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Old 06-02-2015, 08:21 PM   #1
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Question Looking into Airstreams

I will soon be in a position to purchase an Airstream from a Canadian Dealer; but I' see that there appear to be a number of 'problems' with this marque.
I watched a video recently where a 'couple' had a very leaky
Airstream in a rainstorm, and were desperately using buckets to try to control the deluge. I have read several other reports about this problem.
I was told [ by an owner], that the reason for the leaks, was that Airstream was 'cheaping out' on the number of rivets used, and were compelled to go back to the original specs. So have they solved this anomaly?

When commercial aircraft are built, the laps of the skins [faying surfaces]are painted with "B-1/2" rubber sealant, then the skins are "cleco'ed' together at each predrilled hole. Then the rivets are driven home, at each alternate hole. This protocol ensures that there is no leakage of water or air pressure. So.....
Does Airstream follow this procedure, or do they just hammer home the rivets dry?
Are there other problems that I should consider, before plunking down my 'fortune'?
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Old 06-02-2015, 09:55 PM   #2
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Airstreams have 'similar' construction to Aircraft. Only 'similar'...

There is minimal 'lap' sealant. Then Airstream runs the outer shell and frame through a 'water' test. (disclaimer... what follows is what I have learned which may be incorrect).. But, it 'simulates' rain... not hours and days of rain, or driving at 60MPH while jostling on the road... for a few days... Only the biggest leaks are discovered... and they say they are repaired... hmmmmmaybe is my guess. There is no 'pressure' testing of the shell.

Now, AS then takes the unit and continues the 'build'... adding the components inside the walls, insulation, wires, AC drain tubing, etc...nowhere is the AS re-leak-checked that I have learned. All these things added and done to the AS, apply stresses to the shell which were not present in the first water test. This can cause changes in the AS.. Then, the AS is handed off to a 'delivery' company who tows it as quickly as possible.. and of course 'safely' to the 'dealer's lot'... maybe it gets 'bounced' a bit.. who knows?

Now, some lucky person or couple purchase their 'dream' AS... it inevitably rains.. a lot.. and the leaks "appear".

As the AS 'matures', you will need to reseal... but, it is NOT impossible! Not that 'hard'... but it is 'annoying' to some folks..

The AS will require this 'maintenance' discipline..for life. If done, you will have a TT with superb longevity and 'fun'... a wonderful payback..

So, get the 'dream 'stream'... have it immediately 'pressure tested' and sealed up... then repeat annually.. more often if you haul over seriously lousy roads... Since each AS is a 'unique' creation, yours will have 'special needs'.... learn those needs and address them.. you should NOT have serious leaks or damage to contend with... and a AS you can hand off to someone... they my be a relative.. or a dear friend who will care for and appreciate your gift.....
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Old 06-02-2015, 10:05 PM   #3
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I would like to see the video you spoke of, do you have a link?
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Old 06-03-2015, 07:06 AM   #4
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Unhappy

Not that I can recall at the moment; it was a while ago, and I may have deleted it.
Sorry!
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Old 06-03-2015, 07:12 AM   #5
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Video is a Airstream Promotional video, can be located by contacting factory, or Colonial Airstream.
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Old 06-03-2015, 07:25 AM   #6
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I can't imagine a leak so bad that they had to use buckets. Most of the leaks seem to be so unnoticeable and small that they go on for years causing a lot of damage because no one ever noticed they had a leak in the first place.
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Old 06-03-2015, 07:41 AM   #7
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Old 06-03-2015, 07:48 AM   #8
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I Wouldn't pay much attention to negative comments on the internet. Most of them are B/S

if you buy a new unit they have a warranty. I have had mine sitting outside for 3 months many rain storms and no leaks

on a used one do your own water test with a garden hose. I can't imagine leaks so bad that you need buckets unless someone damaged the roof.

enjoy

earl
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Old 06-03-2015, 08:19 AM   #9
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Earl, search this forum. You'll read for days. This was a sudden skylight deluge. Both of them. They crumbled from poor installation. Very common.
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Old 06-03-2015, 09:05 AM   #10
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Only for pressurized aircraft

Quote:
Originally Posted by MelGoddard View Post
When commercial aircraft are built, the laps of the skins [faying surfaces]are painted with "B-1/2" rubber sealant, then the skins are "cleco'ed' together at each predrilled hole. Then the rivets are driven home, at each alternate hole. This protocol ensures that there is no leakage of water or air pressure. So.....
:
Only pressurized aircraft are built that way. Unpressurized aircraft are built like Airstreams, only I have noticed the rivet spacing is different--more rivets on the Cessnas than on the Airstreams.
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Old 06-03-2015, 09:15 AM   #11
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One of the reason folks (like me) buy Airstreams is to avoid problems like this. I'm sure it happens from time to time but I doubt it's a common problem. This forum is full of great information and tips on doing things. However, there seems to be a great deal of negitivity among certain contributors from tow vehicles to hitches to just about everything. I've seen this on other forums also, so us readers must keep an open mind & realize that someone else's problem is most likely not going to be our problem.
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Old 06-03-2015, 09:20 AM   #12
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All travel trailers are going to leak at some time or another. That includes new units. If new and on warranty, have the dealer resolve it, even if it means they (not you) have to take it back to the factory to do so. Airstreams are well made, but not perfect. You as an owner should plan on regular maintenance, including resealing areas that through age, UV exposure or vibration from rough roads have lost their seal.
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Old 06-03-2015, 11:34 AM   #13
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leaks

I guess I'm out of the loop but I have not heard that a lot of the new 2014 2015's are having leak issues. I've been looking at the new units and it would be very upsetting to spend 90 to $100000 grand to start off with a leaky camper.
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Old 06-03-2015, 11:57 AM   #14
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It can take some time, and lack of maintenance is the source of some....but not all.
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