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Old 05-30-2012, 08:59 PM   #1
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1975 29' Ambassador
Mustang , Oklahoma
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Cutting and repairing aluminum skin

I have a leak in the back near the tub/shower and the only way I can see to get to it is: 1. remove tub/show or 2. cut a hole in the exterior. Solution number 2 seems the most logical.

I'm searching for the best way to cut and repair the skin, making it the least noticeable it can be.

I'm pretty handy with tools and a little mentoring goes a long way here. Anyone willing to help a rookie?

bd
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Old 05-30-2012, 09:14 PM   #2
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Cutting a hole in the skin would be your last resort. I'm sure people with '75's will chime in here, but don't start cutting until you hear from them! I had a '76 Overlander at one time, and the previous owners cut a hole in the tub to repair the faucet (I think). They repaired the tub with a patch, which was well done. However, after having a few AS's, I wouldn't care to have a patch anywhere if it were possible to fix the problem without cutting the skin or the tub.
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Old 05-30-2012, 09:16 PM   #3
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Center or Rear bath?
The larger units I've seen with the rear bath have an access panel inside the rear hatch for the sink and tub water lines. The tub drain can be inspected by dropping the rear belly skin.

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Old 05-30-2012, 10:26 PM   #4
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I agree that cutting the skin should be your last resort. The leak could likely come from the top. Maybe around the AC unit. If you cut into the skin you could likely find that the leak is above where you cut. The water will find it's way all over the place once it gets into the skin. Try patching various areas with aluminum tape (around the AC, seams, etc) and then running the hose over it. Take the tape off and repeat. If it leaks after you take it off you found the leak. There are only so many seams to check... Don't cut your airstream:-)
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Old 05-31-2012, 06:03 AM   #5
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I think you should make it clear to us whether this is a plumbing leak or a leak when it rains (I assumed plumbing leak).
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Old 05-31-2012, 06:59 AM   #6
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The rivets can be drilled out and skins removed, then re riveted in place, using olympic rivets. The skins are part of the structure, cutting and patching is generally not a good idea.

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Old 05-31-2012, 07:57 AM   #7
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leak is definitely in the shower area

The access panel does not give me access to the leak only to the lines running to it. The leak is coming from the corner panel area on the rear passenger's side of the airstream (rear bath on '75 Ambassador). It is either from the water line or the faucet. I can't tell. I can see it when I shine a light from the closet just on the other side of the shower, to peek behind there. It's a massive leak.

I had two leaks that somehow occured over the winter, even though I winterized it and we had a VERY MILD winter, hardly even freezing here in Oklahoma.

I cut the two copper (main) lines running from the access panel area that go along the shower side of the airstream and ran braided hose up to the sink and reattached there.

The leak I'm referring to now wasn't showing up till I did that. Not sure what happened or exactly how to fix it.

Any suggestions?
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Old 05-31-2012, 08:22 AM   #8
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The inner panel over the tub is removable. Try taking either that or the shelf above it off to access the tub faucet. Do not cut a hole in the skin to repair a plumbing leak!!!!
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Old 06-01-2012, 07:43 AM   #9
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Smile OK--I will not be cutting the skin--but do need to get the shower panel off

Thank you for all the suggestions/comments. I did not know you could take a panel off above the tub to get access behind there to reach the plumbing.

Our owner's manual is quite vague on how to use the Airstream functionally.

If there is a person willing to share this information I would be eternally grateful.

The plumbing leak is definitely coming from the faucet area near the tub.

Desperately, I had considered cutting a nice rectangle out of the ledge above the tub and making a door out of it in case it happened again. That way I'd have easy access.

Anyway, if the panel can be removed, I'm willing.

Thank you again for helping.

Bambid
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Old 06-01-2012, 07:48 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bambid View Post
Thank you for all the suggestions/comments. I did not know you could take a panel off above the tub to get access behind there to reach the plumbing.

Our owner's manual is quite vague on how to use the Airstream functionally.

If there is a person willing to share this information I would be eternally grateful.

The plumbing leak is definitely coming from the faucet area near the tub.

Desperately, I had considered cutting a nice rectangle out of the ledge above the tub and making a door out of it in case it happened again. That way I'd have easy access.

Anyway, if the panel can be removed, I'm willing.

Thank you again for helping.

Bambid
Removing that panel involes removing the aluminum extrusion over it, probably all the way around the bathroom. After you remove that, you should see a few (2 or 3) rivets or screws holding the panel in place against the inner skin.Remove the extrusion between the panel and the piece with the faucet in the same manner. Cut the caulk, and, watching for additional fasteners somebody may have added, lift the panel out. There should be a piece of plywood attached to the panel under the panel, be careful with it.
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Old 06-01-2012, 08:17 AM   #11
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Here is a scan and directions for taking the bathroom apart. I think the pieces that Terry is telling to take off are 5, 6 & 7. There is a plastic insert in the aluminum channel that has to be slid out first. If you are lucky yours won't be brittle and break. Mine came out in about 300 pieces.

Aaron
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Airstream Rear Bath Scan.pdf (8.77 MB, 69 views)
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