Dry rot from previous water damage


I just purchased a 1981 Toyota dolphin with low miles and great mechanical check. However, it clearly had water damage from previous leaks so there is significant dry rot in the walls. I’m debating pulling all the wood paneling from inside to expose the wood underneath and repair the rot. Bonus would be I could add insulation but it feels like a major undertaking to replace Roy with all new wood. Has anyone done this? Implications of putting it off? Worth it? Advice?
Thank you,


Hey Julianne,

I literally just did this project on my 1984 Ford Ranger Huntsman (also with low miles). It was a huge undertaking, it took me approximately 30 days averaging probably 6-8 hrs of work a day and approximately $300 in materials (caulking, screws, butyl tape, sealant, solvents to remove old stuff, steel wool, wood, staples, and a decent number of tools) I’m happy I did it, you can check out my rebuild on instagram @sandeehuntsman. I had intended to put more insulation in also but the walls didn’t have enough integrity for it due to my window design and it was going to take a full gut of the whole cabin to be able to build the walls up properly. I chose to just rebuild the walls as they were designed and put new insulation where I could. The solution I came up with was to hire a seamstress to make me custom window covers that have button snaps that attach to the walls and are filled with some sort of insulation; were still talking through the design aspects. Had I not been on a time crunch I would probably have chosen to do a complete gutting and rebuild.


Hi Julliane! How are you?
A couple of years ago we bought an 87’ Toyota Sea breeze (the cusin of the Dolfin).
Many of the panels in the camper were roten and its comon for condensation. We ended up cutting out the rotten parts and replacing it with fresh 2mm playwood panels (matching the original ones). We didn’t found necessary to change the WHOLE panel, but just cutting out the rotten section plus like 2cm extra. since we were so comited to it we pealed off all the wall paper and painted white! It took us something like 3 or 4 full days of work and more than a couple trips to the hardware store. If you have tools to work with paint and wood i strongly suggest it!
Our renovation to that camper we also changed the old carped for floating floor and new curtains. If you would like more info don’t doubt writing us to: they dont let me put an email address or @wanomads in IG!
Light and love! Safe travels !


You will be well rewarded for doing the job properly and removing all wood that shows signs of water damage. Dry rot quickly turns into black mold when exposed to humidity. It also emits spores when jostled, as it will be when you are driving your rig. The opportunity to install insulation is a bonus indeed. It’s a big job, but the upside is huge, as is the potential downside of doing a partial job.



I would start by determining if the rot was caused by leaks or by condensation.

If it was leaks, then they obviously need to be repaired first, then kept a close eye on in the future.

If the cause was condensation, then you have a design failure, and restoring it to original will only repeat the problem.

The interior of the wall cavity needs to be ventilated, so that no moisture is allowed to accumulate or get trapped in there. Insulation and vapor barrier schemes have a habit of hiding these problems, rather than preventing them. Nobody can prevent condensation, but there are methods of dealing with it, ventilation being the best.

Design failure usually requires a complete rebuild, and can get very costly. Replacements are usually cheaper. Having helped with a compete rebuild, I woundn’t recommend it unless time and money don’t matter, and it’s a labor of love.



This is extremely helpful. Thank you all for the information. I’m taking down weak venere to see if the fiberglass insulation is wet and how far. Only planning to repair the venere unless I find where the insulation was also water damaged. I found some good foam board to replace the fiberglass insulation.