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Old 03-13-2012, 09:02 AM   #1
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soft ceiling areas and soft sidewall issues

Hello Everyone! This is my first post as I just bought a 2000 Fleetwood prowler hybrid yesterday. The previous owner ommited several things when he showed it to me and I discovered them quickly. The front right wall is very soft on the interior and the exterior of it will move when you press on it. Also the inside ceiling panels are a little soft and the wall paper if bubbling some. I got on the roof and it appears someone painted or rolled on so thick white plastic rubber type of sealer on it. I am very handy and have done extensive home remodels so I think I can handle the repairs but I wanted to check in to see if anyone can give me pointers on where to start and where to buy materials. Do I need to replace the stuff with RV parts or can I buy paneling from Home depot? Not sure how to fix the wall with keeping structural integrity.

Thanks for any advice as I am completely knew to campers. FYI I know I should have probably not bought this camper but the price seemed really good compared to similar models in the area.
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Old 03-13-2012, 09:45 AM   #2
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Can you put a stop on the payment for this trailer? This sounds like very significant damage. I would try to return it and get my money back.

If not possible, before you start replacing walls, the most important thing is that you find and seal the water leak that caused the rotted walls and ceiling.

It sounds like the previous owner rolled on an elastomeric roof coating (like Kool Seal or Snow Roof). While a good last step, this will not seal a leak by itself and may just be a cosmetic fix- OR it might cover a proper job. Who knows?

Call the PO and ask him how he found and sealed the leak (don't ask IF there was a leak- the rotted out walls and ceiling prove that). His answer may or may not be truthful. If you come back and tell us what he said, posters here can help you evaluate it.

If the leak has not been fixed:

You need to crawl around on the roof and try to determine if you can see the source of the leak. The most likely culprits are cracked or missing caulk or sealant around vents, antennas and skylight; or gaps, cracks or missing screws where front, back or side caps meet the roof.

If nothing presents itself obviously through the roof coating, you may need to wait until evidence of the leak shows up again. But be aware, water leaks don't often show themselves right where the leak actually is- the water can run for a long way before leaking into the interior.

Personally, I would: call the owner; try to find the leak: come back here for good information on roof repair and then fix: pull out the interior walls: rebuild LAST.

For your actual question; Yes, you can find suitable materials for the walls and ceiling at your local big-box hardware. Just remember- THIN and LIGHT. Be guided by the specs of what you pull out.
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Old 03-13-2012, 11:57 AM   #3
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Unfortunately I am stuck with it the guy was very relieved to get rid of it... I got it for 3000 when others in our area similar model are going for 5500 to 6500. Do you think I will have more than that in it when I am through?

I called the PO and he is not being truthful. He said he never witnessed a leak but the person he bought it from said it had one some where. He said he asked the RV shop what to do and they sold him some roof stuff to paint on and he put on a couple coats. He also said he recaulked all the vents etc.

I can see where the caulk has pulled off the trailer along on front edge by drip rail. I am not sure if this is where its leaking or if it pulled apart because the wall has gotten so soft and the movement caused it to pull apart.

I called the local RV shop and they said Fleetwood does not sell this paneling anymore. Should I recaulk all the cracks? I have some pure clear silicone I used on my house windows will that work? I am planning on stripping all the old caulk off and then completely redoing all the joints. I also noticed on the back of the roof where he appeared to have taped a joint on where the side wall meets roof and the tape is coming up a little. looks like some kind of duct tape.

Hold do I get down the wall and roof panels? Just rip off seam tape and pull them down?

Thanks for any help!
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Old 03-13-2012, 07:40 PM   #4
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A few ?'s. Does anyone know if the 00' Fleetwood used a EPDM rubber roof. Are the wall studs wood or aluminum.

I would look under the trailer to see if the water leaked down into the floor. A buddy bought a tt that was new but sat on a dealers lot for 4 years. Soon after purchase, what was a wall leak ended up rotting out the floor. The insulation in the floor was soaked and the wood cross members were rooted.
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Old 03-13-2012, 09:20 PM   #5
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Ok I inspected the camper more this evening. The middleof the floors are solid the outside edges in the rear and the front side under the wall soft spot are also soft. I crawled around on the roof and there are no cracks or openinigs for water intrusion. I did notice several soft places around the front roof vent and rear of trailer. It appears he did in fact seal everything up but did not fix any of the wood rot. I pulled back a small section of the roof paper and its particle board behind it and you can poke a screw driver through it. Looks like only front 4 foot needs to be replaced and back 2 foot. The trailer is 21 foot long. This is my plan let me know if I'm crazy. Going to rip out rotten roof panels replace with plywood. Cover it with plastic sheet paneling from lowes. Then cover all the ceiling with plastic paneling to blend it. I will then remove front dinette and rip out front wall and replace that part and cover with bead board. My question now is can I leave the soft exterior roof like it is for now so I can use the camper some now? Also can I wait to replace the flooring until later? I don't have time to gut the entire trailer now but I do have time to fix the roof and wall. Any and all comments would be much appreciated.
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Old 03-13-2012, 09:30 PM   #6
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You can use it as is and call it disposable or tackle the repairs. I am sorry you met up with a less than honest RVer.

Have you considered the State Attorney General and file Deceptive Trtade Practices against the owner. Since the money is a small amount you might be able to file against him in small claims court and get somewhere.

For a late word or warning, most of the entry level trailers are a source for leaks and Fleetwood was no better or worse on the others. These trailer are built to last 10 or 15 years in my opinion.

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Old 03-14-2012, 07:25 AM   #7
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I do not want to call it disposable but I will chalk this experience up to a life lesson... research more before you buy and don't trust anyone you are buying from.

OK well I have one month to tackle the repairs. Can someone tell me what should be my first steps? It rained at my house last night and there were not visible leaks so I think the roof is ok...

Should I gut the entire interior and rebuild it or what? I just am afraid the cost will be to much if I gut it and I will not have enough cash to put it back together. I have about 1000 to put in it. All the cabinets and appliances are in great shape so all of that money should be going to framing flooring and coverings...

Please give me my first step and then I can proceed from there... Thank you!
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Old 03-14-2012, 09:03 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fsubob2003 View Post
OK well I have one month to tackle the repairs. Can someone tell me what should be my first steps? It rained at my house last night and there were not visible leaks so I think the roof is ok...

Should I gut the entire interior and rebuild it or what? I just am afraid the cost will be to much if I gut it and I will not have enough cash to put it back together. I have about 1000 to put in it. All the cabinets and appliances are in great shape so all of that money should be going to framing flooring and coverings...
Assuming that the roof topping is Dicor rubber, you should check all the caulk lines and remove/reseal any that show any hint of gaps with Dicor self-leveling caulk. You can get it at any RV dealer. It is not the leaks that you can see that caused your rotting ceiling and walls, it is the water from the leaks that flowed inside the walls. These caulk lines should be closely checked at least once a year.

I would suggest fixing the worst areas and just live with the rest of the damage. If you were paying to get it repaired, it would cost much more than it is worth. But, since you are doing the work yourself, you can consider it a 'learning experience'.
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Old 03-14-2012, 09:12 AM   #9
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funny I found a tube of that stuff in the RV last night.

Ok I will start with the wall and then do the ceiling. I was just worried if I did not fix the floor that I might be riding down the road one day and the camper just collapse over the tires.

I would like to keep this one if I fix it up.
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Old 03-14-2012, 10:49 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by fsubob2003 View Post
Ok I inspected the camper more this evening. The middleof the floors are solid the outside edges in the rear and the front side under the wall soft spot are also soft. I crawled around on the roof and there are no cracks or openinigs for water intrusion. I did notice several soft places around the front roof vent and rear of trailer. It appears he did in fact seal everything up but did not fix any of the wood rot. I pulled back a small section of the roof paper and its particle board behind it and you can poke a screw driver through it. Looks like only front 4 foot needs to be replaced and back 2 foot. The trailer is 21 foot long. This is my plan let me know if I'm crazy. Going to rip out rotten roof panels replace with plywood. Cover it with plastic sheet paneling from lowes. Then cover all the ceiling with plastic paneling to blend it. I will then remove front dinette and rip out front wall and replace that part and cover with bead board. My question now is can I leave the soft exterior roof like it is for now so I can use the camper some now? Also can I wait to replace the flooring until later? I don't have time to gut the entire trailer now but I do have time to fix the roof and wall. Any and all comments would be much appreciated.

OK, I will try to be of some help. I just recently sold an '08 travel trailer that had had numerous water leaks, including having a soft area (2' X 3') of the roof. I repaired ALL of the leaks myself & I'm sure I did a better job than my local rv dealer would have done & at a fraction of the cost.

The difference between myself & the seller of your trailer is that I told my purchaser of EVERY leak & how I repaired them. I also provided a ladder so the buyer could inspect my roof repairs. He declined climbing on the roof, believing what I had told him. He also got an extremely good price on my trailer.

Now, on to some of your repairs. I am surprised that noone has mentioned using Eternabond tape to seal some of your leaks. I was able to slice my rubber roof with a razor knife and peel back the rubber roof membrane to beyond the area of the soft roof (soft enough to put my hand thru the roof) & cut away the damaged roof material. I removed the fiberglass insulation & let the area dry for 2 days prior to replacing the damaged area with plywood. I used a spray adhesive on the new roof area & stretched the rubber roof membrane back in place. I then used Eternabond tape to seal the seams. For more info on using Eternabond you can just search 'Eternabond tape rv roof repairs' & you will come up with a wealth of info.

Personally I don't have much faith in roof caulking as that's what had lead to my problems in the first place. I had inspected my roof but had never seen any indication of a leak until it was too late. After repairing the damaged area I was in the process of taping every possible area on my rv's roof (vents, antenna, skylight, around ac, every spot where a screw was used to attach anything to the roof) when winter had set in & it became to cold to apply tape. I told my prospective buyer of my plans & included 2 rolls of Eternabond with the trailer. In exterior areas where you elect to use caulk I would NOT use silicone but would instead stay with Dicor sealant. BTW, all of my materials other than Dicor were purchased at big-box stores or in the case of Eternabond - on line or at local roofing supply.

If you would provide info as to the type of siding - fiberglass or aluminum - your trailer is constructed of, perhaps I - or someone else - could offer more info as to how to proceed with your other repairs. You definitely have much to do but anyone with DIY skills should be able to make the repairs. Good luck !!
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Old 03-14-2012, 10:58 AM   #11
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"It rained at my house last night and there were not visible leaks so I think the roof is ok..."
Your roof is not okay. The rain is running inside your walls and rotting your trailer apart.
"I can see where the caulk has pulled off the trailer along on front"
Yes, it is leaking here.
"on the back of the roof where he appeared to have taped a joint on where the side wall meets roof and the tape is coming up a little"
Yes, it is leaking here.

PLEASE- before you start doing cosmetic work on the walls and ceiling- fix the roof! ANYPLACE and all places where even one drop of water can get through must be fixed. If you don't fix the roof, any work you put into the interior will be wasted, as it too will rot .

Do not use silicone. Repeat. Do not use silicone.

If the roof itself is rotten, you can pull it up and replace it with a marine-grade plywood. Plastic panels will NOT work as a replacement roof (or did you mean ceiling?). You can either re-fiberglass the new roof or apply a new DIY rubber membrane roof. From your description, of "roof paper" (there is no roof paper on an RV- only fiberglass, aluminum or rubber membrane) it sounds like you have a rubber membrane roof.** on edit- the previous poster gives you an excellent description of how he repaired his rubber membrane roof.

You will need to get many more tubes of Dicor or C-10 self-leveling sealant and a roll of Eternabond tape.

You need to remove ALL old loose cracking caulk, clean the areas and re-apply with Dicor. Check screws- some will be stripped and must be removed and the holes filled with Dicor. If you have long trim pieces, like at the edge where roof meets sides, you can remove the trim, apply butyl caulk tape and reapply the trim with new screws.

Any seams must be cleaned carefully and Eternabond tape applied and rolled down hard with a wooden or metal roller. Do the same around vents if they are iffy.

Applying gobs of caulk on top of old caulk will not solve your leaks, which are clearly major and of many years duration.

Please don't rely on wishful thinking. You have a dishonest seller and a severely damaged trailer.

Regarding the interior work- to be honest, I would not start messing with it if you only have a grand to spend. If its useable, then just use it.

But, if you want, you can just start ripping stuff out. It doesn't really matter what you use to replace wall or ceiling material with. They have virtually nothing to add structurally to the trailer. Buy light, thin materials that you can afford and you can work with. Do what your skill level can manage.

I think you are looking at an expensive, major project. If you can source a lot of material cheap or free, and you have plenty of free time, you might keep it under your budget.

I myself would take the seller to small claims court, but I wish you the best of luck.
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Old 03-14-2012, 12:25 PM   #12
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Ok you guys have beaten me into submission. I will repair the roof first and worry about the interior later. To do a solid repair on the roof I will need to remove the vents and possibly ac unit as there is evidence of previous water damage around all of them. I will order some eternabond tape

The outside wall material is some kind fiber glass. I wish it were metal as I think that would be easier to repair

I was referring to the ceiling earlier when I mentioned the plastic sheets.

Thanks for all your advice. I am trying to have a positive attitude about my troubles as I know if I look at it in any other way I will just throw my hands up and let it sit in my field and continue to rot.

I don't understand why to not use 100% silicone but I will take your advice and use the self leveling stuff.

Thanks for all your advice keep any comments you have coming it it motivating me to get to work!
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Old 03-14-2012, 12:36 PM   #13
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Howdy and welcome to the forum. Sorry for your problems as this is no way to introduce yourself to rving. Sorry the seller couldn't have been more honest about the situation in hand. Hope it all works out and maybe being that you are handy the repair will turn out better than when it was new. Keep us up to date on your progression. You've done the correct thing in asking questions and have gotten some good response but there may be a time to post a pic or two for help so don't be afraid to let someone see what your up against for maybe a different solution to complete an affected area. JMHO
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Old 03-14-2012, 12:39 PM   #14
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Thanks I will post a couple pics in the next day or so. Pictures do say a 1000 words
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