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Old 08-06-2018, 05:55 PM   #1
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FLOOR ROT - DESIGN DEFECT or bad luck?

06 28' Intl CCD Like many Airstream owners, I have a re-occurring floor rot problem. I am a residential architect and general contractor so I deal with water and leak issues all the time. In my profession, any leak that is not caused by the actions of the owner, is the responsibility of the builder and/or designer, for the lifetime of the building. I think the same rules should apply to Airstream, for their long history of leaks and floor rot. I just doesn't seem reasonable that a self-described FIRST CLASS company like Airstream should refuse to face, acknowledge and solve this problem.

One possible solution would be to use Coosa board instead of plywood for the floor structure. This product was created for the marine yacht industry and has similar structural and flex characteristics to plywood. Another owner researched it and found that using Coosa Board would add $1000 to the production cost of an Airstream. This seems reasonable since most floor repairs cost $4-10,000. Another solution would be to extend the warranty to 10-15 years and include floor rot as a covered item.

I had the curb side of my rear bedroom floor replaced for $3K. At the time the service tech said that water was entering the belly pan along the rub rail at the rear bumper storage compartment. That water was forming a lake in the pan that had no way to drain or evaporate. He sealed up the rub rail and sent me on my way. Here I am 5 years later, with the exact same problem on the driver's side. Another $3k or $10K to R&R the entire bedroom floor. It seems that the rub rail detail needs to be completely reworked.

The rub rail and floor perimeter parts of the Airstrem design hold a potential solution to many issues related with rot and flooring replacement. The "frame off" solution is costly and unnecessary, Imagine a detail where the floor plywood is NOT sandwitched between the floor frame and the upper body. Imagine instead an extended screw flange reaching inward to allow for flooring connection without a frame-off procedure.

I have contacted Airstream customer service several times and never received a reply to my inquiries or suggestions. Is this the way a "first rate" company handles problems, or are they simply "lawyered-up"??

I think owners with this problem owe the public a constant stream of questions and description of their floor rot problems. Let informed buyers beware. When I purchased my trailer in 2006, I knew of the problem in older units, but I assumed that it had been addressed and resolved. No such luck. I want to pass my knowledge and experiene along to new customers.
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Old 08-06-2018, 06:34 PM   #2
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As the forums #1 fanboy of Coosa board, (replaced my 310's subfloor with it and will be replacing my 1975 Argosy's subfloor with it); I can only shake my head that Airstream doesn't use this product........but they don't.

As for trying to get Airstream to anti up for repairing your trailer.......won't happen, ever. You'd be pissing money away trying to sue them.

The only thing you can assume in life; is that as time goes by, things get more expensive, made with cheap components and with less quality. This unfortunately also applies to Airstream; just look at any threads about new trailers, ALDE, Firefly systems and a host of other quality control problems.

These trailers are built by people that the company hires for the cheapest wage, the training is probably minimal and they are pushed by line time limits.

Cheers
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Old 10-08-2018, 10:13 PM   #3
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I guess most of us that have bought trailers within that 06- whenever time frame have already dealt with repairing this manufacturing issue. Airstream did get off the hook for taking responsibility for repairing and solving this issue. It would be interesting to know just how many trailers were manufactured before the problem was corrected. At least it is well documented here in the forums of what to do and how to fix.
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Old 10-08-2018, 11:45 PM   #4
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Airstream claims every new trailer shell is 'hurricane' leak tested (a water shower) for twenty minutes prior to the addition of the insulation. They will address leaks (& associated damage) within the warranty period.

Water entry is a function of "little to no preventative maintenance," an owner responsibility, per the industry making Airstream no different than other manufacturers once the warranty period expires.

An annual check is highly advised. Dealers can perform a pressure test to help find leaks.

Unlike buildings, trailers get shaken every time and every mile they hit the road. I doubt any RV company wants to step up beyond the warranty period.

Once you had the issue the first time, any particular reason you never checked for water entry thereafter to avoid another substantial bill?
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Old 10-09-2018, 01:36 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davidludwig View Post
. . .
. . . FIRST CLASS company like Airstream . . .
. . .
False premise ---> GIGO.

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Old 10-09-2018, 03:58 PM   #6
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Imagine if you lived in a wet climate.


Keep reading this forum and you will find an amazing number of ways that AS have leaks.
It really does take a lot of monitoring to ensure that every access point is dry. In my trailer the roof was the largest contributor, but the wheel wells were trouble, the door area, and one rear side window. The trailer had so many leaks it was impossible to find and fix them. I added a roof coating to penetrate the roof leaking areas (it also reflects the sun heat). that reduced the leak count to three places.

Storing the trailer under a cover keeps it dry at home, but we do inspect during every trip. It like checking the air in the tires, the wheel lug nut tightness torque, and the grease on the hitch.
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Old 10-10-2018, 07:20 AM   #7
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There are simple solutions that can be used during manufacturing that would stop all the leak problems Airstream has. Why they refuse to incorporate them is a real mystery to all. The old adage that "we have always done it this way" and unwillingness to change their process specifications after all these years is another mystery to me.
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Old 10-10-2018, 07:28 AM   #8
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Old 10-10-2018, 08:47 AM   #9
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I don't think A$ cares. Otherwise they would have solved this problem years ago. Once they have your money and the warranty has expired. It is another money maker for them.
They are no different than other RV manufacturer's.
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Old 10-10-2018, 09:07 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by davidludwig View Post
In my profession, any leak that is not caused by the actions of the owner, is the responsibility of the builder and/or designer, for the lifetime of the building.
I have never had a contractor take that approach. The state of Arkansas requires a one year warranty by the builder, and one is lucky to get that.

Maintenance is the responsibility of the owner is what the builders here say.


Regards,


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Old 10-11-2018, 07:27 AM   #11
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Roof Coatings

Did you apply the coating yourself? Concerned about getting on the roof. What brand of coating did you use?


Quote:
Originally Posted by sgschwend View Post
Imagine if you lived in a wet climate.


Keep reading this forum and you will find an amazing number of ways that AS have leaks.
It really does take a lot of monitoring to ensure that every access point is dry. In my trailer the roof was the largest contributor, but the wheel wells were trouble, the door area, and one rear side window. The trailer had so many leaks it was impossible to find and fix them. I added a roof coating to penetrate the roof leaking areas (it also reflects the sun heat). that reduced the leak count to three places.

Storing the trailer under a cover keeps it dry at home, but we do inspect during every trip. It like checking the air in the tires, the wheel lug nut tightness torque, and the grease on the hitch.
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Old 10-11-2018, 07:45 AM   #12
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We live just southwest of Atlanta, and had a good bit of rain and wind last night from Michael ( but nothing like Mexico Beach ). Our camper is in the driveway, getting prepped for a trip this weekend. No visible water leaks anywhere.
Prayers for Mike victims.
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