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Old 10-15-2010, 11:55 PM   #1
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Question Something rotten in River City..Andy Help me!

The last three days I have been gutting the interior of my 72/31' international. Today I removed the front gaucho and the carpet behind the gaucho....crap! There is dry rot in the plywood below the front windows and side windows, total of four small areas in the plywood are rotted all the way thru to the insulation!


My question is… do I remove the entire section of plywood, or do I cut out the dry rot and patch? Please help me do the right thing. Hope my photo is not to big! I am still trying to learn how to post threads



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Old 10-16-2010, 02:19 AM   #2
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Rex there will be more damage to the plywood under the edge of the shell. I would replace the entire section of plywood. The sections across the front are where the shell is held down to the frame. This is the main connection point from the shell to the frame. Solid wood is needed there for proper support and a good solid connection. This section can be easily replaced without shell removal. It will however require removal of the lower sections of interior wall to access the bolts holding the shell to the frame. Be sure you carefully inspect the rear section of floor as well. There should be more damage there. BTW that is not dry rot. You have leaks causing the floor to rot. Trust me I know. Mine was exactly the same.
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Old 10-16-2010, 02:28 AM   #3
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You want to replace the rotted wood.... and fix the leaks that caused the rot, of course!

Small sections of plywood are readily replaced, although it is a bit fiddly. You want to cut out the damaged sections, leaving nice straight edges to simplify fitting the replacement piece. Removing the damaged sections from the C channel may require loosening the bottom of the interior skin; there may be bolts or screws into the plywood from the top of the C channel. You'll want to use butt blocks screwed and glued - Gorilla glue or other polyurethanes work well - underneath around the perimeter of the hole to support the replacement piece. The amount of overlap should be several inches as this will insure that the floor has a continuous curvature. I use #10 laminating screws to hold things together while the glue dries.... the replacement piece should be glued and screwed as well.

Depending on the floor covering you're going to use, you may need to fill any remaining gaps at the seams, etc; I use thickened boat building epoxy for this because I'm used to that material.

The repair is not difficult, but removing all the damaged section of plywood can require some patience, ingenuity, and chisels, jig saw blades held in vice grips, etc.

Good luck -

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Old 10-16-2010, 06:30 AM   #4
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Replace the entire section. There are some pictures in my gallery where I did the front section only. Turns out the hold down bolts for the shell to the frame were basically missing. One was completely gone, the other barely holding on. The visible rot area was very small. Make sure you caulk the tops of the windows and if you have a window guard that you reseal the fasteners on it too.

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Old 10-16-2010, 08:12 AM   #5
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REplace the whole enchilada.
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Old 10-16-2010, 08:36 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rex Crabtree View Post
The last three days I have been gutting the interior of my 72/31' international. Today I removed the front gaucho and the carpet behind the gaucho....crap! There is dry rot in the plywood below the front windows and side windows, total of four small areas in the plywood are rotted all the way thru to the insulation! Attachment 113180
Have you checked the rear yet?

Gary
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Old 10-16-2010, 09:40 AM   #7
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Remove the entire section and treat both sides with a sealant that is non reactive with metal.
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Old 10-16-2010, 09:58 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rex Crabtree View Post
The last three days I have been gutting the interior of my 72/31' international. Today I removed the front gaucho and the carpet behind the gaucho....crap! There is dry rot in the plywood below the front windows and side windows, total of four small areas in the plywood are rotted all the way thru to the insulation!


My question is… do I remove the entire section of plywood, or do I cut out the dry rot and patch? Please help me do the right thing. Hope my photo is not to big! I am still trying to learn how to post threads



Attachment 113180
The floor is a part of the semi-monocoque construction. Sectioning it weakens that construction.

Replace the entire front part of the floor.

Yes, it's more work, but the rewards will be even greater, in time.

However, before you jump in, correct all the water leaks first. Then you have assured yourself that when the floor is replaced, it's done. Sealing the wing windows, vista view window and stack windows, is an easy job, using Vulkem sealer.

Check out the rear end as well, for a bad floor.

If it hasn't been done, replace all the exterior gaskets, including those for the sewer vent pipe covers as well. Some of the gaskets now have upgrades that are far superior.

Andy
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Old 10-16-2010, 02:32 PM   #9
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To me it looks like the water damage happened many years ago, because she had been painted silver, 10 or 15 years ago, and I can see sealant had been added before it was painted, (paint is pealing away from sealant along the top of the windows). And it looks like it has been dry for many years, (in the rotted areas). But the rainy season is coming to Northern California soon, so if it’s still leaking I will find out soon.

I do plan to reseal the outside, and I plan to replace the front sheet of plywood. Monday, I will remove the inside skin, so I can get to the screws holding down the front of the trailer walls.

Thanks again guys for your advise and support….Trex
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Old 10-16-2010, 02:49 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Rex Crabtree View Post
To me it looks like the water damage happened many years ago, because she had been painted silver, 10 or 15 years ago, and I can see sealant had been added before it was painted, (paint is pealing away from sealant along the top of the windows). And it looks like it has been dry for many years, (in the rotted areas). But the rainy season is coming to Northern California soon, so if it’s still leaking I will find out soon.

I do plan to reseal the outside, and I plan to replace the front sheet of plywood. Monday, I will remove the inside skin, so I can get to the screws holding down the front of the trailer walls.

Thanks again guys for your advise and support….Trex
If the floor is not rotten, and still has some lif to it, then you can repair it with a very slow setting of fiberglass resin.

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Old 10-16-2010, 08:33 PM   #11
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More help in River City

Today I removed the interior wall above the rot.... I see that the bots are bent over so they don't loosen over time. Q. What is the best tool/saw to use to cut old bots off? And what is the best type of bot/screw should I use to replace the one's that I cut out?

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Old 10-16-2010, 08:52 PM   #12
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For the ones you can access on the straight section on wall, I used a 4 in. grinder with a thin cut off blade when I replaced all the rear wood in my TW. You must be careful, eye protection and don't hit the exterior skin. It makes short work of the bolts. On the bolts that are were not easily reached by the angle grinder I used a dremel tool with a cut off wheel. The vibrating type saws ( Multimaster, etc) are great to clean the wood out of the channel but I tried several different blades and none would cut through the bolts.
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Old 10-16-2010, 09:31 PM   #13
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If you cannot reach the bolt w/ the angle head grinder/cut-off wheel, a metal cutting jigsaw blade held in vice grips will make short work of the bolts - there are only a handful of 3/8" bolts - most are 1/4" or smaller (#12). Replace them with stainless ones, with self-locking nuts.

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Old 10-17-2010, 07:38 PM   #14
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In some cases I believe water damage comes from condensation. I stored my original Airstream briefcase in the curbside compartment under the couch arm and, when I was prepping the AS the first of the summer, I found all of the papers in the briefcase to be soaking wet! There were no descernible leaks anywhere, however, due to the position of the AS in my driveway over the winter, this compartment went from 10 deg below at night to being directly heated by the sun for the better part of the day. I would guess that, on a 25 deg day, thanks to the insulation afforded by the couch, the temperature therein probably went up to near 70 deg - and whatever humidity that was available collected in the briefcase! I would suspect that this phenomena occurs elsewhere in the trailer where there are enclosed exterior compartments. With that in mind, this winter I plan to open every compartment I can to prevent differential temperatures. For the record, the briefcase was not in contact with the inner shell of the trailer, although the couch arm above it was, and there was absolutely no sign of moisture anywhere else in the carpeted compartment. As for the plywood under the carpet I can only hope that it remains undamaged.
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