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Old 09-10-2013, 12:35 PM   #1
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Help, please.

Hey Guys,

I need some help here. If this is in the wrong place please tell me where it needs to go...

I am in the process of possibly buying this 2009 16' International DWR. I was able to look at it today for the first time and am having a hard time telling about some things. There was a faint stain in the front dinette seat that looks like at some point had water and up on the ceiling above it, a few places that look like the screwed have a tiny bit of rust on them. I'm certain this thing has leaked at some point, I'm just not sure how big of a deal that is.

Up on the roof, I took some pics too, as there is a lot of caulk happening. I think there was a solar panel added at some point (unless theses came factory) and so I'm not sure if that is when the leak could have happened? My husband is a bit worried because along the rivet line on the roof of the camper is generally just a ton of caulking all along it. He's worried they just didn't know where it was leaking so they caulked the crap out of everything. Also shown are pics of the fan and everything else up there that has been resealed at some point.

I'm hoping someone tells me that this is normal to see up on these roofs. With all the sealing and caulking. I know they must be sealed up every so often, but this seemed excessive is all. We love the camper. It looks virtually unused on the inside, just as described to us. But the roof worries us a bit and the leak that may or may not be active scares the **** out of us.

Thoughts?
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Old 09-10-2013, 12:46 PM   #2
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Actually, the photos of the roof look pretty typical. Sealing leaks isn't rocket science, and hardly anyone ever looks up there, except the owner when water starts dripping inside. Consequently, it sometimes looks a little rough, depending on who did the work (even in the factory).

Applying sealant caulk is pretty messy, as you'll find out if you patch leaks yourself in future years; and it doesn't have to look like the sealant around your bathtub/shower enclosure in your home, because you can't see this from the ground. While you'd like it to look perfect, after you have been up there for a while squirting and smearing this stuff around, "good enough for government work" starts to come to mind.

If you didn't see any big water spots on the ceiling, inside, I'd say the caulking is working pretty well; and I wouldn't worry about the cosmetic appearance of this sealant. However, if this is a 2009 model and you decide to buy it, you may be gaining some personal caulking experience in the near future...
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Old 09-10-2013, 12:58 PM   #3
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Even if it does leak a little, these are generally an easy fix. Don't get freaked by this, they all leak at some point.
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Old 09-10-2013, 12:59 PM   #4
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No that looks like a typical caulk job, some people are sloppy, but as long as the caulk is stuck good and not coming up or peeling your okay. If your worried about leaks you should find a RV shop with a sealtech. It's a huge fan that pressures the trailer, then you spray soap on it, and look for bubbles.

All Airstreams leak or will leak, it's just how they are. But finding the leak and fixing it before it does damage is key.

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Old 09-10-2013, 01:03 PM   #5
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I've got a water alarm installed behind the bathroom cabinet, underneath the door and the front windows - they will let you know there's an issue before it turns into something big.

Cheap and useful. When I had a brittle washer fail some weeks back it told me immediately.
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Old 09-10-2013, 01:20 PM   #6
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Get a moisture detection meter and probe through the vinyl floor into the plywood subfloor around the interior perimeter before you buy any used trailer. Continue to use it as a regular maintenance item after you own the trailer. If there's moisture, you've got a leak.

This one works well, I sharpened the probes a bit to make tiny holes which virtually self-heal in the vinyl

Sonin 50211 Rapitest 10% to 28% Pinless Analog Wood, Concrete, Plaster, Carpet, and More Moisture Meter - Amazon.com

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Old 09-10-2013, 03:25 PM   #7
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Julie5,

I bought a used 2009 at the first of this year. No leaks originally, but it did at a crack around the skylight after a heavy rain. I had the roof components completely resealed. It was about $600 - a good investment. Also bought a moisture meter that the Forum folks had recommended.
Good luck!
Susanne
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Old 09-10-2013, 03:58 PM   #8
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Regarding the stain on the dinette cushions - is this area near the vent in the ceiling? A good rainstorm could easily splash up and under the vent if it was not completely closed.

We just had a freak, hard rainstorm here last week and both my vents were open slightly. (Summer rain is a rare thing here.) Cushions and floors were wet, but not permanently ruined.

If the rest of the trailer is in great shape and the price is right, set your mind at ease and enjoy it.
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Old 09-10-2013, 04:31 PM   #9
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Check Flooring Closely

I would definitely invest in the moisture meter. When we bought ours, we were down on our hands and knees checking out the floor, feeling for bad spots. We noticed that ours had had new flooring installed and were specifically told by the airstream dealer not to worry - "It went back to the factory and was fixed". So we took him at his word and just a little over a year later this is what we ended up with. (As it turns out, it did not got to the Factory to be fixed).

We took to Jackson Center and they did an excellent job finding the leak; replacing the subfloor that had never been replaced and putting in new vinyl. We really love our airstream and are very grateful for "AIRSTREAM - JACKSON CENTER" fixing "Tater" for us.

The first picture is of the floor rot in the entrance way and the second picture is what the now 18 month old vinyl underside looked like.

And just to be clear the dealership, we purchased our airstream from, WAS NOT the wonderful new dealership nearby in MS with whom we have enjoyed doing business with.
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Old 09-10-2013, 06:06 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by julie5 View Post
Hey Guys,


My husband is a bit worried because along the rivet line on the roof of the camper is generally just a ton of caulking all along it. He's worried they just didn't know where it was leaking so they caulked the crap out of everything. Also shown are pics of the fan and everything else up there that has been resealed at some point.
I'm with your husband.

Unless you are getting one heck of a deal I'd keep looking....a 16 footer is awfully small. I had a 19 footer and it was too small for me and my small dog.
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Old 09-10-2013, 09:12 PM   #11
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Thanks guys. After looking the trailer over thoroughly today and finally doing a test with some water on the roof, we did find that we had a leak somewhere. After about 30 minutes of sprinkler water on the roof, we had a dripping start on the inside seam line that runs in front of the kitchen area. I know this is probably really minor and I'm certain we will have this problem down the road with any trailer we end up with, but I will admit, it's tough to swallow buying this particular one knowing it has a leak right now. It's funny, it wasn't really even where I thought it was going to be - over the dinette. It was actually further out in the middle of the hall going back. Sort of right in front of the sink. We aren't sure what we are doing yet. I'm thinking the search continues though....
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Old 09-11-2013, 07:42 AM   #12
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Don't let these guys kid you no leak is ever minor.
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Old 09-11-2013, 09:30 AM   #13
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Ha! Thanks.. The problem too is I don't own it so it's not like I can dig around up there and find out how extensive it is or even can see where it's coming in at. Sucks all around.



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Don't let these guys kid you no leak is ever minor.
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Old 09-11-2013, 11:37 AM   #14
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Another tricky thing with leaks is that they can change where they come into the trailer depending on how level the trailer is or which way it is off from level.
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