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Old 07-26-2013, 11:53 AM   #1
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I give up! Drains for window wells...

Hi all,

I have a 2008 25 FB SE. I understand that I am not alone in finding water pooling in my front & rear window wells when underway through rainy conditions. To a lesser extent harder rainfall will also result in water building up to the point of running over into the interior & down the inside walls.

I tried replacing D-gaskets, sealing through bolts etc, but when underway, I think the movement & flex of the unit results in a squeegee effect that allows water to enter into the window wells. (Poor design - again.)

Anyways, it occurred to me that the real problem is that the water has no where to go once it penetrates the gasket/glass barrier. If I could drain the window wells, then it wouldn't build up to the point of overflowing....

I have since drained the wells & it is working very well. I thought it might be interesting for others to see an optional fix for the problem.

(I have to warn the reader that my fix isn't pretty and some of these pics were taken after a few trips with residual dirt & what-not adding to the general disorderly look; but, there is no more water coming down the inside aluminum to wet the beds & floor...)

I did not appreciate initially how much more leaky the front window well was compared to the rear in that the mitre joints and seams of the well were allowing a lot more water in. The rear well was pretty water proof apart from when it got high enough to spill out through the window clamp through fitting.

Several features seemed important.

*The drains could not be a new source of water leaks. I wanted to be able to inspect & service them if needed.

*2 Drains would be better than one in that the unit is often not level when underway & if tilted one side vs the other the drains would still need to handle the water before overflow.

*I wanted to minimize holes through the frame / floor.

I considered installing the drains from below with a counter sunk upper surface, but if they became dislodged, occult leaking could occur.

So...I went to Home Depot & wandered through the plumbing Dept looking for possible solutions.

Ahhh, says I. A toilet supply tube might fit the bill?!





A few radially distributed drill holes close to the bottom edge of the flange would keep the water level pretty low & still allow for a physically robust application of the drain to the window well base. It wasn't as elegant a solution as I would have hoped but with the drain installed a clear sealant bead, it would be water proof & not inclined to loosen up.

So, with a knot in my stomach, I drilled the first hole. Passing the drain through from the top allowed a washered clamp effect from below. (No sealant or caulk yet here:


1/2 inch tubing goes over the smaller Toilet supply tube & can be cinched up against the washer & clamped in place. So adhesive sealant & physical clamping hold it in place.


The two drains were then connected together prior to passing through the floor frame in the back:




The drain tube passing through the underbelly near rear bumper:


The front (Bedroom end) had a different configuration & so I elected to pass the drain through the floor rather than through the frame at the wall.



The rear well:



After installing the drains & testing directly as well as inspecting after a hard rainstorm, I was disappointed ( & glad to find out while I was still in project mode) to see that these little gaps around the front windows were significant.


So, I caulked the mitres, and inside corners with various products. (Steel Epoxy, Acryl-R etc. ) The Acryl-R was staying tacky & picking up every bit of dirt in contact with it. Clear coating the Acryl-R fixed that.)

So not cleaned up & not pretty, but largely hidden by the front shade windows etc.








http://eheffa.zenfolio.com/img/s10/v...25678881-3.jpg



So, as you can see; this is not that pretty a fix, but quite frankly, it is not very noticeable. The drains seem to be working very well as I am no longer seeing any standing water in the wells or any water intrusion into the inside walls after rain or hosing the unit down. I have not yet had an opportunity to travel through a heavy rainstorm but will be sure to report back when I have.

I'm feeling more optimistic.

I hope this is of some help or encouragement for others who might be struggling with the same issue.

-evan
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Old 07-26-2013, 03:14 PM   #2
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Would a flared copper pipe sit close to the floor of the window well perhaps? Sorry to hear about this trouble.
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Old 07-26-2013, 03:31 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eheffa View Post
...So, as you can see; this is not that pretty a fix, but quite frankly, it is not very noticeable. The drains seem to be working very well as I am no longer seeing any standing water in the wells or any water intrusion into the inside walls after rain or hosing the unit down. I have not yet had an opportunity to travel through a heavy rainstorm but will be sure to report back when I have.

-evan
Evan - here is a tip I learned from another Airstreamer. When applying any kind of sealant where it will be visible, get some 3M blue painter's tape and lay it down tightly on either side of the place where you're going to apply your sealant. Apply sealant. Smooth it out with your finger or appropriate tool and mineral spirits. Wait a few moments for it to just start to set up. Pull the tape.

Drawing a smooth professional looking bead of any kind of caulk is a learned skill - and the consistency and set time of every formula seems to differ. Temperature and humidity can drastically change the firmness/runniness of the bead. The painters tape makes even a rank amateur like me look like an expert.

Of course each of us has different tolerance for messiness - I just don't have rock steady hands anymore.

Paula
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Old 07-26-2013, 03:31 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NJtoNC View Post
Would a flared copper pipe sit close to the floor of the window well perhaps? Sorry to hear about this trouble.
Yes.

That would probably be a more elegant solution. It might want some sort of screen to prevent build up of debris in the tubing.

I was feeling pretty overwhelmed by the extent of my repair / Mod list when I did this & didn't take time to consider other possibilities.

- evan
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Old 07-26-2013, 04:12 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Foiled Again View Post

Evan - here is a tip I learned from another Airstreamer. When applying any kind of sealant where it will be visible, get some 3M blue painter's tape and lay it down tightly on either side of the place where you're going to apply your sealant. Apply sealant. Smooth it out with your finger or appropriate tool and mineral spirits. Wait a few moments for it to just start to set up. Pull the tape.

Drawing a smooth professional looking bead of any kind of caulk is a learned skill - and the consistency and set time of every formula seems to differ. Temperature and humidity can drastically change the firmness/runniness of the bead. The painters tape makes even a rank amateur like me look like an expert.

Of course each of us has different tolerance for messiness - I just don't have rock steady hands anymore.

Paula
Thanks Paula,

Yes, the tape technique works pretty well.
I started off doing that here but the heat/ humidity or my older can of Acrylic-R made it so that the stuff was staying gooey even a day or so after application. Pulling off the tape left big strings of goo messing up the fix. I ended up wiping it off & just free handing these lines in order to get watertightness.

I had to redo the belly band lines several times for the same reason. ( The Acrylic-R wouldn't seem to fully cure.). The belly band seams were attracting dirt & fir needles like a magnet to iron filings.

After several false starts, ended up scraping it a off & redoing it all sealing with clear coat

I may go at it again on the window caulk someday with a view to better cosmetics.

- evan
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Old 07-26-2013, 04:21 PM   #6
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Know the problem. All compounds that work well on aluminum seem to have a shortish shelf life, and Acryl-R - when it works right seems to be best in the Little areas - like around the edge of a loose rivet.

I get plain old aluminum colored gutter seal from Home Depot for the bigger beads. It comes in standard caulk gun sizes, but also in little 4 or 6 oz. tubes - like toothpaste. I'd rather buy two of these than try to use an old full size tube only to find it's turned to rock.

Paula
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Old 07-26-2013, 04:34 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Foiled Again View Post
Know the problem. All compounds that work well on aluminum seem to have a shortish shelf life, and Acryl-R - when it works right seems to be best in the Little areas - like around the edge of a loose rivet.

I get plain old aluminum colored gutter seal from Home Depot for the bigger beads. It comes in standard caulk gun sizes, but also in little 4 or 6 oz. tubes - like toothpaste. I'd rather buy two of these than try to use an old full size tube only to find it's turned to rock.

Paula
Hmmm.
Thanks for the tip.
The PAR-bond seems to set up well c a harder finish but I have trouble getting that locally.

I will try your suggestion when I redo it.

- evan
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Old 07-26-2013, 07:25 PM   #8
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Eheffa, will you put drains on all windows?
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Old 07-26-2013, 07:52 PM   #9
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Eheffa, will you put drains on all windows?
No.

Just the front & back windows as these are the only ones that allow water to accumulate in the wells. The side windows have been fine so far... Fingers crossed.

- evan
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Old 07-26-2013, 08:03 PM   #10
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FWIW, I found that water would not drain off of the channel above the windows and would instead run underneath the channel until it found the clam shell hinge and leak behind the glass into the wells. By dabbing on some aluminum caulk on the ends of the channel, the water would actually run off as it should. Pretty simple fix.
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Old 07-26-2013, 08:42 PM   #11
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Note that small holes are often problematic for water drainage due to surface tension effects. A bit of ivory soap in the tray will lower the surface tension should the water level build up.

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Old 07-26-2013, 08:46 PM   #12
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Nicely done project. I drilled a quarter inch weep hole in my channels to allow the water to wick out. '71 sovereign.
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Old 07-27-2013, 05:33 AM   #13
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Great thread - thanks for sharing!
I had actually drilled a 1/4" hole into the window well from the outside of the window trim - when I had the gaskets replaced at Jackson last fall, the tech caulked the hole up! I might re-open it - the way you did your project (removing the skin) is WAY too advanced for me.....but the better way to go.
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Old 07-27-2013, 07:02 AM   #14
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What a timely post. I noticed this week that both front & rear window wells are filling during the heavy rain we've been having. Previously the AS was kept in a semi-sheltered area and not affected. I'm planning on doing some "inspecting" on Sunday & I now have a good bit of info to start me in the right direction.
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