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Dampness In Caravan - Please Help!


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Hi,

My Hubby and I recently bought an Abi Ace Viceroy 1990 for £700. We are complete caravan beginners and not at all clued up about caravans. We though the van appeared clean and dry and really liked it so bought it in September. We have never used it and it has been stored outside near our home. I have been checking on it through the winter and recently found some damp on the left side of the wall under the front window ledge (behind the front locker) I thought this was all at first but I have since found more on the right side of the caravan wall under the seats. I have also noticed a very small pool of water on the floor underneath the sunroof. I am now panicking and wondering if the caravan is usable in this condition or if we have just wasted our money? We have no money to pay for repairs but may be willing to have a go at DIY if it is not too complicated as again this isn't our area of expertise. Any advice or help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks

Sarah

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Hi Sarah - Welcome . .. there are plenty of people on here that have had a problem of this nature, and many are handled in different ways, but in the main - first check for physical damage on the out side as this may be the problem. If none exists, check all seals of windows and areas where panels join and see if there is a difference along the length.

you may see places where a panel has moved, or a window seal seems a different shape.

 

It could also be where some of the seal joints have also moved. Simple re-sealing of the faces could be the fix you need.

 

Good luck, hope all goes well

Power unit at front all the time, Van behind (hopefully) some of the time unless I'm reversing then it's all the other way round . .... Or is it?

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Work your way upwards, I believe there's an Ali mould at waist height below the windows, start there, remove carefully and reseal.

Next, the window, check the wallboard below the rubber, damp meter it, if wet, the window will need to come out. It will be very brittle, be very careful ( £600 ish new, to replace!) replace rubber with new (£40 ish)

Next point up is the front roadlights, regular culprit, take off and reseal.

Check rooflight for cracks, if none, could well be condensation. Rooflight still available, approx £60.

Hope this helps

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This is a really helpful website for damp repairs - lots of people have put pictures up as they were doing the repairs http://www. 1carpc. co. uk/wcdr/favorites. htm Hope that helps, & best of luck x

2005 Bessacarr Cameo 635 gl & 2005 Nissan Terrano II SVE Di 3. 0l

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First of all do not worry about it. The damp may cause structural problems down the line, but it is still usable, and your £700 caravan will remain usable for several years at which time if you are hooked you will be trading it anyway. Once you start stripping back wallboard however the van becomes unusable until the job has been completed. The roof light would be the one that I would tackle first simply because it is the only one that will dampen you. It may have been driven under the roof light by the driving rain we have had recently, but more likely it will be the sealant failing. Get a tube of Idl sealant from a caravan dealer loosen the screws that hold the rooflight in place and then remove the roof light (easy) use a scraper to remove the old sealant, and white spirit to clean the surface, then do the same with the roof light. Put a thick bead of sealant round the rim on the rooflight, put it back into place and tighten the screws down from the inside this spreads the sealant and you should be able to see the sealant having been squashed out of the joint all the way round, and you need to clean off if you want an aesthetically pleasing result.

Bill

 

Growing old is compulsory, growing up is not.

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I agree with all the above. I totally re done my caravan last year as a project and it's still dry so don't panic! And I did it all DIY on a budget with a bit help from a friend when needed,

 

First as said check the awning and side rails for any gaps or crumbling sealant as these are usually the main culprits for water getting in. In the past before I ripped a caravan apart I used to just reseal these with a flexible sealant (not bathroom sealant) right along the rails, sometimes I would just do all rails and above the windows just to be on the safe side.

 

Plenty air to let the damp dry out naturally. I used a fan heater at times but I was told that drying out damp too quickly can warp the wood. As long as the place (my guess would be a rail) where the water is getting in is sealed properly then it will dry out and the smell will eventually go with ventilation.

 

I'm not too hot on the type of locker yours would be as my caravan's much older and a different structure to yours but check inside the locker for any cracks and also go over all the body work with a fine tooth comb for any deep scratches or dents, however tiny, that may let water seep in.

 

As said also the skylight may just need reseled. Mine did a couple of times before it was eventually dry and non leaky!

 

If you cant get out or don't have the weather to seal properly yet good old duct tape or aluminium tape will keep the water out.

 

Hope you get sorted out, do you have any pictures of your caravan plus where you think the damp is. I'm nosey I know! :ph34r:


Here's my current caravan finished last February. I was up the other day resealing (well my mate did it for me!!) the awning rail as the awning flapping about had caused gaps in the sealant over the year.


http://www. caravantalk. co. uk/community/blog/9-abi-target-project/

Compass Shadow 1988

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Hi,

Thanks for all your replies, reassurance and advice. I feel a little less panic stricken now! I will start by resealing everything and hope we can dry it out. I would love to get some use out of it first before we attempt any diy on it as we promised the kids we would get away the first sign of warmer weather!

I will take some photos next time I check on it to show you Mechs, I am amazed at what you have achieved with your projects! I wish we were as clued up / skilled as you.

I thought about getting a cover for it now to try and help it survive the winter - do you think this would be a good idea? I don't thik the storms have been good for it as I am sure the roof light didn't leak before! I have filled the caravan with lots of bowls of silicone gel cat litter and soda crystals to absorb dampness too and I have removed all soft furnishings it came with. I was looking forward to recovering the cushions as a project but now it seems the project may well be a bit bigger than intended!

I also need to get it serviced but not sure where to take it. I am in Scottish Borders if anyone knows of any where.

Thanks again

Sarah

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Hi Sarah,

 

I wouldn't do anything, certainly wouldn't have it serviced at a disproportionate cost to the capital outlay. Use it this summer if you like the idea of caravanning you'll probably sell it for another and most likely get your money back.

 

You need to know the difference between damp and condensation. I need to know the difference between damp and condensation. Before I joined this talk forum I never cared about damp, but now I’m paranoid.

Like you I bought my first caravan for little money, I didn’t even kick the tyres, just bought it. Since then had four more none of which had a problem – until now. My brand new one. The last trip was in dreadful weather, wet. There was so much ‘water’ running down the inside walls I truly believed we had bought what everyone on this forum knows to be a lemon. Because we can’t make water proof caravans anymore, so everyone says. You end up believing it.

 

On the way home from the last trip I thought it would be good to show the dealer while it was still wet so called in to show him. “ Yes that’s normal, just a bit of condensation” He even showed me where I hadn’t noticed, it was really bad, top corners at the front in the over heads. Did he put my mind at rest? I’m still a cynic because unlike him I have read all the stories on here!

Mine is kept indoors and I recently noticed the outside walls at the seat height and below were totally covered in wet, almost to the point of ‘run off’ that must be condensation?

 

There’s truth in the saying ‘ignorance is bliss’

 

Just enjoy it Sarah, It’s managed to reach 23 years of age all right, why should it suddenly be a problem now? Get the Barbie ready, soon be time :-)

 

Kind regards,P

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Sarah, use Sikaflex 512 for your sealant- the stuff that manufacturers use, íf they can be bothered. It's about £8 a tube, get it from plumbers' merchants or the trade sections of builders' merchants.

 

 

 

Tim

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Sarah,

 

Don't want to worry you unnecessarily but I would be careful with the cat litter - it's great for drying out dampness but has been associated with causing health issues - would suggest that you wear a mask when using it.

 

This comes from personal experience.

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Thanks Guys,

I have a dust free silica gel cat litter that isn't supposed to contain any of the health hazards some others do.

I think I was just concerned to get the gas and electrics checked with a service rather than anything else.

I will get some Silkaflex 512, thanks Tim.

It's an interesting point about damp and condensation. The wetness on the front wall may well just be condensation afterall but I think it is definetly dampness underneath the bench as it has delaminated and is black and spongy underneath a section of it. I will be back there this weekend to reseal and will take photos then! There is absolutely no smell in the caravan though and so far everywhere else I have checked appears to be pretty reasonable considering its age!

Good luck with your condensation - it would be interesting to hear if that sounds normal or not?

Sarah

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Unless you can get a van under cover, indoors, I would forget any dampness rectification at the moment with the weather like it is at present. This type of work is a warm summers week. You need to remove and leave the wall board off and let things dry off before replacement and it just isn't going to happen at the moment.

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I'm not skilled at all! I did learn alot on here though! If I lived closer or drove i'd happily give you a hand!

 

I use the moisture traps out of the pound shops in mine most of the time and also when the winter comes in as my vents are covered, don't know if they're actually of much benefit or not but just something I do.

 

I;d reseal along the rails and let it dry out just for peace of mind.

 

As for covers i've never used one and did think about even a roof cover but then where my caravan is near the caravan storage area on site some have covers and look ok but there's one or two, with what I assume are non breathable covers and when it rains they actually stick to the caravan until they totally dry out. Some swear by them though.


Also, a cheaper sealant i've used for caravans and boats is Seamseal CV. I got some on ebay for about £3 a tube.

Compass Shadow 1988

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Unless you are sure that the brakes are OK I would consider getting a mobile engineer to adjust and check the gas. Cheaper than dealers by far and often able to give advice. Ask on here for recommendations in your area Sarah

Alan

 

2005 Nissan X-trail 4WD diesel and Swift Charisma 540 2012 Lunar Clubman ES  2018 Lunar Clubman ES

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http://www. youtube. com/watch?v=dmRAU3DO1Xc

 

Hi

 

sorry to here of your trouble i have recently finished a small repair to mine, although not to the extent of what's shown in the video but i found this series of videos gave a good insight to the make up of the walls and a excellent description. The guy has 2/3 videos i have included a link for part 2 so be sure to check his others,

 

However these repairs are not for the faint hearted so see it through, just be sure you have sealed the outside before carrying out the internal work.

 

regards

If only I could live in a caravan !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Have a look in the front locker, upwards inside. On my old van (1991 Elddis) there was a piece of chipboard, which was soaked through, as it leaked( and had been leaking slowly for a long time) along the joint between the roof and the front moulded panel. This may give you an idea if its leaking from the windows or further up. As I was new to caravanning, and the internet was not as useful then, I had no idea about damp checks etc.

 

I re-sealed it (not very well it turned out), but the damage was done and it just rotted. It never had any wet showing inside, but the wall board above the windows rotted away(it's only hardboard after all), then the sides became spongy. We still used it like this for years as in all other aspects it was a great van, and it never smelt of damp at all, but in the end, I was worried that it was unsafe to tow with so much of the front structure rotten.

 

Off topic I know, but I put it on ebay for spares only and stated the damp problems, and sold it for scrap and was conned into delivering it, only for it to be relisted immediately, with a description that a 'News of the World' Journalist would have been proud of. I was described as an old couple(40years old at the time :blush: ) and the damp could be repaired easily :rolleyes: . He sold it for a fair profit. :ph34r:

Edited by ian16527
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That is terrible, just goes to show how low people will go!!

Thanks for all the tips and advice, I am noting it all down!!

Sarah

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Was going to say Unbelievable,, but knowing how some people can live off of others I guess it is not that unbelievable,,,some people will go to any length to make a bob or two,, myself I despise that sort of person

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With these weather conditions of strong winds and driving rain the vents and seals on windows can be beaten and allow water in .

 

IMO I would put a cover over the caravan to protect it as you can not use sealants in cold wet conditions and wait till spring .

 

 

Dave

Jeep Commander 3. 0 V6 CRD

Isuzu D- Max Utah Auto

Elddis Crusader Storm 2000 Kgs, Unipart Royal Atlas Mover .

 

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