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Old 12-04-2017, 05:07 PM   #1
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Sunline Saturn Water Damage repair

It was suggested to start a thread here to provide future reference for others. Let me start by saying we have absolutely no experience in repairing a travel trailer. I'm an obsessive researcher and I convinced my sweet husband that we are up for the challenge. Here's a look at where we've made it to. We hit our first major roadblock when I dropped a full sheet of plywood on my big toe. I'm out of commission for a while, but Kevin (that's my guy) forged ahead today.

Questions...should the corner joists just connect to the 2x3 running along the bottom sill or should there be a bracket of some kind?

Also, how much would it involve to jack the rear up to replace both rear joists completely? All carriage bolts involved are holding nothing. Both rear corners are completely gone as well.

The aluminum joint near the rear top clearance lights...what exactly is holding it on to the frame besides the screws under the trim on each side? We need to remove it also to get to the top corner.

We learned today that someone else has definitely been working on the under shower area. They replaced the missing joists area with a piece of plywood. I suspect this corner has been gone a long time. The way it looks is almost how we found it, minus the 1" thick wood scrap. The carved out joist was us. That's it.

Thanks so much in advance for all the advice!
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Old 12-04-2017, 10:36 PM   #2
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Hi,

So sorry to hear about your foot. Sending good thoughts to help it heal quickly.

It looks like you are in full swing on the rebuild. Great!

I'll answer your first question tonight, out of time right now but will be back on the rest. Others can join in too.

Quote:
Questions...should the corner joists just connect to the 2x3 running along the bottom sill or should there be a bracket of some kind?
There is no bracket, the walls attach to the top of the rebuilt floor. Here is little bit on how the frame, floor and walls all go together.

See this thread for lots of pics on how the campers are basically built. Over the years the methods changed a little but not in the basic way Sunline built a camper. This is a newer camper with a rubber roof, yours I'm assuming it a metal roof, is it? There are some differences in the roof joints but not that many. See this thread, it has a lot of pics in it and may help show how your camper is made. This winter this thread will crank back up as time comes available for me to start the rebuild.
2004 T1950 Restoration Project - (Ugly Picture Heavy)

Here is how the basic structure of how the camper is built and how it is supported. These pics are from my T1950

The metal trailer frame has 2 steel long frame rails that create the support of the entire camper above it. The frame rails run front to back of the camper.


Pending the camper size, you mentioned yours has 2 x 3" as floor joists, so does this T1950. That size changes pending the camper but they still have floor joists. And some joists lay flat and other stand up, Sunline changed the method pending the model year. The floor is made as a sub-assembly at the factory. Floor joists run left to right of the camper and set on top of the 2 long front to back frame rails. The floor OSB board is attached to the top of the floor joists edge to edge of the camper floor. A water barrier is on the bottom of the floor structure. This entire floor subassembly is lifted and placed onto the steel frame and bolted down to the frame. Any vinyl flooring or sometimes carpet is placed on the top of the floor at this stage.

The floor system is the structural member that holds up the entire camper above it. All walls now can be supported by the floor.





The walls are also made as a sub-assembly. The wall studs, top and bottom wall plates are cut and then stapled at the ends and glued and or stapled to the inside wall board. The entire wall is lifted and placed over the top of the floor and screwed down to the floor. There is no siding on at this point so the outside of the wall is exposed. The camper is built from the inside out. Not like a house that is built from the outside in.

Your floor joists, the floor itself and part of the wall studs/corner are gone. You rebuild this by starting with recreating the floor joists and the floor board. The floor goes all the way to the edge of the camper. Then you put new wall plates and studs on top of the new floor.

There are no plates to hold the wall studs to the floor. You either screw the wall studs to the top and bottom wall plates or use real large staples like Sunline did. When rebuilding most times you do it a little different as you are not lifting the entire wall off, (well in most cases that is) Once the floor is rebuilt, the wall studs are either completely replaced or spliced. To splice, you cut out the section of rotted wood, insert a new piece and then attach the new wood to the sound older wood. How this is done there are a few ways pending what you have to work with. In some cases, you butt up a second wall stud next to the splice, we call this sistering, and screw the sister board to the new wall stud and old wall stud to span the splice joint.

There's also a tool called a Kreg jig that comes in real handy in doing these kinds of repairs. It is a pocket hole screw jig that allows you to add screws to make tight joints in doing the repairs. This one does a lot of work and is one of the smaller ones https://www.kregtool.com/store/c13/k...reg-jigreg-r3/ Amazon and lumber yards have them. They work great!

There is also a step I recommend which is treating stained or discolored wood that is solid wood but has been exposed to the wet of the rot in the wall. A product called Rot Doctor CPES is used to treat the wood, stiffen it and kill any dry rot fungus. Product Information

They also sell a respirator that you must use when applying. The fumes are bad, but they will of away totally in 3 days of drying out.

This thread has some pics in it of doing the reconstruction. It is a larger slide camper and they are made of little different but the repairs are the same basic way. A Winter Project - Roof Repair (Picture heavy)

That should get you started. Be back with more.

Hope this helps

John
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Old 12-04-2017, 10:38 PM   #3
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Quote:
The aluminum joint near the rear top clearance lights...what exactly is holding it on to the frame besides the screws under the trim on each side? We need to remove it also to get to the top corner.
Take a picture of the roof seam and post where that last sheet of rear top siding connects to the roof. There are 1 piece aluminum roofs and multi piece. I do not know which your camper has. The end seam is a little different between the 2.
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Old 12-05-2017, 09:22 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Withasmile View Post
Also, how much would it involve to jack the rear up to replace both rear joists completely? All carriage bolts involved are holding nothing. Both rear corners are completely gone as well.
Hi,

Here are my thoughts on this. Here is your pic


Yes, you have to replace the end and maybe part of the side 2 x 3's as the end one by the bumper is the structural member holding up the rear wall and roof.

I do not know if yours was a double 2 x 3 or a single but you will need to address all that are "missing".

The carriage bolts have issues getting them out. The heads spin and the bolt threads rusted. I had to cut mine to get them out of my T1950. Those that you can get to inside on top of the floor, you can replace. The issue is you may or may not be able to get to all of them across the width of the camper. It all "depends" where they landed and if you want to tear up the floor to get to the bolt. In my case there are a few under good solid floor that I do not want to tear up that good floor just to get to replace the bolts. So now what?

Here is what I am going to do to replace the same issue you have. In my case, the whole rear left to right floor joists and side floor joists have to be replaced up to the wheel wells.

Since my damage went around the side walls, I took the siding off the sides too to get to it. You may have to do this too, at least the bottom piece. The good news, the siding comes off starting at the bottom so you may only need to remove 1 piece the the fender well creates a good stopping point.



I have the problem on both sides


On ours, the rear wall has qty 2, 2 x 3's at the end of the floor at the bumper area. The rear wall sits on top of the outside 2 x 3. Yours may be the same. This is the end wall looking into the shower

Here I am cutting the screws off the last 2, 2 x 3's. Be careful there are no wires in there.


With the one rear wall supporting 2 x 3 removed


With both rear 2 x 3's removed and cuts in the side wall 2 x 3's to allow air to get in and dry out the floor.


To fix this, you do have to lift the back of the camper slightly off the frame. Only about 1/32" to 1/16" just enough to slide in the new wood. How you lift it all depends on how many carriage bolts are left in and where you can jack up against.

A small bottle jack will do the lifting, this is not that heavy but you may need to use a spreader of something to jack against, a 4 x 4 or 2 x 4 to span left to right under the floor joists to get that small clearance to get the new wood in over the top of the trailer steel frame. A crowbar prying on the floor at the frame may lift it too.

Your pics are good close ups, but I cannot see how far left to right the bad wood is. You may be able to splice on new good wood using an overlap splice verses replacing the whole back left to right 2 x 3's but I can't tell how far the rot goes. This is easier than replacing the whole rear joist. I my case, both the left and right corners have problems and the rear joist is gone.

Hope this helps

John
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Old 12-07-2017, 09:10 PM   #5
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Thank you so much for all of the helpful information! This injury to my foot has really been more than I expected. My husband took pictures today of the roof area and a wider angle shot of the entire back. The rebuild is feeling a bit overwhelming at the moment. I think it's because I can't really be helpful physically.
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Old 12-07-2017, 09:24 PM   #6
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Forgot to add the pics. Oops. Also, I've read your instructions carefully, several times, and I think we have a plan to move forward. The way our floors fit together is slightly different than you describe. The joists on our trailer don't go to the edge. A 2x3 side wall sill sits on its side and is bolted into the frame triangle underneath. The joists go up against the outer 2x3. The flooring goes up to the walls and the walls themselves are sitting on that outer 2x3. I will document the progress this Saturday. Is it normal to feel regretful for taking it apart? It was so much fun not long ago 😱 To make matters worse...we have no idea if there's a way to work around the missing folds of corner aluminum. I read somewhere that's a really bad thing. Please tell me that's not so 😔
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Old 12-09-2017, 08:25 PM   #7
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Made great progress today. It sure does help that I'm able to get around better! My husband and father jacked the rear up today and we were able to put in an entire new rear joist. The middle third of the joist next to it was ok so we did some sistering. We would've liked to replace that whole joist too, but removing the water heater seems too difficult for our skill level. I wonder if there's a way to lift it without removing it so we can get that damp OSB and insulation out of underneath it, at least. Most of the replacement floor 2x3s are down, but not screwed in place under the shower area. We're going to pick up the Kreg Jig in the morning and try to get creative.

Quick question: if the OSB under the vinyl flooring is damp, should it all be cut out and replaced or just if it's rotted out?
Also, it appears the roof may all be one large piece. We've found a possible work around for the top corner that won't involve removing the roof. As we get more into that fix, I likely need a little help.
I took pictures with Kevin's phone and he's done for today so I'll post them in the morning. I did grab this shot of him using your technique John. Thanks!
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Old 12-10-2017, 10:12 AM   #8
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Your doing great!!! We can see hubby has a good handle on the repairs and a well stocked workshop.

Catching up on some of your questions.




The roof seam at the back wall, it sounds like you found a workaround for this however I'll pass along what I know. I myself have never had that specific roof seam apart.

I contacted one of our members who took his entire roof off of his 1983 Sunline which had a metal flat roof. He rebuilt it to have a pitched roof. I was hoping he may have been into that seam but in his case, he just cut the old roof off at the seam as he was totally replacing the roof and not using the old metal. So no luck finding out how that seam came apart.

That good pic you posted makes me "think" it might be a double seam with maybe butyl caulk as a sealing compound between the metal. Meaning, the main roof part has a formed metal seam and folded over cover hook. They pump a sealant (maybe butyl caulk) into the cover hook area and then the rear wall sheet also has a cover hook on it. These 2 folded cover hooks get crimped tight and it creates a watertight joint. That is a "guess" at this point. Hoping maybe one of our club members who have had that seam apart can help fill in the missing pieces.

I found these common metal joints on the web. FABRICATION OF EDGES, JOINTS, SEAMS, AND NOTCHES Scroll down to "Figure 2-65.-Common sheet-metal seams." The grooved flat lock seam looks close but again, your roof pic shows 2 humps so to speak and not one. So it may not be that lock seam.

If the roof seam is actually folded and locked like that, it is not going to come apart easy and it may not go back together and be watertight. If the joint shows no signs of leaking, a work around may be the right thing to do in this case.

Next topic, the walls and floor. Yes, from this pic and your description Sunline changed the methods over the years. Yours does show the side wall "not" on top of the floor, more like to was screwed into the side of the flooring assembly. I do not know what year they changed to having the wall assembly rest on top of the floor like in my T1950 2004 camper.


In your case, you will just rebuild it like they originally made it. It works OK, Sunline may have just found it easier (continuous improvement) to change the methods to a wall resting on the top of the floor.

To the metal corner seams. You said here
Quote:
Is it normal to feel regretful for taking it apart? It was so much fun not long ago �� To make matters worse...we have no idea if there's a way to work around the missing folds of corner aluminum. I read somewhere that's a really bad thing. Please tell me that's not so ��
First, it is common to find yourself in "Oh my, what did we get into..." Don't despair. You're doing really good work and all things on your Sunny are repairable. Your husband can get through this, we can see has good skills and can do this. We can help from hear as we can with some of the "how to" and what material and where to buy if needed. The material cost is normally not that high, however it will and does take a good amount of time to get through all the work. The enjoyment will come when you're in the campground looking back at this and admiring your good work that you know is done right.

The corner folds, I'm assuming you mean on your camper, the side walls siding does not extend further than the end of the wall and then fold over onto the rear wall area? And then the rear siding goes over the top of the folds? Like this:


Is that what you are describing? I would of thought your 1992 Sunline would of had them by then. However if they do not, it is not the end of the world. There are a lot of campers built without that folded corners. I just helped my neighbor fix some lower wall rot on his year 2000 Coachmen camper. They had no corner folds. All the windows and cargo doors etc only have 1 flange to seal with and not a double folded seal.

And on my 2004 Sunline T310SR, the slide room has no corner folds yet the main camper does. See here;


The folded corners are a good thing, they help make it take longer for a water infection to get in. But I can attest to on my 2004 T1950, water came in the corner with folded tabs due to failing putty tape. Putty tape is the issue.

If yours is made without the folded side tabs, the key to the repair is using good quality butyl tape (not putty tape) in the corners, putting extra tape in the siding depressions, and then once the corner is fully installed, using Dicro non sag (no leveling) caulking to seal the exposed edge of butyl tape to create a double seal.

These 2 links can help on how to seal the corners. These will drop you in the middle of other repairs, but the link starts where windows and corners are cleaned up and new butyl tape applied.
A Winter Project - Roof Repair (Picture heavy)

A Winter Project - Slide Opening, Frame Repair (Picture heavy)

A Winter Project - Slide Opening, Frame Repair (Picture heavy)

Here is how to do the Dicor caulking to create the secondary seal. Dicor Questions

Next topic:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Withasmile View Post
Made great progress today. It sure does help that I'm able to get around better! My husband and father jacked the rear up today and we were able to put in an entire new rear joist. The middle third of the joist next to it was ok so we did some sistering. We would've liked to replace that whole joist too, but removing the water heater seems too difficult for our skill level. I wonder if there's a way to lift it without removing it so we can get that damp OSB and insulation out of underneath it, at least. Most of the replacement floor 2x3s are down, but not screwed in place under the shower area.
The water heater, if you need to remove it to get to the floor under it, it is not that hard to remove the water heater. With all the work you have already done, removing and installing a water heater is no more or less complex. Here are the steps you can review to see if you can/want to do this.
  • Unhook the piping on the back side that is now exposed with the rear wall off. And unhook and mark any wiring.
  • Outside the camper, open the water heater fold down door, unhook the gas line. Tape off the end of the open line and the fitting on the gas valve to keep dirt out. Push the copper gas line into the camper and out of the metal housing.
  • You will see a series of screws around the outside perimeter of the heater flange where it seals to the siding. Take all those screws out.
  • Using a heat gun, warm the entire outer flange where the screws where. Keep the heat gun moving so it will not burn the paint or siding. You are softening the putty tape that seals the siding to the heater flange.
  • Using a very dull putty knife (no sharp edges, grind off if needed) work the knife into the putty and gently pry. You can pull on the entire heater now and the putty tape seal will start to let go. Heat more as needed. The entire water heater will come right out of the side of the camper.

The water heater is no harder than doing a window, cargo hole or entry door other than there is some piping and maybe some wiring to unhook pending the model heater you have. After you do your first heater, may take you 45 minutes, the average time to take one out can be 15 to 25 minutes.

Next topic:
Quote:
Quick question: if the OSB under the vinyl flooring is damp, should it all be cut out and replaced or just if it's rotted out?
How far to go in one of these repairs is always a judgment call. Questions come up some which are; How long am I going to keep the camper? How much work will it take? Will I have a good sound repair when I am done? I have the camper all apart now, why not fix it all? Can this dry out or do I have to replace it?

Not being able to see what you are up against, I'll give you some things to look at and think about to help you make your judgment call.

Water and the OSB board used in the campers do not play well together. How bad the OSB gets depends on how much water and how long it was there. Moisture first starts swelling the thickness and affecting the glue in the OSB. How much swell and how much glue damage all depends on the amount of moisture and how long it has been that way.

When the swell gets to be a lot, 1/16 to 1/8" or more swell in thickness, then the water has penetrated a fair amount of the board. The glue is the first to be weakened. When the glue gets too weak, it lets go of the grip on the chips that hold the board together and the board starts to separate. It structurally then is comprised. Over time the wood chips rot and the glue even further deteriorates to the point it is holding nothing together.

That said, it comes back to how infected is the OSB? On my 2004 T1950 repair I have all stages of OSB death. The real bad has to be replaced. If the OSB is affected but is still structurally sound, it can be dried out, treated and used without replacing.

I have part of my bathroom floor like this. Using a moisture meter I can scan through the vinyl and through the entire floor thickness. The wood is sound, there is no flex, not much if any swell, but there was higher moisture readings. Here is the meter Moisture Meters For Inspecting a Camper

Here is the area I'm talking about. This link will drop you to the right page showing the bathroom area with high readings. 2004 T1950 Restoration Project - (Ugly Picture Heavy)

I was able to open up both ends of the floor joists to let it air out. Pulled all the damp insulation out and during the warmer months of the year, let it dry out to 0% confirmed by the meter. There was a white fungus of something under the floor. Getting enough air to it, enough temperature and time it has dry out. I will treat that bottom of the floor area with Rot Dr. CPES to kill any dry rot fungus and it will stiffen the floor some too. I do this so it will not start dry rot later on after the repair is done.

If your floor is structurally sound, but damp and you can lift the vinyl and get any damp insulation out to let it dry out, you stand a lot better chance of good outcome. Treating the surface after it is dried out will help keep any dry rot from comeing back later. If you have a moisture meter, it can help guide you when dried out really comes. It is hard to tell wood is wet by only feel sometimes unless it is really wet. When you put the vinyl back down and close it up, any drying from that point forward will be very slow. If the air can get to it, it will dry out.

Hope all this helps. Keep at it, you are doing great!

Thanks

John
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