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Author Topic: Structural support worries/questions; 2006 Rockwood RLT8314SS  (Read 2575 times)


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I posted this on the Forest River Forums. The fact that my Rockwood is a Forest River product, and, there is a Rockwood sub-forum over there, it made sense (to me, anyway) to first seek my answers there. I have not received a single reply at the time of this posting. Probably, when folks open up my post/thread, and see how darn long it is, they shake their heads after the first couple sentences & drop it like a hot tater! It's not exactly what I would consider a "hot topic".

Therefore, I am now posting my question/concern/paranoid obsession here, in hopes of getting some solid/positive feedback, to help me cope with my obsessive worry over this issue...if it can even be considered an issue. FWIW, I was at the trailer yesterday, getting it ready to move to my full-time location in the next week or so, and started to look at it even closer than when I first inspected it, before purchase.

I discovered it has Torsion axles, instead of springs, and that's a huge plus in my book! I popped the AC vent cover off inside, and pried back the inner flaps to expose as much of the inner ceiling/roof as possible. i was able to see some aluminum supports, but the view was so limited, it really wasn't revealing enough to determine how far the support extended.

I'm still trying to grasp the idea that that there are no support rafters inside the laminated roof  :o  There just HAS to be! I was able to barely make out a support here & there inside the exterior walls, but, not every so many inches, just near the doors...but, my main concern is the roof, more than anything. Below is the original post from the FR forum. If anyone can enlighten me, and help ease my paranoid OCD...it will be a TREMENDOUS relief. Maybe I should be on medication... :-\ ??? :o ;D

I purchased a 2006 Rockwood RLT8314SS recently, which a few on the forum already know. It has the aluminum frame/fiberglass exterior, which was a must-have for me. Now, I'm starting to worry & I'm on the verge of a mini-freak-out, of a sort. Here is my issue;

I was reading in one of the sub forums, and discovered that my trailer has virtually no inside wall supports, basically the walls are framed with aluminum, but, the rest is laminated materials. I mistakenly thought the walls had aluminum studs throughout. Now, whether or not this is a potential problem, I have no idea. The walls seem strong & solid, but, I now worry about De-lamination over time.

My BIGGEST worry, though, is the roof! Someone posted that there are no rafters! How can this be? When I was up on the roof, sealing the seams, etc., I could plainly see, or so I thought, where the aluminum support studs, rafters, whatever, ran across the roof, one side to the other (right to left) and aprox. 16 to 20 inches between each.

I mean, when I stepped between them, there was some flex in the roof, albeit ever so slight, but, when I stepped where I could make out where each support was, it was more solid, zero give...so I made sure to try & step on the supports instead of between.

Was I mistaken...are there no rafters/supports in the roof? That would make it one solid, laminated piece, surrounded by an aluminum frame. HOW would one perform any type of repairs should part of the roof need to be replaced for whatever reason? Same goes for the walls?

I can plainly see the aluminum supports in the floor, from inside the storage compartment, and I really like the way it's built, from that aspect. The trailer sure feels solid, but, with my tendency to over-think things, (basically I'm OCD when it comes to things like this, it's a curse) I have been nearly non-stop worrying about it now. All sorts of what-if scenarios keep playing in my mind. It's causing me to have regrets about purchasing my Rockwood, and I haven't even begun to live in it yet!!

Will somebody PLEASE help me out here. I have searched online until I literally fell asleep at the keyboard. I can't find any actual info/photos showing the construction process of the 2006 Rockwood's...or ANY Rockwood's, for that matter. I need some reassurance from people with more knowledge & experience than myself. My joy has turned into shades of doubt...not what I expected. If I can at least confirm that the roof has aluminum support rafters throughout, THAT alone will change my mood for the better. My apologies if I come off as a total goofball...

There it is, folks. Who here will take the Rockwood plunge & edjimicate me on Rockwood structural design? And, PLEASE, don't misunderstand the underlying tone of my post...In NO WAY am attempting to imply that the Rockwood brand is inferior, or flawed, etc. Not one bit!  I'm simply trying to grasp the concept of total lamination, where no cross-member structure/supports are utilized in the roof, and to a lesser extent, the walls. I think, for ultimate POM, I will have to contact a rep directly from Forest River, and get the scoop straight from the horses mouth, as the old saying goes.

Regardless, I am STILL very happy with my Rockwood, and hope that happiness continues to grow once I begin my full-time lifestyle, now less than three weeks left to go, and counting :)

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Structural support worries/questions; 2006 Rockwood RLT8314SS
« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2013, 07:26:37 AM »
I don't know the specifics of your Rockwood's construction, but let me give you some generalities about how this sort of RV is built. I think you are over-reacting to what were likely some casual statements about construction differences between RVs and site-built houses.

"Rafters" would be an over-statement. "Rafters" conjures up the notion of 2x6" rigid beams spaced every 16"-24" and it is true there is nothing like that. However, I feel confident there are some cross-members that stiffen the roof and provide a place to screw and/or glue the roof substrate down, probably spaced 36-48" apart and consisting of light metal U-channel or perhaps slightly arched wooden bows. They are probably on the order of 1.5"x2".  You yourself said you can feel a slight difference as you move around. That is normal.

Likewise, the walls will have some internal structure, but they won't be "studs" in the sense that a stick-house has vertical wall supports every 16". RV construction puts internal bracing or spacers only where needed, e.g. around window openings, in places where cabinets will be hung,  or as spacers in the middle of wide spaces with no openings. The entire sidewall is built as a single unit, with the wall material sandwiched in layers (laminated) that are glued together and then bonded to the frame members. This makes the entire wall one solid "structure", where the whole is stronger than any of its parts. The wall is built separately and then installed on the RV as a unit.
Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL


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Re: Structural support worries/questions; 2006 Rockwood RLT8314SS
« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2013, 09:37:50 AM »
Section seven of the owners manual says if you have a roof ladder the roof has been reinforced to walk on. If not you must use boards or other weight dist. device to be on roof. ALL rvs must meet minimum standards which include minimum roof strength's. You are worrying over  nothing. I have seen rockwoods with 6-8 inches of snow on them in Tahoe and they did not collapse. Enjoy your rv, that what they are for.

Wayne and Donna
2007 dodge diesel 6 speed
2013 Sanibel 3500
3000 si Honda
and Moab the mutt

driftless shifter

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Re: Structural support worries/questions; 2006 Rockwood RLT8314SS
« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2013, 10:03:21 AM »
Think about a surf board, a laminate construction. They are pretty hard to break. Unsinkable fiberglass boats are laminate construction too. S&B housing has started using laminated side walls. There are even engineered structural I beams made with wood chip lamination.

I have been accused of thinking too much by my family myself.

Bill & Nan
93 bounder 34, chevy chassis
couple of aircooled vw's, 1 fast(sold), 1 reliable(sold).  Dubless : (
USN '76-'80, 1 boat, USS Blandy, DD 943.
I'm an analog guy in a digital age.


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Re: Structural support worries/questions; 2006 Rockwood RLT8314SS
« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2013, 01:33:31 PM »
THANK YOU! to all. After reading these three replies, my mind is at ease. Wow, what a relief!  :) :) :)