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Old 09-26-2010, 02:34 PM   #1
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Working on leaks, '74 Sovereign

Last week we towed our Sovereign over to my parents' house and parked it in the shade for some much needed leak fixes. We set up some scaffold with the intention of bridging across the trailer, but never actually did that. We worked off of the scaffolds from the sides. On a couple of occasions one of us had to climb on top of the trailer to reach the farthest spots, but it wasn't too bad.



My biggest concern was the awning rail. It and the awning have been a continual nuisance since we first set her up. I immediately removed the awning from the rail. Several of my awning brackets were broken and the springs were already unwound. We took the awning to a local upholstery shop for re-sewing into something smaller and simpler. The trailer instantly looked better without the awning on it. The rail was in bad shape on both ends. When I bought the trailer, there was a congealed lake of silicone enveloping each end of the rail and the vista views upper sides. I had already scraped much of it away at this point.



I cut off the terminal ends of the rail back to the next rib. I riveted with Olympic rivets to the rib near the end of the rails and placed rivets and patches over the holes left. I finished off the Olympics with a Dremel type tool. There were 14 holes on one end of the rail within 6 inches of the end. I will probably re-do the patches at some point. I am not all that happy with my workmanship and the aluminum that I used was too light weight.



I cleaned up the caulk around my plumbing and roof vents and re-caulked using Sikaflex 721 UV. All I could find was white color so I limited its use to areas not very visible from the ground. I had a few popped rivets to replace which I gooped up thoroughly with Par Bond. I really like the way Par Bond works, but wish I had known when I first used it that you should not attempt to tool it after applying. It looks much better if you apply it as neatly as possible and leave it alone.

Since the main goal of this exercise was to do away with as many leaks as possible, I spent much of my time scraping off silicone caulk and old Vulkem. The Vulkem was easier to deal with since Acetone seems to dissolve it fairly well. Silicone was less effective as a sealant but much more trouble to remove. We cleaned around most of the Vista Views and the entire remaining length of the awning rail and re-caulked them. I used the Par Bond around the top of the windows and a product called Lexel around the glass. I think that many of my leaks were from the awning rail. I caulked along the top of it with the Sika Flex.

While I was at it I replaced a couple of the amber clearance lights with LED models from Wally world.

Another major chore was inserting supports for my air conditioner. The PO had had a Duo Therm installed a couple of years ago. The installers did a very shoddy job. The placed a short 1 1/2" block at each end of the unit in the ceiling space. My tape measure read 1 3/4" between the outer and inner shells, so immediately they had a shortfall there. My dad made a scribed pattern of the roofline in a spot that seemed to be in good shape. We then cut some 3/4" plywood to fit the shape and placed it in the aft part of the A/C hole. We made three pieces which we overlapped and screwed together after fitting into the hole. It was quite a job and I ended up with a sore back from lifting the A/C unit from inside the trailer. We made a similar repair at the fore end of the unit. I also made fillers for the sides so that the unit would be supported from all around. Once we got everything in place the unit looked much better, and the sag was gone from the roof. Everything went back together and worked just fine.

I have a few more windows to clean and caulk and I would like to redo all of my exterior lights. I will be working on those later this week.

We had a bit of rain a couple of days ago, and my wife reported no detectable leaks. I hope to have the rest of the work done before it comes any serious rain again.

Happy travels,
Stephen
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Old 09-26-2010, 06:06 PM   #2
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When I removed the awning tube from my trailer I found 5 missed rivet open holes hiding under the roller. Do I think those may have leaked?
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Old 09-26-2010, 10:45 PM   #3
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Do I think those may have leaked?
Wow, I'm thinkin' it's just possible! Now you have me wondering if there's a way to check that without taking the awning off. I couldn't live without it!
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Old 09-26-2010, 10:53 PM   #4
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Wow, I'm thinkin' it's just possible! Now you have me wondering if there's a way to check that without taking the awning off. I couldn't live without it!
My tube was bent and missing the fabric. Sounds like a personal problem . . .

I removed the whole awning till I can emotionally deal with it. The mounts on mine were leaking:-) Shocking huh?

Gary
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