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Open Roads Forum  >  Truck Campers

 > Ugh wet wood in Bigfoot

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AH_AK

AK

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Posted: 05/02/21 03:32am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I recently bought a 2003 Bigfoot 10.5. The interior is in excellent condition. Seems to have barely been used. Generator has 30 hours on it. I paid the local Bigfoot dealer to inspect it before I bought it. No mention of water damage. So I get it home and start cleaning it and getting into all the nooks and crannies (like I should have done before buying) and I find some problems on the back wall. The trim below the basement back hatch is rotted but dry (previous leak). The wood seems to still have some integrity. There is a small hole in the shell which I assumed was caused by the fold up steps banging the wall while driving, but now I am thinking it may have been punched on purpose as a drain. So I go to the battery compartment and feel the back wall. Squishy. Worse, this is where the jack is mounted. I poke through the vinyl covering and the wood is an oatmeal consistency and still wet. It rained the other day and it was previously stored indoors, so I am thinking I have an active leak on that back wall. Could be the jack mount, or the window, or any number of other penetrations on that wall. I feel overwhelmed at the moment, but it seems like this can be fixed without gutting the whole camper.

Here is what I am thinking:
1. Take off the jack (I have it up on stands at the moment). Take off the mounting plate and see if I can tell which screws are in bad wood.

2. If rot extends up into generator compartment. Remove the generator otherwise just remove the batteries.

3. Rip out all the rotten wood and replace with good wood.

4. Remove and reseal all perforations on the back wall. Should I do this first? My thinking is that this might help me narrow down the source and thus the likely extent of the damage.

Best case scenario is that the seal on the jack plate is the source and I have found the worst of it. Guess my “awesome find” for a first truck camper was not so awesome.

Would love to hear from anyone that has had a similar problem and remediated it .

midnightsadie

ohio

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Posted: 05/02/21 05:43am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

any chance fishing one of these little camera.s up threw a few holes and look around.good luck ,most times when you find water theres more.

joerg68

St. Ingbert, Germany

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Posted: 05/02/21 07:12am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Sorry to hear about your bad luck. Reminds me of the experience with our first camper.
My advice would be to disassemble until you reach solid wood. Not dry, just solid.
Any leak may be a lot further up than you are thinking. Water pools at the lowest spot. Gravity and all...
If you would like to post pictures, you might use this service made specifically for this forum:
http://photoposting.is-great.net

Fixing a camper is not rocket science, but tends to be more work than you anticipate. I wish you luck!


2014 Ford F350 XLT 6.2 SCLB + 2017 Northstar Arrow


Lwiddis

Near DVNP, California

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Posted: 05/02/21 07:29am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

“I paid the local Bigfoot dealer to inspect it before I bought it.”

Written agreement for inspection? Written report from dealer?


Winnebago 2101DS TT & 2020 Chevy Silverado 1500 LTZ Z71, 300 watt solar-Lossigy 200 AMP Lithium battery. TALL flag pole. Prefer boondocking, USFS, COE, BLM, NPS, TVA, state camps. Bicyclist 14 yr. Army -11B40 then 11A - (MOS 1542 & 1560) IOBC & IOAC grad


adamis

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Posted: 05/02/21 09:18am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Battery compartment on mine has some dry rot as well. From what I can tell it was water coming in the compartment door. Probably is not the same issue from what you are describing but I think worth noting. The way they finished and sealed the compartments is one thing I am not super happy with, at least for how they did it twenty years ago at least.

Check to see if your exterior screws are stainless steel. Mine is a 2001 and it had non stainless screws. Camper lived on the coast before I bought it so it went through many thermal cycles and nearly all of the screws had rusted out. Ended to replacing all but the jack screws which is a future project.

Also check propane compartment as well. They cut the lip off the bottom of the hatch so leaking propane wont pool in the compartment. It also means that if it rains, water can run down the exterior of the wall, hit the bottom lip of the hatch and if there is enough tilt, run into the compartment. From that point it can move into the corners and travel done to the wood and metal for your turn buckles.

I think the lesson learned on Bigfoot's is that for all the pluses of fiberglass, water can still be a major problem. Fix what you can and store it indoors if possible and enjoy it as much as possible. Don't spend forever trying to make it perfect again unless time and money is on your side. Fix what is necessary for safety then come up with a plan over time to tackle other projects when you feel like it.


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thedavidzoo

Tucson, AZ

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Posted: 05/02/21 09:30am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

AH_AK wrote:

I paid the local Bigfoot dealer to inspect it before I bought it.


Isn't this something the "inspector" should have caught, especially someone paid to look for such things? Was this a private sale or off a dealer's lot?

I would feel ripped off to some degree and request a price reduction.


2014 Ram 3500 CrewCab Diesel DRW 4x4 4.10 Aisin, Torklift Fastguns, Upper Stableloads, Timbrens
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AH_AK

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Posted: 05/02/21 09:37am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

adamis wrote:

Battery compartment on mine has some dry rot as well. From what I can tell it was water coming in the compartment door. Probably is not the same issue from what you are describing but I think worth noting. The way they finished and sealed the compartments is one thing I am not super happy with, at least for how they did it twenty years ago at least.

Check to see if your exterior screws are stainless steel. Mine is a 2001 and it had non stainless screws. Camper lived on the coast before I bought it so it went through many thermal cycles and nearly all of the screws had rusted out. Ended to replacing all but the jack screws which is a future project.

Also check propane compartment as well. They cut the lip off the bottom of the hatch so leaking propane wont pool in the compartment. It also means that if it rains, water can run down the exterior of the wall, hit the bottom lip of the hatch and if there is enough tilt, run into the compartment. From that point it can move into the corners and travel done to the wood and metal for your turn buckles.

I think the lesson learned on Bigfoot's is that for all the pluses of fiberglass, water can still be a major problem. Fix what you can and store it indoors if possible and enjoy it as much as possible. Don't spend forever trying to make it perfect again unless time and money is on your side. Fix what is necessary for safety then come up with a plan over time to tackle other projects when you feel like it.


I looked at the propane compartment before I purchased based to the info from owners on is site describing how that was a problem area. Looks and feels ok to me. I am definitely in the safety over perfection boat. I want to actually use this thing, otherwise what is the point? My big concern at this point os the jack mounting plate integrity. I plan to reseal everything, starting from the rear wall. I am thinking it is worth the extra effort to remove all perforating hardware completely to look for staining/rot.

AH_AK

AK

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Posted: 05/02/21 09:42am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

thedavidzoo wrote:

AH_AK wrote:

I paid the local Bigfoot dealer to inspect it before I bought it.


Isn't this something the "inspector" should have caught, especially someone paid to look for such things? Was this a private sale or off a dealer's lot?

I would feel ripped off to some degree and request a price reduction.


That is what I thought. It was a private sale. I emailed the dealer to see what they thought of the damage and cost of repair. I didn’t say it outright, but the underlying message was how in the world did you miss this.

Ultimately, it was on me as the buyer to inspect it more thoroughly, but as this is my first camper, I figured I would pay a professional with Bigfoot experience to find stuff like this. Live and learn I suppose.

pianotuna

Regina, SK, Canada

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Posted: 05/02/21 10:00am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hi,

I had a similar experience with an inspection on a private sale. I think a mobile repair person might be a better choice than a dealership for "sound condition".


Regards, Don
My ride is a 28 foot Class C, 256 watts solar, soon to have SiO2 batteries, 3000 watt Magnum hybrid inverter, Sola Basic Autoformer, Microair Easy Start.

Lwiddis

Near DVNP, California

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Posted: 05/02/21 10:09am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Not in favor of some money back unless you bought from a dealer and like camper repair. In favor buying another camper and all your money back.

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