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Old 09-24-2016, 02:33 PM   #1
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Fastening with S.S. Screws to Exterior Fiberglass

Hi,
Have a 2013 Kodiac 279RBSl. Having trouble with leaks on the Kitchen slide when the slide is in. I am going to install a gutter over the slide to hopefully catch some of the water before it comes into the trailer. Has screw holes spaced about every 6".

My question is if there is anything I need to do, to screw into the fiberglass skin?
Is there sufficient backing to hold screws or do I need to find studs?
I assume I should pre-drill the holes to prevent cracking.
Are self drilling screws Ok to use?
Do I need to squirt some caulk into each of the holes before inserting the screws?
What kind of caulk is recommended for adhering to the fiberglass.

Thanks for the help and any other suggestions.
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Old 09-24-2016, 03:48 PM   #2
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I'm far from an expert on these things, but I've been convinced that what I used to call "caulk" in my pre-RV days is now called sealant. Example: Dicor sealant. And they make stuff for horizontal vs vertical uses. (thickness-consistency)

Any puncture in these fiberglass shells will require a much more precise technique and application.

Good luck!
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Old 09-24-2016, 08:46 PM   #3
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I am no expert either but I much rather solve problems than mask them. You probably have a dried out rubber seal.

If you want to add a gutter, I would clean everything well, secure the gutter with double sided tape and then use a couple of screws toward the front and maybe one at the rear for added safety. A sealer along the top of the gutter will be in order as well. And the screws should penetrate the fiberglass less than 1/2 inch because there are lots of wires running around the walls.
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Old 09-25-2016, 12:04 AM   #4
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And, rather than a gutter, why not install Carefree "slide awnings" that roll in and out on a spring drive...thus no hassle, and completely cover the top of the slide.

One warning...do not allow "she who must be obeyed" to retract the slides while you are outside on the side of the trailer where the slides are...its amazing how much water stays on those awnings after a rain...and runs off the end I am standing at. Only really got it once, but been close a couple of times!!!

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Old 09-25-2016, 11:10 PM   #5
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I am no expert either but I much rather solve problems than mask them. You probably have a dried out rubber seal.

If you want to add a gutter, I would clean everything well, secure the gutter with double sided tape and then use a couple of screws toward the front and maybe one at the rear for added safety. A sealer along the top of the gutter will be in order as well. And the screws should penetrate the fiberglass less than 1/2 inch because there are lots of wires running around the walls.
I agree about solving the problem, but just want to add a gutter to make sure I stop any leaks.

Guess maybe I should have described the problem I am having.
Have been having problems with the Kitchen slide coming in and gouging the floor at the one end. This just started in the last few months. Looked underneath and found that I have the Norco Accu Slide cable system on that slide. I noticed that the cables have a lot of slack in them and the chain that goes around the sprocket is almost coming off because of the slack. Did some research about this system and found out that the slide is supposed to retract and extend parallel to the floor and not sag too much. Figure this sagging is causing the slide to not seal properly and contributes to the water leak. Had a rain storm recently with the slide retracted and now the particleboard under the countertop is swollen in addition to the damage I am getting on the floor. Downloaded the adjustment procedure for the Accu Slide, but figured I would leave it to the experts and took it into a local dealer for them to do the adjustment.

I asked them if they were familiar with the system and they said they were. Hauled it out there with some written instructions on what I wanted looked at. They said they would take a look at it in a couple of days and get back to me.
Got a call from them. They said that they determined that the slide was scraping the floor because it was out of square and their solution was going to be to take the trim off the bottom and cut some off of it to provide clearance. They said that they would also plan on replacing all the seals and adding a gutter over the slide on the outside. All for the price of $1,300.
Asked them if they saw how much slack was in the Accu Slide cables and they said they really didn't look at them. Said if I wanted they would have a tech take another look. Told them would be good and I would call them back about whether to go ahead or not.
Made a couple of calls. One to Dutchmen and another to Norco Accu Slide. Both of them said that if the cables are loose it would allow the slide to tilt down when retracted and if loose enough it would scrape the floor.
Now with very little confidence in the dealer, I called them and told them not to do anything and that I was going to pick it up.
Decided to do the adjustment myself. The seals all look real good. Figured a gutter over the top would just be added insurance against leakage.

Plan on starting the adjustment this next week. Not sure what I will run into in removing all the wood trim to reach the cable adjustments. New Adventures to come.
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Old 09-25-2016, 11:17 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Pirate View Post
And, rather than a gutter, why not install Carefree "slide awnings" that roll in and out on a spring drive...thus no hassle, and completely cover the top of the slide.

One warning...do not allow "she who must be obeyed" to retract the slides while you are outside on the side of the trailer where the slides are...its amazing how much water stays on those awnings after a rain...and runs off the end I am standing at. Only really got it once, but been close a couple of times!!!

Pirate
Thanks for the suggestion. When I bought the trailer used from a dealer, I asked about having slide covers installed and I was told that they don't do much to keep rain off the top of the slides - that they are just intended to keep debris off. He said he didn't recommend them. Keep in mind this is our first camper and our salesman had to be the absolute worst.

The kitchen slide that I am having the problem with is on the side with the roll out patio awning. Not sure if there is room to install one between the top of the slide and the bottom of the rolled up awning, but I will look into. Is there a type of slide cover that I should be looking at that is better at keeping the top dry?
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Old 09-25-2016, 11:44 PM   #7
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The slide covers are mainly for debris, although from my experience, they also keep out 95% or more of the rain, unless it gets really windy.
Rusty
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Old 09-25-2016, 11:49 PM   #8
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Yeah, mine keep the water off, until "she who must be obeyed" decides to roll the slides in...and boy, to they catch a lot of the water!!!

Don't think there is any on the top of the slides, unless there is a real wind blowing, and then only if the wind is in line with the trailer.

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Old 09-25-2016, 11:56 PM   #9
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I had slide covers on one of my TTers and they all sagged and collected water so bad, that I have not had them on my last two.

Please report back when the problem is eliminated so we can all learn.

And good luck.
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Old 09-26-2016, 12:03 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pirate View Post
And, rather than a gutter, why not install Carefree "slide awnings" that roll in and out on a spring drive...thus no hassle, and completely cover the top of the slide.

One warning...do not allow "she who must be obeyed" to retract the slides while you are outside on the side of the trailer where the slides are...its amazing how much water stays on those awnings after a rain...and runs off the end I am standing at. Only really got it once, but been close a couple of times!!!

Pirate


Been there, got the wet t-shirt.
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Old 09-26-2016, 02:05 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Handyman View Post
I had slide covers on one of my TTers and they all sagged and collected water so bad, that I have not had them on my last two.

Please report back when the problem is eliminated so we can all learn.

And good luck.
I've seen some pretty creative solutions using beach balls and pool noodles. I just haven't bothered to pursue them. I haven't looked closer at them because we are rarely in one spot for more than 3 days.
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Old 09-26-2016, 02:43 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by sprdoorman View Post
Hi,
Have a 2013 Kodiac 279RBSl. Having trouble with leaks on the Kitchen slide when the slide is in. I am going to install a gutter over the slide to hopefully catch some of the water before it comes into the trailer. Has screw holes spaced about every 6".

My question is if there is anything I need to do, to screw into the fiberglass skin?
Is there sufficient backing to hold screws or do I need to find studs?
I assume I should pre-drill the holes to prevent cracking.
Are self drilling screws Ok to use?
Do I need to squirt some caulk into each of the holes before inserting the screws?
What kind of caulk is recommended for adhering to the fiberglass.

Thanks for the help and any other suggestions.
If your slide is leaky when it's in, there is something wrong with the seals. You can bandaid it like you are suggesting, which is not necessarily a bad thing. If you use a gutter rail with the awning track built in you will have option of adding a topper later.

Stainless steel screws, absolutely. I have invested about $50 in stainless fasteners and slowly replaced all the painted OEM fasteners. Self drilling are ok, #8 is the size most awning rails are installed with, on aluminum framed campers. Wood framed campers should just use wood screws. Just make sure you are hitting a structural member when your fastening the gutter rail.

Sealing, I use butyl rubber tape beween the rail and the camper, then a thin line of non-self leveling sealant on the top seam and a dollop on each screw head. I like to apply the sealant to the rail, heat it with a heat gun and then secure the rail while the tape is warm. Gives you a better seal and allows the rail to suck down to the sidewall.

Shop for North American made fasteners, there are still a few North Amarican fastener manufacturers left.
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Old 09-26-2016, 01:40 PM   #13
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If your slide is leaky when it's in, there is something wrong with the seals. You can bandaid it like you are suggesting, which is not necessarily a bad thing. If you use a gutter rail with the awning track built in you will have option of adding a topper later.

Stainless steel screws, absolutely. I have invested about $50 in stainless fasteners and slowly replaced all the painted OEM fasteners. Self drilling are ok, #8 is the size most awning rails are installed with, on aluminum framed campers. Wood framed campers should just use wood screws. Just make sure you are hitting a structural member when your fastening the gutter rail.

Sealing, I use butyl rubber tape beween the rail and the camper, then a thin line of non-self leveling sealant on the top seam and a dollop on each screw head. I like to apply the sealant to the rail, heat it with a heat gun and then secure the rail while the tape is warm. Gives you a better seal and allows the rail to suck down to the sidewall.

Shop for North American made fasteners, there are still a few North Amarican fastener manufacturers left.

Thanks for the info. Is there a good way to find out where the studs are behind the fiberglass skin? According to the brochure on the unit, it's supposed to have aluminum studs. I have an electronic stud finder I use in the house to find wood studs. Will this work?
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Old 09-26-2016, 02:49 PM   #14
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You just need a nice cool dewy morning, you won't even have to look hard to see them.

If a slide topper is in your future, then like Pirate suggested go to a Carefree. I personally believe a superior product than the Dometic offerings. It hurts to say that given my Sveska heritage.

Go to the Carfree or what ever topper you may like, download the install manual and install accordingly. I doubt there is much difference in the install of the gutter rail between brands.

If you want to add a tooper, slide on over to the Camping World site and keep an eye on their offerings. When I bought mine they had a deep discount on Carefree, my toppers were drop shipped directly from Carefree and according to the build tags, were custom made for me.
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Old 09-27-2016, 10:01 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by sprdoorman View Post
Thanks for the info. Is there a good way to find out where the studs are behind the fiberglass skin? According to the brochure on the unit, it's supposed to have aluminum studs. I have an electronic stud finder I use in the house to find wood studs. Will this work?
Stud finder should work.

Also as Jim pointed out, on a damp morning they show up real well.

Aaron
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Old 09-28-2016, 02:47 PM   #16
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Stud finder should work.

Also as Jim pointed out, on a damp morning they show up real well.

Aaron
Aaron,

Remember you got all the good toys.

I've got two stud finders, the old cheapy that I've had for about 40 years and what I thought was a decent one that my son gave me. He moved out of the shop into the office, as the CAD guy and scheduler of material ordering, for just in time delivery. He said his cabinet installing days are over and gifted me the finder.

Both work fine on the interior wood framing, but they can't see the aluminum superstructure.
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Old 09-29-2016, 03:43 PM   #17
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Aaron,

Remember you got all the good toys.

I've got two stud finders, the old cheapy that I've had for about 40 years and what I thought was a decent one that my son gave me. He moved out of the shop into the office, as the CAD guy and scheduler of material ordering, for just in time delivery. He said his cabinet installing days are over and gifted me the finder.

Both work fine on the interior wood framing, but they can't see the aluminum superstructure.
Which "good" one do you have? Mine is yellow and will spot cables, conduits and metal pipes too. It will indicate plastic pipe but not as well, ran a screw through a vent stack thinking it was a stud. Held okay just a bit springy... then the started getting a bit of water stain.

Aaron
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