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Water damage approach - spot patch


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Request for hindsight info from anyone who has followed this strategy to '86 Dolphin rebuild:

 

I don't have time to completely gut down to the studs.  I need to get back on the road within the next two months.

 

Now that I've experienced the scraping needed to remove (and the byproduct of) the 0-R value styrofoam "insulation" in the frame, I have decided not to go there.

My leaks are specifically from the windows and the vents (but of course I know the water can move around and come out other places). 

I am attacking the specific corners and panels where water has damaged and mold is lurking. 

A sharp blade and a putty knife is useful to surgically remove the damaged sections and replace with clean and solid bits.  Similar to patching rusty metal by grinding back to where the clean metal begins.

I am removing all of the windows and re-sealing to the max.

To preserve structural integrity, I am adding insulation layers on the inside and on the roof rather than replace with superior insulation product.

My insulation ranges from 2" rigid to Reflectix, depending on the application and what I can get. 

For example as below, rebuild to the cabover curve includes custom cut rigid foam shapes as I have had significant heat through that area.

 

So - who else has been here?  Do you regret not gutting and scraping all the "cancer" away or is the surgical approach ok when the surrounding material is still good?

 

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If the roof is aluminum and original It likely has pin holes in various spots throughout as well. If you removed the ceiling, insulation, and rot you would see sunlight glimmering through the pin holes all around shining into your coach. Plan on investigating options for sealing your roof as well or you will continue to have seep/ rot problems. 

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Sealing the ceiling was the first thing I did when I bought it 4 years ago.  By now the roof has about 6 coats of Henry's Tropical rubber paint on it.  No, the major leaks happened before I got it and then were definitely originating around the cabover window and now replaced vents.  All rubber and plastic getting replaced.  I've lived in it for a year and a half in all seasons and weather so that's why I feel confident about the patch approach.  Would still be interested in knowing if anyone has done the patch approach and then kicked themselves later.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Just went through a seek and seal operation on my sunrader. I took it fishing to the walleye run in Maumee and the rain was so intense there it was dripping through side everywhere. On a sunrader... yeah I know what you are thinking.

after getting home, wet soggy and fishless I decided to find the leaks.

I had just done the marker lights the year before so I knew they were good.

The culrpit in my case was every screw in the roof holding the roof antennae aka "roof rack" mounts to those that may not know its an antennae. they had worked loose and caulk failed. but the majority of the water and it was ALOT.. was from the gasket of the rooftop AC unit. tear down and inspection revealed it had jarred off center of the hole and water was able to just pour in. I placed some 2x4s under the unbolted unit and caulked the ever loving dudey out of that gasket and let it ploop back down then torqued it down to spec with the 1/2 inch being maintained and crush indicators perfect.
 

Its pouring rain today and its bone dry. Mission accomplished.

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For the Sunrader "cargo rack", solar panels and things on the roof, google   well nut.

 

 

 

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20 hours ago, WME said:

For the Sunrader "cargo rack", solar panels and things on the roof, google   well nut.

 

It's too bad that the stick built Dolphin has nothing to hang onto but nasty styrofoam in the shell.  Those well nuts are pretty cool.

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If your attaching something that's a modest load and you can get to the backside of the roof, you can use a couple of fender washers or a piece of 1/8" steel plate (round all the corners) to spread the load. In just .060 aluminum with out backing the load limit is a pound or so.

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I was proficient with installing backing plates on my boat.  In the RV it would be kinda ugly to see the plates on the ceiling methinks.

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3 hours ago, Cynxing said:

I was proficient with installing backing plates on my boat.  In the RV it would be kinda ugly to see the plates on the ceiling methinks.

Naw, the backing plate goes against the skin. Then insulation and paneling. Instant  invisible backing plate

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