"Normal" leakage after long, wet trip? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 11-21-2009, 04:19 PM   #1
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After getting back from driving 850 miles through mostly rain and some snow, we found some water in the trailer. So far, I have found it in three different places.

There were a few droplets on the lower bunk cushion near the door, and it seems that some ran down the back of the bunk, which I noticed along the front of the top bunk when I raised it. I wonder if this could have come it the door. The door has a padlock on it, so it wasn't closed completely.

There was a dried rusty-looking small puddle on the floor right outside the furnace. Is it expected to get a little water in the furnace vent that would come through?

Finally, there is a moderate build up of water inside one dinette bench. I don't see any wetness on the cushions (although they got bounced to the floor at some point). Should I do something about the tail light wire hole?


I guess I have a general question about whether one should expect, or at least understand, a little bit of water coming in when you drive long distances in wet weather. Should I worry a lot and make sure to seek out solutions right now? Should I just dry it off and see if any water comes in when it is sitting? (I should add that Jim didn't find wetness when he examined it, and it had been sitting outside in wet Northern California coast.)
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Old 11-21-2009, 04:32 PM   #2
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Hi Amy,

She's home!!

In my opinion it's not completely unusual to have a few leaks that would allow water in when you buy a used trailer; on the other hand, I would want to fix them, as I don't like *any* water coming in, even if it's raining hard and I'm driving 55mph. The one place I would put up with a little bit of leakage in such situations would be the refrigerator vents for an absorption (propane) fridge (but even for that I would take measures against it).

Keep in mind that water doesn't always end up where it originally came in. For example, the water under your dinette benches might have come in through marker or tail light wiring holes, but it could also (and perhaps more likely) have come in around a window frame that needs to be re-bedded, and then run down behind or over the Ensolite. I don't like to expose my eggs to a super high pressure stream of water (like a high pressure car wash wand or super blasting hose), but you could go out and spend some time in it during a heavy downpour, or perhaps gently run a hose over it -- it's easier to find leaks as they are happening.

Or come up with some clever tracking method like paper towels or chalk marks on the wall, to track down the leaks.

Poor fit on Boler doors is reasonably frequent, and again, some people live with it, but I would rather improve the fit and weatherstripping to the point where water will not come in.

I bet your leaks are mostly just old bedding that needs to be re-done. i.e. remove a window, re-bed under the flange, and reinstall it.

And now... pics!!!

Raya
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Old 11-21-2009, 04:56 PM   #3
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I would start with the most obvious things noticed and work from there. If the door wasn't closed completely, that would be one possibility. I've read about water intrusion from the tail light fixture, but haven't experienced that myself. In my Fiber Stream, one tail light is behind the closet, and the other is behind the shower stall.

Early on in my trailer ownership, I experienced wet bed cushions after a "driving" rain. I pulled the windows and replaced the butyl caulk tape between the window frame and the fiberglass shell. The next rain, water still leaked inside, but not as copiously as before. After close inspection I found that the rubber gasket between the glass and the aluminum window frame had dried over time and shrunk away from the corners of the windows, leaving a 1/2" gap. I filled this gap with caulk, because I didn't know how to totally disassemble the window to replace the gasket. During the next rain, the cushions stayed dry.
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Old 11-21-2009, 05:53 PM   #4
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There is nothing "normal" about leaks, IMHO. Driving through a torrent of rain is one way to discover that a trailer leaks! If you have a plexi front window with gasket and lockstrip, look to see if there is a small gap where the gasket/lockstrip was originally filled. It's possible there's now a tiny gap, that's enough to get water flowing into the front bunk/dinette area when tugging in rain. As a stopgap measure, you can fill that gap with black windshield caulk... but that's a temporary fix and the window gasket/lockstrip should be replaced as soon as possible (like spring before camping season starts).

If you have a refrigerator vent on the side of the trailer, you can cover the vents from the inside with a piece of plastic. I have some friends with a monster 5th wheel and that was a constant source of water intrusion. By placing a piece of thin plastic that covered the entire vent area (inside the vent door) they were able to prevent water from migrating into the trailer. Even when washing the trailer. Obviously, the plastic is to be removed before powering the refrigerator.... and don't forget! This would work for any hatches that have "vents."

BTW: bet folks are going to ask you if you can come to the Washington Gathering - At Taidnapum Park, June 4-7, 2010
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Old 11-21-2009, 06:45 PM   #5
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Since you asked about the lights I would say yes pull them off and seal the wire holes and screw holes with butyl tape. My first Burro has waterfalls coming through the wire holes.

Also clean out the "weep" holes on your windows with a piece of weed wacker string stuff.

My back window doesn't lock for some weird reason ( when I remove it in the spring to rebuild it I'll see why) and I've noticed it can slide slightly open on some rough roads. Of course I found this out when it was raining.
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Old 11-21-2009, 08:32 PM   #6
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By placing a piece of thin plastic that covered the entire vent area (inside the vent door) ...Obviously, the plastic is to be removed before powering the refrigerator.... and don't forget!
That's a good idea, Donna, and if Amy has the typical original Dometic Boler fridge (3-way), well, you have to go in through the outside door to turn it on and off, so that would be a pretty good reminder. I had been thinking about using a piece of Sunbrella (acrylic canvas) and snapping it on the outside, but now I think I will do it on the inside, maybe with Velcro. Duh, why didn't I think of that!
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Old 11-21-2009, 08:34 PM   #7
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Just so Amy doesn't go nuts looking for her window weep holes: The Boler jalousie type windows don't have them (they're typically on sliding windows, and most older Boler's don't have sliding windows).

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Old 11-21-2009, 10:03 PM   #8
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After getting back from driving 850 miles through mostly rain and some snow, we found some water in the trailer. So far, I have found it in three different places.

There were a few droplets on the lower bunk cushion near the door, and it seems that some ran down the back of the bunk, which I noticed along the front of the top bunk when I raised it. I wonder if this could have come it the door. The door has a padlock on it, so it wasn't closed completely.

There was a dried rusty-looking small puddle on the floor right outside the furnace. Is it expected to get a little water in the furnace vent that would come through?

Finally, there is a moderate build up of water inside one dinette bench. I don't see any wetness on the cushions (although they got bounced to the floor at some point). Should I do something about the tail light wire hole?


I guess I have a general question about whether one should expect, or at least understand, a little bit of water coming in when you drive long distances in wet weather. Should I worry a lot and make sure to seek out solutions right now? Should I just dry it off and see if any water comes in when it is sitting? (I should add that Jim didn't find wetness when he examined it, and it had been sitting outside in wet Northern California coast.)
Amy, when I sold the trailer to the person you bought it from I told him the windows needed to come out and be resealed. He said he would take care of it.
I noticed the window over the dinette bench on the door side appeared to have leaked a little.
I thought the leak on the floor was fixed when I replaced the access vent door behind the refrigerator. The water was originally coming from under the refer.
I live in an area the gets about 3 inches of rain a year.
I was going to reseal the windows but it was to much with a a broken wrist.
If he didn't replace the window over the stove you might check there for the leak that ends up on the floor.
I doubt you will have any water coming through the tail lights as they were removed,cleaned up and had new pigtails installed in them and then resealed.
Water will travel under the ensolite and come out in unexpected places.
John
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Old 11-21-2009, 10:20 PM   #9
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Thanks for this info. It gives me much clearer ideas about where to focus our efforts.


Quote:
Amy, when I sold the trailer to the person you bought it from I told him the windows needed to come out and be resealed. He said he would take care of it.
I noticed the window over the dinette bench on the door side appeared to have leaked a little.
I thought the leak on the floor was fixed when I replaced the access vent door behind the refrigerator. The water was originally coming from under the refer.
I live in an area the gets about 3 inches of rain a year.
I was going to reseal the windows but it was to much with a a broken wrist.
If he didn't replace the window over the stove you might check there for the leak that ends up on the floor.
I doubt you will have any water coming through the tail lights as they were removed,cleaned up and had new pigtails installed in them and then resealed.
Water will travel under the ensolite and come out in unexpected places.
John
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