Sunday, August 12, 2012

Water Damage (Day 5)

Had a good late night run through the woods, got some rest, and had that awesome feeling where you wake up and think it's late- but it's still only 9am! So I loafed around my apartment for a bit, and really didn't think I wanted to go to the trailer...but after my frustration yesterday I decided I should go make some progress so I don't feel worse later about not doing it.

So today I decided I was going to look for some more leaks, and make some serious decisions about where I want to go with this. I have to keep reminding myself that this WILL get done, and part of the reason for getting the trailer was to stop planning and start DOING the small living side of life. I've only given myself till Feburary to complete this, so I need to start setting priorities. The rotted wood? Well it's not so bad that the whole thing is going to fall apart. Instead I need to find the hot spots where the water is getting in- and prevent more damage. Other than that I'm going to leave the inside alone after today... I need to get this outside stuff done before it gets too cold. So let's get to work inside!

Here is where we left of

Okay, time to get some more insulation out. Let me tell you what- I need to get way more air masks...the stuff floating in the air is baddddd for you. I'm wearing one- but as they get soaked in sweat, it gets harder to breath. I'm going to get some of these wires out as well.

These are the wire cutter I was using. Most of the wiring is for 120v. NEVER gonna reuse it- so might as well get it out of the way. These cutters suck. Can't clip these big worries 

These big clippers work much better.I could take someone's fingers off with them.

More wires, BE GONE! 

Uhh okay, so I got distracted and pulled more wood off...I don't know what I'm thinking.
Wait...what's this?
AHHH! ROTTED WOOD! I can see outside! WTF!
Ohh...okay this is outside- makes sense now.

Yeah I'm going to really need to take some time outside and reseal everything. Let's go looking for more leak hot spots:

Hard to see- but there is basically gunk around the sewer pipe- and nothing else. Definitely water getting in here. It needs a rubber gasket or something to seal it in better. 

WOW! This is right next to the air conditioner

So what it looks like is that there has been serious leaking around the air conditioner for a long time. This is bad. The whole unit is going to have to come out- and a suitable cover found to go over top. The whole roof is in need of a nice rubber seal. It looks like someone did a crappy job before- that's the white stuff you can see coming in. I will have to do a much better job. 

Now this is where the "couch" seats were. Obviously been some water damage here...though it's not as bad as it looks.

Originally I though I would take these out. Now that I've decided to throw away the crap particle board (craparticle board) I think these can be saved very simply. So they wont be going anywhere.

Okay that looks like all the big spots have been located. Time to clean up a bit more and call it a day.
Found a wasp nest (among other bugs) in the insulation, as well as a lot of this 'playdough' like substance. No idea what it is.

OH! One more thing. This is where the Fridge/Heat unit use to be

Wood is pretty messed up, probably from water leakage. I think I'll have to build a platform around it if I want to use it again. Otherwise it's not too bad.

Okay so I do still need to get a shop vac or something to clean out the inside a little better. I might wait on it till I finish with some of the roof items. It's going to be some tough calls- but I need to push hard on it so I can hopefully get the roof sealed before the end of September. 

Feeling a lot better about it today, not quite so fatalistic. 


  1. You sir have one heck of a project on your hands. I bought a 1978 Nomad 2 years ago, and i thought it was going to be a quick fix here and there and i found the same thing you encountered, way more water damage than I would have ever thought. I ended up entirely rebuilding the floor, entire front and rear walls and the ends of the side walls. luckily my roof structure was in good shape.

    The front corners are the worst on these trailers. The way the front windows are installed in combination with clearance lights that don't seal, the front rots out and the siding separates.

    I did mine from the outside in, seeing as the interior was still useable and i tried retaining that while fixing the structural issues. Since I've done many upgrades and remodeled the interior.

    If you are interested I have documented the progress on a few forums, here is a link.

    Good luck, looking forward to seeing your progress!

  2. Hi There :
    What a joy to find your blog and pics. I have a 1978 Nomad 5th wheel ,partially restored but not like yours,but still pretty decent. I am working on the bathroom right now ,which by the way is bigger than any $80 thousand rigg you'd get today :) but you know that already . Here's the question you may be able to help me with. You know the six fuses in the box at the back of the camper,the first 3 are fore lights,well I'm having trouble with the circuit for the bathroom and bedroom. They are all connected to the first fuse on your right looking at the box. It lists the amp size of the fuses you should use but somebody drilled right where it gives me the amps for the lights,do you have any idea what amp fuse I should be using for the lights. I switch the lights on from a switch box in the bathroom and sometimes they go on sometimes not and sometimes I turn them on,nothing happens and then they come on 1/2 later or more. Right now they are out and I have no idea if or when they will come on. Si I figure if I backtrack I may find the problem. I'm thinking ,switch box wiring or fuses but I have no idea what to use,been using 20 amp, I thought that was right,other tell me 10 or 30 . I figure you are the guy to go to one this one :) I saw David McDowell reno and he also did a great job,seems I am in good company. If either one of you can help me great . Thanks again :)

    1. Jan,

      Honestly I ditched the entire electrical system I had in place- it was so far gone, and I had been so worried seeing the condition of the wiring, that I didn't want to risk a fire. What I ended up doing (and should really post about) was running 12v wiring in small PVC piping on the inside of the trailer following the ceiling.

      Now, as far as your Nomad. Ours must have been set up differently, but my fuse box was accessible from the outside only, closer to the middle of the trailer. It was near the water pump and heat pump. I confess I ripped this box out and replaced it as part of the remodel- so I don't remember what suggested fuses were. 20 is pretty standard, even for the 70's

      I'm not an electrician, but unless you're actually blowing the fuses I don't think the amps of the fuse is an issue. It actually sounds more like a short somewhere, and potentially in the wiring. What could cause it? A lot of things. It could be condensation from something that's causing a short (especially considering it's the bathroom.) That's just a guess. I wish I could help you more.

      My suggestion would be to rewire. I felt a lot safer after doing that, and when I opened up the walls I found where at least 2 other owners had done their own wiring. Something about doing it yourself gives you peace of mind. I've read David McDowell's blog as well- which was the reason I felt confident taking on this project. He was looking to keep his pretty authentic, which is great. Me? I was aiming for functionality. I installed LED lights, ripped out the old fridge and heat pump and put in an Olympian Wave 3, and to save myself drilling even MORE holes in the wood, just opted for the 12v with no camp hookups.

      Keep me up to date on what you're doing with it! It can be a fun project, just tough to stay motivated. I start and stopped over the past year and I still don't feel like I'm done yet, thought it is livable. I hope you figure out the lighting- and don't over think it too much! It'll drive you nuts.


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