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Old 01-24-2004, 03:02 PM   #1
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Bathroom woes. Part II

Investigation is a fun thing, don't you think. I did some, and came across problems that prove to me that to buy an Airstream the way I did is foolish. The trailer is rotted badly in the rear, and needs a LOT of work to remedy that fact. This is not the problem - That bit is in the design stage, so I am unconcerned about it.. What is pressing towards urgency, is how to get the bathroom out, without damaging too much - I need to totally remove everything from that back area, and start playing carpenter. What is the easiest way to do this, are there any links to an explanation as to how they put the bathroom together? I would imagine the reverse would be the best way to remove it.

I am rapidly running out of money, and need to spend a lot more, so things are tight. I need new axles too. but that has an alternative solution...

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Old 01-25-2004, 02:57 PM   #2
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I just ran into the same problem on my bullet. I already bought the axles so i don't have to worry about that anymore. today i riped out the toilet and some other things from the from the bathroom. i'm just gonna remove one bit at a time as quickly as i can. i'm sick of my airstream sitting in my garage, its time to get'er back on the road. good luck.
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Old 01-31-2004, 09:39 PM   #3
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Theo, I just came back from the airstream and am EXACTLY were you are. I came here to find out how and what order to take the bath out.

Doesn't look like anyone has given you a link yet. Have you found anything?

Bruce
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Old 02-01-2004, 04:09 AM   #4
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minkus and theo,
I am on the road today...sans AS But when I get home I will post a scan from my Service Manual that gives you the order in which to take the bath out, if you email or PM me with your emails I can send the scan directly to you if you wish. BTW you are in good company, I will be doing mine soon too.

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Old 02-01-2004, 09:07 AM   #5
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I just did this!

I had floor rot also. The bath, including the walls, in my 1971 Tradewind had to completely come out for the repairs to be done right.
I started by removing the toilet and disconnecting everything related, power first!
Have a screw gun, new Phillips bits, a stick type electric screwdriver, a cordless drill and proper drill bit for rivets, and assorted pry-poke-wedge-type tools.
It helps to have containers to save all the screws and small items, and some room outside to take items that are ready to come out.
Sequence in my wet bath:
remove ALL loose items
disconnect water lines to sink and toilet
disconnect/loosen sink trap
disconnect wiring and switch for toilet exhaust fan
remove toilet
remove folding door if applicable. mine was in the way of removing the toilet.
remove lavatory/sink assembly ( mostly rivets under cover strips, and along back wall. Search and destroy!)
remove toilet covering/surround panels ( many rivets are hidden beneath cover strips. Remove cover strip carefully by peeling back to reveal rivets.)
drop rear belly cover, loosen covers below dump valve if applicable
Disconnect toilet tank level sensor wiring at side of tank, and dump valve from below
Check and disconnect vent line to tank, then remove black tank
Disconnect shower drain trap from below ( i cut mine, did not come loose)
remove shower pan ( carefully cut away the sealer between the shower pan and the walls first)
remove shower pan support panel
check additional drain and vent vent lines, disconnect and remove if in the way,
remove separation walls, they are screwed to the curvature of the wall. ( this will vary from one trailer to the other, but I recommend removing the wall, for additional clearance when installing the new floor section )
My wals were also connected to the closet and overhead bins.
It's basically all 1/8in rivets and sheet metal screws.
I had to also remove my Univolt and battery.
This sounds like a lot, but it's really not bad. It took me 2 evenings to completely gut the bathroom, plus two hours of scrubbing and cleaning once it was out. I did destroy my toilet due to rusted bolts,inaccessibility, and subsequent total loss of control. It fell victim to an attack with a roto zip tool. Hah - access this!
Regardless, I wanted a new toilet anyway.
Other than the toilet and shower drain trap, nothing broke.
It is pretty clear on what has to come out first, where it overlaps, and eventually it becomes clear where the rivets are that hold things together. I found most of them accessible with a MAKITA drill.
Good Luck!!
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Old 02-01-2004, 11:08 PM   #6
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Now that is what I call thorough instructions.. Thank you.
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Old 02-01-2004, 11:49 PM   #7
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Uwe,
Wow-Thanks! I have already printed your response and plan to have it in the bathroom for reading purposes! ha. ha.....(the trailer bathroom that is).

Bruce
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Old 02-02-2004, 10:02 AM   #8
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You guys are most welcome!
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Old 02-20-2004, 09:05 AM   #9
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At least I know I'm not alone!

I have at least 1 leak from plumbing that is either from the hot water heater and/or some of the plumbing that runs around that corner of my A/S. I have water forming in the middle of the bathroom floor (rear bath) - sometimes a lot, sometimes not. Not related to using the bath tub. A few drips in the closet next to the hot water heater but most is accumulating in the middle of the bathroom. It is seems to be much worse now that I have it on the inlet water instead of the tank. I don't know if this is from the water pressure or if the leak is worse. I am attacking the problem today ----- don't know when I will have water again so getting all the dishes washed first! LOL

Wish me luck!
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Old 02-20-2004, 10:04 AM   #10
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Tina,
I would not take this too lightly. Water leaks inside an Airstream have long term consequences.
Check the copper plumbing around the water heater with a flashlight, perhaps the pressure relief valve is draining inside the trailer as opposed to outside, or the water heater connections themselves are loose.
Can you follow the water trail to see where it originates?
Good luck!
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Old 02-20-2004, 10:24 AM   #11
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Uwe

I have checked the pressure relief valve and that is not it. It is in the rear compartment and drains downward. I have run my hand over all the pipes I can reach behind the hot water heater, around the back of the toilet (reaching through the linen cabinet) and have even checked drain pipes that run from the kitchen sink and behind/under one twin bed and through the closet that has the water droplets. I can't find anything. The puddle is accumulating in the very middle of the bathroom - not any closer to the sink, tub or toilet. I have spent the morning researching how to start removing parts of the bath until I can find the leak. I am going to start with the linen closet and work my way around that corner first. My set up going backwards from streetside is kitchen sink - piping runs behind/under twin bed -> tiny closet -> linen closet with hot water heater in bottom -> toilet in corner with curved plastic surround -> bath sink is under rear window -> and tub in opposite corner. I am hoping that part of the problem was the seal on the outside of the water heater. We have had some really bad rains lately blowing from that direction. That is also the side that the city water inlet is on - also a possiblity......

Believe me Uwe - I am not taking this lightly - just trying to laugh about it instead of scream! LOL I am living in my A/S now so to tear out all the plumbing for however long it takes to fix it is not an enjoyable prospect!

My hot water heater's drain faucet has a tiny leak. I am going to try to fix this today and see if maybe it is pooling in the bottom of the hot water heater and making its way into the bath. sometimes the water on the floor feels warm, but I also have a light bulb that I leave on in that back compartment on really cold nights to add some heat. I don't think that is warm enough to warm the water on the floor.....but who knows. Will let you know about my progress.
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Old 02-20-2004, 10:48 AM   #12
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Maybe you can add food coloring to the hot or cold side alternatively, see where the leak originates. We used to put flourescent dye in automotive fluids and then find the leak with an Ultraviolet light.
Food coloring is not poisenous, would show you at least if it's rain or pressurized water. Pretty wild idea, no?
If it does rain a lot, which I had not thought of since I live in California, then you should also check your vent stack seals. Water may enter through the tank vent covers, then make it's way down into the plumbing areas via the outside of the ABS vent lines. Same with teh vent for the stove hood, and all things on top of your Airstream, for that matter.
Water can travel in amazing ways, and up nowwhere near where the actual leak is.
Again, good Luck!
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Old 02-20-2004, 11:05 AM   #13
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Food Coloring sounds like a great idea!

I can rule out the cold water for sure - it shouldn't hurt the hot water heater should it? I really think my problem is coming from it and hope I don't have to replace it. Since the water appears warm sometimes, that is where I am heading first. I thought that if it was rain, it would taper off now that it has been sunny for a couple of days, but alas, I don't really think that is written in rock. I know in a stick house rain can run around for days before showing up somewhere.

Thanks for the ideas and good luck wishes! i will need it!

Tina
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Old 02-20-2004, 01:23 PM   #14
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Sign me up for the rotten floor club too!

Looks like I'm in the same boat (A/S) as everyone else here. While removing closets to make room for bunks on Wednesday, I noticed a bit of wet/rotten wood. Now I have half of the bathroom ripped out (rear bath unit) and will complete the tear-out tonight or tomorrow.

It appears that the damage is from a leaky toilet and seems to be fairly isolated, though I plan to remove the tub to examine the entire area.

Question: Would it be okay to replace only half of the floor (the right half, all the way to the end) and fiberglass over the seam? (Assuming, of course, that the curb side is still good.)

Also, the next forward piece of plywood has a rotten corner (2" x 2" street side) where it touches the bathroom section.

Question: What would be the best way of fixing this? (i.e. - removing the rot and filling it) Are we talking chipping it out and filling it with something like expandable foam insulation (Great Stuff)?

I just feel so much more like a Vintage Airstreamer now that I have structural repairs ahead of me!
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Old 02-20-2004, 02:03 PM   #15
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If water is in the middle of the floor and you have been getting heavy rains, look up, just might be coming from the roof.
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Old 02-20-2004, 02:43 PM   #16
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New water heater time

Having removed the original (I assume) Bowen 10 gal wh, I thought I might flush it out a bit and try the vinegar solution that was mentioned on another post. (The water heater does heat, it was working when I bought it.)

However, after removing the inlet (cold) 90 deg elbow, I noticed that the tubing inside was fractured and chipping away. (I don't know where the water goes if the interior tube is ruptured.) My galvanized w/h pan has quite a bit of rust on the bottom which I assumed was from a leaky toilet. But now I'm wondering if the w/h might have been leaking.

Tina, if it's the original w/h, you might want to consider replacing it anyway, or at a minimum, pulling it out (yeah, I know, lots of fun and cold showers till you fix it) to see if there is seeping/weeping from there.
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Old 02-20-2004, 05:00 PM   #17
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Pizza, welcome to the (not so) fun club. I have wondered around these posts, read hundreds, went back and looked at mine, and still couldn't answere your question. The consensus seems to the that a 2"x2"is epoxy-able. Then there is a point where you have to make a seam over a structural member.

Then there is the point where you sell the trailer at a loss, and rent motel rooms.
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Old 02-20-2004, 05:15 PM   #18
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Pizza,
I'd say replace the whole back section of floor. I bought a sheet of high grade plywood and cut the shape for my entire bath out of it to the first crossmsmber loking from aft. Your bath is bigger, but it should not be too bad.
I ended up removing the bathroom walls and fixtures completely. It would take me one more hour to remove the entire bedroom from there on.
If you go to the second crossmember, you would have a great section of new floor and very good stability.
It is hard to get the new piece in, but with patience and a good flashlight it is not that hard to figure out. It definitely helps to have a crossmember at the joint to secure the new flooring section to.
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Old 02-20-2004, 05:16 PM   #19
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Pizza - oh no!

To tell the truth, I think replacing the w/h should also be on my list of things to do to repair everything on that end. I was trying to get around it but I believe it is the original and the pan on the outside looks pretty bad. In my heart I know I need to change it out.......... That propane firing up when it wants is also a bit unnerving knowing how old the heater is.

And just where in Ga is Danielsville??? lol

Overall, the old girl is in excellent shape. I guess I should be happy this is one of her few problems. I've also been looking around at replumbing posts. Some of the copper pipes have that white/green residue on them. I think I need to just dive in while I'm parked somewhere that I can do it. I also found a bathroom fan in the ceiling. I had seen the round grate looking thing but didnt think it was anything because it appeared to be closed up. All of a sudden one day I noticed a switch and when the fan came on, what I thought was covering turned out to be a paper-plastic kind of stuff that opened up with the fan's air movement. Not a lot either. Does everyone else have this thing?
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Old 02-20-2004, 08:52 PM   #20
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Give up? Never!!

Minkus,

Of course it would make more sense to sell at a loss and rent a motel room, but could you imagine 6 children and two adults in a motel room? Actually, since the grand plan is to tow this thing across country this summer to the Sacramento area (my wife is from there), maybe we could just scrap the A/S and stay in your A/S when we get there! (Ha, ha)

Uwe,

I guess I've been hoping for another way but I suppose it would be best to replace the whole thing. I will be drilling a few more rivets out tomorrow. (After the first 50 or so, it doesn't bother me so much, and I kind of get used to it.) I'm still a bit confused as to how I will separate the shell from the frame in order to slide in the new piece. I guess when I get it further apart, it will make more sense.

One thing is for certain, replacing the inline pressure regulator should be a piece of cake with everything out. I guess this might be a good time to refinish the sink and tub and get rid of the Brady Bunch yellow.

Tina,

I can't believe that you've never heard of Danielsville. It's actually about 12 miles NE of Athens going toward Hartwell. (So where the heck is Yatesville?)

I'm having second thoughts on the water heater after talking to my plumber friend (he understands water heaters a little bit more than I do). The corroded tube on the inlet may be able to be replaced on mine. Truthfully, except at the drain petcock (accessible from the outside), the inlet and outlet, I don't see where else it could be leaking from. It is constructed of aluminum (I think-I'm not sure...I'm going to look at w/h threads next) which doesn't rust but it is enclosed in a galvanized steel jacket, with insulation in between. The galvanized jacket seems to have accumulated a lot of rust on the bottom, which may have come from the toilet leak.

I have the little round exhaust fan on the side of my cabinet also, which vents down through the floor. It doesn't look very "factory" to me, and the hose disintegrated as I was removing the cabinet.

If I were you, I would carefully remove the cabinet around the w/h to see if you can better spot the leak. Also, there is the supply to the toilet (and the little sprayer) which are pretty hard to see with the toilet and cabinet in place. I would avoid tearing anymore out than necessary, unless you know you've got "soggy floor".

Removal of all cabinets/walls requires a cordless drill, a 1/8" drill bit, and a phillips bit, among other things, and a lot of patience. Everything was assembled in a particular order so you kind of have to remove it in the same order. (It's kind of frustrating to have to remove something that could otherwise stay in place except that it's hiding the rivets to something else.)


EAT MORE PIZZA!
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