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Old 11-19-2012, 09:19 AM   #1
irm
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Run away from 'dream' 25fb w/ leak?

Hi all!

Well, we found our airstream - a 2007 25fb Safari Limited and it's in excellent condition EXCEPT...

-After studying the forums we knew to look out for possible water damage and signs of prior water damage under the dinette (appears to be an issue on all pre-2010 models with the large panoramic windows at the back). Sure enough, the wood at the edge of the flooring, against the wall was damaged and chunky and black. It was dry, but clearly toasted. Of course, without tearing everything out, we won't know the extent of the water damage but we are imagining it extends a few feet out. The floor wasn't noticeably spongey.

I've seen the posts about this issue and it looks like repairs could cost as much as $4000-$5000 and/or is something that can be fixed if we're handy. I'm hoping we can negotiate a better price with an eye towards fixing it and it's my thought that the bones are good. Brief history of the location of this unit: the original owner's were in San Fran (read: WET) while the current owners are in Colorado (read: dry desert). My dream is that the damage is done, nothing is overly rotter, and we fix the leaking areas and drive away into the sunset.

Or...are we crazy - should we be running away? It seems like we'll will see this issue over and over as long as we are looking at this floorplan and model year range. So if you say "run", I feel like I would either NOT by an airstream (or trailer) at all OR I would start looking for a 23D - a floor plan I like but prefer the walk around bed of the fb. By the way - we've NEVER owned a trailer.

We are near two airstream dealers who I plan to call to get an idea of how good they are at fixing this issue and to see what the cost would be. We are pretty handy and would certainly consider fixing it ourselves...assuming we wouldn't be in over our heads. For example, when/if you replace the subfloor, do you need to pull the interior aluminum wall? All this said, my biggest fear is that I'll buy a travel trailer only to discover it's constant trouble and work (regular maintenance aside).

Thanks!!!
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Old 11-19-2012, 10:26 AM   #2
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2012 25' FB Eddie Bauer
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Only the lower part of the inner walls need to be taken loosened - sort of rolled up and taped to the higher surfaces - about 3 rivets worth. If the insulation is wet it needs to be allowed to dry before replacing subfloor, etc.

Re-Sealing every roof opening,seam and rivet will be next, then replace the subfloor and floor. Lastly seal the hell out of the bottom Trim Line. Also consider drilling relief holes in the top of the bumper cover. It's about a $3000 -$4000 if you have it done.

Paula
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Old 11-19-2012, 02:00 PM   #3
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Thanks Foiled Again -

Are you totally pleased with your Airstream? Sounds like you would be of the opinion that I shouldn't run away and that it's fixable. Good investment/not going to cause me headaches forever? Curious - have you had any trouble with the bedroom panorama windows? Leaks in the bedroom area or other areas?
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Old 11-19-2012, 02:26 PM   #4
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Why dont you arrange with the current owner to take the trailer to one of the dealerships near you and have them inspect it and give you an estimate to repair it..then negotiate with the owners on the price once you have inspection & estimates in hand.
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Old 11-19-2012, 02:33 PM   #5
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That's sort of the idea and what we're currently thinking...it's just that some of the posts on the forums have us scared that the 25fb is fundamentally a bad idea. I'm sure it has a lot to do with the fact that you only see the bad stories the most. As people who have NEVER owned a trailer of any sort, I'm getting nervous that there is this big scary never ending project I'm about to sign up for. I realize there is regular maintenance, but I want to avoid the scenario where the future me is quoted as saying "I just wish we could get rid of it" as I saw in one of the leaky/bad floor threads...

Maybe I'm just looking for encouragement! Would love to hear something positive after being barraged with scary stories.

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Originally Posted by LiLNomad View Post
Why dont you arrange with the current owner to take the trailer to one of the dealerships near you and have them inspect it and give you an estimate to repair it..then negotiate with the owners on the price once you have inspection & estimates in hand.
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Old 11-19-2012, 02:43 PM   #6
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Im a new trailer owner also. I had my trailer inspected before purchase. At least the inspection will/should reveal any potential problems.
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Old 11-19-2012, 09:37 PM   #7
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Floor Rot, Leaks, and Inspections

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Im a new trailer owner also. I had my trailer inspected before purchase. At least the inspection will/should reveal any potential problems.
I wouldn't count on an inspection uncovering leaks or floor rot, even if the inspection is performed by an Airstream dealer's service department. I purchased a four year old Airstream from an individual and paid a large Airstream dealer in the Northeast several hundred dollars to thoroughly inspect the trailer and repack the wheel bearings before I finalized the purchase with the owner. I specifically asked the dealer to check for leaks and floor rot. The dealer found no leaks or floor rot. I also paid the dealer an additional sum to wash and wax the trailer. When I arrived home I found the roof of the trailer covered with mildew and algae - it had not been washed or waxed. Hopefully the wheel bearings were actually repacked.

On my second outing with the trailer the dining table support leg punched through the floor. It turned out the floor was rotten from the outer shell to the center of the floor beyond the dining table. I took the trailer to Jackson Center where they replaced about 1/3 of the plywood floor, replaced the entire vinyl floor, and repaired leaks in the following areas: rear bumper, panoramic window, Fantastic fan, and side marker lights. Given the trailer was out of warranty, I paid the factory several thousand dollars to correct a situation that should have been identified by the dealer I paid to inspect the unit before purchase.

It is possible for the owner to do this work but it requires some skill and knowledge as well as a considerable amount of time to do it right. All of the cabinets and fixtures were removed from the trailer by the repair technician. The vinyl floor was removed, the plywood removed and replaced, a new vinyl floor was installed. Then all of the cabinets, toilet, appliances, shower, etc were reinstalled. Performing this work involves plumbing, electrical, and LP gas knowledge as well given that appliances and fixtures are removed and reinstalled in the process. It took the factory technician 4 full days to do the work and he was extremely experienced.

I was very pleased with the quality of the repairs at Jackson Center and I am very happy with the trailer now that the repairs are complete. Had the dealer inspection uncovered the leak and floor rot, I would have negotiated with the owner for a better price or walked away from the deal. My fault for trusting the dealer to do the work for which he was paid.

Based on everything I know today, if I were considering the purchase of a late model 27FB or 25FB with leaks and floor rot, I'd negotiate a price low enough to allow me to spend $4000 to $5000 having it repaired at the factory service center in Jackson Center. If I lived a long distance from Jackson Center I would do some searches on the forums for comments regarding the quality of floor rot and leak repairs at both dealerships and independent repair shops. I'd then use the PM feature to ask very specific questions about the various repair centers before making a choice.

Floor rot and leaks are common with late model Airstreams, particularly those with panoramic windows, and not a reason to reject the purchase of a trailer as long as a purchase price can be negotiated that reflects the cost of having the repairs done properly by an experienced and reputable shop that stands behind its work. Unfortunately not all Airstream dealers fit this definition.
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Old 11-19-2012, 09:59 PM   #8
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Ditto... my 'inspection' at an Airstream dealer was a waste of money. Found none of the issues I later discovered at home...

Used Airstreams need to be examined FORENSICALLY for signs of water damage or previous repair. Now that I know what to look for, I could find trouble in an Airstream in seconds...
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Old 11-19-2012, 10:43 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LiLNomad View Post
Why dont you arrange with the current owner to take the trailer to one of the dealerships near you and have them inspect it and give you an estimate to repair it..then negotiate with the owners on the price once you have inspection & estimates in hand.
This is good advice! Don't run away, go into it with eyes open, pocket book closed, until the owner agrees to adjust price for repairs. Then, if you decide to do repairs yourself, pocket the dif, it's payment for work performed, by you.
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Old 11-19-2012, 11:12 PM   #10
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That a local dealer will have the experience, parts, and ability to not only repair this, but to also repair whatever and all that caused it is iffy at best.

The Airstream Service Center in Jackson Center, Ohio does this every day and I wouldn't let anyone else touch it.

I would expect a discount in price of double the estimate of these repairs, and then there is a chance you may break even, a decent Airstream at a good price.

Then there is corrosion, additional leaks, tire and battery condition among the many probable issues that ought to be planned for replacement or repairs.

The seller isn't going to like it, but you need a steal to come out on this trailer.

doug k
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Old 11-19-2012, 11:43 PM   #11
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Sure enough, the wood at the edge of the flooring, against the wall was damaged and chunky and black. It was dry, but clearly toasted. Of course, without tearing everything out, we won't know the extent of the water damage but we are imagining it extends a few feet out. The floor wasn't noticeably spongy.
Good work discovering this problem before you buy the trailer. I agree that it needs to be thoroughly evaluated and repairs priced into the deal.

But let me introduce a little bit of optimism. You will have to determine the extent of the rot damage before knowing how to proceed, but the fact that the floor isn't noticeably soft is a good sign.

A little rot around the edges can often be stabilized at low cost with a penetrating epoxy like Git Rot BoatLIFE | How to use "Git"-Rot (sold at many boat supply places) or Rot Doctor Wood preservation, rot repair, and restoration using epoxy resin on boats and homes. . That might be all you need to do to fix the floor.

In addition to epoxy saturating the rotten spots, you will of course need to address sealing the leaks as advised above. The other question is the floor material itself--some years Airstream used Oriented Strand Board (OSB) which was extremely rot prone. I don't know what model years that was, as I am mostly familiar with older Airstreams that used plywood.

Good luck!
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Old 11-20-2012, 04:31 PM   #12
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I think the OSB was in smaller trailers than the 25' and they stopped using it before 2007.

If you only had to replace the rear subfloor panel, you would not have to remove anything but the table and dinette seats. This is not very difficult. I think Paula described the rest well.

The vinyl sheet floor is the cheapest vinyl that can be found. In a cold climate it starts developing humps in it in the winter. I think the body contracts more than the floor when the temp drops below 0 and this pushes the flooring upward. The floor isn't installed properly to start with because they ignore the contraction/expansion cycle and put the cabinets and partitions on top of the floor, so the floor has no where to go but up. I ripped out the vinyl, sealed the subfloor with a spar urethane, and installed a new, better floor. I left the vinyl under the furniture and cabinets. There are lots of threads on floor replacement.

Gene
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Old 11-21-2012, 09:00 AM   #13
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Our 1985 30' Excella did have the OSB for the subfloor. Yes it is very prone to rot. I removed a section equal to about 1/2 of the front lounge area and replaced with marine plywood. Not too bad of a job. It required minimal de-construction to accomplish.
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Old 11-21-2012, 12:39 PM   #14
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Dear Irm,

I agree with the "take it to Jackson Center" if the damage goes beyond the dinette area - and you're in California so that isn't a minor undertaking at all. If it's just the dinette, I'd still replace the plywood unless it's just a small area. 1 or 2 feet of edge rot - use the Rot Dr. stuff definitely.

Buying USED - Read Chuck's (Florida 55) post carefully. Only you can decide - just be sure you KNOW as much as possible first. You can certainly save a lot of cash outlay - and end up with a unit you KNOW is good, but you'll have to be careful - and possibly handy - and actually have time to do the work yourself or money to pay someone else.

My 25 FB has the small bedroom window, not the pano. ANY window can leak, the panos are a BIG BIG target for leaks both around the frames and around the glass itself. The seams, the fans, the skylights, the shower vent, the toilet vent, the antenna ---- every hole in the roof is vulnerable.

If I were buying a 25 FB brand new today, it would come from the factory with 3 fantastic fans, no skylight, no TV antenna (I don't watch TV in the trailer)....

I'd take it home, pressure test it, then get acryl-r/sikiflex/tempro/ gutterseal/permabond - and seal the hellish H20 out of every trimline, gap or opening.

And I'd repeat that maintenance ritual once a year.

So... you want my advice on the 25 FB. Truth? I look with lust on the 27 FB or the 25FB with Twins, and the 30 with recliners looks loverly too. (I'm no slut but apparantly I can be HAD.)

Twins - easy to use as a 2nd lounge if you want to play poker, etc. while someone else is hogging the dinette with her sewing machine. Much easier access to all the stuff you store under them. Make the trailer look bigger. Easier to make the bed than the sideways queen in the 25. Sex? 20 minutes then kick him to the floor when he starts snoring. More/better shoe storage!

27 - bigger closet (important for someone who still has a work wardrobe) and fore and aft queen which is really a walk around queen - and easier to change sheets on.

28 - limited hanging closet space, but some like the layout better - it does have room for a footstool in front of the couch (mine is the liquor locker too)

30 - with recliners - huge open space but less sleeping spaces so you don't get long term visitors .... now is that a GOOD thing or a BAD thing?


Paula
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