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Old 03-16-2009, 12:14 AM   #1
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04 Surveyor Leaks

This is my first post, and my first travel trailer. I have a lot of expectations and they probably aren't realistic. Ok...I can use some advice.

We bought a 04 21' Surveyor used from a private party. We found out that it had a single leak. Went to the service center to get that taken care of and run a "bubble test." That came up with a bunch of work that needed to be done, since the prior owner apparently never did any maintenance. The service center said they took care of resealing all the spots that were bubbling from their test.

Unfortunately, we just got back from a rainy weekend along the coast and still have leaks. So what is normal leakage? I expect vehicles to stay dry, but apparently there are lots of RVs with leaks?

I have a leak that is dripping from the top rear of the window above the oven, another leak on the storage door near the water tank, another one on the front storage door on the curbside side, and another one on the front window, and yet one more on the surbside front window.

Questions:
1. Travel leaks, are they normal? (They don't leak while parked, but leak while traveling in wet weather) (this one might be the front and curbside window) I also noticed that water was sprayed across the front storage compartment on each side.
How can they be stopped?

2. Is replacing the gasket material an option for creating a tighter seal? The black foam stuff seems to absorb more than resist it. If so, what do you use? Where do you get it?

3. Best ways to repair/reseal windows and storage things? I heard that just slapping some lap sealant isn't the best option, but rather should pull the window/door out and reseal the whole mounting area? Since the composition of the trailer is basically fiberglass/foam/sawdust walls, there's not much to hold onto so I'm concerned about getting a good grip from the screws.

4. Not a leak problem, but what are some good ways to fix screw holes that are stripped out no longer holding because foam just isn't good to anchor too?


Sorry for the long post. Lots of questions and I want to get my trailer running dry.

Thank you!
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Old 03-16-2009, 05:16 AM   #2
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First off I would like to you to FRF. You have come to a great forum, the members here are fantastic and have a lot of info to share and the best thing is we all like to help. Questions are a specialty and answers will soon follow. I at this time have not had any problems like yours other then interior leaks from loose plumbing, just stand by you will get some Ideas. I hope you will get your problems fix quickly.
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Old 03-16-2009, 07:16 AM   #3
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to FRF. Sorry to hear about your leaking issues.

To fix a stripped hole you can use a flat tooth pick, place it in the hole and then put the screw back in. I usually use some wood dough, place it in the hole and gently put the screw back in. Later after the wood dough has cured I'll tighten the screw a little more.

As for replacing the gasket material you'll most likely need to get it from a RV Dealer or check Camping World.

Traveling leaks should not be a normal occurence. Locate where the water is getting in and address the leak with sealant or what ever is missing and allowing the water to get in.

Ask the dealership that fixed the other leaks to look at the ones you just found.

Good luck, hopefully these are minor leaks, but should be addressed before they become major.

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Old 03-16-2009, 08:53 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grizzly_A View Post
We bought a 04 21' Surveyor used from a private party. We found out that it had a single leak. Went to the service center to get that taken care of and run a "bubble test." That came up with a bunch of work that needed to be done, since the prior owner apparently never did any maintenance. The service center said they took care of resealing all the spots that were bubbling from their test.

Unfortunately, we just got back from a rainy weekend along the coast and still have leaks. So what is normal leakage? I expect vehicles to stay dry, but apparently there are lots of RVs with leaks?
You should expect the RV to stay dry. And, as you've already found out a lot of owners don't maintain the rigs properly. If you're handy you can fix all the leaks yourself.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grizzly_A View Post
I have a leak that is dripping from the top rear of the window above the oven, another leak on the storage door near the water tank, another one on the front storage door on the curbside side, and another one on the front window, and yet one more on the curbside front window.
It sounds as if these leaks are coming from the window/door flanges. You'll want to test to make sure that's where they're leaking.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Grizzly_A View Post
Questions:
1. Travel leaks, are they normal? (They don't leak while parked, but leak while traveling in wet weather) (this one might be the front and curbside window) I also noticed that water was sprayed across the front storage compartment on each side.
How can they be stopped?
While they do happen they're not normal. Follow the advice above and you'll be happy and dry.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Grizzly_A View Post
2. Is replacing the gasket material an option for creating a tighter seal? The black foam stuff seems to absorb more than resist it. If so, what do you use? Where do you get it?
You'll most likely want to replace the rubber "D" seal even if they look ok.
Trim-Lok has about any profile and size you could want, but I bought new at camping world a size larger that original and it works great.
Be sure not to stretch it when applying it, compressing it a bit as you install it actually helps the sealing and keeps it from pulling out of the corners due to contraction when it gets cold.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grizzly_A View Post
3. Best ways to repair/reseal windows and storage things? I heard that just slapping some lap sealant isn't the best option, but rather should pull the window/door out and reseal the whole mounting area? Since the composition of the trailer is basically fiberglass/foam/sawdust walls, there's not much to hold onto so I'm concerned about getting a good grip from the screws.
The proper way to "fix" these leaks is to remove the windows and storage doors completely and remove the butyl tape sealant and replace it with new butyl tape. Be sure to get butyl and not just putty tape.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grizzly_A View Post
4. Not a leak problem, but what are some good ways to fix screw holes that are stripped out no longer holding because foam just isn't good to anchor too?
There are a couple ways to fix a stripped screw hole. You can use dry wall anchors if there's a space behind the panel. You could go with a larger screw but that might not be an option. My favorite thing to do, if it's a blind hole, is squirt it full of Gorilla glue and put a small piece of tape over it till it drys.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Grizzly_A View Post
Sorry for the long post. Lots of questions and I want to get my trailer running dry.
Not a problem. Asking questions is how we all learn. I hope the above helps a bit.
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Old 03-17-2009, 08:42 PM   #5
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Thank you for the information! Good to know there's a resolution to the problems.

I've got a few questions that stem from the answers:
1. How do I test to tell if it's from the window/storage flange?

2. Travel moisture: Do I just lap seal the seams on the front of the trailer to make sure I'm covered?

3. Where do I get Butyl tape? Camping world?

4. Any problems with pulling the windows out and resealing? What about stripping the screw holes in foam? (Doesn't the dealer pull the windows and do proper maintenance when sealing???)


On the very front there's that full length storage area where the flooring is stapled to the base board. That area as well as what feels like a good portion of the entire front is damp/wet. The backing is damp along that whole way. I can't find puddles, it's just constantly damp. The flooring is wet on the underside and is pulling away from the staples. The staples are rusted, so I know it's been wet for a long time.
Does anyone else have this with their Surveyor 21'?

Thank you for your help.
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Old 03-18-2009, 10:25 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grizzly_A View Post
1. How do I test to tell if it's from the window/storage flange?
Of course a pressure test is the best way to tell, but you can put some paper towels around the window/storage flange and spray water on it.

You can pressure test the unit yourself if you have a leaf blower or a squirrel caged blower. Just make an adapter to fit an opening and use a dishwashing soap/water mixture sprayed on the outside. That'll tell you where the leaks are. You'll might have a problem with pressuring up the storage area but it can be done.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grizzly_A View Post
2. Travel moisture: Do I just lap seal the seams on the front of the trailer to make sure I'm covered?
Which seams are you referring to? I'd say yes but the only seams you should have are the side seams. and to do it right you should remove the trim.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grizzly_A View Post
3. Where do I get Butyl tape? Camping world?
Yes, that's probably the easiest place to find it. You can get it online too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grizzly_A View Post
4. Any problems with pulling the windows out and resealing? What about stripping the screw holes in foam? (Doesn't the dealer pull the windows and do proper maintenance when sealing???)
No problems with pulling the windows out. They're designed like a clamp. There's an inner ring that holds the window in place. The screws, thread into that piece clamping the window to both sides of the wall. If you remove them be sure when putting them back to get them centered in the opening as best as possible.

The storage doors are one sided so they're a bit different.

I hate to say it but not usually. They usually just run some caulking around the frame and hope it works. At least the ones I've dealt with have.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Grizzly_A View Post
On the very front there's that full length storage area where the flooring is stapled to the base board. That area as well as what feels like a good portion of the entire front is damp/wet. The backing is damp along that whole way. I can't find puddles, it's just constantly damp. The flooring is wet on the underside and is pulling away from the staples. The staples are rusted, so I know it's been wet for a long time.
It's hard to say where the water is coming from. I'd seal everything, including the roof/front cap seam. I'd consider using eternabond up there. I think with a good properly done reseal all around you'll stop all the water intrusion. Check the bottom of the front while you're at it because it could be coming from there since you say it only leaks while towing.
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Old 03-18-2009, 07:43 PM   #7
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Quote:
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It's hard to say where the water is coming from. I'd seal everything, including the roof/front cap seam. I'd consider using eternabond up there. I think with a good properly done reseal all around you'll stop all the water intrusion. Check the bottom of the front while you're at it because it could be coming from there since you say it only leaks while towing.
Sorry, it leaks while parked and while in motion. The front and side windows and front storage compartment are the areas that leak while in motion. The storage areas and kitchen window leak when parked.

We had the roof transitions, vents, windows, door, storage doors, electrical/water penetrations, lights all resealed at the dealer. The one good thing is that the vent stopped leaking after the dealer had it. The other stuff I either didn't notice or it didn't help.
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Old 05-01-2009, 03:26 PM   #8
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Cool

I have a 2002 SV230 that has had only one leak, at the front window, that I found when I brought the trailer home. I concluded the gasket to seal around the window was too short, but was stretched to fill the opening, causing it to do a poor job at the corners. I removed the gasket and re-installed it normally, to remove the stretching, but that left the gasket 2" short. I left the space at one side (rather than the bottom, to invite more leakage). After trying to get a 2" piece of the same gasket under the warranty, finally just filled the gap with a black rubberized gasket, that seems (for 6 years) to have solved the problem. Rather than remove and replace offending windows, etc., I would probably try loosening, cleaning as much as possible, stringing eternabond or similar adhesive behind the frames, and tightening the bonding between frame and fiberglas to try for a better seal. Good luck.
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