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AndyShane

Atwood Exterior Panel Takes Flight En Route

6 posts in this topic

During a safety check yesterday, I was shocked to see a hole in the side of my coach revealing my front furnace blower and circuit board. And, the rear furnace cover was hanging by two screws.

To make a long story short, I'd serviced both in the dwindling daylight the day before, carefully reattached.

What I failed to notice, was that the black plastic frames beneath each cover had become brittle and cracked. When I seated the screws, the plastic lugs beneath became were cracked and jiggled loose underway.

Owners are cautioned to check these frames periodically. This is a 7 year old rig, stored indoors!

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Andy,

On this same subject. If you can safely get on your roof, check your AC covers. I found mine were beginning to have stress cracks around the screws. I was able to put large fender washers on each screw (to have more surface area covered) and have checked several times and have not found any more cracks.

Sorry that you lost your cover. I have lost covers in the past and when I got the repacements there was a frame with the cover. Hope you can get covered again.

Happy Thanksgiving

Herman

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Thanks, Herman

That's a great idea for all of us. Mine have big stainless fenders, I didn't understand the significance of them, at first.

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Both of the Atwood subframes are on the rig. Some pointers:

  1. Use a heat gun gently to soften the putty when removing the old frames. Six of the screws go through bent-over tabs that must be straightened before the old frame can be removed.
  2. Clean the old putty away from the frame, stretch new putty tape to thin it, work the putty inward against the furnace cabinet edge, apply heat as needed.
  3. Insert new frame while putty is still warm, gently heat the frame to soften putty and push firmly to set the frame against the coach.
  4. Lightly set the screws in place, at first without engaging/bending the tabs. By warming the frame and tightening the screws in stages, the plastic frame is less likely to crack anew.
  5. When satisfied with frame security, check cover alignment.
  6. Remove tab-position screws and bend tabs snugly, re-insert screws through tabs.
  7. Seal the lower edge and tab elbows with silicone.
  8. Warm each lug in succession with a heat gun, slowly tighten a heated screw into each to "train" the lug to threads.
  9. Using a plastic putty knife, cut away all exposed putty.
  10. Mark frames with installation date, a reminder to install new frames in five years.
  11. Gently tighten screws with cover in place.

I found a tough plastic putty knife helpful, another that I chopped an inch off the blade to make it stronger, for scraping. Black window silicone seal is a good choice to do the waterproofing, along the bottom edge. A pick or small nail helps, to locate screw holes through putty.

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Andy,

Did you have to replace the frames? I lost the cover on our first MH and my son found it on the road where it had come off. I was able to fix it, tire marks, and put it back on. When we lost one on our second coach I had to replace the cover but not the frame. I took another panel to my local auto painter and he matched the color on the new panel. I wonder why they put the panels on with the spring loaded tab. It must be to sell replacement panels. I can think of many better ways of securing the panels.

On the subject of heat guns. I spoke with the owner of Extreme Grahics in Shawnee, OK at the Six-State Rally. James told me not to use a heat gun but to use steam. He said that a heat gun if held in one spot too long the heat will just continue to rise and could damage the paint surface. Where the most the steam will every get is 212 degrees and be around 200 when is hits the surface. Jame gave me the advice when I asked about removing the wonderful 3M Diamond Shield.

Merry Christmas

Herman

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Super advice, Herman. Anyone who uses a heat gun must understand it has the capability of doing damage. Steam is probably better for those who aren't good with "the gun."

Yes, all plastic deteriorates. I cannot imagine the injection-mold subframe lasting much longer than the customary 5-8 years. Owners should consider this a safety alert. Get up close to your frames and look for signs they're coming apart. That steel cover could do some serious damage, cartwheeling through traffic. 'Best not to write our names inside them... :rolleyes:

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