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Boatman1955

Inherited an Alpha, see ya 40', 2004

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Hi and Merry Christmas !!

I just inherited a 2004 Apha see-ya, 40' and I joined this site today to learn all I can and hopefully do an event this year. Even though I can fix anything, I don't know the first thing about these creatures yet.

This sweetie has had a hard life during the past 5 years and was pretty much trashed out,  but thankfully all of the running gear is perfect with 66K on the odometer. I know the hot water heater has to be replaced, the roof AC doesn't work and some of the interior woodwork needs to be refinished etc. The roof is leaking at the vent but I don't know the condition of the roof yet.

Also there is some blistering in some areas on the outside panels. Looks similar to boat "small pox"

I just thought if anyone wants to give advice or comment on this please feel free to post away, I will appreciate it. I would love to hear from Alpha owners about common problems and what I might expect from this coach. 

One more thing, I read that Alpha uses a floor AC unit but this MH has a coleman roof unit as well. I assume someone added that for more cooling?

Thanks in advance!! and a few pics so far from where I started cleaning the driver area..

 

Alpha 1.jpg

Alpha 2.jpg

Alpha 3.jpg

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Your bubbles on the outside walls are call de-lamination - usually a sign water is getting behind the fiberglass someway.  Start fixing the leaks first to stop damage from progressing.  I put covers over all my roof and fan vents to prevent the sun from cracking the plastic OEM covers.  After all the leaks are fixed, then you can address any other pressing matters. 

The See Ya's were great MHs in their day and with a little TLC should give you great service.  It pays to be handy owning one of these things.

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Your coach has basement air. It probably is non functional as to the roof airs. I believe the Alphas have the tallest ceiling in the Class As

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No, "Ventline" makes a lot of the covers that sunlight quickly ages and causes them to get brittle and crack.  They should know better. 

"Maxxair" makes a nice cover that isn't affected by the sun.  Check this source https://www.rvupgradestore.com/RV-Vent-Covers-s/189.htm
for some but you can find them at any RV parts store.

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The Maxxair moonwink mentioned are good to keep the sum off low quality vent covers and with them you can travel with the vent of if you are so inclined. 

Boatman, be sure and measure the height of the coach including top of the air conditioner. An Alpha is basically taller because of the high ceiling. That is why they put the marginal A/C in the basement. You can see the problems from the topic here on clearance issues.

Herman 

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33 minutes ago, Moonwink said:

No, "Ventline" makes a lot of the covers that sunlight quickly ages and causes them to get brittle and crack.  They should know better.

Just a note on what causes those vent covers to crack. Ultra violet light (rays from the SUN) is the largest enemy to plastic and many other materials. Since most vent covers are plastic of some form, and many companies do not use a UV deterrent, then the best solution is to use a natural UV protectant. The color BLACK is the only known natural UV shield in existence today. Therefore if you use black vents and vent covers made by any company they will last much longer than any others on the roof because of the sun exposure. This is true whether you use the actual covers or those that you snap or tie over them. Only place that you will ever see white exposed wires is in marine applications, and that is because salt does not affect white as badly as it does any other color. Let us see an exterior picture of that Alfa, I have always loved seeing those beast lumbering down the road, good luck with your project and MERRY CHRISTMAS.  P.S. if the vents are made of steel, then the sun isn't a problem to them anyway.:rolleyes:

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You said you have a leaking vent. Is that a thru the roof 14 x 14 vent or a interior AC vent (register)?  Delamination is caused by water, capillary action,  or the lack of adhesion (not enough glue).  Roof would be my first concern.

Merry Christmas 🎄

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Sadly, delamination of the sidewalls was a MAJOR problem for Alpha-- a significant contributor to their demise.

Just do a search for: Alpha, see ya  delamination

Reality is it is not economically feasible to repair it. Live with it and enjoy your new RV experiences.

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1 hour ago, manholt said:

Delamination is caused by water, capillary action,  or the lack of adhesion (not enough glue).  Roof would be my first concern.

Sadly those guys outside skin was luan plywood with fiberglass skin glued onto that. Adhesion of the fiberglass was not as much an issue as is the fact that the plywood itself seperates  (delaminates) due to the moisture. I have over the years removed and replaced both plywood and fiberglass in areas to make them more appeasing. It is a painstaking process but can be done with very good results and will last many years if the moisture is kept away from those areas. Todays fiberglass coaches use a composite underlayment instead of plywood, which is why they tend to look good for many more years, and that same composite is available to replace the old plywood. The roof as Carl suggest is always my main concern also, with much attention to where the roof joins the sidewall.

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Sadly, delamination was an industry wide problem until 2008 when the manufactures finally switched away from the plywood underlayment.  Many, many brands were affected including Country Coach, Monaco who built Safaris and Treks like I own.  Mine didn't delaminate, the gelcoat checked and cracked all over the place but especially under the darker colors.  The only sure cure is replacement which to have done is well over $20k.

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On 12/24/2018 at 6:31 AM, Erniee said:

Your coach has basement air. It probably is non functional as to the roof airs. I believe the Alphas have the tallest ceiling in the Class As

Hi Erniee,

Yes, I accidentally discovered that it does have basement air a few months ago before it got cold. It does work but won't know how well until it warms up a bit. I read somewhere that one owner felt the basement air was marginal in hot climates. I guess that's why someone added a roof unit to help the basement air on this coach.

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On 12/24/2018 at 8:08 AM, Moonwink said:

No, "Ventline" makes a lot of the covers that sunlight quickly ages and causes them to get brittle and crack.  They should know better. 

"Maxxair" makes a nice cover that isn't affected by the sun.  Check this source https://www.rvupgradestore.com/RV-Vent-Covers-s/189.htm
for some but you can find them at any RV parts store.

Thanks Moonwink! I will definitely order a couple as soon as I find out exactly what I need.

               Merry Christmas!!

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On 12/24/2018 at 8:20 AM, hermanmullins said:

The Maxxair moonwink mentioned are good to keep the sum off low quality vent covers and with them you can travel with the vent of if you are so inclined. 

Boatman, be sure and measure the height of the coach including top of the air conditioner. An Alpha is basically taller because of the high ceiling. That is why they put the marginal A/C in the basement. You can see the problems from the topic here on clearance issues.

Herman 

Ok, Thanks Herman. I believe the height of this coach is 12 1/2 ft. if I remember right. Of course I will have to add the rooftop AC unit to that. When I drove a truck many years ago I seem to remember needing 13 1/2 ft. for bridge clearance etc. Finding the exact height will be a priority before I leave my immediate vicinity.

              Merry Christmas!!

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On 12/24/2018 at 8:43 AM, kaypsmith said:

Just a note on what causes those vent covers to crack. Ultra violet light (rays from the SUN) is the largest enemy to plastic and many other materials. Since most vent covers are plastic of some form, and many companies do not use a UV deterrent, then the best solution is to use a natural UV protectant. The color BLACK is the only known natural UV shield in existence today. Therefore if you use black vents and vent covers made by any company they will last much longer than any others on the roof because of the sun exposure. This is true whether you use the actual covers or those that you snap or tie over them. Only place that you will ever see white exposed wires is in marine applications, and that is because salt does not affect white as badly as it does any other color. Let us see an exterior picture of that Alfa, I have always loved seeing those beast lumbering down the road, good luck with your project and MERRY CHRISTMAS.  P.S. if the vents are made of steel, then the sun isn't a problem to them anyway.:rolleyes:

Thanks for the good information kaypsmith! I can take a picture of the outside if you really want, but I haven't taken any  pictures at all of the exterior yet as it looks pretty nasty. She really is an ugly duckling right now. My friend has owned her for 5 years (bless his soul) and I don't think she has ever been cleaned in that period of time.

                   Merry Christmas!!

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On 12/24/2018 at 9:03 AM, manholt said:

You said you have a leaking vent. Is that a thru the roof 14 x 14 vent or a interior AC vent (register)?  Delamination is caused by water, capillary action,  or the lack of adhesion (not enough glue).  Roof would be my first concern.

Merry Christmas 🎄

Hi manholt,

All I know so far is that water is coming into the head area. I hope to get up there this weekend and take a good look at the sunny side and see what it looks like up there.

Thanks for the reply and Merry Christmas!!

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On 12/24/2018 at 9:15 AM, wolfe10 said:

Sadly, delamination of the sidewalls was a MAJOR problem for Alpha-- a significant contributor to their demise.

Just do a search for: Alpha, see ya  delamination

Reality is it is not economically feasible to repair it. Live with it and enjoy your new RV experiences.

Hi Wolf,

Thanks for the information!

I have a friend that bought a 1998 39 ft. ( Renegade ) coach. He paid 5,000K for it and I drove it 800 miles home. Anyway the sides were aluminum instead of fiberglass and had significant holes all the way thru due to corrosion. He ripped off the old aluminum skin, repaired or replaced the damaged luan underlayment, and then we applied new fiberglass from a huge roll that we had ordered off of the internet. We made a vertical dispenser out of 2x4s on a cart and rolled out the new skin minutes after spraying both surfaces with contact adhesive. The sacrificial glue gun we used was like 10-15 bucks at harbor freight. Somewhere on my phone I should still have pictures, I will look. In any event, my Alpha skin damage isn't nearly as bad as the Renegade. It might be prudent to replace some of it rather than repairing however.

                        Merry Christmas!!

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On 12/24/2018 at 10:55 AM, kaypsmith said:

Sadly those guys outside skin was luan plywood with fiberglass skin glued onto that. Adhesion of the fiberglass was not as much an issue as is the fact that the plywood itself seperates  (delaminates) due to the moisture. I have over the years removed and replaced both plywood and fiberglass in areas to make them more appeasing. It is a painstaking process but can be done with very good results and will last many years if the moisture is kept away from those areas. Todays fiberglass coaches use a composite underlayment instead of plywood, which is why they tend to look good for many more years, and that same composite is available to replace the old plywood. The roof as Carl suggest is always my main concern also, with much attention to where the roof joins the sidewall.

Gotcha kaypsmith, Thanks for the information and Merry Christmas!!

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On one coach, we cut through both fiberglass skin and luan plywood, replaced the plywood with just the right thickness plywood so that it was flush with the outer skin, did a rough sand job on the entire sidewall that was pretty badly affected, then applied new skin over the entire side. The results were very good with a new coat of paint over the entire coach (white) then added some vinyl graphics. Thanks for responding to all of us, looking forward to seeing a great looking coach from you in the future. May the coming year be the best for all!

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Sounds like you are extremely handy.

Yes full wall replacement is certainly possible, but well past 99% of RV owners.

Good luck with your project-- look forward to pictures/write-ups of the project!

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Boatman1955,   To measure the height, lay a board on top of the air conditioner and make sure it's level - then measure the distance to ground from underneath it.

Use a vent cover meant for the Fantastic fan or you'll lose a lot of its ability to move air.  The smaller covers are great for the small fan in most bathrooms and non-powered vents. 

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If you go to rv. USA, you'll find the complete specs!  Your overall height is 13 foot 1 inch + the added roof AC.  Don't know what make/model was added, but IMHO, your above 13 foot 6 inches in overall height, probably 13' 8"!

Your sidewalls, end caps are Luan Plywood, 3-4 mm.

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Since this coach was inherited, id look it over for structural damaged from water and if all good make a decision to either fix it or run it as it is, since it sounds like you don't have any money invested into it. I actually considered aluminum skinning our last coach and removing the fiberglass. 

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Boatman1955 welcome to the forum and your new hobby,

I will throw my two bit in here as well. Repairing the leaks up top. The simplest way to assure no more leaks assuming the vent covers are sound... Pull all the existing sealant up from the base and reinstall. Once you get it started it will come up pretty easily.  Two school of thoughts on this include using Eternabond tape and overlaying the seamed area, body of the vent onto the roof. I like the Dicor self-leveling sealant. It is available online for as little as 8 bucks a tube thru Amazon buying multiple tubes at once. At the same time I would pull all the screws which most likely will have been zinc plated and now rusty from ambient moisture and replace with stainless steel ones. It may be necessary to go one size larger as the wool/Luan may be compromised. Reseal liberally with the Dicore. Allow a minimum of a month before painting as it takes that long for the stuff to dry sufficiently, just ask how I know. Sealing the cap to roof is best done with the Eternabond tape. This tape thru RV supply houses is very expensive. Buying it thru the roofing industry or the construction industry it is very reasonable . However there are Johnny come lately tapes that claim the same performance, not! Buy the Eternabond branded tape, white one side and sticky the other side.

The fan vents and height, Yes you can use the sit up in the air and add additional height with the suggested MAXXAIR covers about 12 inches tall. A better solution are the premium fan assemblies MAXXAIR and Fantastic make that are even better with dark colored lids and that when folded down closed are only 5 inches tall. The are automatic, variable speed, push  air out and or pull air in and are very quiet. They retrofit to the standard 14 X 14 inch hole. One of the best sources for parts is PPL Motorhomes.com parts superstore. When on sale everything is cheaper than all the other places particularly big ticket items and post is very reasonable. Shop for what you need at Camping World so you know what not to pay and buy online it will save you a wheelbarrow full of money. Please keep us apprised as to the progress we all enjoy it

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