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Old 07-09-2011, 02:03 PM   #1
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Rivets for awning leaking = $$

I'm very new to AS and thought I had a great deal when I got a lovely older (86) AS. Now that rainy season is here in SW Florida I'm not so sure. I thought that the vents just needed re-sealing but got a call from "Camping World" (my only service option that I know of in the area) says I have a fairly labor intensive resealing of the awning rivets, that will likely cost better than $1,000 (full awning both sides). I'm having the work done because it pours rain daily now & I'm very busy with work. So to try and do it myself with no AS experience, not a wise choice.

A question for you wise and experienced Airstreamers, are there other things I should be looking at to seal, re-do update or replace that I might be able to do at a more leisurely and affordable pace? I'm sure the list is potentially unending, I'm just wondering what pops in your head first.
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Old 07-09-2011, 02:58 PM   #2
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I'm very new to AS and thought I had a great deal when I got a lovely older (86) AS. Now that rainy season is here in SW Florida I'm not so sure. I thought that the vents just needed re-sealing but got a call from "Camping World" (my only service option that I know of in the area) says I have a fairly labor intensive resealing of the awning rivets, that will likely cost better than $1,000 (full awning both sides). I'm having the work done because it pours rain daily now & I'm very busy with work. So to try and do it myself with no AS experience, not a wise choice.

A question for you wise and experienced Airstreamers, are there other things I should be looking at to seal, re-do update or replace that I might be able to do at a more leisurely and affordable pace? I'm sure the list is potentially unending, I'm just wondering what pops in your head first.
That is one of the biggest rip offs I have heard of this year.

Sealing awning rails, even if your lazy, takes less than one hour each.

Andy
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Old 07-09-2011, 04:29 PM   #3
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Wow, I guess they will have some explaining to do... You do this stuff? I know distance is a problem so I can't bring the unit to you for an inspection, but if you can give me some 'ammo' or questions for the service rep. when he next calls me I would be ever so grateful. I was hopping to get some new 'support jacks' from you but until this little problem is settled I'm a bit out of pocket.
Thanks!
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Old 07-09-2011, 04:34 PM   #4
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Boy! You need a supervisor. That is a screw job by that company. I hope you can recover from that.
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Old 07-09-2011, 04:46 PM   #5
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If your awning rivets are not loose, buy a caulking gun, some Trempro 635 and caulk the rails yourself.
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Old 07-09-2011, 05:37 PM   #6
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I'm feeling better! My biggest fear was my fat butt on the roof doing more damage than I could imagine. Sounds like I can do this from a ladder and never set foot on the roof!
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Old 07-09-2011, 06:11 PM   #7
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If you fly me down to Naples in say, January, I'll seal them for free! (i'd need to stay in it though!)
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Old 07-09-2011, 06:45 PM   #8
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Caulking the rails only is a half ass fix. You have to drill out the old, clean the rail, reinstall ...rivet, and then calk. Clean it up. I hate the mess of poor craftsmanship.
You can stop the leak if you want....just goop it up. Do it right...its simple...and lasting.
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Old 07-09-2011, 08:42 PM   #9
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Thanks Melody Ranch,
If I can do a quick fix till dry season I'll do it but I am not afraid to drill out a few rivets if need be! What size rivets on the awnings? Anyone have an idea? I'm going to Fort Meyers tomorrow to try and rescue my AS... hope she isn't in the shop and hard for me to get to (service department is closed Sunday!).
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Old 07-09-2011, 09:39 PM   #10
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I just used Olympics. They fit perfectly. Dip em in Vulcum on the install. Having the awning on the rail makes for a more awkward repair...but, can be done. Try to clean the mating surfaces the best you can and lay a bead of Vulcum along the rail before riveting. Then ...after its riveted on ...run a nice bead along the entire length of the rail....something like sealing a panel. You can do a great job...get in the shade and enjoy it.

PS....I suppose you don't have a shaver....just cut the stems off with a nipper and file the stub the best you can. Its out of sighe and can still do a nice job. A dremel works if you have one available.
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Old 07-10-2011, 10:38 AM   #11
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Wow, I guess they will have some explaining to do... You do this stuff? I know distance is a problem so I can't bring the unit to you for an inspection, but if you can give me some 'ammo' or questions for the service rep. when he next calls me I would be ever so grateful. I was hopping to get some new 'support jacks' from you but until this little problem is settled I'm a bit out of pocket.
Thanks!
The only question I would ask the "service rep", is "when is going to take a shower", since his service quotes "STINK".

Get your Airstream out of that shop, PRONTO.

We make Airstreams longer, shorter, taller as well as completely modify them, inside and out.

Before I would apply any sealers or change out rivets, I would suggest that you positively identify exactly where the water leak is located.

You can easily do that with someone on the inside of the Airstream, while you slowly apply water to a small area at a time from a water hose using a slow flow of water.

Andy
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Old 07-10-2011, 01:16 PM   #12
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Thanks all! I was able to put a stop order on the re-seal, was hoping to get her home today but didn't work. Seems the PO did a "bailing wire & duct tape" repair on fantastic-fan and I knew I would have to replace that but it is a "must do" now and I'll pick her up latter. I was hoping to bring her home today because this week will now be filled with funeral arraignments (RIP Gramm) and our life will be unpredictable for a bit. The Camping World staff went far out of there way to try and get my AS home with me today, I will go back for parts and some service because of how they went far beyond what they had to do today. I'll just remember they have a STEEP pricing schedule.
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Old 07-10-2011, 02:36 PM   #13
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As usual...Andy is right! Do what he suggests.
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Old 07-10-2011, 04:19 PM   #14
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My trailer is an antique that had a Carefree awning attached without fabric when I got it. When I dropped the roller away from the channel, I found 5 missing rivets that were hidden by the awning roller. If the awning would have had fabric on it, the missing rivets would have been hidden by the fabric both with the awning up or down.

Sealing the channel is like Andy says. It's low cost material wise, and low time labor wise. It's a step ladder job. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt.

Items for careful consideration (on my trailer) that are located above the awning rail are: the air conditioner, the antenna, the roof vents, and the sewer vent seals. That's in addition to all the seams and individual rivets.

If somebody tried to jack me for a grand on an awning channel seal job, I'd never go back there . . . never! Airstreams are not special. They use steel frame fladbed trailer technology with an airplane body attached with all standard components added. Aluminum truck boxes use the same aluminum sheets held to similar aluminum ribs, with the exact same rivets.

I live on the prairie with no big cities or Airstream dealers near and I can get everything done on my trailer I want. I happen to be able to follow instructions on components that I install myself, but it'd be no problem finding service here if I wanted it. I'd check around for an honest service guy close to home.
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