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Items inside inclosed cargo trailer are rusting WHY?


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Does anyone know why items inside my trailer are rusting. I just got a new bike and I was planning on storing it in my trailer but for some reason things are rusting inside. I just started noticing it more because I am using it more. I have other items in the trailer and they all seem to be getting rusty even though they are not getting wet. The trailer is only 2 years old. It does have a vent system in it. I am wondering if the moisture is getting in that way but every time I step in the thing it feels dry and the air feels dry. Does anyone know why this is happening and if there is a fix for it?

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Yea, the humidity. Espicially right now, it's decently warm during the day but the temps. drop 20-30 degrees at night, caused condensation inside the trailer. Just like dew on the lawn in the morning, just happening in your trailer.

If you're going to store your bike in there, you should spray WD40 on whatever parts that are starting to rust.

MAX!!!

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Does anyone know why items inside my trailer are rusting. I just got a new bike and I was planning on storing it in my trailer but for some reason things are rusting inside. I just started noticing it more because I am using it more. I have other items in the trailer and they all seem to be getting rusty even though they are not getting wet. The trailer is only 2 years old. It does have a vent system in it. I am wondering if the moisture is getting in that way but every time I step in the thing it feels dry and the air feels dry. Does anyone know why this is happening and if there is a fix for it?

No air flow. Humidity in the air, with no ventilation. I leave my roof vent open all the time. But you need to get a cover for the roof vent so it wont get rain inside or torn off in winds. Also temperature difference will create sweat. So venting it will keeps temps somewhat the same. Closed up, it can be warm inside, cooler outside plus the fast there is no moving air. And if you haul bikes in it wet, drips inside, more sweating.

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Thanks everyone. I ended up getting a dehumidifier. Only time will tell but I have been keeping an eye n it and even in the rain storms it has been nice and dry. It has been pulling tons of water. I got a kit to automatically dump the water but I wanted to see if it was working first. In the heat of summer I might have to switch to calcium chloride as the electronic dehumidifier probably will not like being 100 degrees. So far so good though.

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Thanks everyone. I ended up getting a dehumidifier. Only time will tell but I have been keeping an eye n it and even in the rain storms it has been nice and dry. It has been pulling tons of water. I got a kit to automatically dump the water but I wanted to see if it was working first. In the heat of summer I might have to switch to calcium chloride as the electronic dehumidifier probably will not like being 100 degrees. So far so good though.

Do you have a roof vent? First understand what creates the sweat that is rusting everything. Certainly its moisture in the air, and anytime you have a temp difference, ie outside air vs inside air is different, you will get sweat (think of a of glass of ice tea on a hot day) and air that is stagnant will create sweat in a humid environment. A simple roof vent with an "Air Max" cover, then a vent left open will eliminate all the rusting. This keeps inside temp and outside temps more even, ie if its cool outside, it will be cool inside, it wont be warmer inside, and visa versa. And the fact an open vent can always keep air moving, even without a fan or 2 vents, as its done with simple convection. Warm air rises, cold air falls, this alone will keep it circulating and the vent can expel the moist air and keep the air from becoming stale (not moving)

A cover over your existing roof vent, so you can leave the vent open all the time is what you need. If you dont have a roof vent, I'd install one. Just frame in a 14" X 14" hole and install one.

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  • 3 years later...

I have been battling sweating in my enclosed trailer for awhile now. I'm attempting to use my enclosed trailer for toys by day and camping by night, so limiting the sweat is first on my mind. I've put up a ceiling and even stained the upper surface, but I get wet areas soaking through. It's even running down onto the wall surface. There is no damages to the roof, ie no leaks....? So, so far I've added wall vents, and a vent cover to allow me to keep my roof vent open. As of now there is mold starting and obviously I can't have that. I'll write later to tell you how these changes have benefitted or waste of time and money.

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Have always kept the roof vent open in mine w/a vent cover. If storing wet bikes/gear in there I run a small tornado heater on low settings to help dry things out.

When you put the insulation up, did you leave an air gap between the shell and insulation? If not, my understanding is that the aluminum sweats into the insulation and there it stays causing mold etc.

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You know I didn't insulate. I'm in Washington State and it really doesn't get that cold. Besides we all have -30'F sleeping bags plus I'm using a carbon monoxide alarm for when I use heat from the little buddy. I was going to use that foam board insulation, nothing that can soak up moisture as that's all I could think of was it becoming a cesspool of mold and bacteria over head. I basically got a little cheap and lazy.

I put in all LED lighting, two ceiling, one outside man door ( cut in a pocket ), and another for rear door that I will also wire to my reverse lamps. I chose flood lamps over spot and it's been perfect. Something that I haven't finished yet but the wires are there and ready is that I am wiring in LED switches. You know when they're switched on the LED is lit. I'm locating these where I'm building the fold up bunk beds. I'm using them for nothing other than a reading lamp at night. They will control nothing but to provide a smaller light for reading in bed.

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I'm in WA too. I was reading into it a little more than I should have and thought  "insulation". Could it be that the gap between the roof and ceiling are causing your moisture problem? I never did the ceiling in mine, so I can't say for sure, but it is a thought. Maybe a couple small vents in the ceiling to "equalize" air? 

How's that buddy heater work for you? I'm looking at buying one to use out at the Dez this spring.

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Seems as though my moisture issue is gone. All the wood is drying out and no more water drops from the ceiling.

I actually use a propane heater, the Little Buddy I used as a reference. The department of what ever says the suitcase heaters are for indoor/outdoor use. The type that hook up to a 1-5+ gallon bottle is for outdoor use only. This is confusing to me as they both burn the same product. The guideline has to come down to the amount of BTU's dispensed. Mine is a single round burner that does put out higher BTU''s, and that's why I have the carbon monoxide monitor installed. I was working inside the trailer, it was 21*f outside with ice sickles from the ceiling. 10 - 20 minutes later I was getting rained on and quite warm inside. They definitely work well. Mine as I'm sure all have a auto shut off valve if tipped over for safety.

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It might have to do with you crossing through the dew point, if you are heating it or if it sits out someplace where it can see full sun (which heats the interior) after cooling off over night.  Those of us that live in cold climates see this when we heat a garage from freezing to above the current dew point, that's when everything seems to be sweating (and rusting) ~ when in fact it's just the moisture in the air that's coming out.  To prevent it you either never heat or you always heat to keep it above (or below) the dew point.

 

Like some of the other posters have noted, coated or painted metal doesn't rust.  Consider painting or spraying WD-40 on what you want to save.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Zig06 your right, crossing that dew point is really causing be havoc. My sweating is still occurring. I think I'm either going to try a spray on foam or those foam panels. I then might try a plastic vapor barrier and then the ceiling? Seems like a lot of work I know but I am not planning on selling the trailer anytime soon.

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  • 3 weeks later...

hey trail days,  my advice never use propane inside an enclosed space.  use electric.  reason why is for every gallon of propane burned releases 6.7 pounds of water into the air in the space your trying to heat. it can work if you have lots of ventilation but why would you add water to the environment in which your trying to get rid of it. I live in wa  also and deal with this every day as part of my job

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I did a lot of work on my snowmobile trailer a few years ago, furnace and insulation were two things I installed.

 

Thoguht about going with the spray-in foam insulation, the thing with that is you can't control how much the foam expands so it can bow out the trailer walls real easy.  There's a lot of companies that'd love to sell you foam kits, but talk to a foam company that's interested in getting you good results and not just making sales.

 

THe foil-backed iso board (~$14/sheet) from home depot is what I used, cuts/installs easy and works well.  Foamed in the gaps and ribs of the trailer with great-stuff foam, that's easier to control and locks in the isoboard. 

 

Propane's fine as long as it's a forced-air furnace.  The RV furnace I have has a combustion chamber and a separate heat exchanger, the only thing common to the two chambers is the blower motor shaft.  I do have an LPG/CO alarm in the trailer though, never had it go off unless I had it on when I fired a sled up to load/unload it.

 

Side vents down low will help move some air, along with a roof vent that's cracked open.  Make sure the plastic deflectors are in place and seal tight against the trailer. 

 

I've never had a problem with condensation, but the climate here's a lot drier.

 

Trailer build thread -->  http://backcountryrebels.com/showthread.php?t=16674

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