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  #1  
Old 10-28-2011, 09:04 AM
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Anyone deal with wood rot in an RV?

While cleaning the 5th wheel for the winter, I found some soft wood. Like so soft hat the vinyl covering was all that was there.
I opened up the area and removed the wet insulation. I can't be sure where the water came from, but the window is the prime suspect. I have duct taped around the window for a temporary seal.
I see some epoxy products that are supposed to penetrate DRY rotten woon and harden to restore some structure. Has anyone experience with any of these?
At this point, my plan is:
1) Seal from additional rain.
2) Dry out the wood.
3) Remove as much rotted wood as possible.
4) Treat the remaining wood with epoxy
5) Add sister studs as possible, and reframe around the window.
6) Install a new panel over the repairs and trim.

Any other ideas?

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Old 10-28-2011, 09:17 AM
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I would remove the window right away and reset it with new putty tape. I would also have a good look at the roof. That's where most leaks seem to come in. I replaced about an 8' x 8' section of the floor and framing beneath it in my old RV. No fun lifting the house partially off the frame to do that.
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  #3  
Old 10-28-2011, 09:26 AM
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I've seen a fair amount of water damage in RV's in the past but have never done the repairs myself. I have used a similar epoxy to repair porch posts. I'd try to remove as much of the wet or rotten wood as possible rather than epoxying it. This problem is why I moved to metal framed RV's.
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Old 10-28-2011, 10:16 AM
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Windows in RVs should be removed and resealed every few years as routine. Most leaks come from the roof, some windows, some drains for AC, etc.

Using an unvented propane heater in an RV will cause condensation damage. As bad as a leak.

If the wood is bad enough that you feel like it needs to be coated, it needs to be replaced.

Kerry is right about the metal frame. A paramedic buddy says that the metal frame might not save you in an accident but at least they can identify your body. Same with a motorcycle helmet.

Flat roofed RVs are not something I would own. Some of the plastic roofs were problematic too, search by make and model for stories.

I might buy another RV soon. Maybe a 5th wheel with slides. I also always liked the Wanderlodges like Kerry is referring to and has listed in his sig.
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Old 10-28-2011, 10:33 AM
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Thanks all,

I don't see any problem with the roof. Its a rubber membrane with no obvious cuts, tears, gaps etc. I recoated it a coupe of years ago, and it still looks good.

I have to reframe the window before I can even think about sealing around it.

The problem with removing all the affected wood is one of access. The wall in question is the rear wall of the RV, and the RV has a rear kitchen. The rear wall, left to right, is --Refrig, range, counter top with corner sink on the right side. Center of window is also center line of the RV right near the right edge of the range. The cabinets were screwed to the framing from the outside, so removing them is a major issue. I've pulled the range hood and the wood seems good all around the refrig.

Its a '95 Wilderness, and otherwise looks almost new. We use it about 4 times a year, and its hard to justify much expense. I'd like to get 3 or 4 more years out of it. Another problem with replacing it is that most manufacturers seem to be concentrating on the larger end of the spectrum. This one is 24', and I've seen a 26' that is OK, but then they seem to go well into the 34' +/- range, and I just don't need/ want the extra space.
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Old 10-28-2011, 10:37 AM
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I'd probably approach it from the outside, removing the skin and replacing the wood behind it. Easier than messing with the kitchen I think. RV.Net is a good resource for this kind of stuff.
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1985 409d 65k--sold 06
1984 300SD 315k--daughter's car
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1982 Bluebird Wanderlodge CAT 3208--Sold 2/13
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  #7  
Old 10-28-2011, 10:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kerry View Post
I'd probably approach it from the outside, removing the skin and replacing the wood behind it. Easier than messing with the kitchen I think. RV.Net is a good resource for this kind of stuff.
Arrgh.
That is probably the best approach, sadly.
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Old 10-28-2011, 10:46 AM
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I think RVs are too big too. We use big ones like bunkhouses more than for travelling. I have a Class B that I travel in. It's great for parking anywhere, anytime to sleep. Legal in any parking spot in the US, mobile mini-hotel room. Towing capacity is better than most larger motorhomes also. An enclosed trailer is like taking a utility room, garage, storage unit or shop with you.
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  #9  
Old 10-28-2011, 02:23 PM
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There is a marine product out there to restore rotted areas on wood boats. It is a water thin epoxy I imagine. Costwise probably better to replace what you are describing. Plus the strength of the epoxy product depends on the amount of penatration.
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  #10  
Old 10-28-2011, 03:44 PM
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MS, check out Git-Rot. I used it as a kid when my parents had an older boat with a wooden superstructure and then again on an old plywood runabout that I had shortly after. While my father wouldn't tolerate much soft wood, he would use it if he discovered any mid-season and it really did harden up stronger than the surrounding wood. On my runabout, well, it probably had more Git-Rot than solid wood. Realistically (as opposed to ideally), if the wood has rotten to the point it is crumbling apart rather than just being soft is should be replaced. Ideally it should be replaced but... That Git-Rot really seemed to do the job.
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  #11  
Old 10-29-2011, 08:04 AM
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West Systems

Take a look at it; designed for boats. I've used it for all kinds of wood repair in historic houses.

I've also used Abatron, but found that West System is more versatile
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Old 10-29-2011, 10:01 AM
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Thanks guys,
At this point, I think I will modify my original plan. I will bite the bullet and remove the aluminum skin. Then remove the rotted wood, and reframe, and reskin. Wood that cannot be easily removed and replaced, if only slightly affected ( as in the two rear corner posts ( I hope)), will be treated with some epoxy.
We are getting into winter, actually, right now we are in a "winter storm watch" and having rain, sleet, and snow.
That brings to mind questions about the epoxies and temperature. Are some of them more appropriate for cooler temps than others?
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  #13  
Old 10-29-2011, 10:07 AM
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Yes, lots of different epoxies that cure under different conditions. West Systems is good. It's not cheap. I've used lots of different epoxies over the years and I've never had problems with any of them. For a while HD was selling an epoxy in quart or gallon cans that was a 1/1 mixture. I find proportioning the 1/1 mixtures is far easier.

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1977 300d 70k--sold 08
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1985 409d 65k--sold 06
1984 300SD 315k--daughter's car
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1993 GMC Sierra 6.5 TD 4x4
1982 Bluebird Wanderlodge CAT 3208--Sold 2/13
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