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Exterior rear wall feels spongy

jimmy16x
Explorer
Explorer
I've been considering buying a five or six year old smaller fifth wheel and looked at two nice ones yesterday that had a spongy feel on the outside rear wall. One was a 2013 Wildcat and the other was a 2015 Cougar. Both were 30 footers with a large rear window and below the window the fiberglass exterior would flex in and out when I pushed on it. Both sides of the window and above it and the rest of the walls felt firm and looked good. They were at two different dealers and the salesman at both told me that was fairly common on these models with large rear windows. Anyone had any experience with this that can give me some advice? Thanks
16 REPLIES 16

mtofell1
Explorer
Explorer
I can tell you my 2016 Keystone Hideout's back wall feels very different than the side walls. I noticed it the first time I looked at it when it was new on the dealer's lot. There always could be damage but if the whole thing feels consistently soft across the back it's likely just the way it's built.

tartan_camper
Explorer
Explorer
Our former rear kitchen Copper Canyon had "flimsy" walls in the back - it was hung insulation, not foam laminated to the fiberglass wall. Our Grand Design Reflection is laminated foam all the way around. There is no wave showing on the rear wall like the Copper Canyon.
Backpack to fiver...and everything in between. What a life!
2018 Grand Design Reflection 303RLS 5th Wheel
2015 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD Duramax, Allison 6-speed
18k Superglide

Learjet
Explorer
Explorer
WOW! lots of bad advice...IF it's a hung wall...ie. Wildcat that is normal. Geeze 😞
2017 Ram Big Horn, DRW Long Box, 4x4, Cummins, Aisin, 3.73
2022 Jayco Pinnacle 32RLTS, Onan 5500, Disc Brakes, 17.5" tires
B&W Ram Companion

jimmy16x
Explorer
Explorer
Thanks for the replies. I'm going to check more units that are similar and see if most of them seem the same. No signs of leaks or water damage anywhere and it really feels like the outside fiberglass panel is just attached around the window and the outside edges which causes it to flex in and out a little near the middle.

newman_fulltime
Explorer
Explorer
Back walls are just hung there's no glueing. If you want the spongy gone its not hard to take the back off and glue it

SidecarFlip
Explorer III
Explorer III
Delam or not, it needs an independent inspection anyway. Stealers all lie to sell. Common knowledge.
2015 Backpack SS1500
1997 Ford 7.3 OBS 4x4 CC LB

ppine
Explorer II
Explorer II
Sounds like water damage. If it is common the design is all wrong. Run away is exactly my feeling about a rig with spongy walls.

goducks10
Explorer
Explorer
WNYBob wrote:
Yes that's'delamination', so drop the price $6 to $10, because that is what a dealer would sock you on trade in!


I know for a fact that Keystone does not vacuum bond or pinch roll the rear walls on Cougars. It's not delam. We have a dealer south of us next to the freeway that carries Keystone Cougars. When driving past them in the right light you can see the waves in the wall from expansion in the heat.
I can't vouch for the Wildcat.

My 2nd TT had the same floating rear wall. Heartland North Trail.

It's just another way to save money by the MFG.

bingford
Explorer
Explorer
If it's a composite bonded wall then it should be solid. Some rear walls are of a 'floating" design and have some give. However it would be uncommon to have a large window on this type of wall.

Ralph_Cramden
Explorer II
Explorer II
WNYBob wrote:
Yes that's'delamination', so drop the price $6 to $10, because that is what a dealer would sock you on trade in!


It may be, but most likely just the way its designed and built as at least two others have posted in this thread. If you go look at laminated trailers on a dealers lot you'll see the bows and waves in the rear walls on most of them, just look from an angle. The only manufacturer I am sure of who uses a true laminated panel the same as the sidewall for rear walls is Rockwood / Flagstaff. There has to be others.
Too many geezers, self appointed moderators, experts, and disappearing posts for me. Enjoy. How many times can the same thing be rehashed over and over?

WNYBob
Explorer
Explorer
Yes that's'delamination', so drop the price $6 to $10, because that is what a dealer would sock you on trade in!

MFL
Nomad II
Nomad II
goducks10 wrote:
Thats normal for a non bonded wall. The only things holding the outer layer to the 5er are the window, perimeter trim and lights. Or whatever else penetrates the wall.


Yes, many FWs with bonded firm sidewalls, do not have the same across the back. You can press on the inside back wall, and likely feel more give, than at the sidewalls. If no sign of water intrusion around rear window, inside or out, the units mentioned should not be a problem.

Jerry

azrving
Explorer
Explorer
The window has probably leaked. Also check the roof especially around the corners and ladder area. Check under the slides for soft or crunchy areas when you push up. Very common at the ends. Sometimes they leak and dry out and leave raised/bumpy crunchy areas.

goducks10
Explorer
Explorer
Thats normal for a non bonded wall. The only things holding the outer layer to the 5er are the window, perimeter trim and lights. Or whatever else penetrates the wall.