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Old 10-01-2006, 04:36 PM   #1
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Question Moisture source

I've been getting a small amount of moisture collecting under the plastic runners in my living room just behind the driver's platform and kitchen area. Not much, and not all over. Seems to come after a heavy rain, followed by warm weather. My suspicion is that the weather stripping on the side windows is so petrified water is escaping over the ledges down inside the walls to the floor. No sign of any leaking from the ceiling, AC units, etc. I have cloth-lined walls and ceiling, and they never show dampness. Never any water spots on top side of carpet. Weather stripping is original, and pretty awful on most windows. I've checked all other reasonable things I can think of. Does this sound reasonable? Anyone else had this experience?

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Old 10-01-2006, 10:31 PM   #2
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I am not familiar with your rig... but have you looked to see if the moisture is coming up from underneath?

Mrs. NorCal Bambi (traveling in S Tardis)
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Old 10-02-2006, 02:56 AM   #3
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I would start with a check of window seals and any other items fixed to the outsideabove or near the wet area.

I had a similar problem in the bedroom, and after many weeks of rain - seal off a seam with clear silicone - more rain - more sealing...... etc., I managed to stop the leak. It was coming from the water inlet hatch and the top of a window.

All I could see, or feel wet, was under an internal seam/window sill, hence the trouble finding the source. After years of owning a very old sailing craft, I am no stranger to tracking leaks. Water has this nasty habit of "running" for a long way virtually hidden, then showing itself, no where near the source.

I think what happens in an Airstream is water will run down the inside of the outer skin then transfer to an internal wall panel until there is a seam to leach out through, in your case possibly the join at the floor.

I hope this helps, it is not a easy or quick fix task but needs to be rectified quickly before the wood rots or starts to smell.
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Old 10-02-2006, 10:11 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mrs. NorCal Bambi
I am not familiar with your rig... but have you looked to see if the moisture is coming up from underneath?

Mrs. NorCal Bambi (traveling in S Tardis)


Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuckles
I would start with a check of window seals and any other items fixed to the outsideabove or near the wet area.

I had a similar problem in the bedroom, and after many weeks of rain - seal off a seam with clear silicone - more rain - more sealing...... etc., I managed to stop the leak. It was coming from the water inlet hatch and the top of a window.

All I could see, or feel wet, was under an internal seam/window sill, hence the trouble finding the source. After years of owning a very old sailing craft, I am no stranger to tracking leaks. Water has this nasty habit of "running" for a long way virtually hidden, then showing itself, no where near the source.

I think what happens in an Airstream is water will run down the inside of the outer skin then transfer to an internal wall panel until there is a seam to leach out through, in your case possibly the join at the floor.

I hope this helps, it is not a easy or quick fix task but needs to be rectified quickly before the wood rots or starts to smell.

First, Mrs. NorCal - My MoHo doesn't have an enclosed underbelly like the trailers. It's essentially a piece of undercoated plywood set on top of a Gillig bus frame. I haven't driven in the rain in the past year, so I've eliminated the potential that it's coming up thru the floor. There's really not much way the floor can trap moisture like a trailer, and I've owned two Avions over the past 23 years - which are very similar to Airstream trailers in basic construction. I have had the floor cause problems in one of the Avions, so I appreciate that idea.

Second, Chuck - I've had the same things happen to me with the Avions mentioned above. My leaks turned out to be door frames and window frames at the tops. Finally found them by taking off the inside skin and using a soaker hose outside until I actually could see the water. You're absolutely right that it runs in very strange patterns. I was trying to figure why I only get this after heavy rains, the Blimp is sitting in my yard, and it seems to be only a small amount of condensation - which I would never know about unless I used the plastic runners on the carpet. They trap the moisture when it heats up inside. I've done a pretty thorough examination outside, and can find no "obvious" places water could be coming inside the wall except if it's getting past the fuzzy channel weather strip at the bottom of the side sliding windows, running down inside the walls, and making its way to the carpet - which is acting like a sponge. Since I know the outside fuzzy is shot, I was trying to find out whether anyone else has had a similar experience. My driver and passenger windows are definitely leaking, and I have the materials to fix them. But even they leak ONLY in very heavy rain. Moisture ends up in side pockets under those windows. That is the situation that led me to ask if anyone has had a similar problem with the side sliding windows behind the driver. The two damp places are quite small, about a foot in diameter, and separated by about 8 feet. One is just behind the front platform between the front of the couch and the chair across from that. The other is just about where the stairs come up to the floor level at the forward section of the kitchen. No water under any of the areas that are not carpeted - like the couch and kitchen cabinets. Sorry to be so long winded, but I'm hoping someone else has had this experience, and can guide me to the proper fix. At this time, I'm thinking the weather stripping of the side windows, but I'll try the soaker hose diagnosis first - to see if I can actually see water coming over the tracks and heading down inside the walls. Inside walls are carpeted, and never get wet or show stains.

Thanks so much for your advice. I'm always grateful for folks who are willing to share their experiences.

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Old 10-02-2006, 11:23 AM   #5
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Tim,

Don't you just hate those little water leaks? You are right, they are a real pain to find.

Make sure the weep holes are clear in your fuzzy channels. Sometimes crud from moving the window will gum them up.

I had a leak in a similar place(just past the dog house), but it was leaking quite a bit. It turned out to be a leaking blind rivit on the side of the coach. There is an aluminum "S" shaped piece that is part of the striping, and one of the rivits had sprung a leak. I will tell you that I spend many hours hunting that one. I finally pulled the couch and cut some access holes in the inner skin to find it. I often put down paper towls or pieces of toilet tissue to find leaks. If they discolor or become wet when I run the hose or it rains, it helps me trace a leak.

As you noted, the plastic prevents the carpet from breathing. I am also wondering if the humidity inside the Blimp is going up after a big rain, and the plastic is just trapping the water vapor and causing it to condense on the surface (bottom) of the runner? I have found when my MoHo leaks, there is quite a bit of watter, no matter how small the hole is. Enough so that I can vacuum it up with a carpet vac.

Good luck on your hunt and the replacement of the fuzzy that you have planned.

Steve
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Old 10-02-2006, 11:38 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Geophilist
Tim,

Don't you just hate those little water leaks? You are right, they are a real pain to find.

Make sure the weep holes are clear in your fuzzy channels. Sometimes crud from moving the window will gum them up.

I had a leak in a similar place(just past the dog house), but it was leaking quite a bit. It turned out to be a leaking blind rivit on the side of the coach. There is an aluminum "S" shaped piece that is part of the striping, and one of the rivits had sprung a leak. I will tell you that I spend many hours hunting that one. I finally pulled the couch and cut some access holes in the inner skin to find it. I often put down paper towls or pieces of toilet tissue to find leaks. If they discolor or become wet when I run the hose or it rains, it helps me trace a leak.

As you noted, the plastic prevents the carpet from breathing. I am also wondering if the humidity inside the Blimp is going up after a big rain, and the plastic is just trapping the water vapor and causing it to condense on the surface (bottom) of the runner? I have found when my MoHo leaks, there is quite a bit of watter, no matter how small the hole is. Enough so that I can vacuum it up with a carpet vac.

Good luck on your hunt and the replacement of the fuzzy that you have planned.

Steve
Hey, Steve, that's quite possible about the combination of the weep holes and the shear humidity - especially hear in Tidewater, VA! I hadn't thought about the humidity, but I had noticed some of the weep holes are trashed with 17 years worth of stuff. You've given me hope I don't have to immediately start the process of replacing all the side windows' fuzzy just yet. I'll do a thorough clean-out of the weep holes and window tracks, remove the plastic so things can get thoroughly dried out, and see what happens next big rain. Around here, that can't be too far off. As usual, thanks so much, my friend.

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Old 10-11-2006, 01:02 PM   #7
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Unhappy Found the leak, any suggestions?

Well folks, during last weekend's nor'easter, I went in the blimp with a flashlight, and did some serious looking. Turns out it was not the windows or humidity, but the furnace vent. Water is blowing in the vent, apparently running down the intake duct (bizarre flexible aluminum 2" diameter tube that takes 2 90-degree turns before entering the furnace housing), and then running out the bottom of the housing under the kitchen (which has a false floor so one can't see directly under to the coach floor). At least now I know what I've got to repair. Going to be fun figuring out how to keep the water out, but I have some ideas from past experiences with side vents leaking.

Anyone else had this problem? The vent is a horizontal type with the exhaust on one side and the intake on the other. Duo-Therm 901 series, 1989.


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