View Full Version : Leer shell leak advice

Cedar Jones
12-31-2011, 07:20 PM
I've had a Leer 122 shell on my tacoma for almost a year. It looks like this:


The shell is great except that it leaks. It rains a lot here so that's a big problem. The leaks are all along the rails where the shell attaches to the bed. I've taken it back 4 times now to the dealer, and each time they've tried to fix it but never really succeeded. They seem genuinely confused as to why it's leaking. Last time it looked like this after a big rain:


And after they worked on it the leak went down to this:


My question is, what should I do now? They seem unable to fix the problem. Is it possible to get a canopy to completely stop leaking? I suspect that if I were anywhere else in the country a leak like this wouldn't even be noticeable, because during brief heavy rain it is fine. It's the two days of steady Northwest winter rain that makes it start leaking.

I've also looked at other canopies, but it seems like there aren't any others that have both the height and the sliding windoors like the leer. This leak is driving me crazy since I live in the back full time. Any advice would be much appreciated! Thanks!

12-31-2011, 10:45 PM
I can't see the pictures (web blocker thing at work) so I'm taking a guess here, but how thick is your gasket? If it's too thick you can get some shell movement with offroading which will end up damaging the gasket or if it's clamped too tight then you can get some buckling in the bottom edge so that you don't have good contact for the full length. On my older Tacoma, a '95, I had some offbrand shell and it never leaked water. The bed was Rhinolined over the bed rails then I used one of the adhesive type foams stuck to the camper shell with the whole assembly clamped on with like eight wide clamps IIRC.

On the new Tacoma I have an ARE CX shell which goes over the top of the bed rails; it's cab high while the MX series is higher but looks about the same otherwise. I can't recall seeing one on an older Tacoma so I'm not sure if that model goes over the rail or not- you could probably e-mail them for pictures. After almost five years I'm finally starting to get some leaking around the seal during heavy rain. For some retarded reason Toyota made the front of the bed on the new trucks lower than the surrounding part and the gasket has shifted. I did develop a very small leak where the third brake light wires go through the shell, but a gob of silicon stopped that. I've had no leaks where I installed the Yakima tracks.

If you can't get yours to stop leaking I'd say take a look at the AREs. They're available with windoors, front drop down windows, etc.

Mc Taco
01-01-2012, 06:32 AM
On my old truck with a shell I got leaks around the windows after I had it re-painted. This was after six or seven years of trails. How many clamping points do you use along the edge? Shell would shift position sometimes. I had luck with adding a third one in the middle. Good luck, leaks suck.

01-01-2012, 12:09 PM
Perhaps taking it to a place that installs Leer caps for a living might do it.

On a side note, I had a windoor leak on my ARE cap. Tightening the latches made it worse. Loosening them fixed it.

01-01-2012, 04:20 PM
As a fellow washingtonian I fell your pain. Especially in Olympia where you are located. Very few parts of the country havemoss grow on their roofs and driveways every year.

I too have a top on my truck but it does not leak for now. But I was really agressive with a silicone sealant when I last installed it a.d replace the seal every few years.

I used to have a 98 like yours and the top leaked due to irregularities in the top of the bwd rail where the pich welds are. I was able to solve it with a new plastic drop in bedliner that wrapped ofer the rails of the truck. When I dropped it in I sealed it well with sime silicone sealant to seat the bedliner at the top of the bed rails especially the front two corners behind the cab. Then I dropped the camper top in and sealed it to the bedliner with silicone sealant as well and madw sure to use 8 aluminum camper clamps along the rail to hold it down evenly and swcurely along the bedrail. This required cutting eight holes in the bedliner at the top along the bed rail to insert the clamps -I used a hole saw. The holes also allowed the area under the bedliner to breathe and condensation to evaporate.

After doind this I had zero leaks and felt better about driving long distances at 80 mph woth 5 surfboards strapped to the top of the camper shell.

Good luck. I feel your pain.

I really think this leaking is due to an uneven surface along the bedrail. I suggest taking it off. Masking the bed rail for easy cleanup and using a liberal amount of silicone when yoh put it back on in addition to the sealant tape used by the dealer.

01-01-2012, 05:03 PM
I've had a Leer 122 shell on my tacoma for almost a year.

So if this means you still have a little warranty time left and you bought this canopy new.......

Contact Leer immediately, explain the saga and see if they can recommend a shop.
As you know, some of these canopy shops are staffed by "not-yet-ready-for-prime-time-players".

Cedar Jones
01-01-2012, 05:12 PM
@robert the gasket this time is two layers of 0.5 mm foam, but the previous 3 times they put on one layer of 0.5 mm foam. This time around it didn't even have time to shift, it started leaking the day after they redid the whole thing.

@Mc Taco I have two clamps on each side.

@keezer37 the place where I have been taking it is the Portland dealer. They actually have a pretty good reputation around here, which is why this is so annoying. They also claim that leaking isn't usually a problem with their canopies, but maybe they don't do a lot of 1st generation tacomas.

Here are some pictures of the seal:



I think next time I go in I will try to get them to put some more clamps on it at least. They did make the rail leak a little better, although not good enough in my opinion. I also just noticed that while they were working on it they managed to put the canopy back on too far forward, so now the rear door can't shut all the way on one side without running up against the back gate. It latches, but now there's a gap between the window and the weather strip.

I can see right down to the bed from outside and above, which can't be a good thing:

Thanks for all your advice everybody.

01-01-2012, 05:45 PM
I get leakage thru the bed at the front. It comes in from a "hole" between the bed and the cab of the truck. Its a design flaw and they do not seaql it up at the factory. Sorry I can't take pictures but that is my source. You may also try pulling the top off, and put three layers of soft rubber seals used for flat surfaces (Lowes or Home Depot), and add more clamps at multiple points holding the topper down to teh bed for a more even seal. Also alot of that might be condensation. Is your ceiling damp or wet...if so its condensation. Your door window needs attention, its not adjusted right and should be sealed well. Also check all the screws around your windows...they loosen up over time and need to be pulled out and have "lock-tite" put on them before putting them back into their holes. This will keep them from working themselves out. good luck!


01-01-2012, 06:50 PM
Thanks for all your advice everybody.
I'll make a couple of more comments.....

That looks like open-cell foam they're using and if so, that's a sponge.
Their fail on the door set-up is not confidence inspiring.
My Snug Top (2nd gen Taco) has 3 clamps on each side.

I used All-American in Aloha, they used a bulb seal provided by Snug and I have no leaks.
I got a better vibe from the Aloha shop as compared to the 82nd St. shop. They are a Leer dealer as well.
Their techs were B+ grade, IMO.

Cedar Jones
01-01-2012, 07:59 PM
That looks like open-cell foam they're using and if so, that's a sponge.

Is there an easy way to tell if it's open or closed cell foam just by looking at it?

I used All-American in Aloha, they used a bulb seal provided by Snug and I have no leaks.
I got a better vibe from the Aloha shop as compared to the 82nd St. shop. They are a Leer dealer as well.
Their techs were B+ grade, IMO.

That's good to know, I didn't realize they were Leer dealers as well. I've been going to Leer in Clackamas. They are all very friendly there, but I just don't think they know how to fix it. And this door thing sort of has me worried. It's not the source of the leak, because it was sealing fine there until this last repair, but it doesn't inspire confidence. I also found a spot where the metal surround of the windoor connects that has a tiny gap in it. It's partly sealed but could use a bit more silicon I think, and it's right above one of the worst puddles.

01-01-2012, 08:13 PM
Is there an easy way to tell if it's open or closed cell foam just by looking at it?
Yes, you can see the "open" cells.
Closed cell has a continuous "skin".

Hopefully you can get a blessing from Leer Corporate to use a different shop so that it stays under warranty.
And then, with any luck, the second shop will bear down and get it right.

01-02-2012, 04:17 AM
After screwing around for years with the gasket getting spit out, I finally pitched the clamps on my truck and bolted the whole thing with 4 1/4" bolts down each side. I also added a socket head screw into the rear corners of the bed to act as alignment pins with respective holes in the flange. Im using 1/2 by 1/4 weather stripping, and I have not found any leaks from that area. Someb enefit from a wooden slat to distribute clamping better- like a couple of old hockey sticks. You could always lay down plumbers puddy on the rail. Seals up sinks, should work on a truck.

01-02-2012, 06:02 AM
I had a shell that leaked during hard rains. The water came in under the weather stripping or rubber flap that the sliding windows slide against. I had to experiment with a water hose to finally figure out how the water was coming in. Basically, any water that hits the window will roll down and build up on that flap. If the flap is older, it will start to let water through and then the dripping and leaking begins.

01-03-2012, 03:29 AM
I worked at a camper shell dealership for 4 years right out of high school. Leer has a lifetime warranty and you should be able to contact the corporate office to find another dealer in your area that can get this fixed. The gaskets you apply to the bottom of the shell before mounting the shell to the bed are not like the ones from Home Depot. They are closed cell foam that should seal the shell well and not leak. From your pictures, I would start by checking the rubber flaps that attach at the bottom of your doors. Those flaps should extend about one inch past the sides of the door to overlap the opening between the door and the shell. If this checks out, the next step is to check the gasket that goes down the inside edges of the door on the sides. If these seals do not appear to be in good shape replace them. You may also want to try laying down in the truck bed on a sunny day and looking along the seams where the shell mounts to the bed. If you see light through these, apply a thin bead of silicon to seal this up. If it has been raining, the silicon will not seal well and will not keep the water out Again, use the silicon sparingly as it can glue the shell to the bed of the truck.

I hope that this works out for you.