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Open Roads Forum  >  Do It Yourself Modifications and Upgrades (DIY)

 > Dry rot in rear corner of my travel trailer

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Posted: 08/04/12 08:04pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I just purchased a 2000 Wildwood Lite travel trailer (wood frame, aluminum skin). It rained this morning, so once the rain stopped I went inside the trailer to check for leaks. Something just didn't look right with the rear corner so I ran my hand over it and noticed it was "soft". I pushed a little bit and my fingers went through the wallboard! I pulled back the wallboard to discover the entire corner as well as about 6" on either side has wet and dry rot! The framing wood just started crumbling in my hands. Aargh..I pulled away what was wet, removed as much as the deteriorated wood as possible, tossed the wet fiberglass insulation and opened the windows and set a fan on high to help dry out the wood. I don't have the $$ to have a professional fix it, am somewhat handy with some basic carpentry skills, but I'm at a loss as to what to do next. I've done some research on epoxy fillers, etc., but don't know if that's the answer. Somebody...anybody...HELP! What do I do now??? I should mention that the subfloor appears to be solid and not affected by the water leak and I've located what I think is the source of the leak on the roof and patched it.


Lewisville, NC

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Posted: 08/04/12 08:25pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Moved from Forum Technical Support.

Ramblin Recks


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Posted: 08/04/12 10:34pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I had an 87 Terry TT that leaked and rotted both front corners from ceiling to floor. I totally removed the plywood bed,cabinets, and the inside paneling right down to the aluminum skin. Then I had to find the leak which was pretty easy. I sealed the corners of the roof, and had to rebuild all the wall studs, install new insulation and paneling and reinstalled the bed and cabinets. It really wasn't that hard to do, because this TT was not built that well to begin with.
It saved me a bunch of $$ and I was able to match the paneling pretty close from a local salvage yard, so you could hardly notice the front of the TT was in much better shape than the rest of the TT [emoticon]
Good luck.

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Calgary Alberta Canada

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Posted: 08/04/12 11:00pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have detailed a total rebuild of a rotten old carcass I call an 81 Citation.

Check out the link in my sig to my rebuild website.

Sometimes its easier to browse through a bunch of pics than try to read a written explanation.

If you are handy with carpentry skills, then this should be a reasonable task for you. There are a lot of people on this forum, such as myself, who are proficient at doing physical rebuild work of various types of RV's and who will also be happy to answer questions and help point you in the right direction.

Sooooooo, ask away!!

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Posted: 08/05/12 03:46am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

If you can can get it under cover (garage, barn, carport) get it there. If not, get a tarp on it. You did good by going ahead and starting to dry it out.

Read up on the forums on how other people have repaired theirs. If you are capable of carpentry, you should have no problems fixing it, just use a bit of common sense.

Just a couple of quick notes:
1. It will take you three times as long as you think at first to complete the job.
2. There is twice as much damage done as you have found. Once you get it open to do the repair, you will find the damage has gone further that you currently discovered.
3. Watch for mold! If you find any mold keep opening up the wall until you find where it stops and get it cleaned out!
4. Inspect the oposite side of the trailer for the same problem, i.e if this is the front left corner, check the front right corner for the same problem.
5. Attempt to determine why and where the leak occured, then inspect the rest of the trailer for the same problem, i.e. lets say the leak was because of a bad seal between the roof the side wall. Then inspect/caulk/repair the entire seal between roof and side wall - all the way around.
6. Use exterior grade or pressure treated wood in your repair. If it ever does leak again, you wont have to replace your earler work.

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Amelia Ct Hse Va

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Posted: 08/05/12 04:48am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Take plenty of pictures while disasembling so you know how to put it back. The last trailer I did, I had almost 100 pictures. Take your time, you'll be surprised what you can do.

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Shorewood, MN

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Posted: 08/05/12 05:55am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Just finishing up on a total rebuild. The PO's had let it leak for quite some time and there was extensive damage. If you have aluminum you can go in from the outside but you'll probably be removing interior paneling along the way. If you can, use extruded polystyrene insulation to replace the fiberglass batts. It has better R-value per inch, affords a vapor barrier, and adds just a small bit of structural integrity.

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Posted: 08/05/12 09:22am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Without a picture to see the damage, it's hard to visualize.

When I bought my trailer, I discovered the back right corner had been leaking and about a 12" by 12" area of the floor had dry rot (only real damage - aluminum studs). After letting it dry for about 2-3 weeks, I used Git Rot to repair it. Git Rot is used for boat transoms that dry rot. I followed the Git Rot directions and it worked great. That section of floor is probably the strongest in the camper and it's been 2 years since I fixed it. Git Rot is an epoxy that uses the capillary action of the rotted wood. You drill holes about an inch apart and fill them. The hole will empty as the epoxy disperses. You refill the holes 4-5 times until the epoxy in the hole stays level.

Git Rot would be good if there are smaller areas to repair. I got mine at West Marine. Hope this helps. Good luck.

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