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Bigfoot Camper Floor


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#1 OFFLINE   oldandtired

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Posted 28 August 2010 - 06:55 PM

I am the original owner of a 2004 15C9.5FS Bigfoot Truck Camper, I have a problem with a section of floor which is spongy to the touch.
The spongy area is about 8 inches by 12 inches and it is about 20 inches from the door. I don't know if plywood is the floor structure, if it is it may have absorbed moisture & rotted.

Usage:- I only use the camper a few times during the year & the remaining time it is stored outside on blocks with the front higher than the rear. I keep several dehumidifier containers inside, so humidity should not be an issue. There are no stains on the walls or ceiling or any evidence of leaks.
I live in BC, Canada, so I sent Bigfoot an email today (Aug 28) , asking them about the problem. May take a few days for a response, if at all.

Have any of you had any experiences with spongy floors in Bigfoot Campers & if you did how was it repaired?


#2 OFFLINE   Tileman

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Posted 28 August 2010 - 09:50 PM

It could also caused by an internal leak also. Is it near any shower drains or water supply lines? I had this happen in a previous MH I had. A water drain valve leaked and was trapped under the carpet and floor.

#3 OFFLINE   Bigf00t

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Posted 28 August 2010 - 11:28 PM

Sounds very familiar..

We had a 15c9.5FR with the same problem. The soft spot was right in front of the bathroom door. I took the inspection plate off the bottom of the camper to try and find where the leak was coming from, but all as I could find was mushrooms growing on end cut of the plywood floor. The solution...Button it all back up and trade it in on a Northern Lite ! The only way to fix the problem was to completely replace the rear section of the floor, not something I was prepared to do. The first Bigfoot We owned,a 6 foot Import model had a similar issue too. The factory neglected to run a bead of silicone along the bottom of the entry door sill plate and the floor rotted out within 2 years of ownership. I repaired that one and swore I WOULD NOT DO IT AGAIN ! Sorry to hear of your problems. :(
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#4 OFFLINE   PigPen

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Posted 29 August 2010 - 10:18 AM

Same thing happened to my brother in laws BF. The floor rotted out.

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#5 OFFLINE   oldandtired

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Posted 29 August 2010 - 01:14 PM

Sounds very familiar..

We had a 15c9.5FR with the same problem. The soft spot was right in front of the bathroom door. I took the inspection plate off the bottom of the camper to try and find where the leak was coming from, but all as I could find was mushrooms growing on end cut of the plywood floor. The solution...Button it all back up and trade it in on a Northern Lite ! The only way to fix the problem was to completely replace the rear section of the floor, not something I was prepared to do. The first Bigfoot We owned,a 6 foot Import model had a similar issue too. The factory neglected to run a bead of silicone along the bottom of the entry door sill plate and the floor rotted out within 2 years of ownership. I repaired that one and swore I WOULD NOT DO IT AGAIN ! Sorry to hear of your problems. :(



Yeh, I'm disappointed in Bigfoot, I thought that sort of problem would be a non issue being a fiberglass shell. Unfortunitely I will have to get it fixed some how, I don't have the money to get another brand

#6 OFFLINE   oldandtired

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Posted 29 August 2010 - 01:25 PM

It could also caused by an internal leak also. Is it near any shower drains or water supply lines? I had this happen in a previous MH I had. A water drain valve leaked and was trapped under the carpet and floor.



The bathroom, Black & Grey tanks are to the left of the damaged floor, but I think they are far enough away. Also the camper was in storage for 8 months with no water, & the Black & Grey tanks are drained. Could be a lack of sealant in the doorway as mentioned in Bigf00t's reply.

I added two images showing the spongy floor area onto my webpage. just click the image on my webpage to expand Link to pictures

Edited by oldandtired, 29 August 2010 - 03:26 PM.


#7 OFFLINE   Moe

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Posted 29 August 2010 - 04:25 PM

Ouch that Hurts,

I have seen this same thing in folks homes where water leaks out of a shower/tub area and rots the sub floor.
The easy fix is to cut the area of rot out perhaps run a metal wall stud if no support exist in that area
replace the rotten sub-floor in that area try and match the lino or replace the whole lino floor or even
better a nice hardwood floor.
I can't imagine that it would be that difficult, sawzalls are great for that job,the area of damage and
while it's opened try and find the leak, I gotta say it does suck but it is not earth shattering by any means.
It would be interesting if folks sold their homes for the multitude of water leaks that many homes go through.

Goodluck

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#8 OFFLINE   Bigf00t

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Posted 29 August 2010 - 05:03 PM

Ouch that Hurts,

I have seen this same thing in folks homes where water leaks out of a shower/tub area and rots the sub floor.
The easy fix is to cut the area of rot out perhaps run a metal wall stud if no support exist in that area
replace the rotten sub-floor in that area try and match the lino or replace the whole lino floor or even
better a nice hardwood floor.
I can't imagine that it would be that difficult, sawzalls are great for that job,the area of damage and
while it's opened try and find the leak, I gotta say it does suck but it is not earth shattering by any means.
It would be interesting if folks sold their homes for the multitude of water leaks that many homes go through.

Goodluck

Moe in NH


These are not houses, not even close. The floor on this camper is laid down directly on the fiberglass shell, there is no room for a stud or supports. The floor supports the integrity of the whole camper, cutting a piece out will allow the camper to flex, cracking the woodwork...Like I said, been there, done that. This is not a minor repair.
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#9 OFFLINE   Shellback

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Posted 30 August 2010 - 04:25 AM

If the plywood is laid directly on the the fiberglass, or probably vice versa during construction, you may be able to use some boat reconstruction methods. There is a product, I believe is called " Sea Cast". It's meant for transoms of fiberglass boats. Most glass boats transoms were plywood in cased in glass and the wood will often rot out. Sea Cast was designed to pour into the void where the rotten wood was removed from. It has the strength to accept the weight of the outboard motor and the forces on it while the outboard pushes the boat. I would consider supporting the camper properly before hand, then cutting out all the rotted wood and linoleum flooring. Use the Sea Cat to fill in the void left where the wood was removed. I would then lay a wet mat of fiberglass cloth down and then maybe a 1/4' or 3/8" sheet of plywood on top for a smooth workable surface for your finish flooring. I just finished a boat project refinishing the deck. There was no rot in my deck, but the top laminate was splitting and checked. I used a epoxy filler to smooth the deck as best possible, then a glass mat, followed with 3/8" plywood.
Image IPB
Although it's sloppy and messy work with the glass and epoxy, it's really not difficult. Google US Composites for materials, they have good prices. Your plywood overlay should be cut to fit and all surfaces and end grains coated with epoxy to prevent further rot. When I placed the finish plywood over the old, I used a pneumatic finish nailer for fastening, making sure are surfaces were wet with epoxy first hand. PS. You have to find the source of the leak and get it repaired first.

#10 OFFLINE   joerg68

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Posted 30 August 2010 - 05:30 AM

This can be bad... Been there, done that. See http://www.walzenbac...BogQueenEn.html for "inspiration".

Some thoughts:

- You should remove the aluminum strip in the doorway shown in your second pic. What do the screws look like? Are they rusted? Or are they stainless material? Check if you can drive the screwdriver into the floorboard where you removed the aluminum. I did that in my cargo compartment floor with rather undesired results. If you cannot drive the screwdriver into the board, it can't be too bad.

- I assume the floorboard is not plywood but OSB, as plywood doesn't "sponge" so easily. If it *was* plywood, you could try to remove the floor layer, let the wood dry out thoroughly, treat it with rot doctor or the like and lay down a new floor. The same *might* work for OSB *if* the rot is in initial stages...

- Obviously, if it is a rot issue, you would need to locate the leak. The location of the soft spot in your first pic is rather strange - in the middle of nowhere so to speak. Unless somehow water has pooled in the lowest point of the fiberglass hull and couldn't get out. Even then it surprises me that the spot is dead-center. I would expect it to be in a corner or along an edge. If it was my camper I would definitely want to know what this is.

Good luck,
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#11 OFFLINE   Moe

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Posted 30 August 2010 - 01:31 PM

I will concur that a RV is not a home, but in many instances one can make a repair in a similar fashion as
done in a home. I agree with the poster who says why is there a soft spot in the middle of a floor that is
Plywood on FG. If it is a soft spot I would assume you have a failure in the FG Base the PW floor sits on.
As a boat owner I have seen damage repaired by FG repair folks that when complete looks like it was never
damaged, in the case of your camper your repair does not need to be pretty just functional and allow your
new floor to sit on FG that is solid, there are several FG repair kits available. But it would seem you have
a FG problem if in fact the Plywood floor sits on it and it is mushy.

Goodluck.

#12 OFFLINE   ROCKMAN

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Posted 11 September 2010 - 07:21 AM

this is a very timely topic for me.
I have a small section of discoloured linoleum right inside the entrance door.
the floor is still firm but I wanted to investigate the cause.
but I am unable to remove the aluminum door sill plate.
I have removed all visible screws but it seems to be attached to the side door jams.
any tips on how to remove the door sill?

thanks.

#13 OFFLINE   Bigf00t

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Posted 11 September 2010 - 06:44 PM

this is a very timely topic for me.
I have a small section of discoloured linoleum right inside the entrance door.
the floor is still firm but I wanted to investigate the cause.
but I am unable to remove the aluminum door sill plate.
I have removed all visible screws but it seems to be attached to the side door jams.
any tips on how to remove the door sill?

thanks.


The discoloured lino is the first sign of water intrusion. The plate is held in place by the screws only, it may be jammed between the two vertical posts of the door. Try sticking a screw driver under the sill and lightly pry up. Did you notice if the screws had rust on the threads ?
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#14 OFFLINE   ROCKMAN

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Posted 12 September 2010 - 07:23 AM

there were 3 outside screws holding the sill and 4 inside screws holding down a cover plate, some of the screws had rusty threads.
the door sill is free in the centre but still very tightly pinned down on both ends.
I was concerned about bending the plate too much and buckling it.

#15 OFFLINE   Bigf00t

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Posted 12 September 2010 - 09:07 AM

The rusty threads are not a good sign. I had the same issue on both of my BF's. When you get the sill plate off, peel back the lino and see how far the water has progressed. If you are lucky, you found it early enough that no damage has been done. Look under the door frame to see if the factory ran a bead of silicone to seal it to the shell. That's where the water entered my first BF....Factory flaw !! :angry:
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#16 OFFLINE   Rick1985

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Posted 12 September 2010 - 09:52 AM

I am semi-new to the world of truck camping since my last truck camper was back in 1975. These new campers are a lot different. My feeling is this, if there is a fiberglass shell UNDER the wood floor then ANY water that gets in there has nowhere to go and will just rot and grow mushrooms as was mentioned. Even the normal condensation in a camper has to go somewhere and I feel it is just contributing to the problem since there is no ventilation in the floor. I have used Rot Doctor materials in boat repairs I have done and they are GREAT materials. They have a wood based epoxy that mixes to the consistency of Diesel fuel and will seep into many rotted areas. You have to find the leak and if that is a solid fiberglass section under the floor then the leak may not even be near there, it is following voids in the wood. Check ALL of your water and drain fittings.

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#17 OFFLINE   I Fish

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Posted 12 September 2010 - 03:51 PM

New member and first time posting here. I really like this forum. Anyway, what years of BF's are you guys experiencing these problem? And are there any years or models a person should try to stay away from? I've been looking to buy a used BF, and have one in mind. Just curious as to if this is a widespread, occasional, or isolated problem. Thanks.....

#18 OFFLINE   Bigf00t

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Posted 12 September 2010 - 04:33 PM

New member and first time posting here. I really like this forum. Anyway, what years of BF's are you guys experiencing these problem? And are there any years or models a person should try to stay away from? I've been looking to buy a used BF, and have one in mind. Just curious as to if this is a widespread, occasional, or isolated problem. Thanks.....


My first one was a 1994 6.11 import, the second was a 2004 15C9.5FR. Both I purchased brand new. Doesn't seem to matter what year or model,just something to watch out for when buying a used one.
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#19 OFFLINE   oldandtired

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Posted 13 September 2010 - 06:02 PM

this is a very timely topic for me.
I have a small section of discoloured linoleum right inside the entrance door.
the floor is still firm but I wanted to investigate the cause.
but I am unable to remove the aluminum door sill plate.
I have removed all visible screws but it seems to be attached to the side door jams.
any tips on how to remove the door sill?

thanks.


I started this post, so I though I would give a status report . Some of the sill plate questions will be answered in my webpage, I setup for this repair. It included pictures I took during disassembly.
Have a look at http://user.dccnet.com/radaniel/
I hope you have a strong stomach, as it is not pretty.

#20 OFFLINE   I Fish

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Posted 13 September 2010 - 06:28 PM

bigf00t, I'm going to look at one this weekend. (The first one I've ever actually seen in person) and was wondering where tis inspection plate you spoke of earlier is located. Also, what tools are required to remove it? Sorry to hijack. Thanks




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