Trailer Life Magazine Open Roads Forum: Water Leak, Repair Update Feb 12th
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 > Water Leak, Repair Update Feb 12th

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BurbMan

Islip, Long Island

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Posted: 01/16/18 06:16pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Well, here we go again. Back in 2013 I found a leak that was deteriorating the slide out floor, so I undertook those repairs. I had a thread on here but couldn't find it again to give you a link, but thanks to JBarca and other forum members who helped me tackle that job and get it all back together.

Last spring I noticed a small soft spot just ahead of the slide on the main floor. Unfortunately we were knee-deep in home renovations, so I put a piece of plywood over the soft spot with the goal of fixing it this winter.

Well, it's amazing how fast things go to pot. Here's what I am dealing with now:

[image]
[image]

we had replaced the floor after the slide repair, but we used the cheap Allure vinyl so it needed to be done again anyway. So I started to dig in to the rot:

[image]

What's interesting is that this TT has the enclosed underbelly, so under the 3/4" OSB there is insulation and the Darco wrap. Whaerever the leak was coming from, I took on a lot of water since there was 1/2" of ice sitting on top of the Darco.

An idea of where we are in the trailer, facing front in this pic:

[image]

Here we are with the rot mostly dug out

[image]

The tarping process begins:

[image]
[image]
[image]

Now to get into it: The white section you see is fiberglas gel coat, it meets at a seam to the gray part which is a steel skirt:

[image]

You can see from the way it's put together that the steel inserts to a crimped molding that prevents any water incursion. You can also see the 2x3 floor joist framing that is wrapped in Darco wrap. The floor frame is wrapped in Darco, then the OSB floor is added, then covered in sheet vinyl, then walls screwed on to that.

[image]

So here is the money pic and where I need some help. If you recall from the inside pics, the OSB floor absorbed water right in front of the slide. Here is the pic from the outside with her skirt off, you can see the rot in the floor. However, I cut out a few inches of the styrofoam insulation and the wall in bone dry, so it's NOT coming from above.

The 2x3 framing is wet all along but no signs of water above.


[image]

[image]

[image]

[image]

So for the guru's on the forum, where is the water coming in???
Doesn't look like the roof or any windows or appliances. How would I be getting enough water in this spot to cause damage?!?!?!

All ideas and thoughts welcome.

* This post was last edited 02/12/18 09:15am by BurbMan *   View edit history


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Lwiddis

Hearst San Simeon SP

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Posted: 01/16/18 06:23pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

“All ideas and thoughts welcome.“

If you want a project, repair it. If you want to RV, junk it and buy a new one.


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donn0128

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Posted: 01/16/18 06:37pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

From underneath. Late Terries were notirious for problems.


Don,Lorri,and Charlie Bear 2016
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BurbMan

Islip, Long Island

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Posted: 01/16/18 06:45pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Underneath where??? Is it wicking in from where they stapled the Darco? That was the issue with the slide floor.

JBarca

Radnor, Ohio, USA

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Posted: 01/16/18 07:35pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hi Don,

Need some more info. See this pic with the red arrow I put on it. I could not get it under the slide, but that is the area we need more info on. Need some pics pointing up under the slide floor from the wheel area. It appears there is heavy floor rot in that front left side corner of the slide. The 2 x 3 looks almost gone on the end near the slide flange molding.

Try to get pics with the slide closed and open. We need to see how the slide floor flanges seal out water from getting between the slide floor and the camper floor framing.

[image]

This leak is not new. A semi educated guess is 3 maybe 4 years.

Looking on the roof, it looks like you may have Eternabonded the perimeter seams, if so, what year did you do that?

Do you have a slide topper? Can't see with the tarp on and my memory of seeing your camper isn't that good anymore...

It also looks like you might have used Proflex or some other sealant on the molding above the lower steel siding. Did you also do the vertical slide molding that holds the rubber gasket and if so, what year did you add that sealant?

Hope this helps

John


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BurbMan

Islip, Long Island

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Posted: 01/16/18 08:41pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hi John, you are correct on most counts. I applied Eternabond to all roof seams probably in 2010, about 2 1/2 yrs after we got the camper in Dec 2007. Turned out to be a good idea, I have had no leaks from the roof at all. I have also sealed the body seams with ProFlex 2 or 3x over the time we have owned the camper. No slide topper.

So 2013 was the year I replaced the floor in the slide out. As part of that project I had the slide disconnected from the rack drive, the seals and the side trim were also off. At that time, a small piece of the floor under the slide was also water damaged and so I replaced that with 3/4" plywood. Note in this recent pic that the same piece I replaced is also now rotted. sorry my arrow is not showing but it's that piece by the slide with the corner gone.

[image]

So you are correct, repairs were made in winter 2013, so almost exactly 5 years ago. I recall I had issues getting slide to seal properly but thought I had it resolved. Really had no issues until this year, and this was a light camping season for us. One trip to Scranton Pa and two local to Montauk, that was it. we did get a fair amount of rain this summer but didn't town through hardly any. Camper sat most of the summer while I worked on the house. Although I did find time to replace the brakes and the awning [emoticon]

So here are additional pics from the angle you requested:

[image]

The plywood is the bottom of the slide floor, that's the replacement plywood with 4 coats of marine varnish on it.

[image]
[image]

Embarrassed to say, I thought this thing hanging from the bottom was a stray piece of spray foam or insulation, turns out it's a fungi
[image]

Let me know if you see anything else in these pics. The evidence somewhat contra-indicates...the leak seems like it's towing related, but yet the issue got much worse over this past summer when we hardly towed at all.

wrgrs50s

Scurry, Tx

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Posted: 01/16/18 08:51pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

My best guess: On the picture that JBarca placed the arrow, notice the metal trim piece that holds the rubber seal. That metal appears to be the width of the stud and wall inside and out. If you follow that metal trim all the way around the top of the slide and check the caulking very carefully you might find where water is getting through. If water is getting inside that track it could follow a path from up top or the side down to the floor area and spread where it meets the floor. That could explain why the slide floor has no damage but the floor right next to it does. It appears the most damage is where that metal meets the floor. I fought a leak on my slide that I could only see once I was on a ladder and actually poking at the caulk.I noticed the caulk was no longer binding to the fiberglass and would only open about the width of a razor blade when poking and pulling at it with a pick.


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JBarca

Radnor, Ohio, USA

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Posted: 01/16/18 09:48pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

BurbMan wrote:


So 2013 was the year I replaced the floor in the slide out. As part of that project I had the slide disconnected from the rack drive, the seals and the side trim were also off. At that time, a small piece of the floor under the slide was also water damaged and so I replaced that with 3/4" plywood. Note in this recent pic that the same piece I replaced is also now rotted. sorry my arrow is not showing but it's that piece by the slide with the corner gone.

[image]

snip..
Let me know if you see anything else in these pics. The evidence somewhat contra-indicates...the leak seems like it's towing related, but yet the issue got much worse over this past summer when we hardly towed at all.


Hi Don,

OK we are gaining, maybe, with that piece of floor rotted that you replaced, it helps tell some of the story.

The comment of it seeming to be getting much worse and not using the camper as much this year,

Question: While the camper was at home and you were working on the house, was the slide opened up for periods of time in the yard? And did it rain when the slide was open?

You have no topper on the slide, that means the seals have to hold all the water running down the side of the slide. A topper sheds some of the water. It can help lower the odds. Look up in the top corner of the slide where the seals go from horizontal to vertical. That 90 degree corner can sometimes allow a space to be open. If water enters that area it can run down the side of the slide and then go where ever it can. It looks like you have a double slide seal setup. Maybe a single seal for the inside and a single seal on the outside. See here
[image]

If water enters the top between those 2 wipers it can run down between the 2 wipers and stop at the floor. Your marine varnish is working good but water may then wick under the floor towards the slide side molding and possibly into the floor area.

That corner where your new floor board is rotted and the 2 x 3 suggests possibly water getting into that area. This pic sort of shows a possible path.
[image]

Water running down the outside wiper will flow until it hits the cut in the wiper just below the slide floor. Then it will start wicking and it may head right into the bottom of the floor. Ideally that wiper was not cut there at the slide floor. If it was not cut the water may have ran straight off the bottom. If you want to test this, take a bucket and pour some water down the side of the slide, let it cling to the side and flow, not a gusher on the sealing wiper and watch as the water stream hits that cut at the bottom of the floor and see where it wants to go. By doing a test like that I figured out how my slide floor rot leak happened.

If it not coming from the roof, then it may be down the side of the slide and under the floor and wicking in or under the molding like wrgrs50s suggested.

Since the slide is open in these pics, we can't see how well the slide seals are tight to the camper when towing water is flying up. You should see road splash on the Darco if water is slinging from the wheel making it that far up front. If the Darco is clean, then it more points to rain water coming in somehow under the slide floor at the vertical slide molding area.

Hope this helps

John

BurbMan

Islip, Long Island

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Posted: 01/17/18 07:36am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Great info on this guys! So you are correct that the slide was open almost the whole time the camper was parked since we were doing a little driveway camping during some of the remodeling, AND we had a very rainy spring and summer.

When the slide is closed, the outer bulb seal seats all the way around, so I would be very surprised if water was getting in there during driving. Also supported by your statement that the Darco is clean, which it is.

I mentioned I did brakes and a new awning, well I also replaced the seal on the trailer that wipes the top of the slide out...I wonder if it stretched during installation and then pulled back leaving a gap in that corner?

Ironically, raining here today, but camper is tarped because the outer fender skirt is off....It's going to be warmer later in the week so when I get back to it I will run that water test, check those seals, and post a few more pics.

I hate to think that I may have created this problem, but the clues are sure pointing in my direction...

DiskDoctr

PA

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Posted: 01/17/18 09:34am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

It is more likely issues mentioned above, but I would ask:

1. What is under your bench seats in the slide? Hot water tank, heater, etc?

2. How close are your water lines to this area of the camper?

3. Do you have a window in the side of that slide? If so, when is the last time you resealed it?


Bad thing about OSB, if it gets wet on the EDGE, it will wick it in [emoticon]

If the camper or slide was sloped that water flowed towards the camper, the wiper seal may not have been enough to stop the water and it followed the slide edge inside the camper, runs down on the floor under the slide, wicks out.

What seals did you replace? The ones on the camper where the slide mates, or the wipers on the camper? Or both?

If water gets behind that seal or if that seal doesn't extend seamlessly to the bottom of the slide area, it can divert water to the bottom edge of the trailer.

I hate to see stuff like this- especially after an extensive repair already [emoticon] Hope you find it quickly and get a permanent solution [emoticon]

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