View Full Version : nervous newbie in damp dilemma

james pond
23-06-2012, 22:05
hi there, we are on the brink of buying our first van; albeit on a shoestring budget. several we've looked at several but they had damp problems, is it expensive to get fixed. is it poss to d.i.y.. any and all advice gratefully received.

al n sal
23-06-2012, 22:16
it depends mostly on what damage the damp has done and where it has come in from, especially if its a coach built as most are built from the inside out, so dismantling can be done but it can be really difficult, better finding one without any damp. but dont let me put you off. sure someone who has done it before will be along and advice you better


23-06-2012, 22:17
Damp is a problem - or possibly several problems!

First you have to identify the source, it may be some way from the internal signs

Then you have to seal it, not always easy when vans are on the road, vibrating & wobbling.

Finally you have to deal with the internal consequences which may not be merely decorative. Wooden frames can rot, mould & fungus can grow hidden behind panels. You may need to do quite a bit of reconstruction & redecoration.

So, if there is endemic or widespread damp & mouldy smells, just run a mile. On the other hand, if it is clear where the leak is & it is very recent with no long term damage, then maybe, just maybe, it will be fine. The judgement is yours.

EDIT: I wouldn't even think of paying for it to be done professionally, I suspect the cost could exceed the value of the van!

23-06-2012, 22:25
I got conned into buying a mobile swimming pool for our first motorhome, with damp cleverly covered by internal carpeting.

It was a massive job sorting it out, involving taking an entire side off, replacing everything within, putting the side back on again and sealing it. I was not a confident DIYer, but had to learn quickly.

I'd try to find one without damp unless very confident.

Good luck!

23-06-2012, 22:37
Don't do it - find a dry one. Far too much potential aggro unless the thing costs peanuts to start with, and even then it'll probably eat money.

23-06-2012, 23:01
I do apologise James, but I've just noticed your surname - a very apt question! It raised a smile for me, and I apologise it was at your expense.

23-06-2012, 23:08
find a dry one as stated above

problems will prevail after you buy a wet one

23-06-2012, 23:11
Once a wet one always a wet one keep looking for a dry one they are out there.:drive::cool1::banana:

24-06-2012, 21:46
I was going to reply when I first read your question but I don't know much about DIY so I thought I would leave it to the experts. However, they have all said what I was going to say - not worth the risk of buying something damp. It is possible to get a low budget van without this problem, we were lucky enough to do so, but we bought it at the end of the season (October) when there are bargains to be had.

24-06-2012, 22:52
generally speaking a wet vanis a dead van, it is at the end of its life rerpairs can be time consuming and expencive avoid it like the plague.

25-06-2012, 05:44
Consider a converted van depending on your needs that doesn't have a build on but a build in and perhaps just a sealed raised roof or a pop top?

james pond
27-06-2012, 22:43
thank you to everyone for their input ; it certainly sounds as if buying a van with damp patches would be a patch too far; my d.i.y. skills wouldnt extend to ripping off entire walls. we have seen a couple of dry vans but the engines were always suspect. fuming up mostly, one of them we could see the fumes drifting in thru the vents.

28-06-2012, 08:17
Hi James, where are you looking ? I got mine last year on ebay for 2500 , I looked at loads first, using local ads, and Preloved too. In that price range you do have to be careful, i saw some that just needed scrapping. Mine was an Autohomes conversion which were really good quality.. but it obviously depends what damage might have happened eg leaky windows etc. It might be cheaper to replace an engine. than deal with damp and bodywork. there really are lots of bargains out there, vans often dont get used much and can be really low mileage, there are many genuine sales, such as people upgrading/ giving up/ etc. if you want anyone to keep an eye out for you let me know... theres nothing i like better than trawling the van ads! Just give me an idea of requirements and budget. Good luck

28-06-2012, 15:27
I agree, engine swops can be done by your local garage if you are not D-I-Y. I bought a gearbox for my Nissan Primera from a scrapyard some years back & they offered to fit it for me, including a new clutch, just in case! The total cost was less than the quoted labour cost of the main dealer!

28-06-2012, 18:38
Well on the other hand my parents brought a motorhome off fleabay and it had had damp problems but was told the leak had been sorted,but after a month the cab above the bed started to grow mushrooms and was wet.Anyhow to cut a long story short I found the leak to be coming from a rubber seal that joins the roof with the side of the motorhome.I sealed it with acrypol roof compound ( well known in the building trade ) then I stripped the whole of the lining and timber from the bed above the cab and replaced with cellotex insulation and exterior ply. Cost was only 45 and a days work but it has been dry now for 2 years

Funky Farmer
28-06-2012, 19:13
I'm no expert but i would have thought, as a general rule, a van conversion will be less prone to damp than a coach built. Am I right?

28-06-2012, 21:13
I took a damp meter(About 40 from Maplins), but recently noticed that the outer covers of all my roof vents are badly degraded. In my case they don't leak...yet, but it's worth checking on top in case.