Belly Band Leaking? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 05-12-2006, 08:20 PM   #1
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Trailer: 1988 19 ft Scamp
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I've been getting the Scamp all ready for camping this summer Unfortunately, I've found a water leak that I am having trouble tracking down.

Has anybody ever dealt with their belly band leaking? We have a leak where water shows up under the flooring at the back of the trailer under the dinette. I replaced all the rivets, replaced the back window seal, and resealed the roof vent. And, low and behold...there was still water.

So, I took out the rear benches and removed the rat fur and insulation up to the rear window after the trailer sat in the rain for a day. The wood piece that is fiberglassed into the back for the table supports to mount into was soaking wet, but nothing above it was wet. I tore out all the wood and taped the 2 screw holes closed that went into the wood from the outside. Then I gently sprayed water on the back of the trailer above the belly band. About 30 minutes later, water started appearing at the bottom of the recess where the table support wood was fiberglassed in. There are no traces of water on the inside walls of the fiberglass and I can't see it anywhere internal to the fiberglass (although it must be there).

The seam between the top half and bottom half is fiberglassed on the inside of the trailer, but I can see air pockets in the fiberglass.

Has anybody else dealt with this? I was going to remove the RTV that seals the top of the belly band and replace it. Do I also need to seal the rivets that hold the belly band on?

As always, thanks in advance for your help.

-Isaac
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Old 05-12-2006, 08:27 PM   #2
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If the "rat fur" and insulation is removed all the way up the window, then the belly seam area must be visible. I have read in this forum that the top and bottom shells are fiberglassed together on the inside, so the external trim should not need sealing. It seems that almost everyone does end up sealing the trim, because somewhere around the trailer the seam-sealing fiberglass fails, and water gets into the seam area at one point (anywhere, past the trim) then travels around to some other point (where the seam-sealing fiberglass has failed), where it then enters the interior. In this respect, Bolers and Scamps are apparently identical.

Does this fit the situation, or is my assumption about the construction wrong? A photo might help.
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Old 05-12-2006, 09:38 PM   #3
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I think belly band leaks are rare in these little guys but they can happen,

Yes, Isaac we have dealt with the belly band leak issue in our 92s13. From what you have said it sounds like you have localized the problem to the band area under the table board. Our band leak was in the door side rear corner not far from the water inlet. In our case it resulted from the fabricator person failing to properly overlap the fiberglass joining strips when joining the halves together. I think ours leaked from day one or there abouts. By the time we got it in 2005 two rear windows leaked as well. The work we did and are doing is cronicled in an albun under the Scampers group on yahoo. Title is "Dave and Diane's project scamp".

We pulled the rat fur, reflectix. and damaged table board wood as you have done. We then cleaned the belly band seam on the inside with very coarse abrasive paper discs on an electric drill and with acetone. We resealed the inside of the belly band with fiberglass
mat strips and Polyester resin. We easaily could see where our leak was but we reglassed the band from the side near the closet all the way around the back to the kitchenette.
We figured as long as it was exposed an ounce of prevention etc......

I do suggest you define the exact location of your leak though......

Hope this helps.

Good luck and keep us posted

Dave and Diane
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Old 05-12-2006, 11:30 PM   #4
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On my 17' Boler, the belly band leaked because at the factory or possibly later someone ran screws thru the belly band joint to fasten some cupboards to the trailer wall......it appeared that they had been leaking for some time......it`s not a big deal to remove the belly band and seal up the area if this is the problem and the Pop rivets that hold on the belly band don`t require a sealantbecause there is normally no place for the water to penetrate the trailer belly band fiberglass joint....Benny
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Old 05-13-2006, 02:16 AM   #5
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I think I have exactly the same problem on my 91S13 (or my rear window leaks).

As Brian said, there should be continuous epoxy joining the two halves and then there is a fiberglass strip bridging the inside of the seam to make a flat wall surface. A leak in the outer epoxy (either a void or a narrow spot pierced by a bellyband rivet) lets water in and it runs around behind the fiberglass strip until it finds a flaw there from which to emerge.

My leak is intermittant, so I suspect it only flows when enuf water enters and the level is correct for it to find the flaw.

The problem with caulking the bellyband is that sooner or later it mildews...
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Old 05-13-2006, 06:35 AM   #6
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I'm curious as to why belly band leak issues keep showing up here, whereas eggs with vertical seams - Burro and UHaul - don't seem to have a seam problem (at least, I haven't heard of any). Sounds like both types have their halves joined about the same way and bonded together. Could it be the way the halves are flexed when under way?
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Old 05-13-2006, 11:14 AM   #7
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Jack, it could be the trim lock. Seams are sealed.. no hardware involved. Trim lock goes over.. also no hardware involved. No holes or rivets or screws to make the weak link.

Water would have to be pretty sneaky to snake in uphill and get around to the split/excess glass in the seam joint.


The halves flexing may indeed have a ton to do with it as well.
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Old 05-13-2006, 11:42 AM   #8
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Good point, Gina. But the TrimLocked seam on Burro and UHaul goes down the front and back, and actually curves under a bit at the bottom ends, which I would think make them, if anything, more susceptible to leakage. Guess we'll just have to chalk it up as a mystery.
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Old 05-13-2006, 12:07 PM   #9
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I saw a 17FT Boler with what looked like window putty place around the belly band on the top side.It was a good looking job.I think this idea would solve any leak problems around Belly Band.
Just a observation.
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Old 05-13-2006, 01:14 PM   #10
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Jack, that was my point. Unless the leak was right at the top, gravity would draw most of the water away. A pinhole sized opening would not draw much (If any) water intake as it was rolling by. No pooling and drain effect.

I have a mystery leak.. it may very well be coming in from the roof section. I replaced all the trim lock last year when I pianted tho. That seam looks awfully solid.
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Old 05-13-2006, 05:38 PM   #11
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Like Ches, I saw a 13' in Quebec which had the space between the belly band and the cabin filled with a white, epoxy type, rock hard filler....that owner had bought it that way....Benny
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Old 05-14-2006, 12:03 AM   #12
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Thank you very much for your replies. I'm going to do a little more checking to see if I can pinpoint the place where the water is coming in. If I'm not able to find it, then I think I'll replace all the caulking on the top side of the belly band and put some on the rivets. If that doesn't stop it, then I'll have to take some more drastic measures.

-Isaac
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Old 05-14-2006, 09:07 AM   #13
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Greetings Isaac,

We too could see air pockets behind the fiberglass stripping that holds the halves together.
In our case those pockets showed as black spots from the balck mildew that filled them all the way along the seam.

We could clearly see gaps where the caulk had puylled away from the trailer along the aluminum band on the outside. We did remove what we could of this caulk,cleaned it, and replaced it with silicon sealant. (I can hear the moans and groans of the anti-silicone militia already.) by using painters masking tape we were able to get a very neat job.

I dont' know if the recalking of the band outside helped with our leak problem or not. We also refiberglassed the exposed seam on the inside as well. Between the two plus remounting the windows the leak is gone. It is a lot of work to expose the seam as you have done already. Don't pass up the opportunity to refiberglass the band you have already exposed on the inside.

Dave and Diane
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Old 05-14-2006, 10:43 PM   #14
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Jack, as Gina sez, any water that gets into the seam of a Burro/UHaul is likely to drain down and out, rather than in. Even if it goes in, it encounters the inner hull and drains down. I'd guess that B/UH have weep holes of some sort in the bottom to facilitate the process.

Regarding old caulk on Scamp bellybands, I don't believe the factory applies any caulking to this area, so it is likely from a previous owner.
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