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Old 06-23-2016, 10:58 AM   #1
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40U topper repair

As toppers age they become an issue to contend with. Well, ours reached that point this week. The stitching had rotted and the seams came apart. Because the material was still serviceable we decided to repair them. The following pictures are a step by step of what we did. To be honest, this is not the best repair but it was what we could afford at this time. We used Heminway & Bartlett Thread, V-69 from these folks: https://www.sailmakerssupply.com/pro...ad-and-needles

Having two people on 8' ladders is advisable. I did most of this alone but I did have some help on occasion from my wife during the reinstall process.

One oz of thread is more than enough. This thread is a bit lighter than the original topper thread. Also, the topper material didn't stitch as neatly as we had hoped on my wife's machine. This same thread worked great on upholstery vinyl when she was testing it. This will be a long post of pictures and explanations.

The topper cover divider mount is found on the 15' topper. Remove the cotter pin and pull this piece straight out. (I removed all of my covers back when. They simply are useless.)

It is best to use 3" cotter pins to pin the roller spring. I used the channel locks to roll the topper back and then slipped the cotter pin through the pin hole. Make certain that the cotter goes through the roller. The spring tension is strong enough to bend the end of the cotter and jam it. I found out the hard way.

Once the spring is pinned securely, remove the screw in the center of the opposite end of the roller. Lift this end out and toward the slide roof. Pull the roller away from the spring end and it will release from its mounting. (If the roller won't clear the end-cap loosen the three smaller cap screws.)

From the roof remove the two small Philips screws from the topper ends securing it to the track. Bring the roller & fabric to the coach roof and slide the roller off the material. Slide the material out of the channel. (I spread the channel ends a bit to help with reinstalling.) On the right side of the coach you may have to slide the material to the rear to help keep the roller on the roof during disassembly and reinstall.

Once the toppers are off remove all of the old thread from the three bad sides. The roller end seems not to deteriorate because it is protected under the material. Wash the toppers.

Note: This is a good time to check the caulking of the slide roofs.

Reverse the procedure for reinstalling the repaired toppers. Roll the topper tight on the roller and then back it off enough to slide the spring end into place. A vane on the end cap catches a wing on the spring assembly. Once the far end is screwed back together you can use the channel locks on the spring end to relieve the pressure on the cotter to remove it.

I have included pictures of my slide locks.
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Old 06-23-2016, 08:05 PM   #2
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Very nice write up. Thanks for documenting this so well. I
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Old 06-25-2016, 03:31 AM   #3
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Very nice job. We had to repair our stitched end seams on the road. They came loose, and interfered with the topper rolling back when severe side winds would billow the toppers a bit.


Our method, dictated by necessity was one man in a casino parking lot, on a ladder, in the wind, with rubber cement and masking tape.


I pulled what loose threads I could, cleaned the inside seam area with rubbing alcohol, coated both sides with rubber cement, once tacky, pressed the end seams together, using masking tape to cover the thread holes to keep cement from seeping through, and to help secure the folded open edge. Reached in as far as I could where the topper rolled up, wasn't perfect, but worked.


Once all was glued up, I retracted the slide allowing the topper to roll tight, and set that night, as we camped in the lot. Next day, we travelled on to our next campsite, extended the slides, all seemed good.


Over the next several months, the masking tape gradually came loose on its own, I removed a few remaining pieces about 6 months later. Its been about a year, the end seams are still holding, the rubber cement holding and remains flexible enough to roll up with the topper.


I will need to replace the largest topper later this year, because of gradual stretching from rain ponding and wind action. But the end seams are holding.
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Old 06-26-2016, 09:19 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Journey39n View Post
Very nice job. We had to repair our stitched end seams on the road. They came loose, and interfered with the topper rolling back when severe side winds would billow the toppers a bit.


Our method, dictated by necessity was one man in a casino parking lot, on a ladder, in the wind, with rubber cement and masking tape.


I pulled what loose threads I could, cleaned the inside seam area with rubbing alcohol, coated both sides with rubber cement, once tacky, pressed the end seams together, using masking tape to cover the thread holes to keep cement from seeping through, and to help secure the folded open edge. Reached in as far as I could where the topper rolled up, wasn't perfect, but worked.


Once all was glued up, I retracted the slide allowing the topper to roll tight, and set that night, as we camped in the lot. Next day, we travelled on to our next campsite, extended the slides, all seemed good.


Over the next several months, the masking tape gradually came loose on its own, I removed a few remaining pieces about 6 months later. Its been about a year, the end seams are still holding, the rubber cement holding and remains flexible enough to roll up with the topper.


I will need to replace the largest topper later this year, because of gradual stretching from rain ponding and wind action. But the end seams are holding.
Good on the fly fix. We do what we must when on the road. We happen to be at our base camp which made this a bit easier to manage. I need to find a good source and a good durable material, when the time comes, to replace mine.

If your material is still reasonably good, and if you have enough on the roller end, you could have the bad cut off and resewn. Or do it yourself as we did. We did not shorten the toppers though. You need to keep things square and straight if you do that type of fix.

How much sag do you have? If the toppers are still functional you could simply reinstall them. On the roller there are 2 channels for the topper material to go into. Pin the roller, remove it, slide it off the material and slip it back on in the other channel. Re roll and re install. It should be tighter.

Rick Y
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Old 06-27-2016, 06:49 PM   #5
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on my largest topper, perhaps 17' wide, it sags a little in the front, tight in the middle, and sags noticeably in the rear. I can tighten it up manually by grabbing the roller, but it appears like either the roller isn't winding enough at the rear side, or the fabric is stretched too much.


All is still quite serviceable. When first extending the slide, the front side sags an inch or so, but the rear side is nearly touching the roof surface of the slide.


But with some winds, the roller does take up the slack most of the time, with perhaps a 2" sag left at the rear side.


Will see about some fabric options, then get around to fixing it further.
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Old 06-28-2016, 09:40 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Journey39n View Post
on my largest topper, perhaps 17' wide, it sags a little in the front, tight in the middle, and sags noticeably in the rear. I can tighten it up manually by grabbing the roller, but it appears like either the roller isn't winding enough at the rear side, or the fabric is stretched too much.


All is still quite serviceable. When first extending the slide, the front side sags an inch or so, but the rear side is nearly touching the roof surface of the slide.


But with some winds, the roller does take up the slack most of the time, with perhaps a 2" sag left at the rear side.


Will see about some fabric options, then get around to fixing it further.
Mine was doing much of what you describe. Being a 2010, I am suspect of your stitching. Knowing what I know now, if I were you, I would remove the topper, closely inspect, and clean it. Inspecting includes trying to pull the roof mounting seam apart. If the stitching is good you won't be able to. With 2 people it is a very doable chore.

A note about the topper roll trim covers, if you have them. Along the lower edge of each cover you will see a small, about 1" long, bright strip. At the center of the slide you will see a seam between the covers. There are spring loaded pins here and at the 1" latch. If the latch spring is frozen it makes getting the cover off a bit of a challenge. Try a little CRC with PTFE spray at the latch. Do both sides of the latch. It is not easy because there is little room. Firmly tap the latch left and right to get it to move and to determine the correct direction for releasing. You will need something to use as a drift to do this. (The CRC won't damage the topper material.)

Once the latch is freed, remove the 2 cover screws on the end cap. To make removal a bit easier loosen the other screws. (On the end with a center screw of a larger size: this is your roller bearing screw. It is the opposite end of the spring.) Have your helper slide the spring latch back and you lift the cover out of the end cap. You may have to tug a bit to free it from the center mounting. Repeat for the other side.

One other tip. Once the covers are off, the mounting bracket and the roller are sort of integrated. The roller needs to be freed from the non-spring end in order to get the bracket to come all the way out. Remember this when putting things back together.

I look forward to what you decide to do.

Rick Y
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Old 06-28-2016, 11:58 PM   #7
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Rick,
Nice job. Well, guess what, ours is an '04 Itasca Horizon 36GD with the C-7 330HP CAT and, while finishing up a hydraulic ram repair, the wife and I were talking and she looked up and at the top of the bedroom slide and asked: "Isn't there supposed to be a slide topper on that slide"? I looked up and said: "Yep, wonder where the h... it is????"

So, I got out the ladder and climbed up. Well, what happened was ALL THE STITCHING gave way and, the topper just rolled up on the tube, like one of those old paper rolls on a player piano. So, I too had to get up there and figure things out. I stepped down and hit the computer for youtube to see it it would show what's what. It did but, the repairs and type of slide topper details were just like yours. Mine is a Carefree and a bit different. I won't go into the details of the mechanized part but, suffice to say, I too had to remove the material and re-sew it. Our material on all the toppers, and all the automatic awnings is Sunbrella.

The material, for actually 12 years old, is actually in perfect shape. It was just the threads that gave way. So, I had some V-92 that I used on building some new boat flooring a few months back. The original stitches are 8MM and are of more heavy duty thread than the V-69, as you found out but, it's what I had.

I sewed it all back up and re-installed it. All is good. But, because the thread on that one had failed, I decided to look at the big galley slide topper. Well, it too was failing, about 18" on each end had unraveled. Crap!! Well, out came that one and, hit the sewing machine again. I'm just about out of V-92 now. Time to order up some. I get all my sewing materials from a company called Sailrite. I got my walking foot sewing machine from them too.

Anyway, seems the old threads on these toppers are contagious.
Scott
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