Introduction: Camper Hinge Leak Diverter

[The original setup didn't really work out, but because the instructable is a contest entry, I can't delete it. I have since built a better setup to divert leaks, involving a clear vinyl "apron" to catch the drips. I'll try to post a revised instructable soon. Go ahead and read this if you want a laugh.]

Updated Version:

The camper shell door is sloped outward toward the bottom, so it collects a lot of rain. When yhou open the door, the water runs down to the hinge, and spews off to the sides. The corner of the hinge is directly above the foot of my bunk, so I've been trying to develop a better way to divert the water.

First, my original design included a strip of tape running the length of the hinge. That kept coming un-stuck from where it was supposed to be, and sticking to things it wasn't supposed to stick to. The hinge doesn't seem to leak, along its length, so the tape isn't needed. The little spouts needed to be manipulated into position, and though that kind of works, they're awkward, and unreliable.

The new design includes a clear plastic window "liner" that hooks to the ceiling, at the inside corners of the camper. This liner has sleeves sewn along the top and bottom edges of the liner. Fiberglass rods extend through the sleeves; one at the top to attach the liner to the camper shell; and one across the bottom to keep the liner in place and help funnel the water to the outside.

When you open the back window during the rain, a big rush of water runs off the window, and is funneled off to the sides by the hinge. In the new design, the back windown is opened slightly, and the bottom of the liner is positioned to shed that first big flush of water outside the tailgate. After the first flush of water runs off, the bottom of the window is openned the rest of the way, and the liner is lifted up and clamped to the strap that runs between the door latches. Clipping the liner to the cross strap holds it in a slack position, so you can adjust the edges of the liner (at the low point of if it's sag, so that the water trickling off of the ends of the hinges, catches the liner, and dribbles off to the sides, avoiding dribbles flowing into the camper or onto the bed.

This liner has the added benefit of insulating the back window, so fog doesn't get on the foot of your sleeping bag.

It's not a perfect solution, but it works better than the little plastic mailing envelop spouts.

When it's not rainy, the liner rolls up and slides in next to the bunk or along the edge of the camper shell, under the window.

Step 1:

If I open my camper when it’s raining, the hinge channels water inside, soaking the foot of my bunk. I used Gorilla Tape and shipping envelopes to make a gutter on the inside, under the hinge, with little rain spouts directing the flow from the hinge to the outside edge of the door frame. The system needs a little tweaking as the door is opened, to ensure the rain spouts are pointing outside, before fully opening the door. This isn't fancy, but it solves a big problem with very little effort and expense.

Step 2: Line the Hinge With a Piece of Tape to Prevent Drips Through the Hinge

Measure the length of the hinge and roll out a strip of wide Gorilla Tape that length. Roll out an equal length of one-inch wide gorilla tape, and attach it carefully down the center of the sticky side of the wider strip of tape. Note, I have straps that limit the distance the door can open. This made it just wide enough to attach the strip of tape to both the inside edge of the door frame and the inside edge of the door (stretching across the hinge). If your camper door opens wider, just use an extra piece of tape to extend the width of the tape.

Attach the sticky side of one edge of the tape to the inside edge of the door frame. Use care to avoid getting kinks in the tape. When the tape is secure on the inside, with the door fully open, fold the tape toward the door and attach securely to the inside edge of the door. The hinge should be fully covered for the entire length, and the door should open and close freely.

Step 3: Make and Install the Rain Spouts.

I used two pieces of those blue and white padded shipping envelopes, cutting them at a fairly steep angle along the bottom fold. It may be beneficial to make the inside edge of the shipping bag triangle a bit wider to provide better coverage on the inside edge. You should have a triangle-shaped pocket, open on the long leg. By folding the short leg of the triangle partly inward, origami-style, you have an open scoop shape that should be wide enough to cover the hinge at the base of the scoop, and long enough to extend horizontally from behind the point where water pours in, coming to a point just outside the door opening. Attach the scoop to the inside of the door frame with Gorilla Tape, and attach the outer edge of the scoop to the upper edge of the door with another piece of tape, being sure the scoop slopes down slightly toward to end of the opening.

As the door swings downward, the scoop closes up slightly, and if the attachment is correct, as the scoop closes, it will drop down out of the way of the door frame. Experiment with the configuration until it looks like it will open and close without having to tweak things too much. I open the door part way, adjust the spouts so they are pointing outside, then open the door the rest of the way. Test with water, but don’t overdo it, a natural amount of flow should just make it to the narrow gutter-slot at the edge of the door frame and not trickle inside the camper.

Tape Contest

Participated in the
Tape Contest