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Old 07-06-2014, 08:43 PM   #1
1 Rivet Member
2005 25' Safari
Tempe , Arizona
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 5
Question over my head

First - I'll openly admit that I screwed up. I purchased a beat up 2005 Safari that needs work. I knew that going into it and paid an amount appropriate to that, but it looks like more work than just cosmetic stuff. I got into to it today and looks like floor is going to be a problem. I pulled up the flooring around the door / front of the trailer and I looks like it may be wet. In another area it looks like epoxy was poured on it or something - wood almost looks wet glossy like.

I'll start with a couple questions:

1. The AS is currently stored outside so what can I do to prevent additional leaks and water while / before this is repaired? I'm looking out at storm clouds here in Phoenix tonight - wet weather may start to pickup with monsoons coming. Can I purchase a cover or something to keep the elements out for now?

2. Can you recommend a good service person (preferable mobile) in the phoenix area that can take a look before I start with this. Ideally I would like to get a better idea about any systems repairs that need to be done and where to start with this floor.

The interior needs to be completely redone so I may start stripping and pulling up the linoleum and carpet to get a better idea of the subfloor condition - is there any reason not to start striping thing down?

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Old 07-06-2014, 09:03 PM   #2
4 Rivet Member
1955 22' Flying Cloud
1977 23' Safari
1986 34' Limited
Idaho Falls , Idaho
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 497
Don't be discouraged: most of us have been there--done that, and wear the appropriate T-shirt. At least you say you paid a reasonable amount for the trailer for the damage you have seen, so that's a good start.

I'm afraid I have no real advice for you since I am not technical--I'm offering only moral support--but short of its having been rolled repeatedly in a flooding river, surely a nice A/S can be pulled out of this transaction.

I'm sure you have a legal Motor Vehicle title for yours, which is more than I can say for two of my vintage purchases. Eventually I got titles, but now I have another T-shirt to wear!

So despair not--you will have lots of help here.


Richard and Vivian
Caliban The Wonder Dog: gone but not forgotten
Too many vintage A/Ss...
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Old 07-06-2014, 09:40 PM   #3
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DryFly's Avatar
1972 Argosy 20
Snoqualmie , Washington
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 379
First, contrary to what conventional wisdom is here on the Forum, I would recommend putting a tarp over it to keep it dry until you figure out your course of action. Use 1/4" or bigger nylon braided rope to hold the tarp in place. At the grommets on the tarp, you can use duct tape to cover the metal portion of the grommet, to help alleviate issues with the tarp being moved about and rubbing against the skin of the trailer.
Then get the thing dried out. Use a dehumidifier - I doubt if you'll need a heater in Tempe this time of year. The main thing is to stop water infiltration and get it dried out.
Once it's dried out, start exploring for areas where water can infiltrate. Your trailer is 10 years old and probably hasn't had any maintenance. Look at your plumbing vents, running lights, basically anything that penetrates the skin. I have a vintage Argosy so I don't worry about matching aluminum color - I'll be painting my trailer soon so all of my caulk is white. I understand that you can get aluminum colored caulk from Trempro or Sikaflex - do a search on this forum for that.
You might also want to explore getting a moisture meter, look on Amazon for a Sonin 50211 Rapitest, seems to be a good choice based on others on this forum.
One thing I've discovered is that just because you have a "wet" area doesn't mean the trailer is lost. Wet may mean future rot, not existing rot, and if there is rot it may not be a huge problem if you catch it before it spreads.
Basically, don't panic. Dry your trailer out and start exploring. Read the forums religiously and you'll learn a LOT.
I don't think the sky is falling. You can do this.
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Old 07-07-2014, 12:46 PM   #4
1 Rivet Member
2005 25' Safari
Tempe , Arizona
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 5
Thanks for the comments. On some level I expected it or else I would not have pulled up the floor to inspect it. I'm not sure I would have been better off with a different AS - this seems to be pretty common. So I'll roll up the sleeves and get to it. In the end I'll have a lot more knowledge and be better off for it.

Moisture meter on the way. I was going to replace the flooring so I'll get everything pulled out this weekend and get some readings with the moisture meter. I may need to move the trailer to a different storage place because at this location there is no power available for me to run dehumidifiers or any other tools for that mater. I'm going to need power...

I need to find an enclosed space for this project or any work I do will get wiped out during this monsoon season.
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Old 07-07-2014, 12:57 PM   #5
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Belegedhel's Avatar
1973 21' Globetrotter
Houston , Texas
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 1,902
Common leak points are around the door, and under any window or hatch. At 10 years old, the rubber gaskets that are supposed to keep the water out of your doors and windows are likely hardened and cracked. Have a good look at them and perhaps you can correct your leaking issues without a cover or tubes of caulk. You might just hang out in thee during a heavy storm and see if you can see where the water is coming might get lucky!

I would think twice or more times about strapping a tarp over your trailer. You get a little dust up under that cover, and in a few weeks of gentle wind blowing, that tarp will rub some nice abrasions onto your skin, and this will be very difficult to correct with the "brushed" appearance of your shell.

On your rotting floor, if you are lucky, and it is small sections, you can patch them and not perform major surgery. The stuff that looks like someone poured epoxy on the floor is likely just that. There was probably a spot on the floor that was beginning to rot, and the previous owner poured some "penetrating epoxy" on it as a shortcut to actually stopping the leak and performing a patch.
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Old 07-07-2014, 02:42 PM   #6
1 Rivet Member
2005 25' Safari
Tempe , Arizona
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 5
I see your point about the cover in the wind. I don't want to underestimate the power of the Arizona monsoon season. We get some pretty nasty storms out here this time of year - last week we had our first haboob of 2014. Here's a look:

That cloud on the bottom is all dust.

I'm calling around looking for enclosed storage with power. I hope I can find something and be allowed to work on the AS on premise.
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Old 07-07-2014, 10:16 PM   #7
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1972 Argosy 20
Snoqualmie , Washington
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 379
Well, based on that photo, I rescind my earlier comment about tarps on an Airstream. Nothing like that in the PNW! Better listen to Belegdehl. I only have to worry about rain and snow.
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Old 07-14-2014, 11:05 AM   #8
1 Rivet Member
2005 25' Safari
Tempe , Arizona
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 5
Two valuable lessons this weekend.

1. Don't work on an Airstream in direct sunlight when it's 106 in Phoenix.
2. Don't wear a paper face mask while sweating profusely and expect to breathe.

I think I may have water boarded myself!

The good news is that I got all of the flooring up. The floor in front and rear and are in pretty rough shape. The rear 6 inches or so is completely rotted and would crumble under even just a little pressure. I didn't bother with the moisture meter - the sub-floor is toast.

I'll post some pictures later toady.
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Old 07-14-2014, 11:28 AM   #9
1 Rivet Member
2005 25' Safari
Tempe , Arizona
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 5
Here's some pictures

1. Front Side is right by the door - this is the area where there it looks like they used epoxy to repair
2. Rear - Crunchy wood
3. Hall - Wood discolored, but it looks like paint overspray and not water damage
4. Bath
5. Galley w/ appliance and most of cabinet removed
6. Rear
7. Rear
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Old 07-15-2014, 09:37 AM   #10
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1971 23' Safari
Anthem , Arizona
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 119
Welcome and Enjoy the Journey!

Hello clintd,

I purchased my AS on April 30, 2014 and went through the first initial doubts by mid-May after removing everything from the interior, but by reading our fellow Airstreamer's blogs I have become inspired and confident in being able to rebuild the trailer to my wife's liking (Happy wife, happy life...).

I too am battling the heat, haboobs and monsoon rains in Anthem, Arizona and had to take a couple of weekends off to address other priorities, but will be working diligently over the next 2 months to get ahead. I so look forward to working on the interior in October when it will only be 90 degrees inside rather than 108!

A few things I've learned in the first 2 months of renovating.

1) Take the time to read our fellow Airstreamers blogs (I know I'm repeating myself, because it's that important). Also subscribe to some of the blogs that are relevent to your situation and post questions. These folks are very knowledgable and helpful. One blog that really gives you a good idea of what can go wrong and be fixed is by a gentleman named kip, that goes by Aerowood. Enjoy several hours of good reading and learning. ( )

You can also subscribe to my blog, which will allow us to share our experience, ideas and concerns as we renovate.

You will also find bloggers, such as Pams72, Aquinob and many others that have provided very good encouragement and advice.

2) I highly recommend NOT putting a tarp on your AS. The tarps that I purchased from Harbor Freight for that purpose are good quality, but they act like sandpaper on aluminum. It doesn't take long to blemish the exterior. I used the tarps to cover the AC shroud that is sun damaged and brittle, but quickly noticed how difficult it was to secure and watched the material rub the exterior. Now I use the tarp to cover parts that I removed and placed on the side of my house and it became a sail during Sunday's high winds. I really need to find a better way to store the stuff!

2) As Tim Shepard wrote in his book, "Restoring a Dream", All Airstreams leak! You can use a product named, "Velkum"
( )

The decision you really have to make is whether or not you are willing to remove the interior walls to do a thorough job of finding the root cause of all the leaks. If your AS smells musty then it may be well worth the effort to remove the walls and replace the pink insulation with something better. If you notice mice infestation, past or present, I would definitely take on the task to do a full removal of the insulation and clean thoroughly. This will make it much easier to rewire, reroute vent pipes and reconfigure other interior items. I have been battling that decision for some time and have decided that with ~7 inches of annual rainfall in the Valley of the Sun, I can live with the occasional leak, and fortunately, I have very little floor rot and no mice issues.

3) Enjoy the journey...that's why we purchased a used AS!

"Hope" - '71 23' Safari Twin Land Yacht
Anthem, AZ
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Old 07-18-2014, 02:04 PM   #11
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1981 31' Excella II
New Market , Alabama
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 5,280
The floor looks like it has been wet but it does not look like you have major damage that would require major structural repairs. You do need to find and fix all the leaks. Small sections of floor can be cut our and replaced. The rear floor area is usually a trouble spot so if that is ok then you are good.

If the floor is uncovered like that small leaks will dry pretty quick. When the floor stays wet for a long time, then it starts to rot.

Pulling the inner skins is the easiest way to find leaks. The way and Airstream is made, makes finding leaks hard. All leaks end up in the floor and can be several feet from the actual leak. The C-channel at the bottom of the wall acts like a gutter and funnels water to gaps located at the 4 corners. The leak you have up from where it looks like it was patched is one of those gap areas.


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