Wednesday, February 8, 2023


Reader seeks input about ‘Extreme’ RV siding problem


From editor Chuck Woodbury
I received this email from reader Kate Perrie about a serious condition with cracking paint on the exterior of her motorhome. I am sharing it with you to see how many others have had the same experience. If this is a widespread problem, we will assign an article about it to one of our RV tech experts. Please leave a comment if you know more about this.

Cracking paint on Ms. Perrie’s motorhome.

Dear Chuck,
I know you have been on a quest to instill some quality control in the RV industry. In light of this I want to share with you a quality problem we’ve experienced.

We purchased a 2009 Gulf Stream Tourmaster and have an extreme problem with the exterior paint, a condition that I believe is called Micro Checking. From my investigations, it appears to be a fault with the skin on the exterior walls and not the paint — a defect in the composition of the material, Filon.

I have tried to have the coach repainted by two paint providers and they both informed me that they do not repaint coaches with this problem because the checking problem will just return. As far as I can tell, from my limited resources, that in order to correct this the walls need to be re-skinned.

Filon RV siding

I have heard that this is not limited to any one RV manufacturer. We all bought an RV with expectations that the paint and the exterior of the coach would not become an eyesore that would significantly degrade the value of our investment.

I have been an avid reader since we bought our coach – almost nine years — and I have never seen this topic discussed in your newsletter. If you have any information on this problem, or know anyone who you think could be of help in my quest to find a solution, or any ideas as to possible directions to take, please let me know. — Kate Perrie

READERS: Your comments are invited.



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Diane Souders
5 years ago

We have the same problem on our 2005 Itasca Horizon motorhome, It started several years ago on the drivers side in the dark brown paint and has since moved to some of the lighter color paint. Just this last week we went to a RV repair company who does the “Fiberglass checking repair””. Just to do the dark color repairs would run about $9,000. and their is no guarantee it won’t happen again & most likely would.

5 years ago

Had the same problem on a 2012 Coachman Sports Coach. Started about a year and a half after we bought it. The black and dark brown paint was full of cracks, while the light colored paint was fine. I was told by a friend in the auto paint business there was no point trying to fix it as it would return again. He said it was much more common in dark colored paints but can also occur in light colored paints.

5 years ago

I know a simple and relatively cheap fix for this with many options on colors and hues. I don’t know if anyone has done this to an RV before, but it’s pretty huge in the automotive world. Have you ever heard of Plastidip? Check out to see all the options on what can be done. I covered my jeep in the stuff to keep the paint underneath from scratches while off roading, and it works great! There are professional installers all over the place, and it’s so much better and cheaper than a wrap. The only way a wrap would be better is if you wanted to make a sign or a picture. If my motorhome that I’m purchasing in August ever starts to get this condition I’m totally going to Plastidip it…heck I might do it anyway just because I hate all the stupid swirls they put on the side of an RV.

Roy Ellithorpe
5 years ago

We have the same problem on our 06 Travel Supreme. The black looks like the cat was shedding when the paint was wet, the dark grey has some cracking and the 2 lighter colors are fine. As Tom says the aluminum baggage doors are fine.
Seems to follow Matts theory.

Kevin Wilmouth
5 years ago

How expensive would a wrap for the RV be and would this work? You see all kinds of vehicles with a wrap for advertising including buses so why not look into a nice looking custom wrap. Just a thought KW

David Burrell
5 years ago

I have the same problem on a 2016 Thor Tuscany.

Tom Hargreaves
5 years ago

I have the problem on my Holiday Rambler FG side walls, but NOT on the aluminum-skinned compartment doors and lower panels.

Lorne Briere
5 years ago

I looked at your pictures of the thermochecking of the sidewalls. There is no fix or paint repair that will eliminate this issue. Even stripping off the sidewalls and replacing with new fiberglass walls with different composite structure will not guaranty that your coach will not have thermocycling (gassing off of the fiberglass) issues again. What happens is that when the sidewall gets hot over a certain temperature it will cause the fiberglass to gas off or kick off and cause slits in the paint. This does not cause any damage to the clear coat over the paint it just makes the paint look bad. This also does not make the sidewalls susceptible to water intrusion. It is a very common problem of fiberglass/gel coated walls and even new sidewalls will eventually do the same. Sanding the sidewalls you have, doing the bodywork and then repainting is going to be expensive plus the thermochecking that you see will just come back after a while.

In the past when we were first having this problem in the industry we tried all types of remedies and none of them was a permanent repair. To do a paint repair just to make the coach look good with no guaranty that the vehicle will not do this again is going to run close to 20,000 in bodywork, paint time and materials. You could even change the colors to a lighter look and it could still come back.

Matt Shyrer
Service Manager

Allied Recreation Group
Oregon Service Center

Don & Mary
5 years ago

We have the same problem on our 2005 Fleetwood Triumph Regency 5th wheel.

5 years ago

We have a friend with I believe a 2006 Newmar that has the same problem. He contacted newmar, but they would not do anything about it. I understand that some were getting a class action law suit. This was 4 years ago.

O. Henderson
5 years ago

Checking is a well known problem, I have a 2003 Newmar Dutch Star that I bought used in 2010, I noticed the condition sometime in 2011. It’s prevalent mostly in the dark colors and can be exacerbated by setting in the hot sun. I’ve had a quote from Newmar for 27K to reskin the unit, this was supposedly a special they were running. I’ve asked their engineers what I could expect, long term, if I took no action, I could never get a definitive answer from them. I’ve decided to do nothing, so far it doesn’t seem any worse than it did when first discovered.. The rig still looks good and we continue to use it…….

Richard West
5 years ago

Same issue on 2005 Holiday Rambler. Bids of $30 – 50K to reskin.

THomas N Pelkey
5 years ago

I have 2003 Tiffin Allegro Bus with similiar problems. Tom

Cohen Edith
5 years ago

We had this problem a few years ago on our new Ford Explorer. The service dept manager at the dealer noticed it at the first 3,000 mile service. It’s called star bursting. It was on the top mainly, then found on the sides. The dealership worked diligently to repaint and do,whatever they could to make it right. Over about 6 months of dealing with this, and the dealership kept ford manufacturing informed, they determined that the metal was defective and no amount of primer, painting, etc., would stop the star bursting. Ford sent a district rep to review and evaluate the situation. Ford the whole time gave us a rental car, no charge, and kept us informed. We were patient and looked at options, lemon law, arbitration, etc, not knowing what Ford would do. When the district rep met with us, they said they hadn’t seen this before, but was starting to crop up on some vehicles made in the same timeframe and they determined there was a batch of defective metal. they offered us a replacement vehicle of any Ford, Mercury product, that we wanted as the star bursting could not be stopped, by that time, it had spread. We were shocked but very pleased. So we ordered another explorer, by that time, the new next year models had come out, so we got the same model explorer, etc., they told us to keep the rental car until the new vehicle came in. So 6 weeks later, the dealer called, they had two explorers prepped and ready to roll. So we chose the one we wanted, did paperwork, turned in the rental car, and rolled off in our new explorer. Yes, it was frustrating. But ford made it right. We have never had another problem and we are happy long-time ford customers. It’s all in how you handle a bad situation.

5 years ago

I have the problem on a 2005 Winnebago Adventurer.

5 years ago

Have the problem on a 2009 Winnebago journey

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