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Author Topic: Should I or shouldn't I - do anything with my Coleman roof  (Read 1374 times)


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Should I or shouldn't I - do anything with my Coleman roof
« on: July 29, 2019, 04:22:19 PM »
Hi all,

Me again...So, we got a 2002 Coleman pop up yesterday. Nice, clean, stored inside and extremely well kept.  As usual, the roof (Coleman ABS) is not 'perfect'.  However, it is in great condition compared to other similar year Coleman camper as it has been stored inside.  No major cracks, bends, bubbles, de-lamination, etc.  Some hairline spider web cracks.  See the pics.  Owner did tell me about this before and told me he has been 'caulking' them once a year and he owned it for 6 yrs.  He used clear caulk and you can see that the caulks are somewhat grey as they get dirty from the dust...he suggested I can continue to do the same for the existing ones as well as any new ones I see.  He used for 6 years and doing this seems to have kept the roof in good shape.  Meaning, the cracks didn't seem to get worse or bigger.  You can see some new hairline cracks in the pics as well.

So, my dilemma:

a) should I 'fix' it (lot of info on how to use ABS pellets with acetone/MEK and then applying Grizzly Grip). Costing about $200ish.
b) continue to caulk it like the previous owner of the existing and any new ones.  Watch it for a year to see if these get worse and think of repairing then?

I do plan to keep it inside and who knows how many years we will keep it - probably at least for couple of years.  But you never know the future, right?

What would you do and what do you think?  I got the camper around $2500.  Almost perfect interior with AC/heater, furnace, inside, outside stoves, original bike rack, outside shower, etc.  It is a Coleman 2002 Cheyenne.

Thanks you all-


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Re: Should I or shouldn't I - do anything with my Coleman roof
« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2019, 05:02:45 PM »
If it was me, and I could store it inside, and you have relatively little invested, I would simply continue to caulk as he did.  Do you know what type of caulk he used?  Clear caulk, was it silicon based?  Generally not what the RVers like to use.  I really like Geocel Pro Flex RV caulk.  comes in clear, white, etc.  I got it on Amazon for maybe $10/tube. 
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Paul & Julie

"Never argue with stupid people. They bring you down to their level and beat you with experience" - Mark Twain


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Re: Should I or shouldn't I - do anything with my Coleman roof
« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2019, 05:49:24 PM »
I think he used silicon based clear caulk.  He left some in the front storage and I have yet to open the camper today.  It has been raining and I plan to open it up tomorrow and will see.  Thanks for the caulking advice.  I didn't know about the other one.  Will definitely look into it.

Many thanks!!!

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Should I or shouldn't I - do anything with my Coleman roof
« Reply #3 on: July 29, 2019, 06:14:59 PM »
I'd be inclined to coat the entire roof with a rubber-based roof product, e.g. Henry's Tropi-cool. However, you would need to assure that whatever you use will stick to the caulks previously used.  Some silicones, for example, are oily and nothing sticks to them.

Nothing wrong with continuing to use caulk as needed, though. It's just a question of how often it needs to be done. If the cracks re-open with each use, that would be a pain. If once every year or two, not so much.
Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL


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Re: Should I or shouldn't I - do anything with my Coleman roof
« Reply #4 on: July 31, 2019, 08:05:41 AM »
I'd scrape all the old caulk off, clean it, and then paint it with elastomeric rubber roof paint. It comes in white and can create a nice rubber roof. I did it on a cargo trailer and it worked great.
2003 Roadmaster 24ft Toyhauler


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Re: Should I or shouldn't I - do anything with my Coleman roof
« Reply #5 on: August 20, 2019, 10:49:50 PM »
I did the whole ABS pellets with MEK and coated it with Grizzly Grip truck bed liner a few years ago on our 2000 Coleman Cheyenne.  We had a dozen or so hairline cracks that were 1/2 inch to 1 inch long.  I did as it was advised on some site and drilled a small hole at the top and bottom of the crack and dremel it out so it was a little wider so the ABS mixture had a place to seal.  We replaced the rubber seal on the roof and on the trunk lid.
Positives:  This was not nearly as intimidating a project as it would seem.  I am NOT a DIYer by any means, and my DH does pretty much all the home and car repair work so I am not very experienced with stuff like this.  However, he wasn't able to take the time to help me much except where it needed two people (e.g. putting on the rubber seal) or teaching me to use a tool (e.g. dremel, sander, etc) that I wasn't too familiar with.  The immediate result was wonderful.  I could see the patch jobs under the Grizzly Grip when I looked for them but everything was so clean and white looking overall.  (There had been some bad tree sap stains on it prior to this). 
Negatives:  It was somewhat time consuming with all the steps - the Pop-up was living in our garage the entire fall.  One of the crack repairs on the front trunk lid did not stay, and it was cracked again - 4+ inches long - by the next summer.  It's a crack by the hinge and I am just not sure if there is too much pressure for a repair job. 
Now, a few years later (time flies - maybe 3 years?) we have DOZENS of hairline cracks under the awning rail.  Note, we do not store the awning on the rail but take it off any time we don't have it up when we are camping.  But we DO have a screen Add-a-room that attaches to the awning, so maybe the weight of that is too much any more.  I am honestly not sure what else would be causing the hairline cracks.  Also, we have a new 4 inch vertical crack down one side as well.  I find this pretty frustrating. 
Although I was happy with the initial ABS/MEK job initially, I really don't think I will go to the work of doing it again.  I liked that the repair job was not very obvious, but now I have a much bigger crack to deal with.  I got a Quick Fix patch kit at the local RV store last week, so I think I will try that next. 

One thing to note, our camper is not able to be kept inside.  We have a tarp over the roof but the camper is exposed to temperatures into the 90s in the summer, and this past winter -40 with our lovely Polar Vortex. 

Good luck with whatever you decide.  The Coleman is a great pop-up.  Ours is starting to give us a lot more things to fix these past couple years, but I have to admit it hasn't had the best maintenance and protection the past 20 years.  My brother just got a 2002 that was well taken care of like yours, and is in much better shape.  Moral of that story - do the best you can with keeping up on the maintenance and you've got a great camper!

Arch Hoagland

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Re: Should I or shouldn't I - do anything with my Coleman roof
« Reply #6 on: August 20, 2019, 11:34:13 PM »
Based on dragonflycamper's experience I think I'd just keep caulking it.
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Re: Should I or shouldn't I - do anything with my Coleman roof
« Reply #7 on: August 21, 2019, 07:50:47 AM »
Hi dragonflycamper, and all-

Thank you so very much for detailing your work and experience.  This is very helpful to me.  The silicone caulking the previous owner used definitely keeps the water away from sipping in and leaks.  I have not removed them.  As I said, there are some other hairline cracks I can see that are long - say 10" to 12" and some are smaller cracks as well.  I put Tyvek tapes on them, and it should be waterproof.  I do not want to put any more silicone on the new cracks, but will rub off and reapply silicone over the ones that PO did.  I do plan to keep the camper inside (once I am able to clean my garage :)).  So, I think I should be okay - for now and continue to caulk and monitor my roof closely.

I did an 'extensive' research on what can be applied on the roof and there are SO MANY options and folks have done so many things, that my head started to spin - literally.  Among all, I think the MEK/ABS goo and Grizzly Grip is probably better than any other application.  And, maybe I will do it, or something else, later but not now :).

Again, many thanks to you all and really appreciate you sharing your experience and suggestions.


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Re: Should I or shouldn't I - do anything with my Coleman roof
« Reply #8 on: November 28, 2019, 08:06:51 AM »
Repairing the ABS roof is a good decision. You should repair it. This guy shared a good video on repairing a Coleman roof.


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