Interior Fixing water damaged wall panel

Oct 31, 2017
12
15
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Brisbane
#1
Hi All,

been lurking around a while and have found the site very useful and informative. We picked up a 2014 17.56-2 OB late last year but I haven't had a chance to start a thread yet on our van... Will get around to it soon... I promise...

Anyway, I've discovered some water damage on the inside wall panel below the mains water/tank inlet panel. Refer photo. I've eliminated leaks on the mains fittings and tank fittings as the cause. After monitoring for a while it goes damp after a decent amount of rain, so looks like the water inlet panel needs resealing. No sign of damage above this panel (without pulling it out yet) so fairly sure it's not coming from the window or anything higher. And no sign of damage to the floor, have checked both inside and underneath.

Before resealing the inlet panel I wanted to get some ideas for fixing and tidying up the wall panel. It's under the dinette seat so doesn't have to be a perfect fix...

My thoughts so far:

-Pull out water inlet panel
-Remove as much of the water damaged laminate as will come away easily and any of the internals of the panel that are water affected (assuming it's mostly insulation foam or something in the guts of the panel?)
-Glue on some thin (1-2mm) laminate/melamine sheeting or similar to cover the whole area under the seat
-Fill void in panel with expanda (pardon the pun) foam through the cutout for the water panel?
-Refit water inlet panel and seal with a silicone neutral cure sealer. (have read elewhere on the forum that the silicone stuff is better for sealing on the van than polyurethane products?)

Have I missed anything, or any better ideas or tips?

Thanks,
GM

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Crusty181

Well-Known Member
Feb 7, 2010
4,668
10,368
113
Mentone, VIC
#2
Hey @GJMitchell welcome to the forum. That water ingress around the filler box is a bit of a issue with Outbacks. The Nongs at Jayco dont seal the water filler box against the check plate, relying on the rubber gasket alone which wont seal effectively over the check plate. Rain will eventually seep around that gasket and do exactly what you have discovered. The internal white film on the ply is extremely brittle and the adhesives extremely adverse to moisture. The speed at which the film separates due to the presence of moisture can sometimes make it appear far worse than it is (fingers crossed)

Your issues may well be hose connections, but the gasket has been an Outback issue for many years and the spread of your damage would suggests the gasket is the culprit in your case

Pushing a screwdriver into the affected area will reveal the extent of any actually damage, other than the decorative white film.

I cant easily be repaired, more drying it out and just stopping the leak and further damage. I would recommend drying it thoroughly, sanding it back and just painting it with a textured paint to try and blend it in with the wall. Once you've established the extent of any damage and dressed it up as best you can, you'll need to re-install the filler box and apply a sealant to both sides of the external gasket to establish a permanent and positive seal. Ive had 3 Jaycos and with each of them removing the filler box and sealing it properly has been one of my first mods .

There would be many many Jaycos (particularly Outbacks) bopping around with exactly the damage you have, and due to the hidden location of the filler box their owners would be blissfully unaware of the leak, and spreading damage. As a side issue Im astounded why the mains pressure inlet needs to go through the wall into the van via hidden and un-necessary leak prone fittings, only to then go straight back out through the bloody floor.

Its a good opportunity to highlight the issue and everyone check their own vans for the similar issue.
 
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Oct 31, 2017
12
15
3
Brisbane
#3
Hi @Crusty181,

Yeah, I can see why it's leaking. Foam gasket on checkerplate... There is sealer around the filler box on the outside, but it has deteriorated and cracked and is probably why the water is getting in.

What would you use to reseal the filler box? Looks like previously a polyurethane sealant was used. But I have read somewhere (probably on here) that the silicone neutral cure sealer are better for sealing up the van exterior. Is this the case?

As for the damage on the inside, it is worse than just the white film lifting. The ply(?) behind it is cracking and water damaged too. Hard to see in my photo because the pipes are in the way but it is worse on the right hand side. I have picked a hole in the ply right through to the guts of the panel.

So what is the wall panel made up of? Fibreglass outer skin, foam core, ply internal wall with white film for looks? If thats the case can I just pull off any of the affected ply and pick out any of the damaged foam core, glue on a new inner ply sheet and fill the cavity with expanda foam?

Thanks,
GM
 

Bluey

Well-Known Member
Mar 31, 2014
3,086
5,441
113
49
victoria
#4
I disconnected that bloody crap plastic water inlet its still there and tank hoses still there but inlet is blocked and made a tap outside much much much better better pressure no drips no hoses blowing off side of van one of the best things ive done to the van
 

Crusty181

Well-Known Member
Feb 7, 2010
4,668
10,368
113
Mentone, VIC
#5
Hi @Crusty181,

Yeah, I can see why it's leaking. Foam gasket on checkerplate... There is sealer around the filler box on the outside, but it has deteriorated and cracked and is probably why the water is getting in.

What would you use to reseal the filler box? Looks like previously a polyurethane sealant was used. But I have read somewhere (probably on here) that the silicone neutral cure sealer are better for sealing up the van exterior. Is this the case?

As for the damage on the inside, it is worse than just the white film lifting. The ply(?) behind it is cracking and water damaged too. Hard to see in my photo because the pipes are in the way but it is worse on the right hand side. I have picked a hole in the ply right through to the guts of the panel.

So what is the wall panel made up of? Fibreglass outer skin, foam core, ply internal wall with white film for looks? If thats the case can I just pull off any of the affected ply and pick out any of the damaged foam core, glue on a new inner ply sheet and fill the cavity with expanda foam?

Thanks,
GM
The walls are around 30mm ply sandwiched polystyrene slabs with a metal perimeter frame. The internal 4mm ply is faced on one side with a white decorative textured film, and the external 4mm ply laminated with sheet fibreglass. The internal foam should be unaffected by the moisture and that small section of internal wall ply whilst horrid to look at, would pose no overall structural issues particularly because its in an area where it wont be subjected to knocks etc. Short of laminating the entire section under the couch (which would be only visual in any regard), Id still be leaning towards fixing the leak drying it thoroughly and giving it a lick of paint

My almost everything "go to sealant" is Sika Roof and Gutter, covers off most jobs adequately. Another awesome stick to almost anything product is MS Polymer such as Soudal T-Rex. Polyurethane is great for its intended purpose, buts its not a general purpose use everywhere sealant The MS Polymer will stick to that white internal caravan wall film ... nothing else will including Roof and Gutter or polyurethane

All house walls should be made out of Jayco white caravan wall ply because virtually nothing earth bound will adhere to it (except MS Polymer)
 
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Oct 31, 2017
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Brisbane
#6
@Bluey , leak is definetiley coming from seal between water inlet panel and checker plate. No leaks on mains fitting or tank fittings. Only gets damp when it rains...

@Crusty181 , will try and make time to pull water inlet panel out this weekend and dig around to better see the extent of the damage. Will post any updates. Thanks for the tips.
 
Oct 31, 2017
12
15
3
Brisbane
#7
Ok, found time today to pull water panel out and clean it up. Plenty of sealer thrown around so known problem by previous owner. Also a bit damp from the rain yesterday.

Pulled off any water damaged ply etc from inside. Spent a good hour scraping off the sealer from all the bits and pieces.

Trip to bunnings. Sika roof and gutter and a MS Polymer adhesive, and a sheet of 3mm white laminated masonite.

Opening now taped up with plastic until I can finish the repair next weekend. Will give it a good chance to dry out properly before i seal it all up...

I noticed the original rubber gasket has grown a bit and so doesn’t quite fit in the grooves of the panel properly. Was thinking of ditching it and using the sika roof and gutter to form a gasket and seal it directly to the checker plate. Thoughts?

Gjm
 

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Drover

Well-Known Member
Nov 7, 2013
7,235
13,409
113
Cooloola Coast, QLD
www.expandasdownunder.com
#8
Yuck, thats not nice at all, sounds like you have it covered, I would see if you can knock up another seal though for while I used to prescribed to the Sika the bastard so it won't leak again theory, I have found when removal is required for some other unthought of reason I have made more problems for myself, namely the damn thing won't come off.......so a plyable rubber seal sandwiched between sealant is handy also those poly sealers don't like coming off again......always use a neutral cure product.
 
Oct 31, 2017
12
15
3
Brisbane
#9
After a week of drying out I went to start sealing it all up again. But found the bottom centre of the wall was damp again. Not coming from the taped up opening for the water panel. Coming from bottom up. So dug around some more and ended up ripping out the foam insulation below the panel opening as the ply between the isulation and outer fibreglass panel was still damp also and rotting away.

So looked around to see where the water was coming from now. Noticed the checkerplate on the outside was cracked in the 90deg fold where it returns under the bottom of the wall panel. So can only assume it’s wicking in from there. We’ve had a reasonable amount of rain the last couple of days.

Also looked around where the wall meets the wheel arch and will improve sealing there. Hopefully I’ve found it all now.

GM
 

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Likes: Drover
Oct 31, 2017
12
15
3
Brisbane
#11
So went to Bunnings yesterday to get some expanda foam to fill the void now created by pulling out the foam insulation. Quite ironic that the instructions say: The surface should be pre-moistened with water before application to ensure that: a) the foam cures at an optimum rate and b) secondary foam expansion is prevented.

I've just spent the last week trying to dry it all out... :confused-87:
 
Oct 31, 2017
12
15
3
Brisbane
#13
Yeah @Drover, was planning to squirt a bit in at a time to make sure it all sets and not to overfill. Doesn’t bother me too much if there are a couple of air gaps in there as it’s only to fill the void and stop some of the flex between inner and outer panels.
 
Likes: Drover
Oct 31, 2017
12
15
3
Brisbane
#14
So with the day off today got started on putting it all back together. Couple of 20x20 spacers glued to the outer fibreglass skin to add som rigidity and to tie outer and inner panels together. Sika roof and gutter around exposed alloy wall frame to seal it all up. Rough cut inner ply to get the thickness right. Add expanda foam and cut excess/overflow. Glue on white laminated masonite to finish it off.

Will glue/seal in water panel on the weekend.
 

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GJMitchell

New Member
Oct 31, 2017
12
15
3
Brisbane
#15
Finally finished off the repair. Used M5 bolts all the way through the wall as the existing holes were stripped and too big for a screw. Carefully applied sika between panel and checkerplat in place of the old gasket and then a bead around the outside perimiter of the water panel to tidy it up and provide a secondary seal. And a dab of sika under the screw heads to seal them also.

Thanks all for the tips and advice...

GM
 

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