Leaking Roof Vent - Fiberglass RV

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Old 04-09-2009, 05:11 PM   #1
Dale C's Avatar
Trailer: 1976 13 ft Scamp
Posts: 38
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Just curious about replacing a roof vent. Today is the 1st rain that my Scamp has been outside since I purchased it. There are a couple little leaks around the roof vent. They really are not that bad, a little drip now and then. The Scamp is 33 years old and I started to think about replacing it. That would get rid of all the caulking built up over the years and maybe starting new would solve the leaking problem better then trying to figure out just where to shoot more caulking. I probably would not do it myself but have the guys at the RV place do it. Good idea to replace it? How difficult is it? Any other thoughts?

The only other leak was one rivet which I tightened and it seemed to stop. Just curious if anyone uses Marine Tex to repair leaks around rivets etc.?


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Old 04-09-2009, 07:34 PM   #2
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Trailer: 1994 Lite House
Posts: 172
you can allways use the rv shop as a backup. try replacing it yourself. i cant see it being that hard. if you end up over your head you can allways take it to the repair guys. its probly super simple. remove all excess calking take out the bolts or rivits. loosen the fixture and take it out. clean all the serfaces, replace gasket or sealant and replace the vent. most of the time the "rv shop" is just a couple of old guys that have had a lot of trailer and then they tell a yonger guy to fix it. i usually just call them and ask how its done and what parts i need and just do it myself. for example i called and said i needed to fix the window gaskets and they quoted me $250 bucks and then said... well you could buy this $5 roll of sealent and do it yourself. so i saved myself $240 and got all my windows done in about 2 hours. just go for it! just go slow and dont "force" things loose.

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Old 04-09-2009, 08:07 PM   #3
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Name: Donna D
Trailer: Escape 5.0 TA, 2014
Posts: 23,908
Dale, after reading all the postings, butyl AND axles last about 15-20 years. I think it's time to pull the vent and scrape all the old gunk off and reseal. You may have water running behind the ensolite (rat fur?) into cupboard or corners and you're not even aware it's happening until dry rot occurs. It's one of those "maintenance" issues we read about here on FiberglassRV. The same with some of the rivets. Time to drill out and reset, the holes have enlarged over the years. Sure you could gunk up the outside, but is it really fixing the problem?
Donna D.
Ten Forward - 2014 Escape 5.0 TA
Double Yolk - 1988 16' Scamp Deluxe
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Old 04-09-2009, 08:31 PM   #4
Dale C's Avatar
Trailer: 1976 13 ft Scamp
Posts: 38
Thanks Curtis & Donna. I think I will try to replace the vent this summer. Rainy season is about over. As for rivets, I have never had any experience with rivets but am sure I can learn. I tried to do a search of the forums but the search function doesn't seem to be working.
Donna mentioned how many years axels tend to last. I wish there was a way to see the history of my Scamp. I have no idea if the axels have ever been replaced. They look good, the way they sit anyway. I am planning to have them checked out completely in the fall when I repack the bearings (they were just repacked).
Thanks for the help
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Old 04-09-2009, 09:08 PM   #5
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Trailer: 1994 Lite House
Posts: 172
rivets are a blast... hardest part is drilling them out. just make sure the bit is just slightly bigger than the whole in the middle, not the entire size of the head. once the head falls off you can just use a Phillips screwdriver or a metal punch and just pop the rivet through. after the first one you will get it down.
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Old 04-09-2009, 10:03 PM   #6
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Name: Rachel
Trailer: 1974 Boler 13 ft (Neonex/Winnipeg)
Posts: 3,014
Hi Dale,

I wouldn't recommend Marine Tex for around leaking rivets because it is an epoxy and will set up hard (and then probably crack). Not that epoxy is not wonderful stuff because it is, in the correct applications.

I'm normally not a fan of adding sealant on top of something that's leaking because it doesn't ultimately work and just makes more of a mess to deal with when you/someone eventually does fix the problem; however the rivets that Scamp/etc. use do have a hole in the middle, and the only way to really seal it is to add sealant to it (Scamp now uses rivet caps along with the sealant, but you have to put those in when you install the rivet). So if it's simply the hole in the middle of the rivet that's leaking, you might be able to add some sealant there.

Otherwise, I agree with Donna. It's time to pull them and replace them. You could use the same type of rivets again, or you could go with closed end rivets (they don't have the hole). You can also replace them with machine screws, washers, and nuts. Rivets are great --- especially when you can't get to the backside (why they are "blind") or when you have to build 1,000 trailers economically (because they are quick), but they are only one of a number of options that can make sense when you are replacing a few yourself, on one trailer, and can reach the back side.

On the vent I would also remove and re-seal, as others have mentioned. Depending on the condition of it, it might make sense to get a new one to install; they are generally not all that expensive, and also not "lifetime" durable.

Also as Donna mentioned, I would not accept any leaks as long term "I can live with its." It's too easy for water to slip behind things and cause rot, rust, or mildew. The shell of our eggs is fiberglass, but there are a number of wooden parts (floors, furniture supports, etc.).

Nice to have a new egg in spring

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Old 04-09-2009, 10:28 PM   #7
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Name: jim
Trailer: Casita 2000 17ft. Liberty
Posts: 163
I changed my skylight because the plastic flange had cracks from age. The rubbery tape works well with ss bolts-the "squeeze" can be controlled so there isn't too much pressure.
The only tricky part was trimming the inside plastic flange on the table saw-it projected too low into the roof. I used 4 4-40 bolts through the roof to support it.
Complete unit sold from Scamp for about $75.

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