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New canopy leaks: normal vs not?

Discussion in '1st Gen. Tacomas (1995-2004)' started by Dnuttzz, Nov 18, 2017.

  1. Nov 18, 2017 at 5:59 PM
    #1
    Dnuttzz

    Dnuttzz [OP] New Member

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    Hi all. I see there are a lot of threads on canopy leaks and types and problems, but didn’t see my specific problem so asking here.

    After much research (this site has been helpful!) I just purchased a brand new LEER 122. Big deal for me because I’ve always disliked the look of canopies and I’ve been without on this truck since it was new in 2001 (and wow that price tag). Also there are not many models of any canopy brand left in production for Gen 1 Tacoma’s (which is why I ultimately went LEER and then 122).

    I planned to outfit my truck bed for camping/sleeping out of the back, and also will keep gear and the dog back there beyond just during camping. Yes, I also planned on building a simple convertible-type wood platform in the back for sleeping.

    So LEER 122 arrives and it’s professionally installed by actual LEER company dealer (Oregon City, OR). And...beyond just poor craftsmanship (gaps in headliner, nicks on window frames that were attempts to be hidden with (noticibly different colored) black paint, smudged and seeping silicon sealant, bent/rippled rear flashing...), the thing leaks water. A LOT of water.

    It leaks around the entire bed, right at the rails and only at the rails. All four sides, altho the cab rail is the worst, and side rails both leak equally on their entire length. It’s a lot of water, to where I can see drips (especially at all four clamps), the entirety of the rails are wet and there is water pooling in the bed.

    Since I live in western Oregon, it rains here roughly 80% of the time so water leaking is a problem. Mold is also a big concern. I understand no canopy is “water tight,” but coming in at all the rails like it’s not even sealed is not what I was expecting and I would not have bought if I knew this was “normal leakage.”

    It’s now been installed/reinstalled three times (the second install was actually the worst). The dealer is saying they can’t figure out what the problem is and that there is nothing they can do other than take it back for refund.

    They have also indicated it could be due to my over-the-rail Rhino Liner, but also admitted many trucks have the same liner and that other liners are often more porous even and still don’t leak like this.

    So my questions are:

    Has anyone experienced this level of leak on a NEW custom canopy?

    Would you just return it? I really want a canopy, but as-is the bed is not able to be a sleeping area (or even contain wood) or used keep anything stored unless it was alway from the sides. And I just paid almost $3k for this. I should have just got used for this quality?

    Would you try to water seal it with silicon/other and hope for the best?

    Thanks all for the help.

    PS: these photos were taken after it had stopped raining even. Obviously when it’s raining more water comes in. 3AC2409C-36E6-401B-B256-B43DC894A589.jpg AB0EB6FE-2EF1-4696-882E-8256C99DA5A5.jpg174DD6FC-2ACC-4B41-AFF2-1A69804126DC.jpg
    84349A56-63BF-41C2-85BA-43C3F73B08B5.jpg A93DA1CD-3BA7-42CA-8EA8-F8A0BCE05264.jpg 9071A764-5C79-44F8-B9C1-F5AAE45D236B.jpg
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2017
  2. Nov 18, 2017 at 6:09 PM
    #2
    Louisd75

    Louisd75 Well-Known Member

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    Dnuttzz [OP] likes this.
  3. Nov 18, 2017 at 6:28 PM
    #3
    Dnuttzz

    Dnuttzz [OP] New Member

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    Thanks for the quick reply and info. I’m not sure what they used, but all I can see from inside and outside is the grey spongy stuff you see in the last pic up there by the clamp. Maybe there is rubber liner inside where I can’t see?

    The second install they water tested it in front of me and it indeed did not leak except for a tiny bit in front corners. But 4hrs later it was soaked again. It’s like that grey sponge stuff became saturated.

    I’m so frustrated because the dealer first downplays how bad it is (so thanks for confirming it’s a lot of water), and then just shrugs. Sure, they’ve reinstalled it twice but the problem hasn’t improved.

    I don’t know what to do.
     
  4. Nov 18, 2017 at 7:31 PM
    #4
    Dr. Mantis Toboggan

    Dr. Mantis Toboggan Well-Known Member

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    I’d just get the refund and find something that’s more suitable.
     
  5. Nov 18, 2017 at 7:36 PM
    #5
    GDT

    GDT Well-Known Member

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    My experience with both of my caps has been that they keep most of the water out, but they are water resistant, not waterproof. But, there are so many used caps out there for a 1st gen. Can't imagine spending $3k for a basic cap for a 16year old truck. Yikes!
     
    Toy4me likes this.
  6. Nov 18, 2017 at 7:49 PM
    #6
    CodeSeven

    CodeSeven Yo

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    You may want to put some sort of caulking/silicone in there to give an extra seal. Try putting a 1/2 inch bead around the rim of the bed but on something like plastic or duct tape so the caulking/silicone doesn't stick directly to the rim of the bed or the bottom of the canopy. And let the caulking/silicone dry a little bit so you can make sure it's squished into the form of the bed rim to canopy contact surface.
     
    Dnuttzz [OP] likes this.
  7. Nov 18, 2017 at 8:09 PM
    #7
    Dnuttzz

    Dnuttzz [OP] New Member

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    Thanks all for weighing in. The fix suggestions are helpful.

    My reason for posting here was to find out if other 1st Gen Tacomas have had similar extensive canopy leak problems from a brand new product, or if your’s (now or back when new) have faired just fine, or at least significantly better than this one. I see newer model canopies and they have a more extended lip that covers the entire side rail. LEERs for 1st Gens do not have this.

    Guess I’m trying to figure out if my expectations were too high before I make my final decision on returning. Thanks again.
     
  8. Nov 18, 2017 at 8:58 PM
    #8
    Toyota4x46921

    Toyota4x46921 Well-Known Member

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    I have an ARE shell that I bought used this year. I have been through 2 hurricanes and mine leaked maybe one drop near the tailgate. I did fill in one corner because I could see light with the stuff they seal windshields with. It's like tar/putty type stuff.
     
    Dnuttzz [OP] likes this.
  9. Nov 18, 2017 at 9:12 PM
    #9
    I married my tacoma

    I married my tacoma Well-Known Member

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    @Dnuttzz I have a new Snugtop shell, although it has not gone through much rain... after pressure washing the exterior of the truck many times there has not been any visible water leaking into the bed. It may be worth returning for a Snugtop shell or topper that has the fiberglass lip that meets the bed rails and drops down on the outside (overhangs).
    The suggestion for sealing (silicone) further would be a good fix that would need to be reapplied and maintained.
     
    Dnuttzz [OP] likes this.
  10. Nov 18, 2017 at 9:39 PM
    #10
    gmr102

    gmr102 Well-Known Member

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    My ARE cap would leak in the same spots. It wasnt ever consistent though. I do think the bed liner was the main cause as I have the same one. It just didn't allow a good mating surface and I was suggested that I buff it off the rails. I just sold the cap instead.
     
    Dnuttzz [OP] likes this.
  11. Nov 19, 2017 at 5:46 AM
    #11
    tony2018

    tony2018 Well-Known Member

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    That foam seal is kinda thin, get rubberized foam seals thats about 1/2 inch think
     
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  12. Nov 19, 2017 at 5:56 AM
    #12
    Muffdiver

    Muffdiver Growing old is mandatory, growing up is optional

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    The grey foam tape your dealer used is both inexpensive and ineffective. Go with a rubber bulb type seal as @Louisd75 suggested for a much better seal.
     
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  13. Nov 19, 2017 at 6:02 AM
    #13
    jwctaco

    jwctaco Well-Known Member

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    My 02 had a similar canopy, no major leaks. This is poor installation. All canopies will leak to some degree but not like that. Car wash is where mine would leak, minor. Never in the rain, parked or driving. Take it back, have them fix it.
     
    Dnuttzz [OP] likes this.
  14. Nov 19, 2017 at 8:05 AM
    #14
    Louisd75

    Louisd75 Well-Known Member

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    The grey spongy stuff is garbage. My canopy started leaking after moving from relatively dry Nevada to relatively wet Washington. I replaced it with the grey stuff (it was cheap) and things got exponentially worse a few days later. At least as bad as your pictures. The problem with the grey stuff is that it compresses a lot under the weight of the canopy and doesn't want to expand. When you lift the canopy off I can almost guarantee that you'll see the seal smashed flat and it won't spring back at all. I wound up replacing the grey stuff with the stuff I linked to earlier and that solved the problem. If the canopy dealer is using the grey stuff then they are cutting corners. There's maybe a $10 difference between the cost of the cheap seal and the good seal.

    As frustrating as it's been, at this point I'd just buy the seal and install it myself. The canopy place has had what, 3 tries? And they keep trying the same thing? They should know better and should be using a quality seal.

    I would also recommend checking to see how they installed the wiring for the third brake light. My truck came with a canopy installed and the brake light wire wound up breaking where they tapped into it after some washboard road driving. Then, after I fixed it, a body shop screwed up the wiring fixing damage from an accident. The splice should be behind the driver's side brake light. Also double check how they ran the power to the dome light of the canopy. My experiences have led me to the point now where if I were to buy another canopy I'll just have them set the canopy on the bed (after I checked the seal). I'd do all the clamping, wiring, etc myself since I'm going to have to redo it anyways. Might as well get it right the first time.
     
    Dnuttzz [OP] likes this.
  15. Nov 19, 2017 at 8:56 AM
    #15
    kgw

    kgw Well-Known Member

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  16. Nov 19, 2017 at 9:02 AM
    #16
    Itchyfeet

    Itchyfeet Well-Known Member

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    Over the rail spray in bedliner. Short of using silicone between the shell and the bed it's always going to leak
     
    Dnuttzz [OP] likes this.
  17. Nov 19, 2017 at 11:30 AM
    #17
    Madjik_Man

    Madjik_Man The Rembrandt of Rattle Can

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    This. The topper has way too many issues for being brand new.

    Take your money elsewhere.
     
    Dnuttzz [OP] likes this.
  18. Nov 19, 2017 at 12:59 PM
    #18
    skeezix

    skeezix Well-Known Member

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    When I bought my shell and had it mounted the tech used cheap, thin, ill-fitting clamps like the ones shown in your images. After 2 days of rough off-roading, the shell slipped forward and almost touched the back of the cab, so when I got home I removed the shell from the truck. I noticed that the bottom mounting rail of the shell hung unsupported and inside of the bed rails and that, coupled with those crummy clamps was the cause of the slippage - not enough support.

    So I bought two 6-foot-long 1.5-inch aluminum ells that were 3/16 inch thick. I had the place where I bought them cut away an inch all the way down the lengths to give me two ells that were 1.5 inch on one side and 0.5 inch on the other.

    Next, I cut the ells to the exact length and drilled four holes into the vertical surface of the bed rails that bends down from the tops of the bed rails (on the inside). Then I mounted the ells to the bed rails using stainless steel screws and nylon locking nuts.

    (The inside vertical edge of the bed rail is not perpendicular to the top of the bed rail. It's a little bit obtuse - more like 95 degrees. When the ell is attached to the rail you will notice that the short side of the ell rises up a bit, but, not to worry because the mounting tape will allow for that.)

    To seal the mounting surfaces I used one layer of Scotch Pickup Tape #03420 between the top of the bed side rails and the shell. That tape is 1.25 inches wide so I placed it on the shell such that it was flush with the top inside edge of the ell. And I used two layers at the head of the bed. I used thin washers between the ell and the shell so I wouldn't completely crush the mounting tape.

    I have to replace the tape every 5 or 6 years but it's no big deal. Gives me a chance to wash the outside of the shell's front window along with the outside of the cab's rear sliding window.

    I really should make a better drawing (was in a hurry at the time), but you get the point. The shell is solidly mounted now and it is just beginning to leak a drop or two at one location (it's been 6 years since I last resealed it). The front of the shell never leaked at all, and I've been through some pretty nasty rains.


    20030926 Shell 04.jpg


    Shell Mounting Instructions.jpg
     
  19. Nov 19, 2017 at 1:05 PM
    #19
    jwctaco

    jwctaco Well-Known Member

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    Very nice
     
  20. Jan 7, 2018 at 5:51 PM
    #20
    Arctic Taco

    Arctic Taco My rough and ready Taco, excruciatingly slow build

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    ARE shell have worked fine for me, a good quality seal/weatherstripping is a big factor. I used some stuff I got at North 40 Outfitters a black closed cell foam product- I will try to find the brand when I get back home in March and pass it on. My Taco shell is a used one ($275.00 CL) for an 86 toyota the PO said I think, only leaked around the top of the front window, pulled the shell and took it out 4 yrs ago and siliconed it and reassembled it. No leaks so far.....
     

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