New Solardome

Number 1 son is a great help

It’s Springtime here in Alabama, and one night last week we had some severe weather complete with tornado warnings & dime-sized hail.  Looking for damage the next morning, I was happy to find that nothing appeared to have been affected.

Although the Overlander is still winterized, one or both of the Boyz & I sleep out there on the weekends, and the night following the hail had “Airstream” written all over it.  Although some of the videos the Boyz choose to watch are not exactly my cup of tea, I looked forward to roughin’ it with my preschoolers in our backyard that evening.  That is until I opened the door and found the floor soaked with water.  The hail had punched holes in both my original Solardome and rooftop refrigerator vent cover.

Fortunately, nothing in the trailer appeared water-damaged, and since no more storms were predicted, we just mopped up the mess and made a night out of it anyway.  I called InlandRV Monday morning, and ordered a new solardome.  The lady I talked to there in California was serious when she said she would “get it right out” to me as UPS delivered it the following Friday.

Although Supply & Demand dictated that the price for the new solardome was going to be high, I was extremely impressed at how much effort went into the thought & construction of the new part.  My original solardome was a single, injection-molded piece of plastic which had sagged in the middle allowing water to puddle.  Andy’s replacement part was almost twice the weight due to what appeared to be a separate, domed piece seamlessly welded on to an otherwise flat cover.  This new solardome looks like it was built to stand the test of time.

While the corners of InlandRV’s solardome are not rounded like the original, the overall dimensions are the same. My original solardome was attached to its two mounting brackets by six bucked rivets.  Deciding to pop-rivet the new solardome on, its centerline was located:

After loosely positioning the new solardome in place, a red Sharpie was used inside the Overlander to mark the rivet holes:

Much thought was given to whether to drill through-holes (through both layers of plastic) or to drill only the piece of plastic closest to the mounting bracket, and rivet from the bottom instead of the top.  Ultimately, though-holes were considered best.  Backing washers were used on the rivet heads to keep from breaking the plastic.  The rivets were coated before & after installation with clear RTV.  If I had had some clear Parbond around, I would have used that.  But RTV should be adequate

Andy was kind enough to include a template for mounting the new [included] weatherstripping.  The lines were drawn now since it appeared to be better to install the gasket after the new solardome was riveted in place.

I’m easy to identify on the road now – Just look for the free advertising I’m giving Andy!