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RVs are going to leak


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If you have an RV, sooner or later you're going to have a leak. When an RV is going down the road it is being beaten up worse than a house in a moderate earthquake.

Seams break loose, caulking gets old, and things wiggle. You are going to have leaks. Even new RVs leak sometimes.

I found one leak in my motorhome recently that was caused by me stepping on the back corner of the motorhome and making the roof cave in a little. After I cleaned off the caulking here is what it looked like. You could almost put a garden hose through that gap. No wonder it leaked.



I ended up putting some J-B Weld epoxy over the hole to give it some strength, and then I put new silicone caulking over the whole seam.

While I was at it I stripped off the old caulking across the front, back, and sides of the top and recaulked everything. That way there was no way it could leak.

Yeah, right. We know better than that. It's an RV. It's going to leak again. That's what happened this past weekend. Water started dripping onto the dash from the cord that goes to the rear view camera.

Of course, that's probably not where the water was really coming from, but it's still raining off and on, so I haven't chased down the leak yet. I just stuffed towels up in the area above the dash (behind the TV) to soak up the water until I had time to trace down the source of the leak and fix it right.

Here's a product that will help prevent leaks. It's called Eternabond Tape. I think the name comes from the fact that when you put this tape over seams it's there for eternity. It's very hard to get off, but it does help prevent leaks. It comes in 2", 4" and 6" widths. I use the 4" width.

It won't prevent a leak like the one shown in the picture above. In fact, you can see in the picture that I had this tape over the seam, but it will prevent most leaks.

The tape is a little expensive at about a dollar a foot. You can find it on Amazon at this link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B002RSIK4G



One way to tell if you have any leaks (even when you don't see any water dripping) is to use a moisture meter. This also is a very useful device to have when you're looking at RVs to buy. You can quickly tell if there is moisture in the walls. Below is the one I use. You can get it on Amazon at this link https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00275F5O2 for about $30.



If you're not using your RV for a few months and you're not living in it full-time, a water leak could do a lot of damage between the time you park it and the next time you use it. If you're leaving your RV parked and unused for a month or more, be sure to check it from time to time and especially during a hard rain.

Bottom Line: RVs leak. It's a constant battle. You can never assume that you have fixed all possible places it can leak once and for all. Checking for leaks has to be an ongoing project.

An Update: Another leak this week. In the picture below it's easy to see why I had a leak. Something used to be mounted on the roof and it was removed.



A lot of caulking was used to cover it up. It looks like they didn't do a very good job. I should have noticed that this was a leak waiting to happen. Some of the caulking has come off and there is a hole big enough for a mouse to get through (well, almost).

The black area is the hole. While I'm fixing it, I'm going to take all of the old caulking off and fix it right. I'm also going to do a good inspection of the whole roof to see if I can find any other places that look like they could start leaking. I could just patch the hole, but sooner or later it would be start leaking again.


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