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Old 01-06-2019, 08:00 PM   #1
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2007 25' Safari FB SE
Detroit , Michigan
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Wet subfloor in a 2007 Safari FB 25'

Good evening, everyone.

I recently acquired our first Airstream -- a 2007 Safari SE LS 25' with the front queen, purchased from the original owner.

I'm using the winter to take care of anything I need to tackle before our season begins in the spring. First up: I noticed the vinyl in the rear street-side corner had curled up, so I investigated. One discovery led to another, and I cleared out the front dinette and bench to see the full extent of the situation:



This is the same shot with an overlay of the moisture content readings:



The higher concentration of moisture is around a particular deck screw which is more rusted than the rest. That spot (about 1.5" radius) is wetter than the rest of the damage and the plywood is swollen more noticeably there. About a foot towards the rear of the trailer from that spot, there is a fair bit of mold growth.

I took a look underneath and didn't see any obvious intrusion points, although that spot definitely seems to be where the water is coming in. But given the sheer area of wet plywood, it seems there has to be intrusion elsewhere as well. Or can water from that point travel to cover that entire area? As for integrity of the plywood, I'm not yet sure if it is soft enough to warrant replacement or if it can be dried out.

My other hypothesis was the rear bumper vulnerability that I've read about here. But if that were the problem, I'd expect to see moisture across the entire width of the rear.

Another observation: the rear street-side curved window (the dry corner) was replaced by the original owner after a break-in. The replacement was a factory welded-frame window. Could the moisture be coming into the other two mitered-frame windows where the sealant has likely failed?

I also cleared out the front bedroom and found some moisture there as well:



The damp spot in the center-right is at about 12-14% moisture content, while the rest is dry (5-8%). I've read about a spare tire mount problem that could introduce moisture. If that was the case, is this the spot in the floor where the problem would show up?

I'd appreciate your experienced opinions before I take it any further. I'm handy and will likely do any work myself to ensure it's done correctly. Thank you!

Zayd
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Old 01-06-2019, 08:08 PM   #2
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Water typically does not enter from underneath the trailer.
Check those panoramic windows for problems between the aluminum frame and glass.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/blog...nt-right-2995/
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Old 01-06-2019, 08:25 PM   #3
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The plywood actually looks pretty good!

The first thing I would check: If your trailer has the rear bumper storage - The metal lid of the bumper storage intersects and penetrates completely through the exterior wall beneath the plywood into the interior. When water lands on that lid it can weep inward and saturate the wood floor. (search this forum for "wood rot rear bumper storage")

Typical leaks could be:
The perimeter of door, caulking or seals.
The perimeter of windows, caulking or seals.
The intersection of the end cap and roof/wall, especially the area near the end of the awning rail and awning brackets.
Roof penetrations - caulking at fan curbs, pan beneath AC unit, and caulk at plumbing vents.
Access hatches - seals or
Any light on the exterior - caulk screw and wire penetrations

Good luck!
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Old 01-06-2019, 10:03 PM   #4
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I would pull the belly pan down on the back couple of feet from bumper forward and look from underneath
You will be able to see the extent of the problem
We looked at a 2003 with h same bumper issue
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Old 01-07-2019, 11:02 AM   #5
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We were told that some of the Airstreams had issues where the seam under the exterior trim (the horizontal band) wasn’t sealed. I’m not one ounce technical so this is my best shot at explaining -

Check where the upper body meets the belly pan (?) behind the trim over the rear bumper. The seam behind the trim was not sealed.
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Old 01-07-2019, 12:07 PM   #6
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Wet subfloor

Check the marker lights on the roof. You can tell if they are leaking by getting on a ladder after a storm an looking thru the lenses. If you see a puddle of water inside the lens then you can be pretty sure that the water is entering the trailer thru the marker lights.
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Old 01-07-2019, 04:01 PM   #7
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2006 25' Safari SS SE
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Door

We have a 2006 Safari we bought second hand too. We have been chasing leaks for 4 years. Windows were a spot and also exterior lights. We have replaced the floor and epoxy patched the subfloor by the door. We are heading to JC this summer to get a pressure check and have the door realigned. Good luck to you!
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Old 01-07-2019, 04:06 PM   #8
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2007 27' Safari FB SE
Milton , Georgia
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I have a 2007 Safari 27 that I bought used and had similar moisture issues. Rather than the long story of all the repairs, here are things I learned as I discovered and fixed leaks. I found I really like Trempro 635 sealant.
Airstream has lots of areas where water can seep, or weep, between layers of materials. It can travel sideways a long way. Moisture at one spot can originate from a leak some distance away.
My 2007 had bubble foil on the underside of the plywood. It and the vinyl flooring above create a moisture trap. Moisture gets in by seeping sideways, and then accumulates, unable to drip out or evaporate. It can't ever dry.
All my marker lights leaked thru the mounting screws. They are not water tight as designed and leak thru the lenses. Moisture gets in the walls and goes down to the floor.
Roof penetrations caused some of my leaks. Inspect the caulk everywhere, and look for places where it has separated, formed a small crack, and no longer seals. Moisture can seep thru small cracks.
Fantastic fans can cause the roof to sag a bit and cause a puddle to form on one side of the fan, and the sag causes cracks in the sealant.
The belly band has many screws penetrating lots of areas. It has screws that go from the outside all the way to the plywood. Moisture can seep thru those screws.
Good luck and I hope you enjoy your Safari as much as I have mine.
Brad
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Old 01-08-2019, 09:03 PM   #9
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All useful recommendations -- thank you. Right now, I'm waiting for some wet weather to pass so I can go out and continue the work. It will be in the 20s/30s, but I'd rather do this now than in camping season!

I'll check out everything suggested here and report back with findings when I have them. Thanks again for the guidance.

Zayd
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Old 01-12-2019, 11:10 PM   #10
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2007 25' Safari FB SE
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An update while searching for the source of water intrusion.

I was hopeful that since my rear street-side plywood looked dry from the inside (see pics above), the bumper was not the source of the problem and I'd find a simpler fix. But dropping the belly pan and cutting away the reflectix proved otherwise. The plywood was wet the entire width of the back edge, right up against the rear bumper. That confirms that the bumper plate leak is my source (or at least the main one). Moisture readings were near 50% in some areas and the far corner in the picture below was crumbling.

Now it's time to research what it takes to replace the whole rear piece of subfloor.
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Old 01-13-2019, 01:24 AM   #11
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2007 27' Safari FB SE
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Sorry you found so much moisture, but not a surprise. You can fix it to be nearly good as new.

My opinion is the reflectix insulation was well intended, but was a mistake because it created a moisture trap. I removed as much of it as i could get to.While you have the belly pan down, use a razor knife and remove as much as you can reach. Reflectix only provided a slight amount of insulation. I have not noticed any insulation difference with the reflectix gone.

Next spray every inch of bare plywood you can see with a 10% solution of Timbor, available from doityourselfpestcontrol.com or other sources. It will stop and prevent further rot. Spray from the top side too. Several applications.

Check under the bed and make sure the protective plastic has been removed over the carpet. If not, use the razor knife. I found the carpet damp. The idea is to make it possible for every thing to dry.

The carpet is stapled to the floor around the perimeter where it meets the wall. Remove all the staples so you can lift up the carpet and inspect for moisture. The carpet will stay put because the bed is on it. You dont gave to staple it back down. Spray the bare plywood under the carpet w Timbor.

You will find a black paint coating the plywood around the perimeter. My opinion is this was also a mistake. It sealed the surface and traped moisture inside. I used the razor knife can cut lines thru the black paint so it could breathe and also sprayed Timbor so it could soak in.

Evaluate if you can spot patch with epoxy products to repair your floor. It is a more involved process replace the floor. Not really hard to do, but more steps.

Use a straight edge and cut the vinyl flooring. You can decide to put new flooring just over the repaired area and have a seam, or, otherwise all the flooring in the whole trailer has to be replaced. That is a big job since so much furniture and cabinetry, plumbing and electrical are affected. I chose to allow a seam and now it does not bother me. But that is another decision to make.

My floor damage was beyond repair and I replaced about 4 feet of it. There are lots of little screws into the edge of the plywood from the belly band, which needs to be removed, all which are not sealed and water wicks in around the screw threads. Most screws will be rusty. You will want a new chrome vinyl bumper strip in the belly band when you are done.

There are large bolts that firmly fasten the aluminum shell to the plywood and to the steel frame below. They are hidden inside the double wall of the aluminum shell. These have to come out to remove and replace the plywood. They are hard to remove and I cut them out with a grinder.

Access to these bolts requires removing the interior aluminum planels, a straight forward but tremendous amount of work. I located the bolts from underneath and used a sharp new 2" hole saw to cut access holes in the interior aluminum wall at each bolt location. The holes are covered afterwards with tidy snap in hole plugs. Most are covered by furniture and I decided that although not historically accurate, they were not visible and did not detract from the Airstream aprearance. Not for everyone, but something to decide.

Meanwhile, during disassembly, notice how moisture has travelled sideways thru the plywood, and between layers such as under the vinyl floor, or under the bumper hinge plate. That is the thing you must eliminate by sealing the entrance points.

Good luck and enjoy the adventure. The Air Forums are invaluable along the way.

Brad
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Old 01-13-2019, 08:40 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zayd View Post
An update while searching for the source of water intrusion.

I was hopeful that since my rear street-side plywood looked dry from the inside (see pics above), the bumper was not the source of the problem and I'd find a simpler fix. But dropping the belly pan and cutting away the reflectix proved otherwise. The plywood was wet the entire width of the back edge, right up against the rear bumper. That confirms that the bumper plate leak is my source (or at least the main one). Moisture readings were near 50% in some areas and the far corner in the picture below was crumbling.

Now it's time to research what it takes to replace the whole rear piece of subfloor.
Since the plywood is such good shape, there is no reason to replace the plywood. All you need to do is stop the leak, dry out the plywood, if there is some separation in the plies of the plywood repair appropriately, then install new floor covering.

This is what I did>

first
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f456...de-109059.html

second
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f36/...xy-108608.html
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Old 01-13-2019, 09:36 AM   #13
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IF and when you decide to replace the subfloor

Hopefully, you can dry out and salvage the existing plywood subfloor.

Replacing the subfloor is a real pain, but many have done so, there is some good advice here; you can search the forum on ways to do it.

There is a small group of us here who passionately believe in using Coosa Board as a replacement subfloor; it is a composite material used in the marine industry that is just as strong and easy to work with as plywood, but only 2/3rds the weight and is virtually water-proof, mold-proof and critter and varmint-proof as well. Yes it is more expensive than plywood, which is undoubtedly why AS doesn't use it instead. But it is totally worth it, IMHO to avoid ever having to replace the floor ever again!
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Old 01-13-2019, 10:06 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skyguyscott View Post
Hopefully, you can dry out and salvage the existing plywood subfloor.

Replacing the subfloor is a real pain, but many have done so, there is some good advice here; you can search the forum on ways to do it.

There is a small group of us here who passionately believe in using Coosa Board as a replacement subfloor; it is a composite material used in the marine industry that is just as strong and easy to work with as plywood, but only 2/3rds the weight and is virtually water-proof, mold-proof and critter and varmint-proof as well. Yes it is more expensive than plywood, which is undoubtedly why AS doesn't use it instead. But it is totally worth it, IMHO to avoid ever having to replace the floor ever again!
A big plus one for Coosa board; (heck I'd demand Airstream build a new trailer with it right from the get go). I'm Coosa biggest airforums fanboy.

Water absorbtion is less than 1%; basically moistened the outside.

Here is my experience with subfloor rot and Coosa board.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f311...me-106269.html

Cheers
Sidekick Tony
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