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Old 10-30-2013, 11:09 AM   #1
4 Rivet Member
2006 19' Safari SE
Hayes , Virginia
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 333
Floor -underneath a Great Surprise

2006 Bambi SE, 19' 75th Anniversary, Completely loaded.

Folks, I am to a place in determining whether it is time for a "sit back and take a stiff drink, or proceed, mumbling and praying." I love the little lady very much and nothing is going to replace that (I don't think), But....In other threads I have mentioned water damage to plywood flooring and could not figure, for the life of me, how or where it could be coming from. I removed a section of the floor, 12"x12" just inside the door, extending forward toward the center, and to the right (to just under the couch). Getting the plywood out allowed me to take a good look at what I am sure is happening. Let me explain:

Repeating..From the right of the door, extending forward toward the center about 12" and to the right, about 12" I can see the aluminum shell of the trailer after removing the plywood and insulation. Beyond that beam, extending across the trailer, about 3' from the front of the trailer, is open to the ground. Observed after removing the plywood floor and a very thin sheet of aluminum. Attached below between the 2 beams running from front to back of trailer, is the spare tire. This design would be great if someone would have thought of caulking between the beams and the thin aluminum sheet just below the plywood--there is absolutely none. This Quality Control mistake, has been my leak problem all along (hopefully, no more). I removed and installed new fresh water pipes just to make sure they weren't leaking. This was 10 months ago and I removed the entire laminate floor, replacing with laminate tiles throughout the trailer. I did not see any water damage at the time, just damp flooring under the couch which was caused by the water tank leak (I thought--it wasn't).

I am in the process of chiseling out a section about 12"x12," which has some rotting. The floor beyond that area "seems," to be okay, other than slightly damp. Today, besides working on the floor, I am going to caulk along the gaps of the bottom aluminum sheets and cross beams and pray that I get them all (at least the bad ones).

I am also purchasing 4 (maybe more), moisture detectors (suggested by this forum) that I can place semi-permanently. The other can be used in a search effort for damp areas. I have said a prayer while typing this complaint in hopes it would settle me down and let me think has, but still somewhat upset.

No reply's necessary, but moral support, and a prayer, wouldn't hurt. Thank you all for being there and acting as my sounding board. I wish you all Great Traveling in the Airstreams---with no leaks, of course.

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Old 10-30-2013, 01:37 PM   #2
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2007 30' Classic
Oswego , Illinois
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 8,196
Shortly after getting my AS, I noticed the lack of a sealer between the frame members in the spare tire "cubbie" and the floor. I sealed it with Sikaflex just cause I thought it would be a water entry point. Glad I did now.


"If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy." - Red Green
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Old 10-30-2013, 02:49 PM   #3
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2006 19' International CCD
Olathe , Kansas
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 4,182
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I'm very interested in your progress. I think I may have a similar issue with our 2006 19' Bambi and thought the spare tire cut out was the culprit.
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Old 10-30-2013, 05:35 PM   #4
4 Rivet Member
2006 19' Safari SE
Hayes , Virginia
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 333

I crawled under the trailer and calked every seam that exists. On mine, there was not any hint of calking anywhere. I am not going to rip up the entire floor....yet. Like I stated, I cut a 12x12" hole in the plywood floor, and through the thin sheet of insolation. I am almost positive that regardless of where the water comes in, and gets between the thin, aluminum backed insolation and wood floor, can cause rotting problems anywhere the water accumulates--it only stands to reason.

You are correct about the spare tire area. I took it out and sealed all the cracks I could find in that area as well (I caulked every crack in the front half of the trailer; rear to follow. What puzzled me most is the fact there isn't any water/water pipes, in the front of the trailer except the dry tank area, and I have never used it. But...just to make sure, I replaced all the pipe connections and connected a new filler line hose (?). If you ever change yours, remember that the line has to screw in on both ends, from the filler hole to the tank itself. I could not figure how to tighten both ends up without standing on my head. The space between the inside and outside is not the easiest place to work anyway. I finally jury-rigged mine and it is more secure than the original.

Like me, if you take your laminate sheet floor up and you notice just the front quarter of the floor is wet, chances are you DO have the same problem of leaky seams. Ya might be able to detect any moisture with a water leak detector that can protrude through your laminate. There are a few listed by some very kind gentlemen in a forum yesterday. I believe under the title Water Leak Detectors. ordering mine tonight. Please keep in touch of any problems that surface with your Bambi. For some reason, I still love her. Tom
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Old 10-30-2013, 05:41 PM   #5
4 Rivet Member
2006 19' Safari SE
Hayes , Virginia
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 333
Oh, I just noticed Jayhawker, my wife and I are from Chanute, Ks. We moved to Virginia because of my government job and never returned. Truthfully, my wife said she left Chanute once, and once is enough.
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Old 11-07-2013, 09:02 AM   #6
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1962 26' Overlander
Jackson , Wyoming
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 183
My brother has the same trailer - and has some similar leak issues, mostly from the back window and moisture entering through the rear service hatch. His rear floor is wet underneath the bed.

This link below has pictures of the same problem you are describing -a different model trailer but the same year. I believe he has isolated the main problem to be caused by leaks in the panorama windows and the moisture is being wicked into the floor from the sides, rather than coming up from the bottom as you are thinking, although he states that moisture is being held inside the belly pan. I watched airstream paint the edges of the floor with a black moisture-barrier paint when I was at the plant this summer (you can see the paint in the photos) but I sure don't see it working too well...

The Silver Snail :: FLOOR ROT IN 2007 AIRSTREAM

My thinking is that the leak test they conduct at the factory at 0 mph is fun to see but isn't doing much doesn't simulate driving conditions, which is when the moisture gets sucked into the cracks aided by the vacuums created by the wind drag on the trailer. If you look at the aerodynamics graphic below which I stole from the company making those rear fins you are seeing on semi-trailers, you can see the hotspots for drag on trailer. Coincides with the leaky areas many people experience on their travel trailers.
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Old 11-09-2013, 03:03 PM   #7
4 Rivet Member
2006 19' Safari SE
Hayes , Virginia
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 333
thank you all for response. As soon as I catch up, will reply. Naturally, it didn't rain while we were gone...Had a good time anyway. But...had another problem that I will post under HVAC. Yeap, your right, she crapped out..

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