Help with water leak and subfloor repair

SD69RT

Member
Hello, I am new to the travel trailer world. We bought our first camper used at the beginning of last summer. It is 2018 North Trail Caliber 32BUDS and we are the third owner with the original owners being a older couple hoping to get the grandkids to go camping, which never happened. The second owners wanted to sell it as they were buying another (older) travel trailer on a permanent lot by the lake, so we stepped in.

The issue that I am needing some help on is determining a root cause on a water leak as well as advice on how to stop it and repair the damage. It started when I found a soft spot right inside the entry door. As I started getting into the project of replacing the subfloor, I was cutting the linoleum away and determining what the extent of the damage was for replacing the OSB subfloor. I found that the damage kept extending further back, under the water heater, under the stove (where the pump is) and even underneath a little distance under the refrigerator where the furnace is. Most of the damage seems to be up against the wall and then heads inbound this whole length. Initially, to eliminate any pipe issues or water heater issues, I pressurized and ran everything for about an hour and could not find a single drop. I checked the outside opening behind the refrigerator and really did not see evidence there was water damage right behind it. I was surprised to see that the elevated platform that the refrigerator is on was out of OSB as well and for the most part exposed to the elements. It might have some type of coating over it, but it is very dirty. So then I figured rain is getting in some place. I was having a very difficult time determining where as everything seemed to be sealed for the most part. So I had removed the water heater, to get better access in replacing the floor and I did seem to find traces of water and dirt or maybe it was getting around the bottom side of the water heater from the outside. I also noticed the outside layer of the TT in this area was pulling away in showing a little ripple effect. So now I'm focusing around the window again to see if there is any place where there is no caulk, as the ripple is below this window down to the water heater. I was still puzzled as nothing stuck out. Today we had some light rain overnight and off and on during the day. Nothing heavy like a storm more of a drizzle or a little more. I came home at lunch time and because I had covered the water heater hole with two layers of clear plastic I was able to see that there was a darker colored watermarks streaking down on the inside of the plastic. Sure enough there is water coming down between the outside layers of the TT. I am still baffled as to where it is getting in as I am not seeing any obvious entry. I've looked up on the roof, looked at the awning and gutter, the vent, outdoor speaker, light, and window again.

Several questions:
- Does anyone have experience in may be understanding where this water is coming from?

-Any advice on replacing the subfloor? Go back with it OSB? Something a little more water resistant?

-Could the water be entering in this area and traveling backwards for 5 ft to affect other areas under the stove and refrigerator? The outside wall doesn't seem to be rippling there.

I have attached some pictures for reference. I can provide more if somebody has or wants me to look at a specific area. I am hoping with all the experience on this forum, somebody might have come across this in the past.

Thanks in advance!
 

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cookie

Administrator
Staff member
I would remove the old caulk around the window and re-caulk. Top and both sides.
Consider re-caulking the entire trailer.

Peace
Dave
 

Garypowell

Well-known member
The damage will/should be worse close to the source. All it takes is a drip over time.

I’d hook the unit up to city water and the sit back and watch. Then either during a rain storm or with hose spray wet the unit down and watch the water come in that way.

Don’t forget to spray under the unit as it might just be road water.

At some point you will see where it is coming from or you’ll have to assume someone fixed the leak and just left you the mess to clean up.
 

SD69RT

Member
Thanks for some advice. The wife and I were doing some other looking and it sounds like maybe removing the window and putting new butyl tape as well as recaulking the window might help too. Plus if I remove the window, I could tell if it is getting down in between the wall there.
 

david-steph2018

Well-known member
Thanks for some advice. The wife and I were doing some other looking and it sounds like maybe removing the window and putting new butyl tape as well as recaulking the window might help too. Plus if I remove the window, I could tell if it is getting down in between the wall there.
Another source could be from water heater itself. Our water leak came from the cracked plastic inlet valve used in these. Seeing the photos, just wondering if this was going on as well.
 

wdk450

Well-known member
Just as a troubleshooting tip, other RVers have reported that wiping lightly with toilet paper can detect small amounts of moisture that your eyes (or even fingers) cannot seem to detect.
 

SD69RT

Member
Just as a troubleshooting tip, other RVers have reported that wiping lightly with toilet paper can detect small amounts of moisture that your eyes (or even fingers) cannot seem to detect.
Thanks WDK450

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