Casita water leak - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-30-2021, 11:58 AM   #1
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Trailer: 2016 17ft Casita SD
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Casita water leak

Casita Water Leak Question

We acquired a (late model) 2016 Casita 17í SD this spring from the original owners in Texas (we live in Michigan. Yes, a long drive, but thatís what it takes these days).

We camped on the way home, and again in Michigan. No issues. When camping in Michigan it rained very hard on 2 separate days during our camping.

Upon returning home from camping, I was looking at the fuse/circuit breaker/converter compartment under the set up bed to become familiar with the electrical system, when I noticed my wifeís hat under the bed at the very rear up against a (transverse) tilted panel. When I retrieved the hat, it was sopping wet, and the hole for the rear table post was filled with water. Uh oh.

My first thought was the water must be coming from one of 2 sources: plumbing or rain. The fresh water tank was less than a quarter full. I was hoping that it was simply the rear window being left open; but the rear wall above the water on the floor and below the window was dry.

I took the bed down, and removed everything out of the way. I unscrewed the two screws and pivoted forward the tilted panel, which appears to be a ďkickĒ panel to protect a bundle of wiring and plumbing hoses. Water was puddled behind this exposed area behind the kick panel. Everything was dried out with towels. Dry towels were then put down at the rear, and in the left rear compartment (Where the water heater resides).

The camper is temporarily parked on our garage pad. The garage pad is properly pitched away from the house in 2 directions, such that the camper is (slightly) rear down, and left (driver side) down. The puddling water at the rear of the camper puddles towards the left rear, which makes sense.

Now to rule out either plumbing, or rain leaks. I checked the camper floor for the next 4-5 non-rain days. Everything was bone dry. Last night it rained about 1Ē (per our rain gage).
Low and behold, the towels were soaking wet ! More so towards the left rear. So it appears to be a rain leak. The carpeting (rat fur ?) on the rear vertical wall above the water on the floor appeared dry

Where could the source be ? Candidates: belly band, license plate area (which is above the leaked-water area), tail lights, spare tire attachment, rear window, roof (has AC), etc.

This is an area which could have undetected leaked water because itís hidden behind the kick panel and out of view (that is unless itís significant enough to run out from behind the kick panel, as in my case).

HAS ANYONE EXPERIENCED ANYTHING LIKE THIS ? OR DOES ANYONE HAVE A CLUE AS TO WHAT COULD BE LEAKING ?
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Old 08-30-2021, 04:08 PM   #2
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Name: db
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The same exact place my 2009 leaked. It was the license plate mount. I resealed it and no problems since. There was no sealer behind it. Just holes drilled in the fiberglass.
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Old 08-30-2021, 05:33 PM   #3
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Thanks for replying.
This confirms my suspicion. It's the first place I was going to look.
Because this is a hidden area, there may be other Casitas with a problem that's not visible.
I'll call the Casita factory and alert them.
Hopefully they'll take action.
Maybe issue a bulletin like the car companies do ?
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Old 08-31-2021, 10:27 AM   #4
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Trailer: casita
Washington
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I had a very similar problem a few years back....found that our rear sliding window was not closing tight enough and would vibrate just enough during travel to cause the problem. We really have to slam the window shut to ensure it locks.....now I also attach a thumb screw lock on the inside to ensure no movement occurs.....haven't had the problem since. Good luck.
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Old 08-31-2021, 11:35 AM   #5
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Trailer: 2000 16ft Scamp
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Leak

Have the Casita Boys call the Scamp boys. The back window can hide leaks very well too.l. It is nice the leak thing is a rarity in Fiberglas trailers.
John
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Old 08-31-2021, 12:39 PM   #6
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Trailer: '15 17' LD Casita and '17 Tahoe LT
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I have a '15 LD and not sure of your floor plan. Your post and pictures look as if I had taken them in my trailer. It describes my water leak also. I first noticed a small wet spot under the rear of the trailer. Looking closer I also noticed it coming from the rear cup that holds a table leg. Removing the piece of wood covering the wires inside I also found water and it was coming from the water tank side (curb side). I pulled out the fiberglass seating area and checked out the water tank, etc. and all was ok. I noticed a small amount of water around the side storage door. I sprayed it with the water hose and could see the water running in around the gasket. I kept an eye on it for a few weeks and noticed that it only leaked when it rained and the wind was blowing sideways against that side of the trailer. I taped up the seams on the outside of the storage door. No leaks. That was back in the spring and I left the tape on until this week. I have now removed it and will watch closely again for leaks. Earlier in the summer I found the gasket material listed in the Casita store but have not ordered it as yet.
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Old 09-01-2021, 12:48 PM   #7
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Casita water leak

Question for DB Cooper:
I'm wondering how you sealed the license plate area. When I removed the license plate, there were 2 pop-rivets holding the license plate mount that must penetrate the fiberglass shell, and I assume the wiring for the license plate light must also penetrate the shell. I could simply seal/spray sealant on/around the 2 pop-rivets. Or I could drill out the pop-rivets and see what's really going on.
Perhaps your Casita has a different license plate attachment configuration ?
What exactly did you do to solve this ?
(See pictures below)

Question for dmad1:
First, thanks for your reply.
Some questions:
-"small wet spot under the rear of the trailer" Do mean outside the trailer on the ground, or inside at the rear ?
-"small amount of water around the side storage door" Do you mean the door that views the water tank ? This is the only door with a gasket, and it's on the right side (non-driver side, or curb side).
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Old 09-01-2021, 02:05 PM   #8
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Trailer: '15 17' LD Casita and '17 Tahoe LT
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I first noticed just a slow drip and a wet spot under the rear of the trailer. After a couple of days, it was still dripping. When I got under it, I could see where they drilled the hole for the table mount. It was leaking around where they calked it. I recalked around the table mount (you can just see the bottom of it where it sticks through the flooring) and they sealed it. But inside, it was leaking around the small storage door that looks at the water tank on mine. While the wife sprayed from the outside, I could see it seeping around the gasket, run down the wall, behind the water tank and along the wires under the panel described. The water in the table mount was running under the linoleum and into the mount and then seeping out under the trailer.
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Old 09-01-2021, 02:34 PM   #9
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Name: bill
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry Singer View Post
Question for DB Cooper:
I'm wondering how you sealed the license plate area. When I removed the license plate, there were 2 pop-rivets holding the license plate mount that must penetrate the fiberglass shell, and I assume the wiring for the license plate light must also penetrate the shell. I could simply seal/spray sealant on/around the 2 pop-rivets. Or I could drill out the pop-rivets and see what's really going on.
Perhaps your Casita has a different license plate attachment configuration ?
What exactly did you do to solve this ?
(See pictures below)

.
Personally, I put butyl tape under all exterior lights. I prefer SS screws over rivets, and put a scrap piece of plywood inside to catch the screws. I then use Dicor or similar to seal the top and sides, leaving the bottom open.

Casita' bath tub design traps water if you have leaks to the inside. And they do not have pontoons like the old Trilliums or the new Escapes. Casita has gone through a variety of methods to seal the top of the OSB layer in the floor, which helps. Everywhere there are penetrations, like the table bases, there is a chance for water to reach the wood.
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Old 09-03-2021, 11:35 AM   #10
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Name: db
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Drill out the rivets and remove. Apply sealer. Make sure to seal the wires and all holes in fiberglass. Reattach with SS screws and lock nuts. Water dripps off the belly band, runs down the side, hits the plate mount then follows the rivets and wires inside. It totally destroyed the kick panel before I found it. That fake wood sucks water like a sponge.
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Old 09-03-2021, 05:16 PM   #11
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Name: Jack
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Virginia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DB Cooper View Post
Drill out the rivets and remove. Apply sealer. Make sure to seal the wires and all holes in fiberglass. Reattach with SS screws and lock nuts. Water dripps off the belly band, runs down the side, hits the plate mount then follows the rivets and wires inside. It totally destroyed the kick panel before I found it. That fake wood sucks water like a sponge.
What are SS Screws? Do you do this for any Rivet replacement?
Thanks.
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Old 09-03-2021, 07:53 PM   #12
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SS is Stainless Steel screws.
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Old 09-05-2021, 07:17 AM   #13
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Trailer: 2001 Casita 17' SD
IN
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I stick with the manufacture method, rivets. At lights and vents I use butyl tape then reattach with rivets, never a leak. Around the wire openings apply some silicone caulk in and around the opening, then re-rivet. If you replace a rivet and seal with silicone, say dicor, in the hole then rivet it should never leak. I never caulk around a fixture as it becomes very ugly and nasty looking over time. Butyl tape is 100% waterproof and can be trimmed even around the fixture making a clean installation. Rivets are pretty permanent and last for many years unless your driving off road consistently.
Stainless steel bolts and nuts are fine for awnings, something permanently mounted but to replace a rivet is overkill and can eventually work loose, causing a leak opening. Wood backed screws are a temporary fix as eventually they will loosen as they fracture the fiberglass shell.

Everyone has a method which works for them but rivets are used in airplanes, airstreams and hundreds of other applications so there’s that to consider……………..
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Old 10-03-2021, 12:32 PM   #14
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HELP ! HELP ! Water leak still unsolved !!!

I received 3 responses from Casita owners with similar water leak symptoms:
I removed the rear transverse kick panel for observation.

1) License plate mounting bracket rivets and wiring for light.
So I drilled out the 2 rivets, removed the bracket, and caulked the 2 holes, and around the wiring entry point. I even caulked all the tail light rivets.

2) Rear window.
This seems totally normal. It appears to open and fully shut completely

3) Right rear access door that views fresh water tank.
Seal looks fine. I placed paper towels all around the cavity at the side and across the bottom, to show where water might be entering.

After a mild rain, 0.4" (per my rain gauge), water still puddles at the rear.
And I'm not talking a little water. It takes 3 full size bath towels to soak up all the water. The rear table post hole fills up. The paper towels in the right rear access door cavity are totally dry.

So the next step was to completely cover the top with a 12' x 16' tarp. This would hopefully rule out leaking from the A/C, roof fan, awning mounting etc.

Well it rained last night, 0.5". And the same leaking took place. 3 bath towels worth.

We're at a total loss how some much water can be entering, with such a little rain, and not be obvious.

Any ideas or experiences are needed. We need to get this fixed.

I tried to post pictures of the license plate area, and the tarp covering. But was unsuccessful. Will try again, but meanwhile I want to get this post out now.
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Old 10-03-2021, 12:55 PM   #15
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Pictures for Casita water leak

I also removed the spare tire, but all looks OK at the mounting area.
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Old 10-03-2021, 01:45 PM   #16
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I worked for a entrance and interior door co. I customer said our double door was leaking. it had vinyl foam seals. I went to the site, examined it for set. how the doors closed etc. I had the woman that lived in the new house use a water hose to spray on the door all-around the seals. no water came in. I went out with the hose and sprayed all around the moldings surrounding the door. it came pouring in at the header. I took the casing off inside the house around the door. I could see light coming in. where the out side molding was not water tight.
If you have an assistant spray water at different places on the outside with you inside to see what is possibly happening. Windows, belly band, rivets, all possible leak areas.
I have removed all my windows, and the top vent, resealed all. Then sprayed water on my work, to see if there is a leak.
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Old 10-03-2021, 02:23 PM   #17
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Casita water leak still remains a mystery HELP!!!

Thanks for reply, Kenny.

That was the very first thing I tried. I took a hose and sprayed everywhere I could, for a good half hour or so. Me on the outside, my wife on the inside. Nothing resulted where the water was puddling. No observable water intrusion anywhere. The problem with this technique appears to be two-fold:

1) The water may be entering and running behind the "rat fur", or behind the fresh water tank, or behind areas not exposed to viewing.

2) Water may be entering, but taking a while to make its appearance due to first soaking in, or making a long travel path.

Besides all that, there appears to be very little left to look at as a potential water entry point. Obviously it's getting in somewhere. I just can't figure out where.

Also, this may be a problem going unnoticed in other Casitas, because it's rather hidden, especially if you keep the bed set up all the time. It's way in the very back behind a (particle board) transverse kick panel that hides/protects a bundle of wiring and hoses.
I only noticed it by chance when I discovered my wife's hat soaking wet when I was prowling around under the bed.

I strongly suggest that Casita owners check this area for water intrusion.
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Old 10-03-2021, 05:28 PM   #18
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Maybe I missed it above but have you checked the drain holes along the bottom of the window frames?
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Old 10-03-2021, 07:20 PM   #19
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Unsolved Casita (rain) water leak

Thanks for reply Shelby.
No, you didn't miss my mentioning checking window drain holes.
I did do that, but didn't mention it. They all appeared unclogged.
But since you cited this, I think I'll do more than a visual check, and probe the drain holes with a paper clip or something, to be sure.
I'm really clutching at straws at trying to solve this.
It's kind of uncanny how so much water can enter the Casita thru such tiny holes in a relatively mild rain.
I hope someone out there can help me solve this.
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