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Is My 1993 Swift Rapide Caravan Worth Damp Proofing?


wid77
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Hi. I don't usually post here but i have a real dilemna at the present time. As stated above i have a 1993 Swift Rapide 450/5 GLX. I have had the caravan for 2 years and bought from a dealer for approx 32k. The caravan has been used many times and is ideal as it isn't too heavy but large enough. As the caravan hadn't been serviced recently i took it along to a local specialist, Dave Butlin in Wigston, Leics. He has serviced the caravan and it is ok apart from, yes that's right, damp! There are several high moisture readings in the 90% region. I have ben quoted approx £580 + VAT to go round and seal the main areas which i have been told should keep it at bay for hopefully the next 4 to 5 years. My question is whether people generally think this is worth it bearing in mind that the van isn't worth that much anyway? I can just about afford to pay the £700 but i want to be reasonably assured that the damp problems won't continue. What do people with more experience of these matters think? Thanks.

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It is not down to what it is worth to someone else it it what it is worth to you.

 

If you have in mind to keep it and the work extends the life of the van by five years then it has to be worth it.

 

If you were going to sell it anyway then the work will not add value to the van greatly so then it would not be worth it.

 

My personal thoughts are if there was a DIY job that could be done to seal it. Can the trim be taken off in the affected areas and sealant put in and the trim put back?

 

If it is up on the roof it is hard to see anyway and so some decent tape may make it waterproof! I think I would be out there with the bathroom sealant.

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I hope you didn't pay 32k for it!!! Maybe 3. 2k I agree with Ellisfield. What you also should take into consideration is that when you have it re-sealed, you are NOT having all the damp areas either replaced or dried out properly. I would need to know if any of the timber construction was affected, you don't know how long it has been damp do you? It might have been damp for years, if so. could be bad news.

I personally never owned a Swift that wasn't damp so my advice would be make sure the next one you buy is dry to start with, and get an extended damp warranty with it.

Or you could buy a German 'van and not have to worry at all!!! Regards Peter :rolleyes:

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Thanks for the comments. Sorry about the typing error, it was approx £2k not £32k! As for how long it has been damp i am unsure? There is an area under the front windows that has become noticeably damp recently but the other areas i didn't know about. The caravan repair specialist, Dave Butlin, says that dry rot is likely as he won't be replacing the affected timbers but that it should be ok for a while. This is why he has said that it is a matter of damage limitation. One of my main concerns is that he said he won't be removing the aluminium trims at all but just removing the old mastic and replacing with new. I am a reasonable diyer/mechanic albeit on a purely amateur basis. I am tempted to 'have a go' myself but i have no experience of trying to dampproof caravans. It sounds relatively easy but i don't want to bodge it all and make it worse. Are there any guides or has any other novice had a go? I could do with reducing the £700 cost at the moment because my personal circumstances have changed. Thanks for your help. :)

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You have a choice that if you leave it at 90% damp and do nothing it only last a short time as the internal damge to the wood frame in the walls will soon rot away but get the use out of the caravan while you can . If you have it sealed it needs to be done right away but it need doing properly with the trims removed and the old mastic removed and new mastic applied then the trim put back on . From my experience with sealing caravans is trying to stick mastic over a leak never works and it will start leaking again in a short while .

 

I would buy yourself a damp meter (ebay) and check the areas yourself then if you are a diyer check out the various web sites on caravan repairs and it will explain how to remove the awning rails by removing the insertion rubber and removing the screws . The new mastic is then applied and the rail put back on with new screws . The old rail you will find when taking it off the screws might need drilling out as they will be rusty . This will reduce a lot of leaks i should think as normally its the awning rail that leaks .

 

Dave

Edited by CommanderDave
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It is a two man job to take off the full awning rail but it has to be done to replace the old mastic. Window trims that hinge the window are less difficult to remove. (lot more parts to take off) but can be handle by one person.

 

The main difficulty is getting the van undercover when you do it.

 

I had replaced the whole front timber framing in an older van and it only cost £200

 

Not removing the trim is not going to do the job.

 

It will just be a bodge. Unless he is going to release the trim by slacking off the screws just enough to add mastic? Even then it will not be a 'proper job done'

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Thanks for all your help. I think I am going to have a go myself. I will have a look round on the internet for any guides and also for a company that sells the correct sealant. I also think I need to replace the rubber strips in the aluminium trim as they have gone hard. Anyone know what they are for?

 

If I take my time I don't see why I can't do a reasonable job. Might even be fun! If anyone does have any links to useful sites or companies then I would be grateful. Thanks.

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