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Old 09-22-2015, 10:39 AM   #1
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1979 31' Excella 500
Charlevoix , Michigan
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This Leak will be the end of me (with pictures)

We're nearly complete with the year-long process of renovating our '79 Excella 500 and I swear, this darn leak I've been working to seal might just be the end of me! I thought I sealed it long ago, but seems to still be in full effect:

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This is in the front of the AS, directly underneath the window immediately to the right of the door when you walk in. This is the engineered wood floor peeling up away from the cork padding underneath. The cork is damp to the touch.

Before we put in the floors, we knew there was a leak coming down the interior of the AS skin and settling on the newly installed subfloor, so I sealed every seam and missing rivet hole I could find on the front half of that side of the AS, including all the window seems. Every seem looks like this:

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If it's not clear from the picture, there is clear caulk filling the seam along the top edge of this window.

I can not for the life of me figure out where this water is coming in, and I need some help.

Does anyone have a website or other resource that explains more "advanced" techniques for finding the source of leaks? Or even just some advice from others who have had to track down persistent leaks?
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Old 09-22-2015, 11:18 AM   #2
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1990 32' Excella
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First I would check to make sure every seam is completely sealed. Silicone is probably the worst sealer for airstreams. It tends to turn loose in small spots that are hard to see. Check all the way on top of the trailer.leaks will sometimes run across and down frame members . I
Had a leak at the front top awning bracket and it came out on the floor between the door and kitchen cabinets. I like to use vulkem poly caulk. Good luck.
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Old 09-22-2015, 11:21 AM   #3
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Should have also told you to check the lower trim . water can get behind and wick under the wall.
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Old 09-22-2015, 11:32 AM   #4
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Airstreams can be pressurized to locate psky leaks. Talk to service at the mothership in Jackson Center. I know there have been threads on the subject, but the Forums search function sucks.
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Old 09-22-2015, 11:42 AM   #5
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At the Airstream facility they can do 2 tests. The first is the pressure test where they put a soapy solution on the outside and then pressurize the inside, watching for bubbles.

The second is the rain storm test where they put it in an enclosed room then use pressurized water to hit it from all sides.

Obviously, it's best to have the flooring up in the problem area(s) so they can see where the leaks are. We had ours done there and then sealed. I also had them reseal the entire roof again, labor intensive and very expensive. The roof reseal was about a grand and took most of a day. I don't recall that the tests themselves were very expensive.
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Old 09-22-2015, 12:06 PM   #6
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2012 25' FB Eddie Bauer
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sealtech vendor

Go to SEARCH, select "google search" and type in "sealtech vendor" - you'll get a bunch of threads about pressure testing Airstreams and other brands using this technique. Basically a big fan is hooked to a roof vent and air is pumped into the RV with all of the doors and windows shut and sealed. Next soapy water is sprayed over the RV and the technician looks for bubbles around rivets, seams, etc., and marks every one. After the test is concluded everything that leaked is cleaned out and re-sealed.

Colin Hyde - located in Baltimore is one vendor I know who does have that equipment - but there may be others closer to you.

Paula
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Old 09-22-2015, 12:23 PM   #7
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1979 31' Excella 500
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Foiled Again View Post
Go to SEARCH, select "google search" and type in "sealtech vendor". Colin Hyde - located in Baltimore is one vendor I know who does have that equipment - but there may be others closer to you.
Thanks Paula! Just spoke to Colin and he gave me some great advice. This video was helpful too:

Leak Testing RVs

Turns out, there are number of DIY methods to pressure leak test an airstream using leaf blowers, air compressors, fans etc... Since I'm going the renovation DIY I'll try some of these methods.

Thanks everyone for the advice!
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Old 09-22-2015, 01:31 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Foiled Again View Post
Colin Hyde - located in Baltimore is one vendor I know who does have that equipment - but there may be others closer to you.

Paula

Baltimore? I thought he was in New York. If he is in Baltimore I'll go see him since he is local.

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Old 09-22-2015, 02:07 PM   #9
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- electric box fan
- fridge shipping cardboard box
- ice chest
- automotive soap
- mop
- blue painters tape

Make sure the AS is 'closed up' snugly...

Get a 'box fan'... and some cardboard from a 'fridge' shipping container. Open the AS door, tape the cardboard into the doorway...fitting it as snug as possible... cut a hole for the 'box fan', set the fan up, blowing into the AS. Secure with 'painters tape'.... seal well.

Make up a solution of 'soap' with your Automotive soap in your ice chest. Turn on the box fan on high... Using the mop, slop a bunch all over the area you want to check... watch for 'bubbles'... sorta like checking a tire for leaks...

Where you find bubbles... is a leak.

Of course you could pay a couple hundred bucks for someone to do it for you, too.
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Old 09-22-2015, 02:19 PM   #10
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Baltimore? I thought he was in New York. If he is in Baltimore I'll go see him since he is local.

-Alden
Sorry MAJOR brainfart today - Got six things going on and posting with less than 10% concentration. Colin is in NY. FRANK YENSAN is in Baltimore.... URK!

Acute cranial rectal inversion on my part - two really good Airstream gurus.

Paula
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Old 09-22-2015, 10:37 PM   #11
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Captain trolleys creeping crack cure is another great help in dealing with leaky rivets. It's all a very tenacious task... I also made a "hillbilly leak detector" with a couple of shop vacs blowing in hatches and bubbles sprayed on. Worked pretty well.
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Old 09-23-2015, 11:53 AM   #12
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1979 31' Excella 500
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Well, I'm about to dive head-first into this pressurized leak testing thing. Hopefully I've got every sealed up correctly (some stuff on the outside and some on the inside depending on how easy it was to access) and there's enough pressure being pumped into the AS from the 3 inward-blowing Fantastic Fans, 1 Roof A/C fan and a leaf blower through the bathroom window!




We'll see what I find!
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Old 09-23-2015, 12:03 PM   #13
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Pay close attention to front clearance lights.
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Old 09-23-2015, 01:20 PM   #14
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1977 31' Sovereign
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You've shown everything except the corner where the leak is at. I presume it's the right front corner.

Have you got a white/clear patio light?? Remove the lens. Check for cracks in the lens.

Tom
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