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Old 03-24-2014, 09:48 AM   #1
1 Rivet Member
2006 16' Safari
Bellevue , Washington
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 17
Water Leak

We have an '06 Safari, 28 ft. purchased used summer 2013. We are paranoid about water damage after spending $6000 replacing the pressboard floor in our 06 Bambi last summer as well. Returning from a trip this week we find moisture under layers of floor covering in the "trunk". After removing all the contents I find there is a plywood (luckily not pressboard) subfloor, then padding, then carpet that extends from the bedroom into the trunk, then about 10 ml. poly sheeting covering the carpet then rubber mats. The poly was attached thru the carpet and pad into the plywood apparently by the factory. I know the previous owner did not do this, he barely used the trailer and kept it covered and very clean. We ripped all of this out and the plywood was damp from the door about 12 inches into the trunk space. To me this pattern indicates water is entering from the seal at the trunk "door". Our seal appears to be intact and pliable, but the door is slightly less tight on one side. (now fixed) Why any factory in their right minds would install this carpet layering into the trunk and then cover it with plastic is beyond me. If we had not been inspecting, we would never have noticed the water intrusion and it would not have dried out satisfactorily. If you have not checked for leaks, I strongly urge you to do so. Does anyone have experience with a leak in the door and ideas on how to really fix it? This apparently was the problem with our Bambi.

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Old 03-24-2014, 11:22 AM   #2
Rivet Master
1974 Argosy 20
2014 20' Flying Cloud
Kooskia , Idaho
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 4,592
The new factory "fix" for rot in the subfloor is to coat the edges back about 6-8 inches top, edge and bottom with some kind of sealer on the plywood. Then I think they have put some drains in the C channel to keep it from becoming a water intrusion source (but I am not completely clear on that).

The problem with all of this is that in the efforts to keep the water out of the subfloor, they insure that it will not dry out either, if it does get in. Over many years of observation, I have noted that best efforts to keep water out fail, and the water that gets in becomes trapped, not drying out. I have had "water resistant" watches which once breached, with a tiny amount of moisture, continue to have condensation inside... The water got in, but now won't go out.

My 2014 FC 20 appears to have the vinyl flooring go all the way to the edges of the trailer, even under the cabinets and bed and dinette area. That severely limits the ability to dry upward if any water breaches the defenses into the trailer. In all my old trailers built in the carpet era, the carpet did not go under the cabinets, or was loosely laid scraps inside the bottom against the floors. That allowed drying from the top and I have seen very little evidence of sub floor rot in most of the trailers I have owned. The exceptions were the '54 22' whale tail and the '60 22' (rare) star liner I once had.

I recently purchased and tested a new non contact (no probes needed) moisture meter which I reported on in another thread. I plan to use that often to check the floor moisture on my new FC. I have also thought about cutting back the vinyl flooring under the cabinets so the floor can dry upwards. Unfortunately, I think the vinyl even goes under the shower and in that area there is absolutely no way to either remove the vinyl or measure for any moisture leaks as there is no access at all to that section of the trailer.

The factory, and many others, are guilty of thinking of one way water movement, that is to keep it out. The real key is to understand you can't keep it out completely and forever, and design a system which will allow it to dry out, when it eventually does get wet. Many, if not most systems to keep water out also are very effective in keeping it in too. That is the worst thing that can be done.

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Old 04-13-2014, 01:22 PM   #3
2 Rivet Member
2002 27' Safari
Churchville , Maryland
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 24
Water Intrusion

My 2002 Safari has had a water problem in the very rear, between the bed and rear window, for 3 years. An Airstream certified shop has tested the trailer with the Seal Tech process two times over two years. They failed to locate it on both tries. The carpet seems to be permanently stained as I haven't found anything that will remove the stain. Recently I tried Seal Tech at a non-AS shop. A dozen leaks were found and sealed, of which photos were taken of each one. The leak at the bumper, which AS is famous for, was not one of them. It remains to be seen if they were successful. For a week I have had a dehumidifier working the area. My Delmhorst moisture meter is used to monitor the moisture level under the carpet. IMHO, anyone who owns an AS needs a moisture meter.
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