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Old 07-02-2010, 03:20 PM   #1
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Default HELP ADVICE NEEDED FOR LEAKING ROOF SEAL

HI EVERYONE. So I thought it was a leaking window, but it's bigger than that. So, we have a 1996 van, "born" in Oregon, lived there most of life, but spent last couple of years in AZ. The sealer from van body to raised roof is cracked and gnarly looking. Resulting in persistent drips inside..... If I am parked slightly uphill, the leak is over the passenger side rear . If I am parked downhill, it drips over the driver seat! Alack. Anyone done this repair? How and how difficult? I was quoted $2-250. by local body shop.
Any esperience with this? Any ideas? Sympathy? :>)
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Old 07-02-2010, 03:23 PM   #2
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Default Re: HELP ADVICE NEEDED FOR LEAKING ROOF SEAL

This is the 1996 Bigfoot, on a Ford E350. Other than this, van has held up well- now has 41K miles. Looks good, drives good.
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Old 07-03-2010, 01:59 PM   #3
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Default Re: HELP ADVICE NEEDED FOR LEAKING ROOF SEAL

Geez, every raised roof RV owner's nightmare. Sucks!!! (ok, there's the sympathy ).

Can you tell if it was damage from a collision or contact with an overhead obstruction,
or does it just look like old age/dried out caulking/sun damage?
Maybe start with a few questions here. I think it's free to join.
http://www.bigfootowners.com/
No idea if anyone else with a BigFoot has had the problem, but someone might have.
Maybe it's as simple as recaulking the leaking area, or the entire perimeter of the roof at the
body. It would be nice to know how the roof is attached to the body, before caulking it, to see
if there is any need for refitting it, or just tightening something.

Or try a Camping World or RV place or a local body shop, and ask them what they recommend.
It might not be as bad as you think, depending on what's actually inside the raised roof itself
(conduits, wiring, etc.).
Maybe try the current Big Foot company and ask if they got any schematics of the old class Bs
when they changed ownership? That would at least tell you how complex a major repair might be.
I contacted Roadtrek a while back for a similar question and they were able to tell me exactly
where stuff was inside the roof.
There must be a way to lift the roof off, and reseal it. (Maybe?)

Just some ideas. Hope something helps.

Updated thoughts about this.
Maybe try searching RVNet.com as there seem to be some fairly knowledgable folks on it as well.
http://www.rv.net/Forum/index.cfm
There are more than just class B-ers there, so the knowledge and experience base is probably larger.
Ron's thoughts about the crack repair stuff may also be worth considering.
If you were quoted up to $250, what would that be for? Pulling the rest of the seal/sealant and recaulking?
Maybe it's all you can do, without spending a fortune.
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Old 07-03-2010, 03:54 PM   #4
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Default Re: HELP ADVICE NEEDED FOR LEAKING ROOF SEAL

I believe I would think long and hard about going to a body shop.....it could become worse. I say this in the vein that they don't fool with RV roofs enough to diagnose how that seal comes off, and a proper lasting repair to the problem. I'd check out the website recommended for advice and possible a direction in which to run to get it corrected. I was also thinking of CAPTAIN TOLLEY'S CREEPING CRACK CURE; it has worked great around the seal of the RT Opera Windows for me. Check out their website, it works on the same principle of soldering, finds the leak and fills it. I got mine from West Marine, 2 ounce bottle is about $15.00. Leaks of any nature are a messy deal. If you find out that the seal just comes off and a special caulk is used to repair it, I would think about using a tool such as the Dremel Multi-tool to remove...could save a lot of work. Kee[ us posted on what you find out and how you decided to resolve it. Ron
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Old 07-18-2010, 05:37 AM   #5
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Default Re: HELP ADVICE NEEDED FOR LEAKING ROOF SEAL

Thanks for these responses. When I first got the van in September 2009, I did contact Dennis Holmes, former warranty manager at Bigfoot ( the original Bigfoot Industries) . I asked him about the vans, as there is really no info about them. Even the Bigfoot manual included with the van only describes a truck camper unit- there's no van info. So I don't know about holding tank sizes, etc. I just kinda guess..... :>)
He said that there were 62 vans built in 1996/7. Their "known" problem was leaking around the roof AC unit. So I suspected this when I found the first leaking- BUT there is NO leaking visible around the interior AC vent. OR is it possible that it leaks in there, and runs down the interior of the roof shell to whichever end of the van is "downhill". ??? I think I read somewhere that Bigfoot's claim to fame was double walled fiberglass shells. Could water be getting inside the two layers?
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Old 07-18-2010, 10:15 AM   #6
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Default Re: HELP ADVICE NEEDED FOR LEAKING ROOF SEAL



Maybe focus on the Air conditioner first. My understanding is that most AC's sit on a foam gasket and are torqued down onto the roof with bolts or screws from inside the van. I'd try to get a replacement gasket before starting the job if you don't have a garage to park your B in.

Is your AC recessed like the one in the photo?
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Old 07-18-2010, 06:22 PM   #7
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Default Re: HELP ADVICE NEEDED FOR LEAKING ROOF SEAL

I just read an interesting input someone put in about a RT and its leaking. All RT Owner's worry about the opera windows, some of us have had problems, others none. This article talked about the rear crimping seals not being sealed properly by GM; wonder if a Ford dealer could provide info. My logic says vans are vans in construction and it would be be worth a check out. Safe travels.
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Old 07-21-2010, 01:08 PM   #8
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Default Re: HELP ADVICE NEEDED FOR LEAKING ROOF SEAL

I have an '85 Dodge Roadtrek Versatile and the roof leaked when I bought it. I found a local Plant City, Florida RV repair guy who fixed my leaks for $330.00. If you get quoted 250.00 that is a good price in my estimation. Especially considering the cost of water damage repair. Also, If you are going to be in a rainy climate plan on spending that much a year in roof repairs for an older vehicle. Either that or you park it under some sort of shelter. I think of it like I would a live-aboard boat: scraping the hull is part of the cost of living.
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Old 07-22-2010, 03:58 AM   #9
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Default Re: HELP ADVICE NEEDED FOR LEAKING ROOF SEAL

My 1990 Dodge Ram 250 Leisure Travel van: One of my opera windows (aka skylights) were leaking. I pulled off the rubber seal, applied some Goop (that's the actual trade name) very slowly and as as carefully as I could and reinstalled the rubber seal. Left it inside for 24 hours to really dry, and it worked like a charm; we've been out in some heavy rains after that. But ah, a skylight seems to be a lot easier to waterproof that an entire raised roof perimeter.
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