Steve - Here's another point of view... A few months ago I accidentally side-swiped a tree trying to maneuver down a very narrow, winding state park road, and pulled off the rear passenger side slide topper. It was quite surgically done - considering that a tree did it. The topper assembly was pulled completely off, with no other damage to the RV (a 2013 Tiffin Phaeton). We still had several weeks left on our current trip, so I assumed I'd get it repaired when we returned home - and in the meantime, we'd just put up with it.
What I learned - I don't think I'll get it replaced. My reasons:
- We've had no rain or leakage of any kind coming in thru that slide, despite the missing topper.
- I have always inspected the roof of the RV before pulling in slides - especially if we've spent time in a wooded/windy area. I've gotten into the habit of simply brushing anything I find off of the slide toppers with a long broom - takes about 2 extra minutes. So having to brush off the top of the exposed slide is really nothing new to me.
- With the topper gone, I no longer have to worry about puddles of water forming in the low point of the canvas slide topper. As you probably know, those puddles can cause the topper to not roll up properly when pulling the slide in. Also, if you camp in the winter (which we do) those puddles do freeze at night and now you have a mini-iceberg to wedge off the topper.
- Also, with the topper gone, I don't have to worry about high gusts of wind (in a campground) flapping the topper around, causing noise, and possibly damage to the topper.
- I guess in general, I have found it to be one less moving part to worry about, maintain and repair.
I admit I would not have been bold enough to remove the toppers myself, but having had it removed for me (by the tree), I have pretty much decided that I'll not have it reinstalled.