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Old 03-21-2011, 07:39 PM   #1
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Obnoxious Creak

I've quietly been reading others threads researching different matters while preparing to install some Allure Ultra I purchased recently. I've removed the old vinyl and began investigating a horrible creak in the middle of my trailer about 12 inches in front of my refrigerator. My hope is to fix the creak while I had the plywood exposed.

First, a comment for all those out there who, like me, assumes your trailer is relatively leak free and also makes some effort to examine seals and have actually done some preventive maintenance... your trailer probably leaks... and probably more than you may imagine. I haven't checked the bedroom floor as I planned to leave the carpeting, but up front I have about a foot wide ring of wet plywood that starts at the door area and goes all around the front to about the fridge. While I haven't confimed the source, it is likely the skylight and fantastic fan that so many have issues with. That was a fun discovery. But I digress...

On my plywood floor the factory left a chalk line right down the middle, end to end. The very loud creak emanates in between 2 frame joists seemingly where nothing should be on or about the chalk line. Stepping anywhere within a 1 by 2 foot area causes this creak from this one spot and when your foot is over the spot you can feel vibration while it creaks. It seemed pretty clear to me the creak was not coming from nearby joints or walls/cabinets.

I removed the box the toilet was on top of because the PO tried to remedy the infamous peeling vinyl syndrome and I didn't want to uitlize it the way it was, plus, I thought it might provide a vantage point to see what was going on under the floor. While it provided a slight vantage point, all I could do was slide a tiny mirror in there at an angle and using a flashlight try and peer in about a foot. Visibility was poor, but as my wife kept activating the creak I could see what appeared to be the side of something metallic that was almost underneath the chalk line about a foot away. As it creaked this metal strip flexed and torqued (or at least seemed to). I began to wonder if Airstream tried to use additional metal cross-bracing to span these 2 feet joists in the high traffic areas. This is the only spot where the floor has extra give and an obnoxious creak. I further wonder if the brace came loose which is causing the noise (if that's what it is).

Sorry for the lengthy background, but is anyone aware of such a reinforcement brace? I've not got under my trailer, but the only other thing I can do without cutting the floor is to see what's involved to drop one of those ABS boxes to see if there's access to that area. In such a high traffic area, I'm concerned making the problem worse by cutting the floor. Obviously I can live with it but its very loud, annoying and embarassing for what should be such a fine, high quality product.

PS - my apologies if this was covered already. I've done a lot of searching and not finding quite what I'm looking for. On the plus side, some of the creative ways to undo the toilet flange were very helpful. Thanks everyone.
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Old 03-21-2011, 08:53 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by jeff4506 View Post
I've quietly been reading others threads researching different matters while preparing to install some Allure Ultra I purchased recently. I've removed the old vinyl and began investigating a horrible creak in the middle of my trailer about 12 inches in front of my refrigerator. My hope is to fix the creak while I had the plywood exposed.

First, a comment for all those out there who, like me, assumes your trailer is relatively leak free and also makes some effort to examine seals and have actually done some preventive maintenance... your trailer probably leaks... and probably more than you may imagine. I haven't checked the bedroom floor as I planned to leave the carpeting, but up front I have about a foot wide ring of wet plywood that starts at the door area and goes all around the front to about the fridge. While I haven't confimed the source, it is likely the skylight and fantastic fan that so many have issues with. That was a fun discovery. But I digress...

On my plywood floor the factory left a chalk line right down the middle, end to end. The very loud creak emanates in between 2 frame joists seemingly where nothing should be on or about the chalk line. Stepping anywhere within a 1 by 2 foot area causes this creak from this one spot and when your foot is over the spot you can feel vibration while it creaks. It seemed pretty clear to me the creak was not coming from nearby joints or walls/cabinets.

I removed the box the toilet was on top of because the PO tried to remedy the infamous peeling vinyl syndrome and I didn't want to uitlize it the way it was, plus, I thought it might provide a vantage point to see what was going on under the floor. While it provided a slight vantage point, all I could do was slide a tiny mirror in there at an angle and using a flashlight try and peer in about a foot. Visibility was poor, but as my wife kept activating the creak I could see what appeared to be the side of something metallic that was almost underneath the chalk line about a foot away. As it creaked this metal strip flexed and torqued (or at least seemed to). I began to wonder if Airstream tried to use additional metal cross-bracing to span these 2 feet joists in the high traffic areas. This is the only spot where the floor has extra give and an obnoxious creak. I further wonder if the brace came loose which is causing the noise (if that's what it is).

Sorry for the lengthy background, but is anyone aware of such a reinforcement brace? I've not got under my trailer, but the only other thing I can do without cutting the floor is to see what's involved to drop one of those ABS boxes to see if there's access to that area. In such a high traffic area, I'm concerned making the problem worse by cutting the floor. Obviously I can live with it but its very loud, annoying and embarassing for what should be such a fine, high quality product.

PS - my apologies if this was covered already. I've done a lot of searching and not finding quite what I'm looking for. On the plus side, some of the creative ways to undo the toilet flange were very helpful. Thanks everyone.
You might want to make a trip to the factory, and get their opinion, and costs, since your in Ohio.

Andy
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Old 03-22-2011, 02:54 PM   #3
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Thanks for the suggestion Andy.

Speaking with a factory customer service rep the best answer I got was "there might be". He also alluded to a band that goes around the tank to help with it's mounting, but it was clear he was hesitant to attempt to say anything specific. Since my tank pan covers this area he said this was 5 to 6 hour job to remove. Too much in my mind for my issue. The Service guy concurred - all day at $100 an hour just to expose the area.

I know there's many out there biting their lip thinking just live with it, but man is this creak loud and almost unavoidable to step over. I thought if someone could confirm it's likely a floor stability component I could try screwing something down in from above it to "catch" it and draw it up tight to the floor. Still thinking things through.
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Old 03-22-2011, 11:18 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by jeff4506 View Post
Thanks for the suggestion Andy.

Speaking with a factory customer service rep the best answer I got was "there might be". He also alluded to a band that goes around the tank to help with it's mounting, but it was clear he was hesitant to attempt to say anything specific. Since my tank pan covers this area he said this was 5 to 6 hour job to remove. Too much in my mind for my issue. The Service guy concurred - all day at $100 an hour just to expose the area.

I know there's many out there biting their lip thinking just live with it, but man is this creak loud and almost unavoidable to step over. I thought if someone could confirm it's likely a floor stability component I could try screwing something down in from above it to "catch" it and draw it up tight to the floor. Still thinking things through.
Got an idea.

Borrow a "stud finder".

Setting it on the floor, just might allow you to locate exactly the frame cross members.

If that happened, then you could easily, and safely install a screw or two.

In the absense of knowing the exact location of a cross member, I would not even try to install any screws, as most likely, you might pierce the water tank.

Andy
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Old 03-23-2011, 07:59 AM   #5
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I like that idea. I'll give it a try. Thanks!
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Old 03-23-2011, 08:24 AM   #6
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I like Andy's suggestion. The other option I was thinking of is drilling a hole in the exact spot, just enough to get through the plywood, and squirting some epoxy in the hole to fill the cavity. That would keep the ply from flexing into whatever void there is. It almost sounds like you're talking about a fastener that was not properly attached - like on stairs when you get a loose nail that rubs in and out of a split piece of wood. This may be a fastener that is rubbing. See if you can find any fasteners in the area and push on them directly.
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Old 03-24-2011, 07:32 AM   #7
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Last night I realized my phone would slide in the floor opening under the toilet, so I wedged a mini led flashlight down there to light the area and slid the phone down there in video record mode, then went into the hall and activated the creak. Results were great. Was able to see clearly what was going on and convinced myself this was a brace and not a conduit.

Was difficult to measure how far in so studfinder Andy recommended was very helpful. I sank a couple screws into nothing until I finally hit paydirt. The drywall screws I had weren't enough to penetrate the metal, but the screw lodged against the lip of the brace which eliminated the creak. So, not having the right fasteners or drill bits with me I'll have to go back tonight and finish it off.

I like the idea of supplementing the fasteners with some kind of adhesive. I had similar thoughts since I was already right there. Thanks!
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Old 03-24-2011, 07:53 AM   #8
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Try wood to metal screws. This is an example 10-16 x 1-5/8 ' 'Star Drive' Wood to Steel Screw / 568 Ct 5lb Jar.

You can find them at most hardware stores. Self-tapping and a lot stronger then sheet rock screws.
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Old 03-24-2011, 09:18 AM   #9
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TYou can find them at most hardware stores. Self-tapping and a lot stronger then sheet rock screws.
And they are made from stainless steel, unlike drywall screws. That will give them good longevity in your trailer.
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Old 04-04-2011, 10:24 AM   #10
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Working in short bursts over the last 2 weekends, I managed to "catch" the offending brace from above with self-tapping screws. The horrendous creak is gone without having to butcher my floor!

I did install the TrafficMaster Allure Ultra (that's the thicker plank that locks using friction rather than the regular Allure that has the adhesive). Fairly easy to work with but indeed a number of special cuts were needed to work around obstacles. I'd say my biggest lesson learned is to stay true to your chalk line and keep the planks straight. If you introduce the slightest curve it will stress the joint and pop open easily. It is easy to tell if they're "locked" together - you see no grey, just the fake wood.

Let me know if you have any specific questions - I'd be happy to share. Thanks for your help with insights.
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Old 04-04-2011, 05:43 PM   #11
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Congratulations on repairing your problem!

I am planning on installing the regular TrafficMaster Allure in my TT this summer, in part because of the solid plastic, non-fibrous material it's made from.

Well, that and it looks good, is super easy to install, and doesn't cost much.

So, why did you go with the Ultra?
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Old 04-05-2011, 07:01 AM   #12
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Simply because it offered the panel locking instead of the adhesive, and I thought that might prove useful in the future to be able to remove them easily and lay them back down (if I have another creak). I may regret the decision later as I would imagine the Ultra has more propensity to separate in cold weather. We'll see.
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Old 04-06-2011, 12:05 PM   #13
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Thanks, and yes, it would be useful to hear from you this time next year to see how the floor made it through the winter!
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Old 08-15-2011, 10:29 PM   #14
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Hey Jeff.. How is the Allure Ultra holding up?

I want to install it in my 25', but am concerned about the locking system. Is it turning out to be better than the glue strips?
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