Bigfoot B17 Reno phase 1 begins - Fiberglass RV

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Old 03-24-2016, 08:12 AM   #1
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Name: Virginia
Trailer: 1984 bigfoot trailer
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Bigfoot B17 Reno phase 1 begins

So we have set ourselves up for the challenge of doing our Bigfoot reno/ repair in layers so we can use it between small projects and eventually get it somewhere to be repainted! We have renovated houses and repaired boats so hope some skills transfer . We are semi-retired Canadians living in Tulsa Oklahoma and hoping to get back to western Canada this summer. We welcome your feedback and suggestions and will keep you posted on progress.

Our "baby" is a 1984 17x8 gaucho model with a convert a bunk in the back and a front dinette that makes a double bed.
Phase 1 is to identify the source of a couple of leaks, and some wiring issues and complete minor repairs. I'll post photos as we go.
Problem 1 identified - the leaks under the window on the left side of the entry door are due to water coming up through rusted screws in the wheel well. What is the best way to seal these? ( see photos)
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Old 03-24-2016, 08:40 AM   #2
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Adding photos is challenging me!

First photo is inside the trailer looking down on the wheel well. You can see a couple of screws popping through and some darkened fibreglass. I can't seem to upload the photos of the outside of the wheel well showing rusted screw heads but I think the picture of the outside of the wheel well uploaded
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Old 03-24-2016, 10:04 AM   #3
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Trailer: 91 Bigfoot 17
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I still can't really picture what that first photo is of...having not had my Bigfoot torn apart.

You're sure it's leaking from driving in wet weather, and not just the windows needing to be resealed?

I'll have to check out the wheel wells on mine to see what they look like. I would think you'd need to do a lot of extended wet weather driving to get water damage under the windows from the wheel wells, but you may very well do a lot of wet weather driving.

How are you adding photos? There's a good tutorial on it in this thread.
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Old 03-24-2016, 12:05 PM   #4
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It actually doesn't take long to accumulate a lot of water from a leaking wheel well. I bought a new Jeep years ago that would leak when driving in the rain. We would have 2 -3" of water covering the floor in a few minutes during a thunder storm. They sealed the seam around the wheel wells with a black sealant that they used when installing replacement windshields. I never experienced another leak after that.

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Old 03-31-2016, 09:42 AM   #5
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Good luck with the reno. I have been working on our 88 17' trying to get it ready to use. One day I'd like to restore it. This will involve replacing the floor. Post some pics of your progress

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Old 03-31-2016, 10:06 AM   #6
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I've not looked at the inner wheel well on mine nor have I removed the insulation from the wheel wells inside. Do those screws have a function? If so, replace with stainless steel, grind down the exposed sharp ends, and seal with a 2 part epoxy putty. If no function, removed and seal. On mine, there was some water damage below the windows but hard as I tried I couldn't get the windows to leak with hose spray. I've come to the conclusion that a prior owner towed in the rain without locking the windows shut. When I've forgotten to lock them, they vibrate open about 1". That could let lots of water inside. Best of luck with your project.
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1980 Bigfoot 17' & 1973 Compact Jr
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Old 03-31-2016, 10:39 AM   #7
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Name: Jack L
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Because of the way your Bigfoot is built, water from a window leak can easily get between the foam insulation and the outside fiberglass shell and stay hidden until it surfaces somewhere else.

If your wheel well seam is leaking, it would probably not leak unless the trailer is moving down the road, so I suggest you park the trailer and use a garden hose on the window to see if that's where the water is entering.

Window leaks are quite common. Yours is the first potential wheel well leak I've heard of.

The window leaks are usually where the window frame and the outside shell meet. If this is the problem, the window assembly needs to be removed, cleaned and resealed with butyl tape Attempts to reseal the window from the outside by applying caulking are not going to work.
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Old 04-02-2016, 07:46 PM   #8
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Name: Virginia
Trailer: 1984 bigfoot trailer
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I have created an album using the "create album" feature on this site for this reno and have started to post pictures. I'll add the link to this thread once I figure out how to do that. In the meantime - a quick update. The leaks on the passenger side came from 3 places- mostly from under the porch light, and then from the extra(8)holes around the awning bracket where there had been a previous larger bracket, minor leaks up through one of the oxidized screws in the wheel well and nothing from the window! In order to confirm that we took out the base, the bunk, the walls and the insulation.....

more later!

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