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Old 05-02-2016, 07:19 AM   #1
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Wet drivers side seatbelt

I have a new one for y'all and I'm shaking my head after all the fixes I've had to overcome. I have a strange leak that recently developed when I got in to drive my 2014 AI. I started to pull out the drivers side seat belt and noticed it was wet. I'm looking for advice possibly to fix it myself, or possibly the best place to take it. I live in Northern VA, have over 36K miles, but it is less than three-years old-bought it new. The Airstream dealership, Safford RV is not a possibility, they are not at all competent--never going back there. I'm wondering if the Mercedes/Sprinter dealership (which is close) would be appropriate...and I've been trying to figure out if this would be covered by a different warranty. I seem to recall a 5-year warranty on the body. I'm trying to avoid another trip back to the mother ship in Ohio...I called Airstream tech support (2-weeks ago) and they have yet to get back to me. Or has someone opened up that area or knows how the leak may be occurring? Appreciate any thoughts. Steve


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Old 05-02-2016, 08:13 AM   #2
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So is it the lap belt portion or the shoulder belt portion that's getting wet? It can make a difference in tracking down the leak. Another thing that makes a difference is when it's getting wet. After a rain? While camping but not in storage?

For either section getting wet, the easiest possibility to check is damaged weatherstripping around the driver's door. You can check that yourself.

For the shoulder belt getting wet, weatherstripping around the driver-side fixed window right behind the B-pillar, or the roof seam directly over the B-pillar. Possibly a leak at the Sirius antenna over the driver's seat, but that's unlikely unless your overhead compartment in front is also getting wet.

For the lap belt getting wet, weatherstripping around the moveable window right behind the B-pillar, or a leak in the municipal water intake. The water intake would only happen while camping and should not happen while the van is stored.

Door weatherstripping and roof seam are Mercedes Benz items. Everything else is an Airstream item.
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Old 05-02-2016, 08:15 AM   #3
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Are you sure it's a body leak somewhere, and not a door issue?

This sounds ridiculous and it is, but our T1N Interstate does not alarm when the driver's side door is left open and the vehicle is in gear. One can be going 70 mph with the door completely unlatched (swinging free, not just loosely latched), and there will be no advisory produced by the Sprinter.

Given that I don't aspire to drive in that configuration, I didn't know about this lack-of-alarm until over a year into ownership. At which point during one groggy 4:50 a.m. departure, I noticed that the vehicle did not sound right. Fortunately I did not have the music on, so I could hear the abnormal air flow due to the open door. If the music had been on, it might have been another story.

This kind of situation can develop when one is loading from both the cab door and the sliding door, and ultimately enters through the sliding door to take the driver's seat, not remembering that the drivers door is still open or only loosely latched. And of course it's a first-class invitation for rainwater to enter around the door frame and soak whatever it can get into.
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Old 05-02-2016, 08:21 AM   #4
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On my pickup it is possible to close the belt in the door allowing it to get wet. Very uncomfortable. Is this possible? With yours. I remember on my sprinter that the belt was very long, maybe it is hanging up and the door is closing on it before it can retract.
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Old 05-02-2016, 01:50 PM   #5
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I would check the vent above the sliding door. I think it is the bathroom vent. It is not sealed and occasionally we'll get water drops on the storage box behind the sliding door seat when the wind blows the rain down the hole....just a guess.
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Old 05-02-2016, 02:45 PM   #6
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I would check the vent above the sliding door. I think it is the bathroom vent. It is not sealed and occasionally we'll get water drops on the storage box behind the sliding door seat when the wind blows the rain down the hole....just a guess.
Leak is on driver's side.
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Old 05-02-2016, 04:00 PM   #7
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If none of these suggestions bear fruit, spray that sucker down with a garden hose and watch for drips.

Also, it goes without saying that you ought to check your roof generally. Rocks flying from overpasses onto vehicles below can put micro-craters in the roof. As in, actual full penetration holes in the sheet metal. It happened to us. Fortunately the hole was tiny.
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Old 05-02-2016, 08:30 PM   #8
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Thanks for the thoughts so far. It was the shoulder portion of the seatbelt. The door was closed properly and the seatbelt retracted properly. It appeared to occur after an overnight rain. I did also run municipal water the day before, so that could be a variable. The weather stripping on the door is intact and cannot see how the weather stripping on the window behind could be a possibility it has never been tampered with. The wetness was definitely on the spoiled up shoulder portion of the seatbelt. Currently it using storage, but rained hard last night. I'll visit it tomorrow to see if there any clues. Out of curiosity how could the municipal water hookup get the seat belt wet? Thank you for thoughts, I'll let you know what I find tomorrow.


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Old 05-02-2016, 08:41 PM   #9
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Out of curiosity how could the municipal water hookup get the seat belt wet? Thank you for thoughts, I'll let you know what I find tomorrow.
If it leaks inside the van but right next to the body panel, water can migrate or spray between the outer and inner panels. Or at least that's what I thought when I wrote that. It was a longshot, but since the water intake is one way that water gets inside the van on the driver's side not too far from the driver's door, I thought I'd mention it.
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Old 05-02-2016, 11:02 PM   #10
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Since the seat belt is in an enclosure which goes right up to the join between roof and side panels, I'd take a look inside the driver's side of the overcab cabinet in case any water has been getting in there. A couple of antennas are mounted up there, perhaps the seal is bad.


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Old 05-03-2016, 11:00 AM   #11
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I'm betting on a leak in the fresh water hookup that's spraying on the spooled-up belt.
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Old 05-04-2016, 12:29 PM   #12
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I checked out the AI today. It had rained hard the day before and yesterday too. I checked the seatbelt and couldn't really tell if it had moisture or not--definitely not wet like the original experience. There was no moisture residue when rubbing a paper towel along it. I haven't been able to hook up to water, but I'm wondering about the possibility that the channel rail along the length of the roof may be a possibility. There's some black grit around the end-most bolt that leads me to think that could be the culprit. I'm going to run a bead of caulking there anyway--does anyone have a recommendation of type of caulk other than the standard heavy duty outdoor caulk? I'll be hooking up to municipal water this weekend to check that out, but looking at the spray angles, that seems like the window and moulding would prevent water from that source. Thank for your troubleshooting thoughts on this.


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Old 05-04-2016, 07:27 PM   #13
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does anyone have a recommendation of type of caulk other than the standard heavy duty outdoor caulk?
IIRC, Sikaflex was recommended on this and other forums.
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