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Author Topic: Water damage and restoring my Forest River Sandpiper  (Read 2532 times)


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Water damage and restoring my Forest River Sandpiper
« on: February 11, 2017, 07:08:21 PM »
My wife and I plan on living as full time fivers within the next two years and recently bought a 2002 Forest River Sandpiper 26' fifth wheel. We bought it knowing that it has water damage and believe it can be repaired. I have decided to replace all of the exterior plywood because the water damage was fairly heavy to the nose and rear. Some of the roof is sagging on either end of the rig along with the celling. I'm positive I'll be replacing some roof trusses because of it.

My question is, do I repair the exterior plywood and framing first or, do I repair the roof first? I'll be doing the repairs outside and will be covering the rig with tarps to keep it from getting rained on.

My first thought was to separate the roof membrane from the filon sides and leave the roof and membrane intact and repair the walls first. Does this make sense? Replacing all of the exterior plywood will give me a good view of the studs and allow me to replace what's rotted. After the plywood goes back on, I will be gluing new filon on.


  • Guest
Re: Water damage and restoring my Forest River Sandpiper
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2017, 11:01:58 PM »
In addition to my post above, I have decided to reskin my rig with aluminum. With filon adhesive costing $200+ a gallon and filon costing $750 a side, it doesn't make sense to use filon. The other issue with filon is getting the adhesive to bond well. filon requires the bonded pieces to have a specific amount of pressure applied to them to create a proper bond. Although aluminum can be damaged by rock chips and hail, it's lighter, cheaper and easier to install and repair.

Note: Aluminum siding is not cheaper! I priced the siding at over $5,000! :o
« Last Edit: February 12, 2017, 10:23:52 AM by beazleybub »

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Water damage and restoring my Forest River Sandpiper
« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2017, 08:37:23 AM »
The roof is usually attached after the sidewalls are set up, but if there is wall frame (stud) damage, you may have to do both together. You can start with either one, but if water has run through the roof and down the sides, you may find you have to do both the sidewall frame and roof frame together. I guess I would just open it up and see how extensive the damage is, then decide the order of repair.

Sure hope that you got this rig for free, or nearly free, cause you have a lot of work ahead of you. Not terribly difficult, but a lot of labor!
Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL


  • Guest
Re: Water damage and restoring my Forest River Sandpiper
« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2017, 10:21:05 AM »
Nope, it was not free but, it was cheap enough. The whole reason we bought this particular unit was so we could afford it. We recently filed bankruptcy so, financing anything was out of the question. I'm very good with my hands and confident I can make it better than before.

I probably should have clarified my question though. My question should have been about the roof trusses. I'm not sure how the trusses are connected to the walls. I'm trying to figure out if I can leave the roof membrane intact, minus the edges, and repair the walls and frame first, then fix the trusses and replace the roof.

I have to correct myself about something I had posted earlier. I was going to use aluminum siding during my restoration because I thought it would be cheaper, I couldn't have been farther from the truth! Aluminum siding would have cost me upwards of $5,000 for materials alone. I don't want to use filon for the siding because of the installation difficulty and risk. I would be sick to my stomach if I spent $2,500 - $3,000 on replacing all of the exterior plywood and filon just to have it delaminate again in a short time. I have read many posts across the web about repairing or replacing filon where it did not adhere and delaminate again. Factories that build these rigs use either a vacuum process or heavy roller pressure to make sure the stabond adhesive makes a good bond between the filon and the plywood.

With that said, I have decided to break the mold and use an alternative method to re-side my rig. I know weight is an issue, so after much research, I have decided to use "LP SmartSide 38" panels. These panels do not require a backer and can be nailed or screwed directly to the studs themselves. The (0.315-in x 48.563-in x 95.875-in) panels only weigh 41 pounds each, which makes them heavier than the plywood they will be replacing. I don't think the added weight will be a deal breaker though. The panels are not expensive, at $26 each I can completely re-side my entire unit for under $600. The only issue installing them will be with the nose of the trailer. The panels cannot be bent, so I will have to either use a different siding for the nose radius, or reconstruct the nose to a flat profile.

I'm sure my posts are going to gather a bunch of attention, so I will probably start a build thread when the work starts. I was already mentally prepared that this job was going to be labor intensive. At least when it's done, I will not only know my rig inside and out but, know exactly what condition it's in.

Wish me luck!
« Last Edit: February 12, 2017, 01:57:00 PM by beazleybub »

Gods Country

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Re: Water damage and restoring my Forest River Sandpiper
« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2017, 01:51:53 PM »
Good luck.  Looking forward to your rebuild thread/pics.


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    • Millwood Southern Artists
Re: Water damage and restoring my Forest River Sandpiper
« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2017, 10:40:00 AM »
Good luck I look forward to reading about your remodeling we are also redoing parts of our 5th wheel slowly and in small sections since we live in it
1998 Alpinelite
2002 Dodge 2500
Fulltimer artists traveling through life
Elizabeth Larry and Ebony


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Re: Water damage and restoring my Forest River Sandpiper
« Reply #6 on: March 22, 2017, 10:26:26 PM »
I suggest you look for a boatbuilders plywood for your re-side. 
I rebuilt the water damaged front of my trailer with Hydrotek Meranti and sealed it up with marine epoxy. 
It would have looked great with just that finish - but I covered it with aluminum after that. 
The Hydrotek was about $50 per 4x8 sheet and was very good quality and flexible enough to be curved with some gentle persuasion.
Much lighter than the siding you are looking at - and better looking.  you could paint it or????


Triple Slide Jayco

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Re: Water damage and restoring my Forest River Sandpiper
« Reply #7 on: March 23, 2017, 07:50:21 AM »
Good luck with the project, just an FYI, I recently purchased my 2016 Jayco from an auction with siding damage to the side. I had my best luck getting odds ad ends parts and pieces from General RV. I originally tried to avoid them because of the price factor, but once I hit a wall on a few items, they kindly took me outback (upstairs in the shop to an overflow parts area), and to my surprise had all kinds of trim pieces, aluminum siding lengths, carpet, moldings, interior and exterior panels. I walked out of there with a few handfulls of stuff for $100.00.! I was shocked at how they were accommodating and how cheap they would get rid of stuff for. I later ordered in a few 8 foot lengths of aluminum siding from Jayco thru General RV, and was again shocked at the $25.00 per piece price (painted and exact year style match). I thought it was super cheap.

Give them a or a local RV dealer a try, you might be surprised.!
2016 Jayco TT Triple slide 33RBTS
2016 Chevy Tahoe


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Re: Water damage and restoring my Forest River Sandpiper
« Reply #8 on: April 05, 2017, 07:13:05 PM »
I was going to add some images of my demo but this forum makes it difficult. I'm disappointed this forum makes it hard to share images in the posts.


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Re: Water damage and restoring my Forest River Sandpiper
« Reply #9 on: June 04, 2017, 07:31:37 PM »
I would like to see pictures of your project.  What difficulties are you having sharing your photos?  Just click on the attachment below and choose your file from your computer.  If it doesn't upload it's because it's too big - just make the file smaller if that's the case. 

Lou Schneider

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Re: Water damage and restoring my Forest River Sandpiper
« Reply #10 on: June 04, 2017, 07:45:24 PM »
I'm locking this thread because Beazleybub decided to delete his account and no longer participate in The RV Forum, thus the "Guest" designation under his user name.  As such, there's no way to contact him and he won't receive notification of any pending messages if he does return to the Forum in the future.