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Old 08-18-2022, 04:46 PM   #1
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View 19D Flexible Solar Panel Replacement

19D View, I'm planning to remove the flexible solar panels on the roof of my view since it's been discovered that they will in a short period of time damage the roof. For those who have done this I'm curious as to what various methods have been used to patch the screw holes left in the roof.
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Old 08-19-2022, 05:48 AM   #2
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I replaced mine two years ago and yes, there is some surface roof damage. Hairline cracks, in the gel coat, but no leaks.

I put the screws back in and used Dicor to seal them. Worked fine.
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Old 08-19-2022, 07:02 AM   #3
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At the risk of sending 67Tiger’s question off on another direction, is the community convinced that these hairline cracks in the top coat surface are a long term problem?



I recently did some roof work on our 21J View, and had to remove a fair amount of the Winnebago black self leveling sealant. That black sealant gets hotter than blazes in the summer sun. When removed, it revealed hairline cracks in the top coat, similar to what I have seen reported online with the flex panels. From what I could tell, the effect on the fiberglass roof was the same. This tells me that underneath all that black self leveling sealant on our roof will likely be a top coat surface with hairline cracks – similar to what is likely underneath our two solar flex panels.


As interested as I am in taking care of our motorhome, I’m not looking for a bunch of roof work. Does anyone have any firsthand experience that says these hairline cracks will eventually develop into cracks affecting the roof structure? Apologies if this is common RV / boating knowledge that I have missed.


What do Winnebago roofs have – a gel coat or a clear coat?


Thanks for the help, Cheers.
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Old 08-19-2022, 09:19 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Ontario Don View Post
What do Winnebago roofs have – a gel coat or a clear coat?
Neither, in the traditional sense of an applied coating. Winnebago motorhomes have Filon roofs, a one-piece, manufactured product:

https://cranecomposites.com/cci-rv/f...v-roof-panels/

Here's what one company had to say (Part 1 and Part 2). Note, I'm not recommending their views one way or the other, I just found it via Google:

https://santaclaritamagazine.com/201...ttle-secret-2/

https://santaclaritamagazine.com/201...et-part-two-2/
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Old 08-19-2022, 09:41 AM   #5
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Bob C - Thanks for this.

Not sure what to think now; this company believes it will eventually affect the lower fiberglass if moisture is allowed to penetrate. For the case of the “checking” under the Winnebago sealant, it might not be an issue if the sealant’s protection holds firm… ?

For the case of the “checking” being left to the elements without protection, has anyone experienced fiberglass damage due to leaving these hairline cracks as is?

Thanks,
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Old 08-19-2022, 01:07 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Ontario Don View Post
Bob C - Thanks for this.

Not sure what to think now; this company believes it will eventually affect the lower fiberglass if moisture is allowed to penetrate. For the case of the “checking” under the Winnebago sealant, it might not be an issue if the sealant’s protection holds firm… ?

For the case of the “checking” being left to the elements without protection, has anyone experienced fiberglass damage due to leaving these hairline cracks as is?

Thanks,
Personally, I haven't had a problem with my 2002, even though I have some crazing and hairline cracks. You just need to be on the lookout for actual cracks. Actual cracks can be felt as you run your finger across them with light pressure as one side depresses more than the other. And, you're correct in thinking that checking and hairline cracks under a sealed fixture are not problematical.
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Old 08-19-2022, 01:26 PM   #7
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Thanks for all of the information.

Cheers,
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Old 08-19-2022, 04:28 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by 67Tiger View Post
For those who have done this I'm curious as to what various methods have been used to patch the screw holes left in the roof.
Personally, I'd use Winnebago's recommended sealant, 131264-03-CHT, which cross-references to Nuco 311, aka Nuflex 311, which is available from several online suppliers. I'd coat the screws and reinstall them to fill the holes, covering them with a coating of 311. Alternatively you can cover the screws with Eternabond tape. This is Winnebago's "sealant callout sheet" for your MH:

https://www.winnebago.com/Files/File.../000041596.pdf

And this is Winnebago's service tips on sealants:

https://www.winnebago.com/Files/File...t%20Sheets.pdf

Here are sources for Nuco 311:

https://www.google.com/search?q=nuco...client=gws-wiz

Many, if not most, RV owners think that Dicor is the only (or best sealant) and they use it for everything. It is, however formulated for rubber, not fiberglass roofs and is not the best product for Winnebago's fiberglass roofs:



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Old 08-20-2022, 05:49 AM   #9
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Filon is a trade name for a specific fiberglass product. As Crane Composites points out, it is their blend of a fiberglass resin. It also has a gel coat surface which Crane says is dent and scratch resistant.

On my roof, the cracks are definitely in the gel coat, as a result of the high temps that occur underneath the flexible solar panels. These surface cracks do not affect the underlying fiberglass structure, only the gel coat. The same cracking occurs on sidewall panels that are painted a dark color and get very hot in the sun. My previous Monaco motorhome had the same cracking in areas that were painted black.

Some of the original Winnebago sealants are silicone based. As such, as the video points out, nothing will stick to silicone except more silicone. I have been using Dicor for 20+ years on fiberglass, aluminum, and TPM roofs, all without issue. It is easy to apply, lasts a long time, and is easily removed, if need be.

If you are concerned about the surface cracks, you can use a roll on elastomeric roof coating, but that can lead to other long-term maintenance issues.
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Old 08-20-2022, 06:42 AM   #10
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1. Use Dicor if you want, but why not use what Winnebago recommends? Note that Winnebago does use Dicor on the rubber roofs of its towables but not on its Filon roofs. If you do use Dicor, remember it has little adhesive strength and isn't formulated for use between a fixture and the roof.

2. I had fiberglass sailboats for years and they all had stress cracks and/or crazing in spots and they were only cosmetic. The same is true of my 2002 Itasca.

3. I agree with barney on elastomeric and other roof coatings and would never use one personally.

4. If you find that you absolutely want to do something to protect the crazing and surface cracks, I recommend a good quality marine "topside" paint formulated for fiberglass. There are one and two part polyurethane based. In my opinion the two part paints are overkill for an RV roof:

https://www.totalboat.com/topside-painting/

As with all coatings, proper preparation is key, removing all traces of wax, etc. You don't want to find your new paint peeling off.
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Old 08-24-2022, 06:03 PM   #11
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19D Solar Panel Replacement

I replaced mine two years ago. Yes, there was some surface cracking in the gelcoat. I used a fiberglass resin to seal the holes then topped them with some gelcoat paint that I had left over from my boat. So far, so good.
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Old 08-24-2022, 06:07 PM   #12
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I replaced mine two years ago. Yes, there was some surface cracking in the gelcoat. I used a fiberglass resin to seal the holes then topped them with some gelcoat paint that I had left over from my boat. So far, so good.
Good idea. And since no one really sees it, spot painting is fine, easier and cheaper.
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Old 08-24-2022, 07:17 PM   #13
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I am not only keeping my two 100w flexible panels, I added a third. Those three panels weigh about the same as one 100w rigid panel. The CCC of my Navion 24V is low enough that every pound counts, which is one reason I have lithium batteries. I don't expect anything worse on the roof than on my fiberglass sailboat that sat outside on its trailer for the entire 20 years I owned it. The fiberglass never had any cracks, just hairline checking. Before I sold it, I replaced some wood pieces and refinished it the same way HFA did. I am 77, so there is no way I will have the Navion as long as I had that boat!
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Old 08-25-2022, 07:54 AM   #14
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I understand what you are saying concerning weight. The flexible solar panels weigh less than the rigid panels, and weight is always a concern. However if you want to continue to use your flexible panels I would strongly suggest removing them and remounting them to allow for space between them and the roof. In addition to crazing and discoloration the filon roof can delaminate, and if that happens you have a real problem. The solar panels generate a lot of heat and a serious problem being directly on the roof. In addition moisture gets underneath the panel causing the moisture to boil. Not good situations happening to the roof. This happened to my roof, causing roof replacement. There are a number of ways to mount the flexible panels so they are not directly on the roof. Just so a search on YouTube. Again , strongly recommend remounting your panels
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Old 08-25-2022, 10:23 AM   #15
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Interesting, but from my boat experience and electrical engineer Tom Morton's ( "Mortons on the Move") example, I think i will just keep my system as built by Winnebago. Tom Morton not only covered the entire roof of his fifth wheel with self-adhesive, flexible panels, he added more to the slope of the fiberglass front cap. He now generates enough excess solar power to charge his electric car.
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Old 08-25-2022, 02:52 PM   #16
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It’s your roof, do what you want. But I would never leave flat panels directly on the roof knowing the damage they will cause. Winnebago no longer uses this method to install solar panels because of this damage. And since there are easy ways to mount these flexible panels so no damage will occur, that’s what I would do…
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Old 08-25-2022, 05:17 PM   #17
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Winnebago must have changed the mounting method only on the 2023 View and Navion. The roof photo of the 2022 View 24J on the Lichtsinn website is identical, even to the exact location of the two flexible panels, to those on my 2020 Navion 24V. Perhaps they changed the mountings on other Winnebago Class C or Class B+ motorhomes with the filon foof, but they didn't change those on the View-Navion between 2020 and 2022.
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