I’ve not posted about this issue though it has been ongoing since I got the camper three years ago, and now the time has come:
SOFT SIDEWALL WINDOW LEAKS!
Colorado is a dry state. Rain doesn’t come often and when it does the low humidity means things dry quickly. I grew up in Seattle so I know rain and damp. When I worked in the mid-west, ten years, I also learned how to work with high humidity and perpetual dampness equals mold and rot!
My camper gets a lot of use and it took me about half a year to figure out that the campers sidewall windows were leaking. The first incident was in mid-2015 when I lifted the top after the camper had been stored for a few months. The bed mattress was wet .. very wet. I dried everything out in a day (with air flow things dry quickly in Colorado) and went on my trip. I didn’t notice any damp/wet for many weeks until I got into some heavy rain on the East coast. This time the bed didn’t get much more than damp and I ‘chalked it up’ to my not being careful in sealing up the window Velcro closures.
Two years ago I headed to Washington State in October and again in December. The bed got very wet a few times and it was clear the windows over the bed leaked. Sometimes the leak was slight and others it was a lot. The issue is intermittent and I’ve had difficulty figuring out the combination of factors that make for a little leak or a significant leak.
After many travels late 2015 and through early 2016 the camper was taken off the Tundra. It stayed unused for a couple of months. I went out to get things set for a trip in May 2016 and found this –
I dried everything out over a couple of days this time as that corner of the mattress and the ‘carpet’ along the side of the ‘bedroom’ were soaked), cleaned and cleaned again. Like the cleaning done in 2015 Colorado’s low humidity helps and with air flow things were put mostly right. No rot nor odor … just staining.
The left ‘bedroom’ window also leaks, but much less than the right side window. the leak comes from water pooling on the outside of the softwall when the roof is closed. Water seeps in and during a wet spell … such as many days of rain or slowly melting snow … the stitching that ‘makes’ the window leaks along with flow through the saturated Velcro. Water also comes in when driving through heavy rain.
The roof is snugly closed when the leaking happens and there is a slight seal where the sidewall is squeezed between the lower porting of the camper (ie, the top of the hardwall) and the roof. Thinking that a better seal would help I installed some rubber gasket along the forward 1/3rd of the roof’s lip. This hasn’t stopped, or even slowed, the leak.
In early 2017 tried sealing the seams and the edges of the Velcro with Seam Grip, a product recommended on some pop-up-camper forums. Nope … leaking almost seemed worse!
Back in June 2017 I pulled the mattress out and gave the foam and the cover a good cleaning. I also painted the wood ‘floor’ of the sleeping area.
I also sealed the bottom 2/3rds of the right window using silicone in the hopes It would contain the leak and allow me to open the top 1/3 on warm days/nights. Nope … leaking was even worse and the mattress was again found to be SOAKED after what I though wasn’t much of a rainstorm.
So for now I’ve completely sealed the right forward window. Colorado is now in a drought-ish situation where there was no significant rain or snow through the fall and thus far this winter. Not really a situation where the new sealing has helped.
Still … this leak is frustrating and how the water gets past the gasket around the edge of the camper roof and hardware when closed has me puzzled! Mostly I believe the workmanship on the windows is poorly executed as I’m not just getting drips, I get enough to make the mattress a waterbed. If I lived in the PNW the forward part of the camper would be ruined!
My old 1998 Roamin Chariot camper never leaked!