We had only had our new home for about eighteen months before we noticed some water stains on the floor in the rear corner adjoining the slide out. Upon inspection, it appeared to be coming in around the slide out seal......If only we had known more.
At the end of the rainy season we noticed that the stain (which was largely hidden behind one of the recliner chairs) had grown and that the inner lining of the wall was beginning to rot. Big problem so we rang the Company who we had purchased from and you guesses it - they didn't want to know about it. Two excuses were given.
1. That Business was closed down and this is a new Business so we are not liable. and
2. Besides, It's out of Warranty now.
Not impressed but what do you do?
Next step was to obtain a Quote on the repair so Eileen got on the phone to organise a Caravan Repairer to come out and give us a Quote. A very nice young gentleman came out and after quite a bit of looking around came up with a guesstimate of $10,500. After we picked ourselves up of the floor, we made a cup of coffee and had a big sob and a chat.
The long and short of it all came down to the fact that we just couldn't afford that kind of money so I would have to attempt the repairs myself. As I knew it was going to be a two man job, I called on my B.I.L Brian who I knew was handy with most tools.
First job was out with the rear window and remove the back wall so that we could see the full extent of the damage and work out the steps required to fix same.
This is what we found........
|More rot ..........|
|and more bl!*^# rot .........|
|The whole corner was rotten|
Now that we had removed all of the rotten wood and paneling we could begin to see and appreciate the full extent of the damage, and more importantly, what had caused it.
When the van was manufactured in America, the workers had forgotten to install one of the chassis sub-rails that support the weight of the slide out. It was the one at the rear corner of the van and when the slide out was fully extended the floor stud could not take the weight and so it effectively pulled the wall down and separated it from the roof stud and let the water in. Wood rot did the rest.
In order to install the required sub-rail we had to remove the slide out so that we could jack up the wall to the correct height before welding in the rail.
|Looking rather sad without the slide out|
|Slide out resting on some pallets.|
The rotten rot had gotten in to the floor joists and floor panel as well so we had to replace them first.
|New floor joists inserted.|
Next step was to strengthen the very weak (read design fault) corner section of wall. To do this I decided to insert a 40mm square section steel stud floor to ceiling.
|Floor section resting on sub-rail fitted to chassis.|
This was the real weak spot.
|Attached to the roof truss and slide out header beam.|
Next step was to work out what we were going to do with the construction of the rear wall. After several hours of surfing the net due to the fact that the interior paneling was not available in Australia, I decided to go with a fiberglass composite panel 50mm thick which I had made locally.
|The back wall waiting for Brian and I to insert the tail light and|
indicator light wiring in conduits inserted during manufacture.