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Old 08-28-2011, 08:05 AM   #1
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Rot line under rear of Airstream

Hello Experts,

My issues continue to mount....this time, I've noticed a 'rot line' under the rear of the trailer - not sure how to handle this - foil tape?

Here are the pictures.....the inside of the rear bumper is showing much deterioration. The side of the trailer picture is above the location of the 'line' of corrosion.
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Old 08-28-2011, 09:32 AM   #2
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Is the 2nd and 3rd pic a shot of the rear under the bathroom? The shot of the trunk is rust from water collecting. Doesnt look too serious, but could be a sign of floor/frame problems to come. More pics please.
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Old 08-28-2011, 09:47 AM   #3
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The only expert on here is Andy and maybe the Overlander guy. The rest of us just like to think that we are.

If the metal is steel, iron, what-not, water will make it rust.
The solution to that is a good cleaning (sanding) and they make this paint stuff that will stop the rusting. Forget the name of it. Most people here use it on their frames. You can get it at auto parts stores that supply paint and body shops.

Aluminum is different story. The Airstream shell is made of aluminum, and although it will deteriorate it takes a long time, usually unless there is something else touching it.. like some other non aluminum metal, etc.

Not sure if water pooling in that one spot would be enough to cause that line of corrosion in an of itself. Maybe Andy knows.

I'm with Mars Boy (not the Man from Mars.. because then it might be Rapture).. It would be helpful to know what is behind that line of corrosion. Patching over it will not stop it.
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Old 08-28-2011, 10:30 AM   #4
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No, it is a center bathroom - the bedroom is in the back. I'll try to take more pictures and vacuum out all the rust particles in the bumper to get a better look.
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Old 08-28-2011, 10:32 AM   #5
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The bumper is trivial. Don't need pictures of the bumper sans rust.. What is above/inside the aluminum?
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Old 08-28-2011, 10:43 AM   #6
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Step up on the rear bumper and look for movement between the bumper and the shell. If it moves any at all you will have issues to deal with. This a very poor design and causes a multitude of issue, especially on the longer units. On my 1975 rear bath there was over a 1/2" gap that would open up when you stepped on the bumper, still working on it.

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Old 08-28-2011, 10:48 AM   #7
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ok, I'll check it out.
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Old 08-28-2011, 11:47 AM   #8
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Bad News

So, I bounced on the bumper - seemed firm on both sides. From the inside of the bumper, street side very rotten, curb side looks good.

I went into the street side back storage bin - used the ice pick to pick up the carpet - the floor is totally rotten - it's just dust. Curb side seems ok. I didn't pull out the drawers inbetween the twin beds so I'm not sure how far it goes.

This is probably explaining the wall separation that I have been noticing on the street side - wheel well all cracked, etc.

Oh man, now I'm thinking about selling it immediately...only owned the thing for 60 days. I told the PO that I could not afford a money pit - got sold just that. What to do?
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Old 08-28-2011, 12:01 PM   #9
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Liz so it`s actually good news.You don`t have any rear seperation YET. The repair is not costly but does take some time to replace the rear sheet of the sub floor. More good news is that you have a center bath model so disassemblyof the bedroom is a lot easier than a rear bath model. I guessing but a new sheet of plywood, screws,bolts, sealants, frame paint etc would come in under $500 in materials. I`m actulally estimating high for materials to allow for unforseen extras.
Probably three to four weekends work would get it fixed.
How handy is your `one fine boyfriend`.
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Old 08-28-2011, 12:01 PM   #10
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Ride it out! Your using it right now....keep using it. Being that you already have paid for it and its not falling out from under you...unlike the truck...Use and enjoy it. As things come up, repair them. If in the future you have time and money available, at the same time, have the floor panel fixed. That can be a minor section or even a whole 4' section. I don't think you have a frame separation...from what I see. You can go to a hardware store and get a bottle of ospho, or similar, rust converter. Put it in a spray bottle and spray any rust areas or unpainted steel you come upon. In general....just maintain what you have and move on. Have fun with your Gang.
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Old 08-28-2011, 12:34 PM   #11
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Liz,

MR nailed it!!!

Justuseit....nothings going to happen that will leave you stranded, unlike the Dodge.

When we had our 63 there were some pressing repairs, (at least considered so here), that took 5 years to make, like the one in this pic, can you spot it?, and some that never got done.

That exterior corrosion..... the "Frantic Banana" had it in several places where the frame came in contact with the exterior skin, when I got around to it, repaired the outriggers and pop-rivited a patch....one thing at a time.

Consider the SAFETY items FIRST>

This Forum is a great place for info and guidance but I think at times can cause unnecessary worry and get in the way of your enjoying what you have.

Stream Happy...

Bob
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Old 08-28-2011, 12:48 PM   #12
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Fix it better than new

Quote:
Originally Posted by palmtreegirl View Post
... What to do?
Fix it...make it better than new.

There probably isn't a 15 year old Airstream out there that doesn't need some sort of a repair.

You have a relatively new unit, and have an excellent opportunity to repair the thing on your own schedule and on your own budget.

The only difference between your unit and most pre 2000's is that you have actually looked for damage in the right places.

Having said that there is no reason you could not use it just as it is for the rest of the camping season and find a weather proof place to work on the rear floor rot during the winter, use it for camping in 2012, and prepare a new repair campaign for the following winter.

Do the repairs in steps, replace items more to your liking as you do it.

Don't like the twin beds? - replace with a double, queen, or king when you pull the rear furniture this coming winter to repair the new found damage. Put in a second 20 or 30 amp inlet for that second AC or electric water heater while repairing the rear end.

Don't be too harsh on the PO - unless he or she spent a lot of time here on the forums there is a huge likelyhood there was no knowledge of of any damage. The WBCCI'ers are notoriously famous for not dispersing vintage knowledge.

The rubber in the axles start to lose resiliency out of the door of the factory - after 15 years there is a good chance there is not much bounce left - replace them in a year or two, take precautions to take the weight off of the torsion rubber when not in use, and you have a good suspension system for your lifetime.

Your possibilities for improving the trailer are endless.

Be sure to document your repairs either here or in another blog - your repair record will make the trailer much more valuable if the next owner knows the repairs were done properly.
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Old 08-28-2011, 01:15 PM   #13
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Thanks guys, (sniff) I feel a little better - angry but better.
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Old 08-28-2011, 01:31 PM   #14
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You can take care of the bumper issue immediately. Get some of the stop rust paint stuff from the auto supply place, get boyfriend a small angle grinder. Knock the rust off of the bumper everywhere you see and can get to then paint it with the stuff.

It will look fabulous, you won't have to worry with that area again, and boyfriend will be primed for more involved work.

You really need to find the source of the leak and fix that.
Maybe you are lucky and it is just coming in around the storage door.
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