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Old 01-06-2019, 06:02 PM   #1
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Name: Elaine
Trailer: Casita freedom deluxe 16
Arizona
Posts: 14
New with leaks!

Hi I'm Elaine and just took my new to me '96 Casita out for its first camping trip. I had water inside the trailer the next am. I think one drip is coming from a rivet and the other is from around the vent on the roof. I'm confused because one video I watched said no silicone around the vent/fan and another talked about silicone around the rivets when you replace them... does anyone know? I kind of figured I'd need to do some repairs along the way with such an old camper but so soon???

thanks for all your help and I am sure glad to be part of this group...
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Old 01-06-2019, 06:28 PM   #2
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Arizona
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Elaine, cangratulations on your new 23 year old Casita. Butyl tape is what works best on fiberglass. Reseal the vent and any rivets you replace with this. If you are in the Apache Junction area of AZ, I could show/teach you how to do these repairs.
Dave & Paula
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Old 01-06-2019, 06:56 PM   #3
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Name: Ben
Trailer: Casita
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The rivets are fairly easy. You will need a rivet gun tool which will run about $30 and you will need often on the casita. You will also need to drill out the old rivet before installing the new one. Once you have the old rivet out, a dab of silicon then installation of the new rivet will keep leaks at bay. Casita sells nice little rivet kits that also include the decretive caps. T
The vent/fan is a more involved repair. Maybe a 3 on a 1-10 scale. The fan housing or cover needs to be removed (I believe it is riveted in) old sealant scraped off and new butyl tape as David B suggested installed under the cover. Once the cover is re-installed (A good time to replace the cover if it is weather beaten), Go over everything with dicor lap sealant to further seal it.
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Old 01-06-2019, 07:54 PM   #4
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Colorado
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Welcome to the forum, Elaine. There is a strong sentiment on this forum against using silicone caulk on any part of your camper. The main reason is that nothing will stick to silicone caulk, or to a surface that has any traces of it. Silicone oil is an outstanding mold release in production of plastic part, for example, but in some instances its use is prohibited, in order to avoid problems later.

There are many NON-silicone alternatives and they are well marked as such and offer better adhesion. My favorite is LEXEL.

You said: I kind of figured I'd need to do some repairs along the way with such an old camper but so soon??? Look at it this way - the sooner you find and seal any leaks, the better!
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Old 01-06-2019, 08:03 PM   #5
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Name: Kevin
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You didn't say if it rained on your trailer overnight. If not, you may have condensation dripping down from warm air inside interacting with cooler outside air. That's a different issue to fix.
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Old 01-07-2019, 01:34 AM   #6
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Name: Elaine
Trailer: Casita freedom deluxe 16
Arizona
Posts: 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fireballsocal View Post
The rivets are fairly easy. You will need a rivet gun tool which will run about $30 and you will need often on the casita. You will also need to drill out the old rivet before installing the new one. Once you have the old rivet out, a dab of silicon then installation of the new rivet will keep leaks at bay. Casita sells nice little rivet kits that also include the decretive caps. T
The vent/fan is a more involved repair. Maybe a 3 on a 1-10 scale. The fan housing or cover needs to be removed (I believe it is riveted in) old sealant scraped off and new butyl tape as David B suggested installed under the cover. Once the cover is re-installed (A good time to replace the cover if it is weather beaten), Go over everything with dicor lap sealant to further seal it.
So Im a bit confused ( easily done) as the video I watched they just tap the rivet out with a hammer... Im certainly up for buying the tools if they are something I am going to need however.
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Old 01-07-2019, 01:36 AM   #7
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Name: Elaine
Trailer: Casita freedom deluxe 16
Arizona
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin A View Post
You didn't say if it rained on your trailer overnight. If not, you may have condensation dripping down from warm air inside interacting with cooler outside air. That's a different issue to fix.
It did rain all night which i thought was weird that I had a leak.... It rained while the casita sat in my driveway and no leaks... I thought maybe the drive jarred something loose.
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Old 01-07-2019, 01:38 AM   #8
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Name: Elaine
Trailer: Casita freedom deluxe 16
Arizona
Posts: 14
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Originally Posted by Paul O. View Post
Welcome to the forum, Elaine. There is a strong sentiment on this forum against using silicone caulk on any part of your camper. The main reason is that nothing will stick to silicone caulk, or to a surface that has any traces of it. Silicone oil is an outstanding mold release in production of plastic part, for example, but in some instances its use is prohibited, in order to avoid problems later.

There are many NON-silicone alternatives and they are well marked as such and offer better adhesion. My favorite is LEXEL.

You said: I kind of figured I'd need to do some repairs along the way with such an old camper but so soon??? Look at it this way - the sooner you find and seal any leaks, the better!
So i could use the nonsilicone stuff around the rivets and the vent. Is this instead of the butyl or in conjunction with?
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Old 01-07-2019, 02:54 AM   #9
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Trailer: Casita SD17 2006 "Missing Link"
California
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Originally Posted by Miscellaneous View Post
It did rain all night which i thought was weird that I had a leak.... It rained while the casita sat in my driveway and no leaks... I thought maybe the drive jarred something loose.
Welcome to FGRV Elaine. You may want to step back a bit before doing anything as you have two separate scenarios. Your TT sat in the driveway in the rain with no one camping in it and no drips. The second time, rain and you were inside. The first is good and what everyone wants. The second, in colder temps, if you had the heater running along with folks inside breathing causes condensation. Just sleeping inside with no heater going in cold weather will cause condensation. That will cause water to build up on the windows and run down the walls and other hard surfaces like rivets and may just drip. Not saying you don't have a leak, just that the conditions you were in is normal in molded TTs.
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Old 01-07-2019, 07:31 AM   #10
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Name: bill
Trailer: 2013 Escape 19; 1977 Trillium 1300
The Mountains of North Carolina
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Originally Posted by Miscellaneous View Post
So Im a bit confused ( easily done) as the video I watched they just tap the rivet out with a hammer... Im certainly up for buying the tools if they are something I am going to need however.
First, rivets just don't tap out. You have to drill out the center of them (edit per below, you have to drill the head off). Secondly, once you get the rivet out, you have to replace it. You are not going to install a new rivet without a rivet tool.

As far as rivet tools, they come in a lot of price ranges. I have one of the cheaper ones, never again. It jams about every third or fourth rivet. I then have to dismantle the tool, carefully reassemble it, and three rivets later, repeat.....

I have found the typical one hand grip style rivet tool takes a superman grip to get the rivets to set. After a handful of rivets, my hand is toast. I am looking at one of the two hand style riveters as a replacement, much more leverage with much less hand force. They are bulkier, so there is no free lunch.

Its gotten harder to find good tools. Sure you can buy tools with a higher price, but sometimes, you are just paying more for the same tool as the cheaper one.

Advice on condensation is a good one. Make sure you really have a leak before going further. Butyl tape is used under every flat surface, such as window flanges, vents, etc. I don't use silicone on anything.

As long as you are confused, don't do anything. Better to study more and do less. If you can keep the trailer under cover when not in use, that is a good idea. As far as leaks already, while the trailer is new to you, its 22 years old. Leaks in a 22 year old trailer are pretty common.
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Old 01-07-2019, 08:55 AM   #11
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Name: Gordon
Trailer: 2015 Scamp (16 Std Layout 4) with '15 Toyota Sienna LE Tug
North Carolina
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Originally Posted by thrifty bill View Post
First, rivets just don't tap out. You have to drill out the center of them. ...
I've never drilled out the center of (an entire) rivet... only drill off the head. But there are plenty of how-to videos on the net. Watch a few, practice rivet install and removal on some scrape material, and you will be fine doing it.
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Old 01-07-2019, 09:15 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by gordon2 View Post
I've never drilled out the center of (an entire) rivet... only drill off the head. But there are plenty of how-to videos on the net. Watch a few, practice rivet install and removal on some scrape material, and you will be fine doing it.
Yes, I mis-spoke. Or is it mis-typed? You drill off the head, then push out the body of the rivet.
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Old 01-07-2019, 11:26 AM   #13
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Name: Henry
Trailer: BigFoot
Tennessee
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Hi Elaine. Welcome. Before you get much further down the road you should do a bit of research. This forum is a good start but also join the Casita forum and go to the Little House Custom website: Home | Little House Customs

Little house will has a Rivet kit and snap caps. If you use rims get both. Look at the snap caps and understand how they work together before you drill out the rivets. Remember when drilling out the rivets you only need to drill the head off, which has a tendency to spin while it is being drilled off.

Please don't use silicone sealants, as previously noted in this thread.

Butyl tape is great stuff, but use UNDER the vent; think of it as a gasket. Then use self leveling sealant, like Dicor, around the edge of the vent after you rivet or bolt it back on. You may want to take the trailer in to a shop to have this done, unless you are handy with tools.

While the rivets may be replaced as previously noted, some people replace the rivets with stainless steel bolts and nuts with nylon inserts. I also use washers both inside and out. The thing about using bolts is that it requires 2 people, one inside the trailer and one outside. Riveting only takes one person.

Expect to have a number of issues with a trailer as old as yours, but the great thing about molded FG trailers, mot things are DIY fixes.

Don't panic, just post issues here and the other forum and take plenty of pictures so everyone can really see the issues.

Above all approach this with a positive attitude, and have fun!
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Old 01-07-2019, 12:32 PM   #14
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Name: Marilyn
Trailer: 13 ft 2005 Scamp Deluxe; 2002 Subaru V6 Outback
Oregon
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Welcome to the forum

Hi, Elaine;

I had leaks around the overhead fan when I bought my used Scamp. You might try doing simple things first before removing the fan and replacing rivets. It worked for me.

Fan: remove old sealant around the fan with an exacto knife, clean the area and reseal. Repeat process around windows as necessary.

Rivets: remove all the old snap caps & sealant, clean, then place a dap of sealant over the rivet and a new snap cap.

Prevent condensation: open a window a couple of inches at night. Turn on fan and/or keep kitchen window open while cooking.

Above all, enjoy the trailer while traveling.
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Old 01-07-2019, 12:39 PM   #15
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Name: Peter
Trailer: G30 Elite Class C
British Columbia
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Originally Posted by Miscellaneous View Post
So i could use the nonsilicone stuff around the rivets and the vent. Is this instead of the butyl or in conjunction with?
laine just use the Butyl tape under the Vent lid, which means you have to remove it, scrape away the old stuff then lay down the new stuff and put back into place, I have no idea what holds it into place on a molded trailer, probably rivets on this matter you will have to talk to the more knowledgeable's than me.
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Old 01-07-2019, 01:58 PM   #16
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Name: Bill & Jeanie
Trailer: Building camper in Ram Promaster van
North Carolina
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Originally Posted by Miscellaneous View Post
Hi I'm Elaine and just took my new to me '96 Casita out for its first camping trip. I had water inside the trailer the next am. I think one drip is coming from a rivet and the other is from around the vent on the roof. I'm confused because one video I watched said no silicone around the vent/fan and another talked about silicone around the rivets when you replace them... does anyone know? I kind of figured I'd need to do some repairs along the way with such an old camper but so soon???

thanks for all your help and I am sure glad to be part of this group...
You may want to look closely at the condition and design of your vent fan. There are some new designs that offer great features. You will find a range of preferences but my favorite is the Maxxair 7000 with ten speeds, remote control, and automatic lid operation. If you do want to replace it this is a great opportunity.
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Old 01-07-2019, 02:42 PM   #17
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Trailer: BIGFOOT 21 FB
Florida
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Originally Posted by fireballsocal View Post
the rivets are fairly easy. You will need a rivet gun tool which will run about $30 and you will need often on the casita. You will also need to drill out the old rivet before installing the new one. Once you have the old rivet out, a dab of silicon then installation of the new rivet will keep leaks at bay. Casita sells nice little rivet kits that also include the decretive caps. T
the vent/fan is a more involved repair. Maybe a 3 on a 1-10 scale. The fan housing or cover needs to be removed (i believe it is riveted in) old sealant scraped off and new butyl tape as david b suggested installed under the cover. Once the cover is re-installed (a good time to replace the cover if it is weather beaten), go over everything with dicor lap sealant to further seal it.
when i called casita for rivets, they gave me a large assortment plus caps. They are awesome
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Old 01-12-2019, 12:07 PM   #18
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Name: Stephen
Trailer: Casita
Tennessee
Posts: 208
Elaine,

I strongly caution you to take a broad view of your leaks. They are caused by an inadequate internally rusting flexing frame which overstresses the shell, which damages the fiberglass around the rivet holes. NO AMOUNT OF COSMETIC AND EVEN PROFESSIONAL FIBERGLASS REPAIR WILL FIX THIS ALONE.

Please appreciate that the frame strength of all built-to-a-price small campers is inadequate to the demands of incessant pounding on unimproved roads and boondocking. Additionally, dufus owners ignore weight limits and routinely overload the axle. It is essential for reliable operation that you weigh your trailer now and compare that weight PLUS FULL TANK LIQUIDS, AND SUPPLIES to the maximum allowed axle weight. Your trailer has obviously been overloaded and overstressed which has caused extensive damage.

Furthermore, the older Casitas like yours have a known grossly inadequate frame made in China by merging two boat trailers. These have been known to fail IN NORMAL OPERATIONS just driving down the highway. Casita replaced that frame a few years ago with a stronger one. At the least, you need to replace the frame for normal operations. For boondocking operations, you should consider supplementing that with a boondocking frame and upgraded axle with sealed bearings. Here is an example of a boondocking Casita:
https://youtu.be/zkfaMf4JCUg

Your trailer is not roadworthy. It could fail at any time. You are talking millions of dollars of liability if injury results to other motorists. You should not take it on a public highway until all inspections, maintenance and repairs are completed. (Save all your receipts).

Caveat Emptor,

Stephen
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Old 01-12-2019, 03:25 PM   #19
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Name: Dave
Trailer: Casita SD17 2006 "Missing Link"
California
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Elaine,
Your trailer is not roadworthy. It could fail at any time. You are talking millions of dollars of liability if injury results to other motorists. You should not take it on a public highway until all inspections, maintenance and repairs are completed. (Save all your receipts).

Caveat Emptor,

Stephen
Stephen....a 1996 is a puppy in the FG world. But I really have to ask if your comments here are for the OP or for a different thread cuz Elaine's questions and pics of her TT certainly don't line up with your scenario .
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Old 01-12-2019, 04:04 PM   #20
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Name: Stephen
Trailer: Casita
Tennessee
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Yes. Eliane was asking advice about rivet hole cracks. No rivet hole should EVER crack. That is clear evidence the trailer has been overstressed. As I said, the frames of older Casitas were so weak the manufacturer replaced the entire structure. And all unmaintained frames get weaker every year from INTERNAL rust corrosion. Here is an example of one that failed in normal use:
https://youtu.be/2mkdc4-y4Fc

Newer Casitas routinely fail Canadian inspection due to rust.

Caveat Emptor

Stephen
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