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Old 05-28-2020, 09:51 PM   #1
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Water between floor and under carriage membrane

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[/PHP]Trailer, 2019 1700BH. I am new to trailer life. Retired. Trailer two months beyond warranty. Problem: While changing tire I noticed a lot of water quickly dripping below trailer. (Trailer was tilted) Membrane under carriage was hanging down like a water balloon with water trapped inside. This trailer was winterized in October after a three week trip. At that time I noticed the bulge but was unaware that I was looking at a problem, maybe because we had just finished up our first trip? (No excuse here) Since the trailer was tilted the water quickly dripped out for over an hour, it slowed but didnít stop by any means. I tore apart the trailer inside looking at the water heater, drains, faucets, toilet, under sink, nothing; I nside appears 100% dry.. I finally punched a small hole in membrane to encourage the leak to continue overnight.
Not sure I can afford hiring the local RV shop. I am fairly good around tools and repaired plumbing, walls, electrical problems over the years on houses; but I have never touched a trailer. I need advise on curing my problem. Thank you in advance for taking the time to help. I appreciate it. Iíll try to post photos.
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Old 05-29-2020, 07:38 AM   #2
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Turn off your water pump and don't have a fresh water hose connected. That will prevent the fresh water system from leaking more water - if that's where the leak is.
Give it some time, does the water stop dripping out the bottom? If so then you know for sure that you've got a leak somewhere in the system, after that it's 'just' a matter of hunting that down and fixing it.
If it keeps leaking then it's likely a leak in the fresh water tank.

I'm assuming this is fresh water since you didn't mention it smelling like black or grey water. I'm also assuming it's not currently raining where you are.
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Old 05-29-2020, 07:54 AM   #3
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Sounds like a bummer but not out of the reach of a worker!
Maybe some questions first to see if possible to spot why it leaks. Sounds like some plumbing, so that gets into asking how it was winterized, assume it was stored in an area where it would freeze? Were the drains all opened and then antifreeze used or was air used to blow out the lines? How about drains? Was antifreeze put in all traps being sure the shower was done? If you can remember exactly what was or was not done, this can be a clue.
When it filled with water this time, what was the situation on water use? It would not be expected for water to stay filling it for six months without a constant supply, did it have a source of water for when you spotted it? Hooked to faucet or fresh water tank filled?
I think of this as good info to think over to decide which system to look at first.
You have several different systems and cutting it down to which is most suspect is one way to avoid tearing the whole thing down!
Drain system is less likely to freeze---if the traps were antifreezed, we can maybe rule them out. The problem being that there may be places in the drain lines that hold water where we would not find it in a house.
Tanks are not too prone to freeze but the lines feeding them are certain to break at connections if not treated right.
So I would let it dry so new water can be spotted, then work my way through testing each system carefully.
Tell us what you have on the situation and we can start talking our way to a plan as this is going to be a tough one to spot when we can't see very much of the underneath.
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Old 05-29-2020, 10:01 AM   #4
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I winterized by blowing all the water out of the system and pouring antifreeze in the drains. I ran a heater inside all winter. Since I live on the Washington coast it didn’t get freezing but a few days this winter. I have not de-winterized the trailer yet. The only time we used water when traveling, we were hooked up to the park. We use a filter and water regulator. We have never just used the water tank alone, always park faucet.
I hope this helps.
Should I attempt to remove the bottom membrane to search out the leak? and if so any advise on how to go about things?
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Old 05-29-2020, 10:03 AM   #5
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Water appears clean as in clear. No smell or sigh of antifreeze.
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Old 05-29-2020, 10:41 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Elk River View Post
Water appears clean as in clear. No smell or sigh of antifreeze.
Is there pressure in the water lines either from the water pump or from a city water connection?
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Old 05-29-2020, 11:05 AM   #7
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Sounds like the winterize was not the cause but I might then guess that some connection has come loose but there is also a chance of it being rain water if it set out?
The problem of taking the bottom coveroff is that it was likely put onas built and that means it is between things in lots of places and if we cut it to get it off, we have a real struggle to replace it in a way that we can get it sealed well so the water and road sphlash don't get in.
So if the rain irs not likely to have gotten in, I might next go to connecting a hose and leaving the water turned on but not open any faucets or let water into the drains as a test of that portion. There are lots of connections which may have come loose or broken, so letting water pressure stand in the lines is one way to try to spot a leak and know if the pressure lines are the problem or not. That's where I feel letting it get dry, so that new leak can be spotted versus remaining water from the past.
One way to tell if the leak is in the black tank, is to add food coloring like red, green or blue to the black tank and see if it shows up. Pretty cheap stuff considering the alternates!
I like to work slow and careful, so I would wait on adding any color to the grey drains unless you wanted to go faster by using two different colors. The problem I see with the grey section is that there is no real handy way to get it in the grey tank without moving it through the drain lines and that leaves you with two possible places IF it happened to show then.
Goo news is that the tank themselves are pretty sturdy if there was even some draining and protecting done. The fittings where the lines go in, not so sturdy.
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Old 05-29-2020, 12:21 PM   #8
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The water that is there has been there for months. It isn’t going anywhere unless I can remove it. I crawled under the trailer to take a closer look; I poked my finger into an opening and as I feared, all the below floor insulation is saturated with water. The membrane looks like it might start tearing away from the sidewalk? where it climbs/appears to go up the side wall. Therefore, I am a bit reluctant to put it on the road as it might tear away.
Should I cut into it, say a rectangle 4x4 three sided flap so it can be taped back into place?, and let the water drop down and remove the insulation to dry it out?
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Old 05-29-2020, 12:23 PM   #9
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When we were traveling it performed perfectly, pressure, hot water etc. Gray and black water tanks performed flawlessly to the best of my knowledge.
At that time I was so happy that my trailer was not one of the horror story trailers I read about. Now?
Thank you.
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Old 05-29-2020, 02:38 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Elk River View Post
The water that is there has been there for months. It isnít going anywhere unless I can remove it. I crawled under the trailer to take a closer look; I poked my finger into an opening and as I feared, all the below floor insulation is saturated with water. The membrane looks like it might start tearing away from the sidewalk? where it climbs/appears to go up the side wall. Therefore, I am a bit reluctant to put it on the road as it might tear away.
Should I cut into it, say a rectangle 4x4 three sided flap so it can be taped back into place?, and let the water drop down and remove the insulation to dry it out?
WOW! That does sound tight. I guess I never had one leak that wasn't already so old there was no way the water stayed very long. They were just covered in a paperboard type stuff that kind of fell off when it got too wet.

Your plan to drain and dry sounds like the best I can think of. That soggy insulation is going to be a bear to get to dry without doing something weird that is not good. Something like mold, etc comes to mind.
With that idea, it may be time to get drastic and remove as much of the cover as you find wet insulation and then maybe consider a full redo of the insulation and cover as well. Hard to say where that gets you.
Might be time to do some quiet calling to repair places and just ask a few questions on what they might do to cure it? They might want you to bring it in and leave it but we might get lucky at times with somebody who will tell what they might do.
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Old 05-29-2020, 03:25 PM   #11
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LOL. I just happened to finish up what you recommended. A lot of water fell. I tore out the insulation. The boards appeared dry. BUT I did find the insulation was still damp/wet as I followed it under the water HEATER (earlier I said tank....sorry) and to the wall. But the heater cavity is dry. Then I remembered an area by the ceiling where we noticed (last year) that some glue was on the wall paper. I Looked again and believed it may have grown. Unfortunately, I did not take pictures last year because of my ignorance of a possible problem. Here is my plan and I ask what people think, de-winterize and pressurize (as mentioned) and observe, but for how long? 24 hours? 2) seal the cracks in the meantime?or to be sure run a hose? If so, is there a specific process/procedure and for how long? I will try to attach photos one of which is the antenna. Thanks to all advisors.
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Old 05-29-2020, 05:52 PM   #12
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I am going to use the process you outlined this weekend depending on weather and commitments from family. How long do you recommend keeping it under pressure? Days? If this info appears in others comments I apologize as I am working from an old phone.
Thanks.
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Old 05-29-2020, 10:42 PM   #13
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I tore out the insulation today. Boards appeared dry. I’ll hook up the water this weekend and post my results.
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Old 05-30-2020, 07:57 AM   #14
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Sounds right. How long kind of depends on how fast it leaks and how soon one might see water but if not seeing it after a day, I would likely move on. But that timing often gets involved with how busy we get, so if you get busy, longer is more sure to proof it isn't the fresh water system.
On the other hand letting it leak and fill things again while you are busy is not good either!
How's that for arguing both sides of the story and not telling you a thing you didn't know???? I'm thinking you are lots better informed on this one than me guessing.
Best of luck and let us know what you find?
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Old 05-30-2020, 08:40 AM   #15
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I am beginning to wonder if I have two separate leaks. I see a possibility of something coming from the water tank, which earlier I had discounted. And I have a small open area on the roof, part of the black gutter seal. This is very frustrating. I wish I had a definitive answer so I could attack that one problem. I will keep you informed on my progress.
Thanks
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Old 05-30-2020, 09:07 AM   #16
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Fully agree water is a tricky, sneaky thing and it gets so hard to spot the real problem as it can do so many things, even with one small leak. Because we can't measure how much water and even see how it gets from here to there, it is really hard to sort out.
My first hard sided RV was one that had water coming in and seemed to be several places.
But in a way, I was lucky that it was so far gone that I was tearing the inside out anyway. I had a leak over the bed in back and running down the front wall but it all was coming from one leak around the vent pipe! Depending on all kinds of weird changes, some of the time the water ran back and over the bed while some of it ran forward and down the wall!
What you see might be something like a leak around the roof, comes in, follows some frame section over a couple feet, goes down drops on the tank and runs off the side in a totally different location than under where it comes in.
So that is where I have to fall back and try to sort which system is leaking first. I had not mentioned it but it can be logical to say it is rain water! So I have to divide the problem before trying to fix it. Rain is hard to program but the hose is easier to control, so maybe starting there is at least one way get to turn on and off when we want.
But I do find the tanks can get blamed for leaking when they are just part of the stuff getting wet from leaks coming in and falling on them. I have found no leaks in tanks but the connections are real problems at times as they do vibrate, flex and fall off and do all kinds of weird stuff. If we don't let the tanks have a bunch of water and then freeze solid, I think of tanks as good.
It certainly would be nice if we had access to trailer info as good as we get on motorhomes as for the MH we can actually access drawings that show exactly where fittings, lines and all the parts of the plumbing are placed, assuming we own the right years. Just knowing there is a rubber flex section two feet over from where we can see can be a big help.
Not good info available on trailers apparently.
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Old 05-30-2020, 09:47 AM   #17
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Are you recommending using the water hose technique on the roof first, then test the trailerís water system?
I am on a small community water well, so Iím wondering if the water pressure gauge would work accurately or accurate enough to give a ďgoodď reading?
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Old 05-30-2020, 11:26 AM   #18
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The water pressure test is good for finding if you have a slow leak that you might not find on just a quick look for water coming out. It will work the same for most any water pressure system, though, as it uses the water from the system only to get the first reading and then traps that pressure in between the faucets which are shut off. You get pressure on the meter coming from the system with the faucets all closed in the RV. Then when you turn off the incoming water, the pressure is still there on the meter-- if there is not some way for it to leak out. Kind of like blowing up a balloon and then closing the end, the pressure stays there, except that our balloons are really not sealed too well. The meterjust gives us a number to look at the next day or so and see if the pressure is still the same. Whether it is 20 PSI or 60 is not important, just whether it changes.
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Old 05-30-2020, 04:46 PM   #19
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“The meterjust gives us a number to look at the next day or so and see if the pressure is still the same. Whether it is 20 PSI or 60 is not important, just whether it changes“
And there in lies the rub, I am on a community water system and the pressure varies depending on how much is in usage the weather, time of day, the tide effects the aquifer, Airbnb overnight rentals, etc.
I’ll try to do things by sight and hopefully get lucky. I sealed the roof today and hope that’s the problem but with the amount of water released from the underbelly, I’m not holding my breath.
I just hope whatever it is it’s going to be obvious if it’s not coming from the roof.
I’ll keep you posted.
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Old 05-30-2020, 05:16 PM   #20
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[QUOTE=Elk River;3862588]ďThe meterjust gives us a number to look at the next day or so and see if the pressure is still the same. Whether it is 20 PSI or 60 is not important, just whether it changesď
And there in lies the rub, I am on a community water system and the pressure varies depending on how much is in usage the weather, time of day, the tide effects the aquifer, Airbnb overnight rentals, etc.

Yes, water pressure varies in most systems.
I know what you mean about the water pressure varies but that is not going to change the test once the faucet is closed. We sometimes confuse pressure with flow.
The water supply builds the pressure in the hose and the RV lines and then when we turn the supply faucet off, that does not reduce or change the pressure in the hose and RV but traps it there. Any change in the local water supply pressure doesn't change the RV pressure as they are separated by the faucet being closed.
Somewhat like airing up a tire and then taking the air hose off. The tire valve stem cuts off the air flow and it is trapped there, much like the water is trapped in the RV.
We may be getting too far into a test that really isn't too likely to be needed but something that could be used if you don't see water leaking any place. Most leaks will be something that you can spot water somewhere within an hour or so, even if it is collecting in some spot.
We only need to do the pressure testing if it is a slow leak that you don't want to hang around and watch for all day!
It would be needed if you watch for water and don't see any but then go for a weekend trip and come back with water. More just a test to make sure the supply lines are not leaking if you don't spot it someplace else.
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