Saturday, November 15, 2008


We are at the Cumberland Mountain State Park, near Crossville, Tennessee (map).

Yesterday morning we had breakfast at IHOP -- uncharacteristic for us, but it was right there across the parking lot. No need to do that again, at least for a while. We made a quick stop back in Wal-Mart to pick up a few supplies, and return the RedBox video we had rented Friday night (Forbidden Kingdom with Jackie Chan and Jet Li -- pretty good, actually).

We blasted out of Nashville on I-40, just to clear the metro area, then bailed off onto much more pleasurable US-70, which brought us all the way here. I had actually intended to stop a bit further east, but there were really no pleasant alternatives between here and Knoxville, which was farther than we wanted to drive.

We're glad we stopped here -- it's a wonderful park, with several camping loops (all but one closed now in the off-season), a store (also closed), a restaurant, and several structures dating back to the CCC era, including the park's signature stone arch bridge and impoundment dam. $20 got us a nice spot with 30-amp power, which provided us with plenty of heat and gave us the chance to top off the batteries.

We thought about trying the prix fixe restaurant for dinner, but opted instead to grill a steak. If we come back here sometime, we will definitely give the restaurant a try. It's across the bridge from the campground, with a view over the little lake.

Last night we had quite a thunderstorm here, and I am sad to report that the leaks have gotten worse. A new one has sprung up above the window over the kitchen counter, and this one was, at one point, running about a gallon every fifteen minutes -- we had to put a pot under it, and tape plastic bags to the woodwork to protect it. Fortunately, the gusher only lasted for an hour or so; the rest of the night was more moderate, and our leak control was manageable. Some of the water got behind the counter and into the cabinets, so we ended up pulling drawers out, mopping up, and setting a fan up to dry it out.

One thing this fast leak did for us, though, was give me a chance to study the flow pattern in a way that the slower drips do not. It is definitely coming in from between the coach body and the window frame (rather than, say, through the gasket that seals the emergency window when closed), or perhaps even somewhere higher than that in the roof. Given that things are getting worse, my theory now is that the original adhesives used to glue the window frames into the coach body is breaking down and failing. I'm not sure if there is a way to get some kind of sealant in there without removing the windows entirely (a dicey proposition), and even investigating this possibility will mean removing the rain gutters -- a big job.

Today we will continue east on US-70 to the Flying-J, just west of Knoxville, put in some $2.609 diesel, then clear Knoxville on the Interstate. We'll bail off again onto US-11 on the other side.


  1. y dont you take a garden hose and start on the side of the coach and (work your way up) the side (s) not from the top down
    water comeing in that fast would show up even faster and better to pinpoint look close at your A/C units
    or move to a dry city have a safe day Ed

  2. i replaced all the windows in my newell with new peninsula double pane windows myself. i had leaks around one of the old windows where the window had pulled away from the coach. the way the manufacturer recommends installing the new windows is simply a one sided adhesive foam strip on the window frame that is compressed by the inner window trim ring. then i caulked the outside of the window frame with a high quality exterior silicone caulk...quite a bit of work to look nice. the trick is to use automotive trim tape to put on the coach right next to the window so you can avoid the caulk getting on the coach.

    another approach which some use is extremely goooky. it is a black gummy tape kinda putty stuff but it is really nasty to put but will really seal it up.

    my two cents worth. the problem with not fixing the leaks is what damage it is doing on the plywood interior walls. i had some wood rot i had to repair on mine.


  3. Ed and Tom,

    Don't think that we haven't spent hours trying to find these leaks. Us, and two professional shops.

    The windows on the Neoplan are unique -- curved at the top to match the roof line, and slanted at the sides. They cost $1,800 each, and can take up to three months to get from Germany. So we can't do anything that might risk breaking one -- including trying to remove it from the coach.

    The windows are glued in -- quite unlike flat windows, such as Peninsula brand, which are mechanically fastened in place. The fixed, double-pane ones are glued directly, glass-to-metal. The single-pane emergency exits are in a metal frame, which is in turn glued into the coach.

    The correct way to fix this problem for good is to remove all six windows, clean all the old glue off, and re-glue them, possibly with a different adhesive. However, in order to do this without risking losing the use of the bus (which is our only home) for, potentially, three months, we would have to order and have on hand four windows ($7,200) -- one each left and right fixed glass, and one each left and right emergency exit (there are two of each of those on the bus, but we could stop the show if one broke).

    Since Neoplan USA is out of business, all parts are non-returnable, non-refundable. So now, if we don't use all the spares we had on hand, I need to pay someone to keep them for me until the day we might need one (there is no market for them here, so I can't just eBay them for 30 cents on the dollar, or whatever).

    All of this work needs to happen indoors in a large shop. So, realistically, we would be looking at $10,000-$15,000 to do this job the right way.

    Instead, what we have done is to apply spot fixes from time to time, having tried various sealants whenever we can actually find the leak. Water, of course, can travel quite a ways between where it penetrates outside, and exits inside, and so finding the actual source of the leaks is problematic.

    Things are bad enough now that we will at least need to find a shop that can remove the rain gutters, and carefully excavate perhaps a quarter inch or so of the adhesive at the tops of the windows, then apply Sikaflex or Betaseal or some other commercial adhesive sealant in the area to try to stem the tide.

    In the meantime, you'll probably continue to hear me rant about it here on the blog -- this is, after all, about our trials and tribulations as well as our adventures.


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