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  1. #1
    Fireside Member tcamper's Avatar
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    Unhappy Aluminum Roof Trusses Why does GD use Wood Trusses probable show stopper !!!!

    One of my priorities during my search for a new 5er is a 6 sided Aluminum infrastructure .. with aluminum roof trusses.
    My thinking all along is it is easier to recover from water intrusion damage, if insulation and paneling is all you need to replace; whereas wood rot is a major structural repairon top of the insulation and paneling.

    We are days away from pulling the trigger on a new Solitude, and I have just overlooked the aluminum frame issue because I was told in July the Solitude has the aluminum roof trusses. And on the revamped GD website under the features .. the old site clearly stated Aluminum Frame Construction. (I have a printout no mention of only 5 sides). In the early days this was a show stopper. We automatically eliminated rigs that did not have 6 Aluminum sides.

    For a company that is setting new standards in the RV industry, why does GD use wood for the roof trusses? I can only assume it is a cost cutting measure that to me diminishes the quality level a couple notches. Am I wrong here?

    We are literally considering pulling the trigger this weekend, and this just occurs to me.

    Aluminum roof is a big deal to me so Please Help me out GD family Why? What am I missing? What should I do?

    Feeling very disgruntled this morning
    Terry and Eileen
    2017 Solitude 310GK
    2015 Ram Longhorn 3500 4X2 SRW 6.7 Cummins
    Houston Texas
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  2. #2
    Fireside Member tcamper's Avatar
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    One additional comment that I forgot to mention – The RV industry is filled with cheaper, lesser quality rigs with 6 sided aluminum infrastructure.
    Terry and Eileen
    2017 Solitude 310GK
    2015 Ram Longhorn 3500 4X2 SRW 6.7 Cummins
    Houston Texas
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  3. #3
    Site Sponsor JCR GD's Avatar
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    My understanding of the roof structure is... wood joist construction expands and contracts better with the roof panels so they will expand and contract with each other rather than tearing themselves apart. The wood structure is well protected by the "rubber" roof so it should give you many years of trouble free service.

    My guess is it may be a little cheaper to be all aluminum construction.


    PS
    Here is the number for: Grand Design Solitude Product Manager (Rob Groover) 574-370-9147
    They give us their numbers so we can communicate directly with them... other manufacturers will not do that.
    Jim (& Sharon)
    2015 GD Momentum 385TH - SOLD
    For Sale - 2015 Ford F-350 DRW 4x4 Lariat w/ AirLift bags, Titan 65 gal. OEM replacement fuel tank.
    The toy:
    2017 RZR XP 1000 EPS SE

  4. #4
    King Pin
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    FWIW, Out of the thousands of posts on this forum and the Facebook page, I've yet to see an issue with roof damage caused by wood trusses.

    Remember that wood and aluminum have significantly different coefficients of expansion due to thermal heating. Since the "rubber" roofing material is attached to plywood, you are better off having the plywood attached to wood trusses versus aluminum.

    Here are the coefficients of expansion for each material:

    Wood .0000028 inches per inch of material at 1 degree F.
    aluminum .0000126 inches per inch of material at 1 degree F.

    This may not seem like much, but when you figure the average RV truss is approximately 98 inches long and the temperature range they are exposed to can be over 80 degrees F, the expansion and contraction differences can be significant. Over time, this can cause fasteners to loosen and work their way up through the rubber roofing material. As an engineer, I'm much happier that GD matched wood trusses with plywood roofing material. Over time and temperature extremes, they will expand and contract at nearly the same coefficient which results in a longer lasting structure.

    Jim

  5. #5
    Rolling Along
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    I had a conversation with another RV manufacturer about this subject because I had the same thoughts as you did about the aluminum roof framing (6 sided). They explained that with the wooden trusses there is less stress because the wood is flexible. Typically the aluminum roof tubing is welded to the sides which makes it very stiff and the welds break under the stress of the coach flexing. I don't think cost is cheaper. I went on the GD factory tour before we bought ours and the trusses are more than just 2x4's. The wood is shaped (curved) engineered trusses placed 16" OC which I'm sure are more expensive to make than the thin aluminum tubing. The roof structure has a 3 year warranty and the one piece rubber roof has a 12 year warranty. I wouldn't worry about the roof. The GD web site does mention a 5 sided aluminum cage and the wood residential roof trusses.
    Good luck with your choice.

  6. #6
    Rolling Along
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    Terry
    One other item on the roof construction, IMHO unless something penetrates the roof it will be very unlikely it will leak. You have the EPDM roofing, a solid layer of thin aluminum, the marine grade OSB sheeting then the trusses.
    I couldn't take pictures on the tour but Bill Martin is the director of marketing and may send you some pix of the roof construction. His email.... [email protected]
    FYI-these GD guys are great to work with.

  7. #7
    Rolling Along
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    It may be due to other factors but when walking on our Reflection roof, it feels noticeably stiffer than the aluminum trussed roof on our previous 5th wheel.
    Nick and Nancy
    Abbotsford BC
    2011 Ram 3500
    2015 Reflection 303RLs

  8. #8
    Seasoned Camper zac808's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by notsosan View Post
    It may be due to other factors but when walking on our Reflection roof, it feels noticeably stiffer than the aluminum trussed roof on our previous 5th wheel.
    Where do you walk? Centerline or edges?
    Zac and Charlene
    Frank and Bella (four-legged kids)
    2014 Reflection 337RLS- SteadyFast stabilizers, Oxygenics shower head, residential sink faucet, residential mattress.
    2005 GMC Sierra 2500HD SLT- EFI Live, MBRP 4" exhaust, LBZ mouthpiece, AirLift Airbags, RDS 60G combo aux tank, and B&W turnover/Andersen Ultimate 5th Wheel

  9. #9
    Seasoned Camper
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    Terry and Eileen - Thank you for your question and I am glad to see the number of answers that have been provided. We did strategically choose to use a wood roof as it has a number of benefits that have been noted by others on this chain. I did notice that Rob Groover's cell phone was posted in one of the threads above. He would be happy to speak with you about any concerns or questions you have in regards to the way we build our product. You are also welcome to call me on my cell phone at 574-312-5215 if you would like to speak directly with either of us.

    We are very appreciative that you are considering Grand Design for your next RV and want to make sure you are comfortable with your purchase both before and after the sale. Please don't hesitate to reach out.


    Quote Originally Posted by tcamper View Post
    One of my priorities during my search for a new 5er is a 6 sided Aluminum infrastructure .. with aluminum roof trusses.
    My thinking all along is it is easier to recover from water intrusion damage, if insulation and paneling is all you need to replace; whereas wood rot is a major structural repairon top of the insulation and paneling.

    We are days away from pulling the trigger on a new Solitude, and I have just overlooked the aluminum frame issue because I was told in July the Solitude has the aluminum roof trusses. And on the revamped GD website under the features .. the old site clearly stated Aluminum Frame Construction. (I have a printout no mention of only 5 sides). In the early days this was a show stopper. We automatically eliminated rigs that did not have 6 Aluminum sides.

    For a company that is setting new standards in the RV industry, why does GD use wood for the roof trusses? I can only assume it is a cost cutting measure that to me diminishes the quality level a couple notches. Am I wrong here?

    We are literally considering pulling the trigger this weekend, and this just occurs to me.

    Aluminum roof is a big deal to me so Please Help me out GD family Why? What am I missing? What should I do?

    Feeling very disgruntled this morning
    Bill is no longer with Grand Design. Please contact Tom Holt.

  10. #10
    Rolling Along
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    Zac, it doesn't matter you can walk anywhere except the skylight. I stay towards the center just because I'm afraid I will fall off!

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