Motorhome Magazine Open Roads Forum: Travel Trailers: Water Leak, Repair Update Feb 12th
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 > Water Leak, Repair Update Feb 12th

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BurbMan

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Posted: 01/17/18 10:46am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hi Disk Dr, see answers below:

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

Nothing but storage. Trailer came originally with free standing table and chairs, I found this cushion set from an RV overstock business on eBay and built the seating and table.

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

No water lines on this side of the camper. The water tank sits below the entertainment center, you can see the water fill hose sticking out in one of the pics with the skirt off. Water fill is about 2' ahead of where the edge of the wet spot grew to, so don't think it;'s that.

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

Yes there are windows on all 3 sides of the slide.That window was not leaking when I did the slide floor in 2013 and it's was re-sealed shortly thereafter.

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

The wiper on the top of the slide. Will get out there and post more pics when the rain lets up.

Interesting note, I also added a drip edge on the bottom of the slide to keep water from wicking into the slide floor, maybe that is carrying water in?

I hate to see this too....but the camper is 10 years old now, this will be the 11th season for it this year. I've put a ton of work into it over the years and it's been great to use and a lot of fun. Anything requires maintenance, unless you trade every 3 years, even that gets real expensive considering the depreciation...

I'll get this fixed and we'll be back on the road again! Worst case I don't get leak fixed right and it gets a new floor in a few years again!


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DiskDoctr

PA

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Posted: 01/17/18 08:24pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Drip edge sounds like a good idea. Did you put sealant behind it?

It seems every material on RVs are designed to wick water somewhere and if we don't seal it and divert it, somehow it is attracted to the wood [emoticon] LOL.

10 years is a fantastic run. We just picked up this new to us TT as an upgrade and it is a 2006. A little work, rebuild the fridge, updates to LED, vent lids and covers, and some sealing work and it's quite nice.

So don't put it out to pasture yet [emoticon]

I've heard of people using FLIR to find leaks. Not sure if it would work on our campers, or just in heated buildings? They even make a FLIR for smartphones around $250. Whoddathunkit? LOL

Do you have a topper over the slide? We're strongly considering one because of the possibility of leaks, snow, leaves, sticks, water diverting in past the top wiper seal, etc.

Another thing to consider is how water likes to travel along a surface. Look for any wall studs that are damp (down from the roof), path along a floor or on top of the underbelly seal You said you found ice, maybe you can look for icicle trails to see where it came from?

Some people have used moisture meters, but I don't know how that would work without uncovering the material- in which case you'd likely see it anyways.

You already know that any time you remove OSB, you want to replace it with plywood. You know, anti-sponge-exploding type material [emoticon]

You could try tilting the trailer steeply towards the slide and see what happens. If new water appears inside the camper, it must be coming from above. If it doesn't on to the next test (front to back tilt maybe?)

Ideas [emoticon]

BTW, nice job on that dinette [emoticon]

BurbMan

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Posted: 01/18/18 08:04pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Well guys thanks for the help, I think I found out where the water is coming in. It looks like the wiper seal on that side of the slide has slid down in its track:

[image]

When it slid down it created this gap at the top:

[image]

That top seal is the one I replaced last summer. So it looks like the fix is to get that side seal hiked back up in the track and secured with a small set screw. I'll snap a pic when I get that done but still seems like it ought to seal better. Let me know what I'm missing here.

JBarca

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Posted: 01/18/18 09:41pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hi Don,

That top opening is problem 1. The water can sneak down between the inside seal and the outside seal and then has access to sneak in around the slide floor and into the basement of the camper. Any you may not see it inside the camper. Well until the floor rots out...

However this still does not look right down at the bottom. I'll call this problem number 2.

[image]

Now that you know you have a hole up top, it seems the front side slide seal dropped down. You can see it in that picture with it being below the aluminum slide flange molding.

But.... there is that slit in the seal right at the bottom of the slide floor. My take, that slit in the wiper is not supposed to be there. And if the whole seal dropped down, then that slit will be about 2" higher up the side of the slide. Still not good.

Can you fill in some missing pieces of the puzzle on how that slit shown at the floor line ended up in the seal? Does the rear slide side seal have that same slit and where is it located?

Ideally there is no slit so water running down the seal will break tension at the very bottom and fall to the ground, not at the slide floor line. That slit at the floor line in my mind is bad news and a potential for water to wick onto the back side of the wiper and then wick where ever it can back there.

On slide seal screws, my slide seal is a combo bulb and wiper seal. But it has screws in the seal into the end of the aluminum slide flange to keep it from coming out or down.

Here is the bottom
[image]

Here at the top are 2 screws. One in the vertical before the corner and one after the corner in the horizontal. In my case, the seal is continuous and not cut like yours going around the corner. I only slit the wiper part and not the bulb part. Different seal setup then your but just showing the screws.
[image]

You can see here the screw head. The issue was the factory did not bury it behind the bulb good enough and over time the screw head beat through the rubber bulb when the slide closed. Granted it took several years for the head to come through, but the other locations it did not when the screw was placed better.
[image]

Point: Take care when adding your screws so the heads do not beat into the flange on the end of the slide room when the slide is closed so over time damage does not occur on the seal rubber.

Hope this helps

John


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BurbMan

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Posted: 01/19/18 08:21am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Good point on the side seal....I think I may have notched that when I replaced the floor so that it would seal better against the side. I wasn't thinking drip point. I will go ahead and order new seals fro the sides.

These are wipers only...the bulb seal is on the slide flange. When the slide goes in, the wipers get turned the other way and the bulb then seats against the side of the camper. I know the bulb makes contact all the way around and seals nicely with the slide closed.

I started looking at Slide Toppers...is there such a thing as having one that's TOO wide? The slide is 12' 8" wide, I was thinking a 14' topper would give me 8" of overhang on each side of the slide and protect the top corners where the seals meet. Most of what I see on campers is about 2" of side overhang, which would be a 13' topper for me. Anybody have any thoughts?

BurbMan

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Posted: 01/20/18 09:45am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Additional update, on further inspection it appears that the side seal has torn...not sure why. Finally located and ordered replacement seals for both sides.

ExxWhy

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Posted: 01/20/18 10:47am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hey Don, very sorry to see your issues. I see John got you pointed in the right direction and you have found the root cause.

It is possible to get a topper too wide, there are limits on how far beyond the edge of the slide the mounting brackets can extend. It's probably better to go with the size the manufacturer's chart says to use. Make sure you use the right measurements depending on the brand. Carefree sells theirs by fabric width and Dometic sells theirs by overall width. You can also measure flange width or roof width. The end result is the same sizes, but make sure you pick the right one.

If you want to have a topper installation get together inside a warm building, come on over! We can make John come up north and do most of the work. I have 2 to install on mine. [emoticon]

This is Eric BTW, Indian Lake.





JBarca

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Posted: 01/20/18 12:14pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hi Don,

Sorry this took so long to reply. I had a senior moment on your post...

As our good friend, ExxWhy stated, if you are using the standard slide topper mounts, too wide can create a problem.

First is at the camper wall. Does your already have a gutter rail with the awning groove on it above the slide?

See here on mine. Sunline at least gave me the awning gutter rail but toppers where options and mine did not have it...
[image]

[image]

Point is, if yours does not have this rail you will need to add it. And if it does have the rail, that already creates one of the limits on how wide you can go. The topper material needs to be fully supported in the awning rail. If you have to add a rail as Terry did not give you one, then you need to be careful on how long you make it as there is no solid wood to screw the ends too if it is too far from the slide room opening.

Next are the brackets at the slide room itself. The actual slide flanges vary by camper brand, some are wider than others. To get my point across I'll use my slide.

Here is the top corner where the topper roller brackets will mount
[image]

Where the vinyl screw cover is the end of the sliide room wall and then the flange flange overhangs out into the air to mate up with the seal on the camper.

Here is a back side pic I happend to have up on the photo site
[image]

Now to the topper roller brackets. A Dometic and Lippert awning uses a bracket screwed to the top left and right of slide room wall. Then a piece of hollow hex shaped aluminum shaft hangs out. That shaft is only so long. Here is a good pic of it from Etrailer on a Lippert awning.

Lippert Slide Topper brackets

I have seen those hex shafts setups yank hard on the mounting brackets when they are at full extension. The torque pulls on the screws holding the roller rail bracket to the slide room wall and sometimes pulls the bracket loose. Don't really know how the owners had them get like that but I have seen them. That end bracket cantilevers out there a good ways at full extension. Sometimes you are forced to hang out at full extension as you have to as the anwing is that long. Not all slide rooms widths are the same so you have to pic what they have.

So, you want to be as wide as you can, but you have to fit within the constraints of the awning gutter rail and the roller rail brackets.

The topper being as wide as the slide room plus some amount a few inches from each end is about as good as you are going to get. That corner joint where you had a seal leak is semi protected but not totally. The topper does help though. The long area top seal of the slide is very protected. The side vertical seals are pretty much all on their own but the topper does help deflect rain water off the side of the slide. Normally with no topper, the slide ends get drenched with all the water coming off the slide roof. The topper sheds a good portion of that slide end wall water.

Hope this helps

John

PS. You haul the camper to Eric's place and I'll come up. Or you haul it over to my place and we will invite him down...

BurbMan

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Posted: 01/22/18 08:00am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hey Eric, great to hear from you and thanks for the invite! I wish the TT was indoors now, raining today and tomorrow then going back into the 30's again....

Thanks for the info on the slide topper, that makes sense. I'm going to look into that once I get everything back together.

Once again, that Darco is bad news. Just like on the slide out frame, they wrapped the outer 2x3 of the frame, and once the water got in there was no place for it to go. Like a school science project where you leave a wet piece of bread in a Ziploc bag out in the sun...

I had to make repairs to this part of the frame when I did the slide out floor, and used some epoxy filler...there's almost no wood left now. I've decided to replace some key parts of the frame. With the skirt off and the inside flooring out, it's easy to replace that outside 2x3 and the pieces in that corner of the frame below the slide out.

I was going to use penetrating epoxy and filler epoxy like I did on the last repair, but the wood in some spots is too wet and too far gone.

Here are the new pieces cut...I decided to treat the new wood with the CPES penetrating epoxy from Rot Doctor, this will seal the wood and deter potential rot.

[image]

[image]

The CPES is also supposed to be an excellent primer, so once it's all installed I'll go over the assembly with a few coats of spar varnish, and then spray a layer of Flex Seal rubberized coating over that on exposed areas. I did this on the 2x4 on the outside edge of the slide rather than wrap it, and so far it's holding up great.

There is a layer of unfaced insualtion that goes between the Darco and the floor, and that's nice to have for spring/fall camping. The problem was that when water got in, the insulation acted like a sponge and the Darco trapped the water from draining.

I would like to figure out a way to put drainage slits in the Darco so if water did get in it could drain out, but I also need to prevent road spray from getting in. Ideas welcome on this one....

All in all, I am happy with the repair progress, this should go back together pretty easily. I have new side wiper seals and new bottom slide wiper seal ordered, and new flooring from Costco is being delivered today.

LVJJJ

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Posted: 01/22/18 08:24am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

A few years ago we bought an '04 Tahoe Lite (yeah right). I did look underneath it before buying. The fabric (Darco?) was intact and didn't see any holes. Got home and with more studying, noticed that the Darco was hanging down in the middle quite a bit. Made a slit with a knife in the middle and it looked like about 5 gallons of water drained out. Somebody had replaced the floor and put new Darco under it but turned the edges up and stapled them to the bottom plate. So, as the siding wasn't properly caulked, water constantly worked its way under the Darco and the way it was attached directed the water directly on top of the fabric where it just collected. So ripped it all out, pulled out all of the wet insulation, dried out the wood joists and sealed it all with pink rigid one inch insulation panels. Glued and screwed it to the underside of the floor and caulked well. Worked great, smooth under there and no water.

I used the CPES on an '85 Wilderness when I had to rebuild the bathroom floor. Was able to save the bottom plate of the walls and bottoms of the studs, so didn't have to rip out the partially rotted walls. Great stuff, gotta wear a gas mask!


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