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Old 07-11-2015, 02:43 PM   #1
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1972 23' Safari
Indian Head Park , Illinois
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Simple carpet replacement turning into bigger project...

Our family has a 1972 Safari Land Yacht that has been docked at a campsite in Northern WI for the past 30+ years, and used by my parents as a vacation get-away.

I decided to help out my mom and clean up the Airstream, and tear out the old carpeting, and put in some nice new flooring, naively thinking this would be a pretty straight-forward job...

After tearing out all the carpeting, I noticed that there is wood rot in the front section of the trailer, with one 6" wide hole, exposing the pink insulation below, and wetness along the front under the windows. (Pics attached)

After seeing this I am afraid there may be rot in other hidden places, like the bathroom floor. (When I stand on the plastic bathroom floor, there is a significant amount of flexing or sponginess to it). Is this an indication of floor rot? Is there a way to check this without ripping out the bathroom flooring?

I was hoping to simply cut out the front section of plywood subfloor, and replace it. But, I had a couple questions:

- I haven't located all the sources of the water, so I still need to investigate that. Will this require removing the interior walls of the trailer? How big a project is it to take out the interior walls?

- I suspect there is some water coming in through the curved corner, double-pane windows. These have a lot of mold and moisture in them, and it looks like the rubber gaskets inside them is collapsing. Can these double panes be removed, cleaned out, and put back in?

- Do I need to remove the belly pan in order to bolt on the new subfloor?

After reading many of the threads here, I have a feeling I may have opened up a Pandora's box (i.e. floor) here. The AS is located about 4.5 hours from my home in the Chicago area, so it takes a little bit of coordination and travel time to get there to work on it.

Thanks for any suggestions and input.
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Old 07-11-2015, 03:10 PM   #2
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Welcome aboard!

Good for you, helping Mom!!

There are many threads on here. Use "google" or similar to search. Include "Airforums" in your search the. Add "floor rot".

If not going to "move" you may be able to "patch". By wedging the new board under the wall support "inverted C channel"..

Resealing all seams is imperative.
Sealing rivets is imperative.
Getting a "dehumidifier" running in the AS, now!
Pulling Up flooring is necessary in your case.

Now, I have successfully repaired a "rotting" area using a Marine product called "Git Rot". Make sure totally dry... Kill mold with auto antifreeze first.
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Old 07-11-2015, 03:13 PM   #3
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Here s one link t a thread on this process..

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f36/...xy-108608.html
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Old 07-13-2015, 01:54 PM   #4
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Channing - thanks a lot. I'm going to try and rip out all the rotted wood and until I get to some solid plywood. I'm going to initially try putting a patch in there for now, but I see a much larger floor replacement in my near future.
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Old 07-13-2015, 04:21 PM   #5
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Kewl! Good luck! BTW... Others have removed rotted wood under the wall C channel and wedged in a new piece. To keep from dropping on the areas where they cut away, they glued and screwed backing boards under the good wood so that the new piece would rest on them at floor level. You can squirt some sealant along the wood edges to help seal.

NO SILICONE!!!!!
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Old 07-14-2015, 01:20 PM   #6
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There is a product available for killing mold. It comes in a Gallon paint can...probably available from building supply or hardware stores. It is used to kill mold found in the wall cavity in hoses with water damage.
cwf ...were you able to get the 'git-rot" to set after wetting with antifreeze??? My first reaction is that the epoxy won't cure. If it does that could be good news for some of my boating friends
Thanks
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Old 07-14-2015, 05:21 PM   #7
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As a long-time wooden boat owner, you might consider using marine grade plywood (a bit on the pricy side but worth the longevity) sealing it first with some Smith's Clear Penetrating Epoxy sealer. This is a two-part product and very easy to use. What you're doing is enscapulating the wood. Sealing the edges is important. While Git-Rot is OK, I've used the Smith Bros products for years.
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Old 07-14-2015, 09:25 PM   #8
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I first used Clorox bleach. Then I heard that the antifreeze would do a better job.. Both worked apparently. The bleach was a 1/4 solution with water, surface sprayed. With the antifreeze, I wiped clean the excess, perforated as instructed then on both I injected the epoxy into the boards where it "wicked" and was absorbed into the voids. Both seemed to Work ok.... 3 years and no progression.

I gave some to a friend who repaired his "bass boat" deck which was rotting. He put tape lines, drilled thru the tape then injected under the "deck
Carpeting"... Pulled off tape then next day pulled off the carpeting... Was able To spot treat other areas.... Re carpeted.... Two years and still fishing.

My brother used it To repair the roof on his camp boat.....only a few months ago... Still no leaks in Louisiana daily rains.

The other epoxy product mentioned is probably just as good...
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Old 07-14-2015, 10:46 PM   #9
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I think that Git-Rot and the smith brothers CPE are the same product. CPE (clear penetrating epoxy) is a amazing product.
Mike
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Old 07-15-2015, 09:54 AM   #10
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thanks cwf and Miko

Always good to learn something new!

I am familiar with Git Rot but have never used it. The penetrating quality is better than what we used to seal the edge of plywood sign letters. I've used 2 part epoxy on the floor of one of my AS and on a kit boat I built many years ago. It really is fully waterproof and submersible.

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Old 07-15-2015, 10:47 AM   #11
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The big question here is, will this trailer ever move? If this were a trailer you were pulling down the road, fixing the floor would be critical. If you have that much damage in the front, I guarantee you probably have more in the back and maybe some in the middle as well. When you get damage as extensive as this appears to be, most folks look at a shell off to do a thorough job on the floor. I don't see that happening in a campground. So your best bet is to find all the leaks and patch them as best as possible.

Sealing up those front windows is no small job. I just went through it on a '73 Overlander. I don't see you doing all that either. One person on the board actually broke the inner pane of those double pane windows and then was able to clean up behind the outer pane and reseal it from the inside and outside. I don't necessarily recommend that approach. Your best bet may be to use a good amount of polyurethane sealant and cover the rivets as well as the seams on the frame and glass. There is also a product call capt Tolleys creeping crack cure that I've heard works well on water intrusion. You can look at it on amazon and other sites.

The git rot and the other penetrating sealers all try and saturate the rotted wood with epoxy to try and stiffen it up some. It's a band-aid at best, but may be the best bet for you, especially if you don't want to do lots of dismantling inside the trailer. If you look in the bathroom area in the back, I'll bet you find some punky wood underneath the sink and toilet. And the frame may be compromised as well.

One other alternative may be to get a cover or tarp that covers all the roof and down to the tops of the windows. Most folks dont like them because they can damage the surface of the aluminum, but I think that is the least of your worries. Good luck, but at this stage, the camper is beyond any easy fixes and all you are going to do is to try and prolong its usefulness till it falls apart or somebody does a full restoration.
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Old 07-15-2015, 12:07 PM   #12
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The floor looks pretty good. I would treat with bleach. Remove the inner skins and that will allow you to get all the stinky wet pink stuff out of the walls and let you see where the water is coming from and going. If you have to replace a lot of wood pulling the lower skins would help. You going to leave the trailer stationary?

Perry
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