert advice, try Pilote and a good repairer as already suggested ...there are a few on here with a lot of GRP experience ( boats) so they should contribute when they see this...but Pilote would have been my first contact.

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The overcab area of your Pilote will have been built traditionally. The outer skin will be polyester (GRP) sheet supported on a wooden sub-structure. The build method will be much the same as it would be if aluminium sheet were used and (in both cases) watertightness will rely on the bodywork joints providing a proper seal.

 

The outer surface of the type of polyester sheet used for motorhome bodywork can crack but, unless the cracking extends right through the sheet, water should not enter the vehicle.

 

I hesitate to say this but, some years ago in the ‘junk area’ behind a French motorcaravan dealership’s workshop, I saw the overcab part of a motorhome discarded in a corner. This had a polyester skin (I recall how thin and flexible it was) and it was obvious why the structure had been removed as the wooden support framework was completely rotten.

 

As JudgeMental suggests, you’d be well advised to have your Pilote examined professionally.

 

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Guest 1footinthegrave
JudgeMental - 2013-04-08 7:43 AM

 

Are you sure it's delamination? As GRP skin roofs can sometimes be designed so that they float and are not bonded to the surface underneath...this is to allow for expansion and to avoid cracking in hot/cold weather.

 

I would talk to Pilote or talk to Peter Ayres of motorhome Coachcraft as he knows his stuff. Probably just need local repair where it's cracking and seals resealing properly with syxaflex good luck.....

 

Yes,Eddie reminds me that our Elnagh had exactly the roof skin described, as I said it was GRP, but omitted to say that was not bonded to whatever was underneath, it was also extensively "crazed" and developed a leak where the joint was at the front of the roof where it joined the front low profile front section,to make matters worse this was also an area where rainwater would gather and sit, a "fault" I have noticed with many designs, hope you get it sorted, and can only echo what Eddie said, get an expert opinion. ;-)

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I echo the advice already given to get this expertly examined.

 

There is a chap named Graham Rowe who is the UK agent for Pilote. Tel 07900-692309. He may be able to guide you towards a Pilote dealer with suitable repair facilities. Otherwise Hayes Leisure (0121 526 3433) are (claim to be! :-)) the oldest established UK Pilote dealership. You might also try the Pilote Owners Club, here http://tinyurl.com/ctw92w3 who may have experience of similar problems and/or may be able to help.

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Previous experience with my Pilote dealer was less than satisfactory.

 

They replaced an opaque roof vent with a mini heki for me. Several years later after being aware for some time that water was getting into the roof from somewhere (separate problem from that being discussed at the moment) I had my repair guy remove the vent and it turned out that it had not been sealed. I won't be leaving my van with them.

 

I could site other failings as well.

 

 

 

 

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Thanks for your replies.

 

It isn't only that I am reluctant to trust anyone with my roof. As my van is getting older I think I need to be more proactive in keeping an eye on it and caring for it.

 

I will talk to my dealer just to sound them out but I don't have any trust in the blokes they employ.

 

I may have used the wrong sealant for the leaking side but it has given me some breathing space, as they say that we are in for a warmer wet patch of weather. Once that is over I will seal the other side of my van with Sikaflex 512 as suggested, and redo the original side later in the year. It looks like the non-setting stuff that I have used should come off easily enough but should last until then.

 

The cracked area looks like on this video

- but not as bad as this. So looks like it may well just be in the gelcoat as suggested which is the way it looks because the roof feels solid. Part 2 video guides you through a repair. There is a kit in the UK on ebay

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/East-Coast-Gelcoat-Repair-Kit-/360577923305?var=#vi-content - unless anyone has a better suggestion.

 

Again I will leave this till warmer weather.

 

 

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Guest JudgeMental
Lughead - 2013-04-08 2:48 PM

 

Previous experience with my Pilote dealer was less than satisfactory.

 

 

and no need to pay top dollar either with a franchised dealer, its not rocket science and plenty of decent independent repairers around.

 

I don't know where you are but other then Motorhome Coachcraft who have 2 branches now, and have spoken with Crossley coach craft and would have used them if they had been nearer

 

http://www.crossleycoachcraft.co.uk/

 

http://www.motorhome.co.uk/

 

if you do a Google search you will find recommendations on other forums. you dont have to get the work done but at least you will know where you stand

 

more here: http://www.ukmotorhomes.net/motorhome-service-repair.shtml

 

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I am in Leicestershire so the two first links are both a bit far.

 

However there are several possibilities on the last link. Thanks a bunch for that.

 

Forums are probably the best thing that came out of the net.

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Guest 1footinthegrave
Lughead - 2013-04-08 5:02 PM

 

I am in Leicestershire so the two first links are both a bit far.

 

However there are several possibilities on the last link. Thanks a bunch for that.

 

Forums are probably the best thing that came out of the net.

 

I can only concur with your sentiments, I have had less than satisfactory service from dealers. and some I wouldn't entrust a wheelbarrow with, having said that I did once receive not only a fair price, but an excellent repair as well. This was Autosleepers at Willersey, near Evesham, where they really went the distance importing an aliminium body moulding that I managed to part rip off on a steel gate post, this ran in one continuous extrusion from the rear bottom corner up the rear and along the roof to the front roof join to the front of the cab lo-profile GRP pod, and this part was all the way from the factory in Italy.

 

You could do worse that give them a bell, I'm sure given my experience you'd find them very helpful, factor in they actually manufacture Motor homes,and in theory at least they should know exactly what is required. ;-)

 

I should add this was not an Autosleepers van, but an Italian van, but they were quite happy to take it on.

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