Water Be Gone!

May 11, 2017

So, as I mentioned in my last post, we recently discovered some serious leakage/water damage in the back of the interior. After investigating the possible sources, we decided to remove all exterior components (ladder, outlet covers, awning, lights, door handle, hose and other hookups etc.) to clean and attach with new sealant. In some cases we ordered new components. Generally all parts were re-sealed with 3M Marine Sealant and in some cases butyl tape with Dicor.

One of the main culprits was the rooftop fridge/stove vent and cover. This was one of the few things we didn't re-seal when we did the whole roof last month, not having noticed the cracking in the sealant under the cover.
Covered with plastic to prevent mice (another story for another time) after removing old components:

Installing new vent:

Dan then covered the screws and edge with Dicor sealant and screwed the cover over the vent.

The 17 year old, cracked sealant on the old vent caused water to leak down into the space behind the fridge, effectively rotting the wood which the fridge sits on (we've since found a stronger piece of plywood under the rotten piece thus are less concerned about the stability of the fridge).
Fridge cabinet accessed from side of Chinook:

This water was then absorbed through the MDF cabinets, which are unfortunately the most porous excuse for building material in the world. This absorption caused the interior cabinets to swell and buckle, which is where we first noticed the damage.
Very fun and invigorating stuff.

Previously, we had water damage in the storage compartment behind the spare tire. Water had been running behind the rear marker lights and funneling down behind the fiberglass. Dan tore out the rotten plywood after replacing the lights, this is how it looks currently:

Another problem we ran into this week was the destruction of our rooftop A/C unit! Another reminder of the hazards of 17 year old parts - a compression line broke off when Dan was replacing the rubber gasket. We are wavering back and forth about whether to replace the A/C unit (expensive) or put in a skylight (not expensive). At the moment, it is just a hole:

It's actually kind of nice to have more natural light.

We took the Chinook to Wescraft RV in Fife yesterday to try to see how much it would cost to get the water damage fixed inside. The answer: too much.

The string of beautiful days we had this week helped to get the sealing project just about done. It is so much more enjoyable to do van maintenance when it's not 40 degrees and rainy.

Here's to more sunny days in the future. Bonus photo of hangliders in front of Mount Si yesterday: