Help with leaks - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-09-2010, 10:13 PM   #1
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Name: Jason
Trailer: 17' Boler
British Columbia
Posts: 6
Help with leaks

Hi there,
We are new to the forum but have been reading quite a bit lately as we are the proud new owners of a 17' 1978 Boler!

We have just noticed some moisture under the front window and at the back side window as evidence by wet wood cabinets and were wondering if there was any advice on the easiest way to diagnose the leaks?

Would it be easiest to reseal the windows with butyl tape as recommended and hope that is it or pull up the ensolite to determine exactly where the leak is coming from? (my worry is how well the ensolite will go back if we pull it up)

Thanks in advance!
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Old 09-09-2010, 11:23 PM   #2
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Name: Rachel
Trailer: 1974 Boler 13 ft (Neonex/Winnipeg)
Posts: 3,014
I always hesitate to give absolutes, but... I would say it's a rare 30-year-old trailer that couldn't stand to have the windows re-bedded properly. I suppose some people manage to buy one wherein the previous owners did this, but usually I see globs of caulk, silicone , and what-have-you on the outside of the window flange, where, fat lot of good it does.

So, I'm thinking that it's a fair guess that it is your windows leaking, but it would be nice to know for sure before you move ahead. Can you sit in the trailer during a rain and check? Or a (non-super-pressure) hose down? Alternatively, I have done things like stick a "tell tale" made of Kleenex™ or paper toweling in places I suspected, then gone to check them after a rain.

You are right in that leaks can travel under the Ensolite, but I don't think I'd go too crazy peeling that up until I had checked over and eliminated the more obvious causes (such as the windows).

Congrats on your new Boler

Raya
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Old 09-10-2010, 01:18 AM   #3
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Name: Jason
Trailer: 17' Boler
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Thanks so much for the advice.

Is it fair to say that the alternative cause of the leakiness would be some actual damage to the fiberglass shell? Is the band where the two halves meet an option?

Thanks again! Ever so helpful.
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Old 09-10-2010, 01:56 AM   #4
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Name: Rachel
Trailer: 1974 Boler 13 ft (Neonex/Winnipeg)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by earnie View Post
Thanks so much for the advice.

Is it fair to say that the alternative cause of the leakiness would be some actual damage to the fiberglass shell? Is the band where the two halves meet an option?
If the Boler 17 is put together the way the 13 is, then the upper and lower halves are fiberglassed together on the inside (with a strip of cloth and resin) and should be like one piece. The 13's top and bottom halves have outward turning lips that are riveted together and have the Saturn-like "belly band" over them for trim, but it's the fiberglass strip inside that really does the job.

So, that shouldn't be leaking.

But....

1) People have had leaks where there was a missed spot or something on the inside fiberglassing of the band (that may have been a Scamp, but I'm sure it could happen on a Boler too, as these were not put together by Swiss watchmakers).

2) Sometimes previous owners have made holes for some reason (trying to rivet something or make "improvements." Or as you say there could be damage (but you would probably see that on the outside).

3) The Boler 17 may not be put together the same way. I've never seen one in person.

I would still lean toward the windows. But you're right to explore possibilities and to get a feel for the overall construction.

Raya
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Old 09-18-2010, 05:03 PM   #5
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Name: Jason
Trailer: 17' Boler
British Columbia
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So we managed to pop out the likely offending windows and cleaned them off and then put the butyl tape around the the window flange. It seems to have gone well but in some parts of the the window, there wasn't as much "ooze" as others. Does this mean there wasn't enough putty or can we feel assured that it will still have done its job?

Our latest issue, is that we have found a bit of seepage through 2 screws/holes used to attach the awning (I think) What is the best way to keep the wet out of this type of area?

Thanks again for all the advice, the forum has been so helpful thus far!
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Old 09-18-2010, 06:10 PM   #6
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Name: Rachel
Trailer: 1974 Boler 13 ft (Neonex/Winnipeg)
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Hi earnie,

I like to see squeeze out everywhere. I figure if I haven't "wasted" half the caulk, I haven't done the right job

You could wait and see, or, while you're at it, just take the window back out and do it again.

On the awning.... is it an awning track? Or is the awning screwed directly to the trailer?

And is it screws for sure, or rivets?

Can you see the back? I mean, are there nuts and washers -- or did someone maybe use self-tapping screws into the fiberglass. If the latter, that is usually not a good plan, and I would probably want to improve the attachment.

If it is machine screws and nuts, and they aren't leaking because of any obvious movement, hole elongation, or etc., then I would remove them, wrap the top of the threads and under the head with butyl (or use caulk in which case I would tape off the trailer), and then refasten. The idea is like with the windows in that you want the sealant under the "flange," not on top of it.

If rivets, then you have to have a dollop on the top, because of the built in hole.

Can you please post photos? That would sure help in visualizing and giving our opinions on solutions.

Raya
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Old 09-19-2010, 03:20 PM   #7
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Name: Jason
Trailer: 17' Boler
British Columbia
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Raya- thanks again for all your help. I would love to post some pics but our camera is broken. As soon as we get it fixed or get a new one I will attach some photos.

The two screws I was mentioning are definitely screws so we will have to look into what to do about that further.

We are just waiting to check the windows but it seems to have gone well.

Thanks again!
Earnie
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