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Old 04-01-2013, 10:40 AM   #1
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awning rail leak and removal..

I have a leak in the awning rail attachment on the curb side. I do not see any effective way to add caulking to fix it. Airstream caulked it 4 years ago. I am thinking about taking the awning and awning rail off and re caulking and re-attaching. Has anyone done this. Can it be rivited back from the outside using olympic rivets or something? Was it attached from the outside to start with? What is best way to remove old rivets, drill them or try to grind off the heads?
I need to do a temporary fix because the traile is going to sit in the open for 6 months. Thinking about taking the awning and rail off now and caulking the holes and then doing the actual repair next fall.

Any suggestions are welcome.
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Old 04-01-2013, 11:32 AM   #2
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you have to drill out the rivets. Alternatively, you can use a sharpened putty knife and hammer to cut them, but this is usually only resorted to when you have a hidden rivet that you can't drill out.

If you can find the loose rivet(s), replace it with an Olympic. This probably won't pull the rail down tight enough to stop the leak, so apply some Trempro/Vulkem under the rail before you replace the rivet (You can get a little bit of a gap with a thin tool). You can remove the old caulk more easily if you heat it with a heat gun.

IMHO, I wouldn't remove the rail. It wouldn't be a big project if you're just going to Olympic it back on with some Trempro underneath, but I'm leery of the Olympics for holding the rail under the flapping and jerking the awning can exert in a wind (they won't fail, but I think it would be easy for them to loosen enough to start a leak again). I'd just caulk the top side of the rail along its full length (I assume you tried this). It won't be visible--use the rounded edge of something like a motel key to get a nice bead along the edge.

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Old 04-01-2013, 01:00 PM   #3
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Thanks. I went ahead and removed the rail. It looks like Airstream did the same thing 4 years ago when I had it in. Fresh caulking under 3/4 of it, old caulking under the rest. I am going to clean off the old vulkem, vulkem the rivet holes, and leak test the wall again. Right now I need a dry trailer worse than I need the awning.
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Old 04-01-2013, 07:11 PM   #4
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not a bad decision, just a bit more work. Let us know how it turns out.
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Old 04-02-2013, 11:44 AM   #5
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Thanks for your suggestions. We were leaving the trailer on site in Fl for the summer. I caulked the vista windows and am storing the awning until we return next fall or winter. 36 rivt holes. I am thinking about remounting the awning attachment rail on standoffs so that water can drain. Any comments on that? The current rivet holes are now oversized and irregular. It looks like airstream actually took the support partially off and re-riveted it when they worked on it.n
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Old 04-03-2013, 04:50 AM   #6
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Quote:
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... I am thinking about remounting the awning attachment rail on standoffs so that water can drain. Any comments on that? ...
That might work if you used a rivet washer and solid rivets. But I think it's risky. Even a small standoff distance will give the rail some leverage on the shell skin and I think just a few flaps in a wind and you'll bend either the rail or the skin. Even if nothing bends, that small amount of leverage could work the rivets loose.

AEROWOOD is one of the members who would know the answer.

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Old 04-07-2013, 05:46 PM   #7
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Since you mention that the current rivet holes are oversized and irregular, re-rivetting the awning rail using the same holes would not produce any good results. FWIW, you may want to consider having a single strip of aluminum to patch over the previous mounting points and then reattaching the awning rail over the top of that. At least you will know that it will have strength and integrity. I would also mention that if you do decide to do this, use olympic rivets that do not have neoprene washers, and dab some Vulkem around the base of the rivet before putting it in.
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Old 04-08-2013, 05:29 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blkmagikca View Post
...if you do decide to do this, use olympic rivets that do not have neoprene washers, and dab some Vulkem around the base of the rivet before putting it in.
em-fa-sis added.
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Old 04-08-2013, 06:25 PM   #9
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Keep in mind if you stand off the rail, rain water will POUR down the side while you are standing under your awning attempting to stay dry in the light rain shower.

IMHO, it's not too hard to install a rail and keep it from leaking.
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Old 04-17-2013, 12:50 PM   #10
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Bill,
I'm a little late to this party, but you might want to look into a roll of EternaBond's product called "Alumabond". I think it would solve your problem. I just bought two rolls of it, and am sealing every thing on the roof of our 2001 Excella 30' AS.
I got the 3" wind roll. This stuff is incredible! It's easy to apply, and lasts for years....
Good luck!
Larry
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Old 04-21-2013, 10:15 AM   #11
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Larry C -- I had used Eternabond tape on the roof of my Land Yacht motorhome, as the body was fiberglass. However, this was to seal the seam. In Bill M's case, the issue is that the rivet holes have been enlarged, as he put it "The current rivet holes are now oversized and irregular." This means that he will have difficulty re-attaching the railing, as rivets have to be snug in properly sized holes - too large is not good. Thus, a patch would be the best permanent solution, and one that is done regularly with AS trailers. I believe that the holes drilled for the Olympic rivets should be with a No. 21 drill (please correct me if I'm wrong, as I would have to rummage through my truck for the rivet kit I carry). Any size larger will not provide the integrity and strength that you need. As well, remember to make sure that the neoprene washers on the rivets are REMOVED BEFORE you use them.
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Old 04-21-2013, 11:35 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blkmagikca View Post
...rivets have to be snug in properly sized holes - too large is not good. Thus, a patch would be the best permanent solution, and one that is done regularly with AS trailers. I believe that the holes drilled for the Olympic rivets should be with a No. 21 drill ...
yes, 21 is correct.

#40 for 3/32 -- sometimes in window frames
#30 for 1/8 -- original shell rivets, outside solid, inside pop
#21 for 5/32 -- Olympics, or when using universal head rivets to get a similar head size to the original brazier head solid rivets
#11 for 3/16 -- belly pan

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Old 04-22-2013, 08:25 AM   #13
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Quote:
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Larry C -- I had used Eternabond tape on the roof of my Land Yacht motorhome, as the body was fiberglass. However, this was to seal the seam. In Bill M's case, the issue is that the rivet holes have been enlarged, as he put it "The current rivet holes are now oversized and irregular." This means that he will have difficulty re-attaching the railing, as rivets have to be snug in properly sized holes - too large is not good. Thus, a patch would be the best permanent solution, and one that is done regularly with AS trailers. I believe that the holes drilled for the Olympic rivets should be with a No. 21 drill (please correct me if I'm wrong, as I would have to rummage through my truck for the rivet kit I carry). Any size larger will not provide the integrity and strength that you need. As well, remember to make sure that the neoprene washers on the rivets are REMOVED BEFORE you use them.

Good point about the enlarged holes! Another way of dealing with that would be to go to the next size larger rivets....

Larry
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Old 04-23-2013, 10:05 PM   #14
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Larry, unfortunately, there is no next size larger rivets - he has to stick with Olympic rivets as they are waterproof and look just like the bucked ones. Thus the patch is the only good long term solution.
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