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Old 12-12-2005, 02:47 PM   #1
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Mystery Leak

Ok, this is a tough one. I have a 89 Excella 31'/32' what ever you
call it. Twin beds in the back and dinnette just to get specific.

The problem is that I found some particle board swelling and water
in the compartment under the closet right next to the pipe that goes
to the roof for water system exhaust. I got on top of the Airstream
a few months ago to inspect this, because I saw some water on the
top of the drawers that are next to the closet. This was during one of
the worst rain storms I have ever seen in Florida, so I thought it was
just because of the amount and duration of the rain. There was no
signs of damage to the seal or any holes around the pipe or anywhere
for that matter.

So bottom line is I have a lot of swelling, I haven't ripped up the carpet
in the bottom of the closet compartment. I am sure there is going to be
some hellacious water damage.

Unknown leak, no water damage in the walls of the closet or anywhere
else around the area. Just swelling and water around the big back pipe
that goes to the roof and has an exhaust port on the roof.

I'll get some photo's tomorrow. I guess at this point I need some advice
on how to minimize the damage and hopefully find the leak. I really don't
think it was from the pipe, but it's my only guess at this point.

thanks,

dale
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Old 12-12-2005, 03:02 PM   #2
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Leaks around plumbing vent pipes are not only common, but I think, over time, more likely than not. Use the bottom to top spray with the hose method to find out if this is your leak point (search the forum for this method). Then if it is your vent stack, search for vent pipe leak and/or seal repair and replacement. Use "InlandRV" in your search terms when searching forum archives and you'll find a perfect thread on how to do this fairly easy repair.

John
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Old 12-12-2005, 03:28 PM   #3
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InlandRV.com has the gasket material to fix the vents. Its pretty well a given about every 5 years to just plan on it if it sits in the sun. 10 if it spends its storage time indoors.

Yesterday I tracked one down thats been frustrating me for a while. The water running off the roof segments was catching a over lap on a segment that ran down hill to the window frame. The water traveled by surface tension right into the frame. From the inside with the panel out I would have layed down a large chunk of money it was the seam on the window frame a full 8 inches below where the water was actually entering.

Don't underestimate how far water can travel between the inner and outer panels.
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Old 12-12-2005, 03:46 PM   #4
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I think you guys are right. Now I have to deal with the damage. I am
assuming that that wall is not load bearing and I can just fix the cosmetic
problems. What's the fix for expanded particle board? I prefer the gouge
and fill method!

Thanks,

dale
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Old 12-12-2005, 07:11 PM   #5
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None of the interior walls are load bearing. The shell supports itself. Gouge and fill works fine if its not a structural component like a main support for a bed.

Might try sealing the Particle board with a boat builders epoxy after you get the repair done.
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Old 12-15-2005, 10:18 AM   #6
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OK, well after about 3 days of intense dehumidification I still have
damp particle board. Here's a photo: ( hope this works )

http://www.airforums.com/photo...ge.php?i=10614

I was basically thinking about cutting all the effected wood out and
replacing it. Is this something I should even worry about?

The other thing that bothers me is how this leak got this bad this fast,
I spent the Fall with 2.5 serious tropical storms/hurricanes and never
noticed the leak. This rain storm last week seems to have caused all
this recent damage. Could the cold weather have something to do with
the seal shrinking an allowing more leakage?

Anyway, my kit is on the way from Inland and I've been reading all
the replacement threads. I need to find the best product to reseal the
outside of the vent though. Getting the old one off might be a challenge
too.

Thanks,

dale
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Old 12-15-2005, 10:26 AM   #7
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59 toaster

All of the interior walls are load bearing.

Remove the interior walls and install plywood. Watch how fast the plywood becomes loose.

The entire, not part of, the shell is load bearing.

Andy
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Old 12-15-2005, 01:04 PM   #8
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So what is the suggestion on how to fix the wall? I think that it mainly
supports the hanging clothes bar that is in the closet. I planned on
removing all the "wood" that was damages and replacing it with a
piece of real plywood that is treated with some sealer.

Does this sound like a plan? Or am I wasting my time fixing something
that is 100% cosmetic?

Thanks,

dale
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Old 12-16-2005, 08:50 AM   #9
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Dale, I've done many, (too many) repairs like this on plywood in sea-going yachts. If this were my trailer, this is what I would do:
1. Establish the full extent of the damage by stripping back plastic veneers, insulation, carpet, etc. Bear in mind that damage inside the board can travel a long way. Try to get 6 inches of apparently dry board round the damage exposed to the air.
2. Dry the area very thoroughly. This could take days. I sometimes put a 60 watt light bulb in an inspection lamp cage close to the area which needs drying.
3. Brush away any material that is so damaged as to be easily detached from the surface.
4. Use a sharp probe, like the point of a throwing dart, to establish the full extent of the softening. Then decide whether or not to do the major dismantling of the walls which is necessary for a replacement of the damaged panels. I can only guess at the damage from your photo, but as the damage is not cosmetically important, I would probably not do any dismantling.
5. Having decided against dismantling, I would obtain a supply of penetrating epoxy from, for example, www.rotdoctor.com
6. Drill or spike a series of 1/8 inch holes all over the damaged area at 1/2 inch intervals. The holes should not go right through the material, but stop just short of the other face.
7. Soak the damaged area with the penetrating epoxy according to the pack instructions. Repeat until the holes are all filled, and no more epoxy soaks in. Allow to set.
8. Bring the damaged area up to full thickness by making a filler with normal epoxy and colloidal filler powder (I use WEST products. www.westsystem.com). Allow to set, then sand smooth.
9. If the area is structural and non-cosmetic, I then epoxy bond and screw a piece of 1/2 inch marine ply over the entire damaged area. I then epoxy coat this cover plate, before painting to match the surrounding area.

Good lucK!
Nick.
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Old 12-16-2005, 10:29 AM   #10
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Thanks! That's exactly what I needed to know. I'll make it
a weekend project.

Thanks again to everyone for all the suggestions.

dale
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Old 12-21-2005, 09:57 AM   #11
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UPDATE:

Leak is from the water pump.

Ugh!
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