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Old 05-18-2016, 06:35 PM   #1
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1994 34' Excella
Alma , Michigan
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Should we take the inner skin off?

So we have a 1994 Excella. The previous owner took out all appliances, cupboards, etc...what is left is the inner skin, lots of wires and lots of plumbing! We are trying to figure out if it is necessary to take the inner skin off and put new insulation in. We don't see any leaks but the trailer has smelled musty, although we did just clean it and it seems better now. We had to throw out anything porous as it had a very musty smell also. There doesn't seem to be any visible mold on the walls. There are a few dark spots in the subfloor under where the sink was and in the bathroom area. The subfloor seems to be in good condition orherwise.

So to those of you who have been through the restoration process what do you think?

Is there something else we need to check to better make this decision?

Also is there a way to tell of there are any leaks in the outer skin without taking the inner skin off?

Thanks for your help!
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Old 05-18-2016, 07:00 PM   #2
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2008 30' Classic S/O
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Inner skin is a bear to reinstall. Get plenty of clecos
But, the condition of the insulation in my '65 it was sorely needed.
It's amazing where those little mice can get to. They had a regular apartment complex throughout the bays.
Locating and repairing leaks was very easy at that point... with two people and a hose.
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Old 05-18-2016, 07:24 PM   #3
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All the musty smell is in the insulation. Only way to get rid of it is to remove insulation.

The only inner skin that will require an assistant are the ceiling skins.

Good luck


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Old 05-22-2016, 09:24 PM   #4
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1994 34' Excella
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Thank you for your input!
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Old 05-23-2016, 07:23 PM   #5
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1994 30' Excella
Kiefer , Oklahoma
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IR Camera

Last fall, l used an IR camera to see thermal loss of my Airstream. I was pleasantly surprised, when I saw an uniform color of blues on the outside of the Airstream.
My '94 Airstream, l thought for sure, I would see allot of dark red to bright white radiating from the Airstream sides
in the IR camera.
So, before, you remove all your inner walls, try to use an IR camera to see how much work you may not need to do or need to do.
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Old 05-23-2016, 07:37 PM   #6
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1972 31' Sovereign
1975 31' Excella 500
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The insulation inside the walls of my 72 was clean, dry, and free from signs of vermin.

Upon reading the threads in this forum It seems like my trailer is an exception is this regard though.


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Old 05-23-2016, 11:00 PM   #7
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I had a fair amount of mouse habitrails inside my walls, especially in the very back. If you start at the bottom and only go as high as you find mouse sign, maybe you can minimize the work. I found that literally everything has a stink to it. The plywood of the floor is musty, the interior skins themselves, the plastic end caps, the whole shebang. I found that the only way to encapsulate the stink was to paint. I regretted not painting both sides of my plastic end-caps, but didn't realize how stinky they were (even after cleaning both sides), until they were reinstalled.
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Old 06-02-2016, 12:32 PM   #8
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1994 34' Excella
Alma , Michigan
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Found a leak! ):

So after deciding NOT to take the inner skins off we had a huge rain fall. And after the rain we found a wet area on the floorboard so we must have a leak!

As you can see from the picture it is gutted. The floorboard was wet near the wall, on the right, in front of the wheel well.

So, I need some advice.

Where is the most probably place the leak is coming from?
Do we take off the inner skin and find where the leak is coming from?
Or do we start sealing outer rivets and seams to see if this fixes it?

Thanks!
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Old 06-02-2016, 12:44 PM   #9
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Probably NOT just a rivet line, but more likely a fixture like a roof vent, antenna mount, etc.


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Old 06-02-2016, 12:47 PM   #10
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IIRC there were a few linear feet of seems near the top bend at the front; sealed those with the silver stuff and applicator (get from Airstream store)

The biggest leaks were the fridge vent, range vent, rear hatch, rear tail light covers. Oh, and the two front side awning windows. Had to use silicone in the hinges, and new weather stripping.
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Old 06-02-2016, 04:25 PM   #11
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Take photos of the leak for us. The floor looks good. It is hard to make these things leak tight. Worst place for leaks is at the back and leaks there do a lot of structural damage to the trailer. Leaks are not easy to find. Water travels between the two skins and water can be absorbed by the insulation and the appearance of the leak can be delayed as a result. Sometimes it is best to remove the skin near the leak and sit out there and see where the water comes from. Water can leak around any seam, rivet, window frame or seam in frame. Tail light buckets can leak and awning brackets can leak. If you have one leak you are lucky. Consider leaks when you pick floor covering. I am of the school that you only cover the floor that you can see and leave the rest uncovered so you can see leaks and they can dry out. Painting a floor is not a bad idea nor is putting drains in the C-channel at the base of the wall so water has a place to go other than your floor. Typically these things are built from the frame up. Frame, insulation, floor, c-channel, shell. Water gets easily trapped between the floor and frame and rots them both out. Oh yeah, carpet or flooring is put down before anything goes in just to make sure water in the floor stay hidden in the floor where it does the most damage before you even know it is there. Why did the PO take the interior out on such a new trailer?

Perry
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Old 06-03-2016, 10:59 AM   #12
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I would start with the plumbing vent stacks. They "seal" using a rubber gasket that won't last more than a few years. Next I would check the semi-permanent penetrations like Air conditioner gaskets as well as all the door and window gaskets. Next the permanent penetrations like vents and refrigerator chimney, and finally the rivet lines themselves.

Yes, it is easy to see what is leaking with all th interior skins and insulation removed, but that is a last resort. If all your windows, doors and vents have good gaskets, you could try rigging up a "positive pressure" test, where you essentially close the trailer up and attach a blower/air mover to a small port like a vent. Fill the trailer with air (so that the air pressure inside the trailer is greater than the outside) so that it is leaking out, and then paint all the seams and penetraions with soapy water and watch for bubbles. This is the same concept as looking for a hole in a bicycle tube using a tub of water.

good luck!
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Old 06-03-2016, 03:46 PM   #13
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Thanks for all of your suggestions! We are going to go take a look at it tonight and assess the situation. We are going to pull off the panel above the floorboard that was wet. I am hoping that we do not find mold; if we do all of the inner skins are coming off.

Perry - the previous owner took everything out because he wanted to completely redo the dated décor. He also wanted to put solar in, led lights, and other upgrades.
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