"Southwind Leaker"

:dead: I am at my wits end! I made the mistake of buying a Fleetwood product, namely, a 2002 Southwind 37-U from Walt Michael's Stupid Store in Belleville, Michigan in August of 2001. No fool like an old fool!

The living room slide-out has been a leaker since we bought it. I tried to get in touch with the dealership when I noticed it leaked but didn't have any luck. I have never been able to talk to the dealership. I called Fleetwood and they pretty much told me that it was my problem. Sound familiar? So I decided I had to fix it myself.

I released the tension on the topper and crawl on top of the slide out to see if I could find the leak. What I found was that all the screws, aluminum, had been broken off in the trim piece on the inside leading edge of the slide-out. It had also never been caulked or sealed. I bought stainless steel screws and Devcon caulking and fixed the trim. It reduced but didn't stop the leak.

Next I caulked along the inside edge of the slide out. It is covered with rubber roofing material and appeared to be sporadically glued along that edge. I caulked it with Devcon and it seemed to hold for a while. I found that if rain were predicted and I moved the slide-out in a few inches which tilted it up that the leaks didn't seem to be as bad.

So my question to my fellow RVer's is: Could it be possible that the water which seeps through the topper also be seeping through the rubber roof material? Is there a sealant for rubber roofs that can be rolled, brushed, or sprayed on to stop it from seeping if that is the case? Would it affect anything adversely if I purchased a long sheet of aluminum and placed it over the rubber roofing material and fastened it down? When the slide-out is run it it raises up and contacts a rubber strip that I guess is suppose to stop moisture from coming in. It doesn't contact anything when the slide-out is extended. I don't think it would affect the aluminum cover or that the aluminum would be in the way. There is a sheet metal shop a couple miles from my home so I know I can get the metal.

Let me know what you think. You can also e-mail your suggestions to ronretire55@hotmail.com. Thank you!
"Southwind Leaker"

Hello Ron, welcome to the forum and sorry about your problems. Sounds like you bought this unit new. If so, it was not your problem, should have been warranty.
A few facts:
1: Topper manufactures, mainly Dometic and Carefree, will tell you that a topper will not fix a leaky slideout.
2: The rubber roof will not leak. It will leak around any joints and seams not sealed properly, but it sounds like you have been checking that.
3: The manufacture of the rubber roof does not want it "treated" in any way. Yes, there are products on the market, but they will void any warranty you have left on the roof. Usually 12 years. Again, if you bought it new.
4: The wiper on top of the slideout should be contacting the roof at all times. That is probably the culpret of your leaks. Sounds to me the slideout is not adjusted properly or the seals are not installed properly. If the seal cannot be moved down, can you raise the room? You don't want to move it much, but sometimes it does not take much. Scratch that, you probably can't raise the room next to the wall. Back to seals. If I could see the unit, I could help. I suggest you take it to another dealer near you. If they need parts, it will have to be a Fleetwood dealer of some sort. They won't sell anything to a non dealer. Good Luck
"Southwind Leaker"

There are a couple of other locations to check if the water is showing up on the floor beside the slideout. At the base of the slideout sides are usually moldings and they have a tendency to keep the wiper seal from making contact at the top of the molding. I have found that if you go to where the molding and wiper seal meet and build a sicone "dam" (you will have to hold the wiper seal away from the silcone while it dries) you can probably stop some more of the leak.
"Southwind Leaker"

Thanks for the prompt replies. I appreciate your concern. You answered my main question about the "rubber" roof. From what I understand it is a newer type coating than the old rubber roofs. I won't put anything on it. I wash the entire roof of the motorhome at least twice a year with a solution of Murphy's Oil soap and water using a soft scrub brush and then rinsing it with a power washer put on mild pressure. It really shines when it is done.

So I won't spray anything on the rubber material. I am sorry that I didn't explain where the leaks were occurring. I have had some water leakage at the ends of the slide-out but that was mostly my own fault because I rolled the slide-out in while it was wet, say during a rain shower. But the leaks are occurring along the inside front edge of the slide-out when it is in the extended position. The ceiling of the slide-out is carpeted and it becomes soaking wet to the point of dripping on the couch and table.

The black vinyl "scrapper" seal does not contact the top of the slide-out when it is extended. It is a flat floor slide-out and drops down about 2" when it reaches full extension. If it starts to rain and I am camping I can run the slide-out in about 6" and it tilts the roof so that water does not pool against the inside edge. But I don't think this is something that I should have to do.

After receiving your responses I looked at the top of the slide-out to check the position of the "scrapper" seal and there are some big openings at each end of the seal that do not contact the end seals at all. This does create a situation that gives me a possibility. I am going to obtain a piece of aluminum angle a little heavier than roofing sheeting and place it along that edge over the rubber roofing. I can put some Devcon caulking along the edge before locating the aluminum angle in position and then will apply downward pressure using some wooden wedges to hold the angle in place until the Devcon cures and finds it's level and seals. I should be able to pop rivet the angle on the ends using some flat stock aluminum overlapping the leading edge. That way I don't have to drill holes into my ceiling through the rubber roofing material.

Just a little added information. I wrote a letter to Fleetwood listing 29 items that needed fixed on this motorhome after I took delivery. It was a brand new unit. This list included the leaks, an exhaust system that fell off, a gas tank that leaked while filling it, the bedroom slide-out kept blowing the slo-blow fuse because the mechanism was full of wood and aluminum chips, etc. etc. etc. Fortunately, I am very mechanically inclined and have a pretty complete work shop with the tools to correct almost any problem. I haven't had any difficulties with the Workhorse chassis other than a bad air conditioner pump which Workhorse fixed under warranty. Even then, the dealer I took it to for the Workhorse warranty left a wiring harness bracket off the bolt in the air conditioner pump and it got down against the serpintine belt and shredded it. Ever have a Class A motorhome go completely dead while on the top of a mountain headed downhill surrounded by semi's? I put a crease in the seat cushion with that one. If you know what I mean.

But I have been RVing for a long time and I never lose my enthusiasm for the experiences and the people I meet.

Thanks again.