Truck Camper Restoration Project - Part 2
The funny thing about Dicor caulk is that when they tell you to check it twice a year, you should probably check it twice a year, AND fix any problems. Oh, and they do also mention that the proper way to keep up with it is to carefully scrape out the old stuff that is cracked and no longer adhering. Alas, my camper had a bad case of "POS" - Previous Owner Syndrome. I could see that at some point somebody had added a bit of caulk, but nobody ever bothered to get down to some decent substrate to apply the new caulk to. Take a note here folks, Dicor over dirt don't get it.
My camper had been owned by an old guy who bought it used, and a new 2008 Chevy 3500 dually to haul it with. He put 6000 miles on the truck before taking it and the camper to a local auto dealer where he settled for cash for the lot. The dealer sold off the truck in short order and then posted the camper for sale, cheap. When I went to look at it I could see that there had been some leakage from both the roof and the windows and that the bedroom was pretty much wiped out and would have to be rebuilt.
The biggest problem on the roof was back near the roof ladder and the skylight that sits over the rear dinette/galley. Water stains on the ceiling (which unfortunately remain) showed that there had been some leakage, but there didn't seem to be much wood rot, other than in the bunk. On the roof the rear screw strip that covers the edge of the roof membrane was a bit loose near the ladder.
While I had crawled around the sleeping area a bit when doing my initial investigation I didn't quite realize just how thoroughly soaked everything was. Both windows showed telltale signs of water leakage with streaking down the walls under them. Pulling back the bedspread confirmed my suspicions, the whole bunk area had been acting as a sort of bathtub, retaining the water and rotting out the substrate. Fortunately, with the way a Bigfoot is constructed this is not as much of a problem as it would be with some other brands. The water pools and rots out the wood, but the wood sits on top of the fiberglass shell. The solution, get down to the shell and start over from scratch.
I removed the cabinets, paneling, foam insulation, and blocking. I gave a moment's thought to reusing the cabinets, but they were quite moldy and I've never really liked "hamper" style cabinets. After taking a few measurements I had a fairly inexpensive solution in mind that I'll talk about later. Note the rusted screws that came out of the screw strip that goes under the front fiberglass cap. The combination of water, wood, steel and aluminum made for a mighty fine galvanic corrosion cell. When rebuilding this section I sprung for stainless steel screws.
Once I got down to the pink fiberglass hull the cleanup was fairly easy with a bit of Mean Green cleaner and a stiff bristle brush. A couple of passes pretty much removed the majority of the mold smell from the camper.
Tom - KK8M -Warren, Michigan
MI Licensed Electrician, ISA Level 2 Certified I&C Tech, UL Certified PV Installer, Organic "Olla Irrigation" Gardener and bona fide Schlepper