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Old 05-25-2023, 04:54 PM   #1
RKDowner
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Plans? Or at least hints at construction?

2014 Keystone Hideout 23RKS travel trailer.

I'm mounting solar panels and installing wiring, solar converter, etc. and need some guideance. A few people online said that they've contacted their manufacturers and received blueprints showing where all the studs and roof joists and such are located. I contacted Keystone and they said this is proprietary and they won't share it with me. Can anyone help me, beyond recommending a stud finder? What is the roof, 3/8 in plywood? Are the roof joists on 16-in centers? How wide are they? An inch and a half, an inch? Are the studs on 16-in centers? How wide are the studs? How much space is between the roof and the ceiling? How thick are the walls? These would all be helpful to know, but somehow Keystone considers this proprietary.

Keystone basically told me that I need to take it to a Keystone dealer to have something done like installing solar panels. This is ridiculous. I will go to the dealer to have my slide-out serviced, I will go to the dealer to have my refrigerator repaired, but I don't need to go to the dealer to attach some clips to the roof.

Any help will be appreciated. Thank you.
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Old 05-25-2023, 05:16 PM   #2
chuckster57
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Once you figure out where you’re going to run the wires from the panels, the rest is easy. You don’t have to install them on joists, and figure you have at least 2” of space from the decking to the ceiling.

I have ran the wires down the fridge space, down tank vent holes and even drilled from the inside and installed roof penetration “boxes”.

Put the panels where they will work and get busy.
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Old 05-25-2023, 05:17 PM   #3
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I mounted my solar panels into the plywood without regard to hitting structure. No problems for 7 years. When I installed our Winegard Travler dish. I wanted a few screws into aluminum structure. Electronic stud finder found structure to screw into.
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Old 05-26-2023, 12:38 AM   #4
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I'm looking at using the refrigerator vent as a conduit, because the power converter/distribution panel is under the refrigerator and there's space next to it for the solar charge controller, which would be ideal to just tap into the existing wires to the batteries. My only problem is the vent cover is old and brittle, so I think I'll have to replace it if I try to remove it :-)
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Old 05-26-2023, 12:39 AM   #5
RKDowner
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Any idea how thick the plywood roof is? I think I want to find the joists just to be safe. Studfinder to the rescue!
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Old 05-26-2023, 05:47 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by RKDowner View Post
Any idea how thick the plywood roof is? I think I want to find the joists just to be safe. Studfinder to the rescue!
According to the 2014 brochure, the roof is 3/8" plywood. Should be adequate for screw retention.
https://recreationalvehicles.info/20...n-brochure.pdf
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Old 05-26-2023, 05:54 AM   #7
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Not solar, but I've attached screws all over my Montana. I use a stud finder. Works good. No problems. Except the framing is aluminum, so that means drilling pilot holes for the screws first. I've not had any problems doing it this way.

Agree with others (above posts). Figure the best position on your roof and just "do it!". Don't over think! And yes, Keystone propitiatory stinks! It's easier to get a gold bar out of Fort Knox than getting a schematic from Keystone!
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Old 05-26-2023, 09:07 AM   #8
RKDowner
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According to the 2014 brochure, the roof is 3/8" plywood. Should be adequate for screw retention.
https://recreationalvehicles.info/20...n-brochure.pdf
Super! Thank you. I suspected 3/8 because 1/4 would be too thin and 1/2 too heavy.
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Old 05-26-2023, 04:09 PM   #9
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I called Keystone once, looking for the locations of my gray and black tanks. NOPE! can't tell you, just vague references. Strangest policy I have ever heard of........
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Old 05-26-2023, 04:52 PM   #10
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My old rig (Sunnybrook) got body damage on the panel that had the VIN sticker on it. Called the manufacturer, provided them some simple proof that I owned that rig, and they printed me a new one I could stick on the replacement panel.

This rig, the crew that did my ceramic coating managed to buff all the type off my VIN and tire loading stickers. Keystone treated me like Jeffrey Dahmer.

Through great good luck, I had taken fine photos of these stickers to use while shopping for a bigger truck, so I laser-printed a copy and glued them to the inside of my cargo door.

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Old 05-27-2023, 07:53 AM   #11
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Any idea how thick the plywood roof is? I think I want to find the joists just to be safe. Studfinder to the rescue!
My roof (and many others Iíve been on) readily disclose the location of the joists below the plywood decking. Look for horizontal ridges at 2í intervals. I try to walk on those ridges as much as possible.
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Old 05-27-2023, 09:11 PM   #12
RKDowner
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My roof (and many others Iíve been on) readily disclose the location of the joists below the plywood decking. Look for horizontal ridges at 2í intervals. I try to walk on those ridges as much as possible.
Walk? I'm afraid of heights, I crawl
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Old 06-01-2023, 09:29 AM   #13
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Consider using 'unistrut' and associated hardware to mount solar panels to rv roof. Keeps panels up away from roof leaving 3/4"+ -airspace between solar panel and roof structure.
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Old 06-01-2023, 11:27 AM   #14
RKDowner
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Consider using 'unistrut' and associated hardware to mount solar panels to rv roof. Keeps panels up away from roof leaving 3/4"+ -airspace between solar panel and roof structure.
I looked into that but the unistruts would cost more than what I paid for the solar panels. Besides, it wouldn't solve anything because I'd still have to mount the unistruts to the roof. I'm using Z clips instead. They leave an air gap as well.
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Old 06-01-2023, 04:47 PM   #15
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I used the Z clips with my ZAMP panels directly to the plywood. I worried about this so much until I actually did the install.

You can confirm the thickness by just taking out the interior of one of the vents but it the roof is "walkable" everyone I contacted said it is fine. I used SS screws and sealed the bracket "foot" and the screw with sealer. The pita was routing the wires and taping them in place. For now I just wound up the ends of the wires and taped the bundled wire loosely before plugging them into the roof cap. I intend to cut to size but just haven't gotten to it.

Good luck
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Old 06-01-2023, 10:30 PM   #16
RKDowner
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That's pretty much what I've decided to do. Unfortunately while climbing on the roof to take measurements for placing the panels I discovered the ladder is loose and the plywood has water damage. I'm going to have to repair the roof before I can install anything. And tonight my wife said that if I'm going to open up the roof to make repairs then she wants a skylight over the kitchen while I'm at it! Another thing to research!
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