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Old 08-09-2020, 11:05 AM   #1
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Chatea 31E
State: Maryland
Posts: 424
THOR #5837
Stowage compartment rotted out

I have a 2018 Chateau 31E, and over the last few trips noticed the floor of the main exterior stowage compartment sagging. I thought it was plastic like the other compartments, and the heavy load of camping gear caused it to sag, but when I looked under the vinyl it was rotted and delaminated plywood. I feel lucky that all of our stuff didn't fall out on the freeway.


That compartment is just a plywood box, and I doubt that it is even exterior grade plywood. It is wrapped in some sort of woven fiberglass cloth, but I don't think it is totally waterproof, especially with a hundred rusted staples in it.


I never noticed any water inside that compartment, so I suspect that the moisture came from under the RV rather than through a compartment door leak. There is a some foam weatherstripping where the box meets the sides of the RV, but some water can probably get past that as you drive down wet roads.


Overall, it seems like a poor design and poor construction.
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Old 08-09-2020, 11:13 AM   #2
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Chatea 31E
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THOR #5837
Removing the stowage compartment was a bit of a pain since there are various layers of trim over it. It's obvious the box was installed first, then some vinyl, edge trim, wall trim, etc. After removing the inside trim and a bracket underneath, you can unscrew the box from the RV and drop it out the bottom.


I replaced the rotted plywood with new exterior grade plywood, and I installed new vinyl on the inside. The vinyl doesn't exactly match the original, but is close, and fine for a storage compartment.
In hindsight, I could have painted/sealed the plywood to help it further resist moisture and last longer.
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Old 08-09-2020, 11:21 AM   #3
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THOR #5837
I reused the original fiberglass cloth covering the underside of the box, but I sprayed on rubberized undercoating to further waterproof it.
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Old 08-09-2020, 11:55 AM   #4
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THOR #8860
Nice catch!
You did an exceptional job of fixing a poor situation!
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Old 08-09-2020, 04:24 PM   #5
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THOR #5837
Another example of poor design. The front of the compartment box is basically just tarp material over an open wooden frame. There is an interior trim panel that covers this, but it's really just a tarp at the front, and this is behind the rear tires so it's subject to a lot of road spray.


Also, you can see the 2 large screws at the top that hold the box in place, the rest of the wood frame is just stapled together, so you just have staples supporting the weight of the compartment and its contents at that forward edge. The other 3 sides have better support -- the front has a bracket underneath and the other 2 sides screw into solid wood, but I can't believe they didn't use a solid piece of wood for the front of the compartment box, especially since it sits behind the rear tires.
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Old 08-09-2020, 04:28 PM   #6
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THOR #5837
I got the compartment box reinstalled. It was tough to do with one person since it has to go in from underneath. I used a couple of floor jacks to lift it up into place.


I used weatherstripping and expanding foam to seal it from the outside, and I applied silicone caulk on the inside, so hopefully it's well sealed now.
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Old 08-09-2020, 04:28 PM   #7
I Think We're Lost!
 
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https://www.thorforums.com/forums/at...1&d=1596990493
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Old 08-09-2020, 04:32 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jabrabu View Post
I got the compartment box reinstalled. It was tough to do with one person since it has to go in from underneath. I used a couple of floor jacks to lift it up into place.


I used weatherstripping and expanding foam to seal it from the outside, and I applied silicone caulk on the inside, so hopefully it's well sealed now.

Nice Craft!!
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Old 08-10-2020, 12:11 AM   #9
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THOR #9081
Excellent job.
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