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Old 02-24-2014, 07:19 PM   #1
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mushy wall

I have a mushy wall.

To the left side of my drivers seat, the entire wall, from the top of the window to the floor is mushy. It's so mushy that finally my clip that retains the front curtain just ripped right out of the wall, revealing a disgusting, mushy blackish mess of some sort of wood behind it.

The wall was mushy when I bought it. Best Preowned RV stated that maybe a window had been left open or maybe the window leaked prior to them getting it.

They removed the window, took it apart, cleaned the inside of it, and resealed it and reinstalled it.

I don't feel that the mushy wall has gotten worse, we also haven't hit a drop of rain since we bought the bus. The wall above the line of the window top doesn't feel mushy, but sounds "hollower" that the wall just adjacent to it (you can clearly see a wall paper strip that covers the seam between the walls.

SO here's my question... and if you want to flame me for buying a bus with a mushy wall, tell your wife or a friend, not me, I don't care to be razed today... gentle fun poking accepted...

What is the inner wall most likely made of? It's some sort of wood, almost looks like it could be plywood. Part of the wall paper ripped YAY! (that's means I have an excuse to replace it)

It's more than obvious that the wall is going to have to be repaired, which is no big deal, I just like to be educated before I chase something like this down.

Next question... how is the inner wall most likely affixed to the outer shell of the bus?

I'm trying to decide a fix here and whether or not that fix is within my capacity solo.
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Old 02-24-2014, 07:21 PM   #2
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Old 02-24-2014, 07:31 PM   #3
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I have a similar problem but much bigger. Think the gutter above the drivers window leaked where the front cap meets the body. There is a thin plywood that has disintegrated above the window. We were told we would have to remove window and cabinet to fix. Big expense.
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Old 02-24-2014, 07:37 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brabono View Post
I have a similar problem but much bigger. Think the gutter above the drivers window leaked where the front cap meets the body. There is a thin plywood that has disintegrated above the window. We were told we would have to remove window and cabinet to fix. Big expense.
Agreed. It doesn't seem too difficult to me to remove the cabinet, and the window. The window just unscrews right out, and for me.. i can't quite see HOW to remove the cabinet, but I know it's just screws that hold it up, they are covered someplace though.

I might just carry the whole rig to fleetwood with my list of "stuff I would like repaired / refurbished" and let them handle it all.

My biggest issue is, i don't have a lot of "down time" and it seems like every RV repair anything moves at the pace of a sea turtle lifespan.
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Old 02-24-2014, 07:43 PM   #5
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I had water leaking from the roof on our old TT which caused the mushiness. The problem is that once the water gets in, it usually stays there and ruins everything around it.

My TT had a luan plywood backing and that's probably what you see. Behind that is the frame work (mine had 2x2 pine) with fiberglass insulation between the studs. You must remove the water-soaked insulation and let the area breathe. A heat lamp worked well for me as well.

I think you can do it yourself if you're so inclined. The alternative is pricey!
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Old 02-24-2014, 09:08 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by MoeBelly View Post
I had water leaking from the roof on our old TT which caused the mushiness. The problem is that once the water gets in, it usually stays there and ruins everything around it.

My TT had a luan plywood backing and that's probably what you see. Behind that is the frame work (mine had 2x2 pine) with fiberglass insulation between the studs. You must remove the water-soaked insulation and let the area breathe. A heat lamp worked well for me as well.

I think you can do it yourself if you're so inclined. The alternative is pricey!
Interesting! so the wood is laid into a frame?
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Old 02-24-2014, 09:18 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by plasma800 View Post
Interesting! so the wood is laid into a frame?
By wood I assume you mean plywood. I can only refer to my particular trailer, but the plywood is stapled onto the wooden frame (yours may be steel).
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Old 02-24-2014, 09:22 PM   #8
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I bought a class C with water damage and yes Luan is the interior wall typically. Studs with insulation and if your outside wall is fiberglass its typical adhered to another sheet of Luan.
If the exterior isn't bubbled and bulging then the fiberglass hasn't delaminated from the exterior luan. And the interior is all you will need to fix along with replacing any insulation or rotted studs.
Lucky for me the studs were ok and I just needed to clean paint with some kiltz put in new insulation replace the luan wall and you can wall paper it if you can match it or just paint it. I painted it. reattach your cabinet and you'll be good as new.

I would however run a hose on the outside area for a while when you have it apart to insure the leak had been fixed before putting it all back together.
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Old 02-24-2014, 11:19 PM   #9
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Every RV has so different wall construction it's hard to give advice. I had same problem before and I will say go ahead and open up the "mushy" area as it's not doing you no good anyway and then from there you can ask questions, show pictures or come up with a fix yourself.
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Old 02-25-2014, 12:17 AM   #10
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You have aluminum wall studs. The inner wall sheet is luan plywood, glued onto the aluminum wall studs. Between the aluminum wall studs in insulation, probably foam, either sprayed in, or sheet foam cut to fit. The outer wall is luan plywood, glued onto the aluminum studs. The outside filon sheeting is glued onto the exterior luan plywood.

You have to get that rotted luan plywood out of there. That black mushy mess is probably black mold, and you want to get it out of there. Now is not too soon. Get the rotten inside wall sheet out, even dig out any affected insulation, and get a fan running to dry out that wall. Once you get the wall dried out, you can find out if the exterior luan has been affected.

If you have a cupboard in the way, try this. The inner walls of the cupboards is usually a fake, pressed in board that hides the actual frame work of the cabinet. By prying the wall out, it should expose the cupboard frame boards showing you the screws that you need to remove.

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Old 02-25-2014, 01:02 AM   #11
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Papa Jim's post above is really excellent info to have. Thanks Papa Jim....good stuff!! Eh?????

One other thought to the OP. Suggest you contact American Coach/Fleetwood Customer Service @ 1-800-322-8216. These guys are awesome in handling customer inquiries....and they don't seem to care at all how old your coach is. I am certain they can provide additional info. They may also be able to provide you with an engineering diagram of that wall area, including info on the materials originally used and where replacement material may be obtained.

Example. Last Spring, I needed to replace/repair specific seals on our two slides....mostly the bedroom slide's external seals which were weathered and torn. I called ACoach for any info they might have. The c/s rep not only identified the various seals installed on the bedroom slide, he emailed me a detailed diagram of the slide area that showed the construction of the slide as well as the types of mouldings, trim and seals originally installed. He also sent me a chart further identifying these components by Fleetwood part number, description, quantity, vendor code and vendor part number. Amazing! All of this helped tremendously in identifying the CORRECT "bulb" seal I needed and who made it/who could supply it. Without this info, it would have been a hit and miss adventure for me. With it, I purchased the absolutely correct seal from the correct vendor....Cleanseal. The rep also told me that ACoach could sell me the seal OR I could contact Cleanseal directly. I obtained the seal material from Cleanseal. Wow....I could not have been helped better than that! Hopefully they can help you in the same way.

All of this is FWIW....hope it helps. Good luck on the project.
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Old 02-25-2014, 07:33 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Papa_Jim View Post
You have aluminum wall studs. The inner wall sheet is luan plywood, glued onto the aluminum wall studs. Between the aluminum wall studs in insulation, probably foam, either sprayed in, or sheet foam cut to fit. The outer wall is luan plywood, glued onto the aluminum studs. The outside filon sheeting is glued onto the exterior luan plywood.

You have to get that rotted luan plywood out of there. That black mushy mess is probably black mold, and you want to get it out of there. Now is not too soon. Get the rotten inside wall sheet out, even dig out any affected insulation, and get a fan running to dry out that wall. Once you get the wall dried out, you can find out if the exterior luan has been affected.

If you have a cupboard in the way, try this. The inner walls of the cupboards is usually a fake, pressed in board that hides the actual frame work of the cabinet. By prying the wall out, it should expose the cupboard frame boards showing you the screws that you need to remove.

Jim
Excellent post.

Get that area opened up and drying immediately. Your outer wall is bonded to luan plywood. The nasty wet mess that is your inside wall has no where to vent and that moisture and dry rot is going to (or already has) move to the outer plywood. When that outer plywood gets moist enough, your outer filon will start to separate in a process which is called Delamination. Google that and you will see why you want to make sure that doesn't happen. Hopefully you don't have any small bubbling on the exterior in that area that you just haven't noticed yet.

Our Fleetwood is substantially older and lower end than yours but ours has sheet foam as insulation. Thank god these things don't use wood frames like a lot of towables.

Once you get the area opened up and as much of the moldy dry-rotted plywood out that you can, you have to mitigate the mold that you cannot just remove. The best substance for that that I have found is Ethylene Glycol or good 'ole automotive antifreeze. It will wick into even soaking wet wood and combines with any water. It will kill anything organic in the wood and keep it from coming back for about a year. You have to be so careful with that exterior plywood though not to put too much on there to cause damage similar to water.

An ozone generator can also help with airborne mold as you work on that. I would (and have) run a shock level generator for 30 min or so after every time I worked on it and periodically while it sat there.

That place you bought it from didn't really do you any favors by just resealing the window. All of that moisture had no-where to go.

Once again, even if you are going to take to to Fleetwood for repair, open up a hole and get it drying out immediately!
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Old 02-25-2014, 08:04 AM   #13
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that's all fantastic advice.

I pull back in Houston this afternoon and I will get started ASAP.

Also, the drivers seat is is the way of the wall at the floor, and I sure hate to have to remove that! it looks like a bear to remove!

Also, any idea thoughts on removing the seat belt? It appears to just be the bolted to the wall under a cap. I'm sure I can figure it out. The overhead cabinet is going to be a booger for sure, the bottom of the cabinet runs the length of 3 cabinets and the track for the curtain runs all of it too. All of that has to come out.
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Old 02-25-2014, 08:05 AM   #14
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what do you feel is the best method of removing the wood? I'm imagining that a sharp razor knife might be able to cut it right out.
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