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It's raining inside the van

Category: What could possibly go wrong?. Published: 23 Jun 2009

Twice I had issues with water getting into my first slide-on campervan.

The previous owner said that he'd had a problem with a leaky roof but he'd fixed it -- it appears that it wasn't fixed properly. There was some evidence of damage, but it was hidden in a corner under the mattress. On the first occasion that I encountered a decent amount of rain I found that water was still getting into this area. I used to have a water-bed but didn't really want one in the van -- it would probably add too much to the weight. This was a small problem and easily fixed with a bit of silicon.

The second occasion was a bit more of a problem. I was in the Flinders Ranges and the rain had been coming down heavily overnight and through the day. Mid-afternoon I was sitting inside the van working on my computer when water starting dripping onto my shoulder. "This can't be good!", I thought. Especially considering the water had to not only get through the roof, but also had to go through a cupboard that contained the stereo and a number of electrical wires. "I probably need to fix this."

I unlevelled the van (with a slide-on it's easy to raise or lower one leg to put the van on a decent lean) and a heap of water poured off the roof. I parked the truck next to the van so that I could stand on the back of the truck and check out the roof of the van. There's a big hollow under the solar panels. I checked out the roof throughly but couldn't find a hole anywhere; It appears that the screws holding the panels on have all been silicon-ed, but if the water is just sitting there it will get in somehow. Leaving the van off-level should solve the problem -- at least for now.

With trial and error I found that having the van slightly off-level, with the back left corner slightly lower but not enough to be noticeable, actually solved this problem. As I had rectified the problem and cleaned up the mess straightaway there was no long term damage.

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