« on: December 15, 2010, 08:58:10 pm »
One thing you should always do is have someone watch the rear as you back up into a tight area; cameras help but they do not do much for trees. I forgot this basic driving precaution and backed into a tree branch which bent and crushed the right side of my ladder and tore the connection out of the bracket on the roof. It was not repairable. My rig is an '04 2350 amd I looked at the current models in the on-line brochure and the ladders look the same so I contacted Phoenix procurement and they sent me replacement top section.
It came completely disassembled, sandwiched between 2 sheets of cherry interior plywood and these look useful for some future project - perhaps I should have specified maple to match my rig! My first idea was to just replace the RH tube, but one of the screws holding a tread in place had lost its head and could not be removed. I then removed the complete ladder by cutting the putty sealant around the brackets on the roof, taking care not to cut the roof covering and removed the 4 screws holding each bracket to the roof. Four bolts hold the ladder onto the supports at the rear and two removeable pins hold the bottom. I then detached the damaged top section from the hinge on the good bottom section (2 screws each side).
I assembled the new top section with new parts supplied by Phoenix by sliding the treads on one at a time onto the side arms and securing them in place using the pre-piloted holes (take care to install them the correct way ). This made a complete top section and I fitted it to the hinges on the bottom section. The holes were slightly off but a drill took care of that without sacrificing the integrity.
At this point the ladder was essentially complete but the top where it meets the roof was badly misaligned so I made a tool to hold them approximately in the correct location. When I offered it up to the rig it fitted better than I thought it would and I was able to attach the bottom and the two center support bolts on the right side with little difficulty. On the left side the holes were msaligned about 10 degrees and I had to "pull" them with a 1/4" drill before I could install the bolts. The result was a good rigid assembly. The top arms at the roof were pretty far off but there was enough flexibility that I could pull them into place with one hand and install the 4 screws on each side into the existing holes and snog them down tight. A little sealant and the job was done.
Bottom line: 2010 ladders can probably be retrofitted back through the '04 model year. As I think I said before I use quick release "Pip-Pins" for the bottom attachment and carry a thin, Home Depot ladder behind the PC ladder for cleaning the rig.