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Old 10-14-2002, 04:00 PM   #1
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Unhappy Water leak

We recently purchased a '99 25' Safari in Utah. The guy we bought it from said in a recent storm, he found water leaking in around the rear escape window and had put a seal in and thought he had it fixed. When we hit New Mexico on the way home we ran into some rough weather and of course it leaked. After we got home, I thought the caulking around the top of the window frame might be the problem so I recalked all of the windows and hosed down the back one. Not a drop. Last week, we had another hard rain and again it leaked. It seems to be leaking right in the middle of the top of the frame. When I open the window, it swings out on a hinge at the top. I could see water collected around this area. I am at a loss as to how to keep water from entering though the hinge area. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 10-14-2002, 05:38 PM   #2
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What are you using for caulk? If someone before you used silicone or you are using silicone now then it will not last long.
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Old 10-14-2002, 05:57 PM   #3
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Question Not leaking at the calking.

It is not leaking at the calking. I can see it coming through the hinge. The gasket does not seem to stop it. Thanks
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'99 25' Safari
2 Honda 2000i generators
'08 Chevy Duramax
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'07 Yamaha Rhino ATV
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Old 10-23-2002, 05:15 PM   #4
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2005 30' Safari
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About a year ago I pick up my ’99 Safari from the storage yard only to find the rear end soaked. I thought it had come from the vent, given that the center of the carpeting was wet, but the beds were dry. After looking every possible point where water could get in the rear of the trailer, I found the problem. It was the starboard side access door. The door did not pull tight against the rubber seal when shut. The solution was simply to bend carefully the inside latch a bit. Now to shut the doors (all three were not tight) I have to give them a small push while turning the latch. It hasn’t leaked a drop since then.

Rick
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Old 10-23-2002, 05:45 PM   #5
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Leak

Since it is coming out at the hinge, I woould look higher up. Sounds to me like it may be coming in from somewhere well above the window; a seam, bad caulking around a vent, or a bad vent cap. The water will run along the inner aluminum shell and appear far from where the leak actially occurs.

On my former trailer, a ceiling light would fill up with water after a hard rain. I finally traced the water to an overtightened screw on a Fantastic Fan about 6 feet away. The water would then collect in the fan and run through a duct that carried the wires to the lights. The overtightened screw had extruded its way through the flange of the fan right where water poured off the dome of the vent.
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Old 10-24-2002, 03:41 PM   #6
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1993 29' Excella
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If you don't find the leak where you expect it to be, I have a suggestion for you. Take a close look at the holding tank vent pipes on the roof. They are installed with a rubber gasket that does not last long and when it goes it will leak. The water will then travel via the aluminum channels to an outlet place. Depending on how the rig is leveled it could go to the front or the back. I found both mine leaking very badly after searching for seveal years for the leak. The fix is easy! Good luck.
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Old 11-03-2002, 08:48 PM   #7
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Unhappy Still Leaking and still looking

I spoke with Jim at Airstream customer service a few days ago. Very nice guy and very willing to help. He has some suggestions but It has been raining and damp for a couple of weeks, so have not gotten to take another look up on top. I'm a little concerned about how to get up there without putting any weight on the crowns as Jim suggested. I purchased some Vulkem and will start at the rear seam on top and work forward. I am open to any other suggestions. I think I am going to invite all to a party when I finally get it fixed!
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Old 11-06-2002, 08:09 AM   #8
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1999 25' Safari
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I had the same problem with my 25C Safari, except I had it at both the front and the rear. The dealer was no help, even though it was still under warranty.

I belive that I found the problem and it was with the clearance lights on mine. Two weekends ago, on our last trip of the year, the leak in the rear came back. Because it had snowed 4" that night I was fairly confident that the leak was not higher up and indeed found that there was an accumulation of snow over the rear clearance lights. Once removed, the leak stopped.

I started with a hose running a full, but not too fast stream and, with my daughter inside, slowly moved from lowest to highest spots to try and get the leaks. I tried as best possible to isolate the potential areas and it took about 2 hours total.


As for the roof, I simply stay on the cross ribswith an old furniture pad and had no problem, other than a few cramps in the legs!
I'm 195, so not really a lightweight.
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Old 11-07-2002, 04:28 AM   #9
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1993 29' Excella
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Jacebeck,

Could you be a little more specific as to exactly what you found that caused the clearance lights to leak. I suspected mine were leaking but when I removed the lense, all looked watertight. Did you caulk around the outside or on the inside? Thanks,
James
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Old 11-07-2002, 09:23 PM   #10
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1999 25' Safari
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Around the outside, but it was an extremely thin bead, so it can't be seen from more than a couple feet away. I did it all the way around to give it a more finished appearance. It was a grey/silver Vulkem product that the dealer gave me, but I pitched the tube so can't tell you exactly what it was.
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Old 11-13-2002, 11:07 PM   #11
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Since we are talking leaks, I developed one in August during a thunder storm. Water started running down the wall behind the stove vent hood. It ended up being the seams in the stove vent plastic hood on the curbside outside wall of the trailer. Just to the right and left of the vent door flap were two small vertical seams in the the vent hood (not cracks though, it seemed to be part of the manufacturing process). The wind forced the rain into these seams. I put a very small thin bead of Parbond on each seam (it matched the grey color of the vent exactly). Once dried I hit the vent with the hose and this time no water.

Jack
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Old 06-25-2005, 09:53 PM   #12
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You would have to repeat, but how about a vaseline substance??
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Old 09-06-2005, 06:52 PM   #13
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Well, it has been 3 years now and I still have the leak. Local Airstream repair facility gave up about 1 1/2 years ago and decided the only way to find it was to remove the overhead storage bins and head liner. Said it would run about 8 hours to take it out at about $95 an hour, etc. but that was only the rear about where the rear cap is rivited. Never did find out what it would cost if it was running from farther towards the front. My guess would be to keep tearing it apart. Anyway, I declined and since have caulked the poor thing so much I may have used up a lot of my carrying capacity. LOL. I just can not see anyhthing that even comes close to looking like it might be suspect to a leak on top. The only thing I have not done is completely take the a/c off. Airstream told me there is no way it can leak because it is sealed off where it comes through the roof. Local guy doesn't think it can be that either. It never leaks around the a/c area. Only over the back window. Driving me nuts! The factory said that if I bring it to them, the first thing they would pressurize it and soak it down with soapy water and look for bubbles. They suggested I locate one close to home and not have to travel so far. The local Holiday Rambler dealer had one so I took it to them. 3 hours and $400 later I pulled it home. Rained a few days later and it was still leaking. Arranged for them to do it a second time and again the could not find a leak on top. So, I have just lived with it hoping it would just go away....
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'99 25' Safari
2 Honda 2000i generators
'08 Chevy Duramax
'01 Yamaha Raptor ATV
'07 Yamaha Rhino ATV
2 burgler alarms: Rotweiller and Shepherd
"If you step down to get in, you have to step up to get out"
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Old 09-06-2005, 07:46 PM   #14
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Hello... We have had a leak in our Argosy .. couldn't track it down.. finally my hubby soaped down the front and took the air compressor to the inside and went around the window.. bingo.. found the area that the leak was at... and fixed it.. try the same method.. it is similar what the RV people do but costs nothing ... Annie
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Old 09-07-2005, 05:06 AM   #15
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1993 29' Excella
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I know (from experience) that you are willing to consider any suggestions at this point.
Here are a couple:
1. Try unleveling the rig and put the front end down Wait for a rain or wet it down.-see if water still comes out at the window hinge. Then do the same thing but unlevel it from side to side and see what happens. This might point to where the water is coming in.
2. Take a close look at the awning rail. There is a small screw on each end of the rail to keep the awning from working out as you travel. I found that the PO had changed the screw to a longer one with a sharp point and it had penetrated the skin. It is extremely hard to find. I took the screw out and inserted an ice pick and measured how far it went down-presto-through the skin.
3. This one is obvious--Do your searching above the leak and anywhere on the trailer skin. IT WILL RUN A LONG WAY DEPENDING ON HOW THE RIG IS LEVELED.
4. Don't forget the vent pipe gaskets. They only last a few years and can really be a large leak.

Good luck and keep us posted.
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Old 09-07-2005, 07:48 AM   #16
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Thanks James. I have tried lowering the front as well as raising the front. Still leaks. When we have a good rain, it takes about 30+ minutes for it to begin to show up. I think it is pooling somewhere and eventually creeps back along the struts to the back window area. Blocking up one side or the other just diverts it to the side of the window. It is not coming in at the window. It is actually running down between the inner and outter skins where the insulation and headliner are. It drips just in front of the window frame and onto the night stand between the beds. I have also redone the vents and refrig cover. I have pulled both skylights during a rain and can not find any evidence of water in the insulation around them. The same goes for the a/c. I can leave the plenum off and still see no signs of water coming in around the seal. The shop has even replaced all of the rivets on the rear cap fwith the new O-ring type and I have had the front 5 panels replaced because of hail damage. I had the leak before the hail damage. It has actually gotten worse since they started messing with it. Originally, it was just a small drip once in a while. Now it is a drop about every 5 seconds. So far, I have been able to keep a bucket under it. I catch as much as a quart during a good rain. The last time I had it pressurized, I had them take out both the front and rear bolts that hold the awning on and fill the holes and then reseal the bolt. I take it in tomorrow to be fitted with a new awning and I am going to ask them to take the entire railing off and redo it before installing the new awning. It just seems that with it leaking this much, I should be able to see some evidence on top where it might be entering. I may just have to have a cover made for it and throw it on when it looks like rain....
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'99 25' Safari
2 Honda 2000i generators
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'07 Yamaha Rhino ATV
2 burgler alarms: Rotweiller and Shepherd
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Old 09-07-2005, 11:17 AM   #17
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Sounds like water hose time to me. Process of elimination.
If it is appearing at the night stand, then it has to be above the nightstand.
I might wait until there was a rain so that everything is "soaked up" in the insulation, have the front raised high, and then start rivet by rivet at the beltline in the back hosing the rivets while having someone watch for water inside. A time consuming aggravating process to be sure.
Eventually, running water on each potential entry point in the trailer WILL produce results.
Some of the leaks I have found have been so hard to discover and so simple to repair once found. The last one for me that puzzled me forever was a clearance light, and running light leak. The lights were sealed with Parrbond to the trailer, so I am thinking, can't be that....wrong. Inside the light, under the lens, there is an opening where a single wire emerges for contact. Over time, the lenses had retained some dust inside the lens caps that prevented any water getting under the lens cap from draining on the outside. Therefore it drained to the inside of the outer skin of the trailer via the wire path because the seal around the wire on the mounting plate had failed due to heat and time.
So, I removed the lenses, cleaned them up, and placed a dab of Parrbond around the wire entry point. Now, the water that manages to get under the lens during a rain is free to drain on the outside of the trailer.
You probably have three clearance lights over the rear window, each one a potential point of entry in a way that you may not see at first inspection. I certainly didn't.
Anyway, keep chasing the leak....eventually you will prevail and save the need of a full monty floor replacement in the process. It IS worth it to find the leak and stop it.
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Old 09-07-2005, 11:47 AM   #18
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Thanks David. We have done the clearance lights like you described also. I thought at first that sealing around the wiring was bound to fix it. We even did it again the last time it was pressurized just to be sure. I will try the hose again.
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'99 25' Safari
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'07 Yamaha Rhino ATV
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Old 09-18-2005, 01:44 PM   #19
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Just a recap on the caulk products, I am going to redo the seams on the roof and above the windows, I am removing the windows cleaning and replacing- (vista views) and it seems that Vulkem is the product of choice for both jobs or am I misreading.
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Old 09-18-2005, 09:21 PM   #20
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TinCan- This is a note I received from a friend recently about the caulking. Vulkem was all that I had been told about from AS. I used the white on top and aluminum on the windows, etc. as per their instructions.

"AS recommends Acryl-R for exterior seams – have some – have never used it & Sikaflex for interior seams. Parr-Bond is very thin &
wicks into small gaps – not very good for anything over 1/16” . Comes in clear, aluminum and gray I think. Bostik 1100 is the AS recommended
sealer for roof vents (the recommended list changes over time – but these products are all available at the AS store). Vulkem is “the’
recommended sealer when replacing sheets of metal and is really good stuff – should be good for 20+ years. Bostik 1100 is a urethane
sealer."


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