Burro Floor Rot - Fiberglass RV


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Old 12-11-2005, 09:11 PM   #1
laura dawn
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Jim,

Burros are notorious for having rotted out floors which are a major problem to fix. I have one, I am putting in many hours of hard work as are a number of other members on this site. BE CAREFUL what you buy.

Gary
I made the error of buying a Burro without knowing it's possible problems, and just found out today the floor is rotted out. What do I do? I am a 115 lb girl, with no equipment to do this on my own. Please suggestions?!? I would even be willing to pay someone to do it, but do not know where to start. I am in So Cal now, but would happily dirve almost anywhere within a 2 day drive to get it done well and affordably.
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Old 12-11-2005, 09:19 PM   #2
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Hi lauradawn
Welcome----------Sorry to hear about your floor problems.Some one closer to you will jump in here and may be able to help.
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Old 12-11-2005, 09:39 PM   #3
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Welcome Lauradawn!

I am even smaller than you, and have found that unless it takes out and out BRUTE force, or an expertise that is critical for safety, there is just about nothing you can't do.

I have rewired the interior of the Burro where it needed it and could easily be corrected, added and hardwired auxillery batteries and outlets, I removed and laid a floor covering, painted the outside including all the prep work (With the help of many hands and friends from this forum) added a propane tank holder, modified and added tables, hung new lights and cut hatches and made new covers for the cubbies.

All this stuff is not as daunting as you would expect.

I am with you tho, I am not sure I would want to tackle a sub floor on my own, brute strength needed and if done wrong, safety issues, but just about any RV place could do it. Floor problems are common with ANY trailer, not just glass.
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Old 12-11-2005, 10:00 PM   #4
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I think once any of these little eggs start hitting 2 decades in age, you are going to run into issues of one type or another. How well they have been cared is very important as well.

Our 1987 13' Burro has needed remarkably little work, with just surface rust on the frame (no cracks), a torsion axle that had lost it's boing, and appliances that were generally shot. No floor rot, no structural issues, and no major leaks. As many have pointed out one of the Burro's greatest strenghts is its double-walled construction (and if it has been insulated between the walls even better) which seems to hold up better over time as well as being gel-coated both inside and outside making it easier to clean and maintain. The biggest downside is that you better not have any serious remodeling plans because the interior is pretty much molded into place.

In the 2 years since we have had ours, we have replaced the defunct 2-way refridge with a 3-way, bought a new stove-top, replaced the axle, replaced all exterior running lights with LED units, put in laminate flooring, and had it repainted. Dollar-wise (including the initial purchase price) we have about $6k sunk into our little camper now, which is no small chunk of change. However that is still much less than a new one AND we have had the bonus of getting 2 summers of pleasure out of it already.

And as a stress-reducer it has been priceless...

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Old 12-11-2005, 10:04 PM   #5
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It depends on how much of the floor is rotted out. It could be you only need to replace a few sections. But if the whole floor is gone, then.....well...........YIKES!

I suspect it is not entirely rotted out or the body would come off the frame since the floor bolts hold the body to the frame. There has to be some integrity there.

I live four hours above Southern California in San Luis Obispo County. There must be another member near you that could at least survey your floor and find out just how much of it is salvageable. Can you tow the trailer at this time?

My floor had many probelms but a few weeks of work and it's back in business. In fact, the Burro is off to the painters tomorrow.
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Old 12-11-2005, 10:28 PM   #6
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All this stuff is not as daunting as you would expect.
I agree 100% with Gina. You'd be surprised by the members of this forum...I'm guessing a good 40% of the single members are woman and for the most part we do alot of the work ourselves. Some have never tackled a project like this in their lives, but find great pride in accomplishment.

You'll need two things to start on the floor. Motivation and determination....once you have those, we'll go from there.

Where in Southern California are you located??? It's a big place and we have members all over the place. There's a chance someone may live close to you and may offer to at least give you an honest appraisal of the floor situation. Unfortunately this is a bad time of the year with the holidays, stuff going on with family and friends, winter vacations, etc. You may need to be patient until the first of the year.

In the meantime, is it possible for you to take and post some pictures?? Where is the floor rot located? Door area, etc.

You've found a forum with a lot of folks willing to give you guidance and support. I think this is important enough I'm putting it into it's own topic
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Old 12-11-2005, 10:54 PM   #7
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I would be happy to look at it for you. I am in San Bernardino area (WAY up above!) and I work in Corona.

I will also be out for two weeks with my egg, starting next weekend, so if you are in no hurry and can get it to one of those two places..

Tho I am not physically capable of replacing it, I can still assess it for you.
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Old 12-12-2005, 03:16 AM   #8
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You all are amazing! Thank you so much. I didn't expect to get such a quick reply. Now I understand the thanks I have seen posted!! Thank you!!
I am not sure where it is rotted yet.. except that when I ran water in the shower.. the trailer was at a tilt and the water ran right through the back corner wall behind the toilet and out through the bottom of the trailer.. so at least underneath the bathroom section... there is a smell of mold, or something
I looked underneath the trailer to get an idea, I saw what looked like wood screws sticking down through, no bolts... Someone has already at least re-tiled the floor, so maybe they have already replaced bad sections.. the wood screws sticking down through, unbolted, did not instill much confidence in me that it is in good shape, but I'm completely unknowledgable at this point.. bolts sounds better which is what I see mentioned here.
I would be happy to take it to Corona.. it is not too far, about an hour from me. right now the trailer is in Simi Valley, Ca.
I not only have the problem of the floor, I would need to remove at least this bottom section of the shower area...this seems more serious, although it does not seem at all to be part of the mold.. my fear was getting another piece to replace it. Maybe it just pulls up and I could re-use it??
I am gaining confidence that maybe this is do-able... I would like to redo it... Gina and Gary thank you especially, all thank you. I am trying to get his done during December/January. I don't have plans for the holidays and was hoping to be finished with all repairs before Jan 20th... I know it is a tough time, so will especially do more on my own, if not all. Gina, if you do have any time to look at it please let me know, and if not till after your vacation, and I have not already had it looked at.. that would be wonderful! Thank you. You are quite close. I will happily drive anywhere..
Could anyone tell me, would it be safe to un-caulk and remove the bathroom floor to see the damage? Am I likely to run into trouble doing this, anything to be catious of?
Where/how do I tell the condition of the axel and the rubber torsion suspension , and the frame?
I trailered it from San Diego to Simi (about 120 miles I think) and it did fine, all seems strong.
Thank you! Thank you!
Oh, it is a wide-body 17' 1998 Burro
I'll keep checking into this. I guess posting is best as it is good for everyone, it is how I found this site!
Again my great thanks!
Laura
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Old 12-12-2005, 09:14 AM   #9
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Lauradawn, here's a very recent discussion on how to check out the axle. It was started by a U-Haul owner, but the principles still apply to you:

Axle Condition

As far as I know, the only way to check the frame..is visually. Borrow a creeper (you lay on it) and if possible "creep" along the frame area, front to back with a strong flashlight. Look for any areas of damage and mark them with a crayon or grease pencil. Thoroughly check the tongue area. Especially the area where the tongue comes just out from under the body. This seems to be the area of most vulnerability for cracks. Just ask Gina
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Old 12-12-2005, 07:25 PM   #10
laura dawn
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I looked today at the floor, pulled up some tile, and it is in good condition yay!.. Except I think under the shower., very bad there I'm guessing I though about going to the local RV dealership and asking their input. I'd like to just take the entire shower out and do it differently.. I will look around for posts on this...
I will also ask about packing the wheels ect when I go... Any advice here.. taking out the shower and toilet and reinstalling, any good books to read on it?
Thank you!
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Old 12-12-2005, 08:01 PM   #11
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Are you sure your floor is leaking and not the plumbing under the shower??
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Old 12-13-2005, 02:03 AM   #12
laura dawn
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Are you sure your floor is leaking and not the plumbing under the shower??
Yes, the water flowed to the back of the "shower room" and it is not sealed there.. the caulking is gone and moldy in the corner.. and then the water flowed down and out the bottom of the trailer under the bathroom.
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Old 12-13-2005, 03:04 AM   #13
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Laura,
I had a similar problem the first time I used the shower in my used Casita. I don't think that the previous owner used the shower and had no reason to disclose the problem. I now know to check it every spring just to make sure that the silicone is still bonded to the slick plastic and fiberglass panels. If you do take out the shower floor pan for inspection and find any soft wood, you may be able to repair it without removing the old wood. Whatever you do, don't go chipping away at the rotted area before you check out the info at: http://www.rotdoctor.com If you are lucky and don't find any damaged wood, a good dousing with Thompson's Water Seal will help prevent future damage.

I am making a guess that your Burro has a Dexter Torflex axle. You will find all the care and maintenance information in the Trailer Resource Library at: http://www.dexteraxle.com
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Old 12-13-2005, 07:25 AM   #14
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I've had to fix two rotted floors so far (the PlayPac had it pretty bad as did my little bike hauler). I haven't had a good look at the interior of a Burro to see how the floors are done - but in my case the floors were reasonably accessable. In the playpac it was glassed in - but i just cut through.

In both cases, I addressed them by thinking like a dentist and not like the folks who probably built them. In short: Cut out ONLY what is bad and fill in the hole. The only thing gumming up that approach is the question of structural support. That's gonna depend greatly on exactly where the rot is - and what's located under it. I was lucky enough that I had a frame rail (just one) under my spot. I added additional support by sistering planks (and a big hunk of plywood) under the bad spot (now hole) and bolting it to the remaining solid wood. The hole was filled with a piece of plywood cut to shape, with the remaining gaps filled with body putty. New vinyl flooring went over the whole mess.

I've also seen people take 1/4" plywood and just lay it over the whole floor. If the bad spots are small enough that's all it takes. Again - new finish flooring and you're done.

mkw
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Old 12-13-2005, 09:56 AM   #15
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Laura,
Congratulations on your trailer! My Burro lives pretty close by in Canyon Country. Welcome to FGRV and the Burro family!
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Old 12-14-2005, 07:57 PM   #16
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Yes, the water flowed to the back of the "shower room" and it is not sealed there.. the caulking is gone and moldy in the corner.. and then the water flowed down and out the bottom of the trailer under the bathroom.
Hi Lauradawn! Welcome to FGRV! Your Burro's floor may or may not be rotted under the shower. As it's a '98, the condition of the wood in the floor may not be as bad as you may suspect. The Burro floor is plywood encased in fiberglass top and bottom. The models with the shower have the shower pan laid on top of the floor, and the drain line run through the floor. The toilet drain also runs through the shower pan and floor. The walls are installed after the shower pan is laid down, and then the whole thing is caulked where needed. There are basically only three places then, that can leak: the through-hole for the shower pan drain, the through-hole for the toilet, and the cracks that should be caulked and that may now leak.

Any or all of them may be leaking and contribute to your problem. None of them may have been serious enough or run water long enough to actually have allowed dry rot to occur. Then again, you just don't know. Mold and mildew isn't necessarily indicative of dry rot either.

My first course of action would be to take out all of the existing caulking in the shower and allow the entire shower enclosure to dry out through the cracks for a few days. Then re-caulk them, let the caulk set up, and test the shower. If that's all it was (and that's probable) then you've fixed your problem. If it wasn't, then the next most likely is that something is leaking around the pan drain. Last is probably the toilet drain. While it's possible to tear the entire shower out, and is really not even all that difficult, it may just not be necessary yet.

Good luck!

Roger
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Old 12-17-2005, 04:15 AM   #17
laura dawn
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If you do take out the shower floor pan for inspection.....

Thank you again all.. There is an odor I think may be mold, so I have started unscrewing ect to get the shower pan out.
But I have come across a few thinkgs I 'm not sure how to do.
First is getting the toilet out??
I unscrewed the bolts, and unattached the water, but the toilet does not pull up??
Any suggestions?
I thought I would get underneath and take the tank off to see if I could see anything, but when I try to turn the nuts, the bolt turns right with it.. The top of the bolt are under the shower pan, so I am stuck here...???
I am trying to take off the front panel of the shower..and will work on this more tomorrow as it is holding down the front end of the shower pan, maybe then I can see a bit more.
The screws, many of them were rusted.... I will see more tomorrow.. but any advice on getting that toilet out is greatly appreciated, as is all of your help, encouragement and welcomes.
Thank you!!!
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Old 12-17-2005, 08:04 AM   #18
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Unfortunately, I don't have my Burro to go look at as a reference any more, so I'm trying to remember how mine was assembled.

I think that removing the toilet and black water tank in one of these is a significant job as it involves removing the plumbing from the bottom of the tank. I've never removed a Sealand toilet/black water tank combo unit, so I can't help too much there. Unfortunately all my experience has been with Thetford toilets and a remote black water tank. Anyway, if the bolts are rusted, you may have to cut them off with a dremel tool if the conventional rust cutters (liquid wrench, etc.) won't work.

I would have thought that the black water tank would have been through-bolted to the floor rather than just the shower pan... but I suppose it's possible, for ease of assembly, that they assembled the tank to the pan, put the pan in place and then installed the toilet.

I think you'll need to start from under the trailer and see how the plumbing is actually attached to the black water tank, and disassemble it first. If it's glued PVC, you'll be cutting. If you're lucky, they made the plumbing/tank attachment with a black rubber grommet and hose clamps.

Take photos as you go so we can all see how it works please!

Roger
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Old 12-17-2005, 09:21 AM   #19
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Lauradawn:
I might be able to give some hints/pictures of how the toilet is mounted, since I removed and replaced ours. But first I need to know what toilet it is. Roger mentions Sealand, but mine has a Valterra "La Toilette" which mounts in what appears to be an unusual way. If you have one like mine let me know and I'll forward a couple of pictures which should clarify how it is mounted.
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Old 12-17-2005, 02:37 PM   #20
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Lauradawn:

I'm posting these pictures of the Valterra "La Toilette" which were taken after I wriggled the thing off after having to hacksaw off the bolts. I managed to cut the bolts off high enough so that new nuts could still be mounted (didn't want to lower the tank, etc.).
The moulded device that is attached to the floor makes a tight fit for the toilet, whose pipe arrangement shows in the view of the toilet upside down. I used a silicone paste for reassembly, a type that does not harden.
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