Camper leaked, not sure where - Fiberglass RV


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Old 02-06-2020, 11:11 AM   #1
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Name: Scamp
Trailer: Scamp
Tennessee
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Camper leaked, not sure where

We have had heavy rains the last 24 hrs in TN. Had this camper 2 weeks and checked on it when the rain stopped just now. I cannot tell where it leaked from, curtains, windows, roof vent is all dry. Standing water under dinette and under seat compartment. Drying with towels and putting fans in now. Any suggestions?
Sorry itís sideways
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Old 02-06-2020, 01:20 PM   #2
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If you have sliding windows the channels can fill with water and overflow inside. Check to see if your walls are wet under the windows. Bugs will build dams in the channels and prevent the water from getting to the weep holes. I used about a two foot long piece of wire to snake out my window channels and flush them out afterwards with water. It is surprising what comes out. I did this every time I took my Scamp out from its carport. This is the only leak I ever experienced. Others have mentioned the seam between the top & bottom halves. Good luck.
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Old 02-06-2020, 01:45 PM   #3
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Are the walls dry in that area? Also, was the fresh water tank completely empty prior to the water appearing, and did you have freezing temps there?
Water leaks are so challenging whether in the home or in an RV.
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Old 02-06-2020, 03:51 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Cathy P. View Post
Are the walls dry in that area? Also, was the fresh water tank completely empty prior to the water appearing, and did you have freezing temps there?
Water leaks are so challenging whether in the home or in an RV.
Yes the walls are dry, I suspect the roof vent but the table was dry. We did have very heavy rain and winds. The water tank is empty and we have not had many freezing temps this winter in TN. Thanks for your reply!
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Old 02-06-2020, 03:52 PM   #5
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Name: Scamp
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Originally Posted by bertherr View Post
If you have sliding windows the channels can fill with water and overflow inside. Check to see if your walls are wet under the windows. Bugs will build dams in the channels and prevent the water from getting to the weep holes. I used about a two foot long piece of wire to snake out my window channels and flush them out afterwards with water. It is surprising what comes out. I did this every time I took my Scamp out from its carport. This is the only leak I ever experienced. Others have mentioned the seam between the top & bottom halves. Good luck.
Thanks for your reply, I will check on those channels.
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Old 02-06-2020, 04:18 PM   #6
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Name: Gordon
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Water from a roof leak can travel under the insulation (between the insulation and the fiberglass shell) and run all the way to the floor before it appears where you can see it. That is what happened when the AC Air box screws went through the roof of my Scamp.

Leaks can be a PIA to find. There is a service that claims to find leaks by over pressurizing the interior with air. I have some doubts that will work but never used it... see https://www.lichtsinn.com/rv-service/rv-leak-detection
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Old 02-06-2020, 04:34 PM   #7
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Name: Scamp
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Originally Posted by gordon2 View Post
Water from a roof leak can travel under the insulation (between the insulation and the fiberglass shell) and run all the way to the floor before it appears where you can see it. That is what happened when the AC Air box screws went through the roof of my Scamp.

Leaks can be a PIA to find. There is a service that claims to find leaks by over pressurizing the interior with air. I have some doubts that will work but never used it... see https://www.lichtsinn.com/rv-service/rv-leak-detection
Ugggggg! Very frustrating
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Old 02-07-2020, 05:40 AM   #8
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You could duplicate this testing process something like this:
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Old 02-12-2020, 12:37 PM   #9
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Make sure you find and eliminate the leak. I had problems with the pop rivets leaking and a leak at the roof vent. I hadn't used the Scamp for a few months, when i went to use it the ceiling was covered with mold. The liner (Elephant Skin type) will hold the moisture and create mold. Another possibility for you would be the windows. Look for water stains. Good luck.
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Old 02-13-2020, 10:43 AM   #10
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I'm putting my money on the roof vent/escape hatch. That plastic frame just deteriorates from constantly being exposed to sunlight. I'd pop open the hatch, get a chair so you can stand up through the hatch and survey the frame from the outside. Look for cracks/damage. If it's covered in caulk or silicone (perhaps by a previous owner), I double my bet.
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Old 02-13-2020, 03:10 PM   #11
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Our son's Scamp was leaking where the spare tire attaches to the body. Took forever to figure it out. They had to tear up part of the back flooring and replace it. Good Luck!
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Old 02-13-2020, 04:47 PM   #12
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Hose with a spray head or pressure washer. For larger areas like a window direct water at only one half at a time. Then go inside and look for water. Bottom first then top. Around seal will tend to show up with water from the top. Weep holes plugged will show up with water directed toward the bottom half. Some times then need to try left and right side to further isolate where the leak is. E.G leak is from water directed at the top. Does it leak with water only on the top left? Or top right?

For anyone that isn't aware the weep holes are small holes in the outside of the window frame that allow the channel to drain. They clog easily because they are small and then water can fill the channel and overflow on the inside of the window.

Water will always follow gravity but can travel a long way behind the wall liner, seats or cabinets. Consider if the camper wasn't completely level which way was "upstream".

For out of the way locations such as under seats one can sprinkle something such as baby powder on a dry floor. Any leak will darken it in sharp contrast to the dry powder. Used that to track down oil leaks on motorcycles and used it in the scamp in my own "scavenger hunt".

I would suspect any opening before I would suspect the mid seam. That metal is just a trim piece. The top and bottom half are joined by using fiberglass on the inside. Generally won't leak there but... mine did (had a bubble in the FG resin. And it does happen. That water always shows up at the bottom of the wall liner. I found it with water directed only at the seam with a watering can a section at a time. Leak was a good 2 or 3 feet from the water damage to the floor.

I would look to windows or roof vent first. Take them one at a time with a hose or pressure washer until you track down the area. Some times a watering can or other slow and small water delivery tool can help narrow the last little bit of the search.

Don't be surprised if it is tough to find. Or that there can be more than one. I hit my entire front window with a pressure wash sprayer pretty heavily to confirm it was well sealed after I worked on it. Drove 55 through a rainstorm and had a wet couch cushion. One tiny path given water for long enough dripped through in a top corner. Sigh.

Good luck and be sure to post what you find out. Be good to know how the adventure comes out.
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Old 02-13-2020, 04:57 PM   #13
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Almost forgot. Tail lights and water fill fitting can leak.

Looked at the picture again. If as I suspect your trailer was slightly lower on the side with the big puddle in front of the bench look to the high side. Toward the right (top of picture on side)

Water will only flow up hill after it fills the available space at the bottom of the hill. So that big wet spot looks like it might be the "bottom" and the narrow part along the rear and toward the other bench seat is the "flow". Since the puddle would have overflowed to the main floor before flowing "up" toward the other side. Assuming that puddle side was low.

Always flows downhill can help narrow it down. If the back is wet and it was parked nose up that would be different than what I laid out.
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Old 02-14-2020, 04:28 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by RogerDat View Post
Almost forgot. Tail lights and water fill fitting can leak.

Looked at the picture again. If as I suspect your trailer was slightly lower on the side with the big puddle in front of the bench look to the high side. Toward the right (top of picture on side)

Water will only flow up hill after it fills the available space at the bottom of the hill. So that big wet spot looks like it might be the "bottom" and the narrow part along the rear and toward the other bench seat is the "flow". Since the puddle would have overflowed to the main floor before flowing "up" toward the other side. Assuming that puddle side was low.

Always flows downhill can help narrow it down. If the back is wet and it was parked nose up that would be different than what I laid out.
Yes it wasnít completely level, I just realized there was a level on the front by the crank. I have it under a lean to at a friends barn til I can further investigate this leak. Iím going to try the water hose idea first. Thank you for your reply and time.
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Old 02-14-2020, 04:29 PM   #15
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Thanks for all the ideas! I will update when I can figure it out.
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Old 02-15-2020, 09:27 AM   #16
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Good luck! Don't let it get you down--it's all part of the adventure!
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Old 02-15-2020, 10:23 AM   #17
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Adventure definition - Someone else having a rough time far away from where I am. Example: that sleet storm in the mountains must have made driving an adventure. :-)

Glad you have some shelter for it until you can track the leak down. A couple of tools to provide a quick fix and confirm a leak by patching it.

White liquid electrical tape. Available at Home Depot and similar stores. Can brush on a seam or over a rivet as a seal. White is pretty inconspicuous. I use small art brushes from Walmart to apply. If when that dries it stops the leak you know you found it. Will generally hold up for about a season. Used that for a couple of rivets that started leaking end of fall so I didn't have to fix before winter storage.

Non-silicon caulk. Avoid silicon caulk. Won't stick and the silicon gets into the gelcoat pores so nothing else will stick either. Really hard to get that residue back out. Stuff is evil on fiberglass. I had pretty good luck with interior/exterior painters caulk. Some may have a bit of silicon in them but many don't. Or non-silicon window caulk. Shot the seam and over the rivets of my old roof vent to stop a leak until I could do a proper repair.

One other quick repair to check item is butyl tape, you can sometimes push that into a gap or put over a rivet to seal as a temporary fix and test if that spot makes a difference in the leak. I carry a little bit with me when traveling for temp sealing. Had a rivet pop out and sealed the hole with it. Worked until I got home and got around to replacing the rivet. Hot blow dryer can make it soften a lot to use like putty.

Don't know your window type but I had a leak one year because the rubber seal the window closed against got folded over which created a gap for water.

I would look at the tail lights too. Examine wall and floor where the wires come through the wall. I ended up running a thin line of caulk along the top seam of the light fixture outside which stopped a leak that showed up under the seats. Later I pulled the lights and put butyl tape behind them.

All campers leak I think, sometime and someplace. My Scamp being 40+ years old has provided me more "adventures" in leak repair than most. Good hunting!
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