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Old 07-09-2013, 12:47 PM   #15
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Headwest, you are approximately 200 miles away from Jackson Center. My suggestion, FWIW, would be to call them and set up an appointment. In some cases, the repair to a leaky seam is not just putting on some sealant - in my own case, they had to drill out and hand buck in new rivets. You want it done right, done under warranty and done expeditiously, so a phone call to Chris Burch at JC would be the way to go.
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Old 07-09-2013, 01:28 PM   #16
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I've got moisture detectors ready for install, for just this eventuality.

Hopefully you'll get it all sorted out. Finding faults with a brand new anything is frustrating, especially with something as expensive as a new AS.
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Old 07-12-2013, 11:30 AM   #17
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Unhappy Their 'water testing' is useless...

Quote:
Originally Posted by HeadWest View Post
When did Airstream stop water testing new units?

Last week, I noticed rust spots around the rivets on the inside door skin. With looking closer......on the factory tours?

Sorry for the rant but frustrations are high at the moment. Thankfully I have a great dealer that I know will get things resolved but it still is the wasted time dealing with quality issues at Jackson Center.
Hi,

Welcome to the 'Disappointed Club'. Airstreams are great trailers in many ways. I love to use ours with its nice layout & great towing characteristics. I have no intention of getting rid of mine but certain aspects of the AS design & quality control is a joke.

I bought my 2008 Safari FB SE brand new. It demonstrated several leaks shortly after I got it. I was shocked to discover that these were due to unfinished caulk lines along the roof lines. I subsequently discovered leaking plumbing stacks, leaking window frames, leaks around the front & rear windows... then leaking belly band trim... leaking rear tail lights...leaking rear bumper line etc. I have just spent around 500 hours dismantling, fixing & re-sealing my unit (along with extensive modifications to the interior the interior while I was at it). After taking a good part of the unit apart to do this, I can say with some confidence that any pretense that Airstream has an effective water leak testing program is pure B$/hype & nothing more.

I hope that I have remedied the problems but I'm not holding my breath yet.

Airstream knows about these problems in design and QC but has clearly not addressed them in an upfront and effective manner. They usually blame the owner for not doing proper maintenance which presumably includes intermittent dis-assembly & caulking all the seams in the unit that they didn't caulk at the factory. (Most of these issues are fixable but I think they need a complete overhaul of their corporate philosophy to see this happen.)

At your stage of ownership, on warranty, I think you should take it back to the factory & insist that they not only fix the current leaks but do some version of pressure testing to find all the others lurking there waiting to show themselves. If there are dodgy weak seams, let the pressure testing stress them. Better to find them now than 5 years from now when your foot goes through a rotten section of flooring.

Automobiles don't leak like these units do, but the Auto manufacturers are subject to lemon laws & other rules that don't seem to apply to the RV industry.

Good luck with your fight. I love travelling & camping in our Airstream but I do wish Airstream had done their part of the job properly.

-evan
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Old 07-12-2013, 11:52 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andreasduess View Post
I've got moisture detectors ready for install, for just this eventuality.

Hopefully you'll get it all sorted out. Finding faults with a brand new anything is frustrating, especially with something as expensive as a new AS.
What are these detectors? These are not the ones you go around and check areas yourself? How do these work?
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Old 07-12-2013, 12:11 PM   #19
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A year or so after purchase of my 2002 ASCL 31' I discovered that the front curved windows had LARGE sealant gaps all along their lower edges. These gaps simply could not have resulted from flexing due to road vibration; they had to have been due to lack of quality control during manufacture, and WOULD have evidenced if ANY leak test had been done; so I don't believe every unit is leak tested, or the person doing so simply has never had a glass of water.

I corrected the leaks using clear silicone rubber. I know, I know, this is supposedly verboten, but it has worked for me without any corrosive or other maladies, adheres absolutely to both metal and glass, remains flexible forever, and has lasted for ~10 years without failure.
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Old 07-12-2013, 12:16 PM   #20
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...I was at Alumapalooza in May. Went through the factory tour for the 3d time, and "yes" they put each trailer through the water testing chamber. (And, as noted by another poster, the interior skins are NOT on yet....though it looked as if all "through the trailer" fixtures are in place.) There is someone inside the trailer as they pressure wash, and he/she has a black light to spot water intrusion and (of course) a caulk gun. Awful to hear about leaks from brand new trailers. Up until now, I haven't found any leaks in my '12, and I have done a couple of checks with my moisture tester under the dinette, by the door, and in the rear under my bed. So far, so good.
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Old 07-12-2013, 02:08 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BAB View Post
...I was at Alumapalooza in May. Went through the factory tour for the 3d time, and "yes" they put each trailer through the water testing chamber. (And, as noted by another poster, the interior skins are NOT on yet....though it looked as if all "through the trailer" fixtures are in place.) There is someone inside the trailer as they pressure wash, and he/she has a black light to spot water intrusion and (of course) a caulk gun. Awful to hear about leaks from brand new trailers. Up until now, I haven't found any leaks in my '12, and I have done a couple of checks with my moisture tester under the dinette, by the door, and in the rear under my bed. So far, so good.
They may do this form of testing but I think this is the wrong methodology. It is clearly missing many significant defects & leaks. Many leaks go undetected. Imagine a 3 hole defect on one seam. The upper leak is discovered as water tracks down but the two lower defects will be missed. The amount of pressure & water contact to any given area will vary significantly.

I believe it would be far better to pressurize the interior & using the soap bubble method look for leaks. This would be far more sensitive & effective.

Airstream has a problem with a high rate of catastrophic leakage & failure. They need to change those design quirks that contribute to this as well as test more effectively. Even if they couldn't care less about hapless owners struggling to keep their AS's in good condition, their reputation & business is at stake here.

- evan
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Old 07-12-2013, 03:17 PM   #22
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Mine didn't leak when I bought it, I know because I have been probing the interior perimeter for nearly two years with a Moisture detection meter, the kind home inspectors use.

I found one after a year, under a loosened entrance door hinge. Yesterday I drenched the trailer exterior shell with large amounts of water, and this morning made my quarterly check for leaks.

Found another at the front floor edge. Tiny, just a couple drops perhaps. I see a small crack above the exterior floor trim seal which I will reseal and test again.

They most probably send them out leak-free, but plan on regular inspections and resealing as needed to keep them that way. Not hard to do. Like it or not, the quality assurance becomes our responsibility after we buy it.

doug k
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Old 07-12-2013, 03:31 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dkottum View Post
Mine didn't leak when I bought it, I know because I have been probing the interior perimeter for nearly two years with a Moisture detection meter, the kind home inspectors use.

I found one after a year, under a loosened entrance door hinge. Yesterday I drenched the trailer exterior shell with large amounts of water, and this morning made my quarterly check for leaks.

Found another at the front floor edge. Tiny, just a couple drops perhaps. I see a small crack above the exterior floor trim seal which I will reseal and test again.

They most probably send them out leak-free, but plan on regular inspections and resealing as needed to keep them that way. Not hard to do. Like it or not, the quality assurance becomes our responsibility after we buy it.

doug k
Hi Doug,

I like your idea of the moisture meter. Good idea.

I think you have been lucky. was your unit built on a Wednesday?

If you had a brand new vehicle that required all the trim to be removed in order to caulk seams & joints that were over-looked by the factory, would you consider that acceptable?

I just finished doing that for my unit at the 5 year mark but what I repaired was wrong from the factory. I was lucky. At least it wasn't rotted out but I am upset that I have to do this sort of maintenance in order to keep my unit from falling to pieces.

During our Spring camping trip down the Oregon/ California coasts my wife & I encountered a fair bit of rain & had the usual frustrations with water accumulating in the Front & Rear window wells but no other obvious water leaks. We started talking about replacing the nasty shag type carpet in the bedroom & talked about converting our Queen FB to twins to give a little more room & better sleeps... thus I came back to the forum to search on flooring options only to find that topic was not what kind of floor to put in but how to deal with "Rot"!

"Yikes" says I. Could we be afflicted too? Since we were going to replace the floor I took the plunge & cut into the vinyl near the dinette. Sure enough, the plywood was soaking wet! No rot but clearly there were big problems with water entry.


Since then in late April, I believe that I have spent 500 + hours working on my Airstream. There were at least 4-5 different routes of water entry contributing to the problem. Once I started pulling the unit apart, it prompted a whole lot of other work...

I will be posting a more complete blog of what I have done but here are a few pics showing how much water was trapped in the floor.

This image has been resized. Click this bar to view the full image. The original image is sized %1%2.





The trim taken off by Rear bumper - no caulk - nothing; just dirt & water on the foil.


Hmmm...I wonder where that foil goes?

Cutting into the under floor insulation revealed a virtual geyser...


Water was coming in through the bumper wall interface. The Starboard Rear tail light was incorrectly installed & had a major 2-3 cm wide gap between the inside wall & the housing. (I forgot to photograph it unfortunately.) Water was coming down the inside wall from the front & back windows and also Port side front area near the GVWR stickers where the belly band had no caulk. Similar smart design as the rear bumper.


Would have thought this could leave the factory like with these defects?

-evan
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Old 07-12-2013, 03:44 PM   #24
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No I wouldn't call it acceptable, an old and ongoing problem with Airstream and others. I've just tried to find the best ways to deal with it.

doug
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Old 07-12-2013, 03:44 PM   #25
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Wow...so sad to read about these kinds of leaking issues. That is my biggest fear, after all I live in Seattle area!!

What is the best moisture detector unit to buy? I found a pinless model at Amazon, but the reviews are lousy. Any recommendations?
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Old 07-12-2013, 03:51 PM   #26
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This is the Sonin moisture detection meter I and others here use. It is battery operated and has a probe at the end of a cord to get into tight spots. Works very well. I sharpened the probes a little extra.

Sonin 50211 Rapitest 10% to 28% Pinless Analog Wood, Concrete, Plaster, Carpet, and More Moisture Meter - Amazon.com

doug k
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Old 07-12-2013, 04:58 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dkottum View Post
This is the Sonin moisture detection meter I and others here use. It is battery operated and has a probe at the end of a cord to get into tight spots. Works very well. I sharpened the probes a little extra.

Sonin 50211 Rapitest 10% to 28% Pinless Analog Wood, Concrete, Plaster, Carpet, and More Moisture Meter - Amazon.com

doug k

Thanks for the link Doug.

I don't want to be cutting into the new floor to monitor the situation.

I ordered one of these. I'm hoping I have things sealed properly now but I would like to know when there is a problem sooner than later. This should be just the ticket.


-evan
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Old 09-07-2013, 09:49 AM   #28
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I have a question.

Is the seam sealer that Airstream uses (when they use it) the same quality as the seam sealer used in the auto industry to seal the auto bodies?

Seems like cars and trucks rarely leak. Could that type of product be used on the aluminum to solve leak issues? I would imagine that it would be best applied to the inside of the walls, but should be fine on the exterior roof seams etc.

Here's an example of what I'm speaking about:
3M Automix Self-Leveling Seam Sealer, 08307, 200 mL cartridge-Shop 3M

This 3M product works in auto bodies for 10, 12, 15 years without fail. Has anyone ever tried something like this?

I agree, that on a 50-80K brand new Airstream leaks should be the exception not the norm.
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