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Old 06-13-2013, 09:21 PM   #1
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1971 23' Safari
Lake placid , New York
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 3
New/vintage purchase, '71 safari 23' leaks everywhere! Help!!

I know I know. This is what I signed up for right?

Unfortunatly the seller told me the trailer was "Leak-Free". So on day 2 of purchase I began to demolish and found leaks everywhere.

Here are the major first spotted leaks:
1. the vent/fan over dinette collected condensation at roof on delivery
2. Looked at undercarriage in AM and found insulation coming out of various holes fear, middle, SUPER WET! He drove in the rain for delivery 12 hours. Stuff is duct tapped toward the back right rear undercarriage (TBD)
3. After I started my (GET THAT SMELL) cleaning and detox decided to investigate how bad leak was and disasembled the dinettte seating. Floor water spots see pict coming from what appears to be coming from above. took of piece of the interior skin to investigte more and insulation is damp.
4. Went to clean side base cabinet next to fridge, found a HUGE ammount of water in it on floor, probably underfridge. Determined probably coming from underneath carriage vent from driving in rain.

here is where I call upon your expertise please...
How do I properly seal the roof vents, or is that a dumb idea?

Whats up with the underneath refridgerator vent? dumb idea...should I replace the fridge with one that doesnt' need to vent like that? Is that possible?

How do i think about approaching the under carriage insulation and obvious leak problems. Most flooring issue seams to be in the front the back seems dry but hard to determin with the bath floor intact. Floors seem solid but do show signs of H2O damage see pict.

Thanks In Advance,
A





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Old 06-13-2013, 10:22 PM   #2
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1972 25' Tradewind
Hopkins , Minnesota
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 456
Quote:
Originally Posted by andreak View Post
I know I know. This is what I signed up for right?

Unfortunatly the seller told me the trailer was "Leak-Free". So on day 2 of purchase I began to demolish and found leaks everywhere.

Here are the major first spotted leaks:
1. the vent/fan over dinette collected condensation at roof on delivery
2. Looked at undercarriage in AM and found insulation coming out of various holes fear, middle, SUPER WET! He drove in the rain for delivery 12 hours. Stuff is duct tapped toward the back right rear undercarriage (TBD)
3. After I started my (GET THAT SMELL) cleaning and detox decided to investigate how bad leak was and disasembled the dinettte seating. Floor water spots see pict coming from what appears to be coming from above. took of piece of the interior skin to investigte more and insulation is damp.
4. Went to clean side base cabinet next to fridge, found a HUGE ammount of water in it on floor, probably underfridge. Determined probably coming from underneath carriage vent from driving in rain.

here is where I call upon your expertise please...
How do I properly seal the roof vents, or is that a dumb idea?

Whats up with the underneath refridgerator vent? dumb idea...should I replace the fridge with one that doesnt' need to vent like that? Is that possible?

How do i think about approaching the under carriage insulation and obvious leak problems. Most flooring issue seams to be in the front the back seems dry but hard to determin with the bath floor intact. Floors seem solid but do show signs of H2O damage see pict.

Thanks In Advance,
A





The vent beneath the fridge provides airflow to evacuate any propane from your fridge...it exhausts out the chimney behind the fridge...through the roof vent. You could go all electric or 120v/12v and seal that hole. But it all depends on how you are going to use the trailer. If you are always going to be plugged into the grid, then you don't really need a propane fridge.

You will need to clean and then re-seal all of the seams of your Airstream, as well as around your vents, just for starters. Anywhere there is a seam and rivets...there is potential for leaks. There are many threads on the Forum describing the process to clean and seal your Airstream. It is very important that this process become a regular ritual.

The only way to deal with the soggy insulation in the belly, is to remove the belly pan and remove the insulation. This should be done because wet insulation in contact with the frame for a long period of time will cause your frame to rot. Need to get rid of it. Expect it to be a nasty job. Also, if the insulation in your ceiling and walls is wet, you will want to seriously consider removing the interior walls and getting rid of it...which means pretty much removing everything from the trailer.

You should have a full inspection of your rig by a qualified Airstream Inspector, to determine the extent of your leaks and possible damage.

Good Luck!
Post Pics!

But have FUN!!!
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Old 06-14-2013, 10:21 AM   #3
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1973 21' Globetrotter
Houston , Texas
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 2,202
Yep, the previous owner of my trailer also promised that it was leak free and had a solid floor. After driving 600 miles to buy it, I wasn't going to go home empty handed, so didn't look too hard at the condition of the floor--more at the condition of the skin, axle, and what it would take to get it home.

Anyway, had your same experience--as soon as I ripped up the carpet, I found a big soft spot in the floor behind the refrigerator, one near the front door, several along the front curve, and the floor under the plastic bathroom stuff was practically gone. When I pulled off the lower skins, I found that mice had made a colony out of the insulation, and this is when I decided to strip it all bare, and my plan to redecorate turned into a shell-off.

You should have a cabinet under your sink in the bathroom. Poke around at the floor under there and you might be able to get a better idea of the condition of the floor.

If you get up on your roof (be careful), you will probably find that the vents, the refrigerator chimney, and most of the other hardware mounted up there, originally had some kind of gasket installed between it and the roof of the trailer. Typically, these gaskets dry out, disintegrate, and cause a leak. You might be able to just trim the gasket flush with the edge of the vent frame, and then put a nice bead of vulkem along there to reseal. The damage to your floor near your fridge vent may be caused by water coming in from above, rather than splashing up from below (or a combination of the two). Again, your chimney vent might be leaking and dripping down the chimney and onto the floor.

Your belly skin is guaranteed to be full of nasty. I would recommend you start by figuring out the extent of damage to your floor and deciding on a strategy to repair (ie., patch vs. replace entirely). Next, get your leaks sealed up so that the water entry stops. Worry about dropping the belly pan and dealing with the soggy insulation in there after that.

Good luck!
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Old 06-14-2013, 10:30 AM   #4
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2017 26' Flying Cloud
1976 Argosy 28
Alamo Heights , Texas
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Re: the floor vent underneath the refrigerator: Don't just assume that the water came up through that floor vent. The refrigerator compartment door is a possible water source as well.

I have the same floor-vented refrigerator setup in my '75 Argosy, and because of a cranky fridge burner I have a piece of cheap HVAC filter covering part of that vent to prevent the fridge burner from blowing out... I've had the same piece of filter material in there for 2 years now, and have towed many miles in the rain. The filter hasn't gotten wet.

Another leak possibility for you to eliminate is the wheel well... I suspect it's pretty close to the cabinet you're describing.

Oh, and welcome to the forums and to the joys and frustrations of vintage Airstream ownership. I liked it so much I bought another (which just means I have the disease...)
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