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Old 12-04-2006, 03:28 PM   #1
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Ha! What Battery Compartment??? (Pics)

When the access door of my battery compartment (1975 Argosy 24) would not open I thought it was just a matter of replacing the cam lock. However, after much manipulation and removing some rivets I discovered the battery had wedged itself against the door lock. Upon opening the door, what did I see? Well, the photos below speak for themselves.

As you can probably tell, the old copper (which needs to be replaced with PEX before Spring Break...) had a leak or two and the PO probably had no idea. My guess is these leaks PLUS the poor design of weatherstripping on the access door led to this destruction of the floor.

Canoe stream, you prophesied this was probably my situation, and you were 100% correct. My next major undertaking BEFORE installing my new converter is to replace this portion of the floor and get this compartment in the dry. I know there is another thread on YOUR repair, and I plan to study your steps. Overlander63 will probably "hold my hand", too (in a MANLY way, of course) since he's one of my Airstream mentors. Hate to wear out my welcome with all these good moderators...so, the rest of you feel free to chime in.

As for me, I've got a twin bed frame to remove and possibly a bathroom closet wall, or two, or three.... Removing that battery box looks like a huge task. Wonder if I could "slide" some good wood under that box and seal all around it with a case or two of Vulkem?
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Old 12-04-2006, 03:44 PM   #2
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Only one word can describe those pics.....

OUCH!
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Old 12-04-2006, 06:38 PM   #3
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You can make a real tight template made and cut out a piece of plywood in there.

Perhaps you can use construction caulking or liquid nails to glus this new piece in.

Then put a bead around the edge, good for 30 years.
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Old 12-05-2006, 09:25 AM   #4
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Silvertwinkie,
OUCH was my first response, too. Until I noticed the rotten wood was place ON TOP of the structural wood for the floor. No significant damage to the floor.

Lipets,
Sounds great! Confirms my first plan of attack. The new wood needs to be strong enough to hold up a battery, and the seams need to be strong enough to hold out the rain. I'm toying with the idea of putting new weatherstrip COMPLETELY around the access door, but I wonder how much ventilation problems that may cause? Possible solution: Put a small ventilation hose from the battery box to a location leading to the outside of the camper. My old popup camper had that setup. Could work...
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Old 12-05-2006, 04:55 PM   #5
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That don't look bad at all

Check out my repair:
http://www.balrgn.com/Airstream/airs...oject_2004.htm

May give you some help.
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Old 12-05-2006, 05:31 PM   #6
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I wouldn't put weather stiping around the door, let the air in and out.

You can epoxy the new piece to make it water prtoof.

That rot didn't get there from a drip or two of water

Maybe the PO had a batttery leak acid and attack the wood, or the door was left open for a long period of time.
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Old 12-05-2006, 06:13 PM   #7
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I just finished my own floor patch - it was much easier than I expected and the new section is if anything more solid than the original would have been (because it's held to the shell & frame with more bolts).
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Old 12-06-2006, 04:44 PM   #8
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Lipets,
You make some good observations. However, I'm not sure if leaving off the weatherstripping will help. The bigger enemy in this case has been water, not the lack of ventilation. Ha! With a floor like mine, who needs ventilation?

Seriously, I may coat the replacement wood with epoxy, but I won't depend upon that to seal out the water. In truth, epoxy locks in moisture and hurts the wood more often in rainy climates. That's why current boat builders have done away with epoxied wood and gone to all fiberglass.

Yes, the damage was caused by a lot more than a drip or two. Who knows? Perhaps a combination of small indoor leaks, poor weatherstripping, neglected open doors, AND leaky batteries.
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Old 12-06-2006, 06:59 PM   #9
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It can only lock in the mosture that may be present, not add additional mosture.

It should be fine IMO.

As an avid boater, I see many fiberglassed wood in boats, saw one that was a 1979 and the suveyor couldn't find moisture with his meter.

However if water is allowed to penetrate the glass shell---different story.
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Old 12-06-2006, 07:07 PM   #10
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Water damage

Here is an idea from a boat nut.

When you cut your board drill a hole to fit a boat transome drain plug. Instead of the usual plug you would use to keep water out of your boat, look for a flex plug that looks like a round rubber hose at the interior end and flattens out at the 'outboard' end. The idea in a boat is that when the boat is at rest, water pressure holds the flattened end of the short tube closed and when up on plane water inside the boat can flow out of the flexible tube.

Warning!! Don't put one of these nifty little gadgets in your boat and forget to replace it when leaving your favorite skiff tied to a dock overnight!
A small bit of trash is sure to hang up and keep the flat end from closing completely. Embarrassing personal experience.

I have used this trick in a utility trailer floor that always held a little rainwater.

Good for anywhere that leaks a little water in, but you don't want to leave an open hole and don't need to run drain tubing.

Happy sawdust making, Jim
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Old 12-06-2006, 07:13 PM   #11
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Hi, Sierrajab,

Actually, if your battery door is like the one on my Argosy, you can put weatherstripping around the top and edges of it. There's a gap right above the hinge where gasses (and spillover) can vent. Just leave that part open.

Lamar
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Old 12-07-2006, 09:15 PM   #12
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Safeharbor,
Yes, our access doors are the same. Some good advice.

Lipets,
What a coincidence! I'm an avid boater, too. I currently own a 1985 Sierra Supreme that I have rebuilt over the past 5 years. My first boat was a new 1977 Glastron Carlson. Twenty years later I found and rebuilt a 1980 Glastron Carlson. Every one of these boats had epoxy-covered wood. The only way to rebuild those was to reglass the wood. It wasn't until the early or mid 90's that major boat builders (Correct Craft, etc.) decided against epoxied wood and opted for all fiberglass stringers, floors, etc. It seems the constant vibration and flexing of the boats resulted in cracks in the epoxy, thus allowing water to seep into the wood. The remaining epoxy would not allow the wood to dry out completely, resulting in ultimate destruction of the wood.

This is my only (though minor) concern for an epoxied floor in a battery compartment WITHOUT weatherstripping around the door. We both know fiberglass resin does not ADD moisture to the wood. However, it's been proven to prevent the wood from drying properly.

I think the best option would be an epoxied wooden floor, sufficient weatherstripping around the door, PLUS an additional vent in the floor to the belly cavity. You may have to elevate the battery to keep it from covering the vent, but I think it just might work. I'll keep you posted (with pics).

Thanks to you all for your input. Lots of valuable advice from you all.
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Old 11-03-2007, 04:24 PM   #13
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It is nice to have brothers in Battery compartments. I too have been through this rebuilding chore and it was interesting to say the least. I replaced most of the wood by custom fitting it under and over the damaged area. I coated the wood with varnish and rebuilt the door hinge with a 1 ins. angle aluminum across the front of the opening , and made it about 4 ins longer than the opening on each side. Then I applied the door hinge to the angle aluminum. it is now fasten to the sides of the body and the new floor. MUY BRASO. I put the aluminum sleeve (floor) in and fastened it to the floor, then coated it with body under compound.
For saftey I put another angle piece of aluminum across the door opening to prevent the battery banging against the door when traveling and breaking the door (which is just held by the door lock.). I still have to get a battery box pan for the battery.
I do have fun.

Rae Burlington,Ont.
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Old 11-03-2007, 05:33 PM   #14
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I've just startyed making repairs and my battery compartment doesn't look bad at all, however the PO caulked/epoxied/something the battery compartment door shut. From some of your post I'm starting to wonder if I need to do something for ventilation. I need to go take a closer look because the PO might have done something about this. I hope.
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