What do you find?
We had an unfortunate incident last week when a pipe bust under the bathroom sink with no one in the trailer. It flooded the bathroom and the bedroom before anyone saw the water seemingly coming from everywhere under the fifthwheel over the hitch. 24 hours with a shop vac, hundreds of towels, blowers, heaters, fans and every imaginable thing the carpet and pad was dry. Really it is but, don't ask everything we did to get it that way.
Then came the real problem. The water that was now trapped between the subfloor and the black moisture seal which of course saturated the fiberglass insulation in between. Suck it out...nope, impossible, dry it...completely impossible. Trade the rig in... almost did that. The only solution was to remove the panel under the overhang, cut open the plastic and rip out all the insulation before the subfloor was damaged.
Thank God for the type of subfloor under there. OSB is very resistant to moisture. If it had been plywood...it would have neen toast in one day. The OSB didn't even soak up any water that I can tell. Once exposed and the insulation removed it was almost dry in less than a day. A day or so more and I'll replace the insulation and staple back the plastic and seal it.
OK, now for the bad. This 5vr has only been on 4 trips since new and has only been exposed to the elements for one year. When we removed the moldings on the edges of the panel under the overhang we found:
1) 75% of the screws rusty.
2) The moldings had about a 1/2" strip of butyl putty down the middle of them and most was too thin to provide any type of seal.
3) When the under panel was removed both edges were delaminated and covered in heavy mold and mildew. The metal frame on both edges was rusty. The caulking on the upper side edges of the molding seemed secure but the lack of any sufficient sealing putty left a path through the screws for moisture to attack the edges of the panel for about 5 inches in from the sides. This had been going on for quite some time and would have eventually destroyed the panel.
Bottom line...Forest River doesn't have adequate quality control, they don't seal the most critical areas of an RV adequately and builds a rig with a programmed obsolecence that will rot, mold and leak from every seam just like the cheaper rigs out there.
God only knows where else this trailer is leaking water into the nooks and crevices that will eventually cause irrepairable damage or health risks from the mold, rot and mildew that will result.
I'm now actually considering this major leak a mixed blessing in that I was able to discover a lurking disaster that would have caused even more damage in the future. You can be assured that when I put it back together it will have the sealing that it should have gotten at the factory and won't ever leak again it the areas I repair.
A word to the wise, if you have the time and the skills you might want to consider removing the panel and take a look under there for hidden problems you don't want to increase to major problems. My wife and I spent about 3 hours getting it off with a razor blade knife, putty knife and cordless drill. I don't think the problems we discovered were an isolated incident and there were no external indications of the problems encountered. I'm even glad I had an excuse to look and prevent definate future problems. I'm certain I will have extend the life of the rig by several years by catching the rust, mold, mildew and moisture problems under that panel and doing the proper sealing that FR failed to do.
Bad job Forest River. Crummy quality control and terrible construction quality. You need to do much better to ever get my business again.
RV's to avoid so far: Fleetwood, and now - Forest River