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Old 11-07-2015, 08:40 PM   #1
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83 Leisure Craft TravelCraft Class C Repair

Hi Everyone,

New to the forum. I picked up an 83 Leisure Craft/TravelCraft Class C over the summer. We took one trip in it so far - the engine runs like a top, but there are some water leak issues.

The back passenger side of the coach was really bad, I just didn't know how bad until today. I will post pictures in a bit.

I am trying to find out how the older RV's are constructed. The back corner is gone. I have to rebuild the whole thing. I've done work on my truck camper, fixing leaks - that was constructed with the outer siding, 1 x 1 rib construction, then a finished layer of 1/8" ply for the inner wall.

This rig seems to have the siding, 1/4" plywood, 3/4" foam insulation and the interior panel glued to that. Since it's so far gone, I can't really tell what it is between the foam and the siding. Can anyone confirm this or offer any advise?

I figured I'd start from the inside and work out so I can see where the water was coming from, which I did, but I think the awning has to come off now to fix the outside.

Thanks!
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Old 11-09-2015, 08:26 PM   #2
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Hi Jetta Jimmy. Welcome to the forum! I'd like to see some pictures of what you are dealing with but I would attack the situation just like you stated. I've restored a few RV's from the mid to late 70's and they generally all have had the exterior alum siding, thin sheet of plywood based on a 2x2 wood frame, insulation, and then a thin birch luan sheet covered in wall covering. I suppose some may have foam in lieu of the Fiberglas insulation but I think the approach would be pretty much the same. I agree that it's easiest to work from the inside out and peel away the layers of damage. You may need to replace some of the 2x2 framing if the old stuff is rotted. I'm towards the end of a similar project on the rear corner of my '79 class c. It's not as bad as I thought but I went ahead and rebuilt some of it since I had it torn apart. I'm now putting it back together with new luan and then recovering it. I'm trying to keep the original ceiling covering for the vintage look, so it's been quite the chore. I had to rebuild the ceiling around the AC unit a while back because the gasket had failed and there was a small tear in the roof aluminum. The previous owners let it go too long and it caused quite the ceiling mess. It was quite the time consuming detailed project but I got it done and was able to save and restore most of the original ceiling covering. In some small sections, I had to hand paint the ceiling pattern with various colors of paint to match the ceiling covering and it came out great. My wife and friends couldn't even tell until I pointed out exactly where I hand painted it. Good luck!
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'74 F350 44K,'79 11' Mitchell Camper, MINT All Original
'79 Mitchell 25' Class C, 460 46K, MINT All Original
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Old 11-10-2015, 09:22 AM   #3
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Thanks, it's good to hear encouraging words - when you start ripping into things, it seems daunting.

I was able to grab a piece of the outer wood, that seems like it's 1/4" then the 3/4" foam and finally the 1/8" inner wall board.It seems to be damaged all the way to the front of the windows shown. I can actually see the tarp from the inside where the wall meets the roof. Once I get the interior ripped the rest of the way and the windows out, I guess I'll look into removing the awning and repairing outside issues after replacing the framing.

Here are some photos:



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And, what I found in there before tearing things apart:

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Old 11-10-2015, 10:21 AM   #4
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Yeah, pretty typical but doable. I'd rip out all the effected foam and plywood and obviously replace it with new. I'd check visually and for smells that would indicate mold. Probably should wear a paper mask upon demolition. I always scrub and clean the area with a bleach solution just to be certain and allow plenty of time for drying out once all the old stuff has been removed. I would suggest that after you replace the rotted framing, you might do some work on the exterior in the same location, before you replace the plywood. This way you can work from the inside and outside to get to things if necessary. If your class c is like mine, you might have a metal roof. You will need to remove whatever gunk people have gooped on the seems in a poor attempt to seal it, and then remove the screws that hold the top metal trim that seals the roof to the walls. That's how all of my old campers and RV's were constructed but yours might be different. I've had to spend hundreds of hours removing 35+ years of caulking and stuff that people slathered on the seems to try and fix a leak instead of doing it correctly. This entailed hours of scraping, scrubbing, grinding to get to the original metal trim and screws. Then to fix it correctly, you gpneed to remove the screws and trim and replace all of the butyl type caulking tape and build the low spots up with new tape. Then install new, larger screws into the frame. If sections of the frame are rotten, you need to peel the siding or roof up and replace those sections as it does absolutely no good to try and screw into "dust". I've literally had sections turn into dust from being rotten. It's a huge PITA but at the end of the day, I know that it was done right just like the factory. Plus I kind of enjoy those tedious detailed tasks. Once you address the rotten frame issues and secure the trim back on, Imwould suggest then putting the new plywood and paneling on the inside as the final step. But before doing that, take a hose to the roof and flood it. You will then be able to see if it is all sealed from the inside. Good luck and keep us posted!
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'74 F350 44K,'79 11' Mitchell Camper, MINT All Original
'79 Mitchell 25' Class C, 460 46K, MINT All Original
'97 Rexhall Aerbus, 60K, 460, F53, MINT All Original
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Old 03-13-2016, 08:47 AM   #5
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<<Project Update>>

I got the whole corner ripped out. Turns out it would have been such an easy, inexpensive fix if the previous owner just removed a few screws and re-sealed instead of just filling the areas with gunk and towels. It's just a shame to think about how much these things cost new, and yet how poorly they seem to be constructed.

I think the awning pulled the siding from under the corner L channel, letting water in and rotting all the wood.

I removed the L channel all the way to the bottom, which allowed some access to the lower corner which turned to dust and fell out the bottom. I've started trimming the rotted wood back, and rebuilding the outer frame. The pieces that went along the back wall were 1.25" then the one in the ceiling was 1.125" wide. They are cut and fitted, but not attached yet. Everything seems to be stapled and glued.

I'm trying to figure out how to tie in the roof to the wall since I'm not taking the siding off, and working from the inside. I've picked up a few brackets at home depot, but wanted to see what everyone's thoughts are first. The back wall I can tie into the new framing with the brackets with no problem.
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