I've got a leak!! Any guesses where?? - Fiberglass RV

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Old 07-17-2016, 08:09 PM   #1
Junior Member
Name: Alyson
Trailer: 1981 Trillium 1300
New Brunswick
Posts: 4
I've got a leak!! Any guesses where??

Hey everyone!

I am a new Trillium owner and last night we got a good rain! This morning first thing I went out to check for leaks and I thought all was good until I got to the bench seat by the stove and fridge. I found a small amount of water but none the less it was water. Any guesses at what I should start with?? My plan is to re caulk the windows to get through the summer and intend to do a fall/winter project of removing the windows and re sealing with butyl tape. The roof vent was resealed last week at the rv dealership that did the pre purchase inspection and MVI. Any advice would be appreciated! Thanks
the attached photo is where the water was found on the bench
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Old 07-17-2016, 08:29 PM   #2
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Bruce Thomas's Avatar
Trailer: U-Haul CT13
Posts: 640
I'd run a hose on it and sit inside looking. Shouldn't take long with a helper.

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Old 07-18-2016, 09:44 AM   #3
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Trailer: 1976 Trillium 13 ft
Posts: 214
Could be the belly band...rusted through rivet. See if it loose anywhere, that could be it. Pull the black plastic out to have a better look. Could always be the window over the stove.
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Old 07-18-2016, 10:51 AM   #4
Name: RogerDat
Trailer: 77 Scamp 13
Posts: 2,866
Split the area that can be leaking in half, use hose to soak one half at a time checking for leak. Once you find the half that leaks it in half and repeat. Pretty soon it becomes clear where the leak is located.

I actually start out with four sections, bottom left, top left, bottom right, top right. Check the lower quarters first, then the upper. Also use a watering can with a sprinkler head. Makes it easier to direct water in a single location. Hose works too but is harder to just put water in a single small area.

Don't forget water migrates once it gets behind the insulation. Can move left or right (whatever direction is down) but always going down. Had a belly seam leak that showed up on the floor 3 feet away because that end of the trailer was lower.

Only time and persistence required to fix, but sometimes a lot of it. Good luck!
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Old 07-18-2016, 11:44 AM   #5
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Name: Kathleen (Kai in Seattle)
Trailer: Amerigo FG-16 1973
Posts: 770
You can also add a little food coloring to your watering can, just to help you trace it all down.

Good luck with this; always maddening to find a leak!
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Old 07-18-2016, 12:37 PM   #6
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Name: Steve
Trailer: Trillium 1300 (1980)
Posts: 12
I'd bet on the window

We have a 1980 with same window over the range. We had the exact leak you describe, and the fix was pulling the window and replacing the butyl tape. It has been absolutely dry in the year and a half since, so I have no doubt it was our issue.

Lucky for you: this is by far the easiest window to remove. In our case the plywood used for the "fill" between the inner and outer fiberglass was well rotted, but proved very easy to remove and replace.

This is a great window to start the probably overdue project of removing all of your windows and refurbishing the sealant.
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Old 07-18-2016, 01:02 PM   #7
Name: RogerDat
Trailer: 77 Scamp 13
Posts: 2,866
Originally Posted by Kai in Seattle View Post

Good luck with this; always maddening to find a leak!
Finding ain't bad it is the looking for the leak that can be a real PITA! Oh you mean finding you have one. I get it.

In addition to the food coloring one can sprinkle talc or baby powder on a surface inside to detect where it gets moist. The dark spot of even a tiny amount of water in the powder is pretty easy to spot. Used that trick on motorcycles to find oil leaks.
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Old 07-18-2016, 01:44 PM   #8
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Name: Steve
Trailer: Scamp 13
Posts: 1,035
I wouldn't wait. I would pull the window so it has the summer heat to dry out the open area. Then repair what needs to be repaired such as the inner window framing then reseal and install the window. This isnt a real big job in the grand scheme of things but waiting months and going into the rainy or fall season is just going to make the situation worse. I can't see adding more water to a window that is already suspect. It's obviously already suspect in your eye.

Park the leaky side of the trailer where the wall will get the most heat of the day. Remove the window and let the heat drive out the moisture through the now open hole. Dig out any rotten framing between the wall and the opening. let it dry out for a couple of days. Make new window support pieces if necessary while the wall is drying out. Then tack the pieces in and reinstall the window.
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Old 07-19-2016, 02:45 PM   #9
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Name: Dave W
Trailer: Trillium 4500 - 1977, 1978 (2), 1300 - 1977, 1973, and a 1972
Posts: 5,281
The window frame on that window is not even glued in. It is otherwise all synthetic. There is nothing to dry out. To reinstall the wood, I taped it in place. Then, when the screws were in, I tore away the tape.

Unfortunately, The belly band is also a possible leak source. Much more difficult to fix.
My First Belly Band Thread
My Second Belly Band Thread
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Old 07-21-2016, 07:28 AM   #10
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Name: Anthony
Trailer: Trillium
Posts: 2
I would recommend not siliconing anything! It will make any future repairs a real pain and will most likely not fix the problem anyhow.

Removing the window and replacing the putty is a good place to start as mentioned. I started there with all of my windows and greatly reduced the severity of leaks. I ultimately ended up eliminating the belly band which is a pretty big job but again worth the effort in the long run.


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