Sidewall Rot Repair: One of four sections complete

deceiverdeceiver Member Posts: 1,192 ✭✭✭
edited July 2015 in Conversions & Upgrades
This is the year I've decided to fix the bottom edge of my 6 wide sport platform. I've had this trailer since 2009 and it's a 2006 model. It's got about 14,000-15,000 miles on it. I've done some mods and maintenance in the past. I've had one side (The road side, left) where the aluminum U channel covers the bottom edge of the side wall in front of and behind the wheel. When I took the channel off, which was falling off, I found that for about 2-3" up the plywood had rotted. The inside and outside walls had held things together but it needed fixing. I cleaned out the rot with a chisel. It came out pretty easily and cut a 2" wide piece of cedar I had lying around to slip into the place where the plywood was. I had to notch the ends as I ran into some bolts up there. 

Next I had obtained a 1 1/2" aluminum angle bar 1/8" thick. This stuff is way to expensive. I cut a piece that would go from the front corner of the trailer, under the fender and back almost to the axel. Next I applied a very thick strip of white silicon II exterior caulk to the inside of both walls of the aluminum angle. I clamped it in place and drilled through the  aluminum, sidewall, and both walls of the frame. I inserted 4" stainless steel carriage bolts with washer, lock washer, and nut and tightened it.

So far just the front of one side is done. I've still got the other side and the area behind each wheel. Another full day for sure. Then I'll go around and caulk any gaps or cracks to keep the water out.
The old girl is getting old and the wear is surely beginning to show. But you know, I bought her used, didn't pay that that much for her, She's given us many good times over the thousands of miles. When it finally needs to be sent off to someone who wants a very well worn camper it won't owe me anything.

I've included pictures of the dry rot, The channel taken off and cleaned out, the angle and cedar I cut to do the repair, and the new angle bolted on and sealed. It ain't perfect but with a little maintenance I'm betting it takes care of things for awhile.


  • RSATCRSATC Member Posts: 14
    I had the same problem with mine. I used diamond plate, went 4 inches up the side and three inches underneath. I put the screws into the old wood, the new wood and the frame underneath to help secure the sides so they wouldn't drop (this is important because the wood was rotted where the walls are bolted to the frame and will add extra support in holding up the walls). Here is a picture of the fix before putting the trim back on.

  • deceiverdeceiver Member Posts: 1,192 ✭✭✭
    Nice job. I had thought of diamondplate but it is very expensive around here. I thought the 1/8 aluminum might work okay. I am bolted through the frame anyway. I also found that the sidewalls had no  horizontal bolts in it except in the front corner, back and front of each wheel, and the very back. The cap underneath had long screws going into the end grain of the  plywood, but that was it. And the fact that the sidewalls separate from the sides indicates that the sides a bolted on in very few places.
  • RSATCRSATC Member Posts: 14
    I found the same thing about the wall attachment, since then I've added 4 stainless steel bolts through the sides of the diamond plate and the frame for extra support. The right rear wall (behind the tire) had started to bow out slightly just above the diamond plate.
     I got the diamond plate for free from a metal recycle business. It was used but I found enough to use all the way around. I got lucky. 

  • deceiverdeceiver Member Posts: 1,192 ✭✭✭
    Anyway, really nice job. I don't think you'll be dealing with that ever again.
  • Michigan_MikeMichigan_Mike Member Posts: 8,776 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Good looking mods above!  One thing I would do if I were doing this type of repair is to contact either Joe Mullett or Ed Kauffman at the factory and consult with them for tips as I do know that they seal up the edges of any wood used on the newer Little Guy builds.  I am not sure what exactly they use (possibly some type of resin, epoxy, silicone, etc.), but do know that the wood at the bottom edges is placed into some type of sealant to keep moisture out.  They have learned via these events and upgraded their process so that this does not happen on future models.  But it would be helpful to find this out and share it with others who encounter similar occurrences in the future.  

    I like the diamond plate work above and do know that if you Google these products in, you can buy it it varying thickness on the Internet.  

    Thanks for sharing this information and best of luck Dan as I am sure you will make more than adequate repairs and upgrades to your unit!
  • ukrazyukrazy Member Posts: 315

      Most of the problems (like mine, and Dan's) came from using very low quality plywood. Unless you tow in the rain all the time, that lower edge of plywood should never really get wet. Mine rotted from the inside, from hatch and tail light leaks. The plywood got wet and the metal trim and putty on the lower edge wouldn't let it dry out.

      Some of the good wood that I cut out while making my repairs, delaminated in just a couple of weeks, while sitting on the ground. And that's here in the desert. I'm certain it is interior grade ply.


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