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Old 11-05-2019, 02:33 PM   #1
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1999 Solaris 2363 back wall damage

So going through winterizing the tt,i lift off the mattress and bypass my hot water,to start blowing out and after im done i go to move the mattress back and notice a hole in the wall,and upon closer inspection i notice its warped and water damaged but no wall ripples or dampness.but tapping it feels like youll go through it.my question is what do i replace the panel with?i notice a band that almost would be like the equivalent of chair rail in the middle of the wall.it looks like wallpaper on some 1/4 plywood but i want to be sure to replace with the same material.plan is match material and paint the bedroom bottom half below divider a solid color and toss some wood chair rail in place of the divider that matches the cabinets.will post pictures in a few
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Old 11-05-2019, 02:39 PM   #2
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http://imgur.com/gallery/T2jiYYf
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Old 11-06-2019, 07:21 PM   #3
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Hi Rob,

I looked at your pics, this one tells a story.


The damage you are seeing is from a water infection. By your pics, I would estimate it could have been ongoing for approximately 3 to 5 years before it came through the wall. Camper leaks are very different then home house leaks. A leak in a house roof you can see soon, as the drywall shows wet. And normally, house walls or windows, doors do not leak very often. In the case of a camper, roof leaks, siding moldings, windows and doors etc. can and are able to have slow leaks unless precautions have been made to stop them.

Water seeps in, not a lot all at once, but slowly over time. It can come in many places and most times, roof seams, wall corner moldings, widows, cargo doors, fridge vents, etc, basically any opening in the siding or roof system are potential leak locations. And often, when you get a leak, the is more than one leak location at the same time.

The wall and ceiling board has vinyl paper on it, and it makes a great moisture barrier to stop moisture from getting through it. The paper is glued to an 1/8” thick luan plywood sheet. What you are seeing is the luan sheet delamination as the moisture inside the wall cavity deteriorated the glue in the wall board. Once the wall board breaks down, then the water can work on the glue between the thin vinyl paper and last layer of the luan and it starts to separate and crack. Once the paper starts to crack, then you can see the damage inside the living space. And often, it took a good deal of time to deteriorate the luan.

Finding an exact wall board to match is not easy, close to not possible. However there are options for the wall board. I have several project campers in the process of restoring them. I believe I can get the white ceiling board. The wall board matching I’m not having a lot of hope for. You can buy (order most likely) 1/8” luan natural (bare) plywood. Then glue vinyl commercial wallpaper to it. You pick a wallpaper pattern that most suits you, and you may need to re-wall paper other areas of a room so the whole room matches. Others have found 1/8” paneling at local lumber yards, the selection is not large as it was years ago, but they found something that worked for them.

I would like to suggest this before you start into the repair and how to go about the repair.

First is to understand how big the problem is or is not. While all you are seeing now is the wall board being damaged, odds are favorable wall studs, most likely some level of floor joists, maybe some floor decking is affected. If a leak started at a roof seam, (very common) then roof rafters may need repair also. While it is not impossible to only have a localized leak, more than often the leak is larger than one ever thinks when you start into this. You really do not want to put “only” new wall board in without fixing the leak and the other damage behind the wall board. If you do not seal out the leak, your new work will get damaged again.

There is a moisture meter that costs a little over $40 now that can scan the walls, ceiling and floor to see if moisture and an approximation of how much is hiding behind them. It can also show you how large the area is and if there are other areas in the camper that have a water infection that do not yet show up in the living space. Scanning the entire camper is a good thing to do so you know what you are up against. Ideally, anyone owning a camper (new or used) or looking to buy a used camper should have this tool with them.

The link will tell and show you how this pinless moisture meter works. Moisture Meters For Inspecting a Camper

Once you have scanned the camper, then you can see with a level of confidence how big or small the problem is. You can then decide if you want to take on this large or small of a camper repair.

Next is how to repair it.

These wall type repairs are best repaired starting from the outside of the camper and working your way inside. They are not built like a house from the inside out, they are built from the outside in. When you find water damaged wall studs, they have (or had in this case) the siding stapled to the studs from the outside. If you remove part of a rotted wall stud, the siding has to be refastened from the outside to the new wood anyway.

When you need to take a cabinet out as the wall board is behind it, the screws that hold the cabinet to the camper are from the outside in and you can only get to the screws from the outside. You will damage less items inside the camper by working this problem from the outside in. Point being, do not start taking the camper apart from the inside, start from the outside first. Then if wall board has to come down, you will take that part off from the inside but all the support structure is built on the outside that you have the siding off already. Taking siding off is not hard to do. It is one of the easier and faster things to do in this kind of repair.

The repair itself is not hard to do if you have basic woodworking skills and tools that you would use around the house fixing things. The materials to do the repair are not that expensive, many can come from the local lumber yard, others may need to be ordered. However, it will take a fair amount of time to do the repair. How long depends on how much free time you have and how far the water damage has progressed. If you do not have a building to do the work inside, then a large tarp can be used to cover the open part of the camper. Many have used a tarp, myself included until my new barn came a while ago.

Hiring out water damage repair can be impractical in cost if you go to a normal RV dealer. The amount of labor hours to do the job at dealer shop rates can quickly exceed the value of the camper. Even a smaller independent shop at a lower rate can add up quickly. Doing the repair yourself, if you have the skills becomes a true labor of love. We can help with the “how to” if it come to you doing this, as many of us have been through this before.

These 2 posts may help show you what a medium to large repair would involve. This is not saying yours is this bad, but again at this point you do not yet know how large the problem is until you scan the camper.

This camper had “zero” indications inside of the water damage that lurked inside the roof and walls. It is now rebuilt and better than new as far as water intrusion.
A Winter Project - Roof Repair (Picture heavy)

This is one of my project campers. The prior owner declared the front wall had soft spots. I started this post on the “how to” do repairs like this, I just never made it yet to finishing the post. The front wall is completed, however I still have to put a new roof and redo the rear wall on it.
2004 T2475 Repair - Project Camper No 2

Hope this helps and glad to help more as needed.

John
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Old 11-06-2019, 11:11 PM   #4
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Hi Rob,

Since you said the problem was on the back wall, this may help to tell if you have or had prior water issues inside the wall.

Go the back wall of the camper and look at the very bottom piece of siding. There are a series of screws at the very bottom holding that piece of siding on. Looks like this


If the heads of those screws look rusted, that a tell tail sign the screw may be rusting from the inside out. If you unscrew some of those screws and the thread area is all rusted or goo'y, then they are screwed into a wet floor joist.

Have a look.

John

PS, this same thing occurs on the bottom of the front wall bottom siding piece. There are screws there too. Rusted heads often point to wet wood inside the wall. Check the threads, if they are rusted, then there is an issue at the front as well.
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Old 11-07-2019, 11:15 AM   #5
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The back almost all the bottom screws are rusted,i did notice while tapping the wall inside after the hole under the window its really soft.like against the frame on the window bottom corner.i dont have a garage or barn to do the repairs in so this will have the be a spring fix,ill just tarp the roof down and have to wait to dig in.i have a whole compliment of tools so it shouldnt be an issue of tools or abilities.just basically take off the siding and see whats needing replaced.i did notice the insulation is yellow so im wondering if it was already "fixed" or if yellow was factory for the 1999 model year.as i put a parts list together,obviously cant put down the exact amount of wood or insulation or luan.but is there anything that i would need special ordered?i got 1/4 staples and will get new screws(stainless or a different option better in this application?)ill try to keep track of materials and tools used as well as take pictures and try to do a step by step thread.

Thanks Rob


Oh ya around the windows what is the sealant used?im starting an amazon order of the definates like dicor for the roof,if it all is in good shape probably eternabond tape.and forgive my ignorance but what is the hard bead in the corners between the walls and ceiling?is that a caulking or what is it.
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Old 11-08-2019, 08:41 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robandash View Post
i put a parts list together,obviously cant put down the exact amount of wood or insulation or luan.but is there anything that i would need special ordered?i got 1/4 staples and will get new screws(stainless or a different option better in this application?)ill try to keep track of materials and tools used as well as take pictures and try to do a step by step thread.

Oh ya around the windows what is the sealant used?im starting an amazon order of the definates like dicor for the roof,if it all is in good shape probably eternabond tape.and forgive my ignorance but what is the hard bead in the corners between the walls and ceiling?is that a caulking or what is it.
Hi Rob,

The soft spot under the window points to a putty tape seal failure between the outside window flange and the siding. Putty tape over time, and sun exposure, breaks down. It starts to shrink first. Then from the shrink, it starts to crack and separate from either the siding, the window or both. In time, the crack separations grow long enough there is an air path from the outside of the camper to the inside. When rain water or worse, towing in the rain, the wind beats water into those crack splits and over time works its way into the wall. When you take yours apart, look at the siding and the window flange. Look for traces of dirt trails and black dirt covered putty tape.

Here is a classic corner molding putty tape failure. The windows, doors etc all have the same problem.

The siding after the corner molding is removed.


The molding, after it is removed from the siding.


The black stuff on the gray putty tape is dirt and mold in a putty tape crack. It got in there when the putty tape separated from the molding or the siding. Then over time wind and dirt blew in the crack.

In the first pic of the siding, you can see the light dirt trail across the white siding the full width of the putty tape. There is no sealing tape left bonded to the siding. Water and dirt now blew into the corner and then into the camper wall. This happens on any siding seal of anything that is sealed with putty tape. When you take the camper apart, look for this.

Here is a close up showing the dirt path all the way across the molding into the corner opening.


Here is a closer pic of the dirt trail across the entire width of the molding.


On some parts that may need to be ordered,

On screws, Sunline used no. 8 x 1” long, hex head, painted hardened steel self-taping sheet metal screws. That thread profile works well on sheet metal and soft wood like we have in the camper.

On my restoration work, I switched to all stainless fasteners on the outside and I tweaked the heads and screw lengths. The painted, hardened screws will work, and odds are they will last as long as the camper will if you put new ones in. I found a place on how to buy stainless a lot more practical than buying 3 screws in a plastic bag at the big box stores. Find a commercial fastener place and get them by the box or bulk.

I use Albany County Fasteners on line. https://www.albanycountyfasteners.com/

I changed the screw to be, no. 8 x 1 1/2” lg., pan head, no. 2 square bit drive, 304 stainless. These, https://www.albanycountyfasteners.co...-p/3290000.htm

They have them in various lengths and qty’s. If you get a box of 100 count, they are $0.09 each. Since I am doing several total camper restorations, I get them by the 1,000 count, even cheaper.

White head screws for inside around the window frames. Many can be thread rusted from being inside a wet wall. These are no 8 x 1, pan head, no 2 bit/Philips combo RV screws. AP products sells them. They also sell the hex head white ones like Sunline used outside. Here is their product sheet, then search from who to buy from.
https://approducts.net/catalog/index...4e75i8qo4aln40

I have bought some from RecPro in Elkhart. These, pick you qty,
https://www.recpro.com/rv-screws-8x1...l-polar-white/

Butyl sealing tape for under all the flange seals on the walls, roof etc. I use this in place of the putty tape Sunline used. It costs a little more, is a little more pain in the neck to us, but lasts many times longer. The brand I use is 20 plus year rated. I have searched and found this brand to be good. I have been burnt on buying butyl tape from RV places with no name brand on it. Now I shop at commercial roofing places that sell to customers using metal roofs and siding. They use a lot of butyl as they want/need it to last 20 plus years.

I use the GSSI brand type MB-10A. 1” wide x 1/8” thick. 50 ft rolls. I buy it from Best Materials in AZ. https://www.bestmaterials.com/detail.aspx?ID=19987 You can buy, by the roll or case of 10 rolls a little cheaper. You may only need 1 or 2 rolls for only a back wall. They know how to ship this kind of product and pack it correctly as they are roof product suppliers and know the products they are shipping. I gave up on Amazon and other RV online places by the roll as most times it all comes damaged.

I also get a lot of my Eternabond from Best Materials.

Your 5 red DOT lights across the top back of the camper. These often develop cracks and let water in. Check yours. Bargmen discontinued that style. I have found these which are an exact fit to the Bargmen 68 lights. Just they do not come with screws. I changed all the screws to stainless anyway.

The red ones
https://www.etrailer.com/Trailer-Lig...cs/MC48RB.html

The amber ones
https://www.etrailer.com/Trailer-Lig...cs/MC48AB.html

I also drill 2 small holes in the bottom of them. If and when they crack, the water will drain out verses drain into the camper. See here. If you can’t see the holes, let me know I add red circles at them.


When you finished putting the camper back together, consider adding a secondary seal over the top of the exposed butyl tape at all the siding flange seals. I use 2 different products for this now, and both work very well. These stop the dirt from sticking to the exposed butyl and most important, create a secondary seal in addition to the butyl. Those flanges are not going to leak after this. And you can see the secondary seal if it starts to break down, and address, while the butyl under it is still pristine.

See this post for how to apply the Dicor non sag, non leveling caulk. This is the same product that you use on the roof, just not self-leveling like you do on the roof. You can use this on the roof, just you have to smooth it out yourself. Dicor Questions

After learning how to put down the Dicor non sag caulk, this year I found and started testing RV Pro Flex white. This stuff https://www.geocelusa.com/product/pr...xible-sealant/

I found you apply it just like I did the Dicro in the post above. Use the same tricks on how to put it on including the soapy finger. I find the Proflex is actually easier to use, smooths out easier too. Just do not put down more than 3 to 4 feet in length or it will tack up too much and not spread out. The Proflex comes off like the Dicor, use a heat gun and plastic scrapers, then mineral spirits. It does come off a little harder then the Dicor. Odds are high it will become my new “go to” siding caulk. I just wish I had the same years of testing on it like I have with the Dicor. You cannot use the Proflex on the rubber roof. It will breakdown the rubber. But anywhere on the sides of the camper, and to plastic, metal is OK.

I suggest once you’re done caulking the area you repaired, clean up all the other openings and moldings sealant on the camper to get the mold off, and then caulk seal them up. While the old putty tape is underneath, the caulk will stop any cracks from becoming leaks. If you have time, or do piecemeal, you can pull each window/door etc. reset the putty tape with butyl and reseal. But short of doing that, just putting one of those 2 caulks on a “clean” surface will help make the camper last many years longer for not a lot of effort. A clean prepped surface is a must for it to last. Do every penetration into the siding. The fridge vents, furnace water heater too. Just take the furnace and water heater cover off first, do not seal the cover shut, only the flange of the appliance to the siding.

The plastic membrane under the camper. This will have lots of staple holes in it and maybe some tears from the repair process. I fix this with Flex Mend belly report tape. They use in on mobile homes. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

If you do not want to spend that much for a roll, Gorilla tape (must be Gorilla brand) is second best. It is not as good in lasting permanent like the flex mend, but is cheaper since you will not use the whole Flex Mend roll. To make Flex Mend permanent, gently warm it with low heat, (heat gun or hair dryer) and press frim. Put a stiff backer behind it, if it is out in the open. It will set the sealant tight. It also helps the Gorilla tape. Both “must” have a clean surface to stick too. I use a high flash cleaner like Naphtha to clean the old plastic sheet with before applying and let it dry totally. Rubbing alcohol will also work in a pinch.

The stuff that is all over the inside of the camper up in the corners and around counters and cabinets, this is called “welt bead”. Looks like this, just maybe not that color. Is this what you are talking about?


Odds exist depending on how bad the wall is, you may need to use some of this. Technically you can take off the old stuff and reuse, as long as you do not damage it in the process. Sunline stapled this stuff down like there was no shortage of staples, ever…

It is a hollow vinyl tube with a flap attached to it. The flap is stapled to the wall stud or cabinet where you cannot see it. The hollow tube you see. This bead covers up the crack seam. That seam expands and contracts over time and towing. The bead makes it look pretty all the time.

See Ebay for it. It comes in different colors and sizes. Match up what is in yours.
https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_fro...+bead&_sacat=0

These folks seem to have 32 colors and sell it by the yard making it more practical.
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Welt-Cord-V...qMUOxtzTdNWFJA

That should get you close to the stuff that is not at the lumber yards. Start now, looking for 1/8” paneling or what you are going to use on the walls. You don’t have to buy it now, just hunt where to get it.

Hope this helps

John
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