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Old 04-27-2004, 09:24 PM   #1
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Water in the belly pan?!?!???

A couple of weeks ago when I moved the trailer from it level spot on the side of the house, I moved it to the street.

There it was off level of course on the passenger side when it was parked. I noticed water dripping from the belly skin near the step.

At first I thought it was the fresh water tank leaking, but now I think it just got water into the belly some how over the winter.

Does the bottom wrap need to be sealed with vulkem along the top edge? Does the upper panels over lap the belly skin? If not that is probably my problem.
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Old 04-27-2004, 09:35 PM   #2
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I also have water in the belly pan, and I think it is because I have a place where the front panel behind the propane tanks is deformed and not sealed against that bottom trim. I'm planning to re-rivet it so it is tight and seal it with parbond and see if that keeps it dry in there.
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Old 04-27-2004, 09:46 PM   #3
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Leaky Bellies....

Too funny - we just moved ours today after about a week of rain - we cranked her up pretty high to make the hitch ball - I thought I was cranking up our boat with the stern plug out with all the water dripping from the belly pan.

We did find a leak that was coming in down by the floor - so it may be going in through the floor. We also have two panels that have popped their rivets and come away from under the wrap but are hanging straight down.

So along with this thread ???'s should we remove the whole belly skin to check the condition of the insulation, and would it be wise for us Canadians to rust proof our frame given our really salty roads up here and then re-seal her back up with parbond along all the seams??? What do our neighbours do in the northern states?? Those who do travel with your trailer in the winter.

Also noticed that under the step the wood floor (although in perfect condition) is wide open to the elements - we would like to cover this area to protect it - good thing or not??? was there a reason they did not cover this area?
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Old 04-27-2004, 09:56 PM   #4
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Anyone ever install a belly button in their trailer?

At the lowest point of the pan, I think it'd be nice to have a fancy threaded cap that can unscrew and allow anything like that to drain out. Maybe any more holes, capped or not, would just be asking for more trouble.

Boy, belly pans sure are strange and mysterious aspects of trailer restoration and maintenence. When I get to that step, I'll do whatever it takes, common or uncommon, to solve these problems so I won't have to revisit them down the road.

I'm still in the camp of creating a removable belly pan that I can have easy access to, in order to replace the insulation every few years.
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Old 04-28-2004, 12:29 AM   #5
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Talking Caution

1) The belly pan needs to breathe.
2) If you have water in the pan, it had to come from someplace. If the trailer has been sitting for some time, then it is either from condensation (unlikely in large quantities), or from a LEAK.
3) If you have a leak, then it is coming from the outside wall someplace, into the inner wall and then probably wetting the U-Channel that anchors the walls to the floor and to the frame. This is how floor rot starts...water leaks inside into the inner walls, fills up the U-Channel where it runs to, then saturates the floor by seepage through the anchoring points to the frame, and rots the wood. You must find and stop the water entry to the inner wall. This water leaking in also saturates the insulation in the walls along the path of flow along the ribs so, where it enters to where you find it wetting the floor can be a long distance the water travelled.
4) If it made it to the belly pan, then it came into contact with the frame and eventually will create a rust problem with the frame if it does not get dried out and stay dried out. I understand that if the pan is not sealed "tight" so it can breathe, that running down a wet highway can allow some into the pan, but gravity is still the law and measures can be taken to tilt the trailer and dry it out more quickly if such an event has occurred.
5) you must inspect and find the source of the water entry, and take positive measures to limit this from happening.

....just my 2 cents....I just spent a number of hours resealing the vent fans, the TV antenna, the AC, the plumbing vents on mine with parrbond and vulkem, and also using parrbond on the clearance lights and panel seams on the end caps and windows, side ribs and floor rub rail....now if it will just rain so I will know if I got it all done and fixed...
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Old 04-28-2004, 03:22 AM   #6
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Addressed to all..This doesn't answer the question of water in the belly pan. It's related more to the issues of moisture in the under-carriage area.
Since the heat duct system is passed thru this area, wouldn't it make sense to run your furnance more often to help dry this area out>?
If nothing else, feed an electrical heater's output thru the floor duct system. Just a thought.

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Old 04-28-2004, 07:02 AM   #7
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To an extent that will help, but if it is very cool outside it will not warm the belly cavity that much. The ducts are really just to keep the tanks from freezing so there is not a lot of heat into that area, my mh only had a 1" hole that let air out of the duct to warm the tanks. You need a lot of airflow and the cavity is broken up by the frame and filled with insulation which is probably going to be wet in places. Sounds like a lot of work but the easiest is probably to drop the skin and let air move and water drain.

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Old 04-28-2004, 07:21 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 74Argosy24MH
To an extent that will help, but if it is very cool outside it will not warm the belly cavity that much. The ducts are really just to keep the tanks from freezing so there is not a lot of heat into that area, my mh only had a 1" hole that let air out of the duct to warm the tanks. You need a lot of airflow and the cavity is broken up by the frame and filled with insulation which is probably going to be wet in places. Sounds like a lot of work but the easiest is probably to drop the skin and let air move and water drain.

John
John,
Good point..
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Old 04-28-2004, 09:22 AM   #9
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In working with my belly pan I have noticed that it is not sealed air tight but is enclosed enough to cause problems with moisture ie. condensation if not rain from the outside. I have thought that I would set up some type of vent system. There is a type of commercial vent about 2" in diameter made of aluminum that looks like it would do the job. I'm not sure how many it would take but I'm thinking, I will use the same calculations as if it were a house.
Any thoughts?
Trapped moisture has got to be a killer in the belly cavity
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Old 04-28-2004, 10:02 AM   #10
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Obvious places to look

I had water in my belly pan coming from two places, the fresh water drain and the fresh water fill. Until I fixed them, I dealt with it by using the tongue jack to periodically tilt the trailer. I have seen a few water fill doors with
cracks. My crack was hard to see. ( don't even )
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Old 04-28-2004, 10:48 AM   #11
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The problem I see with opening the pan up with some type of louvered vents is when you run down the highway in a rain. You are kicking up water like an 18 wheeler under there.
Installing a series of some type light weight latched door that could be opened up for air circulation to dry it might work?
Maybe pulling the pan, and rhino-lining the frame and floor and then putting the insulation and pan back on would be a solution....(just kidding I think).
I understand the need for the pan to protect the undercarriage, frame, and floor. But, I also understand the need for the pan to breathe so that moisture that happens to find it's way into the pan, (via a leak, wet highway, or condensation), can evaporate and dry out before it rusts the frame.
I think there must be a happy medium because if you sealed the pan up completely then got it wet inside, you also risk all kinds of mold growing in there to the point of the trailer becoming uninhabitable.
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Old 04-28-2004, 10:58 AM   #12
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Why not formed louvers in the metal? The opening could face the rear, you can make them any depth you want; keep them short, maybe 1/8" opening and there shouldn't be much water getting in. What did would drain out quickly because of the depression of the louver.

John
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Old 04-28-2004, 11:47 AM   #13
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Anyone know the answer to my original question...?

Do the lower skins overlap the belly pan under the lower trim peice? ie. Does the lower trim need to be sealed with vulkem across the top of it?
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Old 04-28-2004, 11:56 AM   #14
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I think that the answer to your question depends on the year model of your trailer. Earlier models are different than the Beatrice years, and the Thor years.
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