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Old 09-25-2014, 09:50 PM   #1
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2012 25' FB Flying Cloud
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When to where to caulk?

I've yet to have a leak here in drought ridden SoCal, but wondering if I should wait or start to caulk now? Where do leaks usually start first, and where should I be checking?

It has been almost 3 years since Nov. 2011 build date. I have purchased a Sonin moisture detector as recommended by Doug (dkottum), who is my go to guy for all things preventative. Floor was bone dry after last decent rain...about 9 months ago. Trailer sits outside in the CA sun year round. I inspected the roof and had the local dearer take a peek as well a few months back...everything looks water tight.

Do any of you start sealing before a leak? And where is the most common place for leaks...or is there? Thanks in advance.

Gene
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Old 09-26-2014, 09:22 PM   #2
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Anyone?
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Old 09-26-2014, 10:14 PM   #3
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Hi Gene

I'll list where our 2012 FC 25RB leaked in the first three years, maybe others can add theirs to make this a very useful maintenance thread, posting our quality complaints somewhere else.

1) Lower entrance door hinge screws came loose leaking past the threads. Reset screws and caulked.

2) All of the awning support arm brackets have great potential for leaks because the awnings act as rain gutters dumping large quantities of water over these brackets. Three of our six brackets (full awning pkg) leaked through the mounting screws and holes in the center of the pop rivets. Caulked all six all around screws and rivets. Note that these are installed after the factory assembly line leak test.

3) Front and rear operating windows have an aluminum channel around the interior side. The lower corners are butted and not sealed. If a window is not snug enough, or condensation builds up in cool weather without enough interior ventilation, the butted corners will leak down to the plywood subfloor. And did, so I sealed the corners of the channels, made sure my window latches are snug, and open windows, vents as needed for enough ventilation to avoid condensation. Use range fan when cooking.

4) I haven't had a leak in the curved pano windows yet, but I see the thin factory caulking is separating between the glass and frame. As a precaution I taped off the lower side of these and run a thin 1/4" bead along between the glass and metal frame. It's messy so remove tape slowly and carefully before sealant dries.

The inexpensive Sonin moisture meter is very sensitive, I found if the needle moves at all you probably have moisture when probing the subfloor. Unscrew the vinyl baseboard strip and prop up the edge of the vinyl a little to dry it out after you seal the leak. Takes awhile as it usually is deep into the plywood.

The usual rear bumper plate leak has been addressed by Airstream from 2012 and later models with a tubular rubber seal between the bumper plate and shell. After three years it is keeping water from entering this area, I watch it like a hawk (moisture test meter quarterly).
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Old 09-26-2014, 11:00 PM   #4
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Great info...thanks Doug. What caulk to buy? Do you use a gun or small tubes? Every time I buy caulk for the house for the caulking gun...I end up tossing after it sits for months. Available in small squeeze tubes?
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Old 09-27-2014, 08:23 AM   #5
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I've been using Sikaflex or Adseal, usually throwing much of it away after a few months as well. I wish they made little squeeze tubes but they would probably be about the same price.

Would like to hear of a less wasteful size.
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Old 09-27-2014, 09:56 AM   #6
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Hey Doug, re the leaky door screws. To get at mine, you have to remove a silver strip that appears to be held on by some sealant or adhesive. What material did you apply to reattach this strip after tightening and caulking the screws?
FWIW, re awning attachment leaks. My 2012 30ft FC came with only the curb side awning. Last year we visited JC and had the rear and two street side awnings installed. All awning arms had the "gaskets" between the mounting attachments and the body shell. After a trip to Arkansas in May, during which we endured an extended heavy rain, I decided to tryout my new moisture meter which came in the mail during our trip. Found high floor readings in the areas of the awning arms and awning attach brackets. Had read some folks didn't think the gasket material (foam, not rubber) was a very good seal and that these type gaskets should be suspect if you had leaks in these areas. We park our AS inside and after the readings went to zero, a couple weeks, I masked all these areas and applied Parbond over the gasket material and all the screw heads and rivet heads. Then used a hose (directed at the roof) to run water down the sides like rain. Let the hose run 15-20 minutes in all these areas. Waited several hours then used the meter again and found no moisture. Have used the AS since the fix but haven't been in any real rain. So will continue to monitor.
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Old 09-27-2014, 10:06 AM   #7
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Hi Barry, we went to Jackson Center Service for our recliner conversion and they stuck a new trim piece on. I pulled it off later to take a look and struck the same one back on and it has stayed on since. I think it's kind of a clunky looking piece of trim and would just as soon see the screws. They haven't rusted, maybe they're stainless steel.

Yep, the awning arms, because of their drainage location get heavily drenched in even a small rain shower. Best to caulk everything there.

Also, if you have the Airstream Fiamma bike rack installed pull of the plastic covers and seal everything there as well; another high potential leak point.

The moisture meter inspection reveals minor water intrusion very early and before damage can occur or worsen.
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Old 09-27-2014, 10:29 AM   #8
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Doug, thanks for the information.
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Old 10-17-2014, 11:51 AM   #9
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I just caulked all of the things mentioned in this thread on our almost one year old 27FB as part of my fall PM routine. I can see how every one of these areas could leak, and now shouldn't on our Pete...........

I thought I'd post here to resurrect the thread as it was from September. Great Advice here folks!
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