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Old 10-31-2011, 04:01 PM   #1
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1969 23' Safari
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Unhappy Nightmare on Halloween

Well, my dream turned into Nightmare on Airstream street today. I had mostly gutted the interior of my "baby" to stain, repair, etc. I did not, however, remove the frame for the front gaucho and the fresh water tank. Everything seemed solid, except for a small section of rotted flooring next to the door. So, I had a friend come over to help me repair that section. He decided we should remove the gaucho frame and tank and, voila--the entire subfloor was rotted through, from the front of the coach to where the steps come in--and much of the frame is rusted (with holes). I never would have known about this rot until I filled up the tank and the whole thing came crashing through the bottom. I had also not removed the bath--just repaired and painted. But now I am sick with worry about what might be lurking under the tub. Also, there is significant metal deterioration around the steps that I have no idea how to repair
I had had Camping World redo the plumbing, lp lines, and they replaced the belly pan with a plastic-type skin. Seems they would have seen this wood rot.
I don't know what to do now. I really feel over my head and am not up to removing the belly skin to see what might be there--I wouldn't even know where to start. Should I just repair what I know about, or dig deeper and really ruin my year?
Sara
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Old 10-31-2011, 04:34 PM   #2
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Yowee, sounds like misery encased in aluminum.

Good for you, though, for taking it on.

My suggestion---do nothing more today. Have a soak in the tub and a glass of wine, and revisit it tomorrow.

You're sure by then to have some feedback from the experts here, and most things look more manageable in the morning light, IMO.

Take care,


Maggie
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Old 10-31-2011, 04:36 PM   #3
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Sara, Sorry to hear of the floor problems. But now... The more you look the more you'll find. At this point I would suggest to repair what is bad only after you determine why! Find the cause for the rotten frame and floor! It may be that the fresh water tank has been leaking for a long time or that the windows & seams are the culprit. Don't forget to check and seal all the areas of the skin that have holes added by lights/nameplates or other rivet holes that could be leaking. The trim moulding at the banana wraps where the skins meet und the trim would be a very likely area to leak. Once the old rotted floor is out of the way have someone run water on the front of the trailer to see if you can determine/locate on the interior where the water is getting in. Pressure test the fresh water tank to check it for even a slow dripping leak. Any water is not good for the floor or frame. Good Luck! Ed
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Old 10-31-2011, 05:18 PM   #4
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Sara, sent you a PM....

Kevin
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Old 10-31-2011, 06:27 PM   #5
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Thanks for the kind words and advice. Actually, the first thing that I did when I bought the TT was replace all of the seals. I have been in the trailer since then, during a driving rain and there were no leaks.
This looks like an old, hidden problem.
There are several 1/4 in. or so holes in the frame where it has rusted out. My friend suggested that I rustoleum all the visible metal, then patch the holes with that spray, foam sealant. We took out all of the insulation and I am hesitant to replace it since it acts as such a sponge. Is there an alternative insulation? Is the foam sealant a good idea? I definitely plan on checking the tank for leaks prior to putting it back in. I will also check the outside rivets to see if that's the culprit.
BTW, thanks, Maggie, the best advice was a glass of wine, hot bath, and the distance of perspective.
Kevin, I'll PM you back
Sara
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Old 10-31-2011, 07:51 PM   #6
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I'm so sorry you found such bad problems, however, all is fixable. Whether it's worth it to you to do the fixing, or sell it and replace it with a more "road ready" model. Since you chose a 50 year old vintage, I think you'll decide to stick with it. No matter how daunting, if you fix it right it will outlast you - and give you years of pleasure.

Whatever you do, never trust Camping World!

DO - make a thorough survey and find out what you are facing - better to know the ugly truth up front. DO - make a plan of what needs to be done in what order. Do review some of the "full monte" threads here and as for advice so you know what to expect in terms of cost and time.

IF you
  1. have money out the wahzoo
  2. or are willing to make "fixing the Airstream" into a hobby that will last a year or more
Then you can have a unique and personal trailer with really better frame, floor, leak protection and systems than a new one off the line.

If you walk away, then you'll know you've done the right thing.

Best wishes, Paula
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Old 10-31-2011, 08:13 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by sarasafari View Post
My friend suggested that I rustoleum all the visible metal, then patch the holes with that spray, foam sealant. We took out all of the insulation and I am hesitant to replace it since it acts as such a sponge. Is there an alternative insulation? Is the foam sealant a good idea?
Depending on where the holes are, how big, etc, I would consider either something really good for rust, such as Mar-Hyde One Step, then paint over it. If the holes are large, or a lot of the frame is compromised, I'd consider putting in new metal, then priming and painting. I would leave out the fiberglass insulation, and if you are going to replace the floor, I'd put down something like ProDex. Don't use foam, it will also harbor water.
I'd also get rid of that plastick-y sheet Camping World installed. About Camping World; My mother always told me, if you can't say anything nice about someone, don't say anything at all............................................... ..................



















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Old 10-31-2011, 08:26 PM   #8
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There is a silver lining to every cloud....

Sara,
Take a deep breath and exhale very slowly......
All is not lost. There are many threads out there with the full monte, as mentioned in a previous post.

I would advise against the rustolium product and steer you towards POR 15, which can be had at Vintage Trailer Supply . Take a quick look at my thread, and you can see the before and after of the aplication. As a friend once asked " what is that stuff?? A face lift in a can??" it will do wonders for your frame, in addition to stopping the rust.

Post some photos, most of us here are here to help and give advice where we can. Most of all , take it one step at a time, identify each item that you see as an "issue" then identify the following:
1. Do I have the skill, or can I learn the skill to repair.
2. IF so what is needed for the repair...materials and time wise.
Chart a cost of these items, g oto Home Depot for plywood costs, visit west marine for your epoxy needs etc.

3. Make a priority list of those issues that are show stoppers...tackle them first.
In effect, you need to deal with the floor, prior to dealing with the soft goods or otherr wants/needs.

Identify what the value is to YOU. Meaning, that if it costs in your ball park X amount of dollars, will YOU be happy with the rig. Only you can answer the above, however there are many of us that are here to help walk you through step by step if you reach out and ask.

Look on the bright side of all of this ....this is a REALLY good chance to get to know your rig in a very up close and personal way. You will start to know how things go together, as well as how to make improvements in the future. The glass is half FULL....you see, you have an AS...many can only dream of getting one to put all their work into, so you are already ahead of the pack.

If I can assist, please PM me or reach out to any of us here.
Remember....photos help...
Keep the Faith
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Old 10-31-2011, 08:27 PM   #9
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I forgot the thread attachment-
here you go:
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f7/1...ion-83895.html
There are photos there on page 5 or 6 on the frame with POR 15 for you~
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Old 10-31-2011, 08:45 PM   #10
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....... About Camping World; My mother always told me, if you can't say anything nice about someone, don't say anything at all............................................... ..................
If you can't say something nice about someone, come sit next to me. -Alice Roosevelt.
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Old 01-01-2012, 02:24 PM   #11
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sorry! this is too bad! but, keep your head up and know it will be worth it in the end.
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Old 01-10-2012, 12:08 AM   #12
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Sorry to hear. My trailer had a lot more damage than I realized as well. Now a year later I can weld, fabricate, rivet and have a lot of sweet tools. Its not impossible, just get your head around it. I taught my wife how to buck rivet, she is really good at it!
I would defiantly replace the belly skin. You will have to remove it to really assess the frame. I would repair any bad metal before you re paint. Check out my thread. Post pic and good luck!
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