Satellite roof mount

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Tom

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These questions - for folks who have roof mounted their DW dish - are a parallel discussion to the one on Sat cable feeds.

I now have my Neary roof mount and I'm getting ready for the dreaded drilling of holes  :'(  The roof of the coach is fiberglass and beneath it is IIRC wood between the cross members of the cage. However, the firberglass is not bonded to the wood, so it flexes a little when walked upon. I assume I need to screw into both the fiberglass and the underlying wood (?) Should I try to screw into a metal cross member? (The baseplate of the roof mount won't reach across two cross members). Should I have a larger plate welded to the bottom of the mount to spread the load &/or to be able to attach to a couple of cross members?

TIA
 

Smoky

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Tom:

I guess it would depend a lot on the thickness of your fiberglass.

I had exactly the same worries you had.  When I called Newmar, they said my one piece roof would handle just about any type of dish I would want to mount, without the need to screw into the aluminum studding.  They did not just hint at this but really went out on a limb praising the strength of the roof.

Ron and I did luck out and a couple of the screw bit into aluminum studding, but just on one side.  After 6 months of reality testing, no problems at all.  In fact tomorrow I am attaching a Yaesu HF ham vertical to the same mounting plate.

It all boils down to the structure of your roof.  Why not a call to Monaco and get their take on this?
 

Rex

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Hi Tom:

You didn't say what brand of coach you have, so the following may not be of any help.  If the frame under the fiberglass, wood, etc., of your roof is steel (call the manufacturer to find out) then get a VERY STRONG magnet and use that to find the cross members in the roof structure.  If you find them, you will have a much better area to anchor into than just the roof itself. 

Next is how are you going to get the cabling inside without it showing on your ceiling.  Well, check out the air conditioning ducts in your ceiling.  If one is directly under the dish, you may be in luck.  In the Bounder I installed a Dome system on, the air duct ran right to the front of the coach.  All I had to do is make sure I the hole in the roof was above the duct.  I ran the cable inside the duct to the front and to the equipment cabinet.  Use Duct Seal available at Lowe's and Home Depot in the electrical departments to seal the holes.  Also use rubber roof caulking on the top side of the roof.

Good luck,

Rex
 

Rex

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Tom, after doing more reading on different threads on this board, I see you have a Monaco, and that they have sent you the frame cage information so you will know where to mount the dish.  The Monaco frame is aluminum, so my suggestion of using a strong magnet will not work.  Using the air ducts will still be a possibility.

Rex
 

Smoky

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Tom has one of the higher level Monaco diesel pushers.  I believe with a three piece fiberglass roof, but not sure if it is 3 piece or 1 piece.
 

Smoky

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Rex:

Ahh, so aluminum framing.  That is what I was faced with.  Like Tom, I was sent a diagram of the roof studding.  We were able to hit one of the studs, but the plate was too narrow for more than one stud.  I did not have to drill a hole in the roof other than the screws.  My coach was built with satellite input and outputs at the utility bay (special order).  So all I do when I put my sat dish up and aim it is toss up the cables from the outside and plug them into the utility bay.  Might not be very elegant, but saved all that routing hassle.
 

Tom

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Thanks Smoky. I previously called Monaco and they suggested I hit at least one of the cros members, preferably more. But, as you know, the base plate isn't long enough to straddle two cross members, which is why I wondered if I should get a larger base plate welded on.
 

Tom

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Thanks Rex. I don't think the cabling is going to be an issue after the prior discussion. My main concern is the small size of the base plate on the antenna mount.
 

Ron

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Well Tom we have had the same roof mount for more than three years now and it has not given us any problem.  When we mounted it we were only able to hit one rafter.  On the Eagle there is plywood under the Fiberglas.  I had also checked with American Coach with a sketch and dimensions of the base of the mount. They sent a drawing of the roof and said it would be better if we his at least one cross beam or rafter.  I don't think there would be a problem on the Monaco.
 

Tom

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Thanks Ron. I think that hitting one cross member is a good idea. For the other screws, did you screw all the way through the fiberglass and into the wood below, or just into the fiberglass as Smoky described on his coach?
 

Jeff

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Tom:

I got my card (and roof) punched yesterday with the help of Terry B and Ron R. On my roof the cross members were defined in the fiberglass and fairly easy to see.

National DID reccommend tying the front edge of the mount to a cross member. Worked first time and hasn't leaked yet!

(Yuma weather is still severe clear. 8) 8))
 

Tom

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Congrats Jeff. Keep an eye on it because Yuma's severe clear weather will continue for the forseeable future.
 

Ron

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We used 1 inch maybe 1 1/4 inch long screws on mine and Smoky's as I recall. 

Also put sealant on the surface where the mount and roof meet even in the center area.  Jeff used Butal Tape but accomplishes same thing.  Then caulk around the edge and around the screw heads.

 

caltex

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Tom, if you can get only one rafter, Jeff's idea of catching the front mount of the antenna on that rafter will lessen the "peel back" leverage when Chris is hitting 70 MPH.
 

Smoky

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Tom:

I did not mean to imply we only used fiberglass.  Newmar said that would work, but we used screws long enough to go deeper into the substructure.  We also used that 3M marine sealant.  I have to look up what it is but it is that real heavy duty stuff.  You have to be very very careful as it attaches to anything that touches it and it can get very messy if you do not pay attention.  But when it hardens it is like steel.  I was acquainted with it from boating repairs.
 

Tom

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I did not mean to imply we only used fiberglass.

Well, that's how your prior message reads Smoky, except of course the cross-member you lucked into  :(

We also used that 3M marine sealant.

That's silicone, which is what Ron keeps telling me not to use  ???

 

Tom

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Today I found the Dicor self-levelling sealant that Terry mentioned - found it at a small RV repair place approx 10 miles from here. The parts guy initially tried to sell me something else, saying "that's what we always use". When I asked about the Dicor, he kept referring me to the other stuff. Since there was only one tube of the other stuff on the shelf, I sent him off to find more. He returned asking "do you have a rubber roof?" and, when I said no, it's fiberglass, he said "you need to use Dicor".

Earlier I'd bought some Dap brand acrylic sealant, in case I didn't find the self-levelling stuff.

The mount and dish are on the roof of the coach but, since it's going to freeze tonight, I held off applying any sealant this afternoon and hope we'll get high enough daytime temperatures tomorrow. It's been mid 70's consistently since we got home, with no sign of a breeze. Last night we had high winds and temps started to drop today and will be mid 50's for several days - brrr. Snow level will be down to 1,000 feet. No chance of snow here though - we're at the grand elevation of 5 feet. (The house is probably closer to 15 feet).
 
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