Dealing w Rot?? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 03-20-2020, 09:25 PM   #1
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Name: Joanna
Trailer: Northern Lite
British Columbia
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Dealing w Rot??

I have a 1993 Northern Lite 15' travel trailer (not made anymore). Bought last spring, camped in a few times over last season. We got rained on during a few nights, and ended up wet inside in various places. When I purchased the trailer I had noticed peeling paint around the windows, and the previous owner said it was from condensation. After a first few nights in the unit, it was pretty moist in there in the morning, so didn't think much of it. Then we were in a torrential downpour and water was puddling in the back window, flowing out of the driver side back window, etc. So, after the roof got a crack from snowload and leaked water all over the inside again, we decided this spring to fix the roof and in the process replace the wall panels that had the peeling paint, and then reseal the windows....this turned into ripping out everything. All the wall panel joints were hidden behind the furniture, so many many screws and pieces have been removed. This will be the first of probably many posts with questions as we fix and build this thing back up - so i'll get to the point.
Dealing with rotten wood:
The back driver side corner of the plywood 'subfloor', where the water flowed in from the crack, is still wet. Its still been freezing at night, so hasn't had much chance to dry out. The corner here is swollen, has ripples in the top layer of the plywood, etc. The front corner underneath where we had a bathroom vanity, the bolt that goes thru to the frame is buried in the plywood - like the wood is either swollen or bent.
Then there's the wood around the windows. 2x2 - ish wood along top and bottom (doesn't seem related to the window at all, not actually sure what they are for - furniture/cabinets seemed to have been just drilled through the lauan and foam insulation and not the wood). The bottom pieces are in various states of mold/decay, from black speckles on fairly hard wood, to crumbling.
Do i replace the floor? It has 2 main parts, the raised bit under the dinette and the rest. Can i replace just pieces of concern? I would need to take the frame bolts out and this scares me.
Do I pull out and replace the wall pieces around the windows? Can the black speckle mold stuff be treated with a wood rot treatment? or better to remove? I want the foundation pieces of the trailer to be solid and never have to take it apart again. (its crazy how interconnected everything is!)
sorry for such a long post.
First 2 pics show the wood in the walls under the windows, from black speckly to crumbly. Final pic shows the floor where it is still wet from the recent roof crack.
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Old 03-20-2020, 10:10 PM   #2
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Name: Dave & Paula Brown
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I have never had to deal with rot, but I have read that the bolts that hold the body to the frame do rust, then break off. I would at least replace the bolts one at a time to keep everything aligned. I have read on this forum that some are able to use a rot arrester that when dry, will harden. Hopefully someone will be along shortly with first hand advise. Good luck with your project.
Dave & Paula
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Old 03-21-2020, 09:21 AM   #3
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There's little work-around when it comes to wood rot. If you can't get it to completely dry out, like with using a hefty hair dryer, then there's little choices left. Cut and remove is really the only way. I had to do it with my old Scamp. It had plenty to work on. I replaced cut out areas of floor and wall supports with fiberglass soaked wood and fiberglass cloth. It was a messy job but without due diligence any ignored rot will eventually spread and you are back to square one.
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Old 03-21-2020, 02:03 PM   #4
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Oklahoma
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You might probe the floor (from the top as well as beneath) here and there with a screwdriver or a pointed tool, to test it for softness. If it's soft in spots, those areas are probably rotted and in need of some attention.
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Old 03-22-2020, 10:51 AM   #5
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Name: George
Trailer: 1997 16' Scamp
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"Do it yourselfers" are a special breed. Confidence and standards are essential. You have embarked on a big job. My experience may not fit for you. Seven yrs ago We purchased a 1997 16' Scamp. I discovered dry rot in the floor at the forward passenger side cabinet, in the support for the bunk beds below the front window and at the last 6" of both corners of the floor at the rear of the trailer inside the seat compartments. I had done fiberglass work on my corvette 35 yrs ago and have done work on my sailboat for dry-rot in the deck. I've had some experience. Here's a description of my solution as maybe 5% of my floor had been affected. My floor was dry. You may have to run a fan and heater for some time. I first mixed some epoxy and brushed the underside of the floor and allowed it to set. I then applied 2" painters tape to seal the underside to hold the epoxy I was to apply from the top. I drilled 3/16" holes in a checkerboard pattern about 2" apart. Put some tape on the drill bit to determine a depth of about 1/2 the total. I bought some syringes from West Marine and cut the tips to fit the holes. I mixed epoxy and thinned it with acetone until it had the consistency of warm honey. With the acetone added, the set time will be a few hours if you mix in quantities of about a cup or less. Fill the syringe and squirt it in the holes. It will fill the voids. We have used the Scamp these past 7 yrs. We pulled it on a nation wide National Parks tour a few yrs ago, numerous trips from MI to Florida and have spent 6 wks of each of the last 3 yrs in Tx. The repairs seem to hold up fine but they're just storage areas. I'm 6' and 210 lbs. Our floor springs maybe an 1/8'' when I step. It's been like that 7 yrs and stays the same so I expect it's normal. A whole new floor with 2 coats of epoxy top and bottom would be best but a lot more work. Good luck with your re-work.
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Old 03-23-2020, 11:00 AM   #6
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Name: Joanna
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British Columbia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David B. View Post
I have never had to deal with rot, but I have read that the bolts that hold the body to the frame do rust, then break off. I would at least replace the bolts one at a time to keep everything aligned. I have read on this forum that some are able to use a rot arrester that when dry, will harden. Hopefully someone will be along shortly with first hand advise. Good luck with your project.
Dave & Paula
I've found all the bolts (there are 6). The 2 in the middle aren't even tight. Sounds like a good idea to replace them!
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Old 03-23-2020, 11:03 AM   #7
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Name: Joanna
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So sounds like epoxy coated replacement floor is the way to go, and in the process i'll replace the frame bolts. Turning into a lot more work than expected! but, don't want issues later on, so here we go...
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Old Yesterday, 10:50 AM   #8
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Hi, I would start out trying to thoroughly dry the damp floor areas with a hair dryer or heat gun. That will buy you time and after the wood is dry, you can probe it to see how rotten is really is.

The black spots on wood can be treated with a bleach/soap solution. Let it sit for a while, then dry as above.

I had floor rot and mold in my trailer when we bought it. It smelled very moldy when you went in; you don't say your trailer smells badly, so I'm thinking might not have to do a total refirb.

Replacing the bolts is a great idea.

Here's my restoration if you're interested. https://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/...ted-37570.html

Good luck!
Fran
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