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Old 03-05-2004, 02:39 PM   #1
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The first day. Broken Rib?

not mine unfortunately.

a quick history: we love camping and we love the outdoors. We started out looking for a tent trailer which lead us to an airstream site. We really got into it, liked the type of people very supportive and helpful, liked the A/S, and like a challenge. We went looking for a project and boy did we find one. We found the model we wanted, a 74 27ft overlander international, thanks to some friends. Thanks to this forum we are learned how to treat the wet floor (rot doctor) and how to go about dealing with leaks (hopefully found them all). We did encountered our first troubling surprise. Iím sure there will be one or two before the inspection is complete. Our problem is a large dent just above the road side vista view window. For the price I figured I could live with the dent for a while, shouldnít affect its towability. Well....when I got out a ladder to seal the front vent cover I found the the aluminum around the dent to be easily pressed. Much more so than anywhere else on the trailer which led me to the conclusion that I have a cracked or broken rib. Is this something that could take the air out of my stream, so to speak? Itís 2500 miles home. Anyone done this repair? Can I just duct tape it or something............?
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Old 03-05-2004, 03:18 PM   #2
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I wouldn't be too worried about a skin crease in that area. It could be a dent or just a simple natural panel crease. My Overlander had some up there as well. There aren't any ribs in that area, just long windows with a lot of skin above where the plastic shades slide up into the pocket above the vistaview.

The large ribless panel beneath the roadside main window also has a tendency to ripple, most Airstream techs call it "oil canning", on a cold day mine would be smooth as silk but get some heat and sunlight, it would look like one of those funhouse mirrors at the carnival.



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Old 03-05-2004, 04:47 PM   #3
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Any ribs will be defined by a row of corresponding rivets.

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Old 03-05-2004, 05:56 PM   #4
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Are you sure that all the ribs are rivited?
It seems like it might be too rigid and look
like Frankenstein or Rivetstein to have them all
riveted. I am just remembering a whole lot of ribs
and braces.
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Old 03-05-2004, 07:34 PM   #5
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Wouldn't make alot of sense to have a rib above a window nor below one.
Altho I am not saying it "aint" there.

That would be a floating rib I guess or a false rib.

For the real strength the rib-bows would go from one side c-channel up and over and down to the opposite side c-channel dont you think ??

Now do you guys have a wet floor or a rotted floor...or both?
Little early for Rot Doc I think. Get that baby dry dry dry first.

did you try to find Charlie Burke? any luck?

BTW did someone say yall were Hockey players, Wrestlers, or Lumberjack Athletes? Have no idea why I'm thinking that.
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Old 03-05-2004, 09:19 PM   #6
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There is a a lot less ribs in the end caps then you would think.

As long as there is not a dented in area inside the coach at the same place (I guess that would be dented out) and you don't notice it rippling from the wind while traveling...no problem.
The real strenth begins at the first hoop rib where the end cap meets the main body.
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Old 03-05-2004, 11:32 PM   #7
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wet floor at this point

We are working at getting it dryed out. There has been a lot of rain here in boise the last couple of days. I haven't got a chance to track down Charlie, though I would like to. It is hockey I'm playing and we are in the middle of a pretty busy stretch. My reasoning behind thinking I had a rib problem was that I have seen pictures of folks standing on their A/S's. I didn't feel comfortable stepping onto that area, afraid my foot would go through. Rather be cautious then sorry I guess. The rot doc is on order, I was under the impression that once wood was wet it would start to rot rather quickly. Figured that I would treat the areas that were the wettest in order to stop the rot in its tracks. But I suppose that keeping it dry is the best preventive method. There are some areas that are darker but still solid. I also used the anti freeze suggestion on a few areas. Hopefully have it dried out by tomorrow. Gotta get some sleep, another game tomorrow. Thanks for the responses!
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Old 03-06-2004, 05:56 AM   #8
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Let it dry throughly before using penetrating epoxy.

When you stand on the roof of an Airstream, stand ONLY on the ribs, which can be seen by the row of rivets. Never stand elsewhere.

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Old 03-06-2004, 12:05 PM   #9
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Yes you don't want to put epoxy on a wet surface or you will permenently lock in the moisture. What you can do to stop any additional rot is to pour automotive antifreeze on it - that will kill the rot spores and prevent it from rotting further until you can get around to fixing it.

Also depends on where the rot is - if its a big section - especially in front - its (IMHO) to replace that section of wood.

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Old 03-06-2004, 07:53 PM   #10
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FWIW my Argosy does have ribs split by windows on both sides. Not too impressive for strength, but it was done.

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Old 03-06-2004, 10:26 PM   #11
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Question This is the second time I've seen you suggest this Ken...

Quote:
What you can do to stop any additional rot is to pour automotive antifreeze on it - that will kill the rot spores and prevent it from rotting further until you can get around to fixing it.
I gotta ask...won't the anti-freeze affect (or is it effect? ) the penetrating epoxy's ability to penetrate the wood once dry? Or would it chemically weaken the epoxy? Just curious...

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Old 03-07-2004, 06:15 AM   #12
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I doubt that chemical residue from antifreeze would affect the bonding power of the penetrating epoxy - although I really do not know for certain. However, my bigger concern would be the time it would take for the wood to dry out once soaked in antifreeze. Antifreeze is very, very slow to evaporate.

Antifreeze may make sense in a boat where you are trying to displace water (and I don't know myself whether it really works or not), but in an enclosed structure like an Airstream it seems to offer no benefit at all. I think you would be far better to stop the leaks, and just let it dry out.

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Old 03-07-2004, 06:11 PM   #13
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My suggestion of anti freeze is if you can't get around to doing the epoxy for a while. It will kill the rot spores and keep it from rotting further. You would, however, want to let it dry out completetly before you seal it with epoxy.

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