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Old 02-13-2012, 01:44 AM   #43
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Gig Harbor , Washington
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Nothing (almost) is waterproof

I am arelative newbie to these forums but know lots about condensation and how it can impact structures. The outside skin of the Airstream is what is called a leading edge conductor. Simply put cold to warm. The water will form on the inside of the skin and drip.
I would like to look at three perspectives.

My entire family has been in the commercial fishing industry (Salmon, Herring,Sardines, Halibut and sometimes Tuna. At first the boats were wood and they woul repair them with tar and creasote. Nothing kept the water out

My cousin is a maintenance mechanic for Alaska Air and he says the planes ( especially the 737's) are like sponges.

In the 1980's the City of Seattle throuth their infinite wisdom approved construction plans for multifloor wood frame condos covered with drivit.These units were then sealed up so tight that the owners started to have some problems with inside air quality, humidity etc. We were invited to bid on a solution that involved installing outside air inside air exchanges involving fans. For whatever reason we declined. About two years later the buildings were rotting away. It seems the air exchanges created a slight negative atmosphere inside the building which started pulling in the rain. The elastomeric properties of the drivit would not let the walls breathe so the water had no where to go. These buildings literally had a 10 year lifespan. I'm sure the lawsuits are still flying.
I know this has been long but bear with me.

Condensation in Airstreams is here to stay. Everything that is impacted by temp differentials will eventually develop a dew point where the condensation will occur.
I guess having said all of this I think the best advise I can offer is from my Grandpa who would always tell me about the boats."Ya gotta stay up with them kid. Don't let them get away from you". He was of course talking about maintenance and the maintenance on those old ships was tar, oalum and creasote. I love this forum and all of the knowledge. What a community. Hope to see you guys on the road.

Best,
Dan2
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Old 02-13-2012, 08:40 AM   #44
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I put an L14-30 twist lock on a very short pigtail coming out of the back of my trialer. I only use one of the hot pins but may covert to 220V at some point and use the other pin. I unplug it and put the cord in the side compartment. The sewer pipe goes inside a garbage bag in the same compartment but it will eventually end up in that bumper compartment when I get it finished.

Perry
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Old 02-13-2012, 09:16 PM   #45
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1975 31' Sovereign
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I have just started to restore the my '75 Sovereign and I have the same problem that everyone else has with the back bumper. Can you post a picture of the corrections you've made?

Ken
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Old 02-13-2012, 10:03 PM   #46
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I ended up staining, then coating 3/4" plywood with 2 coats of West Marine Epoxy and then 2 coats of exterior Oil based poly. We'll see how it lasts. I haven't cut any holes in the plywood yet, but will coat the sides of any holes. The chassis/frame was sandblasted and POR-15 was used. After spending the past summer with a completely gutted AS, I have seen the leaks and sealed all interior seams and rivets. I fear I will always have leaks. The second picture shows the rear hold down plate which was POR-15'd. I installed a layer of vinyl between the hold down plate and chassis/floor. Rivets came after this pic. Good luck with your project. I think the AS floor is the weakest link and needs the most protection.
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Old 02-13-2012, 10:26 PM   #47
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1974 25' Tradewind
Saint Joseph , Louisiana
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Quote:
Originally Posted by perryg114 View Post
I put an L14-30 twist lock on a very short pigtail coming out of the back of my trialer. I only use one of the hot pins but may covert to 220V at some point and use the other pin. I unplug it and put the cord in the side compartment. The sewer pipe goes inside a garbage bag in the same compartment but it will eventually end up in that bumper compartment when I get it finished.

Perry
Thanks, I'll probably make a short pigtail with male plug that can reside in the storage box. Then I can roll the power cord up and keep it in a cleaner space somewhere. I suppose another option would be to mount a slinky storage tube (4" ABS pipe with screw-on plug) somewhere under the trailer, but, I'm not sure there is a good place to do so.
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Old 02-13-2012, 10:27 PM   #48
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Menlo Park , California
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Well, webspinner had both cameras in England while I was doing my repairs... but I did make this drawing. Hope this gives the basic idea....
Everything got Vulkemed during riveting...

- Bart
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Old 02-13-2012, 10:38 PM   #49
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1974 25' Tradewind
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Quote:
Originally Posted by surfpod View Post
I ended up staining, then coating 3/4" plywood with 2 coats of West Marine Epoxy and then 2 coats of exterior Oil based poly. We'll see how it lasts. I haven't cut any holes in the plywood yet, but will coat the sides of any holes. The chassis/frame was sandblasted and POR-15 was used. After spending the past summer with a completely gutted AS, I have seen the leaks and sealed all interior seams and rivets. I fear I will always have leaks. The second picture shows the rear hold down plate which was POR-15'd. I installed a layer of vinyl between the hold down plate and chassis/floor. Rivets came after this pic. Good luck with your project. I think the AS floor is the weakest link and needs the most protection.
WOW, the floor looks awesome and should be a lot more resistant to water damage than our original plywood floors. I wonder if it would help to add a piece of flashing around the perimeter of the floor that the U channel would sit on. If the flashing was turned up on the inside of the wall and screwed or riveted to you inner skin and turned downward on the outside of the U channel, I think it would shed any water leaks away from your new floor.
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Old 02-13-2012, 10:53 PM   #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by barts View Post
Well, webspinner had both cameras in England while I was doing my repairs... but I did make this drawing. Hope this gives the basic idea....
Everything got Vulkemed during riveting...

- Bart
Thanks for the schematic. This should cure the leak problem and prevent any frame-skin separation. One question---how did you get the stainless steel plate between the plywood and frame member?
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Old 02-13-2012, 11:04 PM   #51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bhutch74ly View Post
Thanks for the schematic. This should cure the leak problem and prevent any frame-skin separation. One question---how did you get the stainless steel plate between the plywood and frame member?
The skin was loose from the C channel, and the plywood was not bolted to the floor; it was pretty easy to rotate the angle plate in from the inside. I'd prepunched all the rivet holes in the stainless, so all I had to do was line everything up and drill a hole, Cleco it, and go on to the next.

I replaced the rear 6" or so of plywood; the joint between the existing floor and the repaired floor has a 6" wide buttblock underneath it, glued and screwed w/ #10 laminating screws. The floor in the bathroom is the most rigid part of the floor in the entire trailer.

- Bart
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Old 02-13-2012, 11:47 PM   #52
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The skin was loose from the C channel, and the plywood was not bolted to the floor; it was pretty easy to rotate the angle plate in from the inside. I'd prepunched all the rivet holes in the stainless, so all I had to do was line everything up and drill a hole, Cleco it, and go on to the next.

I replaced the rear 6" or so of plywood; the joint between the existing floor and the repaired floor has a 6" wide buttblock underneath it, glued and screwed w/ #10 laminating screws. The floor in the bathroom is the most rigid part of the floor in the entire trailer.

- Bart
Very good. Thanks again.
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Old 02-14-2012, 06:08 AM   #53
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They all leak. The best you can do is seal and re-seal, and keep an eye out for new leaks. I've had 2 year old SOB trailers come in that were not much more than a rolling pile of rotted wood.
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Old 02-19-2012, 12:16 AM   #54
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I'm trying to address these deficiencies on my trailer now and have a thread going to document the process. Take a look at this summary to get my thoughts on the subject http://www.airforums.com/forums/f36/...ml#post1100621.

Steve
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Old 02-19-2012, 01:08 AM   #55
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Genoa , Nevada
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danlehosky View Post
I am arelative newbie to these forums but know lots about condensation and how it can impact structures. The outside skin of the Airstream is what is called a leading edge conductor. Simply put cold to warm. The water will form on the inside of the skin and drip.
I would like to look at three perspectives.

My entire family has been in the commercial fishing industry (Salmon, Herring,Sardines, Halibut and sometimes Tuna. At first the boats were wood and they woul repair them with tar and creasote. Nothing kept the water out

My cousin is a maintenance mechanic for Alaska Air and he says the planes ( especially the 737's) are like sponges.

In the 1980's the City of Seattle throuth their infinite wisdom approved construction plans for multifloor wood frame condos covered with drivit.These units were then sealed up so tight that the owners started to have some problems with inside air quality, humidity etc. We were invited to bid on a solution that involved installing outside air inside air exchanges involving fans. For whatever reason we declined. About two years later the buildings were rotting away. It seems the air exchanges created a slight negative atmosphere inside the building which started pulling in the rain. The elastomeric properties of the drivit would not let the walls breathe so the water had no where to go. These buildings literally had a 10 year lifespan. I'm sure the lawsuits are still flying.
I know this has been long but bear with me.

Condensation in Airstreams is here to stay. Everything that is impacted by temp differentials will eventually develop a dew point where the condensation will occur.
I guess having said all of this I think the best advise I can offer is from my Grandpa who would always tell me about the boats."Ya gotta stay up with them kid. Don't let them get away from you". He was of course talking about maintenance and the maintenance on those old ships was tar, oalum and creasote. I love this forum and all of the knowledge. What a community. Hope to see you guys on the road.

Best,
Dan2
What if we're all chasing the wrong dog? What if part of the answer would be to have positive dry air pressure ventilation, drying out the condensation instead of trying to seal it in. Anybody remember a few years back (uhh, '75?) when all the cars and trucks came out with a "positive ventilation fan" that always ran for the theory to have good air or less CO poisoning or something. You couldn't turn it off, made your battery go dead and was annoyance if you were stuck next to an exhaust pipe? Would it be reasonably possible to pressure enough to stop some of the micro leaks and dry out the condensation. Without popping window glass.
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Old 02-19-2012, 12:20 PM   #56
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When builders started sealing houses they had some similar problems because there was little exchange of air between the inside and outside. The air in the houses was becoming nasty and humid. A trailer becomes humid a lot faster because it is not much space and usually a couple of people breathing out water vapor constantly plus washing dishes and showers. I think most of the nasty air comes from cooking and we have plenty of fans for that, but the water vapor keeps building up. We keep vents open and fans on a lot. Sometimes the bathroom vent fan is all that is needed. In the southwest humidity is less of a problem, but it can still matter. The extremes of temperature in any one day out here also contribute to more condensation.

Home contractors came up with ventilation systems using heat recovery technology for well sealed houses. Something like that could be adapted for a trailer. Whether it would work while boondocking would depend on how much power it used. Trailers could be vented while driving if they had the vents cars have and have had for generations.

A question about subfloor sealing:

I am exposing my subfloor by removing the crummy and cheap vinyl sheet. I will be putting in a better quality vinyl floor. So far I don't see any problems with the plywood subfloor but I haven't removed much yet. It has some black stuff painted on the plywood about 6 to 8" from the exterior wall. I suppose it is suppose to seal the plywood. I would like to seal the plywood I expose—the visible floor and in some cabinets where I can get the sheet vinyl out. Epoxy paint seems a lot more than needed at this point—expensive, complicated perhaps. I looked briefly for it and it seems you have to buy big buckets that I don't need. Maybe I'm wrong. And since I can't get to the edges, maybe epoxy makes little sense. If I were replacing whole sheets of plywood, I'd epoxy them, or if I had some soft spots I'd fill them with epoxy. I hope not to find any soft spots; I'd think I'd have felt them through the sheet vinyl. The alternative I'm thinking of is a couple a coats of exterior oil based polyurethane (I think it is better than water based, but I may be wrong about that). The floor will be 3/16" vinyl planks that can lay loose (they are really hard to move on a smooth surface—I've tried it with a large sample) attached to the floor with pressure sensitive glue. With this type of floor and glue, I can remove planks from time to time to check the plywood. Locking planks or tiles have the problem that the locking part can be fragile and once removed, may not go back properly.

Gene
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