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Old 05-14-2015, 07:19 PM   #1
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Air Pressure Leak Testing

As most of you know already, air pressure leak testing is pretty dog gone effective. I used a "floor dry fan" installed in the external storage compartment and found 7 major leak areas.

My biggest problem is an ill fitting entry door that I can't get to seal up. It leaked air so bad it was drafty as I walked by! My hinge is worn, and my door is sprung a bit.

The external storage compartment doors leak badly too. The rear one is just too big for one door latch. I'm not sure how I will tighten this guy up.

And the rear window curved glass is a different radius than the frame. The glass sits a bit away from the seals. It just won't clamp tight.

So I have some problem to solve. But I was impressed with how easy this was to rig up, and going over all the doors, windows, vents, seams, lights, etc allowed me to find leaks.

But there is nothing like a good often used moisture detector to keep the rain water out.

Maybe this photo will be helpful to others. Airstream "bounce house".

David
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Old 05-16-2015, 08:27 AM   #2
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David that looks interesting. So with the fan on did just check your various windows, doors and compartments by hand to see where air was exiting.
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Old 05-16-2015, 07:15 PM   #3
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I used a little dish wash soap in a container of water. I used a foam brush to soak the vents, seams, exterior lights, window frames, and anything else that looks like a leak source. The soap solution bubbles up like mad when you brush it over a leak.

You can see exactly where the leak is, and a bit of sealant usually takes care of it.

However, a good moisture detector along the interior wall to floor seam is always the prudent thing to do every now and then.

David
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Old 05-16-2015, 07:43 PM   #4
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When you say the "rear window curve does not match" what rear window are you talking about? The back window is flat glass, not curved. Rear side window? They are curved. I kind of remember that some replacement glass was not quite the right curve for those. Others will chime in I think. I have not had one which uses that glass in a number of years.
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Old 05-16-2015, 08:33 PM   #5
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Hard to tell from the picture, what did you seal the fan with? Heavy plastic and tape?
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Old 05-16-2015, 09:29 PM   #6
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I was thinking of setting up something like you have done to test for water leaks , and kept thinking of running the fantastic fan in reverse on the roof of the Airstream but don't think the fantastic fan can pressurize the trailer, great idea you have to use a industrial fan.

Don
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Old 05-16-2015, 09:56 PM   #7
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What was the CFM rating on the fan you used? Anyone else know what the minimum CFM would be needed for this method to work?
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Old 05-17-2015, 12:11 PM   #8
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Great idea!!

We just got our 1975 31' and I am going to start the reno of it. This looks like a great place to start. Going to have to rig something up and give it a try.

Thanks
Brent
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Old 05-17-2015, 12:35 PM   #9
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Some years ago Alpine Coach motorhomes (long since out of business - terrible quality control) used pressure testing as an alternative to the rain chamber to find leaks.

And in the 80's we used to use a blower door (remove the front or back door of the house and temporarily install a sheet of plywood with a fan on it) and a smoke gun to test houses. The blower door had a manometer on it. Worked well for finding and sealing leaks.

Haven't heard of any other RV makers using this method - wonder why.
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Old 05-17-2015, 03:11 PM   #10
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I rented a "floor dry fan" or a "carpet drying fan" (same thing) for $25. The outlet fit nicely in my exterior storage compartment opening. I used 3 mil plastic drop cloth material and painter's tape to make the seal fan to trailer. I had to seal up the fridge vent and stove vent as they were gushing air out of them.

The fan was 115v AC, so it wasn't all that powerful. I looked in the store for one, and saw the CFM was in the 1600 range. I do know that this fan had enough flow to generate a nice breeze through the big leaks in my entry door seam. It would ruffle a paper towel.

My rear window isn't touching the weather stripping on the sides. I don't know the reason why just yet. I thought it was a flat corning glass myself. My glass bar and hinge need some work. I think my hinge is slightly bent out of shape as the window does not close all the way with the arm disconnected. Another project.

I fixed about 7 leak areas using this method.

David
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Old 05-17-2015, 10:04 PM   #11
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After a trip 12,000 trip to Alaska I had Airstream Service leak test my 34'SOD with their Sealtec machine. I was surprised there were only 3 or 4 leaks and two of them were sheared rivets. The trailer got a good road shaking because both the cook top and bathroom counters had to be remounted with reinforced sub structure. Obviously, the frame and shell held up well and so did the rest of the trailer except four 4 of 6 Carlisle tires. I now have Michelin truck tires.
I usually have Airstream Service leak check and reseal the trailer every 5 years.
So far, that has kept all the water damage at bay.
guskmg
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Old 11-26-2015, 04:45 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dbj216 View Post
As most of you know already, air pressure leak testing is pretty dog gone effective. I used a "floor dry fan" installed in the external storage compartment and found 7 major leak areas.

My biggest problem is an ill fitting entry door that I can't get to seal up. It leaked air so bad it was drafty as I walked by! My hinge is worn, and my door is sprung a bit.

The external storage compartment doors leak badly too. The rear one is just too big for one door latch. I'm not sure how I will tighten this guy up.

And the rear window curved glass is a different radius than the frame. The glass sits a bit away from the seals. It just won't clamp tight.

So I have some problem to solve. But I was impressed with how easy this was to rig up, and going over all the doors, windows, vents, seams, lights, etc allowed me to find leaks.

But there is nothing like a good often used moisture detector to keep the rain water out.

Maybe this photo will be helpful to others. Airstream "bounce house".

David
YES!) very helpful .. thanks ... i have some annoying leaks, was wondering how to rig this thing up. Think, I'll tape off all the windows, external compartments etc and door first. my external compartment doors fit terribly as does the front window... once you've done all that and switched on the air pump, do you use a hose pipe to find the external air bubbles ? or just go over with a water bottle pump... thanks for sharing
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Old 11-26-2015, 04:54 PM   #13
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a little more internet research ... looks like my local rv shop offers a leak test for $150.00 / probably worth it in the scheme of things ..
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Old 11-27-2015, 08:58 PM   #14
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I have a leak in the inner curb wall near gaucho. The front of the gaucho is damp after a couple days rain up here in Dallas area. I thought I had resolved because it was rained on previously ,,, but not at this level.

So, it seems the leak will need me to do another ""pressure" test... Soon.
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