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 Post subject: Mysterious Water Damage
PostPosted: April 25th, 2017, 1:45 pm 

Joined: March 14th, 2017, 2:12 pm
Posts: 2

I am new to this forum, so hello and thanks for reading.

My boyfriend and I own a 2000 Chinook Premier, getting ready to go on a US tour. We thought we were getting close to being ready to leave but noticed yesterday what appears to be significant (new) water damage to the "wood" on the right side/underneath the bathroom door and underneath the fridge, in addition to the lower carpeted step (which I've read about here being connected to an insufficient window seal). We have already re-sealed every screw and seal on the roof, replaced the fans, replaced the door seal and replaced/sealed the clearance lights. The carpet between the fridge and bathroom is dry.

Has anyone else had this problem or could know how we could be getting water in and from where? We are in WA state and has been so rainy, we are assuming its rain-related, possibly coming in through the fridge vent or back door window seal. The water tank as been empty for some time.

Any input would be great, thanks! I can upload some pics later if anyone wants to see.


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PostPosted: April 29th, 2017, 8:02 pm 
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Joined: July 31st, 2014, 1:01 am
Posts: 1956
Location: 1999 Concourse
Hi and welcome! I'm partial, of course, but I think a 21' Chinook will be a great rig for a round-the-country tour. Nimble and fun to drive, yet comfortable for "living" too.

I haven't experienced the leaks, but one other thing I would check is the seal around what I call "the tire locker." In other words, the outside-accessed storage compartment that is just to the left of the rear door.

As you may already know, the Chinook's floor is basically a big/flat sheet. First they carpet it (usually, groan), and then they put stuff in on top of the carpet. The "stuff" includes the shower stall, the cabinetry, and etc. What I'm getting at is that any water that leaks in around the "tire locker" door can easily travel along the plywood sub-floor. Where it goes can be dependent on if your rig is parked slanted any particular way (since the floor is basically one big flat sheet).

The other typical leak areas you've mentioned, but just to recap for the record, with the more common ones first:

1) Lower refrigerator vent (either in the open vents, or through the flange if it needs to be re-bedded).

2) Upper refrigerator vent (this doesn't seem very prone to letting water in, but it could leak around the base flange if it needs to be re-bedded).

3) Door seal.

4) Tire locker perimeter seal.

Of course anywhere there is a hole could leak (around outside lights, ladder screws, or whatever), but the four above I think are the most common.

I suppose there is also the possibility that some of your plumbing could be leaking. The supply lines run from under the couch to the kitchen sink, then along the outside wall to the toilet/shower/bathroom sink/outdoor shower (depending on outdoor shower location). The "city water" inlet is in the wall outboard of the kitchen sink (below it).

The drain plumbing is a remote possibility too. Toilet flange, shower (especially if grey tank is full), sink drain, etc. The main lines that go into the grey tank come around the back/driver side of the shower, then enter the tank in the floor of the "tire locker."

There may also be a refrigerator drain tube. Mine exited the rig behind the stove, on the floor next to the two propane pipes that enter the rig there (behind a false wall behind the oven in my case). I suppose it's possible that's clogged or out of place.

Again, welcome!


1999 Concourse

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PostPosted: April 29th, 2017, 8:50 pm 

Joined: August 16th, 2016, 4:23 am
Posts: 3
Location: Bellingham, WA
Picked up our 2003 Chinook last September. Spent two weeks traveling Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. The night we got home, left it parked outside on a slight nose-high incline. Wind and rain most of the night! In the morning found water damage just below the lower right corner of the fridge. Took a while to figure what happened: it appears the wind blew rain through the outside ventilating panel for the box behind the fridge. There is a drain tube near the front of the box that is supposed to take care of that. Unfortunately, the tube was plugged by previously undiscovered disintegrating mud wasp nests. So the water headed for the low point of box which, because of the nose-high parking position, was the inside back corner where there is a grommeted pass-through for the power cord. The grommet was not enough to make it water-tight so the water ended up pooling by the wood (really MDF that is easily water-damaged) at the front of the fridge.

Make sure the drain tube is clear. You can check it by slowly pouring water into it - the water should very quickly appear beneath the rig.

Make sure the vehicle is parked level or slightly nose down so any water that gets into the box flows toward the drain tube.

Later we had the issue with water getting inside through the outside storage box next to the rear door. The storage door seal had been damaged and poorly repaired. Removed the old seal and replaced it with new (from the local RV store). No more leaks!

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PostPosted: May 2nd, 2017, 10:19 am 

Joined: March 14th, 2017, 2:12 pm
Posts: 2
Thanks for the replies!

Since I posted this topic, we've started addressing all the possible leaks on the exterior, including the upper fridge vent and side vent. Basically anywhere it could be leaking we are removing/cleaning/re-sealing. We also removed the water damaged plywood inside of the tire locker and will replace in addition to re-sealing the outside. We're pretty confident one major source of the leak was the upper fridge vent, the sealant around the screws was super old and cracked looking (we already scraped/resealed basically everything else on the roof with the exception of the roof fridge vent). A fresh vent cover and new sealant should hopefully make some difference!!

My partner is convinced it isn't anything with the interior plumbing lines (he is more knowledgeable than I am regarding what he did to winterize and how the system works). I'll mention the fridge drain though, I hadn't heard him mention that and that could also be a culprit.

This was helpful - one step closer to a leak free van!

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