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Sleeper Leak & Frame Rot Repair


90Warrior
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Hi all, I've been lurking here for around a year or so. I have a 91 Warrior 321RB inherited from my grandfather a little over a year ago now. He purchased it almost new in '91 and kept it until last year before passing it to me. It's a good truck, immaculate with only 110k on the clock and a stack service records, with only a bit of rust around the hood hinges. The coach is in pretty great shape to be 31yr original, except for a few items I have been slowly working on (procrastinating).

The big ticket repair for my toyhome has been the cabover sleeper. At some point previously it has had some leaks, that were patched/covered. Well it turns out the damage had already been done, and the leaks also not fully patched. Not long after I got the truck home, I was inside cleaning it up in the cabover. Lo' and behold, the passenger front side of the cabover floor falls out from under me and I can see earth. Realizing I couldn't do much more damage myself, I began to pull everything out from that corner of the truck to attempt a repair.

Peeling back the layers, I discovered a current leak from the corner clearance light had been adding to the old leak damage. I pulled the clearance lights and replaced with new units and a good bit of sealant, no leaks so far. Luckily that is the only leak area I had found in the truck, it has sat thru many rainstorms since and is bone dry.

After getting the inside trim peeled back a decent amount I discovered the wood for the frame had rotted and many of the screws were rusted in half. Thus began the big project of attempting to rebuild the frame into working/better condition. I have minimal carpentry skills, I am an electrician so my experience with carpentry is limited to making holes in walls really; so I was going in a bit over my head with this repair.Armed with a diagnosis I headed off to Home Depot to get supplies. I picked up a decent amount of poplar wood boards to rebuild the frame, bcx plyboard for the floor, foam insulation, shower liner to retrim, and a hefty investment in stainless screws and PL adhesive.

After many months of procrastinating and doing little bits at a time, I managed to rebuild the cabover floor frame, attach it to the side and front walls, and deck it. I planned to keep the build as lightweight as I could, but I'm sure its a bit heavier than the original which I'de assume probably helps the truck balance out. I haven't taken it out on the road since, but I am confident in the strength of it as my daughter has claimed the cabover as hers and put it through the toddler test. It has survived thus far.

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Repair looks nice. common problem with the Class C's. I'm not sure whether owner manuals for the Class C's provide exterior maintenance intervals for resealing marker lights and windows. Not sure manufacturers intended for their RV's to be in continued use 20 years out let alone 30-40. Not sure whether you pulled the windows in the cab over and resealed them. Highly recommend you do that as well if you haven't in addition to the windows throughout the coach. All leak and really should be resealed every 8-10 years. Marker lights on the rear of the coach leak and rot the back wall as well. Plan to reseal all marker lights, tail lights, and side turn signal lights to prevent further structural damage. Visual evidence of water leaks inside the coach often means it had been leaking for quite sometime.

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So far everything has been leak free as it sits, rather, visually everything checks out. I haven't touched the windows on it yet, they look in good shape. I'm not sure what the sealant behind the window frame looks like. I'm sure its old enough that replacing it wouldn't hurt. I'll do a bit of digging in the forums and see what supplies I need to take on that project. The rear clearance lights and side markers are new-ish units and I've applied fresh sealant around them. The tail lights are another story...while they don't leak into the body and fit tight to the fiberglass, the lens/covers on both have had some of the finest redneck repair jobs done to them to keep the lenses together. I'm pretty impressed at the ingenuity of the repair work but good night its ugly, at least they work((ed) when I brought it home). I do intend to replace the tail lights, unsure of which way to go there so I'll have to do some research first.

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From what I can tell on mine, the front window frame to cabover is sealed with butyl tape or some sort of tar like sealant (squished out past the frame). The window glass to the frame I cant tell how its attached. It and the other windows don't leak, for now thank goodness, even in the sideways rain Ive had here lately. The way the winnie is parked not much water runs down over the front window which helps.

 

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  • 3 months later...

Wow, what a job, but the results look good! Seeing your pictures and reading all the advice has been uplifting. I just bought a 1990 Warrior 321RB. It has a few leaks and I'm not sure I've even pinpointed all of them yet. Thankfully I have some carpentry skills and feel that will help me. So far, my cabover is okay but the back closet is a real mess. I also try to park mine so the water isn't coming in so bad. But I LOVE my Warrior and seeing what you've done has encouraged me. I hadn't thought of sealing the marker lights but will put that on my list also since they don't look too great. I'm taking notes and researching between weekends when I can work on her. I'm so glad I found this site and saw your post. Thanks, all!

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 5/10/2022 at 9:13 PM, KCarson said:

Wow, what a job, but the results look good! Seeing your pictures and reading all the advice has been uplifting. I just bought a 1990 Warrior 321RB. It has a few leaks and I'm not sure I've even pinpointed all of them yet. Thankfully I have some carpentry skills and feel that will help me. So far, my cabover is okay but the back closet is a real mess. I also try to park mine so the water isn't coming in so bad. But I LOVE my Warrior and seeing what you've done has encouraged me. I hadn't thought of sealing the marker lights but will put that on my list also since they don't look too great. I'm taking notes and researching between weekends when I can work on her. I'm so glad I found this site and saw your post. Thanks, all!

I am an electrician, as far as carpentry goes...making holes in things is bout it. First delving into the task it was a bit overwhelming, but after carefully peeling back the layers you can see how the frame is cantilever? sort of attached over the cab.

The marker lights, one of them, was the main source of the leak. After making repairs to the cabover it prompted me to pull and replace/reseal all other exterior lighting and check other seams. Which with that I discovered the back wall was seperating from the floor and one side frame. Pulling off the corner and bottom outside trims let me re-pull the wall tight to the frame with screws and PL marine adhesive.

I am of the opinion winnebago put these warriors together pretty straight forward, youve just got to peel the top layer off and look at things.

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Posted (edited)

i second the leak problem just replaced two cracked leaking plastic frame vents . with two new metal frame vents. recent early camp trip one week heavy rain last day bathroom and center vent leaking. these where original 1987 . when replacing vents aways replace with metal frame vents. cab over was already a newer metal frame unit.on another note the new suburban furnece worked great very quite and hot took a while too burn off the stink.

Edited by 5Toyota
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On 5/24/2022 at 12:07 AM, 5Toyota said:

i second the leak problem just replaced two cracked leaking plastic frame vents . with two new metal frame vents. recent early camp trip one week heavy rain last day bathroom and center vent leaking. these where original 1987 . when replacing vents aways replace with metal frame vents. cab over was already a newer metal frame unit.on another note the new suburban furnece worked great very quite and hot took a while too burn off the stink.

Where did you purchase the metal framed vents? I am getting ready to address these and any suggestions would be appreciated!

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Metal framed vents are available everywhere

Ventline 14" rv camper trailer roof vent WHITE lid - 1" Garnish - Putty & Screws | eBay

Heng's Industries RV 71111A-C 14" White Cargo Universal Roof Vent | eBay

You can search these on Amazon if that's where you like to buy

For not much more these also can have 12 volt fans

Linda S

PS I don't buy them anymore because they rust

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Thanks, Linda! So, if these are rust-prone, what's your recommendation? As for the fans, I have been salvaging the little 12vdc fans from computers and am going to see if I can't rig a few of these up for ventilation purposes. I don't have the exact numbers in front of me, but when I removed the range hood, I noted that the exhaust fan consumes ~3x the power and moves less than 50% c.f.m. of the average desktop CPU fan. More importantly, the fan on my kitchen hood is quite noisy.

   Anyway, if you have a recommendation for replacement vents, it would be appreciated. It's hard to tell what options are of a decent quality from pictures, and the prices seen to vary widely. 

    

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Buy anything. They are all about the same. Since that is the case buy cheap, I always do. The lids will degrade and crack. Sun on plastic. I usually replace those at least once or twice before I replace the whole thing. 

Yes I agree with you on the hood vent. If I knew how to mount a computer fan or even wire it I would go that way. 

Sometimes you can know a lot and really not know anything at all. Somehow I manage to get everything fixed in the end

Linda S

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11 minutes ago, linda s said:

Buy anything. They are all about the same. Since that is the case buy cheap, I always do. The lids will degrade and crack. Sun on plastic. I usually replace those at least once or twice before I replace the whole thing. 

Yes I agree with you on the hood vent. If I knew how to mount a computer fan or even wire it I would go that way. 

Sometimes you can know a lot and not know anything at all. Somehow I manage to get everything fixed in the end

Linda S

Thanks, Linda. That makes it an easy decision. Well, I've just gotten set up to work on my poor Dolphin. So, naturally, it's beginning to storm.🙄

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