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Old 11-14-2019, 03:49 PM   #1
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Front wall repair

Now that my camper is in storage I decided to investigate why the screws going along the bottom of the front wall were falling out. Actually, I knew why, but I wanted to see how bad it was. So I pulled off the 2 front corner moldings and the bottom skin. The first surprise was the framing is only 1/2" thick on the front! I assume to save some weight. I knew these lightweight Sunlines were made with thinner framing, but I expected 3/4". Just as I thought, the bottom was rotted all across the front. I pulled the lower half of the front wall off, so I could rebuild it .
20191114_152152[1].jpg

The front wall was fastened from the outside corners with staples. I expected screws, but at least staples made it easier to pull the wall out.
20191114_153724[1].jpg
The front of the floor joist is not too bad, but it's recessed too far back, so I need a filler so the front wall has something to screw to on the bottom. There was a gap between the floor and the front wall and I guess they just stuffed insulation and pulled the underbelly material up around the front to cover it. So ,I'll rebuild the front wall and reinstall it with screws and put it all back together. I'm pretty sure if I took the metal skin off all the way around the bottom, I'm likely to find more rot, but I don't want to open that can of worms unless I have to.
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This camper is almost 30 years old, So I guess it's held up pretty good. The previous owner had done some rebuilding on the back half of the trailer including some of the floor and the back wall, but I'm not sure how much is new. I'm thankful its inside a garage that's heated and I have the capability to do the repairs.
Gary G
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File Type: jpg 20191114_153738[1].jpg (52.2 KB, 21 views)
File Type: jpg 20191114_153854[1].jpg (68.9 KB, 22 views)
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Old 11-14-2019, 08:33 PM   #2
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Hi Gary,

Wow... Thanks for sharing. The learning never stops.

These wall studs look like a traditional furring strip from the lumber yard. I knew they used 3/4" board, but not 1/2". That is a new learning.


Odds are high the door wall side may have some rot on the bottom band board area. When the corner goes out like that, odds are favorable the rot goes around the corner. The good news, you have an entry door close by. If you have an inclination to chase the rot and partially open the worm can, If you pull the door frame out, that lower piece of siding will only go from the door frame opening to the corner. And I'm sure the entry door putty tape seal is shot anyway, so resetting the door frame, new sealant on the door comes along for the ride.

Looking forward to your repair. Please post some pics when you get to it.

Thanks

John
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Old 11-16-2019, 07:02 AM   #3
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I went to the depot yesterday to try to find some wood of the right thickness, and your correct . They call it utility wood. It's actually about 5/8 thick, but just the right size. I took the door out last year to rebuild the bottom of it and the framing around the opening was good. When I installed the awning brackets a couple years ago, the bottom wood was good then. But I may take your advice and take that bottom piece of metal off on the door side while I'm at it.
When I removed the 2 front corner moldings, I found only the 2 or 3 bottom screws showing any rust. The putty tape under the moldings was surprisingly soft and not all dried up.
Gary G
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Old 11-20-2019, 03:28 PM   #4
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I finally got around to putting the front wall back together. I only replaced to lower and 2 side pieces of framing. The paneling wasn't too bad. I stuffed the cavities with new insulation and stapled a piece of 1/8" luan over the top of the whole thing to make it a little more rigid. Sunline had only used 3/4" strips of paneling on the ends of the side wall, just to add a little more bite to the corner molding screws and probably to help keep from splitting that 3/4" board when running screws into the side. I took John's advice and pulled the bottom piece of metal off both sides on the front. The drivers side had a compartment door so it was only a short piece. The wood was good there. On the door side, I managed to cheat the piece out without removing the entire door frame. The wood there wasn't rotted either, but it had split where the awning lags ran thru it, so I decided to scab in a new piece while I had it apart. I''l get to that this weekend probably.

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Gary G
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Old 11-20-2019, 06:42 PM   #5
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Hi Gary,

Looks good! Good job. Thanks for sharing.

And also good on putting the lower piece of luan on. In your case, yes it can add some strength to the situation.

On the newer campers, Sunline does add about a 15" wide piece all the way across the. See here. The rot has been cut out already and resin treated for dry rot, but you can see the luan sheet. It normally goes all the way across.


Now as to why did Sunline add this luan piece here? In the newer campers case, I would not suspect it is not there structurally for the camper. The walls are heavier to start with. But, it may be there to help have something to backup the black plastic membrane wrapped up from the bottom. And possibly they put it there to help on the stone dings to back up the siding. That was what I could surmise they added it for.

Glad your rot did not go around the corner. It typically does. You got to the front area early enough in the rot life cycle and didn’t go around the corner. Or it drained out. Did you seal the corner molding with caulk? Or cover the camper more often in recent years? Both of those cut down on any new water from getting in.

H’mm question, does your camper have a sheet metal bottom cover or does it have the black plastic? I suspect the sheet metal setup will let water drain out in places as getting it to fit tight is hard to do. The black plastic ones hold water well and it contributes to the rot going around the corner. The water can’t get out so it starts soaking everything it can get to.
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