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Old 08-04-2003, 08:29 AM   #1
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My leak has returned

...or perhaps it never really went away. Last fall, during a camping trip that included periods of heavy rain, I discovered a leak in the ceiling of the trailer. I spent quite a few of the following weekends removing all this old crappy sealant from all 3 vents, and then applied vulkem to the seams. I thought I'd done a good job, because I haven't seen any leaks since. But thismorning, I was in the trailer an felt a drip on my head. (torrential downpours all day yesterday). I looked up to see beads of water in the same spot as before: coming out of the joint between the wall panel and the ceiling panel, in close proximity to the center vent.

It seems that the likely entry point for this water is either the center vent, or the A/C, which is just about a foot further back. Its gotta be up high, whatever it is. (its right in front of the fridge...but that seam is up higher than the level of the fridge vent, so I doubt its that.) There is a frame "rib" between the a/c and where this leak is showing itself, so I don't know...wouldn't water be likely to only move sideways until it hits a rib, then be directed downward? the next possible entry point forward of the leak is the antenna, but again, there's a rib between it and the leaky spot, too.

Anyway, someone mentioned to me a while back about the foam-rubber seal on the Coleman air conditioners, and that there are bolts somewhere to tighten this joint. anyone know where to find these alleged bolts? I don't know what else to check. The only other thing i'm thinking is that the center vent cover doesn't have any weather stripping on it, and I suppose heavy rain drops could "bounce" their way up inside there...but there'd be a puddle on the floor right under the vent, if that were the case...and there isn't.
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Old 08-04-2003, 08:39 AM   #2
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Pull the plastic cover, pull the sheet metal cover under that and the 4 bolts will be right there. They are pretty long and the gasket is a little over an inch thick so you can probably pull it down a 1/4" with no problem.

John
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Old 08-04-2003, 08:56 AM   #3
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Ok, I'll check into that. I had the plastic cover off over the weekend to clean off the coils. (a/c repair person suggested that I do that, as they get gunked up). So I was spraying a bunch of water in there. I'm wondering if that was it, and the rain is coincidental. Anyway...the sheet metal cover is only around the forward half of the a/c unit; the coil has its own little housing, but there's a fair amount of open space in between. is the actual hole in the skin only under that forward section? looks like a PITA to get that off.
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Old 08-04-2003, 11:04 AM   #4
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I should have been more specific, it is the inside plastic cover you need to pull.

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Old 08-04-2003, 11:13 AM   #5
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from "inside" the trailer?? I hope that's what you mean, because there isn't any other plastic cover underneath that big one on the roof!

do you think I'd be able to actually "see" a leak from inside like that?
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Old 08-04-2003, 11:58 AM   #6
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Inside the trailer. The cover with the vents and control knobs. Pull the knobs, there are 2 stainless screws that hold the cover on. Then the sheet metal cover with 4 screws. When you get that off you will be able to see the 4 bolts and up inside the AC and the gaskets that it mounts on..

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Old 08-05-2003, 07:34 AM   #7
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Ok, I got in there thismorning. there are actually 6 screws holding the sheet metal cover on, and 3 bolts that hold the a/c down. On the street side of the hole, I could see the gasket pretty well, and stick my fingers up in there....no sign of water. on the curb side (where I'm seeing the water), there isn't as much space, but where I could stick my finger in and feel around, there wasn't any sign of water. The wood blocks that are supporting the opening weren't wet at all, either. I cranked down the bolts anyway. There wasn't too too much resistance. I didn't want to "over tighten" them, but I did give them a few cranks. the loosest one was the one on the curb side, though...which again, is where I'm seeing the water. Today I could see drops of water along that same ceiling panel seam from the refer all the way back to just opposite the a/c unit. Pushing up along that seam, I could squeeze a little more out. aft of the a/c and forward of the refer, pushing up on the seam revealed nothing.
I was thinking maybe it is coming in through the refer vent, but I checked that, and its quite a few inches down-hill from where I'm seeing the water, so I don't think so...I vulkemed around it last fall, along with all the roof vents. I thought I'd done a good job, but maybe not

I'm wondering about the skyliner antenna. I put a bead of par-bond around that last fall. I'm wondering if I should have put a dot of it over each of the pop-rivets that are holding it down. There's no sign of water around the shaft where it comes inside.
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Old 08-07-2003, 07:31 AM   #8
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Chuck,

Don't forget to check the grey and black water vent gaskets. Mine were the source of a long sought after leak that came into the trailer in the living room area. It actually showed up about half way up the walls at a seem near the couch. Both gaskets were in bad shape.
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Old 08-07-2003, 08:08 AM   #9
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Don't discount how far the water could travel. Remeber their is insulation between the inner and outer pannel. It can act like a sponge and though capilary action it could move up hill.

Look for any loose rivets along the top pannel. loose rivet would be a good indication of a loose pannel and agin the water could wick between the seam.
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Old 08-11-2003, 12:27 PM   #10
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I never thought of the possiblility of water running up hill....

So, how hard is it to replace the gasket on the a/c, and how would one go about doing it? We got rained on pretty hard at the rally this past weekend, and if anything, the leak is worse than it was before. and now its coming out of the seam just opposite the a/c unit, and dripping on the curb-side bed. (wife not happy about that ). I'm wondering if tightening those bolts could have made things worse.
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Old 08-12-2003, 03:59 AM   #11
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Chuck,
I have been following your progress and am still wondering about the vent gaskets. Are they in the vicinity of the leak and did you check them? It is too easy to check to ignore as this could be your problem. Keep us posted.
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Old 08-12-2003, 07:37 AM   #12
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I haven't actually had a chance to get back up on the roof yet...last weekend, I went to the region 1 rally...you know, so I could actually "use" the trailer one weekend, instead of just spending my time fixing it (ahh...the joys of vintage airstreaming.... )

But anyway..when I first found this leak last summer, I went up there, and found a huge mess around all the vents, and I spent hours and hours scraping away many old layers of sealant. some of it was silicone, which just peeled off in chunks. there was like a 2 inch wide "bead", if you can call it that, going from the point at which the vent flanges go vertical (solid metal; water couldn't possibly get in there) out to way beyond the joints. I figured "this HAS to be it". So I cleaned them all up, and put a nice clean bead of Vulkem around the joints. I'm definately going to double check, but I doubt its them.

If you're talking about the plumbing vents...no, those aren't anywhere close to the leak, and also, they're WAY downhill from where the water is appearing. I am planning on doing them anyway, as I'm sure they need to be done, but if they are in fact leaking, Its not anything I can actually see. This leak is coming in at the ceiling seam
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Old 08-12-2003, 07:44 AM   #13
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Chuck,

Mine did the same thing. The sewer vents were at the opposite end of the trailer from where the water came in. You need to remove the vent cover(4 screws) to view the gasket. You might be surprised at what you find if it has not been changed recently.
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