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Old 03-02-2007, 01:55 AM   #1
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Yikes! A leak... from below?

My trailer has spent a long time in the pouring Oregon rain while sitting in my driveway with no evidence of leaks. I have pulled out all of the cabinets, the gaucho in the front and the rugs and am down to plywood flooring. Today I towed in heavy rain and found water on the plywood under the front window. It was wet in two spots where the plywood meets the wall and does not appear to have come from above. If it was kicked up from underneath, how can I track down the source? Any ideas? Am I in for big troubles? I need to get this fixed because I am ready to have the new floor installed… Thanks, Pam
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Old 03-02-2007, 05:16 AM   #2
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Good morning-
Sorry to hear of your water problems. You say you were towing in a heavy rain and never had any leaks before. I would say that the water is coming in from your forward window. Check your seals and gaskets. A good test is to take a garden hose after the inside has dries, spray the heck out of the window while someone is inside. Better yet, you stand inside and have someone else spray the heck out of the window. This should help you locate the source of the water.
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Old 03-02-2007, 05:19 AM   #3
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Also, check your beltline lower trim. Common place to have water intrude. I have removed my trim and sealed it with parbond...
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Old 03-02-2007, 05:21 AM   #4
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You'll find that water can come in at the top of the coach and then appear ANYWHERE on the inside. Your front vent, the antenna mount and the windows would all be candidates, hits the inside of the skin, between the walls and slides down until it hits the floor, coming out from under the walls. With you driving, it could have just been that water got forced around a loose vent frame. Check the caulking on those likely items up front.

HOWEVER, I would like to point out another spot that does not get mentioned so often. Water could be laying on your A-frame, and then the wind from driving is forcing it under the skin, having it wick up around the U-channel (does yours also have the C-channel?), soaking the plywood in those areas. It was telling you said two spots. Do they correspond to the A-frame where it comes into the skin up front? The fix for this that I know of is to caulk right there.

(Edit: Hey, that was cool, you got three responses all at once!)
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Old 03-02-2007, 06:44 AM   #5
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I agree

with AYRSTRM2's 3rd response. I highly recommend trying to justify whether or not the two spots line up with the A frame. This is an area mostly overlooked by us.
The second place I would look would be as previously mentioned by Balgrn, and that would be the beltline. It so easily leaks, and is hidden from sight making it an easy place to miss.
Good luck
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Old 03-02-2007, 08:43 AM   #6
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On our Argosy we had a seal at the bottom of one of the wing windows get old and let water get in. The water path was out of sight between the inner & outer skins and rotted the front floor. But that happened sitting still and your problem seems to have happened while underway.

I'd say you have some pretty good answers. Our Argo & some Airstream pics I've seen have a sheet of aluminum over the front 4' of frame and under the floor to prevent belly area road spray from getting to the floor. I'd seriously think of replacing your window gaskets if they are old and hard; be sure that the gasket will hold a dollar bill at every point around the perimeter while somebody inside the Tradewind opens & locks the window repeatedly. A gasket that passes a breeze would be more than enough to be the source.

Do you have a pop rivet gun yet? You'll certainly want one for routine maintenance and I would suggest pursuing balrgn's suggestion anyway. Removing rivets should be in every Airstreamer's stock and trade -- know there are some good threads on it. Most of your maintenance will be done with 1/8" all-aluminum pop rivets -- Olympics are used only on outer skin to replace the large bucked rivets.
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Old 03-02-2007, 09:50 PM   #7
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Wow!

Thanks for all of the replies. The trailer is not with me now... . It is at the cabinet makers, so it will take me a few days to f/u on your suggestions.

Okay, now I really expose my ignorance. What is the beltline trim? Is that the blue trim? And what should I be re-riveting?

I just got the trailer back from the shop and one of the things I had done was removal of the antennae that was not working. I wonder if that has anything to do with my problem.

Also, the floor installer has recommended using something to seal the plywood (like shellac (sp?) before installing the engineered flooring. Would that be wise? or is there some reason it should be breathable?

Look forward to your thoughts. Thanks again, Pam
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Old 03-02-2007, 10:02 PM   #8
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Hi Pam -- The beltline is the aluminum trim piece at the junction of the banana/belly wrap & trailer sides. Blue insert? I think we're talking about the same thing.

Sealing plywood floor? Due to wax content I sure wouldn't use shellac. You could use something like Rot Doctor penetrating epoxy to seal the plywood. 50:50 whether your flooring person has heard of that. Plenty of thread resources via search. Even Rot Doctor isn't without question. A tight shell beats all!
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Old 03-02-2007, 10:13 PM   #9
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Pam,
It would be wonderful if there was a work free way of sealing the floor, however, there isn't. The edges are what really would benefit the most from sealing, and that is out of the question unless you are doing a body-off resto. If there is rot, either cut it out and install a patch, or use the catalyst glue to reconstruct the present wood that is rotted. Just do not put that floor in until you are sure you have found AND REPAIRED your leak!
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Old 03-03-2007, 12:40 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Canoe stream
Hi Pam -- The beltline is the aluminum trim piece at the junction of the banana/belly wrap & trailer sides. Blue insert? I think we're talking about the same thing.

Sealing plywood floor? Due to wax content I sure wouldn't use shellac. You could use something like Rot Doctor penetrating epoxy to seal the plywood. 50:50 whether your flooring person has heard of that. Plenty of thread resources via search. Even Rot Doctor isn't without question. A tight shell beats all!
Hey, what do you mean by 'wax content'? Pam
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