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Old 08-11-2014, 06:58 AM   #1
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rotten floor- old topic but need advice

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DSC_0006.jpgWhen at the NE M&G recently, I tried to tighten the lags holding the lower rear awning bracket. Removal showed they were rusted badly and the wood was gone. I have spent a lot of time reading the archives on this problem but have a couple of questions, to start, I did not see addressed.
Pictures show how far I have delved in but now need to determine the real extent of the damage. I have had no clue before this that anything was wrong- no stains, mold, sponginess of floor, etc.
Next step will be to remove the bottom membrane across the back of the trailer. I know that it holds water and has to be removed, but what have you all done to replace it?
I would also like to remove the lower alum panel on the rear but taking the water heater out seems like a daunting task to me. Those Pex clamps are a pain I found out when trying to get the water tank drain off to remove the side panel.
Any insight, advice on how to proceed, etc, would be appreciated.
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Old 08-11-2014, 08:14 AM   #2
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In removing bottom membrane cut in the center of the wood joists. Cut down both sides and across the back creating a flap that can be stapled back up later. They make a tape called Flex Mend for taping underbelly membrane. As for the Pex, just cut as close to fitting as you can. Shop Superior Tool PEX Pocket Crimper at Lowes.com or PEX Barb Clamps and a cheap barb clamp cincher. You may have to buy a piece of pex tubing and do both ends to maintain length. cut out rotten wood and replace.
Is the floor soft? You may have a water tank leak like I had. The plastic bypass valve cracked and leaked water onto floor and into underbelly. Caught in time no rot but what a mess.
I'm so paranoid that I check under my trailer every couple of weeks with a moisture meter.
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Old 08-11-2014, 08:45 AM   #3
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Thank you Jim,
I was hoping there would be a tape rugged enough to use for patching. I wonder if anyone has used something entirely different underneath?
My plumbing is good, no pump burps noticed which is why I hate to disrupt the water heater.
Will attack it from underneath to access the damage.
John
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Old 08-11-2014, 08:53 AM   #4
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Flex-Mend also makes patches by the sq. ft. Looking at your pics it looks like it didn't make it up your side wall studs.
I learned on mine about cutting on joists cause I hade to sister a lot of wood in for stapling purposes
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Old 08-11-2014, 09:05 AM   #5
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here is a link to Apackoftwo floor rot and repair.
Water Leak Repair
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Old 08-11-2014, 02:02 PM   #6
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Did see Packoftwo's problem. I liked John B's advice to someone when he said that there is nothing you can't fix on a Sunline.
I am draining the water heater and see no way out of removing it.
Will send more pics as this goes along. Thinking about a big tarp right now as a chance of rain is coming tomorrow.
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Old 08-12-2014, 01:05 PM   #7
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I have a '90 T-1550 that had a soft floor. One of the causes was that the awning brackets at the bottom were never caulked and the other problem was the water heater would drain into the trailer when you emptied the tank. I ended up replacing the front third of the trailer around the dinette and everything (flooring, osb, floor joists, etc.) from behind the wheel wells all the way back. I had to support the three walls in the back of the trailer with pipes going through the drainage holes in the membrane from the ground to the ceiling during the re-build. These two projects have taken me two years to complete.

I did everything from the top down so that I could keep the membrane in tact. I felt that it was important to not disturb that membrane. It was a chore but I am now going to head up to the Adirondacks to enjoy the efforts of my labor.
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Old 08-12-2014, 03:16 PM   #8
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Quote:
I am draining the water heater and see no way out of removing it.
Will send more pics as this goes along. Thinking about a big tarp right now as a chance of rain is coming tomorrow.
John
To bad your not closer. I have all the Pex tools needed.
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Old 08-12-2014, 04:02 PM   #9
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Gary, it sounds like you are ready for that trip. I have slashed into the membrane so time will tell how that will work out. Do you have any pics of your project as it went along? That you could post.
Jim, tools or not, can I entice you to NH with a garden hose and extension cord?
Did not get to work on it today other than tarp it up for the impending rain. Have been thinking about dragging it east and leaving it at Mainah's.
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Old 08-12-2014, 05:15 PM   #10
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Talk about rain, boy did we get yesterday and last night. I couldn't got wetter walking to my truck than if you threw a bucket of water on me.
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Old 08-15-2014, 02:45 PM   #11
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More pictures and more questions.
How do you go about removing the two struts that hold the bed platform up in the air? That would give me some more working room.
How did some of you treat the bottom membrane after cutting into it. Jim spoke of membrane repair kit and tape, but I think I really have to do some ripping to get to the floor from the bottom. You can see in the opening where the water heater was where most of the damage is although it is wet all across the rear to the opposite rear corner. I feel I have to get to it from below as the floor is shot under the walls. All damage is between the lino and membrane.
Still have to find where the water is getting in but the weather is iffy and I don't want to untarp it to open the roof just yet.
Thanks for any input,
John
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Old 08-16-2014, 09:55 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbinnh View Post
More pictures and more questions.
How do you go about removing the two struts that hold the bed platform up in the air?

How did some of you treat the bottom membrane after cutting into it. Jim spoke of membrane repair kit and tape, but I think I really have to do some ripping to get to the floor from the bottom.

John
Hi John,

It looks like you have a project going there... Your doing good at it! Keep it up.

The bed struts, I myself have not had to take one of them off just yet however this is how I would approach it. I have done this on other gas struts

Take the mattress out

Lift the bed OSB cover all the way up. This unloads the spring force and runs out of stroke of the strut.

Then unscrew the strut bracket. You have to make sure all the weight is off the strut and it is fully extended and can not go out any more.

What I am describing is how my 2004 is made. I'm making an assumption yours is similar. If needed I can take some pics and post. I just brought the camper back to the house tonight. and can do this on Sunday.

The black membrane, I have bought more material in the past. See this post, it may help. It shows the new membrane, the thickness of our old one and the Flex mend I used to splice the new to the old.
Slide Floor Water Damage

If you have to yank a lot of membrane off and there are holes in it, then doing a good clean splice of a new piece many feet long may be a better option pending your situation. If you can find a Jayco dealer, they can order it from the factory for you as I know they still use it. Keystone does too as many other brands. I bought mine from General RV but had to about beg and twist their arm to ship it. By now E commence and shipping may not be such a big issue. An RV dealer may stock some.

And they also make Flex mend in 2 and 3 feet wide if this helps any. Many RV dealers only stock that as a repair tape. I found this to be the case when hunting for mine.

While you into this, a tip once you get all the rotted wood out. The wood that remains that is solid but was water infected should be treated to kill the bacteria to not have dry rot a year or 2 from now after the repair is done. I use Rot Dr. CEPS. In that link it shows the cans I used. This also stiffens up the wood if needed. Heads up to use the respirator as the fumes are really bad. Others have used car anti freeze to kill the bacteria. I myself have not so I cannot comment on the long term effectiveness.

Finding the leak source, that can be a tuffy. Some hints, this is sort of a search and destroy mission sorting it out into 2 major groups first.

Did it come from way up high? Meaning the leak is higher up in the camper and then pooled at the bottom and festered. Look for any signs of water staining. The corner molding, a window, the clearance lights cargo hole flange or door etc.

Did it come at the bottom area and then spread all over? That is a real hunt as while the back is real bad, it might have been the low spot where the water stopped flowing an festered. Again, look for signs of any water straining in wall studs or floor.

Or both??? I know these are generic comments but something to help you build on in the search.

From my rot experience, the rot you have is a year or more old. And yes you may have never noticed it yet. I ran into mine after helping a fellow camper friend inspect his slide and found he had it bad. I then knew where to go looking on mine and , Oh Boy.... I have one corner rotted too...

Good luck and hope this helps

John
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Old 08-17-2014, 07:40 PM   #13
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Thanks so much for all the information John. I will be removing the bed struts and platform tomorrow and then removing more of the vinyl floor which is trapping so much water still. Tried a fan in the opening where the water heater was but only for a couple of hours before the weather clouded. I think it helped and will repeat as we have a 2-3 day window of good weather moving in.
Will order from Dr Rot as soon as I can get a better fix on how much I will need. Also, I heard about Crawlspace.com which offers vapor barriers up to 20mil thick. I might be able to get big pieces of it from local users, if it is suitable that is.
It is input from you and others that keep me from becoming too discouraged.
Will post more pics in a day or two.
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Old 08-18-2014, 12:36 AM   #14
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one good drying technique, may sound crazy, is take a large, 5 or 6 gal, shop vac put one end of hose on exhaust and stick the other in a wet cavity. The drying heat it produces is incredible. Way better than a fan. Dries in hours what a fan takes days to do
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Old 08-18-2014, 06:13 AM   #15
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You may want to do a pressure test on your water heater. My Jayco developed pin point leak around the seam. If your using hose hook up (city water) and not your pump you would never notice a slow drip.
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Old 08-18-2014, 06:35 AM   #16
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I will give that a try today Jim, at least for as long as I can stand the noise my shop vac makes.
Thanks,
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Old 08-19-2014, 05:08 AM   #17
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More pics mostly to show where floor damage is greatest. In front of the drain for the water tank is the worst spot on the floor. In pic one you can see the hole where the drain goes out. Under the water heater the floor looks pretty bad but from underneath it looks fine. The water tank leaked just a little right where the fill tube went in. Is it possible just a little leak accumulated over the years to do all this? How to explain the minor rot on he left rear corner? From the way the trailer was parked it drained that way? I see no indication anywhere of water coming down the walls from above.....yet.
John
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Old 08-19-2014, 08:13 AM   #18
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It looks like something as well is going on by the front of the wheel well?

Do you ever recall your water pump just cycle on and off and you were not drawing water?

Did you have the camper since new? How long did you own it?

You might have had 2 leaks.

A gallon or two stuck inside the camper can do bodly harm to the camper if the can't get out or is not dried out soon. And 4 to 5 gallons may of well be 25 gallons. A faucet drip can fill a gallon per day with no problem. Drip, drip. drip adds up. OSB board soaks, swells and wicks water over time left unchecked.

By the way, your doing a great job!
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Old 08-19-2014, 08:31 AM   #19
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Yes, there is that black spot near the front of the wheel well but it seems to be just that, a single spot. The pump for the most part never comes on without opening a faucet. I might have heard it run for one second twice in the past, nothing I was concerned about.
We are the second owners, getting it about 5-6 years ago.
It is drying nicely but I see two immediate decisions to be made. Do I cut out some of the floor and replace it or when thouroughly dry, load it up with Dr Rot epoxy and count on that for stabilization of the flooring. It is under the bed so no foot traffic to worry about. And if I try to replace some flooring, how do I install it below the wall and above the membrane? I am thinking a piece about a foot wide from rear of wheel well all the way to the back.
One other thought- maybe impractical, but wondering if I could spray the bottom with closed cell foam, covering the framing members and all.
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Old 08-19-2014, 11:57 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by jbinnh View Post

And if I try to replace some flooring, how do I install it below the wall and above the membrane? I am thinking a piece about a foot wide from rear of wheel well all the way to the back.
One other thought- maybe impractical, but wondering if I could spray the bottom with closed cell foam, covering the framing members and all.
John
H'mm I have a way to support the camper with no floor in it or any lower sill plate on the bottom of the walls studs to allow the entire back end to come out if needed/wanted. But I need to know what you have to work with.

Do you have a hard surface, concrete or blacktop, spot big enough to support the tires of the camper and all the way to the back wall? Like a driveway or better, inside a barn/building?

Do you have 1 or 2 hydraulic jacks? Can be bottle jack or floor jack. And what ton capacity? Worst is to go buy some. A 10 ton bottle jack at certain stores does not cost much now a days.

There is a method on how to remove the entire slide floor of a camper with the slide still in the camper. This method could be adopted to holding the back end of the camper by the wall studs to allow the entire back part of the floor to come right out the back of the camper, fix the sill plates and slide new floor back in. The black membrane could stay in place.

Let me know what you have to work with and I'll type some more tonight and see if I can find the video on the slide floor removal method to be adopted to the back of a camper.

Thanks

John
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