Pre vs Post circa 2012 FWC Question

dhowman

New member
Hello - Have relied on Classified forums while searching for a FWC popup but this is my first post.

Seems to me that there are some very big differences in the way these campers have been constructed the last 6 years or so compared to older models:

1. Composite lift panels (vs the wood ones which are vulnerable to rot from condensation?)
2. Radius door (vs weaker 4-cornered door?)
3. Beefier Al framing (heavier but noticeably more stable?)
4. One-piece roof (vs seamed roof more vulnerable to leaks?)
5. Pre-wired solar panel plugs on roof and rear (vs having to retrofit ports and wiring through the shell and DIY sealing)
6. Rigid foam panel insulation (vs fibreglass)

I think I've been able to assess the relative merits (& value) of most of these but the one I'm most curious about is #6.

Anyone have any real world cold and/or hot-weather experience that would allow a comparison of the insulating benefits of the foam panel insulation (w. or w.o. arctic pack) over the older fiberglass insulated models?

I intend to spend summers in the desert and winters skiing and dog sledding and not sure how much of a premium to put on this upgrade (i.e. how much of a difference I'd feel). Would be great if anyone's been on a winter or summer trip with both a new and an old FWC and noticed a big difference under the same conditions (?)
 

Rando

Explorer
I have a foam insulated FWC, and honestly it is not going to make a huge amount of difference one way or another. Most of the heat loss in the FWC is through the soft sides, single pane glass windows and aluminium framing that bridges the inside and outside walls. The difference between R3 for fiberglass and R4.5 for foam is inconsequential in comparison to all the other paths for heat transfer. The good news is that it is a small volume, and doesn't take all that much propane to keep it warm, regardless of insulation values.
 

Forrestvt

New member
Having just made repairs to a Hawk 2012 and a Grandby 99 remodel in progress I can definitely share some points.

1. Composite lift panels (vs the wood ones which are vulnerable to rot from condensation?)

If in a wet or damp climate the wood ones will get mildew/rot from condensation. Can purchase new from FWC or lots of threads about DYI with HDPE panels

2. Radius door (vs weaker 4-cornered door?)

Radius is stronger. The 99 I have has cracks in the aluminum framing at both comers of the top of camper and the door. Granted its seen its fair bit of use but the aluminum framing above the door has been changed to make it stronger/beffier as well.

3. Beefier Al framing (heavier but noticeably more stable?)

Not sure if the tubing in a heavier gauge vs there is just a lot more of it in the newer models for better reinforcement and more mounting options.

4. One-piece roof (vs seamed roof more vulnerable to leaks?)

One piece is sure nice as its a major pain to clean and reseal the seamed roof screws.....maybe it was just the silicone that was previously used instead of rv sealant.....

5. Pre-wired solar panel plugs on roof and rear (vs having to retrofit ports and wiring through the shell and DIY sealing)

Havent tackled this one yet

6. Rigid foam panel insulation (vs fibreglass)

Newer model use EPS foam vs the fiberglass. EPS has better R value but is more difficult to cut and get a tight fit. Without a tight fit you get gaps whichs creates open space for air flow and condensation. From what I saw the in 2012, the foam was fit ok, some gaps. Kind of a moot point when squeezed between an empty aluminum tube on either side anyway. Arctic pack and/or foil faced bubble insulation is a must for 3 season camping to help mitigate condensation in the op up portion. I am in the process of closing up the typical penetrations and adding 1" insulation to all the interior walls of the 99 so it is truly insulated. Oh and the floor. The newer models have 1" XPS in the floor. The older models just had 2 layers of plywood.
 
Composite lift panels are easy to retrofit. I haven't had any issues with the panels in my 06. Radius door looks nice, and is probably a slight upgrade. Nothing to lose sleep over. They did start adding more aluminum in the frame. That might be helpful in certain situations. The only issues I've had with mine are in the roof, which is just too weak for the span and sags a bit in the middle. I haven't heard of the seamed roofs leaking; maybe that's an issue I'm not aware of. My two piece roof shows pretty heavy wear, but is leak-free. These campers don't hold heat. I wouldn't worry much about insulation.
 

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