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Old 04-28-2011, 12:20 AM   #1
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Advice needed on water leak and sub floor damage on 08 Int'l

Well, an undetected leak looks like it may have done in at least part of the floor in the front bedroom area of 08 International. I have removed almost all of the bedroom furniture and side stands and have pulled the vinyl floor back to at least unstained wood to let everything dry really well before proceeding.

While there is no good place for a water leak in any Airstream, this one had much more concealed damage than I had thought. The vinyl floor holds in ALL of the moisture. Paired with the vinyl floor UNDER cabinets and the damage was largely invisible until major disassembly occurred. I have subsequently removed all flooring in the front compartment and under both bedside cabinets to give the floor a fighting chance of drying out if this were to happen again and to speed detection of water ingress.

I have never dealt with the threat of dry rot before, so I'm not sure if I'm at that level in the trailer on not. How can I tell if my subfloor is irreparably damaged? It feels spongy, but believe part of that to be due to lack of structural frame support at that section. The plywood does have a wavy look, almost like it is trying to delaminate, but when prying some wood gently up with a knife, it looks and feels fairly solid. I feel it needs to dry more before I can make any determinations. It was pretty wet underneath the vinyl flooring for who knows how long before I found it.

Additionally, I appear to have water dripping from what I suspect is still wet insulation in the end cap. I'm thinking that it is a good idea to get that wall open and drying before it molds up (if it hasn't already) It's one of those panels that is overlapped in three sections. Does anyone have any idea how far under the adjacent panels the overlapped extends [see last attached picture]? I am in for more trouble than it's worth?
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Old 04-28-2011, 12:21 AM   #2
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Picture of end cap inner panel I want to remove. It's the lowest panel at the floor.
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Old 04-28-2011, 07:53 AM   #3
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It really amazes me that for what they charge, that since leaks appear to be virtually inevitable at some point, AS do not use some sort of composite flooring that is impervious to water damage.

I believe that some of the newer more innovative companies such as "Earthbound" do now use such materials.

If our present RV does not wind up being our last, I will certainly look seriously at some of these new competitors for that reason alone.

Brian
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Old 04-28-2011, 08:48 AM   #4
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Thumbs down Unacceptable

Chris,
That is sad to see. I think it is just unacceptable for a three year old trailer that lists for $72,000 to leak like this. It is unfortunate to see the same design flaws in a 2008 model that were present in my 1972.
As for the condition of the wood, you'll have to wait until it is completely dry to properly assess whether to keep it and treat it or replace. I am not covering the wooden sub floor with a traditional floor covering in Abby for this very reason. They hide problems. You do need to find the leak and fix that before getting into repairing the floor. I know a guy that is coming back to Texas in a few days that does leak testing.
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Old 04-28-2011, 09:12 AM   #5
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Yes, the leaks will be found and dealt with ASAP. I had some leaking at the fantastic fan above the bed, but thought I had gotten to it. There has to be another point of entry for this much damage to have been caused. You are 100% right about the vinyl floors hiding damage. I have been slowly pulling up and peering under the vinyl in all areas around the perimeter of the trailer, but it is slow going in access limited areas. So far, this is the only area of concern that I have seen. I will be cutting back vinyl in all access limited areas so this won't be such a problem going forward. I have no problem with the vinyl being used in the traffic areas, but I may need to come up with some replacement for the front area. The smell from the existing vinyl in the bedroom isn't very pleasant. I also now know that the plastic smell that I couldn't quite figure out where it was coming from was in fact the vinyl backing decomposing.

If you mean SoldierMedic (Steve) for leak testing, yes we had already talked about leak testing before I found this damage. I just hope he can make it out Missouri without a boat! With the hot dry days we have had here in Texas, it has sure helped me get this trailer dried out quickly.
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Old 04-28-2011, 11:31 AM   #6
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I just went the frame area of a leak that developed during Ike and I didn't know about them the main damage seems to happen from the bottom side. The wet insulation just holds the moisture in that frame area. I would look into making sure you can get some ventilation from the underside, Does your frame still have the open web design? so you can blow air throughout that area? Maybe a hole big enough for a shop vac to be able to blow air into that area, it should be able to leak air at the overlapped seams on the belly.. At least you don't have OSB.

Does your trailer have the upper clearance lights above the front window. If it does I would take them off so maybe you can get some air circulation, even see if you can take the receptacles out of the wall tape them up if needed.

Good Luck.. and do you know a Don Sisco there in Boerne.
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Old 04-28-2011, 04:20 PM   #7
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Hey Chris,

I agree with Top that this is COMPLETELY unacceptable for a 2008 model trailer. Too bad AoA shut down or I would be calling them to get you in for a look see. I am heading out of Missouri next Thursday and will be in San Antonio sometime on Friday. If convenient, we can meet up on Saturday (possibly Friday night if your girls and Collin can stay entertained).

I would get to the store and buy a ton of the large "Damp Rid" containers and let them help you. Adding a fan to circulate air, and or a dehumidifier will help too.

Steve
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Old 03-20-2012, 05:26 PM   #8
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Just in case anyone find this thread, here is an update.

Would you believe that the water leaks are STILL not all found? Steve helped me out and leak tested my trailer last spring. Found a few spots, but with the exception of one, none were in the roof area. The exception was the rear awning that was added, water is getting in by a rivet. The floor is still bare and smells awful, but the dry rot appears to be minimal if any. The quality of the plywood subfloor is poor, which made the original assessment of dry rot more plausible. Not that I'm complaining; I don't want dry rot. The front floor is going to get sanded down to clean wood, all knot holes filled and coved with spar varnish or urethane. This should help reduce/eliminate the smell that has permeated the front bedroom area.

Leak culprits have been:
Front storage hatch. The hatch DOES NOT SEAL WHATSOEVER when fully closed. Once I pulled the bed and base support offer to get a view from above and darkened the trailer, it was obvious where the front compartment leak was coming from. I don't remember if Steve leak testing showed this or not, but DAYLIGHT around a seal is a dead give away for water intrusion. I tightened the latch mechanism, no improvement. I added a adhesive backed weatherstripping around frame of the door, daylight is now GONE.
Bad Acryl-R seal on curbside upper clearance light. Re applied Acryl-R and the leak stopped.
Front bed fantastic fan: noticed last week that a crack extended through the entire housing of the main housing. Crack started from an improper screw mount (should be a pan head screw, NOT a flat head that Airstream factory installed) at the factory that over torqued the frame, cracking it. All damage was hidden behind the Sikaflex sealant but finally became visible from inside as the crack finally migrated DOWN and water was allowed to pass freely and invisibly from outer from behind hinge to the inside. Fan will be removed and sent to fantastic vent to R+R current COMPLETELY assembly (at their cost) for a problem that Airstream caused (SHAME ON YOU AIRSTREAM).
Rear skylight: the toy skylights that Airstream installed from the factory are complete CRAP (but documented CRAP on these forums) they are cracking badly and will be replaced with Maxims in the NEAR future. Still have a leak around that skylight and am starting to think that the leak in in the skylight frame.
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Old 03-20-2012, 06:20 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Westfalia View Post
Leak culprits have been:
Front storage hatch. The hatch DOES NOT SEAL WHATSOEVER when fully closed. Once I pulled the bed and base support offer to get a view from above and darkened the trailer, it was obvious where the front compartment leak was coming from. I don't remember if Steve leak testing showed this or not, but DAYLIGHT around a seal is a dead give away for water intrusion.
This was very apparent during the test. I believe you took lots of pics and films of it since it sounded like a jet engine in the front area.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Westfalia View Post
Front bed fantastic fan: noticed last week that a crack extended through the entire housing of the main housing. Crack started from an improper screw mount (should be a pan head screw, NOT a flat head that Airstream factory installed) at the factory that over torqued the frame, cracking it. All damage was hidden behind the Sikaflex sealant but finally became visible from inside as the crack finally migrated DOWN and water was allowed to pass freely and invisibly from outer from behind hinge to the inside. Fan will be removed and sent to fantastic vent to R+R current COMPLETELY assembly (at their cost) for a problem that Airstream caused (SHAME ON YOU AIRSTREAM).
This is a problem I have seen on nearly every trailer I have ever leak tested, not just airstreams. The vibrations from going down the road and over torquing the screws cracks them all at some point.

Sorry to hear it is still an issue Chris. Perhaps we will test it again soon.

Steve
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Old 03-20-2012, 06:25 PM   #10
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Gots me a sets of Centramatics sitting by the back door to help with dat der vibration problem. In fact, I hope it help with a lot of little interior problems that I'm having every time I tow. I get tired a tightening screws and re-riviting every time I tow.

The leak doesn't exactly surprise me, but I was trying to under stand WHERE that leak was coming from despite my multiple seal attempts in that area. It simply occurred in a complete obscured and hidden area of the vent that was 100% susceptible to water ingress. I'll get a picture so others can see what I'm yammering about.
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