Is it a leak or moisture issue...or both? - Fiberglass RV


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 01-09-2013, 10:06 PM   #1
Senior Member
 
Name: Linda
Trailer: '77 Scamp
California
Posts: 630
Registry
Is it a leak or moisture issue...or both?

I can use your help. I've read all of the posts about leaks and moisture problems in trailers and I'm still not sure what I should do first for a quick emergency fix. I bought my '77 Scamp in August and there were no signs that there had ever been a leak in the trailer. A couple of weeks ago there was a torrential rain storm that lasted for days. I was out of town at the time and today was the first chance I had to go check on the trailer. Almost the entire ceiling and walls were covered in water droplets but no pooling. Mildew was starting to form on the countertop. Its been a week since it's rained here and the temps are in the 50s fahrenheit during the day and 30-40s at night. I dried everything off and examined for obvious leak points. Its possible that the original ceiling vent is the culprit only because it is old and it doesn't seem to be tightly sealed. I plan to go over in the morning with a fan and dehumidifier. Unfortunately, light rain is predicted tomorrow so I can't do any caulking. I will do more trouble-shooting to determine where the water is coming in from. I don't believe that much water on the ceiling can be attributed to condensation only. Am I right? I'm guessing there must be a leak as well, but there's no obvious entry points other than the possibility of the vent. I am thinking of putting a tarp over the trailer during this rainy season to keep further water from leaking in if it's the vent. Is that a bad idea because of condensation? Has anyone else had this issue with that much condensation (water droplets). Also, will all this water on the ceiling and walls cause mildew or mold behind the ensolite? Are there any steps I can take now to ensure that doesnt happen? I'm so bummed!
__________________

__________________
Otters is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-09-2013, 11:07 PM   #2
Senior Member
 
Robin G's Avatar
 
Trailer: 2007 Casita
Posts: 3,440
I would agree with you, sounds more like a leak! Maybe in the deep south you would find that much condensation, but Calif I wouldn't think so.



And would think that the "vent" is the issue. But unfortunately leaks can be tricky to find. Can you get that vent covered for the rain perdicted to come tomorrow? I would get plastic over it and secured. Just to try and deflect the rain away from the vent to see if that gives you a clue to if the vent is the culprit or not as well as hopefully keep more water from coming in. But the fiberglass can also do what I think they call (weeping) small pin sized holes in the glass. So that could be the problem. As well as water travels, so the leak may not be where you think it is instead traveling from one end of the trailer to the area your finding the water.



Chalking may not be enough to fix your leak. You may need to take the old vent out and put a new one in or at the very least pull and re-install using Butyl tape. I am sure others will have better suggestions on how to do that project.





Yes, if it doesn't get dried out, aired out it could very well get moldy... Depending on how wet the interior is, I would suggest getting a carpet cleaner/shop vac and start extracting the water as much as possible. Then get the air moving around inside. Fan moving air will help to dry it out. Good Luck!
__________________

__________________
Robin G is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-09-2013, 11:25 PM   #3
Senior Member
 
Name: Linda
Trailer: '77 Scamp
California
Posts: 630
Registry
Thanks Robin. I had not heard about the weeping in FG trailers. But I did read about the weep holes in the windows and plan to clean those out tomorrow. I hate to reinstall the vent right now because I want to install a Fantastic Fan--just don't have time to do it rght now. I'm going to go ahead and cover the vent now as you suggest and I'll check all the rivits and windows carefully. Fortunately, I was planning to pull the carpet out anyway and install laminate or vinyl. So I will remove the carpet tomorrow and maybe that will help with the overall humidity in there.
Linda
__________________
Otters is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-10-2013, 08:07 AM   #4
Senior Member
 
Francesca Knowles's Avatar
 
Name: Francesca Knowles
Trailer: '78 Trillium 4500
Jefferson County, Washington State, U.S.A.
Posts: 4,543
Registry
Quote:
Almost the entire ceiling and walls were covered in water droplets but no pooling.
Though the vent is very likely the source of some of the water in the trailer, that (quoted) condition is much more likely to have been caused by condensation. Water from a leak is more localized- certainly it wouldn't result in the kind of droplet coverage you describe above.

Fiberglass trailers don't "breathe" like conventionally constructed ones do and must be provided with at least some ventilation most of the time.

My advice for the moment would be to cover the vent temporarily, perhaps with plastic sheeting and good ol' duct tape. Also clean out window weep holes if any appear to be plugged. That should keep the rain out 'til you get the vent repaired/replaced. In addition to that, though, do make sure that you leave windows cracked a bit for air circulation.

Note:
Given the age of your trailer, I'm basing this "open window" advice on the presumption that yours are louvered windows and won't let rain in the way that sliders do.

Francesca
__________________
.................................
Propane Facts vs. Fiction:. Click here
Tow Limit Calculator: Click here
Francesca Knowles is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-10-2013, 09:30 AM   #5
Senior Member
 
D Davis's Avatar
 
Name: Diane
Trailer: u-haul ct13
Virginia
Posts: 1,000
Linda, I am so sorry. This happened to me with a Pop-up camper. Disheartening, but
you have been given good advice. I would also recomend cleaning with a solution of clorox, dry it out ASAP, Cover it, allowing it to breath.
__________________
D Davis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-10-2013, 09:35 AM   #6
Senior Member
 
Thomas G.'s Avatar
 
Name: Kinga DeRode
Trailer: For Sale Or Rent
Rooms to Let 50 Cents
Posts: 5,103
Given the amount of condensate, it seems likely that there is / was a leak and that water is evaporating and redepositing itself on the ceiling and walls. You might want to look around for a wet, soggy spot on the floor or cushions.
__________________
UHaul and Burro owners, join the UHaul Campers on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/groups/529276933859491/
Thomas G. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-10-2013, 09:37 AM   #7
Senior Member
 
Carol H's Avatar
 
Name: Carol
Trailer: 22' Airstream Formerly 16' Scamp
British Columbia
Posts: 11,731
Registry
Quote:
Originally Posted by Francesca Knowles View Post
Given the age of your trailer, I'm basing this "open window" advice on the presumption that yours are louvered windows and won't let rain in the way that sliders do.
In the past I have had pretty heavy condensation in my trailer in heavy rains if there are no windows open. As Francesca suggests the best way to avoid condensation is to keep a window open even when the trailer is in storage. I ended up adding a Window Maxx Vent to my trailer to allow that. I know others who have put roof fan covers on their trailers for the same purpose. Another item that helps with condensation in storage is Dri-Z-Air which you can get at WalMart or an RV store.
Carol H is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-10-2013, 10:07 AM   #8
Moderator
 
Name: RogerDat
Trailer: 77 Scamp 13
Michigan
Posts: 3,081
You might attempt a plastic tent over a partly open roof vent as a test of Carols suggestion of a roof fan cover. Don't tape the plastic sheet covering the vent all the way around and have the vent open a bit. See if that reduces the condensation by allowing air flow and blocking any vent leak.

On Toms suggestion to look for hidden leak pay special attention to the hidden places under couch, seats, closet and kitchen. Look for places the water can get out like where propane line comes through floor or right along the edge of the floor where it meets the wall. Water leaks have a tendancy to flow behind the elephant hide or down it's vertical seams and come out at the bottom along the edge of the wall.

Door seal on top of door can leak and much of the water will run down and out the trailer because floor is a little further back than top of door, and the door is curved so the water only hits the top and bottom. Might look for signs under the couch right next to the door or if the lower hinge bolt heads are rusted a great deal more than the upper hinge bolts.

Good Luck!
__________________
RogerDat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-10-2013, 10:17 AM   #9
Senior Member
 
Bob Miller's Avatar
 
Name: Bob
Trailer: 1973 Hunter Compact II
California
Posts: 7,912
As a temporary fix you can also try using some "Eternabond" tape over the edges of the existing roof vent. If you see lots of silicone sealer piled on the roof vent you can almost be sure that's were the leak has started. DO NOT add more to what's there, it will leak again.
__________________
Bob Miller is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-10-2013, 10:19 AM   #10
Senior Member
 
Name: Jim
Trailer: Bigfoot 1981 Trailer
British Columbia
Posts: 189
My local RV dealer has a large furnace type fan that he blows in air into the trailer from the ceiling vent and pressurizes the trailer, then sprays the trailer with soapy water to find leaks, which are seen as bubbles.
__________________
jimmied is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-10-2013, 12:18 PM   #11
Senior Member
 
Name: Linda
Trailer: '77 Scamp
California
Posts: 630
Registry
Thanks for all the good advice which I will follow.

Carol and Francesca: The windows are the tilt out kind (all 4 of them). So unfortunately, I don't think that vent won't work. We have hard blowing rains here than come from the side so its really hard to ventilate the trailer without subjecting it to getting rain inside. I think I'm going to just invest in a fabric carport type cover for it.

I'll give you an update as this all progresses.

Thanks,
Linda
__________________
Otters is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-10-2013, 12:38 PM   #12
Moderator
 
Name: RogerDat
Trailer: 77 Scamp 13
Michigan
Posts: 3,081
There are covers made for egg campers, my concern with them was both ventilation and rub marks from the wind blowing the cover. Maybe someone who has used the covers outside can weigh in?

For us the motivation to get a cover is snow and "road dirt" from traffic that combines to make black streaks as the snow melt runs down the trailer. Which it does off and on all winter long.
__________________
RogerDat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-10-2013, 07:06 PM   #13
Senior Member
 
Name: Linda
Trailer: '77 Scamp
California
Posts: 630
Registry
Today's update

I'm a lot more hopeful today thinking I can get the problem under control with minimal damage. Today I removed 2 layers of gross, damp carpet, pad residue and 36 years of dirt. Under the rear dinette table it looks like the window is leaking as the floor under the window was wet. I have the tilt up original windows. I guess it may be belly band instead. I may have to pull out and replace some of the elephant skin under the table if it doesn't dry out completely, but that looks pretty easy since its flat and not a large area.
Luckily the rain and clouds passed and the sun was out so I opened the window and door and dried and cleaned surfaces with bleach solution. There's no rain predicted tonight so I left the window cracked, a fan running and a bucket of damp rid stuff in the sink.
The plan is to go to the RV place tomorrow and get a tube of NON-silicon caulking to seal the window until I can pull it out and reinstall properly. I'll also cover the vent as suggested above.
So far, no smell of mold and mildew. there's a small mildew spot on one of the cushions that I tried to spot clean. If that doesn't do the trick, I'll remove the cushion and have it professionally cleaned. I purchased my SCAMP from the original owners. They'd either recovered the cushions or purchased new ones and they're in like-new condition. For some reason, they left the plastic on the foam under the fabric. So I believe I can clean everything up without the worry of it smelling. I have allergies and cannot tolerate any mildew smell. Wish me luck and thank you all.

I sure wish spring would hurry up and get here.
__________________
Otters is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-10-2013, 08:07 PM   #14
Moderator
 
Name: RogerDat
Trailer: 77 Scamp 13
Michigan
Posts: 3,081
I would suspect the belly band last of all. Belly band is cosmetic, just hides the lip where the top and bottom join. The seal is the top and bottom are fiberglassed together inside when it's assembled. But it does happen, just not often.

You might want to check the weep holes on the bottom outside of the window track. They allow water that runs into the track to drain outside rather than overflow inside. On my 77 the screen runs across those holes and it's easy for them to get clogged. Small unbent paper clip or something like it works well to clean them out.

You might also look at the rubber seal between the window and the frame, it can get pretty crunched and wrinkled over time (especially on the top near the hinge). When I first got mine if you used a hose on one window you could see a line of drips run down the screen. Replaced that seal and it took care of it.

If your water tank is under the same seat as mine the water lines run across that back wall. The fitting where you fill that tank could leak and there is a pretty good path following the water line to under the dinette along the rear wall.

Do you have snap caps to seal the rivets on your curtain rod brackets above that rear window?

One last trick for tracking a leak that can work well since you have the carpet and padding out. Baby powder. Lightly dust a few inch band on the floor along the back wall, I would include under the seats. Then apply water outside to one area at a time, working your way left to right and up from the bottom in small sections. The baby powder will darken as soon as any water seeps into it. Helps find the exact spot it's coming down the wall.

Seems like leaks will sometimes travel a long way from the source along the edge of the floor or behind the elephant hide. If you have a bubble level it can tell you the uphill direction, water only flows downhill.

On mine I had a leak source that was a good three feet along the wall from the wet spot on the floor. Water followed the belly seam fiberglass inside sideways then down behind wall covering to a seam sideways until a seam went down, then along the edge of the wall/floor for some more sideways. To end up with a damp spot about the size of a playing card where the propane line comes in under the couch. I cleaned a mess of silicon caulk off of that front window where it had been caulked and screwed shut by prev. owner to stop the leak that was over by the kitchen.

I hate leaks.
__________________

__________________
RogerDat is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Moisture in Scamp pageleigh Problem Solving | Owners Helping Owners 15 11-17-2012 12:07 AM
Moisture Dripping from Below Rear Window fusedlight Problem Solving | Owners Helping Owners 8 08-17-2012 10:52 AM
Moisture under cushions? Brian Bran Problem Solving | Owners Helping Owners 15 05-04-2011 02:29 PM
A/C Issue Georgana D Care and Feeding of Molded Fiberglass Trailers 8 07-28-2010 01:09 AM

» Upcoming Events
No events scheduled in
the next 465 days.
» Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by


Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 03:34 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.