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Monday, September 24, 2018


Any RV owner would shudder at the sight of this photo. Nobody likes to see a pile of ripped out carpeting, padding, and wood strips.  Laying on the ground next to your RV. It can only mean that something BAD is happening.

 It means: 
We have a leak!!!

We take great pride in maintaining our twenty-two-year-old motorhome. We are meticulous in it's care, and do everything we can to do preventative maintenance.

But we haven't really been camping in our motorhome since July. When Steve went in there the other day, after being closed up in the hot weather, it smelled kind of musty and mildewy. He looked around and saw some mold on the carpet along side of the bed on the driver's side.

Mold can only mean one thing, water intrusion. And any RVer knows that when water intrudes into a motorhome it's very difficult to diagnose and halt it before does any further damage.

Of course, the first place to look is the roof! Steve examined it all very carefully and there's absolutely no water intrusion coming in on the roof--- not near the back fiberglass cap, the marker lights, the seams, or anywhere.

The second place that he looked was along all of the horizontal aluminum strips on the exterior of the motor home. We regularly check those every year, usually spring and fall. A thin bead of silicone keeps those secure and there is absolutely no water intrusion going on there.

Where oh where is this water getting into the floor of the motorhome?

It's not on the interior walls and it's not around the windows. Everything is high and dry. It's just the floor itself, under the carpeting, that is wet. He examined from back in the engine compartment and he examined from underneath.

Finally he was able to diagnose exactly where the water was intruding from. And you aren't going to believe it if I didn't have photos to prove it.

The moisture running off the roof, whether it's rainfall or morning dew, is trickling down the side of the motor home into this one concentrated area. It makes an exact beeline right down to this flapper door port that covers the 50 amp bayonet connection for our power cord!  It is travelling on the yellow line, not on the outside of that ribbed seam. It is travelling down the smooth flat wall in a stream right over that flap door.

I took these photos this morning of the exact trickle of morning dew coming right down the side of the motor home. You can actually see it in these photos.

It runs right straight down in a perfect line to this flap door. The flap door is held onto the motorhome's side by four screws that go directly to the inside of the rig. The water is running right down inside at this opening and through the wall!!

Here is a YouTube video I made of the entire track that this water has been making:

Once the water gets inside, it's in an enclosed area of a cabinet where there is a false bottom like shelf. It was built up with a false bottom shelf to make sure you don't cram something into the cabinet and touch or move those wires or screws on the inside.  So we couldn't see it at all until we tore out the false bottom shelf of this particular cabinet to get to where the wires come into the motorhome.

The water is trickling in around the screw holes and around the entire large circular opening of the outlet in the port. From there, the water was actually running down the inside of the plastic housing that covers the electrical wires, called a "loom". It's like a slit tubing flexible plastic hose. When Steve pulled the plastic loom away from the wires it was all full of moisture and actual water drops coming out!

(in this pic he already removed the inside power cord from the port connections)

So the water was running down
 and draining all along the floor???

When Steve pulled back the carpeting, the particle board flooring underneath the carpeting in this whole area is wet. This is NOT GOOD!!!!

Steve unhooked the power wires from the inside of the outlet and rerouted them directly to our Progressive Industries power management system unit in the lower compartment. We will bypass using this exterior bayonet port completely.  When we want to plug into power, we will just open our compartment door and run the cord out for now. Later he will make an access hole in the bottom of that compartment to run the cord out underneath the motorhome. That is how many other RVs are made and we will now make ours that way as well.

Now to address the problem of the wet wood. We set fans on it for the last 4 days to dry it out. Today we are coating it with this product from Minwax called Wood Hardener. We have used this before when we had a leak by the washing machine and it works very well. We have also used it on a threshold on our house door and a post on our porch. It hardens up the wood fibers with a resin which makes it firm again, like the original wood.

Once it is dry, we are going to seal the entire floor
 with a coat of floor and porch enamel paint.

Steve said this afternoon that it is dry enough now to cover with paint. I don't know why RV manufacturers don't coat this particle board in the first place with some type of sealer. As soon as you have a leak, it all swells up, rots, and falls apart if left untreated.

Seeing as we pulled out the carpeting on the floor, we also decided to pull out the vertical carpeting that is glued around the box encompassing our engine compartment. The king bed platform sets down on this box.  We don't know how far the mold spread, so we might as well remove all the carpeting back there, as well as wash the bedding at the same time.

We decided to recover the sides of the engine compartment box with a piece of cream colored vinyl sheet flooring. This is the same flooring we put on the back wall over the bed when we removed the mirror. Now it will all coordinate and match. With a bit of vinyl adhesive and some some tacking staples around the lip edge, it will look just fine. Right now we have it rolled out, getting the wrinkles out of it before installation.  I think this evening or tomorrow we will get that installed.

Yes, we had to remove the sliding bedroom door to get to all of the carpeting during the removal process...  so right now the door is laying on the mattress.

Once the paint is dry, we will put new carpeting down over it. We looked at some of the new carpet tiles that you can buy in 20 by 20 inch pieces. They are easy to install with double stick tape. So I think we will go with that idea. Either that or buy some long runner rugs cut to size on each side and across the end of the bed. It's only 15 inches wide on each side of the bed and 21 inches wide across the bottom of the bed. There's not a lot of floor space because the king size bed does take up a lot of room.

Either way, we are glad we caught this now because before it caused any worse damage.

We are due to be the Campground Hosts starting October 1st at High Cliff State Park so we need to get this fixed during the week before we head on out.


The paint is drying, 
Steve left to go drive a transport for the county, 
and I am taking care of my coleus.

My friend Connie, whom I wrote about yesterday, gave me some of this coleus plant way back in about 1990 I think. I winter it over indoors every year.  Every Spring I plant it in my yard and let it grow. Every Fall I dig some up to bring indoors. I also snap off little cuttings to re-root in water.

I just love the colors of coleus. Magenta is my favorite color, and next to that burgundy and green. These plants have all of those colors wrapped together in one.  Because the leaves are the color feature, it also adds instant color to spring flowerbeds, instead of waiting for seeds or blooms. 

This year I have a full blooming bumper crop along the south side of the house. Grandson Mason asked us why would we ever put plants that grow all over our sidewalk. He said Grandma is crazy. (Yes, I am)

Yesterday I had a picture of the window box on the front of the house, today here is a picture of the window box along the south side, situated above my row of coleus.

The weather has been kind of crazy lately, with some evenings going down into the high 30's. I'm sure Frost is going to be coming soon --- so it's a good time to start these cuttings.

I snap off about 10 tender stems and put them into glass quart jars. Each jar is filled with water from my rain barrel rather than city tap water with chemicals. I think it helps them root faster.

By putting them in the little wagon, I can roll it out of the garage during the day, and back into the garage at night for protection. 

My work is done now for the day. I will wait for Steve to get home from his transport and maybe we will install that vinyl. In the meantime, I think it's a good time for a nap!


  1. Thanks for a great post, Karen! We encountered a similar problem last year. In our case it turned out there was a tiny leak from one of the hot water hoses that was then running along the outside edge of the bedroom wall... what a mess!

    1. Yes, we had a leak from the washing machine pump about 8 or 9 years ago. Ruined the bathroom floor. Not fun... Glad we caught this one before it got worse!

  2. Could you also add a gutter along the top to reroute the dew drips? We put some above our front winshield to divert drips that caused white deposits on the window.

    1. That would be a good idea, but I don't think a gutter would make much difference in any amount of rain. I think the best bet is to seal up the port cover tight and never use it anymore.

  3. My motor home is just like yours except for the color. I just went out and looked at the hookup and I can see where mine could easily leak. I have a question. I wonder if I can just undo the 4 screws holding the receptacle on the outside coach wall, pull it out say 1/2 inch just far enough to get caulking behind it ? Can this be done without unhooking all the wires from the inside? It would make it simple. I keep my coach under a shelter but I am still very carefull about stopping leaks before they cause damage.

    1. Yes, I bet you could easily unscrew it just enough to pull it forward and get some thick caulk in behind it. Glad you got a nice dry place to keep yours. Our poor rig is left outdoors to the elements, so avoiding any further intrusion by rerouting the line is probably the best alternative for us. I am just glad we caught it now before it got worse!

  4. Karen we know all to well about those pesky leaks after full gut of the front in ours new insulation one spot in my kitchen area was wet we looked for weeks then it dawned on me those metal strips I looked and sure enough some caulking was gone I put a fresh new bead from back to front and has been dry as bone. Water it the devil it finds a hole or crack and travels just when you think you know where its coming from your wrong. Definitely will be checking ours as we have that same style of plug box! Thank you for all your wonderful blogs!!


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