Leak FIX, PLEASE - Fiberglass RV


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Old 03-28-2006, 05:54 PM   #1
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Trailer: 1979 Trillium 13 ft / 2001 Toyota Tacoma DCab 4x4
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I have discovered that my trillium has sprung a leak. I noticed water on one of the seats under the seat cushion and puddling up under it. Also, under both seats in the hull there is water seeping down under the seat and puddling in the wells there. I can see the water dripping down the rear of the well on both sides.

So here is the question. Is this water coming from the band holes (the rivets must be under the rubber somewhere, or does the rear window need to be removed and resealed?

I noticed that I can see square holed type screw heads on the frame. I have read that I should use the butyl (sp) type tape to reseal this. How big a project is this? Can I do it myself or do I need a pro to take this out and put it back in right?

What are those screws attached to? Just the Fiberglass, nuts behind the glass (therefore I have to take out the interior lining stuff), or are those really rivets?

Signed, very new to this stuff,

Rick
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Old 03-28-2006, 06:25 PM   #2
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Hi Rick,

We have chased many leaks in our Trills and suggest the following:

Start with the easiest things first.....Take a look to see how much silicone caulking is gooped around that rear window. Clean all the old stuff off the best you can. The windows are held in place by a wood frame between the FG and ensolite. We have taken many of these windows out of our Trills, and in all cases the wood was still in perfect condition - not rotted, so our problem was seeping along the top and/or outside edge. Re-silicone with a fine bead....it doesn't need to be applied heavily. This should address the problem. As well, it wouldn't hurt to check around the roof vent and the front and side windows and front awning. It is surprising where water will leak in - where you really don't expect it.

Behind the belly band is solid fiberglass holding the two halves together with rivits about every 8-12 inches apart to hold the band in place. This is probably where it is not leaking and if all else has failed the absolute last place I would check. We have taken the band off our 4500 because of ice/snow build-up over the years pushing the band outward and can see that it would be really difficult for water to penetrate through that area. Unfortunately we have to take out all the rivits embedded in the FG (all rusted and broken) and re-fibergalss around the whole trailer.

We took out all the screws on every window and replaced them with stainless steel. Most of the originals were so rusted that they just broke off. We didn't use any butyl tape but you can certainly do that.

Hope this helps....

Brenda Novakovski
Saskatoon, SK
Canada
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Old 03-28-2006, 06:42 PM   #3
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Check the weep holes too, and clear them out. They get plugged and the water drips INWARD, not outside as it should.

One of my major leak problems in december was simply that. Easier fix than re-installing windows.
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Old 03-28-2006, 06:53 PM   #4
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My experience with the windows leaking has been somewhat different than Brendas.
In both of my Trills there was extensive rotted wood in parts of the frame that need to be repaired/replaced in spots.

The wood is sandwiched between the fiberglass and the ensolite(rubber) inside wall material. I also had to get the old screws out and many broke off when I tried this. One the 1300 they were regular drywall screws so you imagine just how nice they were when removed

The windows all come out fairly easily except for the rear ones and if you go that route make sure to clean all of the old sealant before applying any new.

I resealed one with butyl rubber and one with the caulk tape and they both are watertight now.

If you need to replace wood it will need to be angled like it is now in order to fit between the fiberglass and ensolite but none of this is rocket science really as long as you think about it as you work and are careful.

I agree completely with Brenda on this one:The leaks may not be coming in where you think they are! Almost certainly it is not the bellyband for the reasons mentioned above.
It could be a vent but it is freaky how that water will travel between the wall and the ensolite to say the least.

I would reccommend pulling the windows and re-sealing at a minimum so you can evaluate the wood and know for sure. In each case I was able to pull them out and fix any damage and re-install with all new stainless screws in a day with a helper or without a helper.

By the time I was done I was a lot more familiar with the Trill than when I started!

Good Luck-This is where the fun starts!
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Old 03-28-2006, 07:27 PM   #5
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My experience with the windows leaking has been somewhat different than Brendas.
In both of my Trills there was extensive rotted wood in parts of the frame that need to be repaired/replaced in spots.

The wood is sandwiched between the fiberglass and the ensolite(rubber) inside wall material. I also had to get the old screws out and many broke off when I tried this. One the 1300 they were regular drywall screws so you imagine just how nice they were when removed

The windows all come out fairly easily except for the rear ones and if you go that route make sure to clean all of the old sealant before applying any new.

I resealed one with butyl rubber and one with the caulk tape and they both are watertight now.

If you need to replace wood it will need to be angled like it is now in order to fit between the fiberglass and ensolite but none of this is rocket science really as long as you think about it as you work and are careful.

I agree completely with Brenda on this one:The leaks may not be coming in where you think they are! Almost certainly it is not the bellyband for the reasons mentioned above.
It could be a vent but it is freaky how that water will travel between the wall and the ensolite to say the least.

I would reccommend pulling the windows and re-sealing at a minimum so you can evaluate the wood and know for sure. In each case I was able to pull them out and fix any damage and re-install with all new stainless screws in a day with a helper or without a helper.

By the time I was done I was a lot more familiar with the Trill than when I started!

Good Luck-This is where the fun starts!
WOW, Good news bad news sounds like it. So first thanks for the great responses. That is what I was hoping for before pulling out whats left of my hair.

I did check the seals of the windows, I do not see any silicone that was added. It looks like the original seal is just there. So I will clean with a soft brush, let it dry and then add a silicone bead.

I will also check the weep holes and make sure that they are not plugged. WHERE ARE THEY, I will look but in case I don't know what to look for??

Last ditch effort will be to pull out the window, clean, and reinstall. I would be surprised if the wood was rotten as the trailer is dry inside for the most part and does not smell. Although I know that life is full of surprises.

I will reseal all the windows and front as well. I also just noticed that the strip that supposed to hold the awning is pulling away a tiny bit on the ends and one rivet is out of the hole. I am going to silicone those shut as well.

Hopefully the water will stop flowing inside.

I will let you all know how it works out.

Thanks Rick
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Old 03-28-2006, 07:29 PM   #6
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Trailer: 1979 Trillium 13 ft / 2001 Toyota Tacoma DCab 4x4
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Quote:
I have discovered that my trillium has sprung a leak. I noticed water on one of the seats under the seat cushion and puddling up under it. Also, under both seats in the hull there is water seeping down under the seat and puddling in the wells there. I can see the water dripping down the rear of the well on both sides.

So here is the question. Is this water coming from the band holes (the rivets must be under the rubber somewhere, or does the rear window need to be removed and resealed?

I noticed that I can see square holed type screw heads on the frame. I have read that I should use the butyl (sp) type tape to reseal this. How big a project is this? Can I do it myself or do I need a pro to take this out and put it back in right?

What are those screws attached to? Just the Fiberglass, nuts behind the glass (therefore I have to take out the interior lining stuff), or are those really rivets?

Signed, very new to this stuff,

Rick
BTW Great web site. Inspiring for sure. Thanks for your help on this.
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Old 03-28-2006, 07:54 PM   #7
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I am 99% certain that the Trill windows do not have weep holes.
The trailers with sliding windows do but not the ones with jalousies like the Trill.

The extrusion that forms the window frames in the Trill can wick water to the inside if not sealed properly and it might come out just about anywhere but where it looks to be coming in.
I discovered this once I had the first windows out.

I would absolutely try the seal with caulk approach first though and see what happens as you suggested.

Here in the midwest we get a lot of constant moisture and humidity which would speed up the leaking and rotting process but I would think where you are the trailer may be in much better shape.

Just know it is not a huge,hard thing to remove and replace the windows if needed.
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Old 03-28-2006, 08:39 PM   #8
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Just know it is not a huge,hard thing to remove and replace the windows if needed.
I will do absolutely anything necessary to NOT use silicone anywhere on my trailer...I've spent far too much time scrapping it off to ever want to put more on. I know some have had good luck, but I prefer a more permanent method.

Rick, I'd suggest you read this excellent topic from beginning to end: Butyl Tape, Silicone and sealing
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Old 03-28-2006, 09:06 PM   #9
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Trailer: 1979 Trillium 13 ft / 2001 Toyota Tacoma DCab 4x4
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I will do absolutely anything necessary to NOT use silicone anywhere on my trailer...I've spent far too much time scrapping it off to ever want to put more on. I know some have had good luck, but I prefer a more permanent method.

Rick, I'd suggest you read this excellent topic from beginning to end: Butyl Tape, Silicone and sealing
Thanks for the reference. I will call the company that makes flexiseal and find a dealer by me. I think I will use that product to seal my windows. Sounds a bit messy, but I do some taping first so it does not spread all over the place.

Thanks
Rick
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Old 03-28-2006, 09:32 PM   #10
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Rick,
We are in the process of a major remodel of our home, and one of the carpenters was showing me a tube of caulking (fits a caulking gun) that is designed specifically for sealing around windows, doors, and siding. The brand name is PL and it is advertised on the tube as having a 50 year life. It also says that it is paintable and permanentaly flexible. Apparently it comes in different colors because my tube says bronze. Specifically for sealing wood, vinyl, aluminum, concrete, brick, and other surfaces. DAP also makes a variety of acrylic latex caulks with different life spans. The suggestion to do some investigating before using silicone is well founded. Another consideration is that silicone can't be painted should you desire at some time in the future.
Research at a good paint store vs. some kid or un-informed individual at a "super" lumber yard-hardware store will probably be worth while.
This has been an ongoing topic of discussion for a long time, and new products appear on the market all the time so our education is a continuous process.
Removal should a window become broken or door require replacement should also be a consideration provided a really good seal can be achieved.
Please keep us informed as to your ultimate choices and methods. That is how we all learn.
Thanks,

Kurt & Ann K.
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Old 03-28-2006, 11:30 PM   #11
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My two bits worth to this topic is that I`m 100% sure that the jalousie windows on both my Bolers have weep holes....the 13' has oval eye shaped ones and the 17' has rectangular ones....saw them a couple days ago.....easy to see where they are by looking up from the bottom of the sill......oh, Dap Alex Plus is a paintable latex caulk with silicone added...best of both worlds.....has a 35 year life span.....Oh,Rick...when I got our 13' 3 years ago I had leaks and I sealed around the jalousie windows with a very fine bead of black RTV silicone along the top and both sides......I really cleaned the area well where the window frame meets the body and then ran the silicone there about a 1/8" wide bead and so far so good....just don`t goop it on.. LOL......since my quarter ran out...good luck...... Benny
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Old 03-29-2006, 12:27 AM   #12
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There is no mystery about removing and resealing windows, it isn't rocket science! Do it right using 1/8"x3/4"Butyl tape and reset using stainless steel screws. Avoid using silicone like the plague. You won't regret it. You must have a minium of 1/2"width to seal the flange properly because of the shape of the frame.
I would strongly suggest not using a caulking gun as you may not get the eveness around the window flange as you would with the wide tape. One little pin hole is a potential leak. I am not saying the caulking products aren't any good, just that on these trailers it is not a good application.

Good night and good luck, I am going to bed!
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Old 03-29-2006, 12:50 AM   #13
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Rick:
After several frustrating attempts at locating a leak I started using the method of covering up temporarily all the possible leak paths from the outside. I found that a heavy-duty plastic held on with that aluminum foil tape used by HVAC people was sturdy enough to be sure that it covered well.
If you stop the leak you know that somewhere you hit the jackpot. Remove the plastic from each leak possibility one by one until it leaks again and you should have located the leak, or at least one leak. I won't bore you with the rest of the details of my endless quest for a dry trailer, but I was ultimately successful (and tired).
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Old 03-30-2006, 12:08 AM   #14
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Rick:
After several frustrating attempts at locating a leak I started using the method of covering up temporarily all the possible leak paths from the outside. I found that a heavy-duty plastic held on with that aluminum foil tape used by HVAC people was sturdy enough to be sure that it covered well.
If you stop the leak you know that somewhere you hit the jackpot. Remove the plastic from each leak possibility one by one until it leaks again and you should have located the leak, or at least one leak. I won't bore you with the rest of the details of my endless quest for a dry trailer, but I was ultimately successful (and tired).

My wife told me and I quote " JUST USE DUCT TAPE" Yikes, she is not into this thats for sure.
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