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I probably need a seal overhaul, but how

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I have a rear window leak. I've heard all I need to do is pull apart the rear window, clean around put in some butyl tape and maybe add some extra silicone, and put it back together.

I also have an overcab leak, it seems to be lined up with the seam over my overcab, so I guess I can pull off the bar that goes over it, clean it up, apply some butyl tape there, and put it back on? 

Is Dicor still the best thing to pour onto my roof?

The thing is, my entire toyhome seems to have tape that uh... is probably well over 10 years old. Should I just take my toy to someone and have them re-seal the whole thing? Or is it better to not mess with an area until it leaks?

If I'm thinking about mounting solar cells to my roof, should I seal before I do that, after, or both?

If I should take it to someone, who? I'm in the mid-atlantic near DC right now.

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Dicor makes two types of sealant.  Leveling (for the roof where there are bolts/screws) and non-leveling (on the side of your rig).  

The over cab leak... might just be the running lights that are over the window.  Get a ladder, climb up and look.  Maybe your window is ok. Maybe it is not the seam.  Been there done that.

Silicone is difficult to remove.  Silicone is not the preferred goop according to the many online experts.  Silicone may be there from a previous owner, or the original factory stuff.

Go online and you can research this.  Lots of youtube videos out there.


Yes you can pull a window out, clean up, replace wth butyl tape.  You could even get the window tinted while it is out.  Butyl tape should be enough, to stop the leak.  Other's opinion's may say add a bead of non-leveling decor - AFTER cleaning off any old silicone.  Good luck getting 100& of the silicone off.  Online guidance may help with the silicone issue.  Careful about scrubbing and damaging the paint.  Keep it pretty.

DICOR is not silicone.

Maybe silicone isn't evil, maybe this is just my preference.  I just don't care for it.  

Good luck, you can do it if you don't mind putting some tunes into you ears, and doing bonehead labor for an afternoon.  The labor cost??? if you don't want to DIY, check around.  

When I bought my dolphin, the previous owner had just replaced the roof a/c with a used unit.  The work was done by a shop in Stockton CA.   It worked fine, but the bonehead installer didn't use the proper seal between the a/c unit and the motorhome roof.  It should have had square gasket that cost like $15.  The dealer used silicone glue instead.  What a mess, and what a leak.  

I removed the a/c, hung it off the roof with a rope for my wife to guide to the ground.  She twisted her knee and we took our 30 day vacation with her in a knee bandage and a cane.  She is ok now.. but I'd like to tune up the guy who installed the a/c wrong.

My point... Don't let stupid people repair your rv.  Get as smart as you can.  Youtube is your friend.  At least if you are smart, you can know if the guy you hire is smart, or just a bonehead.

Did I say "bonehead" again?


Edited by FredNewell
bonehead typing error
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Thanks for all the advice.

I guess the thing that has me flummoxed is that there are tons of "experts" and while some of them sound very much like a "bonehead", many of them also sound like they know what they're doing, and everyone has a different opinion. There are people that sound completely confident that silicone is the way to go, and there are people that I wouldn't trust near my RV that suggest dicor. There are two friends of mine that know something about RVs and they both suggest complete polar opposite solutions. It's overwhelming. 

For the back window, sometimes it seems like it's on the left, sometimes it seems like it's on the right. It gets my bench wet (rear dining model) and there is definitely water in the window well. I'll probably need to replace my bench cushions or re-upholster them or who knows. maybe just a good soak in bleach and a hot air dry? I dunno what people do with them. 

For the overcab leak, we've replaced and re-sealed my top marker lights already so I really don't think it's those. The leak is from the ceiling, not from the window area.

Here's a shot of my roof. I circled the place I think my leak is:


The place(s) I'm thinking about adding solar are on either side of that front popup (hopefully both). The TV antenna is coming off and I'll run my solar wires through there unless anyone pops in with a "NOOOOOOOOOOO DON'T DO THAT"

Eager to listen to everyone's thoughts.

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The photo helps.

Is that a rubber roof (rubber membrane looks like thin canvas on top)?

There are products that will seal the front seam.  Hard to tell from here.  If it was mine, and I am a bonehead/fool who gets in deep sometimes...

I would 1) remove the rear window and re-set.  I might find rotten wood.  Might consider something to stop the rot, see the RotDoctor website.  Might just go in and replace wood.  But, I'd hope for the best and just re-set the window.

2) cushion foam can be purchased on Amazon.  Figure a hundred bucks can do a lot of repair.  We had a neighbor in her late 70's who did reupholstery work for car show guys.  She helped us.  RETAIL price would have been high, taking 12 hours to do the job.  We bought a bolt of chevy upholstery fabric and used the old foam.  I doubt that stinky/moldy foam can be reused.  Depends on what you discover.

3) If it is a rubber roof, and it seems sound, it can be coated for a couple hundred buck in materials.  EDPM product made just for that.  IF there is roof rot, then look up RotDoctor and do some reading.  

4) The red circled seam... I'd get a putty knife, and dig into it.  IF THE ROOF IS RUBBER, NEVER NEVER USE SILICONE - IT IS NOT COMPATABLE WITH EDPM RUBBER ROOF FABRIC. See what you find, and figure out a seal job.  There is tape called Eternabond or something like that.  See Youtube.  Maybe the tape is all you need.  Cannot tell from here.  Home Depot sells a tape that works, but is shiney metallic, and is cheaper than Eternabond.  I had a roof hatch blow off in a Tennessee thunder storm, and patched it up... glued it down, with the Home depot stuff.  Replaced the parts later after getting home to Calif.

If you're only going to have the MH for a few years, and don't care to make it perfect, then the cheapest fix may be the best.  A little hidden rot really might not matter.

Before I got all of my roof work done, I kept a blue cheap tarp over the rig to keep it dry.  Now it is all fixed and weather tight.

Guess what... last night my water pump (coach water) started leaking, 65 dollars and one day Amazon delivery, and it should be fixed so we can start our trip Thurs morning.  

These things always present something to fix.  That's part of the RV life.

Make it a labor of love.  Enjoy it.  Many would envy the fact that you even have a Toyota MH.

If you tend to do messy work, know your limitations and set your expectations accordingly.  If you are a skilled perfectionist, well good for you.  Either way is fine if you are satisfied with your results.  It's your rig.  Do it your way.  Just be grateful and love what you do.  Ask questions.


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3 minutes ago, DanAatTheCape said:

makes sure your clearance lights are sealed - clear silicone caulk.  Every leak I have had traced back to a clearance light issue.

Thanks @DanAatTheCape but

5 hours ago, Pretty Interstate Machine said:

For the overcab leak, we've replaced and re-sealed my top marker lights already so I really don't think it's those. The leak is from the ceiling, not from the window area.

@FredNewell, thanks again for the continued advice. I do intend to keep this around for awhile so I do want to take care of it. right now my primary concern is that I have about two weeks until I go full time and I need things to be dry and serviceable (everything needs to work). I'm putting in my new toilet this weekend, I need to figure out what to do with my fridge and the leaks and then I'm at least mostly good to go.

for the upholstery, I'll look that up. thanks.

as for the rubber roof question, I actually don't know how to tell if it is a rubber roof. my hand doesn't bounce off of it and it doesn't move. it feels hard, like wood. I can walk on it and knock on it. it does not sag and is stable on the inside as well.

will eternabond work no matter what kind of roof it is? if that's the case, I'll just get some of that for my seam up top. 

I am not necessarily skilled but I intend to learn what I can and do my best!

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A "rubber roof" is just a thin sheet of EPDM "rubber" rolled out and glued to a layer of plywood so it will be hard. Most toys have an aluminum roof, same thing a thin sheet of aluminum over a ply base.

Again most toys by this time in their life have had a polymer sealant painted over the original roof.

Carefully scrape your roof until you get to the original and let us know what you have and we will give you the straight skinny on how to take care of it.

If you have a metal roof, for the seam I would clean down to original roof, Eternabond tape the seam and the Snowcoat it.

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The rear window has 2 seals. The butyl tape between the window frame and the RV siding. AND a butyl rubber glue between the window and frame. The rubber gasket on the outside of the window is just for looks and doesn't seal anything. Well actually it is there to hold the window in place while the butyl rubber glue  dries.

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I agree Eternabond tape for your  front seam is the way to go. When I resealed Grannies roof I cleaned the whole seam area scraping off any old  sealent and applied 4” wide Eternabond tape over the seal. Perfect!

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Quick update,

From what I can tell I have an aluminum roof.

Thanks for the eternabond advice. I'll see about picking some up. Is there a good source? Places to avoid buying from? Just grab some on Amazon?

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I have a metal roof also. I bought a 50’ roll of 4 in width Eternabond tape on eBay for a song!

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I applied the Eternabond tape to the rear seam also! The rest of the roof is one piece aluminum.

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For what it's worth, I also have a 1986 Travelmaster Savannah that suffered from leak issues.  When I tore out the ceiling material I was able to see outside light through several pinholes in the aluminum roofing.  These can be caused by corrosion, and they were not visible from above, and none of the inside leaks were at these locations.  It's very difficult to determine the origin of a leak without tearing everything apart.  I removed and reinstalled the vents using butyl tape (replaced ac with vent), and applied a liquid EPDM roof coating.  So far, so good.

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Okay, so I see the 4"x50' roll of eternabond on ebay and amazon and such for 50 bucks, but glancing over at the eternabond site I see:

  • EternaBond RoofSeal 
  • EternaBond AlumiBond
  • EternaBond Seam Repair Kit
  • EternaBond RoofSeal Plus

All of them claim to be an application for my seam situation. Has anyone tried the other stuff and can they speak to the efficacy of one over another? I want to do this right so that I can alleviate worry and not have to deal with it for awhile.

Thanks for all your suggestions, everyone.

Also @fiddlindan, we should talk! Do you have the M-501-RD? I am definitely looking to meet folks that have my model and compare notes! Send me a PM if you like.

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3 minutes ago, Derek up North said:

Is 'RD' for 'Rear Dinette'?

Did yours come with a brochure? Owners Manual?

It is indeed. I did not get an owners manual with it and was not able to find anything when googling around. Currently chatting with @zaddylonglegs who seems to have the same model and some literature. Would definitely like to get a repository of info online for us travelmaster folks if at all possible.

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