Has your RV ever developed a water leak that caused serious damage?

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It’s the nightmare of every RVer — a water leak that works its way into the innards of an RV. Catch it quickly and a repair can be minor with little expense. But if the leak is not detected, or the water intrusion allowed to continue, the results can be devastating, causing tens of thousands of dollars to repair.

So here’s this week’s question, “Has your RV ever developed a water leak that caused serious damage?” Please leave a comment.

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Mark

Bought an expensive heartland march 2019 and it had so many issues im not gonna mention. So taking a loss we bought a 2020 montana and the front window leaked the first week after purchase. Fixed at dealer. The next rain we found the bedroom slide floor is wet under the bed. Removed the vent inserts that retain heat to find the vent caps leak also. Covered beautifully in tarps ready for more service. I chose this type living for travel work, it proves there is no way id purchase for recreational use. Your stress is constant not fun and money gone! Unless, you think its acceptable to renovate all these flaws and seems most enjoy or accept the challenge, save your money. This is for the buyer looking at real rv life.

Lee Kissell

By some water leak detectors, money you will be glad you parted with. Amazon has them. I used them in our house and now in our motor home. They saved major damage more than once. Place one under each sink, behind the toilet and anywhere else you could have a pipe or appliance leak. They won’t help much for a roof or wall leak but are still worth the money. Also, turn you water off at the spigot when you leave for a while.

Maryalice

We purchased our first RV, a 2012 Thor Crossroads Cruiser 34 ft 5th wheel in 2014 from Camping World. Took it out for a couple of weekend trips. First “big” 7 week trip to Florida the winter of 2017, we noticed an interior wall appeared warped. Upon further inspection it also felt mushy. As the trip went on, we noticed several suspicious areas. We looked over the entire rig for what appeared to be leaking but could find none. Being “newbies”, we asked other seasoned RVers opinions. All suspected leaks, but could find no entry. So no leaking was ever visible to the interior. We called a local dealership at home, explained issue and made arrangements to bring the rig in for an evaluation and repair when we got home. By the time we arrived home the walls were starting to split open. Still thinking we were going to “just “ replace walls, we took rig to dealership for repair. Turns out, the rig had leaked so badly, the front slide floor had swelled enough to nearly make it impossible to open and nearly all walls were destroyed. Our 5 year old rig was totaled out. We had owned it 3 years. The technicians could not find where the rig had leaked either. I’m sure they quit looking when so much damage had been done. This is a rig that was covered 90 percent of the time as we had yet to have any significant use out of it until this trip. The worst part was that we lost our retirement dream. We would still love to travel by RV but are so afraid to purchase another.

LindaH

We’ve had a few water leaks but caught them before serious damage could take hold.

Rosemary

We had 2 leaks in our 2007 RV we caught early enough to be repaired under warranty in AL. Front passenger sidewall was getting “popcorn” look. That was caused by outside awning attachment not being sealed at factory. Had entire wall replaced and any openings sealed. The other isssue was deep well in back closet would get wet. Turns out outside compartment on driver’s side by rear wheels was not sealed and water would get splashed in while driving during rain.

Ted Raymond

We owned a Thor fifth wheel, actually lived in it for a year with three kids and a dog in Yellowstone NP while I worked there. Returned home to Missouri and stored it in the back of the house for the winter.
The unit had hard sides but had a seam about 8″ up joining the two hard side walls. During the winter this seam opened up (too high up to see it) and water entered the unit all winter. When I went in in Spring the entire walls and floor were covered in black mold.
We had no choice but to scrap it for parts and in so doing did lose monies still owed. Once again, Buyer be ware.
Oh, I have noticed since Thor does not have this seam any longer opting for a solid side wall. I wonder why?

Pat

We have a 94 Mallard TT. We have had some leaks, but thankfully we were always in the TT when the leaks occurred. We were able to sop up the water and dry everything. One leak was around the gray tank roof vent pipe. Fixed that quickly.

Z Everett

The pipes under the kitchen sink leaked and could have damaged the floor. We were lucky the pans stored under the sink caught the water.

Mike H.

A number of years ago, we purchased a previously owned “experienced” rv. It developed a water leak, very small water leak. The previous owner replaced the water heater anode rod with a” HOT ROD” electric heating element thus removing the tank protection from electrolysis. Yup, the tank failed with a pin hole leak. Note to self , never replace anode rod with heating element if the water heater was NOT designed for it. It’s only a matter of time but it will shorten the tanks life….

Teresa

Just thought I would add that living in the South…TN…humidity is a problem. I have found that buying lots of charcoal dehumidifier containers at the Dollar Tree has been a life saver for our 2017 Prime Time. It still smells new! About once per month if we are out and about or parked I go change out the containers all through the camper. I have about two in each room. It amazes me every time I change them that they are full of water!

The long trip home

Going down the road I looked in my rear view mirror and noticed the kingpin on the fifth wheel and the front cap were not moving in synch. Seemed like a lot of flex there. Later that night I noticed both night stands had pulled away from the walls. Next day noticed the side wall on the overhang was buckled. Drove the 1,200 miles home expecting to find just the king pin attached when I got there! Pulled the panel off the bottom of the overhang to find it all rotten as well as the side panels. Nothing much holding the shell of the fiver to the frame. The factory never caulked the rubber roof area where it met the front cap allowing water to infiltrate down the sides. Repairing it was not a job I would do again.

Debra

We purchased a used 2017 Thor Palazzo with 5,300 miles on it. From Camping World (sigh). According to Camping World the rig passed a water pressure test. Got the rig home and noticed a small, dripping under the rig after filling the water holding tank and doing our own walk thru/testing fixtures. We finally found the problem – the factory didn’t use plumbing glue when installing the water tank so the rig had been leaking at the valves/multiple points since the first time the tank was filled. The entire floor under the pump and holding tank (hidden beneath the vinyl cover) was rotted and the rot went up half of the wall between compartments. Thankfully, hubby is a handy guy and he completely tore out the flooring and wall , replaced, and fixed the plumbing. It took him about 12 hours of not fun labor (especially sealing the undercarriage). We also found no caulking around the shower enclosure or glass shower door, none around the under-counter kitchen sink, and about a 1/2 inch of caulking around the bathroom sink that doesn’t fit correctly. Every time we use the rig we have found one quality issue or another. We’ve replaced nearly all the plumbing throughout and found a lot of issues (loose hoses, patched hoses, different size hoses connected together to various faucets). The frustration level is off the charts but we know we’ll get it all squared away eventually.

John Springer

I’ve had 2 messes. My toilet failed to shut off completely after a flush and slowly filled up until it overflowed and ran out into the “hall”. Happened a couple of times before I replaced the toilet.
One day I noticed some water stains on the outside near the water heater. Thought maybe the pressure vent was dripping, so didn’t pay much attention, but it did seem to be continuing. Then one day stepped into the bedroom and carpet was soaked. Turns out the water connector on the hot water heater had corroded and was leaking. It was 12 years old, which apparently around the design lifetime. I don’t know if my floor is damaged as I didn’t rip up the carpet. (It was in AZ in the summer, so dried pretty quick.)

Mary L Hazel

When I purchased my ’84 Toyota Dolphin I was aware some water damage on side walls below floor. I had some repair done but as it turned out very makeshift. This year I had the work done professionally and am so happy with results. I just recoated and caulked rubber roof. I check all windows and seams routinely. My last leak was a plumbing failure in bathroom sink that I caught quickly, still a mess but all repaired and dry again with no damage. I do keep it under cover when at home. I put a lot of miles on this little RV and it is well worth the care!

Bill

Have had leaks, but depends on what you mean by serious damage. Had to have roof replaced on 2000 Dutch Star after buying it in 2010, probably due to AC to roof seals – they need to be replaced every so often.

Bob Godfrey

After taking our 40′ Newmar Mountain Aire in to a well known Titusville, Fl. RV shop for a new awning and roof all damaged during a pop-up thunderstorm, upon retrieval of said motorhome we found the carpet and furniture severely water soaked just behind the passenger seat. Turns out the RV shop did not do all the insurance work as promised and repaired the curved metal panel between the rubber roof and sidewall rather than replacing it as quoted. As a result, we took it to another much more reputable RV shop who found the leak was a result of the screws securing the trim piece to the metal flange that was repaired rather than replaced were not properly sealed nor tightened and hence we had a terrible leak. This repair shop used to have a good reputation but when they became very busy they began to cut corners and their service work is simply terrible now. So, beware of repairs, always inspect the result.

Glenda Alexander

I had a 2000 Chinook that came from the factory without properly-sealed windows. Over time, water had seeped inside the walls. The damage was discovered by an RV serviceman when I took it in with a different issue. He discovered that the walls were spongy. To their credit, the manufacturer paid to have it shipped back and they did a very good job of replacing the walls, flooring, etc., that had been damaged.

Dick and Sandy near Buffalo, NY

We had a very serious rain water leak in our new 2015 HR Ambassador. During a heavy rain, rain water started to come into the rig through a ceiling light fixture in the passenger side living area slide. We fortunately caught the leak as soon as it started and prevented serious damage. We brought our unit to the Factory Maintenance Center in Decatur, IN.

The Company had to put us up at a Motel for three days so they could remove the complete slide from the rig, build a complete new slide and install it back into the motor home. The problem was that the roof of the slide was installed up side down in a concave position instead of the correct convex position.

We stayed at the Maintenance Facility for almost a full month so they could repair and replace many other electrical, plumbing, structural and weather sealing related issues. The factory stood by our warranty and the workers did a great job repairing and solving all issues.

Esta gardberg

We had a water leak with our rig from the tube from our icemaker which incidentally we never use. By the time we noticed it it had gone under the whole floor, lots of damage so we put in a new plank vinyl floor, $6000.00, so one year later same problem resulting in rotting platform under refrigerator, needed another new floor, $6.000.00. More and new carpet under slides. Well now a leak coming down from cap over drivers side, took 3 techs to find rusted out screws under roof edge, after we resurfaced roof and caulked everything, large drown moldings falling down while we were driving, and also mirrored closet door, all put in with staples, had enough., oh, add 3 windshields in 4 years due to not enough fiberglas in front cap.

Dan

Our first motorhome, a 91 Journey front engine diesel 35 foot (by Journey Motorhomes Inc.) We bought 12 years old and orphaned in 2003. It had a leak that took me 4 years to discover and correct. The back window in the bedroom leaked as did the fresh water tank fill pipe. The whole back wall had rotted out behind the rear cap. I replaced or used Git Rot on all the rotted wood and built a framework where the window was. I then took it to Eveland’s Inc., the Scamp trailer manufacturing facility in Backus MN to fiberglass that section. Kent Eveland, the owner, is a friend of mine and he gave me a good deal. I sold it in 2016 after getting my 04 Newmar Mountain Aire 4017. The new owners got a good, well maintained older motorhome.