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Old 08-08-2010, 02:30 PM   #1
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Repairing leaks and water damage- Sunspot!

Hi all. Not only am I new to my Sunspot, I am also new to the joys of finding leaks and water damage.

My '82 Sunspot had some old water damage but I was led to believe that the source of the leak had been dealt with. Up until these last few days, I was inclined to believe that (we'd had a bit of rain but the insides stayed dry, but a severe storm has dashed those hopes ).

I have water coming in from the left front corner (or at least that's where the damage is), and the left side window. The front panel is definitely going to have to be gutted and probably the left side panel as well. I will have somebody coming to look at it this week.

I had planned to seal everything with Eternabond tape regardless, but I'm wondering if I need to wait until the internal repairs are done first (will the skin have to be removed from the outside in order to do the repairs? or will it need to be done from the inside?). I don't want to spend a fortune on Eternabond that will be ripped out anyway.

It is tarped now; should I just forget about sealing until I can get an opinion?

What is the best way to deal with window leaks?

Anything else I should know or consider?

Any help is much appreciated!

Pam.
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Old 08-08-2010, 06:04 PM   #2
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Hi Pam

Sorry to hear about your water issues. I went thru some of these myself this spring on my slide. All can be corrected though.

You asked about the Eternabond tape. Yes I agree to do this but I myself would wait until the internal inspection is done. If a roof rafter or some of the studs are shot the roof or siding may have to be lifted and if that is the case you just wasted good Eternabond. And ideally the corner flanges are removed and new butyl sealing tape is reapplied which may be the source of the leak in the 1st place. Then Eternabond over the new resealed edges.

Window leaks, If it is a flange leak, meaning the water is getting in between the siding and the window flange, then best way here is to pull the window and frame and apply new butyl sealing tape, put the window back in. Trying to caulk out a known leak will not hold long term. The butyl tape itself is sealing almost 3/4" on the window flange to the siding. The best caulk on the outside can due is 1/16 to maybe 1/8Ē and it may crack on you leaving an exposed channel. Using caulk on sound sealing tape is OK, just not the other way around. For caulk I use non levling Dicro. It is white or they make it in colors, is flexible, can be removed and if masked off with masking tape can be applied and look OK.

Redoing a widow flange seal is not that hard to do. See these 2 posts on redoing a front window. There are pics there showing how I did corners and cargo door

http://www.sunlineclub.com/forums/f71/2753-front-window-reseal-11516.html

And here Sunny Side Upís report back on how he made out
http://www.sunlineclub.com/forums/f71/front-window-reseal-done-11556.html

And once the window is pulled you can see if there is any wood damage that needs to be addressed around the window frame.

Where is the window leak coming in? I assumed you had a flange leak with water getting in and then running down a wall verses water coming in the glass.

You asked, Anything else to consider? Well the internal inspection will tell this. Key is get all the rot now before you reseal it back up. If you have wet wood, dry it out well with help of a fan. If it is hard, but was just wet, once dry it will be OK. If there are questionable areas or areas where you need to reconstruct a support stud or beam as it is too complex to get it out/replaced, this product can be used. http://www.rotdoctor.com/ and you can apply to over dried up wood that was set to kill any bacteria that may develop dry rot later on.

Cost: If you have the ability to do the work yourself, the costs can be a lot less as the raw materials are not that bad, but labor can add up and is usually the most expensive part of these types of repairs. If you need to go to a shop, often times you can get a better deal and quality from an independent repair place as opposed to a very large RV dealer. However some RV dealers do do a good job. The issue is finding them in your area.

Good luck and post some pics when you find out the issues. We too learn from you.

Hope this helps

John
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Old 08-09-2010, 01:53 AM   #3
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Wow, thanks John, for all of the info! I really appreciate the time you took to answer my questions.

I am going to talk to some "handymen" in my area and see if they can do this kind of work; I'm a little bit leery about going to an RV place as I'm pretty sure they'll try and rip me off!


The window is leaking from the top and down the metal frame; I'm not sure how much internal damage there is, but I guess I'll find out.

I was pretty freaked out at first, but the Sunspot is so tiny that I figure it can't be THAT expensive to fix, especially if I can find some salvaged materials. I know the labour will be the worst, but I think I can keep those costs down as well......... I hope!!

I will show whomever does the work for me what you've recommended so that they have some idea what SHOULD be done and see what they say! And I will keep you posted on my progress.

Thanks again and I'll be back soon with some news!

Pam.
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Old 09-02-2010, 03:36 PM   #4
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Okay, so Dot is now in a nearby town being fixed up. I took her to the local RV shop where they told me what would have to be done and also told me they would take $2000 from me to do it (shop rate is $100/hour!). Needless to say, I'm not going that route, but have hired a handyman to do the work. He'll take the front of the trailer off and do the work from the outside. I'll try to get as many photos as possible during the process. My biggest issue may well be finding paneling that's reasonably close to the original. I've seen photos of remodeled Sunspots and I don't care for those that have been "modernized" and want to keep mine as close to the original as possible. I almost feel obligated to do so!

Something I've noticed in towing Dot around town: she's noisy! There's a really noticeable, rusty, metal-on-metal kind of sound when going over bumps sometimes that doesn't seem normal to me. The leaf springs are pretty rusty and I did spray them with penetrating oil, but I don't know what else I should look for or be doing. I'm pretty sure the springs aren't broken but I'm not sure I would know. Can they be taken off, separated, cleaned and reassembled? If I need new springs, are they readily available? Could there be something else under there that could be causing the noise?

I don't have her here right now, but I'll be visiting in a day or two for a progress report so I can maybe get a better look underneath then. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

Cheers!

Pam.
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Old 09-02-2010, 04:57 PM   #5
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Hi Pam

Glad to hear Dotís progress is moving forward.

The paneling, that one is tough. However Frank, here on the forum who is building a camper may have a lead as he just went through searching out where to buy what he has.

There is another option if Franks resources do not turn up anything. You buy plain luan sheets in the lumber yard and then apply commercial wall paper to them. Choose luan plywood
You may have to treat the luan with something to so it will adhere but this opens up a lot more color matches.

The commercial wall paper is like a vinyl, 4 feet wide, thick and goes on like normal wall paper. They where redoing our office building and I asked the installer what it is as it looks great if someday I rebuild our camper. So looking in this industry may turn up a match that looks similar to Dotís original.

The TT suspension making noises. If you have a broken spring you can see it if your looking at the spring pack. The leaf would be actual broken in 2 pieces or missing. If you take a picture of both springs and post them I may be able to tell you if they are broke from the pics. Leaf breaks many times are a total chuck missing, (it fell off once broke) or the parts are still attached but there is an actual crack you can see in the side of the leaves.

See these pics as just an example to talk to. These are on my camper now and not cracked All the leaves must be intact full length and the sides of the leaves must not have any thru cracks. If you look close you can see the cracks. Iíll dig later as I know we have a forum member here a while back with broken ones to show you.





Now to the noise. If your springs are cracked the TT may not even be sitting level. Once side is down hill by a noticeable amount. If a main leaf is gone the tire may be rubbing the wheel well. Iím going to assume that is not your problem right now as it would be glaringly obvious.

Odds are though your spring pin bushings are shot and you have metal on metal, the spring eye is grinding on the pin as the plastic bushing no longer exists. See here for the plastic bushing. Even on a new TT, these things can wear out in 10,000 miles of towing.





They sell what is called a wet bolt kit. It is a bronze bushing to replace the plastic one and the spring pin has a grease fitting in it. Here is the new greasable pin.



Since Dot has a single axle there are no shackles or equalizer to make a bunch of noise from being worn out. You most likely have a fixed eye on the front of the spring and the rear is a slipper setup. Spring slides over a bolt in the spring hanger. That rubbing action can some times make noise and grease in the slipping area can quite it.

And then once those 2 areas are fixes there is the normal squeak of leak srpings. If you already sprayed them with an oil, odds are the busings are the main problem and the leak normal noise is drowned out.

Posts some pics and I can better make sure I know what actual spring setup you have but the noise may be more from the front spring eye bushing being shot and the rear slipper setup. They may have never been changed since day 1.

Hope this helps

John
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Old 09-02-2010, 05:22 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dotthespot View Post
Okay, so Dot is now in a nearby town being fixed up. I took her to the local RV shop where they told me what would have to be done and also told me they would take $2000 from me to do it (shop rate is $100/hour!). Needless to say, I'm not going that route, but have hired a handyman to do the work. He'll take the front of the trailer off and do the work from the outside. I'll try to get as many photos as possible during the process. My biggest issue may well be finding paneling that's reasonably close to the original. I've seen photos of remodeled Sunspots and I don't care for those that have been "modernized" and want to keep mine as close to the original as possible. I almost feel obligated to do so!

Something I've noticed in towing Dot around town: she's noisy! There's a really noticeable, rusty, metal-on-metal kind of sound when going over bumps sometimes that doesn't seem normal to me. The leaf springs are pretty rusty and I did spray them with penetrating oil, but I don't know what else I should look for or be doing. I'm pretty sure the springs aren't broken but I'm not sure I would know. Can they be taken off, separated, cleaned and reassembled? If I need new springs, are they readily available? Could there be something else under there that could be causing the noise?

I don't have her here right now, but I'll be visiting in a day or two for a progress report so I can maybe get a better look underneath then. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

Cheers!

Pam.
Hi Pam,

Is that $100 US or Canadian? I seem to remember the shop rate at my local dealer was around 90ish, so that doesn't seem too far out to me. Hopefully the handyman can get it all fixed up with good quality work. The Sunspot is really no different than a stick built home, so he should be able to replace most stuff with few issues.

The noise you mention could be a collection of different things:
1) The leaf spring bushings are probably bad. This is very common. I'm not familiar enough with the Sunspot to know if the springs are a one bolt or two bolt spring, but either way you'll still have a bushing. You will have to pull the bolt(s) out that holds the spring on, and inside of that spring end, there will be a plastic sleeve. More than likely that plastic is no longer complete, it probably has one side worn out. Try to get one out in one piece (even with part worn) and take it to your local dealer or trailer supply store to get replacements. I'll go more into this in a minute.

2) Bearings. I can't remember, have you had your bearings repacked? If you haven't and don't have a history to know from the previous owner, you should have these looked at soon. Basically they just pull the hub, pull out the bearing, inspect if for any imperfections, and if it's good, they just regrease it and put in a new seal, then they put it back together. If the bearings need replacing, they should do that then.

3) Brakes. Your brakes could be hanging up some. If they haven't been inspected, you probably should have that done. I'd make sure to insist that they be cleaned up inside so they aren't rusty and stuck. I'm told there are proper places that these need to be lubricated (not on any pads or magnets though). Since you don't have Dexter brakes, the parts won't work, but cleaning/lubrication instructions should be very similar. They'd have to look at these when checking out the bearings anyway, so it's a good time to do both.

Back to the springs. Lubricating the springs with oil probably didn't hurt anything, but I doubt it really helped. I believe they do come apart somehow, and I would recommend keeping them (and the frame) painted to keep it from rusting a lot.

Your springs are one of two styles. Either style will have the front end of the spring bolted directly into the spring hanger welded to the frame. The back side is where it could differ. It could either have the spring hanger with a bolt and the rear of the spring just has a big curved part where the flex in the spring will just push it back through that slot. The other style will have two small bars that sandwich the spring to the spring hanger with two bolts, so the spring really can be reversed when installed. Those brackets allow the spring to flex back when the spring compresses. It is important to have those brackets in the back because of the way the spring will flex due to axle twisting from going over bumps...if the brackets were in the front, it would bounce funny and just not work out well. I really suspect you have this latter version. This would mean you have six bolts total and therefore six bushings. There should be a spacer between the ears of the rear spring hanger.

When you replace these bushings, you can either get one of two styles. Your dealer/trailer store probably has the plastic/nylon versions, which is very common. The problem with these is they wear out fairly quickly. There's another choice, bronze, which your dealer may not have, you might have to order those online. You can also get bolts with grease fittings on the heads so you can put grease in these like every year or so to keep the bushings lubricated. Then they should last a real long time. Either way, make sure they go in during the reassembly greased really well.

I would start there and see if it solves the noise. If not, then go on to the bearings/brakes.

Jon
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Old 09-02-2010, 05:24 PM   #7
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Hmm, well I see John & I were typing at the same time...

John, I'm pretty sure she has the rear shackles and not the slipper style. My 1550 was this way and I think most if not all single axle Sunlines were built like this.

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Old 09-02-2010, 05:24 PM   #8
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Pam, if you aren't comfortable with doing the spring work yourself, check with a local shop that sells trailers (not RV's) like small utility trailers, car haulers, work trailers, horse trailers, etc. The axles, brakes, springs, and such on our Sunlines are the same as used on these other trailers. It has been my experience that a shop like that will have much more reasonable prices for materials and, if needed, work done.
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Old 09-02-2010, 10:33 PM   #9
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Hmm, well I see John & I were typing at the same time...

John, I'm pretty sure she has the rear shackles and not the slipper style. My 1550 was this way and I think most if not all single axle Sunlines were built like this.

Jon
Yup, your right Jon, it could have rear shackles. Forgot about that option too. Odds are the shackles plates can be worn bad too if it has that type.

Pam a pic here goes a long way.

Jon comments about brakes and bearings is a good one. Buying a used camper you have no clue on what was last done to it. A trailer repiar shop like Steve mentioned can do this or if you have an auto mechanic they can do it too. Any auto mechanic that has done drum brakes before can do these and if needed we can point them or you to the manuals and pictues of how to do this and the slight differences to look for.

Good luck

John
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Old 09-03-2010, 01:17 AM   #10
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Wow!!! You guys are truly amazing....... I can't believe the amount of knowledge you have and I really appreciate the time it takes to post all of that information. I'm just speechless.

So I'll be going to visit Dot tomorrow to help do some work on her so I'll get lots of photos of both the repairs so far and also what's going on underneath. Thank you so much for giving me a starting point.

I had a mechanic friend do all of the wiring, including hooking up the brakes (the previous owner never used them!!) and he re-packed the bearings as well, so I'm pretty sure I'm good on that end. I think that if the springs were broken he would have noticed. I will pass on all of the info you guys have given me and have him look at her once I get her home again. Hopefully whatever the problem is, isn't too serious!

It will probably be Saturday before I get photos posted, but I will certainly get them up! Thanks again, gentlemen!

Pam.
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Old 09-04-2010, 02:05 AM   #11
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Update!

Well, I spent some time this afternoon with Dot, pulling staples and cleaning old butyl tape of the metal. The rot was about as extensive as I had expected.

I took some shots of the undercarriage but I don't really know what I'm looking at. Helppppp!!!!!!

Still haven't figured out how to post photos properly, so hopefully you'll be able to get to the album with this link. If not, let me know!!

Pam (I am)

http://www.sunlineclub.com/forums/me...-albums56.html
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Old 09-04-2010, 02:07 AM   #12
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Oh, yeah, I forgot! What do you make of the stripiing? Looks like they re-did the decals after it was manufactured. Huh.
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Old 09-04-2010, 11:05 AM   #13
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Pam

Your springs are not broke into 2 parts at least on the main leaf. I cannot tell if there is a small crack on the minor leaves as the pics are too far away. Odds are the springs are fine.

This pic indicates you have a very badly worn spring bushing to the point there many be nothing left to it.
http://www.sunlineclub.com/forums/me...picture590.jpg

It also shows us you have the end shackles verses the slipper spring setup like Sunline Fan pointed out. Odds are the shackles are worn but that will not make the noise like the worn out spring pin bushing will. The mechanic friend who repacked your wheel bearings has the skills to change the bushings. If needed we can help dig for where to order parts if he does not have a local source. They are available on line

It also looks like you squirted the lube at the U bolt area. That area does not flex and the lube there really will not do much.
http://www.sunlineclub.com/forums/me...picture588.jpg

If your going to squirt some lube do it on the pivot joints on both ends of the leaf springs where the bushings are. Like on the bolts shown here
http://www.sunlineclub.com/forums/me...picture589.jpg

The next area which I doubt will help much but is where the flex is on the springs, is the ends of the spring stack where the shorter leafs stop and about 6 to 8 inches into the stack back towards the axle. See here where Iím talking about.
http://www.sunlineclub.com/forums/me...picture588.jpg

Your wood frame rot. Yup the classic corner rot.
http://www.sunlineclub.com/forums/me...picture586.jpg

The decals deal??? Maybe Sunline Fan can sort this one out. I have no good explanation on this.
http://www.sunlineclub.com/forums/me...picture593.jpg

Your right. Some one may have added new decals over the years.

And your handy man person is doing a good job. Keep us posted on the progress.

To post pic's. The way you are doing it works for a direct upload, or you have them stored on a photo server and link them in. Like a free Photo Bucket account. Here is the basics How to post a picture on SunlineClub

However, I learned something new today with this new V bulletin software. While I finally figured out how to create a link to your picture hosted here on our site, I have not figured out how to embed the pic imiage to view???? Never ran into this as most are linked from off site servers OR uploaded just for a post. Iíll figure it out eventually and update the picture post.

John
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Old 09-04-2010, 11:28 AM   #14
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John, after you copy the link location, just use the Insert Picture button. It will give you a little window asking for the url of the pic. Paste the link location and click OK.

We all got used to [img]url[/img] didn't we?

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Old 09-04-2010, 11:34 AM   #15
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Hi Pam,

Hmm, your striping pic answered a lot of questions.

Remember how you had two VIN's? The shorter one indicated yours was one of the leftover frames from 1978 that they then built on in 1980 and reconfigured that VIN for that. Well, apparently this one didn't sell, so they decided to redo it for a 1982 model so they not only assigned the new VIN, but they also re-striped it with the correct striping for 1982. The hidden striping you saw there is the correct striping for '78-'80 Sunspots. Does it look like the old striping continues underneath, or does it look like they cut it and peeled the old off?

I have to agree with John, the shackles and bushings are probably your problem. If you want to see if you can make it better, spray those bolts with whatever you used. This will only last like a day or so, but it might eliminate the noise temporarily so you'd know if that's the problem. Based on all the rust though, it wouldn't hurt to change them out.

Is the tire with no white wall on the inside a Goodyear? That looks like one of the OEM tires!

Jon
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Old 09-04-2010, 01:11 PM   #16
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Whew! Lots of information! Yes, the striping really does confirm what you had already reckoned, Jon about how this little girl came to be! It does seem as though the old decal work (at least that which was visible) was peeled away and replaced. How interesting!

I think the tire you are referring to IS a Goodyear, but I'll have to check the next time I see Dot. In any case, I have three different tires!

I will have the shackles and bushings replaced and shouldn't have too much trouble locating parts. A good friend of mine is the manager at Napa in Cranbrook so she should be able to help me out. There are also a few utility trailer outfits in town that would be able to help me out. In fact, when the body work is done on Dot, I'll probably take her straight over to one of them and have them look at it for me. Seems fairly straightforward!

My handyman is great and I've been helping with it, too (pulling staples and cleaning old butyl tape off the metal). I'm going to be there when the front window goes back in, since I plan to re-seal the two side windows myself. We're also going to clean up the roof vent; it was recently replaced, but they did a crap job of sealing it (doesn't leak, but it's messy).

Haven't found paneling yet, but I'm prowling the re-use centres at the local dumps and should be able to find something. If not, I have picked out some paneling that is very close to what is on the side walls. The guy at Home Hardware looked at me like I had five heads when I went in there and asked for ugly '70s paneling!

Two steps closer to getting her on the road!

Here's another question for you all: how do you feel about "flipping the axle"? Just curious, I don't know if I'll do it; I think I'll have to take her on a few trips before I know whether it's a good idea.

Thank you again for all the help!

Pam.
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Old 09-04-2010, 01:40 PM   #17
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Hi Pam,

Somewhere I have official confirmation that the original tires from that generation were Goodyear Power Streaks. Of course I can't find that note now, but I did find a record I had of a spare tire and tire cover that was being sold from a late '80s coach that had that same kind of tire. You've probably heard of the Goodyear Marathon trailer tire these days, the Power Streak was pre-Marathon...

I think you might find an axle flip is probably not needed. The trailer is so short that it probably won't have clearance issues anywhere. I think the only thing you'd have to worry about is the tank drain out the back there.

For information about the axle flip, Marshall (purplesuebug) is the one to ask. His original Sunspot already had an axle flip due to the previous owner having to replace the holding tank, and the only replacement that the previous owner could get was taller than the original which required the coach to be raised to keep the axle from hitting the tank on a bump. I'm pretty sure I recall Marshall saying that he would like to put it back down to the stock height, but of course he needed a tank to do that, which I think is part of why he is collecting parts Sunspots.

Since you basically have to sit down into a Sunspot, I think it might make getting into bed a little more uncomfortable with having the coach higher. It might also make working in the kitchen area a little more difficult. I don't really recall with how Marshall's was height wise on me for the kitchen area (other than the whole thing is really small!!).

Just curious, what kind of tow vehicle are you pulling it with?

Jon
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Old 09-04-2010, 01:46 PM   #18
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Thanks, Jon! That sounds like reasonable advice when you put it like that.

I'm towing with a Nissan Xterra. I have a four-inch ball drop that works perfectly; she's nice and level!

I'll check on the tire when I see her next!

Pam.
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Old 09-04-2010, 02:20 PM   #19
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Pam

I'm with Jon on really not needing an axle flip on a TT that short. Here is a pic of yours




The main reason folks raise the TT is because they are dragging the back of the TT frame in the ground as the rear overhang is so far back being low drags.

Your rear overhang of the camper, (distance from back bumper to TT axle) is so small that the condition may never practically exist.

And then like Jon pointed out the rear kitchen just became 4" taller

Good luck

John
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Old 09-04-2010, 02:23 PM   #20
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Tires, do you know how to read the DOT date code? If you are at or over 5 years old it is time to replace regardless of thread.

See here for how to read the code

Tire Tech Information - Determining the Age of a Tire
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