Fixing Leaking Tail Lights.
Recently, I discovered a burned out bulb in my tail light assembly on my RV. So it should not take much time to replace the bulb, right?
Mr.Murphy must be working overtime as when I removed the tail light lens, water poured out of the light fixture... uh oh. I further discovered that the plywood behind the tail light was becoming water damaged, and already had started to de-laminate. This is serious, as it could result in significant damage if not repaired.
While the plywood behind the left tail light showed no damage, the right tail light had moderate damage, and the plywood was already beginning to de-laminate. This will become a serious problem if allowed to deteriorate further.
I also found some unacceptable shoddy work done by the manufacturer. If you look to the photo at the right; within the yellow circle, you can see that the manufacturer simply ran the license plate light outside of the vehicle... yes, outside of the vehicle, then under the tail light lens.
How is that not going to leak?
Ever hear of capallary action?
So, it appears further repair is necessary.
Now I have two projects; repair the water damage, and re-route the license plate light. Remember, this all started out with a light bulb replacement.
To fix the license plate light wiring, I drilled a hole behind the area of the light and ran the wiring through a bushing. The bushing itself was epoxied into place, while the wire was Siliconed (RTV) to the bushing for a waterproof point of entry.
To fix the areas behind the tail lights - after waiting 3 days for it to dry out, I used epoxy glue to "paint" all of the wood areas. I then siliconed the wires in place to waterproof the point of entry of the tail light wires.
Success! And it only took 3 days to change the light bulb in the tail light.
I was able to obtain documentation on the construction of this area as shown to the right. The construction is aluminum channel sandwiched between a fiberglass outer and inner panel.
The plywood is limited to two pieces (left and right) about 2.5sq ft each where the tail lights screw onto.
So, in the worst case scenario, if they rotted away, other than localized damage, the coach would not sustain significant structural damage. But since I was able to get the leaks stopped and more importantly, the plywood sealed before sustaining damage, I am OK.
I also purchased a set of replacement lights that I will install next spring (Bargman 34-84-009).
The Bargman 34 series tail lights have a different design, so they should not suffer the same water intrusion issues. They are nearly the same size as the current tail lights, and while minimal cutting may be required in the openings, they should fit pretty much the same.
Command Electronics (tail light fixture manufacturer):
You have to call them to order. Their number is 269-679-4011
Items I used in this repair.