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Old 09-28-2017, 10:27 AM   #1
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Default Water damage - okay to keep as is as long as leak is repaired?

Hi everyone!

I'm looking at a 2007 23' classic that looks to have a little bit of water damage under one of the forward windows. The skin on the outside doesn't look to have delaminated, but when you go inside, you can tell there is some bubbling underneath the forward, passenger side window of the trailer and there is some mold/mildew that has set in. It appears to be focused mainly underneath the window as the wall to the sides and over the window feel solid.

I did quite a bit of searching a while back and I think I remember seeing something about this somewhere on this forum, but I can't seem to find it again. My question is - as long as the leak is fixed, is there any harm in keeping the small damaged section as is? I wasn't sure if the mold/mildew would continue to grow in the absence of a continued leak. I'm not too keen on separating the upper and lower sections to do a full replacement, although I would if need be. Since the damage appears to be so small and limited, I wasn't sure if it would just be okay to leave it alone.

Any thoughts/expertise would be greatly appreciated! I'm going to stop by the seller's location tomorrow and will take some pix to add to this post as well.

thanks!
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Old 09-28-2017, 10:52 AM   #2
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Nelson, I haven't had to deal with this problem, but I'd certainly take the window out and investigate that damaged section more. You could possibly "dig" the wet wood out if it's small and replace it with something like Bondo. Then, replace the window sealing it properly.

- Jack
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Old 09-28-2017, 11:09 AM   #3
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Thanks Jack! I'm going to try and go by there later today or tomorrow and poke around some more. It's a nice little camper, but the soft spots had me worried when I went to see it the first time. It didn't seem like a large area and so I wanted to see how much I could get away with

The bondo idea is a good one. If we end up getting it, I'll definitely take that window out and explore. I did notice that it has vinyl wall paper, so I guess I'll have to get create on how to replace that or at least make it look consistent with the rest of the camper.

Pix to follow shortly. Thanks again!!!
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Old 09-28-2017, 11:14 AM   #4
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Nelson, Welcome to the right place for answers! I, too had some minor water damage to a 24'er I owned. The correct answer to your question is to stop the leakage, of course. If the area is localized to just under the window then a window reseal is necessary. Don't mess around, reseal them all! You'll need butyl tape, enough to do all windows, I order a five roll pack from amazon prime. 5 rolls is too much, but I'd rather have too much than not enough. Also use mineral spirits to clean around the windows and the square bit to remove the windows. Now, when you remove the offending window (would be nice to have someone to hold the window in case it falls), you WILL have broken or stripped screws, so you'll need replacement SS screws. Get the GOOD ones, not from Home Depot. Once the window is out, clean the surface and the window. After using the spirits you'll need to re-clean that area with windex or alcohol, because butyl tape won't stick/seal to the spirits. Apply the tape around the window hole, center the window and install the trim. Here's the hard part--wait about 2 days and carefully scrape the excess tape from around the window and neatly apply Lexel caulk (available from Ace) around the window frame. If one is leaking the rest are SOON to follow. I use a hard plastic scraper on all caulk removal tasks.
Any other questions just ask. Bye from Bonita Springs, FL.,
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Old 09-28-2017, 08:35 PM   #5
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Default Repairing water damage

Advice from someone that has fixed major water damage. Remove the window and this will give you a good look at the condition of the wall. I would strongly advise you to tear into the wall until you find dry wood. Try J&R in Ohio for matching paneling. I would under no circumstances want to sleep or be in a trailer with mildew smells. Wear a mask as you tear into the wall. Tree has given you good advice about taking out all windows and reasealing. Either buy the unit at a reduced price or pass up on this unit. Many many of us have done major repairs. I didn't realize that I needed to take out all my windows and reseal. This would have prevented all my water damage. We are here for any questions you may have. The only area I used bondo on was the interior exposed fiberglass wall. It seals up anypinpoint holes you can't even see. It has been six years since our repairs and we have been cozy warm and dry. Welcome to the forum.
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Old 09-28-2017, 09:21 PM   #6
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Sam, there's a Bondo product that fills/replaces rotted wood. I've used it on beams in my home and, if done right, it seems to be an indefinite repair. I've never had to replace it.

I think it's called Bondo for the Home, or something like that. It's not the automobile product.

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Old 09-28-2017, 09:30 PM   #7
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You guys have all been so helpful - I can't thank you all enough! The funny thing is, we're debating between this 2007 2307C or an 1987 22" Funchaser. The newer one is well, newer and nicer, but has the small rotten wall section (asking $7600). The older one looks totally dry but comes with all the potential concerns of an older camper - What will break the minute we get home? That one is advertised at $4850 which seems awefully high to me. I guess part of it too is the decision of is quality better on older units or newer ones....we'll see.

I'm going to visit the 2007 tomorrow and I'll snap some pictures of the area in question and maybe post a youtube video feed on this post to see what you guys think. If we go the 2007 route, what would you guys think a good offer would be given the wall damage? Here's a link to the actual 2007 unit for sale:https://www.rvtrader.com/dealers/Ame...307C-119684466

Here's the 87: https://tampa.craigslist.org/hil/rvs...252663878.html
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Old 09-29-2017, 05:46 AM   #8
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Note!

Mold needs three things to live. Water, temp, and a food source. Remove one and the mold stops growing!

Remove the mold by cleaning or removal of the contaminated parts.

Good Luck!
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Old 09-29-2017, 04:07 PM   #9
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i would not remove the whole window. just creep around it wtth a putty knife see how much damage you really have under it/ around it ? dont tear out whole window for 1 " wound! be stupid! jmo! just examine 1st! some people when they yry to just examine s---t go way overboard and get stupid make more work than they have to! like me!
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Old 09-29-2017, 07:43 PM   #10
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Default rotted wood repairs

Jack. I have also used wood rot repairs products in a home repair with good results. I still stand by my previous post ...advice. It is not a major pain to remove one window to see what damage you have. It all boils down to how much $ and time you want to spend on repairs. Are you handy and do you have a place to work on the HiLo. Our is a 1990 25ft. Classic and dh had had to do major repairs. It holds up to very windy condition and "Noah's Ark"rain storms. J& R the repair shop in OHIO told me to use bondo on the inner fiberglass wall. I'm sure J&R rips out walls and does a proper layered wall replacement. I would never use a rot repair product when you can already smell mold. Everything that goes wrong in a HiLo is fixable. Only you can decide what RV choice is right for you.
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Old 09-30-2017, 12:30 AM   #11
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Sam, I was in no way disagreeing with what you said. He SHOULD take the window out and reseal it properly when he's finished with whatever repairs he does.

And, like you, I would not use Bondo on rotted, wet wood. If the wood is wet, it needs to come out. I was simply thinking the damage might be a rather small section that could then be filled with the Bondo. As you know, it's an epoxy that can be forced into crevices to make a tight seal. I'd do this in stages too, not trying to fill the gap completely in one step. Just make sure the repair area is dry and clean.

Also, I think Bondo is an excellent product to fill/seal aluminum and fiberglass dents/holes.

- Jack
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Old 09-30-2017, 03:30 PM   #12
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Hi All,

Just a quick note to confirm something said earlier: it's good to pull the whole window out regardless and (even when there's no obvious rot but it's just not been done before) reseal the whole thing. It can't be done well without pulling the whole window and getting full butyl tape around it followed by some good sealant at the outside edge.

There have been quite a few of us that have found the original cutouts by HiLo don't allow much overlap between window and wall so it's easy to have problems start - perhaps that's what caused the original wetness to begin with.

I hope that doesn't add more confusion.

Best
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Old 09-30-2017, 10:15 PM   #13
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I have chased water leaks in my 25' 2008 over the last 4 yrs...let's just say, I bought the trailer for $12k and now have more in it fixing water leaks than what I paid...latest was adding the rubber roof. Wish I did that first. But, the trailer is really nice now (it better be). I don't know about others, this is my 2nd hi lo and I have had major water damage in both...it takes a special person to stick with these gems.
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Old 10-01-2017, 09:17 PM   #14
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Default Glad you stuck with it until the problems were solved.

Congrats on being a "die hard HiLo owner". Now go camping and enjoy!! I belong to a camping and many in the group own some serious (sob) realestate. The horrow stories they tell around the campfire is unreal. Not being able to get warranty work done correctly,if at all. One guy with a very expensive motor home had to send it back to the factory for a total rewire. He arranged for a tech to fly in and drive it back to the factory. The tech broke down on the way back to the factory. He negotiated to start his warranty again after the repairs and painting were completed. They drove the motorhome cross country and put it back in his driveway.
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Old 10-12-2017, 08:47 PM   #15
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I have dealt with rot. Agree, if it is a small section then it probably is not structural, just carve out the wet rot and back fill with something. Sometimes almost anything will do since you are just filling a void, but since at a window then that above advice works.
I have used liquid nails to fill in spaces, but be careful that you keep the sticky from anything that needs to not be stuck to the other things (like a window that might need to be removed), so you can cover with cellophane, or Vaseline to not stick. It will still take the shape of the void but not stick, but again, if that is not something structural.
I have learned that RVs can go years and years and years with minor problems that never surface or cause issues, sometimes problems they can take to the grave, err junkyard with them.

I have never taken the windows completely out to reseal them. When I do something like that I seem to uncover more problems that I wish I had left alone. Will not just caulking around the window be sufficient? Is what I have been doing. I used to use silicone, but that is very hard to scrape off down the road. Caulk will only last a few years, but is very easy to just scrape off and re-do each season.
The goal being to keep water out, and that is what caulk does.
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Old 10-13-2017, 01:34 PM   #16
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I found water damage belowmy kitchen window while taking it out to reseal. had I not re-sealed It I would have not caught the problem when I did. There was NO visible sign of damage on the inside before I removed the window and found what I did. It turned out, the leak was above and running down and around window frame and pooling underneath. AS it was, I had to remove part of the inside panel on the wall under the window and I'm glad I caught it when I did. I was able to get a halfway decent match at Home Depot and replace it after letting it dry out for a couple of days. PULL THE WINDOW! Its not that hard and you are likely saving yourself further issues down the road. In fact, I agree with others, pull them all, inspect, and then reseal. Its worth the peace of mind for the next five to ten years.

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Old 10-14-2017, 08:07 AM   #17
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I endorse your comment hilltool. A few hours work today (or one at a time), saves many hours of rebuild later. 'nuff said, I think. This job is NOT hard.
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