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Old 02-26-2015, 01:43 PM   #1
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1975 25' Tradewind
Florence , South Carolina
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Front leak while driving in the rain!

I just drove home from Florida to SC in the rain yesterday and arrived with a small creek flowing through my 1975 Tradewind! It is seeping from beneath the inner skin at the floor pretty much all across the front. Where is the best place to start to look for this leak, and how? It does not leak when parked in the rain so I am thinking that it is being pushed into the camper from how it flows while driving. I have never removed the inner skin, how hard is it to get back how it belongs when pulled out? Thanks for any help!
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Old 02-26-2015, 04:06 PM   #2
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1964 22' Safari
modesto , California
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CMS,
Sorry to hear about your leak.
When I bought my 64 Safari the PO of coarse said there were no leaks.
However I discovered Niagara Falls inside the front window frame and on the floor in our first good down poor.
So I sealed all around the front window. Right?
Next down poor. Niagra Falls, again. Same thing all around the front window frame and the floor. Maddening!
We dealt with that for that season. Spring time, We decided to refurbish the old girl and make it just like we wanted, Ground up!
After removing the cabinets and appliances I removed the interior skins and end caps.
BINGO! I found that one of my front curved top panels had been replaced at one time. They did not remove the end cap and buck rivet it, they used a type of domed head pop rivets that look like bucked rivets. The window was never a problem.
Once I got the end cap off I could see clearly what the problem was. In my case I removed the panel,cleaned, resealed with TremPro and Buck riveted it back in place. I also coated each and every inside seam with a special rubberized paste that remains flexible, from Germany. No leaks.
Thanks Uwe.

I might recommend you get a garden hose and start at low and work your way up the front until you can ID the source of your leak. There is a great Thread on sealants, http://www.airforums.com/forums/f44/...ry-116214.html. Hopefully it is not as difficult to remedy as mine was. Good luck.
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Old 02-26-2015, 04:23 PM   #3
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1975 25' Tradewind
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Thanks, I hope that I do not need to completely rip out the interior now. I want to do that, but not yet (I have a couple trips planned already that it couldn't be done in time for).
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Old 02-26-2015, 04:27 PM   #4
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I would suggest that before you start disassembling the interior of the trailer, try doing a "positive pressure," or "bubble" test. Some RV repair shops have the hardware to do this, but you can rig it up yourself without buying too much stuff.

One way to do it is to remove the cover on one of your ceiling vents. This leaves a nice "flange" looking up. You must then jury-rig a connection from this flange to the output end of an air-mover (such as a squirrel cage fan). Close all the windows and doors, and the fan will be trying to push air into your trailer. You can then take a spray bottle with soapy water and spray your window seals, rivet lines, and panel overlaps. Any place that is not sealed should bubble up, showing you where you are leaking.

good luck!
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Old 02-26-2015, 07:54 PM   #5
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1976 27' Overlander
Tampa , Florida
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I had leaks on my front endcap. I also am doing complete renovation so have the luxury of spotting leaks from the inside.

I found that the seams of each endcap segment were leaking. I was amazed on how the water must have been traveling along the seam and wicking its' way into the inside... both the inner vertical seams in between the ("A" -"I" and under the "M") and the outer, more horizontal seams that come to the top corners of the front window.

I drilled out a bunch or rivets and sealed between the layers, and bucked in new rivets to fix.

I think you could try the positive pressure trick and see what happens. You could also try sealing up those seams quite a ways on the outside- just using tape to keep it clean. If you found they were the problem, I dont know if Id try and drill them out and re-seal the lap seam and use Olympic's so you dont have to pull the inner skins and inside endcap. Just dont know that it would be worth it without truly knowing whats on the inside.

Hope that helps.
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Old 02-26-2015, 08:13 PM   #6
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1975 31' Sovereign
1980 31' Excella II
Sprung Leak , North Carolina
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Lots of possibilities... unfortunately. Do you have the lexan front window guard? Mine was the second one installed. They did not fill the old rivet holes when the installed the new one, source of leaks. Also had and issue with the channels between the center window and the wing windows. Clearance/marker lights are another possibility. How about where the umbilical cord goes in? Along with the segment issues the others have mentioned.

Using the pressure system is one way, having the interior panels out is another.

Aaron
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Old 02-26-2015, 08:41 PM   #7
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Check the front window gasket, and around the Airstream letters. Like most of us do, start resealing everything that you can see. I have used Parabond, Vulkem, and Sikaflex. A new product that I want to try this year is Capt. Tolley's Creeping Crack Cure. Sounds wierd, but have read on the forum that it works, especially around rivets. DO NOT USE SILICONE!! Good luck, and try the obvious first! Chris
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Old 02-27-2015, 12:25 PM   #8
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Finding Leaks

It is called a Seal Tech:

SealTech Manufacturing USA | Industry Standard for RV Leak Detection

Check the web site for country wide outfits that have the equipment. It pressurizes the inside of the trailer and you test for leaks with a soapy solution on the outside. You then caulk from the outside. The cost is from $95 to $75 to run the test. They mark the leaks and you can fix them yourself. This is the best leak testing system I have ever seen. I have had it done on my Class A twice.
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Old 02-28-2015, 09:25 AM   #9
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1975 25' Tradewind
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This morning I pulled out the front panel to take a look at what I can find. The wettest areas are along the seams and there is visible separation between them. So, what is best to use to re-seal these panels from the inside (hidden from view)? I will use par bond on the outside seams but it is a thick white caulk/sealant that is currently on the interior. Thanks.
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Old 02-28-2015, 09:27 AM   #10
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I am not sure why this image didn't attach the first time. It shows the gap.
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Old 02-28-2015, 09:53 AM   #11
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1964 22' Safari
modesto , California
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CMS. on the first photo 3 things pop out.

1st, white looking caulk on your seams. I thought AS used Vulcum or TremPro. Is it hard and brittle?

2nd, I do not see the back of any bucked rivets on those seams. Perhaps they are however they don't show up in the photo. Are your front seams Buck riveted?

3rd, in the center of the photo I see the back of 3 "Olympic" rivets, a type of pop rivet with a round head that looks like a bucked rivet from the outside.

Look closely and you will see a water trail from the center rivet.
I know this is not your entire problem, however those are the things I had on my top, front panel.

On the second photo I can see the gap in the panels and water condensation, but no visible water trail.

Good job. Keep looking.
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Old 02-28-2015, 10:03 AM   #12
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CMS, before you start sealing things. A little advice. On all rivet heads and even the seams. Start with Capt. Tolley's Creeping Crack Cure on every rivet head and all your seams. This product wicks into the seam or crack and glues/seals the crack. Then use a thin line of Parbond over the seams.

Check out this great Thread on sealants.
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f44/...ry-116214.html
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Old 02-28-2015, 10:56 AM   #13
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Mine is exactly the same. There are no rivets on that part of the seam, as there is quite a bit of overlap on that seam- like 4-6". Note the outside seam is likely lining up with the corners of the window. This is where the rivets are...

I'm a little skeptical that this is your leak point. Although sealing them up from the inside wont hurt. The white sealant is the factory, butyl putty type stuff thats on all the seams if you were to pull the inside seams. you can scrape it off and go over it with your polyurethane sealant of choice. (vulkem, trempro, etc)

I would keep looking up higher. I have not sealed mine up since putting the shell back on the frame, and no hint of leaks there at all. The seams above the window were the culprit on both front and back endcaps.

You can try the hose test on the front below the window, and i'd bet those lower seams arent the source.
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Old 02-28-2015, 05:08 PM   #14
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1975 25' Tradewind
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Thanks everyone. Mixter you are correct about the overlap and the difference in where the seams are. The rivets from the outside are along the ribs at the corners of the window. The most water was at the overlap of these panels. I scrapped and resealed them and then also sealed on the outside with parbond. There is not a leak issue except for when we are driving. It has been rained on a bunch with no problems until driving home in the horrible rain we had down here a few days ago. The seal where the window closes is not great, either, so this will get replaced, too. I am going to go around and seal any of the panels that would get a driving rain pushed through while going down the road. Thanks for the help everyone!
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