Dry Rot! - Fiberglass RV


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Old 05-05-2003, 07:18 PM   #1
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Dry Rot!

So we yanked out the water heater last week because we simply could not find the leak in it, and found something much worse-- the trailer is rotted all along the port side, from the front end to the wheel well.

<img src=http://www.fiberglassrv.com/board/uploads/3eb6fc19ecad2knife-h2o.JPG/>

The wood is punky in 4- 6in. through this area.

<img src=http://www.fiberglassrv.com/board/uploads/3eb6fc6be0032knife-frig.JPG/>

Waay worse than punky here. The blade of my faithful Case encountered no resistance at all. In fact, I could have poked my finger in just as deep, but it's yucky in there.

I'm thinking we have to cut the plywood back to the solid area, and scarf in a new plywood plank, but I don't know what I'm going to find under the plywood. None of the wood framing around the water heater and fridge access ports shows any sign of rot, so I've got my fingers crossed.

Anybody know what the underlayment of an '88 Bigfoot is like?

Kitty :conf
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Old 05-05-2003, 08:32 PM   #2
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why not just try the resin approach. just pour it on and it turns the wood hard. comes in a little bottle, no mixing. then if it didn't work you could do the take out and fix.
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Old 05-05-2003, 08:59 PM   #3
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What about the leak?

So was the water heater leaking? Or is it still leaking somewhere else?
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Old 05-05-2003, 09:13 PM   #4
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Quote:
Orginally posted by Thomas and Janifer

why not just try the resin approach. just pour it on and it turns the wood hard. comes in a little bottle, no mixing. then if it didn't work you could do the take out and fix.
If it was a hole, I might do that, but the area under the H2Oheater is solid enough that GitRot or whatever would not penetrate and kill the rot, so the hard surface would only be temporary. And the area under the fridge is too far gone-- there's nothing as strong as paper in there.

Quote:
Orginally posted by Ron and Bernice

So was the water heater leaking? Or is it still leaking somewhere else?
It's definitely the water heater, but I haven't been able to isolate the leak. I think one of the welded seams has a pinhole in it. There's a big difference in quality between the various welds. Doug's going to try to charge the thing up with the hose and see if he can get it to leak *publicly*. I have officially given up on the heater, and am only thinking about rot now.

Kitty :o
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Old 05-10-2003, 10:44 PM   #5
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There's the leak!

The leak in the waterheater was a surprise-- it's on the bottom, where the tank rests. It appears that corrosion and abrasion-- fiberglass, aluminum and linoleum wearing together?-- wore a weak spot in it. I would have thought the insulation would protect it, but that does not appear to be the case.

Doug put a threaded hose fitting on the tank and gave it a charge of city water. It bubbled right through the wall of the tank. Who woulda thought??
<img src=http://www.fiberglassrv.com/board/uploads/3ebdc76f7dbf1dougnh2o.JPG/>
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Old 05-10-2003, 10:46 PM   #6
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And here's more about the damage done.

<img src=http://www.fiberglassrv.com/board/uploads/3ebdc7aa16349rotten.JPG/>

The would was less structurally sound than a newspaper. The good news is, there is a nearly unblemished flor stringer just about six inches in, so I can do a simple patch job for this season, and next year I'll think about hauling out the fridge and rebuilding the floor under it.

Kitty:wave
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Old 05-11-2003, 07:23 AM   #7
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Good News

Kitty,

Sounds like there is a lot of good news in amongst the apparently bad. That's great that you found the leak in the water heater. Those things can be so elusive at times.

Glad you are going to be able to 'patch and go' so that you don't miss the camping season this year.
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Old 05-12-2003, 09:59 AM   #8
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Kitty ... stupid question here (and I'm known for my stupid questions) ... from the exposed fiberglass patch in one of your last pictures ... if appears that your Bigfoot is built like an early Casita ... an interior piece of wood laid on top a solid fiberglass bottom.

In other words, when your knife pierces the rotten wood, it hits fiberglass, right ... or does it stick right through the bottom?
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Old 05-12-2003, 08:23 PM   #9
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Charles,

Here's what a cross-section of the bottom/side looks like:

<img src=http://www.fiberglassrv.com/board/uploads/3ec047b84a007x-section.JPG/>

Blue is glass, pink is insulation, brown is the floor joist, and tan is the plywood deck. I don't know how many joists span the floor. Maybe just one on each side.

<img src=http://www.fiberglassrv.com/board/uploads/3ec0486331438floorup.JPG/>

and here's what mine looks like after I scratch away the rotten wood with my fingers. You can just barely see the joist between the wiring and the blue tint atop the foam insulation. I think I'm going to yank the fridge and proceed.

Kitty :wave
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