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Old 09-13-2006, 05:03 PM   #1
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Crazy Idea

Hello all Airstream Gurus,
I have a crazy idea to bounch of you.

As I sit here in my new to me AS in the rain pulling the peeling wallpaper down, I've noticed two leaks on my TT. They are leaking basically in the same place on both sides of the trailer. I'll post pics soon to see what everyone thinks.

The question is: If I brought home the mobile thermal imaging camera from work, do you think I would be able to 'see' the leak while inside the trailer in the rain? I know they are used to help home owners find where they're loosing their heat and A/C all the time. I would think that the temp difference from the cool rain water would be visible on the camera. It is actually pretty sensitive to differences in temp. I can also see if I can borrow one off of one of our engines at the fire dept....you have to love small towns.

What's the crowd think? Thanks,

Josh
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Old 09-13-2006, 05:05 PM   #2
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Now I know what my tax dollars are being spent on!

I don't know if it will work or not because the inner skins are aluminum, the outter skins will be at rainwater temp, but it sure won't hurt to try!

Aaron
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Old 09-13-2006, 05:14 PM   #3
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Aaron,
It's money well spent...we just get side benefits for being volunteers.

I didn't know the inner skins were aluminum. Does that mean I could grind this 'paint' off and have it look like a CCD? Ha Ha...I wish! Is there any way to strip this down and get this color off in here?

I'll bring the nice color one home from work tomorrow. I can save pictures with it so I'll have to do a few and post them for everyone. It's pretty neat to look at anything with it so I bet there will be a bunch of people who would enjoy the pics.

Josh
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Old 09-13-2006, 05:52 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fish36991
Aaron,
It's money well spent...we just get side benefits for being volunteers.

I didn't know the inner skins were aluminum. Does that mean I could grind this 'paint' off and have it look like a CCD? Ha Ha...I wish! Is there any way to strip this down and get this color off in here?

I'll bring the nice color one home from work tomorrow. I can save pictures with it so I'll have to do a few and post them for everyone. It's pretty neat to look at anything with it so I bet there will be a bunch of people who would enjoy the pics.

Josh
Please return the unit if a fire breaks out.

Dose your unit have a working AC? Turn it on a it may show the air flowing out.

Jim
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Old 09-13-2006, 05:57 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fish36991
Aaron,
It's money well spent...we just get side benefits for being volunteers.

I didn't know the inner skins were aluminum. Does that mean I could grind this 'paint' off and have it look like a CCD? Ha Ha...I wish! Is there any way to strip this down and get this color off in here?

I'll bring the nice color one home from work tomorrow. I can save pictures with it so I'll have to do a few and post them for everyone. It's pretty neat to look at anything with it so I bet there will be a bunch of people who would enjoy the pics.

Josh
Josh,
What model of Airstream do you have? The inner skins are a vinyl clad aluminum, it can be stripped off but it is megawork and not always successful. Most people that want the aluminum insides just put in new skins.

Aaron
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Old 09-13-2006, 05:59 PM   #6
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Jim,
cool idea......ha ha...pun intended. I guess it is supposed to build positive pressure in the AS and blow out where the leak is?

The A/C unit does work. Could never sleep with it on but it does blow and blows cold. I think I'll have to buy a new one that is a little quieter.

I guess getting the AS for $1500, I can't complain too much.

Thanks for the idea and I'll give the thermal camera from work a shot first so I don't have to beat the rest of the dept to the fire house to put the camera on the truck before it pulls out.

Josh
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Old 09-13-2006, 06:16 PM   #7
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Aaron,

It's a 1976 Sovereign 31' trailer. I thought about just putting in new skins. I guess you just pull out the interior panels and use them as templates for the new ones. Have you estimated the materials cost for doing this roughly? It would be nice to be able to strip them down.

Josh
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Old 09-13-2006, 06:29 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fish36991
Aaron,

It's a 1976 Sovereign 31' trailer. I thought about just putting in new skins. I guess you just pull out the interior panels and use them as templates for the new ones. Have you estimated the materials cost for doing this roughly? It would be nice to be able to strip them down.

Josh
Josh,
Close to what I have...mine is a 1975. I haven't figured the cost, I am keeping my 75 pretty much orginal. I am gutting it now to get some rear seperation issues taken care of, as well as a throrough cleaning. Then reinstalling the interior and fixing things as I go along. On my 80 the jury is still out. Some of the interior panels are damaged, so they will need to be replaced and about 1/2 the interior is missing so unless I find a donor unit it is going to be full custom Thinking cherry veneer plywood and solid cherry accents...but that is subject to change between now and when it gets started.

Aaron
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Old 09-13-2006, 06:41 PM   #9
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Aaron,
I've read about the rear seperation but mine has not shown any symptoms as of yet. The PO said he had one spot on the frame that was rusted and he welded and boxed out the frame in that area so I hope I'm safe for awhile.

There is so much I want to do to this thing but I just have trouble knowing where to start. The past few days, I've just gone out there after work a start tinkering. New stereo so far and the wallpaper is in the process of coming out. I would love to use the wood panels as templates for something cooler but I don't want to add too much weight.

But, back to the reason of this thread. All my modern dreams for my AS are useless if it leaks so I guess I know where to start afterall.

Josh
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Old 09-13-2006, 06:41 PM   #10
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When you find that "quieter" AC unit, please tell me what it is. I too hate to use the roof top because of all the noise, but in Oklahoma it's noise or death in the Summer. I just wait for fall when I can open the windows and turn on my art deco fan. Hope you are using a heat gun to peel off that vinyl wall covering. Makes it soooooo much easier.
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Old 09-13-2006, 06:43 PM   #11
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Juel,
I haven't been using a heat gun...I've removed an entire trash bag of wallpaper by pulling off what is already peeling off. The bathroom door is really putting up on heck of a fight so I guess I'll be borrowing a heat gun from work as well. Thanks for the tip,

Josh
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Old 09-13-2006, 08:33 PM   #12
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I have a little experience with thermal imagers. We use them for everything from finding lost people after dark, game counts, to locating recently buried items. Between the generation III night vision and thermal imaging, there's not much that can hide from us. The imagers are so sensitive to temperature differences that they will detect footprints on a carpeted floor two minutes old, so it may be a good way to find your leaks. I believe I would try to heat up the interior of the trailer on a cool night, and scan the outside skin for heat signatures.

Good luck.
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Old 09-13-2006, 08:53 PM   #13
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Thanks Ranger,
I'll try with just the water also. I would think it would cool the inner skin pretty well and show up nicely. I think it should show the flow path down as well.

I feel pretty confident that I've found the problem. The overhead light/vent is leaking I know. As I sat there, it would drop several drops on me periodically. It isn't constant....just builds up and dumps a few drops every now and then. I also tried to turn on the light and it blew a fuse. It took out stereo as well but all the other lights stayed on.

I would have thought all the over head lights would have been on the same fuse but it appears it is fused in sections. The wierd thing is that the built in clock in the front started working when it didn't work before even when the stereo was. I'm really ready to get my service manual...it shipped today.

I'll report back tomorrow and let you know if the thermal camera worked and hopefully post some pics.

Thanks,
Josh
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Old 09-13-2006, 09:02 PM   #14
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Josh,
If your clock is like mine it has a battery in the back of it. Also your leaks may be quite a ways from where they show up inside. The TV antenna is a prime suspect from your description.

Aaron
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