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Old 06-17-2016, 11:24 AM   #1
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DIY vs. Professional Leak Testing

Panic situation! We had a lot of rain last evening and night. While I could not see any water I was suspicious and I finally used my moisture detector to check the edge of the floor under the dinette, beneath the rear window, in our 2009 25FB.

I bought the AS last summer and the previous owner said there had been a leak and he had it fixed. But apparently not so (or another one appeared) as the detector indicated max moisture present.

I got a step ladder out and looked all around the windows as well as the seams on the roof and of course I can't see anything obvious.

My question. Is this a multi-hour DIY project, after which you end up taking it to a "professional" anyhow to find the leak? Or should I just bite the bullet and take it to a "professional" immediately?

I've calmed down a bit now, especially when I see that so many others have leaking problems.
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Old 06-17-2016, 01:31 PM   #2
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Find a dealer or tech that had a SealTech leak detection system. This way you will know definitively where your leaks are located.

Location water intrusion into an Airstream is nothing but a guessing game otherwise!!
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Old 06-17-2016, 02:12 PM   #3
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You might be able to narrow down the leak source with a quite low-tech method. Take out a few of the screws holding the gray vinyl baseboard strip along the rear floor under the dinette, and around the corner under the awning mounting bracket.

If the screws are shiny, no leak is likely there. If they screws are corroded dull, probably been wet. If the screws are rusty, it's been wet in that location.

These models have been built without a good seal between the shell and rear bumper plate, many have leaked there. Beginning with 2012 models, they have installed a rubber seal between the shell and bumper plate during assembly, unlikely to leak. Search rear bumper seal leak and learn how many have repaired it. A call to Airstream Customer Support or Service Center in Jackson Center may help.

The awning support brackets are screwed and riveted to the shell; as they are at the end of the awing, it asks as a rain gutter directing large amounts of water over the brackets. The pop rivets used have holes in the center, and the screws are often poorly sealed. The bracket sits over a shell seam so it needs more than factory sealant in some cases.

Yes, a Seal Tech leak test will narrow it down. To have someone fix it, go to a repair shop experienced with this particular repair, don't let them experiment on you.
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Old 06-17-2016, 02:39 PM   #4
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Tell me more about this "moisture detector".
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Old 06-17-2016, 03:46 PM   #5
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Tell me more about this "moisture detector".
Here is a link to Amazon and the moisture detector I used.
https://www.amazon.com/Sonin-50211-C...moisture+meter

Of course you can just feel it if you have access but this can get into a crevice which is too small for your fingers.
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Old 06-17-2016, 04:41 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by dkottum View Post
You might be able to narrow down the leak source with a quite low-tech method. Take out a few of the screws holding the gray vinyl baseboard strip along the rear floor under the dinette, and around the corner under the awning mounting bracket.

If the screws are shiny, no leak is likely there. If they screws are corroded dull, probably been wet. If the screws are rusty, it's been wet in that location.

These models have been built without a good seal between the shell and rear bumper plate, many have leaked there. Beginning with 2012 models, they have installed a rubber seal between the shell and bumper plate during assembly, unlikely to leak. Search rear bumper seal leak and learn how many have repaired it. A call to Airstream Customer Support or Service Center in Jackson Center may help.

The awning support brackets are screwed and riveted to the shell; as they are at the end of the awing, it asks as a rain gutter directing large amounts of water over the brackets. The pop rivets used have holes in the center, and the screws are often poorly sealed. The bracket sits over a shell seam so it needs more than factory sealant in some cases.

Yes, a Seal Tech leak test will narrow it down. To have someone fix it, go to a repair shop experienced with this particular repair, don't let them experiment on you.
Good suggestion! I did take out a few of the screws that hold the molding in place. I didn't go around the corners but all of them along the back are rusty on the ends. So it's been wet for a while. Although the floor doesn't seem soft (is this marine plywood?).

If it is leaking because of the lack of a seal between the shell and the rear bumper plate, what is the correction action?

Thanks!
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Old 06-18-2016, 02:23 PM   #7
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I have a slow drip on the front left window of our 2014 FC 27ft. I put some sealant in the area that I thought would be the likely seam. It's OK during "normal" rain, but when it's hammering with rain and wind, the slow drip starts again. I brought my AS to a place that does custom AS renovations - making them into bars, restaurants, stores, etc. My AS dealer is 6 hours away - this place is 1 hour. I'm also having them install awnings on the right side and rear.
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Old 06-18-2016, 03:29 PM   #8
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It all depends on who your "professional" is and what they know. I had several leaks in my 2007 Safari 25 and first attempted to fix it myself. I bought the suggested caulks and sealants, sealed all the usual suspects, tested all top and end-cap rivets and sealed any possible leaky ones. Still leaked! I then pulled it to Chattanooga to a professional (Definition? They charged a bunch of money) who pressurized the trailer and supposedly found the leaks, which I marked and sealed. It didn't leak until the next rain! We finally took it to Jackson Center and they found and fixed the leaks. All "professionals" are not equal in skill and success. Be careful.
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Old 06-18-2016, 04:50 PM   #9
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nothing ventured nothing gained. find an ordinary box fan and a peice of cardboard big enough to cover thr door. cur a opening in the cardboard for the box fan to fit.
tape the cardboard over the door and put the box fan in the opening blowing in and tape around it..
if your vent fans can be ran in reverse blowing in turn them on. plug all the water drains on sinks and shower. make sure toilet has water in it.

turn the fan on and starting at the bottom spray or brush a soapy solution on every possible place for a leak. i have used this in the past and found some leaks in places you would never think of.

this is how the dealers find the leaks only they use fancier gizmos.

if you dont find it then consider a dealer
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Old 06-18-2016, 06:21 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by malett View Post
nothing ventured nothing gained. find an ordinary box fan and a peice of cardboard big enough to cover thr door. cur a opening in the cardboard for the box fan to fit.
tape the cardboard over the door and put the box fan in the opening blowing in and tape around it..
if your vent fans can be ran in reverse blowing in turn them on. plug all the water drains on sinks and shower. make sure toilet has water in it.

turn the fan on and starting at the bottom spray or brush a soapy solution on every possible place for a leak. i have used this in the past and found some leaks in places you would never think of.

this is how the dealers find the leaks only they use fancier gizmos.

if you dont find it then consider a dealer
A box fan........REALLY?????

Have you found any bubbling from a leak when saturated with soap solution with that method??????

I have done leak testing a few times, but used a pair of high power leaf blowers and waterproof Sunbrella tarps with spring clamps every 4" to provide the seal. Even that did not give a really good positive pressure inside the RVs to get great results, but it did work to a minimal extent. I seriously doubt that a 'box fan' will do anything at all..............

That's one of the reasons that the Seal Tech machine works so well. It produces from 4-6 PSI of positive pressure inside the RV so that the air will find it's way out thru any leaking spot as indicated by the bubbling soap solution, which is then market and sealed.

Simply finding all of the leaking areas is a task, but properly sealing them is where the amateurs (and there are lot's of 'techs' included in this grouping) are separated from the pros.


Find a dealer or independent tech with the Seal Tech unit and ask for references!!!!! Or, keep trying the hit and miss method until you either have a saturated trailer or you eventually re-seal the entire unit.
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Old 06-19-2016, 08:16 PM   #11
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don't seem to be many of the seal tech guys around.. I only see like one in NC according to the seal tech website were you can look for guys.

do they do the leak test and repairs the leaks or just the test?

how much demand is there for this service?
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Old 06-28-2016, 07:57 PM   #12
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I'm having trouble finding a local source to do the pressurized leak testing. I went to the Sealtech website and there is not many options in my part of the country (south central PA). Sounds like a business opportunity for someone.

First I have to fix the bumper plate/shell leak, which is the major cause of my water intrusion, and then I will focus on a leak I've found around the back window.


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