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Old 05-25-2011, 06:37 AM   #1
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Leaks...ughhh what to do

Hi all,

I have a 1989 southwind 30 ft class A by fleetwood. Just bought her and was assured by the previous owner there were no leaks. She has been used sparingly for the last three years.

This past weekend we had rain and she leaks like a sieve over the main entrance right where the battery instrumentation is. The water dripped down from the inside of the cupboards on the passenger side of the rv and when i checked, the ceilings inside the cupboards were soaking and dripping.
So if anyone can tell me what to do to find such a big source of the leak it would be great and if someone can send me a copy of the schematics for how to remove the cupboards without tearing the living daylights outta the rig i would appreciate it. i have called my local rv repair shop but cannot get a pressurized leak test til 23rd of june.....

HELP!

thanks
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Old 05-25-2011, 07:06 AM   #2
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Time to get up on the roof and look for obvious candidates such as cracked skylights, vent covers, base of the antenna, basically anywhere there is a hole in the roof. Another place could be the roof AC units. Perhaps the seal is bad or loose. Remember also, the source of the leak may be away from where it shows up.
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Old 05-25-2011, 07:10 AM   #3
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also look at the seam between the top and the sidewalls. If you have a rubber roof look for tears or splits.
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Old 05-25-2011, 08:20 AM   #4
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The chances are very good you can find the source(s) of the leak yourself if you get up on the roof and look carefully.

As wildtoad says look for ANY (repeat: any!) spot on the roof where there might POSSIBLY be a hole or intrusion. All screws, fasteners, joints, seams, antennas, attachments and vents of any kind must look completely covered, sealed and intact (note; look for suspicious gobs of silicone sealer- a sign of previous owner's fruitless attempts to seal a leak).
Check the sidewalls as well.

Chances are the leak is NOT directly over or near the spot where the water comes out.

The gasket under the air conditioners will not be visible to you, but you can; while on the roof remove the plastic cover and try lifting the whole AC, or from inside: remove the interior AC cover, and rock/lift up the part of the AC you can reach from the inside; if you feel any movement at all vertically, it means the gasket between AC and roof is over-compressed and needs to be replaced.

If anything on your roof looks iffy, it is a source (present or future) of leaks.

The good news is, with the right products and proper maintenance, you can seal these leaks handily and prevent future leaks for years. You will have to invest some cash and some time, but its something that vintage MH owners come to expect.

Hopefully you do have a new leak, not an old one and there is no hidden damage within the walls or floor.

Please do return when you've inspected the roof and tell us what you've found.
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Old 05-25-2011, 12:21 PM   #5
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Hey welcome to the club, not just IRV2, but having a leak club. I replaced my whole roof but have leaks around the windshield sometimes. You might as well get up close and personal with the top side. The problem with finding leaks come from not parking level all the time and water likes to run any way it can, even up hill sometimes, lol. Good luck and ask questions since many of us, even the new coaches, have leaks.
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Old 06-07-2011, 12:18 AM   #6
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also look at the seam between the top and the sidewalls. If you have a rubber roof look for tears or splits.
Newbie here.....So how would one go about fixing the seam between the roof and sidewalls??
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Old 06-07-2011, 08:45 AM   #7
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Had some of the same issues with mine when we purchased. My only thing was I knew there was an issue. I was lucky I had a spot to put her until I could get on the roof and reseal. There are many products on the market to do the job. I took me about 3 days to completely scrap the roof and seams. I then caulked the seams and around vents, A/C, etc. After that I used a clear product (Proflex) to put over the caulking and put 3 coats down. I have a metal roof so after inspection I only had small areas to coat. It worked. As you know it rain a little in the PNW and has since I completed the job. No issues.

To clean the areas inside I used a simple all purpose cleaner to clean all surfaces and then sprayed the areas with a bleach solution. We also did a complete cleaning and sanitizing of all areas and shampooed the carpeting. Cleaned draped and window treatments also.

We now have a clean and nice smelling inside. We spent about 5 total weeks completing the process and have taken it out 2 times (it rain like you wouldn't believe on the first trip) no leaks. Have a trip planned for this weekend. Just take your time and make sure to clean all surfaces and then sanitize (don't want mold) and you will be fine. You can press the areas where the water has come in and if you have soft spots you will have to fix that. I have used a couple of different techniques to correct that on my TT when the issue arose. Just PM me and I can help.

Good Luck and Enjoy. Old age doesn't mean throw away. Something about the vintage units that just appeal to me.

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Old 06-07-2011, 09:18 AM   #8
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Newbie here.....So how would one go about fixing the seam between the roof and sidewalls??
I used 4 inch "Eternabond" tape to cover the entire seam (both front and back cap seams). I also used this tape to fix a few rips in the rubber roof caused by tree branch scrapes. Still no leaks after 1 year and a hard winter. 1 roll (50 feet I think)goes a long way and is nice to have when on the road. Now that the leaks are fixed, my plan to "paint" the roof with "Liquid Roof" after it cools down this fall.
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Old 06-07-2011, 03:24 PM   #9
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Eternabond tape is the gold standard for fixing leaks on motor home and trailer roofs. Make sure to apply it to a clean, dry surface, roll properly to ensure a good bond and it will last virtually...eternally!

It will also fix cracks in water and waste tanks, affix wires to roof and sidewalls; anything where you need super-strong,waterproof adhesion.
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Old 06-10-2011, 11:43 AM   #10
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With the seam where the roof meets the sidewall it appears there is some kind of gutter of water channel system. Did you tape over that? Because it looks like the roof seam tucked under that or butted up to it, and that is where it has come apart.
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Old 06-10-2011, 11:53 AM   #11
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No, you don't necessarily want to tape over your gutter, but it wouldn't ruin anything if you did (just won't channel the water anymore0.

I think typically, the roof and sidewall were separate, and then a curved or square corner trim or cap was screwed down over the top of both, with a layer of gray butyl tape underneath.

Look carefully at the construction; can you see how the gutter was attached? Is it a separate piece screwed down or is it part of the sidewall? You may be able to reconstruct it, only this time use some thin strips of 2-sided eternabond or butyl rubber tape where the two meet.
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