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Old 12-13-2010, 09:19 AM   #15
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1968 24' Tradewind
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I used West Epoxy extensively during the while getting my Trade Wind ready to camp. West Epoxies are used extensively in the boating industry an by folks working on composite aircraft. There are numerous videos on youtube about the different products. I would suggest that you buy the pump kit if you buy the West. It is only about 10 bucks and had pumps for both the hardener and resin. They are calibrated so just one pump of each gives the exact mixing ration. Unlike polyester resin, you never want to vary the ration on hardener to resin with epoxy or you will lose a lot of the strength. Finally, get some microballoon filler when you buy the resin. You can add this material to the resin to make a peanut butter consistency mix that is perfect for filling holes, gaps, covering the head of elevator bolts in the floor and on and on. The more you use epoxy and more uses you will find. It will also stick to the plastic in airstreams better than polyester so any fiberglass repair of plastic parts can be made with the epoxy instead of polyester resin. I repaired the fridge vent and saved a ton of money over the price of a new one. The resin is the same for West but you can buy different hardeners for different application, all the info is on their web site.
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Old 12-13-2010, 10:04 AM   #16
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I think most of the time the leak is somewhere in the outer skin in places like the light over the door. The water gets in, runs down the outside of the inner skin and then seeps out onto the floor.
I made repairs to the same area in my '74. Then I cut a slot along in the floor right along the wall. That way if I happen to have a small leak that I don't detect because of the floor covering, the moisture can drain thru the slot into the belly pan and the wood won't be constantly wet and rot even more.
I think AS could prevent a lot of this problem if they would just put drains in the walls. The wall of and AS is like a double glazed window and all windows have what is called a weep hole to get away from moisture build up. I'm not talking about the space age windows, I'm refering to the ones that have two separate pieces of glass with an insulator betwwen them.
There is also the matter of condensation; since the inner skin of the AS is not air tight, moisture can penetrate into the space between the inner and outer skin. The moisture will condense on a cool surface and the water will run down the wall and out onto the floor.
Even in warm climates when you are running the air conditioner. Because the outside skin is not air tight moisture enters the space between the walls. The inner skin is cooler and is therefore suseptable to the moisture condensing on the outside of the inner skin and running down the wall.
This condesation problem is the very reason we vent the attic space in our homes.
You would be amazed at how much moisture is in propane, just cooking creates a lot of moisture. Not to mention having a shower inside an AS. Or several people breathing in one that is closed up.
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Old 12-13-2010, 08:04 PM   #17
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Howard Allen had a radiator repair shop in town for years. His advertising slogan was: "The Best Place In Town To Take A Leak". I had the leak blues after I got my trailer last summer and no place to take it. I thought the roof vent was leaking and it was. The vista window leaked, the window leaked, and the seam lap corner leaked. That was a hard one. I had to remove the inside skin to find it. I sat out in the trailer during a month of thunderstorms last summer on a milk stool with a poacher's spot light to finally find it.

I replaced all the vents and re-sealed the two sewer vents. I installed a new air-conditioner, removed the analog television antenna, and sealed seams with Vulkem. When I removed the awning roller I found 5 missing rivets under it. I sealed the awning top mount, replaced all the window gaskets and replaced the door gasket.

I had a prolific leak into the belly pan that I could only see with the floor removed. It turned out to be the step release lever slot. There's no fix for that except to park the trailer in a covered garage. I installed drain ports in the belly pan and covered them with screen. I'm not a big fan of the Airstream belly pan design but I'm stuck with it.

I replaced some of the wood floor and I epoxied two spots at the rear window area. I replaced the water heater, the furnace, the kitchen stove and sink, and I have a new refrigerator waiting for me to install it.

I'm all set to start putting it all back together with new laminate floor, new cabinets, new drapes, new blinds, and new furniture. I'm almost positively certain that I'll be too broke and too tired to take any trips when I get this done.

Gary
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Old 12-14-2010, 07:26 AM   #18
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68 TWind, I found a marine shop not far from me that carries West epoxies. I'll be checking it out soon. Hopefully they will be helpful and patient with me.

TG Twinkie, the water definitely is running down between the outer skin and the inner skin, resulting in wet bare wood floor along the wall. The only wet spots in the middle of the trailer were tiny spots directly under the crank open roof vents.

Splitrock, my original plan was to install a new refrigerator, vent and cabinet. But I'm ending up doing almost everything you mentioned.

If I don't end up jumping off the roof head first, someday I might get to enjoy my Argosy.
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Old 12-14-2010, 09:22 AM   #19
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Those refrigerators are heavy. I see why they set them directly in front of the axle.

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Old 12-14-2010, 12:22 PM   #20
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Don't even think about plastic plywood treatments until you've controlled the source of water intrusion. Search for any local SealTech machine at Sealtech Manufacturing Inc. - RV leaks bubbles recreational vehicles. Research AIRForums and sources of Acryl-R (for tight seams) and Sikaflex 221 (for caulking during assembly) before you get started. 2airishuman has done a lot of work with AcrylR.

RotDoctor & SystemThree are epoxy products.

The Rot Doctor penetrating treatment has a highly volatile solvent which will transport it deeper into wood. You must use this only with excellent, non-ignition-source ventilation. No sparks. No heat source. It probably has a temperature usage limit similar to paints ... I'd guess 50 degrees but check it out first. And I still would use an organic vapor filter if I was doing very much work with this; available at paint stores, woodworking/finish retailers (eg, HomeDepot).

I've used a lot of epoxy in some kayak and boatbuilding adventures. Coating epoxies tend to encapsulate and not penetrate very well. Coating epoxies (and polyester resins I'd venture to say...) do not rot-proof anything. If a leaking trailer allows moisture in, it will defeat any coating scheme for your floor. That being said -- I have used Rot Doctor and SystemThree epoxy both to treat the area under my above-floor Argosy water tank, under the pump, etc. They can do a good job of firming up minimally softened wood.

Un-set epoxy resins can cause a poison-ivy-like sensitization -- after which you can never work with epoxy again. You must work very clean when you use un-set epoxy! This principally means gloves and quick soap & water for the inevitable little contacts. You don't need respiratory protection for coating epoxies unless you start power sanding the set product. The easiest online source for usage and worker safety is probably SystemThree's "The Epoxy Book" -- pdf files at System Three: Resource Library: Published Literature

Remember -- "They all leak."
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Old 12-14-2010, 01:09 PM   #21
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Canoe Stream makes good points on epoxy sensitization. Some people can use it for years and one day have a rash from the resin. I like the blue nitrile gloves for protection and Harbor Freight has the best price on boxes of 100. He is also correct about the thicker resins not penetrating deep into the wood but work well coating and stiffening. Bottom line, there are several ways to attach the soft wood, but don't waste time doing that until you get all the leaks stopped.
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