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Old 05-26-2009, 08:48 PM   #1
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1979 31' Sovereign
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leaking windows

I have some leaking windows on my '79 airstream. I've already gone around the outside of the frame with parbond so I'm fairly sure the leak is not there. My assumption is that it is leaking between the glass and the metal. These particular windows are fixed (don't open). I'm not sure what was used for the inside seal, but it is a gooked up mess and is in pretty bad shape. On the outside it has a gray rubber seal that looks to be factory made, but has gaps between the seal and the metal. I tried some clear silicone on these gaps, but it does not react well with the seal. It never seems to cure. Looking for solutions.
Thanks
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Old 05-26-2009, 08:57 PM   #2
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Silicon should not be used on an Airstream. Vulkem, Sikaflex, etc. are your best bet. Check for water seeping in wherever screens might be attached to windows. Also, the water could be entering the body cavity somewhere above the windows, such as at roof vents, lights, antenna, or other penetrations. The water then moves down through the shell until it is impeded by a window and finds a hole to escape to the interior.
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Old 05-26-2009, 09:31 PM   #3
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As for the crud inside the windows, I've heard that you can break out the inner glass panel to get inside and clean up the mess. Yes, use a hammer. No, don't break through both pieces!
You could have a leak above the window. I have loose rivets in the roof of my Safari that caused wet flooring to appear below the window in front of the door, and on both sides of the front window. The leaks were about 5' in back of the front window but still caused damage there. I also sealed the window in front of the door- twice. Then I put aluminum tape across the top of the whole window, just to make sure. The first time I took the DW camping It rained(a little) and the corner of the bed got wet. Big negative points! All that, and it turned out the leak was 3' farther up on the trailer. All I had to do to find it was to remove everything from the Airstream except for the wiring and the black tank! That was easier than I thought it would be, now if I can just get it all back together....

Rich
I saw a '75 AS in Half Moon Bay that had 12" deep water in one front corner window with stuff growing in it. The owner said "you get a free aquarium with it!"
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Old 05-26-2009, 10:29 PM   #4
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Thanks for the info

I told my wife there were only about 100,000 places for it to leak, I'm trying to eliminate the most likely places first. I've been on the top sealing also.
On the large window, I think the inside glass is already gone. There is only one pane which might explain the large gap between the inside frame and the glass. Where does that leave me?
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Old 05-26-2009, 11:14 PM   #5
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Ken, It sounds like you need to try using vulkem or sikflex on the gray outer seals, probably vulkem, which is a thick, heavy caulking.
For the seals between the window panes, I don't know what it will take to get them looking good, but it shouldn't have any effect on the leaks.

Rich
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Old 05-27-2009, 12:04 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cameront120 View Post
Also, the water could be entering the body cavity somewhere above the windows, such as at roof vents, lights, antenna, or other penetrations. The water then moves down through the shell until it is impeded by a window and finds a hole to escape to the interior.

I don't want to sound like I"m being sarcastic but does it still leak with your awning extended (noticed you had an awning). As Cameront120 stated it could be coming from above the window. I would think if it stopped leaking with the awning extended that narrows it down to the window. If not than you've got problems above the awning. By the way I vote for Vulkem. I got great results with cleaning, masking and patience.

Tom
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Old 05-27-2009, 06:08 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zipman View Post
I told my wife there were only about 100,000 places for it to leak, I'm trying to eliminate the most likely places first. I've been on the top sealing also.
On the large window, I think the inside glass is already gone. There is only one pane which might explain the large gap between the inside frame and the glass. Where does that leave me?
I don't believe that unit had and interior pane on the fixed window by the door so your inside frame would be deep - your fixed ovals on the opposite side would be the same?

It doesn't look like you have a vista view above the fixed window by the door - some of your units did. If you do that's where I'd look for that leak - if you've sealed the edge of the large fixed window without result.

Have you sealed around the awning bracket at the body and checked your awning track - look from above to make sure they put a strip of butyl behind it when it was mounted. Clipped or likely unclipped Olympic rivets hold that track in place - seal the heads with Parr Bond. Have you sealed the edge of the "scare light".

I've fought a small leak at the door window for two years. We sealed the the vista view and awning bracket but it still leaked so we moved on to the next likely areas. This weekend looking at the vista view again we found a gap in the new sealant. Parr wicks into the seams and there is a "large" gap in the the vista view frame where it meets the awning bracket and a body seam. That Parr had had wicked in so much that it left a 3/8ths long gap that had to be sealed again.

Cameron is right - it could be coming from anywhere - the front leak I'd look at the marker lights first if you've sealed the window frame edge.

http://www.vintageairstream.com/arch...gn3/index.html
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Old 05-27-2009, 10:04 PM   #8
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The fixed ovals appear to have 2 panes. Does this mean the other window should also have 2? Also, the frame is not just deep, there is a gap almost an inch wide between the pane and the inside frame. This has been filled with vulkem, caulk, or something.

I resealed the top of the awning bracket with vulkem. I did not seal the rivets. Please help a newbie out with the "vista view" window. Would those be the the small oblong windows, below the windows that open on the oppisite side of the trailer? So I can just apply the vulkem over the existing gray seal? Also, the vulkem and parbond are both pretty messy. I've heard you can clean it with paint thinner. I assume you need to let it set up before wiping it off. Would this be right?
Thanks for the help
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Old 05-27-2009, 10:53 PM   #9
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I have heard of people using plastic, duct tape and a leaf blower to pressurize the trailer and then slather soapy water on the trailer and watch for bubbles where there are poor seals or seam leaks. That might narrow it down for you.
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Old 05-28-2009, 05:43 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zipman View Post
The fixed ovals appear to have 2 panes. Does this mean the other window should also have 2? Also, the frame is not just deep, there is a gap almost an inch wide between the pane and the inside frame. This has been filled with vulkem, caulk, or something.

I resealed the top of the awning bracket with vulkem. I did not seal the rivets. Please help a newbie out with the "vista view" window. Would those be the the small oblong windows, below the windows that open on the opposite side of the trailer? So I can just apply the vulkem over the existing gray seal? Also, the vulkem and parbond are both pretty messy. I've heard you can clean it with paint thinner. I assume you need to let it set up before wiping it off. Would this be right?
Thanks for the help
If I've learned one thing here - it's to never say never when it come to options on an Airstream. I've been told we should have double panes in our 71 but we don't and there is no evidence or structure that there ever was.

Your bottom fixed windows are called fixed ovals. Above that the operable window and above that (on the roof line curve) the vista views with the sliding interior closure. See the pic below the toilet in this link and scroll right to see the way the frame "should" look. Notice there is no double pane just a smooth frame like we have in a 71 on our fixed ovals. Does that mean it wasn't there at one time on your unit - no. You gotta love Airstreams and your unit is newer than ours.

1979Sovereign3

Even if you have (had) and interior double pane the leak is still coming from the exterior and that's where you need to look. The interior gap on the one fixed window you can deal with later.

If you replace the seal that runs along the glass edge and frame - Inland RV ( Inland RV Center - The Nations Leading Expert in Airstream Innovations) recommends cutting the seal off with a razor knife at the frame edge - taping the frame and glass to give yourself narrow guide and sealing that with Parr. Remove the tape before it sets up. I've done it in small sections just freehand holding the tip at an angle. Vintage (Caulks & Sealants) sells syringes that make a nice fine bead also.

Paint thinner will work for clean up before the Parr sets up.
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