Please help. Sourcing out leaks after rainstorm - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-07-2012, 07:28 AM   #1
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Name: Tracy
Trailer: purchasing a Boler
Alberta
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Please help. Sourcing out leaks after rainstorm

Hi fellow Boler owners:
I am brand new to this forum although I have been reading all your posts for the past few weeks pre-purchase. I would like to start by saying everyone here is so wonderful with their enthusiasm to help others and sharing information. I purchased a 1975 Boler only a week ago and have spent the last week cleaning and painting the interior: bunks, closet and cabinets with Melamine and the ensolite with a good quality latex only to find out I have a considerable leak as during a major downpour yesterday, I found a pool of water on the floor at the base of my kitchen bunks. The water appears to have travelled along the back wall at the bunk level as the recently painted Melamine was wet and damaged along this seam!! I am assuming from reading several posts here that the water may be entering through the side windows or possibly the belly band (?). The trailer showed no evidence of previous leaking however it was stored in a dry garage..
I understand from the seller that the side windows (slide variety) were recently replaced by the PO. After a close inspection, I cannot see any visible signs of gaps, cracks, etc. where water could be entering. There appears to be Butyl tape used with the edges sealed with a clear substance I can only assume is silicone (choke!). I am not in the position to remove the windows at this point and cannot find Butyl tape here in Calgary however Home Depot sells a Butyl caulking. Would you recommend scraping off the outer silicone (?) seal and caulking as a temporary fix until I can remove the windows and re-tape?? I have read many other posts but no one has really answered the Butyl caulking question . I am fairly handy but no craftperson and not in a position to take on removing the windows at this point nor do I have a garage or sheltered location to undertake the project. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Overwhelmed but always optimistic Tracy
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Old 06-07-2012, 08:01 AM   #2
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Start at the top... as you mentioned water travels and seeks the floor. I'd check any vent on the top and look for cracks in the cover, loose caulk, etc. The easiest way to look for a leak in this area is to cover the vent securely... then turn on a hose over the top. You need to find the leak source before you can fix it. It may not be the windows or belly band....

BTW: Welcome to FiberglassRV Tracy... we're glad you're here!

Good luck!
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Old 06-07-2012, 08:24 AM   #3
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Name: Tracy
Trailer: purchasing a Boler
Alberta
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Thank you for your quick response, Donna!
Yes, I understand the leak source can be quite elusive as indicated by several others!
I am airing out the trailer at the moment in an attempt to ensure it dries out thoroughly. I am concerned as it is supposed to rain again this weekend and I risk another soaking and more damage! I would like to take some immediate measures in the meantime.
More info:
The windows are riveted not bolted and all the rivets appear to be in good shape. The insides have not been finished with any type of edging, however. The only roof vent (the original aluminum panel and chain pop up?) and is heavily caulked around the edges but I am unable to climb up to see if it is sealed fully and have no access to a hose to do as you have suggested as I am in an apt. complex on the third floor!
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Old 06-07-2012, 08:37 AM   #4
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Cover it with a tarp, it doesn't have to cover the entire trailer.. just the roof and about half-way down the windows. When it rains and if water gets in... then you'll probably know it's the belly band. If you don't find where the leak is happening and you start "fixing" things you may be fixing something that doesn't need it. "Don't fix it, if it isn't broke." All you'll do is make a mess. You need to make friends with someone who has a ladder...
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Old 06-07-2012, 11:33 AM   #5
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Name: Anne
Trailer: '74 Boler
Alberta
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Tracy, I'm in the same boat! This rain over the last couple of days has had me worried over my freshly painted interior as well! Yesterday morning, I found water pooled in the dinette area - and you can see the track of water down the new paint (so sad!).

I suspect mine is from the rear window - the seal is super old and there are cracks in the plexi. The water seems to seep through. So, until I can find the resources to replace those windows, I caulked the windows with a latex caulk (all I had on hand at the time). I didn't know you could get butyl caulk... that might work.

So... Is your trailer stored level? it could be that water entered through the old front and rear windows (if they hadn't been replaced with the side windows) and pooled in the lowest area, which could have been at the bench.

My top vent (the same as yours) is also a source of a small amount of water. I'm going tonight to buy some rubber stripping I found at home depot a while back. That combined with caulking (maybe the butyl caulk you speak of!) should solve that issue.

Also, on mine, some of the rivets are rusted out in the top kitchenette storage area - No longer supporting the unit and I could see through them! I also caulked these (along with every other rivit I could reach) with the latex, and it seems to have stopped any of the recent deluge of rain entering through there. You may want to check all of your rivets.

That's all I can think of! I'll be doing a hose test tomorrow to see if my solution will work or not. Fingers crossed and good luck to you!
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Old 06-07-2012, 12:02 PM   #6
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It looks like I will be making a trip to Home Depot, too!! Caulking, maybe some rubber stripping also .... I will start with the roof vent and work my way down . Thank you for the support and sound advice. I agree that I do not wish to be ripping apart things that may not require replacing/fixing. And yes, I will need to make friends with my neighbours .... or pull up my car and use that as a ladder!! lol Stranger things have happened in my world .
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Old 06-07-2012, 12:17 PM   #7
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Tracy, try Revy for butyl tape or Home Hardware if you have one. You may have to search through the plumbing section or window sections and look for the rolls yourself as I have found that the staff if you ask dont know what it is or looks like.. but if I look myself its there. Also an RV repair store should have it.

If the person used Butyl when they reset the windows on your trailer I dont know why they would have used caulking as well ..... sounds suspect... can you see the butyl under the edges of the window? Perhaps he didnt use enough and it leaked and added the caulking after or as Donna suggests the water is coming from a vent on the roof and working its way down.... belly band leaks happen but not all as common as window or a vent so I would be looking at them first.

Good luck.
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Old 06-07-2012, 12:48 PM   #8
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I used a watering can with a sprinkler head so I could control exactly where the water went. Sealed water away from parts I wanted to eliminate from test with masking tape and a couple of cut open garbage bags.

Cover windows with garbage bag while checking roof vent, belly band while checking windows, fridge vents while checking belly band.

I also used the hitch jack in addition to plastic to allow me to tilt trailer and thus direct run off to the rear while checking the rear half of belly band or front when I was checking the front of the band.

Going to be a process of elimination, and sort of a pain from an apartment but eventually..... ureka!

Hope the damage to the melamine was minor!
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Old 06-07-2012, 01:13 PM   #9
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Thank you, thank you, everyone who has replied. It looks like I have some work cut out for me! Onward and upward .
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Old 06-07-2012, 03:34 PM   #10
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I've heard that they use butyl tape for metal roofing.
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Old 06-07-2012, 04:43 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Thomas G. View Post
I've heard that they use butyl tape for metal roofing.
You thinking that metal roofing supply or business might be an alternative local retail source? That would be a good idea, worth checking on.
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Old 06-07-2012, 04:58 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RogerDat View Post
You thinking that metal roofing supply or business might be an alternative local retail source? That would be a good idea, worth checking on.
Yes, that was my thought.
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Old 06-07-2012, 07:20 PM   #13
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We had leaks on top of leaks. Two of us, one inside, one outside with the hose. We taped everything. Then methodically removed the tape and found multiple leaks. Tough nut to crack but you'll get it. Raz
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Old 06-07-2012, 07:59 PM   #14
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Tracy, One of the folding/expanding ladders might be a good investment. Or see if someone has one they can loan to you. It will allow you to really see what that roof and top vent area look like, and allow you to reach it to make repairs.
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