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Old 03-09-2011, 01:02 PM   #1
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New to us 87 Coachmen (need help)

We just bouoght our first MH, an 87 Coachmen Leprechaun on a Ford E350. The mechanicals are in very good shape, and overall the coach is in decent shape. However, like any 23 year old coach, it has a few issues. I'm pretty mechanical, but know NOTHING about how RVs are built. I've done some searches in here already, but I'm not fiinding the answers I need. I'm pretty sure they are here somewhere, I'm just not smart enough to put in the right words to search, lol.

The biggest problem is there is a leak somewhere on the right rear corner, and the interior wall is wet and pretty much shot. I believe the leak is around the window because all the damage is below the window. Now looking at this thing, I'm pretty sure I can get the window and cabinetry out without damaging them. However, is there any unforseen "tricks" that I might need to do this ? Also, exactly what is under the rotted laminate on the back wall ? Is thin (approx 1/4") wooden laminate what I need to put back on there ?

In addition to the rear window, I want to remove and re-caulk most of the other windows. Is there a special kind of caulk needed when I re-install the windows ? Also, is there a special cleaner, or what is the best way to get the old caulk off ?

Also, on one side, there is an area where the metal panels have separated, and there is some type of black "tar" looking substance that looks like it was used to join them. Again, what's the best way to clean that out, and what do i need to re-seal that area?

The roof looks like someone has used some type of sealer on it, and overall it looks pretty good. However, I've noticed a few cracks in the material along the edges. Can I put caulk or some type of "tape" on the edges ?

What type of caulk is best to seal the edges around the trim pieces, and other exterior panels ?

Is there anywhere to get "Coachmen specific" parts? new or used.

Wow, I didn't realize I had so many issues, lol. It really doesn't seem like that much to do, I just need guidance.

THANKS for the help !!!!
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Old 03-09-2011, 04:21 PM   #2
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IMHO, Eternabond Roof Leak Repair Products & Sealing Tape | EternaBond will be your most powerful tool for fixing leaks in your MH. Bear in mind that where leaks finally show themselves is not necessarily where they actually start.

Personally, I would assume anything that could leak WILL leak. I would plan on getting up on your roof and scraping and cleaning the caulk on all seams & vents and then taping over all seams with Eternabond. Properly prepped and rolled, this will last many, many years.

Removing, recaulking and replacing windows is not difficult, but you will need a second person.

IMPORTANT! Never never never use silicone caulk on the exterior of your rig. Its good for nothing and must be painstakingly removed before other sealants will bond. *ask me how I know*
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Old 03-09-2011, 07:10 PM   #3
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Quote:
IMPORTANT! Never never never use silicone caulk on the exterior of your rig. Its good for nothing and must be painstakingly removed before other sealants will bond. *ask me how I know*

HMMmmm - strange - looks like that or something similar was used OEM on our '88 Winnie, and while SOME of it has needed replacement, it was still in pretty decent shape overall after 22 years or so. I used more of the same stuff - actually the "Aquarium" grade stuff to replace what was needed, and it looks to be doing quite nicely as well. I've also used the same stuff years ago on our '88 KIT 5er, also with entirely acceptable results.

Like ANY sealer, surface preparation is a key preliminary...
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Old 03-09-2011, 08:02 PM   #4
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Old 03-22-2011, 07:57 PM   #5
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Started pulling the rear bedroom apart today for repairs. Does anyone know how to get the center closet out ? I've unscrewed everythng, and I can slightly move it, but I can't tip it over and get it out. It's to tight. Can it be disassembled? I REALLY need to get it out so I can do the repairs.
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Old 03-23-2011, 08:31 AM   #6
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tekrsq, Most times cabnets and such are also screwed from tho outside also. Maybe You can get a sawall blade between the wall and cabnet and cut them off. Might be screwed from outside top also.
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Old 03-23-2011, 02:56 PM   #7
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Hi tekrsq and Welcome to the Forum!

If you truly have all the screws out of that cabinet, I think I would try to shave a 1/4" off the top with a sawzall. That should give you plenty of clearance to walk it over out of the way. You can always add a trim strip to the top when you reinstall.

I'm with Senior Chief on NOT using silicone. Regardless of preparation I've always experienced separation with silicone in an automotive application. Between the twisting, flexing and temperature expansion & contraction it eventually gives way. I would recommend a butyl sealant for the windows.

Enjoy your new motorhome!
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Old 03-23-2011, 08:15 PM   #8
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Thanks guys !

I got the closet unscrewed and pulled away from the rear wall about 12". It's VERY tight between the floor and ceilling. Honestly, I don't see how they got it in there to begin with. Anyway, I decided to just work around it, I only need to replace one side of the rear wall. I originally wanted to replace both sides do they would match, but after getting the bad side torn down, I'm not going to screw with the good side. We'll just repaper the entire bedroom with some type of contact paper or something. But I do like the sawzall idea. I hadn't thought about that.

I know better than to use silicone on ANYTHING in a camper. I really don't like usiing it on anything at all.

What you guys know about plumbing ? lol. I have gray, hard plastic lines, and a couple have leaks around the couplings. I'd like to upgrade with something more flexible, and better fittings.
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Old 03-23-2011, 10:27 PM   #9
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Go to Lowes or Home Depot and look at PEX for replacing your old gray plumbing. If you decide to just replace the bad spots for now, look for Shark Bite or equivalent fittings (in brass, not CPVC). They seem spendy but are priceless in terms of quick connection of dissimilar plumbing materials, and make plumbing repair SO EASY.
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Old 03-23-2011, 10:52 PM   #10
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Replumb it

Any exposed plumbing should be replaced if that PB gray stuff.

Lowes and Home Depot have the tools and materials to do it correctly, the crimper is not cheap, but this can be rented.

It is easy while apart, a pain after it is done, we replumbed our 38 ft coach, a 100 ft rool of tubing, a boatload of fittings and busted knuckels, but no more leaks, we did ours without removing anything, but what a PAIN!
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