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Old 08-31-2003, 07:17 AM   #1
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How do I diagnose the soft spot, and what are the repair options?

I finally have a clear title and new tags for my 1970 soveriegn.

Most of the trailer is in really good shape. There are a few repairs to be made, but nothing that I'm afraid to tackle after I've moved in . . . Except the bathroom floor.

I have the rear bath, with the tub starboard, sink in the aft, and toilet to port. ( I can post photos if requested )

The floor along the sink is soft. I haven't pulled up the carpet yet to see how bad the damage is. Now that I've bought the trailer I'm worried that the floor is rotten under the sink and I'll get in over my head.

I'm putting my house up for sale in another week. Once it sells I'm moving into the trailer for several months. The bathroom has to be in good shape before I move in. How do I check the damage, and what are my options for repair from quick and dirty to complete restoration?

I'm a mediocre carpenter. However, a friend who is a good carpenter owes me a day of work. I want to figure out how best to use him on this project.
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Old 08-31-2003, 07:36 AM   #2
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First you need to find the source of the water that causes the floor to get soft. In the rear there are 3 things that should top the list. Window seals, rear hatch seals and the gap between the shell and the top of the bumper. If there are all in good shape and spraying large amounts of water on therm leads to no water insinde then move on to plumbing. I have seen the P traps work loose and leak, but only when the sink is in use. This should be accessable from the rear hatch.

Also it is important to check the floor at the very back of the trailer where it goes under the rear wall of the trailer. Is it solid there? If so you surely have a plumbing issue and that would be a good thing. Much eaiser to fix.

If the floor is solid, but soft the fast fix is to drill small holes part way into the floor and soak it with Git Rot. It is an Epoxy that is designed to fix dry rotted wood in place. It can be bought at most Marine Stores.

If the floor is too weak to even try the Git Rot then you could go the patch route. Remove the interior that is attached to the soft spot. Cut out the soft spot until you get to good wood. Attach Plywood to the underside of the floor to flange the opening. Cut a patch to fit and attach it to the flanges you installed eariler.
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Old 08-31-2003, 07:44 AM   #3
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If you go the epoxy route, Rot Doctor (www.rotdoctor.com) does not need to have the wood drilled if it is already soft. It will soak in an amazing amount.

Also, the exterior bathroom vent gaskets have a history of getting old, cracking, and leaking as well. At 33 years of age, replacing these can cause no harm.

Mark
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Old 08-31-2003, 07:57 AM   #4
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I end up doing the vent gaskets on every unit I buy. Kinda like doing a tune up on a new to you used car. Hence I forget to reccomend it as a possible problem area. It is a simple fix, and Mark your right, they should be replaced just to be sure that they are not the water source.
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Old 08-31-2003, 03:37 PM   #5
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I just wanted to make sure you had an idea of what my bath looks like, so I shuffled through my photos and posted these pics -
Bathroom:
http://www.dynamic-arts.com/airstream/P8300086so.jpg
Rear hatch:
http://www.dynamic-arts.com/airstream/P8120029s.jpg
Interior layout:
http://www.dynamic-arts.com/airstream/P8300079s.jpg


I hadn't realised you could get to the floor from the hatch, or I would have looked in there yesterday when I was taking pictures. I'm guessing that the tub is the biege object on the right. I'm not sure where the rotted floor is though. I'll have to get a closer look tomorrow. Based on how the seal on that rear hatch looks, I'd say there's a good chance I found my problem.

What are P traps?

I have a feeling I'll end up patching the wood with new flooring. It's only soft for about three inches along the edge of that box under the sink, but it's REAL soft. Hopefully the epoxy will do it. If I have to put new wood in, I'll probably post questions about how to remove the sink.

By vent gasket, are you referring to the ceiling vent directly over the bathroom? If I need to work with that, should I not also do the other three ceiling vents - bedroom, kitchen and living room?
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Old 08-31-2003, 05:35 PM   #6
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Vent gaskets

On an old trailer, I would do all of the vent gaskets ASAP.
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Old 08-31-2003, 05:40 PM   #7
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By vent gasket we are referring to the tank vents. They exit the roof and have a small cover over them. There is a gasket under this cover that over time will crack form age and allow water to run down the outside of the vent stack. Where it ends up depends on many factors. How you are leveled is the biggest one. The water will not end up in the tanks, but will cause damage if left to work it's magic.

The seal on the rear hatch looks like it needs some attention.

The interior looks gorgeous!
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Old 08-31-2003, 10:01 PM   #8
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Where can I buy new gaskets for the vents and hatches?

If I remember correctly, the gasket for the hatch under the kitchen is in the same shape. If the cost is not exhorbitant, I might as well replace all the gaskets for doors and vents. I'm sure little leaks like that don't help the trailer stay warm.
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Old 08-31-2003, 10:49 PM   #9
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....$10 says it's the rear hatch leaking....been there and done it...now I have sealed up that hatch inside and out....skru it!...replacing flooring was a job I will not do again....geof-near Cincinnati
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Old 09-01-2003, 01:57 AM   #10
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My 1980 Excella has water comming in from the area behind the bumper, below the rear access door. The wood just along the edge there is totally rotted away to its maximum about 3 inches inward. I cought it before it made its way futher in and got soft where it is walked on. the water has also rusted the belly skin out just below this area. My concern is that the wood has rotted away between the body shell and the chassis, which has made the body and chassis to compress together (weight). it has NOT however gotten to the "corners". I have considered seperating the body and chassis to replace the entire rear section. Since its not rotted where it is walked on then why do it? The main concern i have is what the long term affect will be on the structural integrity of the body after towing long distances with the body and chassis actually resting on one another. I plan to go to Colorado in this unit IF this situation is NOT going to cause problems...........Anyone have a cystal ball?
-Jason
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Old 09-01-2003, 05:22 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by geof
....$10 says it's the rear hatch leaking....been there and done it...now I have sealed up that hatch inside and out....skru it!...replacing flooring was a job I will not do again....geof-near Cincinnati
How much of your floor did you end up replacing? How did you do it?

Where near Cinci are you? I'm currently in Hamilton, and making my way to Loveland.
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Old 09-01-2003, 09:53 AM   #12
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I replaced the whole floor with something called 3/4" Advanteck....it's OSB with a Polyuethane binder...warranted for 20 years....I glued it to the existing floor and screwed it to the joists...it's bullet proof...I did cut some of the rot out and replaced it with 1/2"-5 ply-but just to level the floor the Advanteck is the real floor and its also glued to the sides of the interior-it aint'gunna move or rot....anyway Not a big deal as the trailer is a '77...I ripped out the interior -insulated-it with foam and reinstalled the walls and am using patio furniture etc. and some built-ins....I've simplified the trailer considerably, lightened it also....Airstreams are like New York Appartments-everything under the sun crammed in...OY!...anyway I'm in Mariemont on the east side of Cincinnati-where it is really safe and not like in the City of Cincinnati....Loveland is really nice-I see clients here every Tuesday nite.....Check for leaks and fix before they get to be too much of a problem....I have seen Airstreams with holes on the bathroom floors because of a leaking rear hatch...and leaking tail lites.....geof-Near Cincinnati
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Old 09-01-2003, 03:41 PM   #13
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I worked in Mariemont for three years. Nice neighborhood. I'm anxious to get something built on my land in Loveland. It'll be a while though.

I visited my Sovereign again today. Now that I know the floor can be access from the rear hatch, I took a closer look. It's worse than I thought. I don't think there is any way to fix it without replacing the rear three feet of floor. I'm hoping my carpenter buddy can figure out how to do it without having me remove all the plumbing and electrical equipment back there. I really don't understand how it's all held to the body and frame yet.

I'll definately put something in like your advanteck. Something that won't rot if it gets wet. I'll check with home depot and get the most durable material available. I know this is something I won't want to do twice.

The only other concern is finding new gaskets.
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