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Old 02-15-2020, 01:45 AM   #1
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Water damage to insulation in underbelly

We have a 2019 Cedar Creek Hathaway and recently had some bad luck. The park we are staying at had to turn off the water to repair a leak in the park. We were notified but I forgot and after attempting to wash my hands in the bathroom and being reminded we had no water, I inadvertently failed to turn off the water faucet. Unfortunately we had left for several hours and we got a call from the park that we had water coming out from under our RV and they had turned our water off. The running water of course filled up the gray tanks and the kitchen sink and ran over into the RV. The damage wasn't as bad as expected since the auto level leaves the RV with a slight tilt to the front and the water ran towards the pantry, cabinet and stairway.

The water founds its way into the underbelly where it no doubt has saturated a good bit of insulation and it then leaked past the plastic panels out. The plastic panels in that area in front of the axles were sagging from the weight of the water.

My question is, has anyone experienced a similar incident and how easy/hard is it to remove the panels and replace the insulation?
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Old 02-15-2020, 02:58 AM   #2
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I'm not familiar with your exact 5th wheel but I'm going to say you won't know until you pull the plastic panels and see how your unit is insulated. Some use insulation similar to home fiberglass in the floors, some use more of a styrofoam type. Some you can get to from under the RV after removing the plastic panels, some it's very challenging to get to. SO many different building techniques' used on RV's, it's not a consistent process, sometimes in the the same brand or assembly plant.

So unless you get someone with the same coach that's done it to respond, you might just have to take a few panels down and get some pics and post them and then I'm sure a bunch of people will have suggestions to help you do it the best and proper way.

Sorry it happened, sucks when something major like this goes wrong.
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Old 02-15-2020, 03:46 AM   #3
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cut a 3 sided 2' sq flap. Hing to the front at the lowest point. Have a look see. may not be any insulation to worry about. A flap or two may let it dry out. When dry apply Gorrilla tape to the flaps.
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Old 02-15-2020, 10:05 AM   #4
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I've always hated cutting flaps in the underbelly, but I did it once. It's easy to do and doesn't make too much of an issue once it's repaired.

In this situation I would take a corner of the coroplast down and get some light in there and take some pictures. As said above, it could be styrofoam type insulation and a good drying out is all that's required.

As for pulling some of the underbelly down, they use powder nailers to shoot the fasteners into the frame. Some people have had luck twisting the fasteners out with a pair of vise-grip pliers. Others have use a cold chisel to 'pop' the heads off and some have used a grinder to cut the heads off.

Of course you could get lucky and it be fastened with self drilling screws.
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Old 02-15-2020, 10:15 AM   #5
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Our RV is a 2019 Cedar Creek Hathaway 34IK, I have watched videos of the construction of this RV and the plastic panels slide in from the back to front and interlock. Then there is a light thermal shield layer placed then residential style batt insulation. I was just hoping that someone who has had a similar problem that owns a cedar creek product would answer my initial question, how hard or easy is it going to be to pull all that and get to the insulation? It will need to be pulled as I am sure quite a bit of it was saturated from the incident.
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Old 02-15-2020, 11:25 AM   #6
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Sorry about that, I forgot that CC Hathaway's did the underbelly like that. There is a thread somewhere on here of someone pulling the underbelly with pictures. Maybe try a few searches with different terms and see if you can find it.
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Old 02-15-2020, 01:46 PM   #7
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Waterlogged Insulation

I had a leak in my trailer that migrated, undetected, under the floor.
There was no way for water to escape or the insulation to dry. (Think of it as a sponge in a bottle.)
The water caused the floor members and flooring to rot, requiring replacement and a significant rebuilding effort.
I suggest you get at the issue as quickly as you can.
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Old 02-15-2020, 04:36 PM   #8
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Wet Insulation

I had a wet underbelly nightmare with my 1st TT which was a Starcraft. Somehow water get between a super heavy plastic and soaked the insulation and the wood flooring joists. Had no idea when bought there was a problem. Two items should have noticed: Campenter ants and a weak floor by the bed. The dealer was out of business the second year and I was screwed fixing the mess. The couch legs went through the floor, bathroom corner was soft along with the floor in the kitchen. I went under the trailer with a creeper and cut the plastic. The wet insulation came out on me along with lots and lots of carpenter ants in my face. Found the main floor center beam was rotted out and would not be any easy fix. Carpenter friend suggested putting new plywood sheets under the trailer, notched into the beam and laying on the edge of the outward frame. Then I cut out the rotted wood floor above in panels and used wood filler to smooth out the floor panels. Had to pull out the converter and water heater and bed to get this all done. Then I had to replace carpet and vinyl. Took me all summer to fix it up. What a mess. I would have like to have lightning hit this rig. What ever you do, get your RV dried out. I wish I could have gone after the dealer who sold me this used trailer. What choice did I have but fix it to be able to use it. Live and learn.
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Old 02-16-2020, 04:24 PM   #9
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I to had a carpenter ant issue caught them as they were going up the drain pipe. Anyway, the underbelly panels are easy to remove. I did this at an Rv park pulled all the insulation along with couple hundred ants or so. I did not replace the insulation as it was batted fiberglass and was just hanging along the bottom frame. So it really was not providing any substantial insulating factor. Have been out in sub freezing temps no problem with freezing.
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Old 02-16-2020, 04:38 PM   #10
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I had the drain from the grey tank freeze and crack and had to pull the plastic panels on the bottom of my Cedar Creek. You can actually flex (bend) the panels enough to work them out from one side instead of trying to slide them. It's best if you can get a second person to help you when you re-install them. Where hydraulic lines and gas lines penetrate the plastic, it makes it hard to slide them. Anyway, don't fret, you can remove them and remove the wet fiberglass insulation. There's no sense in trying to dry it. It will hold water forever. Throw it away and buy some unfaced batts from your local building supply store. I put back more insulation than I took out!
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Old 02-17-2020, 11:05 AM   #11
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If I were replacing the insulation, I would go with polystyrene foam (Styrofoam) of an equivalent or greater R value. The good thing about that is that it doesn't soak up water if it ever gets wet again. Which is likely to happen in and RV.

We owned a Grand Surveyor years ago and it came from the factory with Styrofoam insulation in the underbelly.
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