Interesting leak..... - Fiberglass RV


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Old 03-08-2009, 05:03 PM   #1
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So I've had an elusive leak now going on 3 months......thought it was the window...redid that.......thought maybe the stove vent pipe fixed that.........perhaps it's the rivots....fixed those..........still water snuck in under the sink area.....hummmmmmm thought .....thought....thought some more....followed the pattern seemed unlikely but I began to suspect the belly band......took out some rivots did some maintenace there......waited for the rain, to cold and semi lazy to throw a hose on it. Still water sneaked in. Decided to take out the bench again......put my hand behind the ensolite found wetness......AH HA on to something.....pulled back the ensolite up to the belly band BINGO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Found two small brown "weeping spots".small as in 1/8 inch small....put a dry towel on then as soon as I pulled the towel away those two spots would let the water come in.......TODAY IS A GOOD DAY!!!!!! For tomorrow my trailer will be dry MMMAHAHAHHAHHAHAHAHAH I win this round.
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Old 03-08-2009, 06:22 PM   #2
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Well GOOD ON YOU Brandy for being diligent enough to dig untill you 'isolated' and corrected the problem. Lawrd knows a leaky trailer is a pain indeed!
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Old 03-08-2009, 09:57 PM   #3
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Wow, Brandy - finding the leak. Now THAT's an accomplishment! Takes a LOT of patience and diligence.



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Old 03-08-2009, 10:38 PM   #4
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Man your not a kidding.....My husband said "just throw a tarp on it" *gasp*......I will once I find the leak but I wanted to know if she was "sea worthy" in the event I was out and about. Besides water just rolled along the belly band and wicked its way in via those two holes......Interestingly enought they were not actual holes but thin spots that appeared as if someone meant to drive a screw thru but never managed to actually make it pass thru well I'll just have to wonder why...in the mean time I have some patchwork to do....




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Wow, Brandy - finding the leak. Now THAT's an accomplishment! Takes a LOT of patience and diligence.



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Old 03-09-2009, 12:55 AM   #5
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Man your not a kidding.....My husband said "just throw a tarp on it" *gasp*......I will once I find the leak but I wanted to know if she was "sea worthy" in the event I was out and about. Besides water just rolled along the belly band and wicked its way in via those two holes......Interestingly enought they were not actual holes but thin spots that appeared as if someone meant to drive a screw thru but never managed to actually make it pass thru well I'll just have to wonder why...in the mean time I have some patchwork to do....
DUCT TAPE!!!!!!!! (and use Carrie's pen to push it on with.....)
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Old 03-09-2009, 02:58 AM   #6
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Problem with belly band leak is that that the fiberglass is really a tube, so the outside part of the leak may be elsewhere -- The water comes in at one place and then runs around inside the 'tube' looking for an exit. Usually, the outside leak is from a poorly placed or loose rivet.
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Old 03-09-2009, 09:48 AM   #7
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aHHH HA interesting, very interesting........I took a photo then put it on the computer for those who like their photos and when I resized the photo 200 % you could see there were actual screw holes that appeared to be fiberglassed over..........well now that does make you wonder......so there you have it folks ...and for those that wonder what the belly band looks like from the inside viola you now know...


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Old 03-09-2009, 10:12 AM   #8
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aHHH HA interesting, very interesting........I took a photo ... for those that wonder what the belly band looks like from the inside viola you now know...
so after they two shells are put together they fiberglass the seam mating the two shells permanently? rivets are to hold the decerative outer band on only?
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Old 03-09-2009, 12:49 PM   #9
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so after they two shells are put together they fiberglass the seam mating the two shells permanently? rivets are to hold the decerative outer band on only?
Yes, that's correct. The belly band on boler clones is just to cover up the outward-turning "lips" after the upper and lower halves are glassed together on the inside. They could just as well have ground off the lips and faired them flat (but that would have been more work and not necessarily as aesthetically pleasing; I'm just saying it could have been done, structurally speaking).

So the belly band rivets go through just the "lips," on the outside of the trailer, perpendicular to the plane of the ground, and as far as I know, unless there is a mistake or later modification (which must have occurred on Brandy's trailer), those rivet holes would have no reason to penetrate the trailer.

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Old 03-09-2009, 01:20 PM   #10
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They could just as well have ground off the lips and faired them flat (but that would have been more work and not necessarily as aesthetically pleasing; I'm just saying it could have been done, structurally speaking).
I'm thinking the lips and the additional clasping effect from the belly band might help ease the tension on the seam somehow over the years. I would also think that trying to keep a reasonably good seal on the belly band is probably a good thing especially in cold weather, as it prevents water from seeping into that recessed area and then freezing and causing small cracks in the seam and develop leaks (which is what I believed happened on my Trillium after 30-some years). Then again, you wouldn't have all this if it was just sanded flat to begin with, so you may have a point.
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Old 03-09-2009, 01:30 PM   #11
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Correct the rivets only go thru the "lip".......curiously I can see no know explaination as to why those holes are there....perhaps when it was originally being made someone made a mistake and drilled two holes and they glassed over it to correct the problem....At this point I'm so happy I discovered the problem. I do have the belly band a portion of the way off and could provide photos for the looky loo's if ya want.....

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So the belly band rivets go through just the "lips," on the outside of the trailer, perpendicular to the plane of the ground, and as far as I know, unless there is a mistake or later modification (which must have occurred on Brandy's trailer), those rivet holes would have no reason to penetrate the trailer.

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Old 03-09-2009, 01:33 PM   #12
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I might add that I believe this might have been an on-going problem for someone originally.....now that I think about it when I first got my trailer I found heaps of adheasive around the bellly band which I scraped off (responsibly of course not with sharp tools) so me thinks this was always an issue.......
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Old 03-09-2009, 04:06 PM   #13
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I'm thinking the lips and the additional clasping effect from the belly band might help ease the tension on the seam somehow over the years. I would also think that trying to keep a reasonably good seal on the belly band is probably a good thing especially in cold weather, as it prevents water from seeping into that recessed area and then freezing and causing small cracks in the seam and develop leaks (which is what I believed happened on my Trillium after 30-some years).
Daniel,

Sorry to quote such a big block, but I can't quote individual blocks and then respond that way, due to board rules.

Fiberglass tabbing, done properly, is immensely strong, so I don't think the riveted belly band is really helping. That's not to say it hurts, but I don't think it's necessary.

The Trillium band is put together a bit differently, in that there are mild steel plates glassed into the seam, and then the belly band rivets run parallel to the ground and engage the plates. There is probably some benefit to keeping water out of the plate area, since it can rust and expand (you can often feel them by running your hand along beneath the belly band on the side of the trailer), and then cause unsightly bulges or even leaks.

That said, I don't find that a bead of caulk on the outside of something ever seals it properly (e.g. Brandy's leak even though it was heaped with caulk on top), so if one wanted to seal the Trillium belly band I think it shouldshould really be removed in order to caulk beneath it, not on top of it. Although it's an attractive band, if I wanted to fix a "water intrusion into the plates" problem, I would be tempted to remove it alltogether, dig out the mild steel plates, fill the resulting pits, and put on an adhesive belly band such as a molding from a truck or auto.



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Old 03-09-2009, 05:38 PM   #14
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still sore about me stealing that pen eh <----- mmwhahahahhah

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DUCT TAPE!!!!!!!! (and use Carrie's pen to push it on with.....)
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Old 03-09-2009, 05:43 PM   #15
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The Trillium band is put together a bit differently, in that there are mild steel plates glassed into the seam, and then the belly band rivets run parallel to the ground and engage the plates. There is probably some benefit to keeping water out of the plate area, since it can rust and expand (you can often feel them by running your hand along beneath the belly band on the side of the trailer), and then cause unsightly bulges or even leaks.
Yup. That's what I had observed as well - water reaching the glassed-in steel plates along the rivets causes them to rust and the rivets to pop out. Then the rusted plates expand plus the water lingering inside freezes, and creates cracks in the seam over the years. So technically, I imagine the Boler's seam might benefit from the protection depending on how well the resin was squished into the gap and how much water the band lets in, but you're right that it's probably marginal.

That said, I didn't bother putting any caulk myself, as I prefer dealing with leaks when they show up rather than masking them with caulk. If I did put some, I would only put it in the space behind the belly band as a preventive measure and not have it show up anywhere visible.
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Old 03-09-2009, 10:08 PM   #16
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So technically, I imagine the Boler's seam might benefit from the protection depending on how well the resin was squished into the gap and how much water the band lets in, but you're right that it's probably marginal.
Yeah, there really isn't anywhere for the water to go on a Boler as far as I know. Just through the rivet holes and back out the bottom, or maybe under the edge of the band (which seems to not be affected by any water freezing near it, as far as I've seen so far).

Overall I really like the construction of the Trillium (what I originally wanted), but the steel plates were an odd choice. At least they would be repairable without doing anything mega-disruptive like pulling out the interior.

Nice to hear you that you aren't a "glob caulk on topper" World needs more of those

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Old 03-09-2009, 11:06 PM   #17
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Overall I really like the construction of the Trillium (what I originally wanted), but the steel plates were an odd choice. At least they would be repairable without doing anything mega-disruptive like pulling out the interior.
I'm getting a bit off topic here, but I'm curious as to how you see this, as pulling the ensolite and re-spackling the leak with resin from the inside seems to be one of the common ways to do it on the Trillium. Not mega-disruptive per se, but scary for some nonetheless. The catch is being able to replace the rusty plate with something else like a washer on the inside so a new rivet can be popped-in to pull the belly band back against the seam and then the whole surgery can be glassed-in from the inside for a one-time permanent fix that doesn't leave any holes or screw heads behind.
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Old 03-10-2009, 12:36 AM   #18
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I'm getting a bit off topic here, but I'm curious as to how you see this, as pulling the ensolite and re-spackling the leak with resin from the inside seems to be one of the common ways to do it on the Trillium.
I guess I did leave that a bit vague. Here's what I was thinking (of course this is thinking not actually doing at this point):

1) I would remove the band, then dig out the plates. Unless they had really rusted and swelled a lot, I don't think you would have holes going into the trailer from them. The ones I've seen had bulged out more than in, and were completely on the outside of the glass strip that holds the shells together.

2) If I wanted to re-install the band, I would put in some new plates, pre-drilled for the rivets, that were not mild steel, and then try to rivet carefully so as not to go into the inside of the trailer. If some did poke through of course you would have to patch on the inside.

3) I might elect to eliminate the original belly band (although it is attractive, there is a lot going on for something that is solely cosmetic). I looked at a Trillium that had had this done and the band replaced with a wide, rubber, adhesive molding (IIRC from a Chevy pickup) and it looked pretty good. In that case I would dig out the metal plates and then fill the holes and fair the surface before adhering the new molding.

This is theoretical for now, of course, since I have a Boler

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Old 03-10-2009, 09:16 AM   #19
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1) I would remove the band, then dig out the plates. Unless they had really rusted and swelled a lot, I don't think you would have holes going into the trailer from them. The ones I've seen had bulged out more than in, and were completely on the outside of the glass strip that holds the shells together.
[...]
This is theoretical for now, of course, since I have a Boler
Thing is, the plates are an inch and half high or so, so you would have to do some serious carving through the outside gelcoat in order to get to them, and then a lot of patching to close up every single hole. I would probably leave them in and think of another way to hold the trim. The other thing is that you would have to remove the entire belly band first, and in most cases there's only a couple failed rivet anchors. So, not saying it's not doable, but that you would probably be creating a lot more work than necessary. Plus I'd imagine that most people would want to keep the belly band whenever possible. Good news, though, is that pulling ensolite is (or can be) easier than one might think, and can be glued back on, leaving no visible trace.
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Old 03-10-2009, 01:56 PM   #20
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Well I was thinking of the two or three Trilliums I looked at that had a lot of really rusty plates that had caused bulges and cracks in the gelcoat. I'm not saying I'd do this to every Trillium, but in the former case I would not want to leave the plates in there to continue to do their rusty/expandy thing.

If I were covering over with a new band, I would not have to fair the filled holes to a perfect smoothness (same reason the belly band is on there in the first place - to hide the factory seam so they did not have to make it "flawless").

So, those are just my thoughts, and I might choose my other option, which was to reinstall the band with new plates. I guess it all depends on the Trillium in question and who is doing the work, as far as deciding how to handle any issues.

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