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Old 04-22-2013, 01:12 PM   #1
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Throwing away $100,000 5th wheel

Well, the title is self-explanatory.

We purchased a 2007 40' KZ Escalade REB which with all the options was about $100,000 new give or take a couple grand.

We were very careful when we bought it used and had even paid our local RV tech $800 to drive down with us to do the final walk-thru before signing the check.

The RV is gorgeous.

We lived under cover of our 24'x40 foot RV carport.
We moved last year and sold the carport so we were exposed for our roof for this winter.

We installed a tankless hot water heater, removed the Norcrap side-by-side fridge and replaced with a residential fridge. We brought in our $2,000 king size mattress from our last house to replace the cheap one in the RV. We then ripped out the sofa and hide-a-bed in the living room and bought a $2,000 couch last month. Ok all well and fine. Life is nifty.

Then this month we made our last payment on it...paid for!

Last week I had a RV tech come out and inspect the roof and he found a large soft spot behind the satellite dish which we have never even used. I had the insurance person out to try a claim and they said no way...water damage is not covered.

Now from further conversations with the mobile RV tech and the local RV shops it will cost about $5- $10,000 to fix, maybe more.

Here is the kicker:
After fixing the RV leaks I'm learning that there is high probability of mold which will come from the deep water in the seams of the two slide outs and in the roof area.

Once the mold starts I have been told it is near impossible to get rid of it entirely and it may be a nightmare even after fixing the roof.

The RV shop has said they have beaten this before at times with Bleach washes and so forth but no guarantee.
My RV tech who is really good thinks the 5th wheel is essentially ruined do to the pending mold.

So the bottom line is the 5th wheel books at about $45k now. Do I really want to spend $10,000 or more on a fix that will be structural at best?
Do I really want to spend that much money and have an endless battle with mold?

We live full-time in our rig and absolutely love it but this is not feeling good.

I feel like the best option is to bail and throw this RV away and not look back.

The problem is the people who sold it use some cheap RV sealer to paint over the crummy caulking.

For Context, here is what we 5th is about:
40' 2007 KZ Escalade RED Blonde Wood interior.

Fireplace with built in heater
Satellite dish
Dual Air conditioners
Heated holding tanks
Sliding storage tray holds 400 pounds
Residential Full Size Fridge replaced original.
Tank less Hot water heater allow for showers as long as you like.
Residential King Size High End Mattress originally about $2,000 new.
Brand new custom made $2,000 couch a few months old.
Brand new area rugs to give it more warmth and make it easier to keep clean.
Stored under cover for part if it's life.
Here is a link to the original brochure which highlights even more fantastic features: Escalade Fifth Wheels 2007 Brochures

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Old 04-22-2013, 01:19 PM   #2
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You would have a disclosure issue if you tried to sell it. I would think that they can get most of the mold out when they repair the roof. The rest would be sealed up inside the walls and not be any real problem to you. Having said that, I wonder if the framing is wood or metal. If wood then you want to make sure it gets totally dried out or you will end up with dry rot in the walls too.

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Old 04-22-2013, 01:28 PM   #3
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Don't think I would throw it away, with the proper disclosure and the understanding (in writing) that you are selling "as is", you should be able to get some return for it, there are a lot of parts that could be reused.

However, mold is abated in residential and commercial buildings all the time (without tearing down the building). I've never heard of it for an RV (that's just me), but perhaps you could check with a professional abatement company for their opinion on it.
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Old 04-22-2013, 01:33 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Doug Sage View Post
You would have a disclosure issue if you tried to sell it. I would think that they can get most of the mold out when they repair the roof. The rest would be sealed up inside the walls and not be any real problem to you. Having said that, I wonder if the framing is wood or metal. If wood then you want to make sure it gets totally dried out or you will end up with dry rot in the walls too.
Frame is metal. KZ makes an outstanding 4 season 5th wheel.
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Old 04-22-2013, 01:47 PM   #5
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Since you have a metal frame, I'd think removing soft roof and all insulation that might be damp would be a good start. Then I'd suggest moving it from Seattle for a few months to a drier climate to allow everything to dry out. Then I'd just use it and enjoy it!

Bob & Donna
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Old 04-22-2013, 02:02 PM   #6
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You might also try running a dehumidifier to keep the moisture down inside.

Shop Dehumidifiers at Lowes.com!

Good Luck,
Jon & Sue Francis (Retired U.S.A.F.)
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Old 04-22-2013, 02:09 PM   #7
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I would fix it and while the roof was open clean the wet area and spray. As for the roof having a soft spot, didn't you since purchase inspect the roof and do maintenance? I do mine 2x per year. Inspection in the fall and touch the roof seams in the spring. Ours sits under a garage all year long. Too big an investment to not check things all the time.
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Old 04-22-2013, 04:12 PM   #8
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Ther are companies that specialize in mold remediation, yes their for residential but they have access to sprays that are better than bleach and paints specificity to prevent mold from returning. I would think that once the soft area of the roof is removed along with insulation that the mold remediation company could go in and take care of any mold and prevent it from returning.
Wouldn't hurt to call around.
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Old 04-22-2013, 05:44 PM   #9
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One excellent mold control product is Concrobium Mold Control.This over-the-counter product has an excellent reputation. Here is my search results for Concrobium Mold Control. Don't give up the ship just yet. Work and money are involved, but IMO your trailer is absolutely salvageable.
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Old 04-22-2013, 06:28 PM   #10
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I have as much if not more in my 5th wheel. I feel your pain but if it was me with the problem, I wouldn't hesitate in fixing it. I would ask to have the roof open and then I would have a mold remediation company treat it. Then put the RV in closed storage for a month with a dehumidifier running. After doing that and then testing I would have the roof replaced, slides checked and get to Davids RV Roof (RVRoof.com) for a truly sealed roof. OK you've put another 10 - 12K in it BUT it will last for another 10 years. After that it won't owe you a cent - it will have delivered a living space for 16 + years. Good luck but I think it's doable if you don't let it get you down.
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Old 04-22-2013, 08:41 PM   #11
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Yes your rig is definately salvageable. Many homes have had to deal with mold issues and the repair is more common than you may think.

I also read that Peterson / Excel Industries does a lifetime roof Rhino or something like that to replace the traditional EPDM roofs. I have not checked it out but I know those types of materials are tough as nails and it is a lifetime guarantee.

I would deal with any mold issues at that time, it may not be that bad and very treatable. You want to get some other professionals with experience in this area to give you their opinions. Don't let it defeat you!
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Old 04-23-2013, 05:50 AM   #12
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I have lived in a humid area for a long time and have seen the effects of black mold in houses. I have seen remediation take over 2 years and then have to be redone because they missed some (air monitoring is good but does not always catch everything).The way most people find out about it is that someone in the family comes down with pneumonia a time or two, then they start looking for the cause. Remediation is very expensive and will most likely exceed the value of the rig. The homeowner's insurance used to pay for the abatement in residences. Now most insurance companies have exclusions because of the costs.
If it were me and I planned on staying there I would chunk it and take my licks.
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Old 04-23-2013, 06:59 AM   #13
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I would start by getting a toxic mold expert to capture some so-called mold samples to be sent to a lab to check what kind of mold it is and grow it in the perfect environment for growth rate, before you make that decision on to remediate or sell .

There are disclosure laws for residential and automobiles when you would sell.

There are no quick solutions If it is lab toxic and harmful, also you would have to abate and remediate all the contents inside for mold spores ,long term effects of toxic mold on the lungs are not good.

If it is A non-toxic mold I would consider remediation and replace roof.

Good Luck,

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Old 04-23-2013, 07:01 AM   #14
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You would really be throwing away 45g's. And if you try to fix it and spend 10 to 15g's well then you save having to buy another rig.

For me it would be simple. If I still liked the 5er I would fix it. If I no longer liked it then I would dump it. Sell it to someone cheap for 20g's that think they can fix it.

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