Trillium leak hunt... (Long post) - Fiberglass RV


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 09-08-2008, 03:44 PM   #1
Senior Member
 
David Swinnard's Avatar
 
Trailer: Had to sell, no longer an egg owner
British Columbia
Posts: 109
Hi Ho Folks

This is a bit long-winded, but I want to be complete with the details...

Near the end of August the local monsoons started and, about a week later, I discovered a heretofore unknown leak in my Trillium. The dinette seat cushion (passenger side, relating to tow) was wet where it's curved back edge met the rear seat/wall junction. Closer inspection revealed water was coming from behind the ensolite wall material and pooling in the curve of the junction. I finally decided that since the rear window was a replacement job, it was the most likely culprit.

In the past the louvered window had been replaced by a single pane of glass. Once I pulled the plastic trim and started to remove screws (yesterday - the sun was out and it was nice again. An aside: Here in the Vancouver area, once the rain starts in late August - usually coincident with the local "fair", the Pacific National Exhibition, many of us expect not to see the sun until the coming July. Some years - and I'm hoping this is one of them - the weather unexpectedly clears giving hope that time remains to still do some "summer" things.) it was obvious from the rusty screws that water infiltration had taken place, especially at the lower corner of the window nearest where I'd found the inside water.

With the window our I was able to determine the plywood window "frame" was essentially solid with only that one corner showing very minor signs of water. (maybe it's a "new" leak - PO kept trailer under cover.) I elected to not replace the plywood - time will tell whether that was smart or not. (By the way, there were 44 screws in the frame of five different types, three different lengths, and two different head styles. Included were a couple of long ones that ran right through into the trailer interior.)

I replaced the window with the butyl putty tape (wow is it gooey stuff!) and the 44 screws (now stainless steel, and all the same). I got a reasonable "squish out" all the way around and all the screws gripped nicely one the loose fitting ones had their loose holes dealt with. I will follow up with an overlaying perimeter seam of butyl caulking compound for peace of mind.

Now the conundrum and where I need the benefit of this group's experience. As the two accompanying photos show, the PO had added 16 screws, through the aluminum pieces that form the outside restraints for the replacement glass. These screws project radially through the edges of the window frame into the edges of the plywood. Some of the screws actually did make it into the plywood, but in a few cases, they missed the plywood altogether and were sticking into the ensolite foam itself. None were actually visible from the inside of the trailer though.

I am not actually sure why these screws are even there in the first place. Surely the 44 perimeter frame screws hold the window frame in place securely. Perhaps the PO was worried about the strength of the "putty" actually holding the new pane in place against possible pressure differentials - the only guess I could come up with.

I do have 16 open holes into the interior of the trailer now. My first plan was to just stuff them with caulking and ignore the screws. I now think I will replace some or all of the screws (using brass because I couldn't find SS ones of the appropriate size and I don't think the strength difference is an issue in this application) and then place a "blob" of butyl caulking over their heads to prevent water ingress.

So here are the big questions: (finally!)

1. Will a decent blob of butyl over these screw heads do a better sealing job than the original skin of silicone sealer?

2. After adding the screws, would it be a good idea to fill the gaps between the aluminum window frame and the plywood reinforcing frame with one of the low expansion foam insulations (from the interior)? (will this actually seal well against water?)

3. Any better ideas on how to deal with these difficult to reliably seal holes to the interior of my trailer?

Images follow: (yea, I caught it... silicone, not silicon, not same/same)


Dave

P.S. I was even able to buy new plastic moulding (to cover the outside frame screws) at Meridian RV in PoCo despite being told by another local RV shop that such a thing was out of date and likely unavailable. I will likely shop at Meridian again.
Attached Thumbnails
Window_screws.jpg   Rusty_screw.jpg  

__________________

__________________
David Swinnard is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-08-2008, 04:47 PM   #2
Senior Member
 
Daniel V.'s Avatar
 
Name: Daniel
Trailer: '74 Trillium 1300
-
Posts: 495
Hi David,

I won't be much help with the extra holes - all I can say is I've used blobs of fiberglass resin or epoxy to permanently fill various small gaps. My guess is that MarineTex putty would do great with your holes.

I hope you got rid of the leak. But but but... in case you didn't, you should know that the belly band is also prone to develop leaks after that many years. When water infiltrates the rivets, the clips they hold onto and that are glassed-in from the inside will rust and water can eventually find its way through the wall if water freezes and small cracks develop in the seam or through bubbles in the resin.
__________________

__________________
Driving on parkways and parking in driveways.
Daniel V. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-08-2008, 10:06 PM   #3
Senior Member
 
Harry Young's Avatar
 
Trailer: 1971 Astro (ie. Campster/Hunter I)
Posts: 437
Send a message via MSN to Harry Young Send a message via Yahoo to Harry Young
Post

On question (1) The butyl will get old, cracking off, I would as a cheap fix use silver GE silicone after first cleaning area with a solvent that leaves no residue...I had the same problem with my widows...you can repair aluminum, I use alumaloy...http://www.alumaloy.net/ practice on bear cans or in my case I drilled holes in aluminum door frames and got good at repair...once mastered the fix is permanent...not noticeable and saves the frame.

On question (2) foam is not a real seal, it does not do well with water seals, the only protection it offers is on the "skin" glossy cured smooth part...In this spot I would push the silicone into the gap and let cure, trim off excess when cured and then assemble after that.

ON question (3) I use a drill and a sand stone attachment, "usually a cone shaped one" sand the screw hole a wee bit below the rest of the area and fill with a fast setting 2 part epoxy, be sure to smooth out both sides of the hole with a putty knife, after sanding smooth with 300 grit wet or dry paper, I use a white appliance paint repair kit to seal the outside and the hole disappears...

Harry
__________________
Harry Young is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-27-2014, 08:13 PM   #4
Senior Member
 
JRTrillium's Avatar
 
Name: Janice & Rick
Trailer: Trillium 1300
Nova Scotia
Posts: 235
Registry
Hi,

We just had a couple days of hard rain and I noticed that we had a small amount of water in the exact place you described.

Our belly band looks tight and it has a really nice seal of caulking on top of it so I can't help but think that is not the problem.

The window has old caulking on it - looks a little rough but also looks tight. I am thinking we will remove the old caulking and run a new bead all along the top and down the side.

Any opinions or advice for me?
__________________
JRTrillium is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-27-2014, 08:33 PM   #5
Senior Member
 
Donna D.'s Avatar
 
Name: Donna D
Trailer: Escape 5.0 TA, 2014
Oregon
Posts: 24,433
One thing at a time, one thing at a time. Just because something looks tight doesn't mean it is! Water travels, those molecules are small (remember high school science class?) Try to prevent water intrusion in one area... TEST. Maybe a garden hose flowing freely is what you need. No leaks? Seal up the next area... where you THINK a leak is happening (good Duct tape) and TEST!

Chasing water leaks can be a PITA, but success can be found with judicous testing.

IF it's a window or vent, the solution IS NOT blobbing more caulk over the top of the old. Pull the vent or window, reseal with butyl, cinch down (rivets, screws... whatever your all molded towable requires)... GO CAMPING. Done right, you can camp leak-free for YEARS.


Best of luck!
__________________
Donna D.
Ten Forward - 2014 Escape 5.0 TA
Double Yolk - 1988 16' Scamp Deluxe
Donna D. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-28-2014, 04:38 AM   #6
Senior Member
 
JRTrillium's Avatar
 
Name: Janice & Rick
Trailer: Trillium 1300
Nova Scotia
Posts: 235
Registry
Hi Donna D.,

I was going to run the hose just above the belly band area and check on the inside. If it remains dry I will run the hose above the window then look again. Thanks for the advice. I was so disappointed when I saw the little puddle. Funny thing is, we camped last weekend and it rained and I don't remember seeing a puddle.

And, I am displaying my ignorance but what did you mean with the duct tape? Use it during a test? (Just reread your advice and yes, you mean to seal up areas for testing)

Another question - our windows are louvered windows - Dave wrote much earlier to a different window question of mine saying butyl tape is not for louvered windows but for windows that are simply plain glass that don't open - correct?

Thanks for your advice - it is much appreciated.

Janice
__________________
JRTrillium is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-28-2014, 07:03 AM   #7
Senior Member
 
JRTrillium's Avatar
 
Name: Janice & Rick
Trailer: Trillium 1300
Nova Scotia
Posts: 235
Registry
Hi folks (again!),

The bellyband is a mystery to me. It is a ring of metal with a black plastic inner. For some reason our black part of the band is short. Could this possibly be the culprit of the mysterious leak? Water is getting in the area where there is no black band and traveling along to the back?

I wonder because if you notice from the photos the previous owner screwed two metal holders on the back of the trailer - they set up some type of awning back there. Maybe, it's going along the track and seeping in the screw hole?

So, we would have to remove those (which I want to!) and fix the screw hole - but how and where do I get the black band to replace the old one?

And, now I have to figure out how to put pictures here again. Oh my, getting frustrated.
__________________
JRTrillium is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-28-2014, 07:07 AM   #8
Senior Member
 
JRTrillium's Avatar
 
Name: Janice & Rick
Trailer: Trillium 1300
Nova Scotia
Posts: 235
Registry
Photos of bellyband

I think the pics are here. They show the short black in the band and the two holders screwed on to the back of the trailer.

Looking for advice!!! Thank you!!!!
Attached Thumbnails
bellyband 1.jpg   belleyband 2.jpg  

belleyband 3.jpg   belleyband 4.jpg  

__________________
JRTrillium is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-28-2014, 10:19 AM   #9
Senior Member
 
Name: kootenai girl
Trailer: 2004 Casita Liberty 17
British Columbia
Posts: 1,350
Here's a link to similar question, it is easily found at any rv store.
Belly Band
__________________
kootenaigirl is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-28-2014, 11:05 AM   #10
Senior Member
 
JRTrillium's Avatar
 
Name: Janice & Rick
Trailer: Trillium 1300
Nova Scotia
Posts: 235
Registry
Is the black trim inserted in the band supposed to prevent water from coming into the trailer or is it just cosmetic?

Thanks to all who are responding - I have never ending questions.
__________________
JRTrillium is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-28-2014, 12:40 PM   #11
Senior Member
 
Donna D.'s Avatar
 
Name: Donna D
Trailer: Escape 5.0 TA, 2014
Oregon
Posts: 24,433
The vinyl insert is strictly cosmetic. And, you can buy it in different colors other than black, if you care.
__________________

__________________
Donna D.
Ten Forward - 2014 Escape 5.0 TA
Double Yolk - 1988 16' Scamp Deluxe
Donna D. is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
trillium


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Trillium 4500 leak Ken Saunderson Problem Solving | Owners Helping Owners 11 07-01-2010 07:52 PM
Leak Around Roof Vent of 78 Trillium 4500 susan s. Problem Solving | Owners Helping Owners 13 06-17-2010 02:28 PM
The Long, Long Trailer Trip Frederick L. Simson General Chat 63 08-02-2009 05:01 PM
The Long, Long Trailer Trip Frederick L. Simson Oregon Gatherings 0 12-31-1969 07:00 PM

» Upcoming Events
No events scheduled in
the next 465 days.
» Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by


Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 09:18 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.