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Question Of The Week

The First Verdict on Waterproof Campers

“I think the Kemper System liquid-applied waterproofing membrane for roofing and surfaces would be lighter and better than Line-X.” – Kevin Pinassi

“Well, unfortunately the Bronco truck camper is gone.  I needed more room and it was replaced by a toy hauler.  But I’m a huge fan of your magazine so I’ll still be following along. If I can find a good Lance 815, I’m going to buy it for beach travel.

I was involved in boat building for a few years.  Sealing a boat is even more important than sealing a truck camper!

I used 3M sealant and adhesives exclusively.  3M 5200 marine adhesive sealant is amazing stuff.  It should be at nearly $25 a tube!  Not only does it seal with a very flexible joint, but it has great adhesive qualities, so it stays attached to whatever you are sealing.  If the surface was prepared and cleaned properly, it isn’t coming off!  I’ve used it to secure fixtures where I simply didn’t want to drill a hole.  I’ve never had anything come lose.

The 5200 takes seven days to cure, but it is now available in a fast cure formula.  I’d suggest calling 3M and have a discussion about this and the other tapes and caulks they offer.” – Roy Bertalotto, 2006 Dodge 2500, 1998 Palomino Bronco 1200

“My 2015 Northstar 12STC camper came from factory nicely sealed everywhere with Eternabond.  Given that we carry a canoe, encounter low branches at put-ins, and rocks and sand from shoes when walking on the roof, I just had the polyurea coating applied.  It’s a step up from Line-X in thickness, flexibility, and adhesion to RV roof materials.

On the underside of the camper overhang, I’ve applied a couple of coats of Rust-Oleum LeakSeal to cover the factory paint and seal moisture out of wiring connections, screws and other penetrations.

On three previous trucks I’ve had Line-X bed liner applied before delivery.  On this truck I’ve just got the Ford rubber mat.  I don’t plan to carry lots of gravel as I did in the past.  When the bed eventually gets scratched up, I’ll go for Line-X again.” – Duncan Crawford, 2016 Ford F350, 2015 Northstar 12STC

“I have had the pleasure of working as a RV tech for quite a number of years, when I was a bit younger.  In my climate, the Canadian prairies, most of the water damage on campers happens while it’s been stored.  Up here RVs spend most of their lives idle, sitting, usually not under cover in the winter.  The freezing and thawing cycle can really beat up roof coatings.

Keeping an eye on sealants every season, and doing touch-ups and repairs is a must.  An experienced RV owner does not assume that all of the sealants around vents and windows are good for years without regular investigation.  Most of the expensive repairs that we do at the RV dealership could easily be avoided if the owner had paid more attention or brought it in for winterizing and a total exterior inspection.

After that, the best advice I constantly give our northern RV owners, is that proper storage is everything.  If possible store your camper under a roof.  The next level would be to build some mini trusses that sit up on your camper so you can use a tarp to keep the weather off.  This will allow a little slope and keep the tarp from touching the camper directly, and promoting some air movement.  Finally, at the very least, after a caulking and sealant inspection, store your camper on its stands on a little slope so that the moisture doesn’t just sit.  And remember, the most common failure point is the intersection of the front corners between the nose cone, the rubber roof, and the upper side molding.  When the self-leveling compound is applied here a little depression is created, which is unavoidable.  That’s where water can sit.” – Wes Hargreaves, 2016 Ford F450, 2006 Snowbird 108DS

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