The Story of a Roof
As of January 2011 FTCA, formerly Fleetwood Folding Trailers went
out of business. Any reference I have within this article to a
warranty is no longer valid as there is no company in business
to honor it.
Fleetwood Folding Trailers (FFT), which was then selling pop ups under
the brand name Coleman introduced the ABS (plastic) roof in the 1996 model
year. During the early years of introduction the ABS roof was included on
almost all Coleman Pop Ups, including some in the Destiny series. So, if
you are looking at a 1996-1998 Destiny series, check the roof for type.
FFT manufactured the ABS roofs themselves in their Pennsylvania assembly
facility. It was soon found that some roofs began to sag for unknown
reasons. The first thought was that the A/C unit caused it and they had
dealers retrofit the roofs of pop ups equipped with A/C installed units
with a metal bar inside the camper to provide additional support. This bar
was added as a regular item to ALL pop ups manufactured sometime in 1998
and a retrofit kit was made available for all older units. The absence or
presence of a bar in a pop up does not denote a " new" roof.
Currently, if you have a unit that did not come with the bar, FFT is no
longer supplying them free of charge. They are included in an A/C
install kit and are around $175.
They continued having problems and other factors were investigated, such
as exposure to heat. It appeared that pop ups in warmer climates
experienced a greater number of sag cases than cooler climates. FFT tried
different formulations of ABS plastic but roofs continued to sag.
Additionally, the problem appeared more in 12 foot box pop ups than in 10
The final cause (as well as anyone can like us can figure out) is that
roofs manufactured under certain climatic conditions (temperature and
humidity) did not allow the ABS plastic to cure properly. It was these
roofs that eventually sagged. The number I hear thrown about is that 10%
of the ABS roofs manufactured were bad. I think this number is a little
high, but who is to know other than FFT.
Sometime around 1999/2000 Coleman finally stopped making the roofs
themselves and began buying ABS roofs from an outside vendor. At his point
the the sagging problem seems to have lessened to a degree or disappeared.
Now those roofs being supplied by the outside vendor began to exhibit
other problems, which have been chronicled on internet forums.
Delamination: Part of the ABS plastic delaminates from the core of
the roof and a blister forms on the surface.
Bowing of front & back seal: The seal area of the front and
back portion of the roof, where it contacts the box in the down (or travel
position) bows up sufficiently to allow water penetration during driving
in rain. This condition appears to go away after 24 to 48 hours sitting in
the down position. Some believe that the shepherds hook used to push out
the bed end canvas pushes up into the seal during use and bends it out of
shape. At least 2 different styles of seals/gaskets were introduced in an attempt
to correct this problem.
Both of these problems appear to be limited to a small number of roofs.
If you are the original owner of a Coleman pop up defective ABS roof you
have little to worry about. The ABS roof has a lifetime warranty. In 2003
the vendor FFT was buying the roofs from went out of business. At
that point FFT began enforcing the letter of the written warranty. The
roof warranty is detailed on the following table:
||Parts and freight are paid years 3+ of ownership
||Labor after year 2
||Parts and labor are paid years 3+ of ownership
||Shipping after year 2
Excerpts from the written warranties are at the bottom of the page.
Second and subsequent owners do not have the protection of a warranty. In
the past some have reported that FFT seems to be working with these owners
to find a solution. The most common solution that has posted here is that
FFT will supply a new roof to a FFT dealer if the owner will pay shipping
and labor for the installation. They will not ship one to an owner for
self installation. Parts prices for the roof itself have been posted at
between $1,200 and $2,000 with shipping and labor running between $700 and
$900. I have not heard about anyone getting this deal after FFT began
enforcing the warranty.
Starting the 2003 1/2 model year, Coleman is phased out the ABS roof and
replaced it with the new AlumiTite Krystal Kote Composite Roofs for the
GT and GTEs. The AlumiTite Krystal Kote Composite Roof didn't
last long either, and has been replaced as well.
Now, I get a lot of e-mails from folks asking about "fixing"
their roof. I'm sorry to say, if you have a severe sag or your sides
are bowing out fixing it may be out of the question. But, if you
have a few small cracks you may be able to take care of it yourself.
First of all, should you attempt to do this remember, you decided to do
it and you are on your own. I do not guarantee anything. It's
up to you. Secondly, the repair should be done in a well ventilated
area. The things you are going to be working with PVC/ABS glue and MEK are
toxic solvents and are probably not real good for your lungs. As always,
wear clothing to protect your skin and safety glasses/goggles.
The best ABS crack repair you can do is with MEK (MethylEthylKetone)
and ABS powder or chips. MEK can be found at most hardware stores as
PVC/ABS glue, and it will melt ABS plastic given sufficient time. While
ABS plastic can usually be found at hardware/home improvement store store
in the PVC area, it is usually black. You could also stop by a FFT dealer
as they may have damaged roof and wall panels lying out back that they may
give you a piece of.
1. Drill the end(s) of any cracks to reduce the stress and keep it from
cracking further. It doesn't have to be a big hole, just sufficient size
to round out the end of the crack and stop the stress at the
"pointy" end of the crack.
2. Rough up the ABS around the crack and clean it with ABS/PVC cleaning
3. Grind up the ABS plastic you have by whatever method you may have ,
the smaller the better. Mix about equal parts MEK and the ABS you ground
up in a glass jar (with a lid). Let this mixture sit for a few minutes ,
then open the jar and stir the mixture. Repeat until you have a
"slurry" or "goo" of melted ABS plastic.
4. You can now use the slurry of ABS to fill the cracks with. This
slurry should have sufficient MEK in it to melt your slurry to the roof,
sealing the cracks. Work quickly as it dries quickly. Also, be careful
about letting the slurry or ABS/PVC cleaning solvent drip/run down the
side of the roof as it can melt/stain the good areas of your roof.
Now, a commercial ABS repair kit is available from "The
Electrical Connection". I have never done business with
this company, it's not my uncle and I don't get anything out of it.
I'm just passing along information someone gave me.