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Trailer floor repairs/replacement

Canadian.Trucker

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Background:
Bought a 2002 R-vision Trail-Lite Bantam 19ft Hybrid trailer this past Fall for the family to go camping in.  When I bought it I knew it had some issues and would need some repairs in the Spring.  Seeing as how I was able to pick it up for about $2,500 below what the trailer has been seen to go for, I figured I was getting a good deal even with the necessary repairs.

I decided last night to start pulling up the floor in a couple soft areas to have a look at what I was dealing with.  The floor was saturated with water in the softer areas and I'm not sure where the possible leak is coming from.  I also don't know how far I'm going to have to tear up the floor to deal with the problem.  I contacted the manufacturer to try and get a schematic of the floor itself and how it is constructed, but due to the fact that trail-lite is no longer made the current company (R-vision) does not have these schematics, so dead end.

Issue #1- Do I need to remove all of the interior walls, cabinets and seats/sofa to deal with this problem, or could I get away with just replacing the floor up to a certain point?  If I don't need to remove the walls etc is it going to be good enough to cut around them to replace the floor or am I just putting a useless bandaid on something that I'm going to have to address down the road anyway?

Issue #2- From having the trailer stored outside during the winter uncovered (I know I know) it appears that water has leaked from somewhere into the wall and forced the bottom of the exterior wall in 2 spots to pop out of the L-shaped moulding on the bottom.  Not even sure where to begin to ask how to fix this other than trying to clean and re-seal those spots.

Issue #3- Time.  I plan on camping with the family Victoria long weekend, the site is paid for and I'm worried that this project is going to balloon into something bigger than I have the time to tackle.

During all of this I plan on cleaning and re-sealing the roof to hopefully stop that area as being a contributor to the problem.  I know without pictures that any help or advice anyone is willing to provide is difficult so I will try to take some and upload them for reference.

Any advice or guidance is very much appreciated, hopefully someone here has experienced a project like this and can steer me in the right direction.  I've been posting on an r-vision forum to try and get lots of input and help, and I've been searching Google like mad trying to get any tips/ideas/manuals that can help this project not cause me to rip what little hair I have left out.
 

my72jeep

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1)There is a roofing product at home hardwear. its in a can silver in color. Its rubber stays flexable, you just roll it on with a paint roller. works good we use it on the ATCO's can't think of the name butt if you go look its the only silver one.
2) seal with cawking around all the trim, Windows, vents,doors, etc. a lot of time water gets in there.
3) check you water tank for leaks but if its wet this time of year its melt water.
4) the floor is as much as you feel like pulling out. Remember they build the floor then assemble the camper on top.
5) Good luck
 

dapaterson

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Does your base have an auto club?  Might be one place to ask & maybe even find a mechanic who can give some advice.
 

Canadian.Trucker

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my72jeep said:
1)There is a roofing product at home hardwear. its in a can silver in color. Its rubber stays flexable, you just roll it on with a paint roller. works good we use it on the ATCO's can't think of the name butt if you go look its the only silver one.
2) seal with cawking around all the trim, Windows, vents,doors, etc. a lot of time water gets in there.
3) check you water tank for leaks but if its wet this time of year its melt water.
4) the floor is as much as you feel like pulling out. Remember they build the floor then assemble the camper on top.
5) Good luck
1- I bought some Dicor to reseal the top of the roof, and will clean the whole roof prior to putting this on.
2- Good idea, just not sure if there is a particular caulk I need to use for trailers, or if a standard exterior caulking product from Home Depot will work just fine.
3- Water tank is good, so ya it's coming from somewhere else.  This is why I'm going to re-seal the roof and around the windows like you suggested to see if that solves the issue.
4- This is the biggest question.  I know that everything is laid on top of the floor for assembly, so I'm wondering if I need to pull everything from the interior out to do the job right, or if cutting around the walls/cabinets is sufficient.  I don't want to piecemeal the job, but time is definitely a factor.
5- Thanks, I think I'm going to need it.

dapaterson said:
Does your base have an auto club?  Might be one place to ask & maybe even find a mechanic who can give some advice.
There is an auto club but I don't know anyone in it.  I'll do a little digging to find out when the shop is open.  There is a trailer dealership/repair shop just down the road from my house and they seem fairly willing to look at my trailer and offer advice.  I will probably try that route first and go from there as it's a 45 minute drive to the base and only 10 minutes to the trailer shop.
 

BernDawg

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Welcome to the wonderful world of RVing! remember rule #1 - 1/2 the size and twice the price  ;D
Most of the manufacturers and the dealers suggest Butyl caulk for RV's as it remains pliable after application and is very water repellent. It can be found through RV parts suppliers and sometimes at hardware stores, you may have to ask them directly.
You could cut the floor away to the edge of your cabinets to replace the lino, just be very aware of the requirement to re-seal the joints with a good mastic/adhesive product to try and retain some of the water repellency. If you plan on replacing the sub-floor make sure the joints are on a support of some type like a cross beam or stay.
I really don't think a mechanic can help you, they fix cars and trucks not RV's.
Check all of the fittings in the water supply system you can find especially around the pump. Even a single winter without proper prep can blow fittings. Also check the hot water tank if you have one. Remove the styrofoam cover and pull the aluminum tank to check for leaks around the seams. Again improper winterizing can have very costly results. ($300 at least, I speak from experience  ;) )
 

FJAG

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Storing a trailer outside, uncovered during the winter ought not to be a problem if it is in good condition and has been winterized. Your water problem could come from either a leak in the outer shell (such as around windows, roof vents, air conditioner or other seams--in particular around the pop out tent componenet) or as a result of a burst waterline where the water escapes once the water system is turned back on. Generally leaks don't come from outside storage by itself but from rubber and silicon deteriorating in the sun or with time and from flexing of the walls etc and small seals or seams opening.

The critical thing you need to do is to find the source of the leak(s) and cleaning the area properly, repairing any damaged structure and then fully resealing it. If you don't stop the leak whatever repairs you do to the floor will just reappear.

My understanding is that the Trail Lites were stick built frames. Basically there is a steel or aluminium main frame with a plywood floor and then the wall and roof are a light wood frame sheeted with fibreglass and a rubberised membrane roof all of which is fairly leak prone.

The fact that the walls "popped out" at the floor level may be a hint as to the leak being somewhere in the area above that place but always remember that water can travel a long way horizontally through the wall before finally coming to rest in a place where it creates damage.

I'd start the investigation by removing the floor coverings for more hints of where the water is travelling from before finally creating the soft spots. If you can at all avoid opening the wall up do so. Even interior walls are hard to repair and exterior sheeting is a very difficult repair job best left to a really good RV dealership.

As to cutting out the damaged floor pieces do remember that the plywood sheeting on the floor is part of the structural component of the floor frame and keeps the frame from warping. Small repairs are probably OK but bigger pieces may require reinforcement. I read one post by a user who noted that his trailer had softening floors even without water damages so he added some additional cross beams to stiffen up the floor. By all means look underneath your trailer's floor for the layout and any key components that might be damaged by your repairs (wires, pipes, gas lines, etc)

As if that all isn't bad enough remember that just about any recurring wet areas in a trailer will probably attract mould so if you are opening up components where water has gone you should be prepared to take appropriate mould eradication and safety procedures.

Long story short, you should be able to coble things together with a quick fix to save your planned holiday but I think in the long run you've got a long row to hoe in order to fix the problem permanently.

Best of luck.  :salute:
 

Canadian.Trucker

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Appreciate all the tips and advice.  My goal is to start with the roof and clean/reseal it in a "top down" approach since I know the roof has never been cleaned and I think some of the moulding has rotten away, this could be part of the issue.  I would have already done it this week but it's been too cold and raining like crazy that it would just be foolish to try and start now.

My buddy who has done repairs on his own trailer is going to come over to offer a second opinion on things, but unless I can be sure to complete the full job correctly it's probably going to be a patch job to sort out the most immediate issue, and then rip everything open in the early Fall to get the trailer fully ready to be put away for the winter.  One of my biggest reasons for wanting to get onto this job sooner rather than later is not just because of the camping season starting, but as you mentioned FJAG I don't want mould to become a large issue.

Still no pictures due to me not wanting to stand in the rain last night, but I'll try and post some for additional feedback.

Thanks.
 
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