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Old 05-05-2015, 07:49 PM   #1
Rivet Master
2016 30' International
Scottsdale , Arizona
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What evidence of a water leak?

If you get a leak with an Airstream... where would the most common evidence of a leak be?

I know, obviously, finding water in the coach; but where are the most common areas where the water makes itself evident? And what are the most common spots where leaks occur?

Would a leak generally tend to run down inside the wall and become apparent at the floor?

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Old 05-05-2015, 08:27 PM   #2
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1974 31' Sovereign
1979 23' Safari
Wayland , New York
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HAHA, airstreams leak?

Most obvious sign is wet where it shouldn't be. This could be anywhere, and where you find the wet is not necessarily a sign of where the leak is, because of what you mentioned. Water can get trapped between the walls and run out somewhere a ways away, but generally yes the most obvious place will be along the bottom of the walls, unless it's piping, or a/c, or vent or window or.....
Leaks not limited to AS though, SOB's get them too, but when you're paying 3x+ what an SOB costs Airstream should have racked some engineering brains (I'm an engineer) together and gotten a solution by now. Better QC wouldn't hurt.
Important thing is to be alert for leaks, so you can nip them in the bud before they cause to much damage.

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Old 05-05-2015, 09:31 PM   #3
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2012 25' Flying Cloud
Battle Lake , Minnesota
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We do quarterly inspections of our Airstream including checking for leaks and have found four minor leaks, which we promptly fixed. They were not there when the trailer was new, but developed with use.

They were also completely hidden from view or touch, damp plywood under the vinyl subfloor. We probe through the vinyl into the subfloor around the perimeter of the interior with a moisture detection meter. It should be a part of your Airstream tool kit.
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Old 05-05-2015, 09:34 PM   #4
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1999 34' Excella
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Leaks will generally work their way down the wall/rib.. between the skins... you will find damp areas at the floor and wall intersection.

When windows leak, you will find leaks around them... then down to the floor.

The two most critical locations for our 1999 was the upper seams you mention, and the clearance lights! There was no 'seal' between the light and where the wires passed into the shell!

Another spot was the 'seam' where the window edges came together... water would pool in the corner and work it's way in...

Oh, look on Amazon for a 'Sonin' moisture detector like the one above. it has two 'pin' probes for testing moisture.
Peace and Blessings..
WBCCI# 30676
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Old 05-06-2015, 09:17 PM   #5
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1978 31' Sovereign
Hot Springs , Arkansas
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You have to think like a drop of water. I found a leak on our AS at the Winegard antenna. It wasn't apparent at first, but I noticed a water stain on both sides of the coach in line with the antenna on a lower panel overlap. The sealant at the antenna wire entrance was dried and cracked just enough. I guess you have to scrutinize every place a hole was made.
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Old 05-06-2015, 10:12 PM   #6
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Lexington , Kentucky
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Smell of moldy wood is a big indicator of a bad floor
Warped flooring, the little rolls or buckles in the tile floor
Excessive caulking around windows, particularly on the same side, when the other windows are all original.
Soft or low spots in the flooring.
Mold in storage areas, even if they are left open.

We know more now than we did a year ago.

Rich & Yvonne
2006 Safari SE -Dora-
2004 4Runner SE

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Old 05-07-2015, 12:14 AM   #7
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I can imagine that a leak in an Airstream could go undetected quite a while... to the point where some real floor damage could begin. Best to be really vigilant.
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Old 05-07-2015, 05:13 AM   #8
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Where Airstreams leak?

They leak less in drier regions of the country.

How water gets in ? Air Conditioner mount, skylight mount, seams, windows, running lights, door.

My two leaks were #1 entry door….#2 ( pun intended ) black tank.

Note….once in very hot weather, it rained inside my trailer when I put the air conditioner on. ( no leak…just condensation )
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Old 05-07-2015, 08:21 AM   #9
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Nixa , Missouri
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It appears you are looking for a preowned unit.

Seems to be a common problem for early to mid 2000 Safari and Internationals to have water penetration between the rub rail and rear bumper. Using the Sonin meter can show if there is water infiltration in the rear area under rear dinette models. Water gets in between the vinyl floor and eventually rots the plywood subfloor. Look for spongy floors in this area.

Check the floors in outside storage compartments.

Window frames on these models are not welded together at the corners. Leaks occur there and the water runs down to the floor inside the walls.

Roof vents, including the plumbing vent stacks. Check the roof for old chauking and cracked plumbing vents.

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Old 05-09-2015, 11:49 AM   #10
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2007 27' Safari FB SE
Rancho Murieta , California
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I see the CKOTTUM has the Sonin moisture meter. Is this the way to go as for a meter? $27.00 on Amazon. Are there better ways to go?
I too had condensation from the AC raining in my rig on a SUPER hot day. Moisture is one of my biggest fears for obvious reasons!
Thanks Everyone.
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Old 05-09-2015, 01:14 PM   #11
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2012 25' Flying Cloud
Battle Lake , Minnesota
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Hi Ron, the Sonin meter has the sensing probes at the end of a cord (looks like a wall outlet extension cord in the photo) that enable you to reach into corners and hold the meter with the other hand.

Take a file and sharpen those probes like needles so you can easily probe through the vinyl floor into the plywood subfloor and the tiny holes virtually disappear when you lift it.

It is very sensitive, will indicate moisture on your seemingly dry fingers. Accuracy doesn't matter much, if the needle moves you have a damp subfloor. A lot of movement and you have a wet subfloor.

Not all moisture is leakage. A few days in damp, cold, rainy climate can cause condensation where there is little air circulation to some lower areas of the interior aluminum walls. Condensation may form on the surface, then drain down into the subfloor. The meter will indicate a level of moisture, possibly quite a bit. Hopefully the weather will improve and the subfloor will dry, we keep close tabs on this when it happens.

Another less reliable method of seeing if you have had moisture in the subfloor is to remove some of the screws that hold the little plastic baseboard trim. If the threads are shiny, its been dry. If they are dull and corroded, it's been wet.

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Old 05-10-2015, 12:44 AM   #12
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Thank you, Cheryl. You have been MOST helpful. I am going to order the Sonin from Amazon right now! Your insight is appreciated.


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