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Old 05-13-2004, 02:30 PM   #1
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Unhappy leaky rivets on roof?

Hi all,
I own a A/S Sovereign 1992 and have the problem that, when it rains, water drops inside at 2 spots, depending if the trailer is up front or up rear.
I assume that the entrance point of the water must be a rivet (or rivets) on the roof of the trailer, since I already made all other possible entrance spots (roof window, antenna, fridge exhaust, etc.) watertight by sealing them with silicone.
So there seem to be no other possibility where the rain could pass into the trailer except through a rivet.

My question: Is this a common known problem with Airstreams? If other have encountered a similar problem, what could I do? Thanks for your advice.

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Old 05-13-2004, 03:20 PM   #2
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1973 23' Safari
North of Boston , Massachusetts
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Hi, Hans....

first of all, you shouldn't use silicone to seal an airstream; it won't adhere to the alluminum properly, will turn black and look nasty, and generally can't guarantee a good seal.

do a search on this forum for "vulkem". there are numerous threads on properly sealing stuff.

also: check your plumbing vent gaskets. This was a source of leaks on my trailer, but it was an elusive one to solve, as I only noticed the leaks after periods of heavy rain. (light problem). I finally figured it out, with the help of the members here. Anyway, what happens is that the rubber gasket that is supposed to fit tightly around the vent pipe, and then is held down tightly against the roof skin, dries out, and seperates from the pipe. there is a small drain hole in the cover, which can easily clog with debris. during periods of light rain, not too many rain drops actually find the gap and get inside the trailer...water that gets into the vent cover can drain out before it collects at all. but in heavy rain, it can't exit the little partially clogged drain hole, and water collects in this cover. the water level rises above the level where the gasket was supposed to be sealed to the pipe, (but is no longer because it is worn out, dried, cracked), it starts pouring inside, where it finds sponge-like insulation in the ceiling, and is wicked to "god only knows where".

my leak was at least 10 feet away from one of the vents...and "uphill", (higher up on the roof than the level of the vent pipe) as well. since I replaced the gaskets, no more leak.

this is talked about in other threads, as well...some even have pictures.

good luck!

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'00 Dodge Ram 1500 4x4 QC
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Old 05-13-2004, 03:56 PM   #3
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1979 30' Argosy
Havelock , where we park it
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Re leaks

Hello Hans.. Chuck is right about using the Vulkem. We had a leak in our Tradewind.. rented some scaffolding and went at the top with the Vulkem around the vents , tv antenna and everything large. Found a few rivets with pinholes on the edge.. put a small amount of Parbon on each rivet on the roof and also along the seams.. we have had some heavy rain and the trailer is dry as a bone.. This is one of the first things I would recommend doing to any trailer .Annie
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Old 05-13-2004, 04:51 PM   #4
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1984 29' Sovereign
Savannah , Missouri
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Greeting Hans~
Chuck is right on about both items~!!
I'll betcha the number one source for leaks is the bath vent pipe~It should be check once every 5 yrs min.~
I can tell you from my own experiences it's not fun to pick it out..
Stay away from silicone~!! (Oops, too late..)
Another spot that Annie touched upon (several good spots), one of which is the TV ant..Stands to reason, you're cranking it up and down alot and, water will find a path.
Good luck to you..
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Old 05-13-2004, 04:54 PM   #5
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The PARBON mentioned above is an excellent choice. It comes in a reseable tube instead of a cartridge. Then you can carry it with you. Comes in white, gray and clear. Most RV stores carry it. Also wicks into seams well. I have been using the heck out of it lately trying to stop all my leaks.

The silicon messes up the surface, even if you think you get it off, making it tough to use the right sealants.
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Old 04-26-2009, 05:04 AM   #6
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1960 24' Tradewind
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Contrary to popular opinion, I've had good luck using silicone around the vent pipes... I use the silicone that is labelled "aquarium" sealant.
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Old 04-26-2009, 06:45 AM   #7
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1975 31' Sovereign
1980 31' Excella II
Sprung Leak , North Carolina
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Originally Posted by k4ter View Post
Contrary to popular opinion, I've had good luck using silicone around the vent pipes... I use the silicone that is labelled "aquarium" sealant.
It will hold for a while. But you will have to completely clean the old silicone off if you ever plan to reseal the area. Not an easy task.

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Old 04-26-2009, 07:06 AM   #8
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1973 27' Overlander
reno , NV
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One of the PO's of my AS used silicon all over the seams, vents, windows and rivets. I've spent about 40 hours so far picking silicon off the top of Ophelia. I have found quite a bit of corrosion underneath and there is obvious *etching* away at the aluminum. Funny thing - since my removing the stuff, no new leaks. Appears to have been put on for *preventative maintenance*. Regardless, it caused much damage to the aluminum. Just my experience thus far ....

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