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Old 06-21-2012, 12:11 AM   #113
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Gene, both our 2007 Safari and new Flying Cloud have this feature. Are you sure you don't?

doug k
Hi, I don't think my bathroom sink drains into my black tank even though it would be closer and easier to do. I can't find any proof or plumbing diagrams for my trailer. So how can I know?
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Old 06-21-2012, 01:17 AM   #114
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Friday, how cold - to cause that cracking??
Something in the -40 range but I don't know exactly when it failed. It was also a very rapid temperature drop.... 30 degrees in 12 hours or so.

I am in the middle of replacing it with a vinyl/fibreglass interlock product that they guarantee to -40 with a lifetime warranty for non commercial use and 10 year for commercial. Looks nice, but will add about 200lbs to th weight of my trailer. I estimate the old vinyl weighed 5lbs... It is that crappy...
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Old 06-21-2012, 01:59 AM   #115
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I just had a thought: I wonder how the airplane manufacturers affix things to the roof like the antennae and entertainment satellite? I know it is all put on after the fuselage is completed. The high-altitude stress and weather put upon a fuselage is extreme. If it works for a Boeing-737, it sure would work on an Airstream. Have you ever seen a leaky jet? I'm going to ask my friend when he recovers from his last trip. He's a pilot extraordinaire and an all-around nice guy. If he doesn't know the answer, he'll make an effort to find out.

Airstream was modelled after an airplane. But airplane manufacturers are always improving the design and technology. My friend was recently explaining the new engines - what is coming out in the next few years will put the last decade of engine design into the dark ages. Perhaps Airstream could embrace some of this enthusiasm?

Well, I asked the flying friend as per above. He said he didn't really know how they attached and sealed those things to the roof - "the days of knowing how to build the damn thing in order to fly it are over. Too many accidents from pilots trying to trouble shoot things in the air instead of flying the airplane. I just have to manage the beast." But he thinks they do use lot of caulking and since it is rounded at the top, water runs off pretty well anyways. He then suggested we all encase our trailers in a giant "male contraceptive." So much for that.

We're back at square one - caulking and roof design.

Friday, forty below? Yikes! That is cold.
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Old 06-21-2012, 02:43 AM   #116
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I worked on air-launched missiles back in the 60's; and in flight, the airflow is always in one direction (hopefully). So, overlapping seams are laid so the water flows over the seam, instead of down into it. Also, huge o-rings go around circumferential seams that are separated for maintenance; and threaded fasteners don't go all the way through the fuselage like the rivets on Airstreams.

Some missiles are pressurized with inert gas to make them waterproof. In fact, we had one returned for salvage that was mounted on an aircraft that rolled off a carrier deck into several thousand feet of water. It was recovered after a month underwater, and we opened it up to salvage the electronics. The insides were bone dry, and all electronics were functional.

So, leaks can be prevented. We would just need to purchase Airstreams on a "cost-plus" basis, which would probably drive the price up to a couple of million each. However, each would come with a solid gold toilet seat and commemorative gold hammer.
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Old 06-21-2012, 07:38 AM   #117
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Hi, I don't think my bathroom sink drains into my black tank even though it would be closer and easier to do. I can't find any proof or plumbing diagrams for my trailer. So how can I know?
With water supply/pump turned off, hold open the toilet flush valve and pour a pitcher of water into the bathroom sink. You should hear and see (with flashlight) it running into the black tank.


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Old 06-21-2012, 09:26 AM   #118
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Storage Compartment Door Seals

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Hi, Dennis. This is how I cured my leaky / breezy storage compartment door. I ran two srtips of "D" shaped weather seal around the outer edge of the door. It now has a tight fit and no more air leaks under my bed.
Robert

Your fix looks like an even better than the way I did mine. I will surely give it a try.

Thanks

Dennis
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Old 06-21-2012, 10:13 AM   #119
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I promised to get to insulation, but insulation is only part of a wall system to keep out water from outside, provide a vapor barrier, insulate, be strong, and allow water a place to escape. A trailer is harder to design than a house and weight restrictions make it even harder.

The wall designs I read about are vastly more complicated than they were only a decade or two ago. Siding is to keep the weather out, but behind it is a system to allow air to circulate and dry out wet areas—this can be done with a mesh or horizontal furring strips. Under that would be a vapor barrier (usually house wrap), then a wall sealed at all penetrations and seams. Inside is insulation. The best systems generally use foam board (there are a lot of different types of varying efficiencies). All places where air can get through are sealed with caulk or spray foam. Then the inner wall. At the foundation, spray foam is used to seal the space between the wall and the foundation. Flashing is used to direct water outward. Area around windows and doors use complex flashing and stick on plastic. Windows use low-e glass, thermopane, and the frames are built to reduce heat or cooling loss. These houses are so tight an air exchanger is necessary to introduce air into the house that is cooled or heated in the air exchanger. Humidity needs to be reduced to prevent water vapor getting into the walls from inside. Any items overlapped vertically would usually have at least a 6" overlap and some adhesive to seal the overlap. To eliminate thermal breaks, stud walls have been redesigned to reduce the number of them and various items are used between the studs and inner or exterior walls to reduce heat movement.

Airstream should consult with someone who understands modern construction techniques to see what it can adapt. The house example uses three walls—siding is not structural. It is isolated from from the inner and outer structural walls. The vapor barrier is often on exterior side.

Some of this can be easily adapted. Pads of something that insulates can be used between the ribs and outer skin to reduce thermal gain or loss. It is time to dump fiberglass (I note Airstream is using a better quality insulation now) and go to foam and spray foam sealing at the edges. Z-flashing at the bottom of the wall and around the windows can direct water outside and through weep holes where appropriate. I am unsure whether a vapor barrier is needed or on which side of the wall it would go—a well sealed outer skin may be all the vapor barrier possible, but the condensation that probably develops on the inner side of the exterior skin may require a vapor barrier next to it and a way to wick water downward.

Airstream tried thermopane decades ago and it didn't work well. Technology has advanced and other RV companies use them successfully. It time to go with these.

Insulating the belly pan, sealing it, and making it easier to remove need to be integrating it with a wall system also need to be modernized.

The main considerations are keeping water out of the walls, directing where it goes and drying condensation, and insulating effectively. Airstream walls are designed as houses were designed half a century or more ago. Those houses leaked, were drafty, developed mold and rot, used excessive heating and cooling. Sound familiar?

Gene
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Old 06-21-2012, 10:45 AM   #120
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Aircraft manufacturers use rivets and a handy dandy little device called Zeus Fasteners to allow easy and secure access to the innards. The Zeus Fasteners would work and look perfect on an Airstream. They easily handle Mach 3 plus speed, so should have no problem with average Airstream towing speeds.
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Old 06-21-2012, 11:23 AM   #121
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Yes, some people have put throw rugs down on the bare subfloor. One posted it may not be really fancy, but is a lot more fancy than a tent.

Gene
We have installed rubber-backed commercial carpet on the exposed flooring ... makes our feet happy, too. It provided "protection" to the vinyl and is easily vacuumed or simply picked up to shake off outside. Dzus fasteners on the way.
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Old 06-21-2012, 11:24 AM   #122
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Gene, the products you've described are part of an evolving process to make residential and commercial structures both energy efficient and healthy.

I have been talking to a building scientist in Vancouver about insulation, vapor barriers, caulking, flashing, thermal breaks and a lot of other products that are designed to work together to make a healthy and efficient building. In the last several years I have had several friends become very sick from toxic mold exposure so my focus is now on healthy instead of efficient.

The scientist makes valid points abpout these systems working together as a whole to create enviornments that function perfectly.

I have seen modern construction in action closely and I know that the outcome of a perfect building with hand installed components is not doable.

There are to many conflicting agendas from safety to budgeting, to put much emphasis on quality control The various tradesman only know how to install their own component and the training to teach them to understand their function in the larger part of the whole is impossible.

Certain areas of the country are more difficult to build in than others. The PNW builds all year long and until these structures are "closed in" they are exposed to sometimes months of wet weather. I've seen sheet rock on walls wicking water from a wer cement floor and left to dry. Sometimes we balance air movement in buildings for years after construction. Hospitals are experiencing serious mold problems and scrambling around for solutions. Techniques are improving but as long as structures are hand built with an emphasis on money and worker safety (not bad). things will not change. Construction scheduling drives how a building is erected and as the years pass and wages continue to rise I can tell you that the scheduling is brutal. You're in and if you're not out in three days there will be 10 more guys working on top of you because it's their turn.

AS construction presents difficult challenges, especially for moisture control.Lets leave leaks out of this. I live, breathe, shower, cook and conduct most of my daily activities in a 3000sf house. The little impact I have on it's humidity is easily controlled by exhaust fans etc.

In my 176sf AS the impact is significant. about an 18 to 1 ratio. With all of the penetrarions for windows and the single pane windows and the poor insulation the AS particularly the ones like I have with the shiny aluminum inner walls are made for condensation. The aluminum interior walls of my new AS are about the best leading edge condensing surface I've ever seen. The inside surface of the outer skin is a good example of this as well. There are plenty of threads on this forum about keeping your tailers moisture under control. Read them and understand that the very size and construction of AS or any other trailer does not lend itself very well to normal human activities. This is mostly a cold weather problem.

AS needs to make a more effective channeling and drain system for the outside skin moisture. I'm not sure the interior skin problems are solvable without making the trailers cost prohibitive.

I disagree with the arguement if they don't leak the floor won't rot, it will rot but the destruction will be slow.

Like everything else these trailers will wear out. They will fail and they do need maintenance. All in all I'm satisfied. Nothing is perfect. But when I drive that trailer down the road behind my matching silver Tahoe I feel like the coolest guy around. Pehaps that alone makes it worthwhile.

I will talk later about air exchangers later. These work well sometimes but have their limitations.

My house is 50 years old and poorly insulated. I have lots of ideas about making it more efficient but have held off and probably will do nothing. Our climate is relatively temperate so I will pay the somewhat larger heating bills in the winter as I know I'm not living in what I consider tombs of new residential construction that I see nowdays. And I know what I speak of. I've designed climate control systems for 30 years in lots of hospital and clean room enviornments for computer chip manufacturing.

Dan
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Old 06-21-2012, 12:01 PM   #123
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Dan, no doubt there are challenges to residential, commercial and RV construction. Whenever new things come along, mistakes are inevitable. First adopters can suffer. I think Airstream can adopt some of the ideas from residential construction (I assume much the same has been done with commercial) that have worked well. Building exterior walls with the complexity of houses would be more of a challenge, but the concepts should lead to improvements.

Ventilating the trailer is pretty easy—turn on one of 5 fans in ours or open a window, or both. This doesn't work so well when moving because people don't want to open the Fantastic Fans because they are afraid the cover will blow off even though the company says it won't. A flow through vent system like a car or truck would help. Another reason people don't like to ventilate is they lose heat or A/C. That's where an air exchanger comes in. Perhaps it could replace the Fantastic Fans.

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Old 06-21-2012, 12:17 PM   #124
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Gene, air exchangers would have to be set up so they provide a positive atmosphere. A negative atmosphere in an AS would be a disaster. Pulling in cold outside air would be best and you wouldn't need much. I would have to do the calculations but I'm thinking maybe two to three air changer per hour would be enough. In contrast operating rooms depending on the procedure have the capacity to do up to twenty air changes in an hour while maintaining temperature. I would be willing to make the tradeoff of increased fuel consumption or slightly lower inside air temperatures to have healthy inside air.

Another outcome of a positive atmosphere is that water would be less likely to intrude.

Dan
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Old 06-21-2012, 01:01 PM   #125
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Now that I've sold my Tradewind and am considering my next trailer, I'd like to see Airstream return to building smaller and lighter trailers. I want to be able to own one vehicle that gets good fuel economy and have no use for a truck. Fuel costs are high and getting higher, so hopefully the mother ship will realize many of us can't afford a second vehicle dedicated to towing.
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Old 06-21-2012, 10:25 PM   #126
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Now that I've sold my Tradewind and am considering my next trailer, I'd like to see Airstream return to building smaller and lighter trailers. I want to be able to own one vehicle that gets good fuel economy and have no use for a truck. Fuel costs are high and getting higher, so hopefully the mother ship will realize many of us can't afford a second vehicle dedicated to towing.
Smaller than the 16/19/20 ? Lighter - where would the weight be taken off? Good idea if it can be implemented at an affordable price ...
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