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Old 04-02-2016, 08:33 AM   #1
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Possible water leaks via battery box liners?

For several years I have been trying - without success - to find the source of rain water leaks that cause the bottoms of the left and right lower upholstered support leg areas of the cross mounted front sofa (2005 Classic 30) to become wet.

As I understand it, there is what is referred to as a C channel (actually a U channel?) that runs around the perimeter of the floor and that at just about the point where the sofa legs are located, the curved front portion of that channel meets the separate straight portion that runs the length of the trailer so that this provides a natural location for any water in the channel to leak out onto the floor as the two channel sections are not sealed one to the other.

I haven't actually seen the construction - but this is my understanding, and if correct, makes it more difficult to locate the source of the water - it could be coming from almost any potential location - windows / clearance lights / fantastic fan, rivets, seam seals etc, and then running alog the channel to come out onto the floor where the straight channel meets the curved one.

I have gone over the whole area several times, replaced a couple of clearance lights that were rusted inside and obviously a potential source, checked all seams & rivets, re-caulked around rub rails, awning brackets, etc. and most recently stripped and re-caulked the front Fantastic fan.

So far had no luck in correcting this problem. It isn't a major leak but I know that any leak should not be left, as eventually the floor will be damaged, so I continue to try to find it!

We just came home from a Florida trip on Thursday (16 hr drive that day!) and hit quite a lot of heavy rain and again the upholstered sofa legs are wet!

I got to wondering about the plastic battery box liners as a possible source.

The battery box door frames each have two fairly large vent holes in them - which I realise must be left open even though I have AGM batteries installed.

I can see from dirt deposits in the boxes that quite a bit of water must get into them, especially when driving in heavy rain. I am wondering how these boxes are sealed and weather water in them could get into the C channel and be a possible cause.

Looks like I would need to pull out the sofa get a better look at the installation and sealing details and maybe that is something I should do.

Wondering if anyone else has had similar water leakage problems near the sofa legs and has explored the possibility of leaking battery boxes?

Brian.
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Old 04-02-2016, 08:52 AM   #2
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Yes. I doubt the leak is at the battery boxes. However, you can get your fingers around the bottom of the boxes and into the c-channel to detect water in there. Here's what I did, and do to cut down possibilities:

Store the trailer nose up a couple inches. Water test or let sit through rains. If the leak is forward of that break in the c-channel, you will detect water in the areas you describe, and if not, you will detect water back by the wheel well where the c-channel ends at the well cutout. If there is no water at the couch corners, you have eliminated everything forward of the front cap end of the curved c-channel.

Likewise, store the trailer nose down and see if the leaks show at the couch. If so, you now know that the leak is between the wheel well and the c-channel end at the couch corner.

My leaks in this are, over years, have been:

1) the eyebrow over the window by the door. eyebrow seam and a mis-drilled rivet.
2) both curved corner glass to frame seals. (This also showed up as water in the c-channel by the battery boxes)
3) rivets at the seam for the roof skin to end cap. (Captain Tolleys for these)

Obviously, you need to examine everything for potential re-seal, depending on the tilt of the trailer...TV antenna, vents, etc.

This tilt method narrows your search frustration dramatically as it eliminates large sections of trailer possibilities. Don't be afraid to use combinations of fore and aft and side to side tilt to further isolate particular sections.
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Old 04-02-2016, 11:16 AM   #3
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You mentioned you "re-caulked around rub rails". I've noticed several posts where folks have described water entry through screw/rivet holes that are under the insert in the rub rail. If you do not want to pull it off to investigate this, you could run a small bead of caulk along the top of the insert (but leave the bottom open to drain any water that might get in). This is different than the seam where the rail meets the skin (which you already caulked).
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Old 04-02-2016, 12:17 PM   #4
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Last year I found some dampness in the same place. Looking closer I found a missing rivet on the outside above and to the right of the entry door. I really didn't think it could cause that much leakage but upon replacing the rivet the leak stopped. We just spent a few weeks in southern Louisiana and endured several severe downpours and passed the leak test. So look carefully for any missing / loose rivets in the forward section.

Good luck with your searching.
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Old 04-02-2016, 12:48 PM   #5
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Great tips from everyone, thanks!

I especially like the idea of storing the trailer nose up / nose down to try to zero in on the cause.

Rich - I will look further into your comment about being able to get one's fingers into the C channel near the battery box - presume I will need to detach the sofa and move it out of the way to properly get in there?

Isn't the C channel sandwiched between the outer and inner skins? If so, how can you get at it? Is there an opening in the inner skin near the bottom of the battery boxes?

I have looked for missing rivets all around the front of the trailer and didn't find any. I also tried Capt. Tolley's on a lot of the rivets up top and on the side seam that is close to where the wet sofa ends are, but all rivets seem tight. From what I understand, if you have one that is not, the Capt. Tolley's will immediately wick in and disappear and so you keep applying until it no longer disappears. In my case the first application just sat around the rivet heads leading me to suppose they were good.

I hadn't thought about problems under the rub rail inserts and will look into that also. Is that insert self adhesive, or does it snap under a retaining edge on the rub rail? If self adhesive I suppose I'd better buy a roll of replacement before I pull the old stuff off. Looks like it needs replacing anyway as the plastic "chrome" is shot.

Hopefully that stuff is generic RV supply so I don't need to pay AS prices!

Even the stuff from AS doesn't seem very good quality - I had some repair work done by JC a while back and it involved replacing some of the trim. Within about two years it was deteriorated and not looking great!

Brian.
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Old 04-02-2016, 12:54 PM   #6
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Yes, but the cutout in the inner skin is anything but cut neatly to the box size.
I could reach it with the sofa drawer removed and laying on my belly.
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Old 04-02-2016, 12:56 PM   #7
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Insert is adhesive and is probably sealed well. Will need replaced if removed.
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Old 04-02-2016, 12:57 PM   #8
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I replaced with a molded in color automotive silver. Had been great.
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Old 04-03-2016, 05:10 PM   #9
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I did remove the under couch drawer and looking from inside out could see some daylight around the plastic box near the battery door. Sealed from inside and from outside at the little doors. Fixed. Other leak was skylight and leaked down to just forward of the entry door. New Maxum...all good. Anyway check the battery box. First noticed that leak after pulling up I 95 in very very heavy rain. Sealed everything g outside ...rivets etc and all is good.
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Old 04-03-2016, 05:13 PM   #10
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You can see daylight THROUGH the plastic. Even though it is black, it is somewhat translucent.
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Old 04-04-2016, 05:37 AM   #11
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But the bright white light especially near bottom corners was where I sealed and it worked. It is true, the plastic box is thin. I have taken all the carpet up from under the couch and chair storage area as well as living room/kitchen too so if there is another leak, I can easily see it. Laminate where it can be seen...just plywood where out of site.
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Old 04-04-2016, 08:13 AM   #12
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Interesting. Where was the gap....IIRC, the box lip is trapped between the outer skin and the cast outer frame. Was there a water trail from the box to the front corners of the sofa? Any Pics?
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Old 04-05-2016, 03:51 AM   #13
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Well, it's been a couple of years. Best I remember, lower toward middle. When I found that I started on the intense leak search. I had just pulled through that hard rain for many miles. I sealed all over .. not just the boxes so can't be 100% on where it was. The insulation was a little wet just at bottom near curb side battery box. The other leak was the skylight for sure. (Maxim was the fix) I had just purchased the AS and it had been stored inside for 3 years so there were no signs of leaks till then. This forum helped this newbie understand what to do and since the sealing, there have been no issues.
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Old 04-05-2016, 04:22 AM   #14
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I had the same leak...very minor...I would have a small wet spot under each battery box . I believe the cap nuts that hold the battery door straps were part of the problem. Water hit the nuts and followed the bolt to the inside of the battery box frame. I put a big gob of marine goop on each nut and my problem went away.
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