Prep for our first honest to goodness mod revealedů. - Fiberglass RV


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Old 02-19-2012, 02:15 PM   #1
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Prep for our first honest to goodness mod revealedů.

Rot…



…unexpectedly under and around the fresh water tank upon removal of the seat to pull up the carpeting to lay down a nice quality cushioned vinyl flooring we found at our local discount/discontinued home improvement store. I believe it’s the mid-grade Armstrong Cushion Step flooring. It has all the sand and gray coloring we wanted for the inside of the trailer and will go fine with the tiny flowered teal upholstery.

At some point(s) while the previous owner had it something leaked (more than once) and was soaked up by the flooring leaving it to rot. (It wasn’t evident during the underside inspection upon purchase.) As we blithely bounced around the backroads on our adventures that tank bounced and made a nice sized crack allowing the screws to pull out, the strapping to come loose and bounce it around some more making said crack even longer. Mr. 2yax thinks it was something in the fill area that leaked as there seems to be no leak in the tank itself nor in the hoses attached. Fortunately it is a relatively small hole which Mr. 2yax sez shouldn’t be too challenging to nicely repair. (Famous last words)

What we also didn’t expect was just how much dirt came up out of that carpet despite having been steam cleaned, vacuumed and swept multiple times, as well as having had full sized rubber matting laid down once we began camping with the dogs. (I should have worn a dust mask during the yank out.)

The seller indicated that it had only been camped in twice (maybe thrice) and then lived in Mom and Pop’s back yard. Methinks either Grands used it as a play house or Gramps as a “Man Cave” based on the visible, but not excessive, wear and tear upon arrival here at Casa de Chaos. Our guess is that damage (and carpet dirt) occurred during those non-travelling years.

At any rate, since it’s all pulled out, we plan to leave the water tank out and install outside hatch covers to both the curb and street sides increasing our storage capabilities for things that usually run amok inside. (Not the the now single dog, of course.)

Despite the slight set back in our Spring camping time table, I’m glad Mr. 2yax discovered the rot in the driveway rather than on the road.

And, so it goes….

(Note: the gaping hole is after I tore away the worst of the damage..there is a faint black outline I made with magic marker for Mr. 2yax to use as a gauge for how far back he needs to consider in cutting out the rot to good, solid flooring...it's not as bad as it could have been)

...Josie
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Begin of carpet removal.jpg   First evidence of holes.jpg  

It's not as bad as it could have been.jpg   Tank with loose strapping.jpg  

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Old 02-19-2012, 04:12 PM   #2
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Based on my own prior experience, and not knowing the specific age of your Scamp, that looks to me like damage from a leaking window. Check the seals around the windows. The rear window seal can get dried out and stiff. The putty on the side windows can lose its grip, and it dries out over time. Also, check the drain holes on the side window. If the trailer sat a long time, it may easily have accumulated a lot of dust and dirt in the "gutter-track", plugging the drains.

Check the rivets for the curtain hooks and any upper cabinets near that corner. They can work loose and leak. Riveting through the insulation and interior fabric, as Scamp does, doesn't allow the rivet to cinch down properly, so the rivets are VERY prone to movement and leakage. Think of this -- since the curtain hooks are riveted on, through the insulation, and the insulation can compress somewhat when under pressure, that means that if you pull on the curtains, it will pull the curtain rod, thereby pulling down on the curtain hook thereby wiggling the rivets that hold it on. Now... what happens every single time you sit down on the bench seat, catching the curtain between the cushion and your back? Yep -- it pulls down on the curtain.

If that doesn't reveal the leak, look for "spider-cracks" on the radius corner of the roof. It is surprising how much water can seep through the thin fiberglass on these campers when the gel-coat and fiberglass has little stress-fractures in it. If you have a cluster of spider-cracks, get a bottle of Captain Tolley's Creeping Crack Repair. The stuff works.

Still stumped? I know that a lot of people reject this possibility, but leaks around the belly-band, where the two fiberglass shells are joined, are common. IN THEORY, the joint is water-tight, but only if the seaming-tape at the joint is 100% sealed to the lower shell. Because of the radius of the curve, small gaps in the seal at the corners are not unusual.

Any spot where water can penetrate the fiberglass shell allows the moisture to get behind the insulation. It then runs down to the floor, finds a penetration (such as the strap-screw for your water tank), and then rots the floor. Since Scamp coats the underbelly and much of the floor with resin, once water gets into the floor, it has a very hard time getting back out. When the water comes in this way, you may NEVER see a drop of water inside, and never know there is a problem (even looking from underneath) until the floor is well rotted.

It looks like you caught yours before the damage extended too far. Should be a reasonable fix. You'll be done in plenty of time to get camping!
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Old 02-19-2012, 04:40 PM   #3
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Leaks

Li'l Scamp is a 2003.

Rivets...yes...the curtain rod rivet on the back wall of that side of the trailer...discovered a leak after a frog strangler that woke me to a wet spot on that side of my mattress. We have been careful how we position that end of the trailer since and have not noticed it leaking since. Howsumever, that doesn't mean it hasn't been happening long enough to have caused that damage. Mr. 2yax and I will discuss that as well as looking for spider cracks. Thanks.

I had thought about the stress on those rivets and already had formulated a plan for not using those rods as soon as we make another mod that will reconfigure over the bed storage giving me a base for attaching the curtains or pleated shades through the bottom of the cabinets. Mr. has also bought new caps and rivets as there are several where the caps have dried out and either cracked or fallen off on the outside of the trailer. (again caused, I think, by lack of regular maintenance by the PO's..they didn't abuse her...they just didn't tend well to her.)

Widows...the dinette window leaked during that same gully washer. We have since removed all of the windows, cleaned every track, gutter and weep hole and have not had window leakage since. None of the others appeared to have had issues, but we figured we may as well do them all while we were at it. This again was probably caused by the years of backyard storage (with no cleaning) by the PO's.

Thank you for the input and product recommendation if there are spider cracks.

Josie
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Old 02-19-2012, 05:30 PM   #4
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Well that stinks. Still as you point out it would be worse to have discovered it on the road. A while back I wanted to make a cover for my pickup bed. I wanted something that would handle the snow and wet of a Vermont winter. I talked to my neighbor who builds houses and he recommended a product called Advantech. It's used for walls and floors in place of strand board and is quite water resistant. The cover I made is on winter number three. So far so good. It has one thin coat of white house paint more to match the truck than protect it. I would suggest an ad on craigs list might yield a scrap large enough for your project or keep an eye out for a new home going up. Wish you were closer, I have a piece in the basement you could have. Raz

Advantech Flooring - Huber Engineered Woods
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Old 02-19-2012, 05:40 PM   #5
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It could also be a leak from one of the water fittings. I had the valve for the water tank drainage leak. The good news is I found it the same day it happened. Had put something in the hatch the day prior no water - the next morning I went to move something under the table and noticed the carpet by the back hatch was damp.
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Old 02-19-2012, 06:26 PM   #6
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So why does Scamp use rivets for the curtain rods? Isnt there any other way to install them?
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Old 02-19-2012, 06:36 PM   #7
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Boy did you pick a first project or did it pick you. I have replaced several Scamp floors. Send me a P.M. with your phone number if you have any questions I will call you back. Looks like the entire rear dance floor needs to be replaced.
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Old 02-19-2012, 10:23 PM   #8
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answers

Melissa...there probably are other options - some might even be more stable than those darn rivets - given the nature of the products though, all doubtless would require some type of hole in the fiberglass for the attachment point - Scamp seems to like rivets. I'm hoping to counterbalance that by using the cabinetry as the anchor point once we get the over-head mod storage done....after we fix the floor.

Thanks, Eddie...I'll tell Mr. Man to read your post and see if he has questions. We don't think the entire floor will require replacing, but he'll give it all a thorough going over before we decide for sure. This whole thing started because I don't like the carpeting. After only a few camping trips, particularly after the dogs started going along, I realized that even with outside and inside floor mats we're traipsing a lot of schmutz into the rig. One sandy beach trip was enough to make me wish we could rip it out onsite, hence the full rubber matting once we got home from that trip.

Carol...he checked the fittings as he was removing the tank...no evidence of leakage there or at the petcock for draining the tank. Since we're not going to put it back, even if it had been we wouldn't worry about it now.

P. Raz...thanks for that link. He's taken a look at the website and found 3 locations here that sell it...it's more than the OSB already there, but not as expensive as Marine Ply. If he only has to do a patch, it will not prove to be too awfully expensive to consider that product. Even if he has to buy a full sheet...it would no doubt be useful elsewhere...Casa de Chaos (that's the stay put house) is always in need of one repair or another.

We really appreciate the input...one of the things that makes this site so good....peeeps helping peeeps. Thanks.

...Josie
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Old 02-20-2012, 10:50 AM   #9
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So how would one check for leaks around curtain rods, belly bands etc? Sounds like this should be a yearly inspection type of thing. If a rivet has worked lose, can it be tightened? Are the door curtain rods riveted all the way through as well or is the door too thick for that?
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Old 02-20-2012, 07:03 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by melissab View Post
So why does Scamp use rivets for the curtain rods? Isnt there any other way to install them?
oooh don't get me started about the blasted curtain rod brackets. Here's one way if you don't have overhead cabinets.
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Old 02-20-2012, 09:38 PM   #11
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Nice job, Donna...like the fabric, too.

Melissa...I hate to say the way we found out was in a frog strangler rain storm that created a good sized wet spot on my side of the bed....I guess you could purposely take a hose and "rain" on your trailer then check inside for wet/damp spots. (though I'd recommend removing the cushions/mattress first.)

I don't know about the door...probably...but I'll check. Howsumever, it doesn't get much stress on the rods since we're not opening and closing them all the time and other than traveling, the awning is usually out.

Thank you, Eddie for the phone call. Mr. 2yax feels better about his game plan.

Gotta luv this website.

...Josie
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Old 02-20-2012, 10:02 PM   #12
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Are the door curtain rods riveted all the way through as well or is the door too thick for that?
The ones on the door are not riveted through - they are just screwed into the thick part of the door.

Yup the rivets on the current rods are not great but if you have overheads you can hang the rods from those.
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Old 02-20-2012, 10:03 PM   #13
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you will like the Cushion Step flooring...we put it down 1.5 years ago and the edges do not curl up...i did not glue it down, and i did not put anything at the edges...but i did take my time cutting and tracing off the dirty old crap piece removed.

it made the camper "fresher"
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Old 02-21-2012, 06:42 PM   #14
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Cushion Step

You're right, Kevin...I'm pretty sure it's going to work great, too. Mr. Man put the same type of stuff in my mom's new bathroom...I really like the softer feel and wish I had it in mine as well.

In the mean, progress continues by inches.
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