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Old 10-05-2014, 02:13 PM   #1
Senior Member
Join Date: Feb 2001
Posts: 131
Best way to repair damage rear trailer wall?

I have a 2007 Wildcat RV with an aluminum frame with laminated Fiberglass (Filon) siding outside and luan w/ vinyl wallpaper on the inside.

My LR corner caulk got a hairline crack and let moisture in and got away from me until I saw delamination on the last 6" of sidewall.

I removed the aluminum corner molding, and opened up the corner, dried it out, and shot "Great Stuff" foam in the sidewall portion, and installed new structural wood in the corner and secured it to the aluminum frame as it was at the factory. The side wall feels and looks good now.

Unfortunately the rear wall is of different construction, and is FG Filon over a "wood framed" structure with fiberglass bat insulation in the middle, and an interior "wall" of luan with wallpaper on the interior side.

The luan on the interior of the back wall next to the wall panel has deteriorated, leaving intact the wallpaper with no "hard-board" luan behind it, making a 1ft X 2ft section of the rear wall at the corner soft (w/out panel board support behind it).

I am not going to completely remove/disassemble the rear wall and build a new wall because the structural integrity of the overall back wall seems sufficient to me to be perfectly safe.

My plan is to fabricate a new interior wall panel that will cover the entire rear wall surface (that is not occupied by cabinets and windows) with a new single piece of thin luan covered by a matching or complementing piece of vinyl wallpaper. I plan to secure the panel to the rear wall framing with sheet metal screws or the like. This should make the "soft" section acceptably rigid, and be functionally almost as good as new, and will appear "normal" even over the section of unsupported existing wallpaper.

Where does one source such wallpaper, and overall, does the plan sound doable? If not, I am open to any suggestions as an alternate plan.

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Old 10-08-2014, 01:17 PM   #2
Junior Member
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 20
We just replaced the rear 3 walls in our trailer. I was going to go with wallpaper over luan, but decided to paint. We painted over the existing wallpapered walls and the bare luan and the transition is barely noticeable. The loan was slightly thicker than the original paneling, so I needed to taper the joints (all are above and below windows).

I'm keeping a log of our progress and have many photos on our blog if interested.
2000 KZ Sportsman 2505
1999 Chevy Suburban K2500 6.5l Diesel
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Old 10-08-2014, 02:17 PM   #3
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Join Date: Feb 2001
Posts: 131
Sounds good!

I am just now removing the rear couch and accessing the damage area. I plan to cut-away everything (from the inside) that's soft to see what's under there.

I found some "moisture resistant" masonite paneling that closely incredibly resembles the OEM wall paper, and will repair whatever I find underneath the soft-wall (the outside has been largely repaired from outside), then install the new stuff over the repaired framework I expose.

The trailer needed WIDER protective corner covers. When I am done, I will reove the existing aluminum corners, have some 0.025" aluminum bent into 1" X 1" angles, then I will apply them over the corners (well caulked w/ Dicor) then re-attach the factory corner molding. That 1" corner-coverage will prevent water getting under the facory 1/16"-1/18" corner coverage on the sidewalls that was grossly inadequate!

I will just be FAR more careful w/ vigilance in the future!

I'll try to take a few shots apart, and together again. When I was doing the outside, we had BIG storms threatening, and I barely got it together as the wind and rain started. Inside, I have the luxury of time and a dry environment!
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Old 10-09-2014, 11:30 PM   #4
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Join Date: Feb 2001
Posts: 131
Here's an update on my water damage as I dug into it-

The photo links should open up photos illustrating the damage.

My Wildcat is a 2007 model that was only used 3 times (health reasons) each about 2 weeks, and has sat in Central Texas in a pretty dry climate, looking essentially like new (except for some fading and edge curling of the decals) and until a couple of weeks ago showed NO DAMAGE in or out. At that point I noticed some small delaminated spots at the LR wall of the RV where it meets the back corner molding.

After tearing at the OUTSIDE corner, and installing a new vertical corner 1X2 I went inside (since the apparent invisible leak had been thoroughly sealed) to take a look. THe back wall on the left side was "soft" to the touch, so I started by cutting the wall paper away, finding decomposed luan behind it, which I removed, including the fiberglass batting.

Picture: 2014-10-09_2346 - bobinyelm's library

With the batting removed, I could see further damage and mold inside.

The horizontal 1X2s and even the 2X4 were completely rotted away and didn't even exist at the outside ends anymore! What was left was spongy wood one could break away with a fingertip. AMAZING none of this showed inside or out until just a week or so ago, when it "blossomed" seemingly all at once. I'd been inspecting the roof and corner caulking pretty much consistently, too, and nothing was obvious, or even slightly noticeable!

Picture: 2014-10-09_2333 - bobinyelm's library

Picture: 2014-10-09_2332 - bobinyelm's library

The little "box" holding the power cord and enclosing the fresh water fill port had considerable mold inside on the carpet. The fill tube was bent at installation so water may have dampened the carpeting though the tank was only filled maybe 3 or 4 times since new. The first time I filled the fresh water tank, it let loose from the chassis, and it was sagging through the corrugated plastic belly liner, telling me it was no longer secured in place.

I called a Forrest River dealer, and they said NEVER EVER fill a Wildcat tank and attempt drive with it. It's meant to HOLD water, but not to transport water. Just plan on filling it when arriving at the campground (Who knew?). I built an angle-iron frame UNDER the tank (bolted to the trailer frame) to support it so I could transport water, BTW. The only thing holding the water tank up from the factory is 2 lengths of metal plumber's tape barely able to support the empty tank, so the dealer was RIGHT, BTW, but I digress. I mention it to preclude having a tank drop to the ground on the highway.

Here's a photo of the area inside the power cord/water fill tube box showing the mold: 2014-10-09_2332 - bobinyelm's library

I removed the (former) structural members and cleaned everything down to the luan next to the Filon rear outside covering. The only luan is about 1/16" of the former 6mm thickness.

Picture: 2014-10-09_2331 - bobinyelm's library

Tonight I cut new lengths of 1X2 and 2X4 and glued/screwed them to the "good" wood that was left. Note the new vertical corner 1X2 I'd previously installed from OUTSIDE. It, and the wood near the window are what I secured the new wood to. Thank goodness I hadn't attempted to use my trailer's ladder-the wood under it was GONE. Now it's screwed to a solid 2X4 as originally.

It was too dark to photograph the structural members after installing them tonight.

I plan to brush the remaining luan with polyester resin and a few layers of synthetic cloth and over the new wood to make a "fiberglass" frame with some additional rigidity for the back wall, and the install 1.5" of rigid "pink foam" as insulation between the structural members secured with polyurethane construction adhesive to complete the back wall (should add R-8 plus sturdy-up the area), and then put some panel I found at Home Depot that looks very much like the OEM wall paper.

I might mention that the back wall was poorly constructed and was only 1.5" thick inside, with no vapor barrier, and only some unbacked fiberglass batting in there for token insulation. If I has sustained damage to more than just the one side, I'd have constructed a whole new back, wall, and built it properly. As it is, this should suffice, and I will next Spring re-locate the trailer in the Pacific Northwest and keep it under a large metal carport structure, because it's obvious Wildcats are not built to actually be outside except when actually on camping trips. Until then I will carefully inspect it WEEKLY while it's out-of-doors, and maybe block the gutters far from the corners of the trailer and let the water spill down away from the trailer's vulnerable corners.

Part of the "problem" as I now see it is that the corner moldings are about 1" wide on the back wall, but only wrap around the side walls about 1/4", and micro-gaps in caulk can allow moisture to get into the corner walls and migrate into the rear wall.

When my repairs are done, I plan to again remove the existing molding, and install 1X1 angle aluminum I will have formed from 0.025" or 0.031" aluminum onto the corners with liberal caulk underneath, and re-install the OEM molding to secure the new corners and provide enough overlap to prevent what appeared to happen this time.

More pictures as the work progresses.

I don't pretend that this is the RIGHT way to rebuild the corner, but rather an expedient way. Short of a lot of money, or time and less money, there is no way the trailer will ever be "like new" and given the steep depreciation curve of these units, spending a lot of money cannot be justified IMO.

As a side note, I found my Rockwell "Multi-Tool" invaluable in deconstructing the coach. It's micro-vibrating blades of various types enabled me to cut through wood, staples, and even 2X4s without shaking the structure apart (as a Sawzall would do), and enabled precise cuts down to, but not through, anything I didn't want to. A lot of manufactures make these now, copying the German made Fein Multi-Tool introduced a few years ago. These are GREAT tools, regardless who makes them!

Picture: 2014-10-10_0028 - bobinyelm's library
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