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Old 05-01-2013, 07:48 PM   #1
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1978 31' Sovereign
Mukwonago , Wisconsin
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poor engineering on 87 Int. 33'

Have extensive plywood rot fore and aft around perimeter. Removed furniture and floors in area and water tested. Discovered that belly pan joint behind rub strip is not sealed and is lapped wrong way (is outside of) side skin panels. (Poor design). Water is getting behind rub strip and flows into belly pan in copious amounts especially at curved corners. Am new to forum but doing a full restoration on unit. Anyone else have this issue? Intend to remove rub strip, close joint and seal as best possible and seal rub strip to trailer. Thoughts????
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Old 05-01-2013, 08:18 PM   #2
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1975 31' Sovereign
1980 31' Excella II
Sprung Leak , North Carolina
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They have been made that way since they changed body styles around 1969. Technically water in the belly pan shouldn't be an issue. Good sealant around the top of the extrusion will keep water out of that area. As far as the rot around the edges...welcome to the club. Roof vents, window frames, lights and awning rails are all typical water entry points that need periodic maintenance to keep them leak free.

Aaron
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Old 05-01-2013, 09:34 PM   #3
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Poor engineering and poor maintenance are not the same.
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Old 05-02-2013, 06:27 AM   #4
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1975 31' Sovereign
1980 31' Excella II
Sprung Leak , North Carolina
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Originally Posted by Jim Clark View Post
Poor engineering and poor maintenance are not the same.
Agreed but they go hand in hand. Somethings can/are engineered to be low maintenance other not so much.

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Old 05-02-2013, 06:43 AM   #5
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Agreed but they go hand in hand. Somethings can/are engineered to be low maintenance other not so much.

Aaron
Very True, Spend some time over at RV.NET and you will get a feeling for poor engineering and high maintenance. It is rare that you even see a TT or even a class A mentioned that is 20 years or older. You don't see anyone talking about restoring these older trailers. Lot of roof leaks, and over weight rigs. Airstream has done well, and yes they can improve but are not the worse by far.

I treat my Airstream like my boat, I hunt for leaks and fix them as I find them. Most boats leak a lot more from the top than the bottom, as that bottom leak can ruin you boating experience.
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Old 05-02-2013, 07:05 AM   #6
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The plate at the back of the trailer is the worst leak prone area. When you rebuild remove the plate or move it back an inch or so. Then water can shed like it does on the other 3 sides. Water leaks at the inside corners are common because there is a gap in the C-channel at the bottom of the walls. Any leaks no matter wear they are will end up in these corners.

Perry
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Old 05-02-2013, 07:45 AM   #7
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1978 31' Sovereign
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Leak at rub rail

The matter is compounded by the fact that the plywood goes under the wall up to the inside of the exterior skin. This is a construction necessity, the walls rest on the floor. The joint in question is slightly higher and the water that enters here finds plywood first, which being wetted continuously can never dry, thus the rot. In addition the floor insulation is first layed over the frame rails and then the plywood layer sandwiches it between the steel and the plywood. This now when wet becomes a wick and pulls the moisture along the top of the frame rails leading to rot and corrosion. This is a center bath unit so access to front and rear floors is not so bad. It will be restored to it"s former glory. Given the high degree of engineering everywhere else, was a little shocked to find a reverse lap on the exterior skin. Thank you all for your insights,
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