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Old 07-08-2013, 09:11 PM   #1
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When did Airstream stop water testing?

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, I found that they were wet. On the outside I found that there is no sealant around the door handle on the front edge. I put some tape on it for a quick temp fix and headed out for a 6 day trip in beautiful northern Michigan.

Driving home today we ran into several sections of heavy rain and also had a lot of rain last night. When we arrive home late this afternoon I started unpacking the trailer and noticed the arm on the "L" lounge was wet. Above it are the battery disconnect switch, main cabin light switch and dimmer, along with a row of 4 other light switches. All 3 areas have water dripping out around the switches and the bottom of the switch plates or covers.

I don't get it. The trailer was built 2 months ago and has about 1700 miles on it of our use along with it's trip from Ohio to Michigan. If Airstream really uses the water test on all trailers, how could a major gap of no sealant such as one at our door handle not show up as a leak? Are they really water testing all units or is it only some units being done for people to see 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.
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Old 07-08-2013, 09:13 PM   #2
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Take to dealer now.
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Old 07-08-2013, 09:16 PM   #3
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Take to dealer now.
Yup, it definitely will be going to them soon. They do have the pressure deal to check for leaks so hopefully we can find this new one and deal with it correctly.
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Old 07-08-2013, 09:18 PM   #4
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Excellent! It is in ignoring or not noticing that little drips grow into adult problems.
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Old 07-08-2013, 09:34 PM   #5
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what is horrific and sad, are the folks that did not notice leaks until too late...including after warranty expires :O

But, I am not sure as to the root of your question..."how does this happen"....but I suspect it is simply human error in the factory...perhaps folks are being more pressured to get things done even faster from the top down? but in reading about leaks, this issue unfortunately is not new it would seem...there seem to be a number of events historically in which areas that may have needed sealed, were simply not sealed.

My new unit will be here in october...I am simply going under the assumption that there are screwed up spots and that I need to find them in the case they do exist...so testing for leaks, and being very diligent seems critical....and then when caught, fixed under warranty.

Perhaps they still do the leak tests...but like anything else, folks may in practice may screw it up?
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Old 07-08-2013, 09:47 PM   #6
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I would insist the AS be resealed during 12 day checkup.
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Old 07-08-2013, 09:53 PM   #7
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what exactly is meant by "resealed"...?

Should I expect such a request add cost?

I need to dig back to a thread, but I do recall folks recommending "sealing" all seams with some product.
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Old 07-08-2013, 09:56 PM   #8
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IMHO, "resealed" = "sealed again".

Part of AS life.
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Old 07-08-2013, 09:59 PM   #9
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no, what I mean is...what is the product and process involve with sealing again? Ill dig back to that thread and remind myself...I recall a number of things recommended including things to prevent/mitigate filiform corrosion....etc.
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Old 07-08-2013, 09:59 PM   #10
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Acryl is the sealant for seams of alumin panels. SikaFlex on otter seams around windows doors, etc.

Others will have better advice, but I would ask as part of delivery that seals be verified... That's their job in mind. Also after TT built, there is some settling of components as they are transported. So it would be normal to resealed as necessary.
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Old 07-08-2013, 10:13 PM   #11
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Channing means Acryl-R -- available at the airstream store online and other places. PharmGeek, I don't think it is advisable to reseal all seams just for the sake of it. There remains a quandary and it is hard to feel 100% secure. The old "They all leak" adage holds true -- sadly, even on the day after you think you finally got it!

HeadWest, I believe the factory still puts the finished shells into a shower room for the purpose of testing. This is after insulation & inner skins are installed. I'm not convinced that this would allow best observation of leaks of the outer shell. You've got a long warranty period -- get it back to the dealer for leaks immediately. You'll still need to bounce a new Airstream down the road for a full season before you'll find everything. I wouldn't wait on getting leaks fixed. More than one warranty visit may be needed* and you'll be glad for the opportunity. It doesn't pay to buy multiple states away in my opinion.

I recently talked to a dealer about doing a Sealtech test as preventive maintenance. They talked to Jackson Center and the factory advised against doing that if there are no known leaks -- the pressurization might blow open marginal sealing or push out corrosion or dirt that is maintaining an effective seal.

...............................
* In my case: a bad light, a cabinet coming apart, a few stripped screw holes on drawer guides, over-torqued self tapping screws on BAL stabilizers. I was and still am happy after I got past their responsibility. On my own now I guess...
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Old 07-08-2013, 10:39 PM   #12
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HeadWest, I believe the factory still puts the finished shells into a shower room for the purpose of testing. This is after insulation & inner skins are installed. I'm not convinced that this would allow best observation of leaks of the outer shell.
For what it's worth, I have done the factory tour three times, and each time I saw the spray chamber test it was done on trailers with the wiring roughed in, but no insulation or inner shell, so that leaks could be detected and recaulked if necessary from the inside.

I haven't done the factory tour in the last couple of years so I can't be sure that's still true, but it wouldn't make much sense to do the leak test at a point in the assembly process where it would be hard to detect or correct a leak.
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Old 07-08-2013, 10:53 PM   #13
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I haven't done the factory tour in the last couple of years so I can't be sure that's still true, but it wouldn't make much sense to do the leak test at a point in the assembly process where it would be hard to detect or correct a leak.
True.

Now that I think about it, the leak test area is partway along the back wall. The area to the right of that is where they install the insulation & inner skins. Thanks for the clarification.
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Old 07-09-2013, 05:23 AM   #14
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I observed water testing on the factory tour last August. No insulation or inner skin during water testing. The tech was using a caulking gun with a product I was unfamiliar with for repairing leaks. I wrote down the name of the caulk (don't know what I did with it). The repairs are done on the inside.

This does not prove that all trailers are water tested. I did not feel that the water test was the equivalent of pulling a trailer in a hard rain.

I use Parbond and Sikaflex for seam sealant.
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