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Topic: Roof Leaks on my Class A Dutchstar

Posted By: SyJen on 12/13/10 04:00pm

I have had roof leaks ever since I purchased my 94 Dutchstar in 2003. The product that I thought worked the best was eternabond/permabond or something close to that. As it turns out my rubber roof still leaks and I have seen hairline cracks poping up in different places regularly. It is probably time to give up on the rubber roof (which was a bad design idea to begin with). However, I think that most of the problem with leaks is coming from the AC mounting front and aft. Anybody else having similar problems that finnaly showed itself.


94'DSDP Cummins/sld
94' Hnda Acc4dr autotrns


Posted By: pulsar on 12/13/10 04:34pm

Moved form Forum Technical Support.


Posted By: sunkatcher on 12/13/10 04:34pm

You might lift your A/c's and put in new foam rubber gaskets. Then seal your end caps and roof openings with eternabond tape. Then coat your roof with EPDM paintable rooding material. http://www.liquid-roof.com/rv-customer-testimonial.html Then your good for about 20 years. Just did mine on our 1996 Bounder. Took about 4 days the way I work and it looks great.
Ron


masa4u.com


Posted By: greasecan on 12/13/10 05:50pm

First thing I would do is, tighten the AC mounting bolts. Done from inside by removing AC grille and you will see the four bolts.

John
2000 Safari
Abbeville,LA.


John
'00 Safari Zanzibar 38'
From Wisconsin


Posted By: dougrainer on 12/13/10 06:05pm

1. WHY do you think the DS has a "bad" design on the rubber roof???
2. You CANNOT put band aids on a rubber roof IF it had a serious leak problem. Regardless of what some people think, Eternabond is not a cure-ll for all roof problems.
3. Your AC units are mounted from the TOP, so you will have to pull the lag bolts from the top, install new gaskets on the units and reinstall and make SURE you fill the 4 mount bolts with silicone before you run the bolts thru the roof. DO NOT SEAL THE RUBBER GASKET TO THE ROOF WITH RUBBER SILICONE.
4. If you see hairline cracks in the RUBBER and not the seams, then the rubber has probaly been ruined by a petroleum based cleaner or product in the past 16 years. Doug


Posted By: SyJen on 12/13/10 08:24pm

dougrainer wrote:

1. WHY do you think the DS has a "bad" design on the rubber roof???
2. You CANNOT put band aids on a rubber roof IF it had a serious leak problem. Regardless of what some people think, Eternabond is not a cure-ll for all roof problems.
3. Your AC units are mounted from the TOP, so you will have to pull the lag bolts from the top, install new gaskets on the units and reinstall and make SURE you fill the 4 mount bolts with silicone before you run the bolts thru the roof. DO NOT SEAL THE RUBBER GASKET TO THE ROOF WITH RUBBER SILICONE.
4. If you see hairline cracks in the RUBBER and not the seams, then the rubber has probaly been ruined by a petroleum based cleaner or product in the past 16 years. Doug



Posted By: SyJen on 12/13/10 09:00pm

Thanks for the note Doug, my reasons for the poor design statement comes from observation of an obvious disintegration of the rubber into a white powder type substance. Additionally, the rubber is tissue thin and was in my opinion to thin to begin with. It might be that the roof was cleaned with a solvent that was damaging to a point. However since 2003 nothing was used that would cause further deterioration to the rubber. I know that there are few things that can withstand constant sun and rain. The roof has been brittle in spots for a long time. When first put on it seems that it was laid as if it would last for a thousand years. To remove it, every attachment on the roof has to come off to clean and remove all of the old rubber. A proper paint or epoxy can then be applied and maintained easily. If you look closely at some of the rubber roofs you will notice a fine pattern of plaid type squares pressed into the rubber. This makes eternabond less than 100% efficient in totally sealing the rips. Bottom line, remove the rubber entirely. As suggested above and in your post, remove and reseal the AC's. Silicone the through bolt holes and seal the base as best as possible. I have already replaced the foam under the cover.

Many thanks to all who responded. Great suggestions and a feeling of community when help is needed.

Sy


Posted By: Bumpyroad on 12/14/10 04:33am

SyJen wrote:

If you look closely at some of the rubber roofs you will notice a fine pattern of plaid type squares pressed into the rubber.

Sy


are you sure that those aren't TPO, not rubber?
bumpy






Posted By: dougrainer on 12/14/10 06:19am

SyJen wrote:

Thanks for the note Doug, my reasons for the poor design statement comes from observation of an obvious disintegration of the rubber into a white powder type substance. Additionally, the rubber is tissue thin and was in my opinion to thin to begin with. It might be that the roof was cleaned with a solvent that was damaging to a point. However since 2003 nothing was used that would cause further deterioration to the rubber. I know that there are few things that can withstand constant sun and rain. The roof has been brittle in spots for a long time. When first put on it seems that it was laid as if it would last for a thousand years. To remove it, every attachment on the roof has to come off to clean and remove all of the old rubber. A proper paint or epoxy can then be applied and maintained easily. If you look closely at some of the rubber roofs you will notice a fine pattern of plaid type squares pressed into the rubber. This makes eternabond less than 100% efficient in totally sealing the rips. Bottom line, remove the rubber entirely. As suggested above and in your post, remove and reseal the AC's. Silicone the through bolt holes and seal the base as best as possible. I have already replaced the foam under the cover.

Many thanks to all who responded. Great suggestions and a feeling of community when help is needed.

Sy


What you just posted points to a roof that was NOT cleaned and maintained properly. Rubber roofs need regular soap washing. A LOT of people forget about their roof. It is out of sight and out of mind, UNTIL they have a problem Being that you have these problems and the RV IS 16 years old, your best bet is to replace the roof. Anything you do now is just a band-aid type fix. The roof is destroyed and needs to be replaced. What "foam" under the cover are you talking about???? If it is the Foam between the top ac cover and the top of the AC metal parts, that is NOT a weather seal but a seal to direct the air thru the Condensor when the unit is running. Doug


Posted By: klm on 07/04/11 04:36pm

klm here - I posted I had a leak around the front ac area - took it to a Newmar service center - they found that the small solar panelhas a wire leading down through the roof. The sealant had deteriorated - they removed the panel - cleaned the area and resealed around the wire. Earlier this month, they had replaced the gasket - not leak related - but there was a vibration when the ac started up - so they replaced the gasket and balanced the unit. Inititally, I thought the AC was my problem. So far, unit doesn't sound like an airplane taking off and no leak (just 1 mild thunderstorm - not a real test, yet). My roof is TPO


'02 KOUNTRY STAR DP
2012 HONDA FIT "PUMPKINMOBILE"
GILLIGAN- 1ST MATE CAT - 3 HR TOUR



Posted By: SyJen on 07/04/11 04:22pm

Revisiting Roof Leaks; After reviewing all the replies I received about roof leaks a while back I thought it appropriate to ask a couple of obvious questions of everyone who has had roof leaks.
1. OK we all agree that roof leaks will happen in a bouncing, twisting and turning RV after a time. What has anyone found that is best for stopping leaks in their tracks after a brittle rubber roof has been removed?
2. Once a roof leaks and water has gotten into the insulation and probably down the sides, we all know that mold will most definitely begin to grow. In a conversation I had with an RV repair shop owner he stated that once the mold is there it's time to get a new bus. I now agree with him having tried to repair leaks and remove mildew. Heat is the only way to clear anything alive in a home, RV, Boat etc..
However, bringing the temp to 160 will destroy the make-believe wood and cheap plastics used in RV construction. To make matters worse the roof on the 94 Newmar Dutchstar has some kind of track that runs around the whole roof and acts like a dam for water to remain. No drain or scupper for water to evacuate. My feeling about this at this time is, I have the most perfect design flaw in my RV. Anybody else ticked off about this?
Has anyone looked under the dashboard of their RV. Does it look like a Boy Scout project? Someone needs to demonstrate a clean installation to much of this industry. It looks more like a spaghetti fest under there. I know I’m not the only one. Another shop I visited showed me the same work on a totally different RV. He said "there is no oversight on the construction of these vehicles" When I first purchase my RV, everything was peachy. My apologies to all who are setting off on a great adventure and all things are sunshine and roses. It just that they are not. I'M JUST SAYIN"


Posted By: SyJen on 12/14/10 11:04am

John, I wish I had grills on the interior for air direction. As it is my AC's pipe directly into ducts. Not efficient at all and a pain to deal with when you have developed leaks as I have. The idea of taking the paneling off the ceiling requires much time and tools that until now was not possible. If you have taken off such paneling and can give me a preview of what it is like getting them back up cleanly and looking proper, I would like to know that.

Thank you, Sy

Doug you are right about the foam underneath the shroud. Not waterproof and is for air containment only. My shrouds had cracks on top of both AC's. I thought that was where my water was coming from at first and replaced the foam thinking it would help improve the situation. I did close up the cracks. I believe they developed simply from the continuing curing of the glass. No easy answers.

Thanks Doug


Posted By: LandYachtPilot on 12/14/10 01:10pm

I have a 99 dutch star and it also had a leak. I noticed it as wet carpeting just inside the bedroom doorway toward the outside wall. I took it to the local RV shop. Based on the location, they had an idea of where it was coming from. They hit everything on top with a heavy bead of caulk, including all the way around where the corner pieces meet the roof surface, but I think their focus was on the roof over the bathroom, and the rear air conditioning unit. Whatever they did it solved the problem and it hasn't leaked since. My roof appears to be one continuous piece of something sort of like linoleum, maybe on top of a light plywood. I'm not sure if I need to be putting something on that every year or not.

I was on a Newmar factory a few weeks ago. Some of the higher end coaches now get a solid fiber glass top the includes the corners, and comes complete with non-skid surfaces for walking on. Man would that be nice!


Posted By: klm on 12/14/10 01:53pm

i have a '02 Kountry Star, brite-tek roof, that leaks w/ combination of torrential rain and strong wind. Always presents itself at the 3rd interior roof rib, which is right under the front ac. Replaced rubber gasket and shroud - Newmar dealer resealed the area - next bad storm - 50mph winds and 2" rain - leaked again! Ugh. I am so frustrated. It is a challenge to resolve roof leaks.


Posted By: dougrainer on 12/14/10 02:52pm

SyJen wrote:

John, I wish I had grills on the interior for air direction. As it is my AC's pipe directly into ducts. Not efficient at all and a pain to deal with when you have developed leaks as I have. The idea of taking the paneling off the ceiling requires much time and tools that until now was not possible. If you have taken off such paneling and can give me a preview of what it is like getting them back up cleanly and looking proper, I would like to know that.

Thank you, Sy

Doug you are right about the foam underneath the shroud. Not waterproof and is for air containment only. My shrouds had cracks on top of both AC's. I thought that was where my water was coming from at first and replaced the foam thinking it would help improve the situation. I did close up the cracks. I believe they developed simply from the continuing curing of the glass. No easy answers.

Thanks Doug


Do you have the round grills inside or the rectangle grills??? You cannot remove the interior ceiling panels easily. Doug


Posted By: Phillerup on 12/14/10 07:48pm

Your coach is a 1994....probably built in 1993. It is almost 20 years service on the roof. If it has been in the sun all that time and not under roof when stored or protected, that is a long time - and it could have been mistreated before you bought it 8 years ago.. I believe your coach was built before they started using Brite Tek - which means it is probably the old style rubber that chalks and is not as durable as the Brite Tek. The roof might just need replacing....especially if it has cracks in the membrane like you say.



2003 Newmar DSDP 4005 dual slide king bed Spartan 350 Cummins 2004 Jeep Liberty 4X4 tow, SeaEagle boat in basement



Posted By: Phillerup on 12/14/10 07:54pm

klm wrote:

i have a '02 Kountry Star, brite-tek roof, that leaks w/ combination of torrential rain and strong wind. Always presents itself at the 3rd interior roof rib, which is right under the front ac. Replaced rubber gasket and shroud - Newmar dealer resealed the area - next bad storm - 50mph winds and 2" rain - leaked again! Ugh. I am so frustrated. It is a challenge to resolve roof leaks.


Look closely at the front clearance lights and the caulk around them and the black gasket. They are notorious for causing what you describe and the water can come out anywhere as it is bad about running a ridge until it leaks out.


Posted By: RayChez on 12/14/10 08:00pm

My friends Newmar Dutchstar was leaking. We caulked every spot we could think off except the culprit and that was the radio antenna. One of the radio antenna's the caulking around it had broken lose and that is where the leak was. Has not leaked since he recaulked around one of the two antennas.


2002 Gulf Stream Scenic Cruiser
330 HP Caterpillar
3000 Allison Transmission
Neway Freightliner chassis
2013 Honda CR-V EX
Aventa II
FMCA member


Posted By: SyJen on 12/14/10 11:51pm

I did caulk all the running lights front and back when I initially found some of the leaks dripping from vent or AC round grills on the ceiling next to the front windshield. They are hard to get to as they sit behind the TV and cabinetry in front of the windshield. This did not help stop the leaks. The shame in all this is the cabinetry everywhere is that cheap pressed wood composite. It swells when wet and then the only option is to replace it or live with it. I chose the latter. I was a full timer for 3 years after selling our home. We have recently purchased a new home that was found after visiting many places on beauty in our motor home. The motor home now serves as a guest house. The challenge now is to stop the leaks once and for all to preserve the RV and have family use it when they visit without mold and dampness.


Posted By: SyJen on 12/14/10 11:58pm

LandYachtPilot wrote:

I have a 99 dutch star and it also had a leak. I noticed it as wet carpeting just inside the bedroom doorway toward the outside wall. I took it to the local RV shop. Based on the location, they had an idea of where it was coming from. They hit everything on top with a heavy bead of caulk, including all the way around where the corner pieces meet the roof surface, but I think their focus was on the roof over the bathroom, and the rear air conditioning unit. Whatever they did it solved the problem and it hasn't leaked since. My roof appears to be one continuous piece of something sort of like linoleum, maybe on top of a light plywood. I'm not sure if I need to be putting something on that every year or not.

I was on a Newmar factory a few weeks ago. Some of the higher end coaches now get a solid fiber glass top the includes the corners, and comes complete with non-skid surfaces for walking on. Man would that be nice!



Posted By: SyJen on 12/15/10 12:06am

Ed, I had a wet carpet at the threshold of the bedroom and traced the leak to a pin hole in the water tank. I had it pressure tested and then welded. No problem since the welding. I took the tank out myself and took it to an RV mechanic. Small town shop and he fixed it for free. My experience with the big shops are terrible. Especially on your wallet.


Posted By: dougrainer on 12/15/10 06:30am

Phillerup wrote:

klm wrote:

i have a '02 Kountry Star, brite-tek roof, that leaks w/ combination of torrential rain and strong wind. Always presents itself at the 3rd interior roof rib, which is right under the front ac. Replaced rubber gasket and shroud - Newmar dealer resealed the area - next bad storm - 50mph winds and 2" rain - leaked again! Ugh. I am so frustrated. It is a challenge to resolve roof leaks.


Look closely at the front clearance lights and the caulk around them and the black gasket. They are notorious for causing what you describe and the water can come out anywhere as it is bad about running a ridge until it leaks out.


Newmar clearance lights, IF they leak will NOT cause any leaks behind where the front cap meets the front of the roof. The way Newmar builds and connects the front cap to the roof makes it impossible for a front clearance light leak to migrate behind the drivers area. Doug


Posted By: RayChez on 12/16/10 09:27am

I have to agree with Phillerup's post. If the seal under the clearance light is not sealing properly, water will get in between the roof and the ceiling and does not necessarily leak in the front. It could run down on the inside of the channel and spring a leak just about anywhere in the coach. Mostly it would work itself to the sides and leak somewhere between the ceiling and the walls.
It does not take much for water to get inside a coach. A coach with its bouncing around the highway twisting and flexing in all directions will cause these situations.


Posted By: SyJen on 12/16/10 01:08pm

Thanks Ray, I agree with Phillerup as well.


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