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Old 08-15-2010, 01:20 PM   #1
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Roof leaks

I've had the '94 LY for about 6 years and it had been plagued with roof leaks. As far as I can tell, I'm at least the third owner of this rig and previous owners kludged several fixes, so I'm not surprised that the roof leaks were there.

Shortly after I got the rig I noticed that I had some leaks and I took it to an RV dealer (who just happened to have become an AS dealer, but for trailers). The dealer redid the roof seams with some for of sealant that contained fiberglass particles. To my untrained eye (at that time) the seams looked OK before he redid them, but he showed me that the previous owners had put a bead of silicone sealant on top of the lap sealant, and that you could lift it with your fingernail.

It held for a couple of years and then started to leak again. So I took it to a guy who does AS clearcoating and asked him to strip the seams and tape them with Eternabond tape. Somehow the RV store talked him out of the Eternabond, suggesting a cheaper roofing tape - that was a major bad move. The tape he put on did not stick to the fiberglass roof (it did stick fine to the aluminum 1/4 round, though. The first rainstorm and water was leaking in. I called the guy and he drove to my place in Ottawa ON from London and put lap sealant on the edges of the tape. That stopped the leaking for about 2 years. Meanwhile, I bought 2 37-foot rolls of Eternabond.

The leaking started again. I took the rig to a local RV shop where they have pressure testing gear which allows them to pressurize the interior of the motorhome and then look for leaks by spraying soapy water on the roof (same idea as checking for leaks in an inner tube by inflating it and putting it in a trough filled with water to look for bubbles). They claimed to have found 2 leaks, which they patched with lap sealant.

The next time it rained, the leak was back so I bit the bullet and redid the seams myself, with some help from my son and a friend. The job took us 3 days - but the result was worth it.

All the old tape and sealant was stripped off and cleaned with mineral spirits. The underside of one of the tapes was actually wet - this indicated that water was indeed leaking in there. Then I noticed that there were a number of missing rivets and some of the rivets were loose enough that they came off with the tape. So I redid the rivets that were loose and rivetted the missing ones using 3/16" by 1/2" pop rivets. The structural integrity of the roof requires that all the rivets be in place. By missing 2 at the beginning of one side, the next 3 were loose.

Once the rivetting was done, I applied lap sealant on all the seams, taking particular care to ensure that the corners where the front (or back) seam met the side seam was adequately filled. This part of the job took 2 days. On the third day, we applied Eternabond tape over the seams and made sure that there was sufficient overlap to that there would be no chance for water to get in. After the tape was applied and pressure rolled to activate the microsealant, I applied lap sealant to the leading edges of the tape as per Eternabond's instructions. We finished the job yesterday.

I awoke this morning to a major thunderstorm, and it has been raining steadily for the past 10 hours. I went into the motor home, and it is bone dry - not a trace of water.

The moral of this tale is that if you want it done right, do it yourself provided that you know what you are doing.
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Old 08-15-2010, 02:59 PM   #2
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Congrats on successful job. Redoing pop rivets would never get done with the average fix as they wouldn't be found!
Questions keep coming up on here as to the exact material used for roofing the LY30. From reading your account, it sounds similar to mine except when you describe the rounded edge being aluminum. What did you find as roofing material and the ribs? .
When I replace bathroom vent with a fantastic vent, I found 3 screws holding down the vent were in place but could be turned either direction and could only pull a them out, the loose ones had rust as an indicator of water seepage. They were hidden under the layer of sealing tape. Entire roof on my LY 30 is a fiberglass board similar to what is being sold as shower panels at Home Depot.
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Old 08-16-2010, 07:26 AM   #3
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As I understand it, the actual roof is fiberglass, similar to what is used on boat decks, The sides, as you know, are also fiberglass, but finished with gelcoat. There is an aluminum quarter-round that goes over the roof and the sides. I suspect that there is an overlap at the roof edge, which slips under the fiberglass. This way the butt seam is actually a lap seam. Rivets are used along the edges, both the top (roof) and the side. It is important that these rivets all be secure. The average RV repair facility only covers the missing rivet holes with caulking or sealant - however, this doesn't restore the structural integrity of the body, and the allows for vibration to loosen the next rivets in line. It's not rocket science - all you need is a pop-rivetting tool and 3/16" rivets. While the rivets that are used are aluminum, I may get a supply of stainless steel ones, but it would require investing in a heavy duly pop-rivetting tool costing in the neighborhood of $200. That's not out of sight - I have already invested in my own 3/4" torque wrench to torque the wheelnuts.

Another place I have found where there was evidence of leaks is the original clearance lights. Water running off the roof to the front runs over the clearance lighyts and seeped in under the lens. It then flowed throughy the bottom of the bulb socket where the +12-v wire passes through. Since the base of the socked has a spring to secure the bulb, the wire has to slip through the hole, and the water seeps throughy that to the interior. I started to replace all my clearance lights with new LED ones which are totally sealed - water cannot get past them to the interior of the body.

It has been raining steadily here of 2 days and there in no tarce of water leaking in now. It was worth the 3 days of hot work!
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Old 08-17-2010, 08:18 AM   #4
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Thanks, I found the same leak at the clearance light, with dripping coming out above the dash from the map light. I took all apart and found like you said a path for water to follow, clauked backside of clearance light and top and sides of lens leaving the bottom free to weep. Good for sitting but in rain at 60mph your LED solution sounds better.

Thanks for the better discription of where the roof aluminum is, I some how related that aluminum quarter round as part of the the sidewall. I had found a problem where the side wall meets the roof above the driver's door, aluminum at this point is about 1.5 inches and about two foot long. PO had put in different larger head screws, my surprise was when I backed them out the original 1 inch screws of which two were left had been replaced with some as long as 3 inches trying to get to solid wood.

I found WorkHorse has different specs on wheel nuts than Chevy, what are you using?
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Old 08-21-2010, 12:20 AM   #5
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By specs on wheel nuts I assume you mean the torquing of them.

My Chassis is a Spartan EC2000. It's a diesel. The rims are Alcoa, and I torque them to 450 ftlbs. The inner rims on the rear are steel rims and are torqued to 250 ftlbs.

I purchased a 3-piece torque wrench from toolwarehouse.com. It is identical to the Snap-on branded one (made by the same company). It does not require resetting between each use. I had found that only the major truck repair centers had a 3/4" torque wrench that would work up to 600 ftlbs, so I bought my own.

What led to all this was that a couple of years ago I went to the International at Bozeman MT. Just outside Bozeman I blew an inside rear tire on the driver's side. It took out part of the metal side, but thankfully did not harm the genset. In Bozeman I bought 7 new tires, but the tire dealer did not have a proper torque wrench. By the time I got to Chicago, my left front wheel was starting to get loose.

Having my own torque wrench means that I can be sure that my wheel nuts are always tightened down correctly.
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Old 08-24-2010, 09:00 PM   #6
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Thanks for the leak tip. The monsoon-like rain at Casini revealed leaks from the missing gutter diverters and I fixed those, but the front leak was from, I thought, the top of the windshield. I will check the clearance lights when I get up there & replace them just to be sure.
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Old 10-04-2010, 03:28 PM   #7
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looking at a 1999 Land yacht

Looking at buying a land yacht that had roof leaks over the eng. area. That's where the seam runs accorss the front top of the roof.

My question is, is this a comman problem with the land yachts or just maint. thing?

Thanks,

Carl
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Old 10-11-2010, 05:23 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveFL View Post
Thanks, I found the same leak at the clearance light, with dripping coming out above the dash from the map light. I took all apart and found like you said a path for water to follow, clauked backside of clearance light and top and sides of lens leaving the bottom free to weep. Good for sitting but in rain at 60mph your LED solution sounds better.

Thanks for the better discription of where the roof aluminum is, I some how related that aluminum quarter round as part of the the sidewall. I had found a problem where the side wall meets the roof above the driver's door, aluminum at this point is about 1.5 inches and about two foot long. PO had put in different larger head screws, my surprise was when I backed them out the original 1 inch screws of which two were left had been replaced with some as long as 3 inches trying to get to solid wood.

I found WorkHorse has different specs on wheel nuts than Chevy, what are you using?

If your marker lights are Peterson they have an LED unit to fit and look the same.

Led's

"I have changed what I could without altering the OEM look. The Peterson markers are available in LED and a big improvement. They are sealed, compared to the bulb style that collected water in the front mounted units that were on too much angle to drain.
The side markers on the Freightliner Chassis series were mounted different than your Oshkosh model and were easy to update.
The stop/tail NZ Hella units are not available in LED and my conversion did not turn out to my satisfaction, so I have reinstalled the OEM with some update. I inlaid them with high quality DOT reflective tape, and am happy with the result. "

I also endorse the Eternabond for roof repairs on f/g. Think it is a great product, but the area has to be clean - clean. No silicone.

Dave
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