TAXA Outdoors

Cricket Tentside Report re: Leaks

Hello. I never reported on my trip to Kentucky. I went there to troubleshoot a persistent leak a customer has had and which appeared best poised to solve some mysteries for us here at TAXA. I would like to share my findings as it may help you out as well.

Their roof no longer leaks. Phew. Happiness! They also have chickens in their back yard! Eggs. Happiness (unless vegan of course)!

Some of you others are still having problems. Sad. Wet. Sporadic. Problems.

Lets fix them.

There have been three basic types of Cricket roof leak in our history – tent side installation related, roof latch related and for some earlier models sealant related. The story has slight variations for you all depending on the year of your Cricket model (2012, 2013, 2014, 2015). We water test all our Crickets before sending them and have been evolving this test ever sice we started.

Our current inventory of Crickets outside in our lot here just survived the flooding rains of the past few days (11 inches, National news, a “rain” day for my kids!) – roofs down, no leaks, all good. I did just re-teach the folks on the floor on the best ways to install the tent side. Maybe that helped.

Below I will write some paragraphs of general explanation. I will follow that with the model year summaries for inspection and improvement and best practices.

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Installation related:

{These tent side leaks only occur when the roof is closed and generally are discovered after storage or potentially after driving in a raindstorm. THEY DO NOT LEAK WHILE CAMPING. }

Most of our leaks end up being caused by poor tent installation – poor installation results in wrinkles that gather water to the inside of the trailer rather than keep it outside. This results in ‘ballooning’ of the fabric over the kitchen counter corners. If the balloon of water finds a zipper then water drips on the counter and the floor. There is always some version of a wrinkle to be found, they are unavoidable. It is important which way they run. Sometimes, when closing the roof, one can mash the wooden peg for the window between the tent side and the rubber weatherseal of the roof and this causes a biggish wrinkle in just the wrong spot.

Our current owner’s manual is not so great when it comes to describing how easy it is to remove, install and adjust your tent side. It will get better and we will notify you about that. Next week – Monday – I will post a video showing me doing all those things, maybe I will make my just-out-of-school child be the star. You should get comfortable with removing the tentside. It is easy to clean this way and sometimes it is fun (pending biting bugs) to camp without one.

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Roof latch related:

Leaks can occur if the roof hold down clamps need are poorly adjusted  or, as mentioned above, if the wooden pegs get squashed in the wrong position. If the rubber weatherseal attached to the underside of the roof does not squish securely against the grey UV fabric at the bottom edge of the tent side this can can cause problems. If you discover that the roof does not seem to close securely enough at the front corners of your Cricket, you can adjust the tightness of the interior lateches with pliers or a wrench. A few turns should do it. The goal is ‘tight enough’ not as tight as possible!

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Sealant related:

Some earlier models may experience leaking from a sealant failure at the rear top edge of the roof. This can result in a dripping leak through some of the rear rivets. This is easily fixed with silicone sealant to repair any small gap between the edge banding and the aluminum of the roof panel. We have explicit instructions written out if anyone wants them – contact pia@taxa.us. A few times we have neglected to put a dab of silicone on the bolts that hold up the kid’s berth. That too can result in a small dribble and is easily fixed.

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Kentucky Trip:

In Kentucky I visited our customer and conducted the following tests:

A. (tent side ON, installed by factory, dealer or customer) simulated heavy rainstorm by running garden hose on roof at every edge long edge to drench continually the roof / tent / body edge.

results: confirmed water infiltration / ballooning over passenger side counter

B. (tent side OFF – velcro detached from off bottom edge and draped inside trailer, rubber weather bulb to aluminum seal) simulated heavy rainstorm by running garden hose on roof at every edge long edge to drench continually the roof / tent / body edge. Also noticed that passenger side latch bolt could be adjusted to be a touch tighter which I did.

results: NO water infiltration

C. (tent side ON – installed by GSF together with client) simulated heavy rainstorm by running garden hose on roof at every edge long edge to drench continually the roof / tent / body edge.

results: NO water infiltration

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INSTRUCTIONS FOR YOU:

 

all Crickets:

long term storage suggestion – detach the velcro from the bottom edge and hang within the trailer with the roof clamped down. This will further extend the life of the UV protected fabric, prevent any micro wrinkle from very slowly making a balloon and eliminate the possibility of mildew developing due to moisture present when the roof was closed!

 

2012, 2013, early 2014 Crickets:

TENT SIDE –

– watch video next Monday to get familiar and comfortable with your tent side!

– re-install bottom edge of tent side, starting at front middle and working around to end of front panels, then attaching that same bottom edge from the rear toward the front, work your way to just before the end of front panels,  handle any wrinkle or extra fabric in this area with a neat rear facing fold as per video.

– when closing the roof – the bungees help gather the tent fabric in but you need to push and or pull the fabric into the trailer as much as possible. Make sure the wooden toggles are no in the path of the rubber weather seal on the roof and lower and latch the roof. The rubber weather seal wants to touch only the grey UV fabric (plastic-y). If you see that one side is latched tighter than another check on the inside of the trailer at the J-bolt that holds the roof down and make any small adjustment. The goal is ‘tight enough’ not as tight as possible.

 

REAR ROOF LEAK AT RIVETS – SEALANT

– check for any gaps between the edge banding and roof panel at the rear edge (over the back door). Any potential leakss is caused by a sealant failure at this location. It is solved with a re-application of sealant to this top rear edge. Smush black silicone sealant in any gap you find here, wrapping about 8 inches up the sides of the roof. Explicit instructions can be requested from us if you like (sealant, masking tape, utility knife, photos)!

 

late 2014 andf 2015 Crickets:

TENT SIDE –

– watch video next Monday to get familiar and comfortable with your tent side!

– re-install bottom edge of tent side, starting at front middle and working around to end of front panels, then attaching that same bottom edge from the rear toward the front, work your way to just before the end of front panels,  handle any wrinkle or extra fabric in this area with a neat rear facing fold as per video.

– when closing the roof – the bungees help gather the tent fabric in but you need to push and or pull the fabric into the trailer as much as possible. Make sure the wooden toggles are no in the path of the rubber weather seal on the roof and lower and latch the roof. The rubber weather seal wants to touch only the grey UV fabric (plastic-y). If you see that one side is latched tighter than another check on the inside of the trailer at the J-bolt that holds the roof down and make any small adjustment. The goal is ‘tight enough’ not as tight as possible.

REAR ROOF LEAK AT RIVETS – SEALANT

DOES NOT APPLY. We changed our panel specifications in these models and any hairline gap between edge banding is aesthetic only and cannot result in leaks!

Best,

Garrett

1 Comments
  • Judy Slater says:

    Just wondering if you are designing a tent that could be attached to the rear lift door in the up position to extend the use outdoors for a bug free sleeping area with the door up. Plus it would enable the children to sleep outside in a bug free area. Should also increase the cooling breezes coming thru all evening.

    June 8, 2015 at 11:27 pm
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