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Topic: Travel trailer leak question ?

Posted By: michaelman501 on 05/15/12 03:05pm

I have a leak on my 2008 Mallard travel trailer, the leak is on the seam between the front aluminum cap, and where it meets up with the rubber roof..I can see the seam there has a crack in it, which is where the water is coming in...I found this leak because i noticed pimple like bumps on the interior front wall behind our sofa...There are two patches of these bumps on that wall, each patch is about a 12 inches by 12 inches in size with numerous bumps...I am not sure how long the seam has been leaking, however i did not notice these bumps when i purchased the trailer a year ago...So my guess it has been leaking less than a year...I will be repairing the seam with eternabond, but my question is how/do i have to repair inside the wall ? How do i dry it out ? Could i just repair the seam and then put a heater in the trailer when its not in use and hope that it dries out ? ANY help is appreciated, thanks!


Posted By: pbohart on 05/15/12 04:57pm

I think there are basically two methods here.

1. Intense - Remove the wall paneling. Allow the insulation and interior of the wall to dry out by placing fans and a dehumidifyer in your trailer. Then, replace the wall paneling and try to match the wall color and wall paper as close as possible.

2. Less intense. Either let if ride knowing that you have stopped the leak and no furhter damage is being done. Or, punch a couple holes wall where the bumps are and blow air into them to dry out the area around the damage.

#1 is what you are *supposed* to do. #2 is what I would likely do.


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Posted By: Road Phantom on 05/15/12 06:40pm

I wouldn't leave it to dry by itself even though you may have stopped the leak. Mold could set in, and that's harmful to health. Run a fan for a few days and if the weather permits, leave a few roof vents and windows open. If you do find mold, clean it with vinegar.

* This post was edited 05/15/12 06:47pm by Road Phantom *


Posted By: joeve09 on 05/15/12 08:21pm

Road Phantom wrote:

I wouldn't leave it to dry by itself even though you may have stopped the leak. Mold could set in, and that's harmful to health. Run a fan for a few days and if the weather permits, leave a few roof vents and windows open. If you do find mold, clean it with vinegar.


yes,you are right.


Posted By: michaelman501 on 05/22/12 11:00am

Thank you for all the help everyone! So i have decided that i must open the front of the trailer up and let it dry out and replace the insulation! I have never done this before, and i am not sure how my trailer was built...I assume it goes the exterior aluminum, then luan, then insulation, then the interior paneling ? What would be the best way to tackle this ? From the inside by removing the upper cabinet, and sofa then taking the paneling off....OR...from the exterior ? Any input is appreciated as i have never opened my trailer up like this before, thanks so much!


Posted By: Almot on 05/22/12 04:52pm

michaelman501 wrote:

i am not sure how my trailer was built...I assume it goes the exterior aluminum, then luan, then insulation, then the interior paneling ?

In other brands (that I'm more familiar with) it goes like that: exterior aluminum, than wooden studs with voids filled with fiberglass "wool" insulation, and then laminated luan panel. There is no "luan" under the side wall normally - only on the inside. So when you take interior panel off, you expose the frame and voids with FG insulation, and let it dry.

But those rounded front walls of modern trailers are different.


Posted By: CampingN.C. on 05/22/12 07:08pm

Can you open up a spot inside, maybe inside a cabinet? That's what I would try first to see what the damage is.
Pulling siding is a whole new can of worms, I just did it on mine!
Stop the leak and try to open it up to dry, those bumps will likely return to normal also.


2005 Chevrolet 2500HD CCSB 4X4 6.0 Bilstein shocks.
Reese Dual Cam.
2014 Jayco Jay Flight 32BHDS


Posted By: Wes Tausend on 05/22/12 08:55pm

...

I would let it dry naturally, maybe a bit of heat inside the trailer to encourage moisture to seek a cooler area if it is still cool at night where you are. If there are wallcovering pimples, they may mash down by pricking them with a pin and putting pressure against such as the back of a slightly rounded screwdriver handle. The good thing about aluminum sided trailers is that the aluminum breathes through gaps in the siding joints. If the luan backing is soft (wet), it may harden back up after it dries.

If you wish to take the aluminum off, you may find that it is put on top section (12-18 inches) first, then the next section was slid up into a stapled bottom top-section groove, then on down etc. To take it off is the reverse by first taking the bottom section off and working your way up. Since this is rather intense, you might be better off taking only the bottom section loose and blowing warm air up the newly opened wall cavity. A suggested blower is a hairdryer on low heat, low speed. But ambiant temperature air blown by a fan is much handier and almost as effective.

If it were my trailer I wouldn't worry too much about mold at this point. The press has overblown the problem lately. There is minute amounts of mold everywhere but no serious damage occurs unless someone is quite allergic or vast amounts overwhelm air quality. If you don't notice a problem down the road, the problem has solved itself. We are, by nature, mostly resistent to mold because we have always lived with some for 100's of thousands of years.

Wes
...


Days spent camping are not subtracted from one's total.
- 2000 Excursion V-10 - 2000 F-250 CC 7.3L V-8
- 2004 Cougar Keystone M-294 RLS, 6140# tare
- Hensley Arrow - Champion 4000w/3500w gen
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...


Posted By: ExRocketScientist on 05/23/12 06:24am

If the leak is stopped, I would just run a dehumidifier in there for a couple of months at full tilt. When you get the relative humidity down around 15 to 20 percent and the temperatures above 60, that moisture will naturally migrate into the inside of the camper. Remember . . . there is no moisture barrier in these things.


ERS


Posted By: westend on 05/23/12 07:31am

Most of the recovery/repair process is going to depend on your level of ambition, the amount of skills needed, and the presumed damage done by the leak. If you can see the interior paneling bowing or bulging, I would recommend that you remove it and look for structural damage to the framing. If the luan is bowed or bulged, it indicates a lot of water intrusion and you'll want to know if those studs and other wood framing members have started to rot or if everything is still together.

If you do remove the paneling, it is an opportunity to add in extruded polystyrene insulation and a vapor barrier, materials that should have been installed by the Mfg. but were not due to cost. When I opened the walls on my Starcraft, I found the fiberglass batt insulation was very haphazardly installed, missing places and ill fit for the most part. The replacement of the batt insulation with foam greatly tightened up the TT and should also offer greater structural strength.


'03 F-250 4x4 CC
'71 Starcraft Wanderstar -- The Cowboy/Hilton


Posted By: Oasisbob on 05/23/12 08:15am

That has to be extremely frustrating. I mean the trailer is almost new. The location of the leak would seem to be a quality issue. My local dealer offers a pressurization service where they pressurize the interior and spray down the outside with soapy water lookin for leaks you might never find on your own until further damage is done. A friend had this done to his one year old trailer and found all windows leaking. I think this should be done at the factory but to my knowledge it is not. Best of luck.


Oasis Bob
Wonderful wife & 4 Really Fun kids
2008 KIA Sedona 3.8L 24 valve V-6
2001 Bantam Trail Lite B-19

HAPPY TRAILS


Posted By: michaelman501 on 05/23/12 11:20am

Thanks for all the replies everyone! Yes it is extrememly frustrating, the trailer is almost new, has ALWAYS been taken care of, and now this...I just dont know how to guage how bad the damage is in the wall, maybe i will post a couple pic's for you guys...The luan does not seem soft, and does not bulge at all....its just two sections that are about a foot square...and each one has about 30 of those pimple like bumps.


Posted By: Almot on 05/23/12 01:35pm

michaelman501 wrote:

I just dont know how to guage how bad the damage is in the wall, maybe i will post a couple pic's for you guys...The luan does not seem soft, and does not bulge at all....its just two sections that are about a foot square...and each one has about 30 of those pimple like bumps.

Man, the only way to gauge the damage is to open the wall. Professional foam-testing is a good thing when you can't locate the source of leak or the trailer is new and you want to do preventive sealing. Open the walls, you have no other choice.

Now, how you do this - depends on the area. That front "cap" often has a piece of 1/2" plywood transition between the roof and the bottom part of the wall. There is no such plywood in side walls. That plywood may be damaged too - and to find this you need to remove the exterior aluminum siding. If you don't want to deal with the siding, then open just inside luan and see what you find.


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