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Old 07-05-2011, 11:33 AM   #1
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HolyRoller's Avatar
1968 22' Safari
Edmonton , Alberta
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 21
Detecting / Sealing Leaking Rivets Without Removing Inner Skin

So heres the Rub...

I've spent countless hours 'resealing' my 68 airstream safari. My hands now resemble more of a dirty rubbed out sika than my regular milky glow. On a good note I finally have a tan from 'ridding that aluminum beast' day in and day out.

But here is my problem... I still have leaks.

Im sure now, after ardently resealing every seam, window, vent and access hatch that I must have some leaking rivets. (on a related topic please never use butyl tape on top of butyl tape on top of butyl tape to 'reseal' your leaking vents!- Im looking at you PO of my Safari!)

How do I track down the little buggers from the ones doing their job?

Once I am successful in fingering the guilty culprits how do I go about reforming them from their leaky ways? Can I avoid drilling them out and replacing them via a wonder product that has a low enough viscosity to penetrate and a high enough viscosity to stay in place once in place?

one more small request... please do not tell me I have to take down my interior skin or I will probably find a cliff to throw my hopes and dreams of having an AS that will not fall apart in a season or two from water damage over the edge!

forever indebted to your collective knowledge,


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Old 07-05-2011, 01:52 PM   #2
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1973 31' Excella 500
Marysville , Washington
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 219
food coloring to find leaks sources

I put food coloring on the roof and waited for rain, or the hose. It takes some time for the highly diluted color to form a drip in the inside.

To speed things up I used different colors in different areas so that I could attribute a certian color to a certian area.

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Old 07-05-2011, 02:20 PM   #3
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2008 27' International CCD FB
Boerne, TX / , Evergreen, CO
Join Date: Jun 2005
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A positive pressure leak test with a soapy water solution on all rivets and seams sounds to be in order. Search for a SealTec unit in your area or qt a local RV dealer.
Chris and Christina- Boerne, TX / Evergreen, CO - TAC TX-7
2008 27'FB Int'l Signature CCD
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Old 07-05-2011, 02:23 PM   #4
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1968 24' Tradewind
Oxford, , Mississippi
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 1,307
Sorry you are having leaks but your post lets me know I am not the only one with a 68 that has "mystery" leaks. I know exactly how you feel.
Bruce & Rachel
68 Trade Wind
2001 Toyota Tundra
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Old 07-10-2011, 12:28 PM   #5
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1986 31' Sovereign
Naples , Florida
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 149
Images: 7
Just had a SealTec unit test mine out ($100!). Awning rail was main culprit. I'm soon to be sealing that and anything else that looks like a week spot... oh and I need to find a source for replacement vent covers for an '86!
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Old 07-10-2011, 03:33 PM   #6
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Sioux Falls , South Dakota
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 2,395
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I had one of 11 leaks located near my entrance door that I couldn't locate. I finally removed the inside skin and insulation and I found the leak was a perfectly fine looking outside skin lap corner about midway up on the side directly in front of the window in front of the door. I applied a liberal amount of Vulkem inside and a surgical seam fill outside and it has never leaked since.

The good thing about Airstreams is I got something kinda good when I finish with maintenance and repairs. The other good thing about Airstream trailers is about all the parts are still available either on the OEM, or after-market basis. Everything I've had to do so far has been understandable and not too hard to do myself.

Click on the link to see a picture of the Sioux River falls near my home.
Eastern South Dakota is very pretty with hills, rivers, and trees.
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leaks, rivets

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