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Old 07-24-2015, 06:51 PM   #1
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2016 Interstate Grand Tour Ext
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New interstate leaking

My husband and I bought a new 2015 grand tour and took her out for a 6 week trip. To our dismay, the roof leaks when it rains. We have brought it in twice for repairs and it is still leaking. Has anyone else had this problem? Carol
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Old 07-24-2015, 07:06 PM   #2
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My husband and I bought a new 2015 grand tour and took her out for a 6 week trip. To our dismay, the roof leaks when it rains. We have brought it in twice for repairs and it is still leaking. Has anyone else had this problem? Carol
Where does it leak? Around a vent? Around the A/C? Where a wire comes in? Or a still undetermined location?
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Old 07-25-2015, 12:34 AM   #3
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The place of the leakage depends on the angle in which the vehicle is parked. First it leaked out the light switch above the counter. Next time, water dampened the storage space above the counter and dripped off from the front end of the storage onto the sink. Next time off the back of the top storage. The repair guy thought my solar panel needed recaulking and made that repair. Next time it rained it leaked above the side back window. The drip went through the shade dampening the shade and dripping onto the window sill.
And it dripped from the air conditioner. And it dripped in the bathroom. Repair guy said they hadn't caulked my awning properly. He made the repair. It still leaks!
From the description, it appears that you have a leak around some roof penetration, allowing water to get in between the roof and the ceiling. Then by the time the water finds a path through the ceiling it could be far away from where the leak on the roof is. Sounds like your repairman hasn't got a clue so he keeps trying to recaulk one thing at a time in hopes that the one he picked is the right one. But is he removing the existing caulking first, or just adding more on top of what's there and making a mess of it?

You only have a fair number of roof penetrations, any of which could be the culprit; in no particular order—
Sirius satellite radio antenna over the driver's seat (unlikely);
Awning at several locations along the right edge of the roof and awning electrical wiring lead-in;
MaxxFan;
Bathroom vent;
Solar panel attachment points and wire lead-in;
Air conditioner plenum (most likely);
TV antenna bracket and antenna wire lead-in;
Two roof seams that run crossways, one in front of the sliding door and one behind (but if those are leaking that's a Mercedes warranty fix, not an Airstream warranty fix);
Rear-view camera bracket; and
AM/FM antenna over the windshield, but that one is the only one I can be sure isn't leaking, because it's too low for all the places you've seen water.

My guess— and without climbing on the roof to see for myself it's only a guess— is poor caulking around the air conditioner opening. Since that opening is centrally located, water coming in there could run anywhere above the ceiling before dripping out somewhere.
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Old 07-25-2015, 12:53 AM   #4
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New interstate leaking

Thank you. That was most helpful. Your guess about the air conditioner makes sense. Yes, my repair guy just added more caulk and made an unsightly mess of it. I'm trying someone else for the next attempt at repair who has some supposed leak testing method. And thanks for the welcome.

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Old 07-25-2015, 01:27 AM   #5
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RV roof air conditioners typically DON'T USE CAULK when properly installed. The hard foam gasket, when compressed to 50% of it's original depth (which is 1" uncompressed and new) does a very adequate job of sealing the A/C unit to the roof.

I would start by removing the inner air distribution box of the A/C unit and re-tighten the hold-down bolts. You can see the gasket, which should be at 1/2" thickness uniformly around the edge of the A/C unit.

The other issue is exactly as Protag suggested; you simply don't add more sealant over the original.....you remove ALL of the old sealant. look for possible water penetration points and re-seal. It is also IMPERATIVE that the proper sealants be utilized in this process!!

NEVER USE SILICONE or any derivative of same!!!! The Airstream factory uses SikaFlex 221 for most sealing and bonding operations. The new sealant; AdSeal that they are now offering on newer trailers does not have the same properties as SikaFlex and is not as durable.

I have been seeing this AdSeal on newer trailers, and it peels right off the roof with little effort, while you need a great mechanical effort to remove SikaFlex.

I use SikaFlex almost exclusively in my solar installations and when adding TV antennas, Maxx Fans, or around any other type of roof penetration. I have never been called back to repair a water leak in 15 years and have solved many persistent leak problems as well !!!!
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Old 07-25-2015, 06:11 AM   #6
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Lewster,

Just curious what is the issue about using silicone sealants on an AS?

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Old 07-25-2015, 07:01 AM   #7
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I would think silicon would be okay on an Interstate, not aluminum. School me on this.
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Old 07-25-2015, 07:21 AM   #8
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We are a painted exterior surface, not an aluminum one.

We have used SikaFlex, tho, because others here recommend it as the most effective, but have to order it online.


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Old 07-25-2015, 07:34 AM   #9
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Interstates are Mercedes Sprinters first. I purchased mine in part because it was the class b with the least modifications to the body - only a few holes cut into it. Many class b's are really cut up and rebuilt. I had a troublesome leak anyway. My Airstream dealer Canam found it after doing a pressure test it turned out to be the roof seam from the van itself. They fixed it even though it was a Mercedes issue not the conversion.
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Old 07-25-2015, 09:27 AM   #10
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Ours leaked from the roof vent.. It had to be repaired twice.. After the second repair I got on my ladder with the hose and tested it, no more leaks.. We had a four winds Ventura before the airstream and that had a leak as well.. I suspect when you're cutting holes into something and installing items that need caulking gaskets etc.. There will be leaks sometimes.. Good luck I hope you find the cause, leaks a very frustrating..
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Old 07-25-2015, 09:37 AM   #11
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I think most people here joined the forum to receive AND provide information that may prove helpful to themselves or others. We all spent copious amounts of cash because we really like this product. We had many choices. The Interstate in design and materials was far beyond the others in its class. The aesthetics just meld together wonderfully. Are there QC issues? Sure. But bringing up issues and possible remedies should not be construed as slamming a product that we all have an affinity for. I love my new Interstate. Even though I needed an umbrella inside it the first day. I love my new Interstate.
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Old 07-25-2015, 10:12 AM   #12
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Lewster,

Just curious what is the issue about using silicone sealants on an AS?

Gary
In my 15 years of RV service, I have found that the use of silicone based sealants are usually the cause of a leak situation. They do not adhere properly to the wide variety of substrates that are found on modern RVs and to further complicate the issues, IF you need to re-seal, it is virtually impossible due to the slick nature of silicone. Once silicone is cured, nothing will adhere to it, especially more silicone!

You will never find it used on a boat, where water penetration is a life and death event. Polyurethanes and silanes are used extensively in the marine industry, as they are in the RV industry now.

USE SILICONE AT YOUR PERIL!!!!!!!
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Old 07-25-2015, 11:00 AM   #13
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Here's a source list for all leaks:

These are:

1. The AC.
2. The small plastic point of entry plate for the coax and awning wires.
3. The mounting holes for the tank vents and the perimeter of the vents itself (two vents) and the bath vent.
4. The holes for mounting the solar panels.
5. The entry point for the cable from the solar panel.
6. The mounting holes for the mounting hardware for the awning.
7. The mounting holes around the cabin vent and the cutout for it as well.
8. The holes for the mounting hardware for the TV antenna.
(Protag, you mention the rear view camera, but at least on mine, it's glued on with adhesive and there is no point of entry there. Has that changed?)

If I were to guess, I'd say you have multiple points of entry that are leaking. Likely, the front vent, the AC, and likely the cable entry plate.

Take it to an authorized dealer and tell them to actually do a thorough water test AFTER they inspect and reseal all the points of entry. All it takes is a water hose.

I have a friend who bought a new 2012. I have a 2011, also bought new. His leaked around the cable entry plate. Mine leaked around the AC. That's 2 out of 2 with leaks. I'm guessing that's probably a good average. It doesn't take a troll to point that out.
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Old 07-25-2015, 11:27 AM   #14
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(Protag, you mention the rear view camera, but at least on mine, it's glued on with adhesive and there is no point of entry there. Has that changed?)
It's glued on, but there should still be an entry hole underneath it. The camera has to get power from somewhere, and signal has to get from the camera to the monitor.

That's not likely to be the source of the leak, though. I only mentioned it for the sake of completeness.
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Old 07-25-2015, 11:33 AM   #15
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On my 2011, they just ran it with the cables from the antenna and awnings with the cable entry plate. The power comes from the proprietary small box in the front-over the drivers window compartment.

I don't think there is any other entry point for those with the Pioneer camera. However, I'm not sure what they do with the newer models. They may well indeed have an entry point as well and may be wired completely differently, and you could well be right.

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It's glued on, but there should still be an entry hole underneath it. The camera has to get power from somewhere, and signal has to get from the camera to the monitor.

That's not likely to be the source of the leak, though. I only mentioned it for the sake of completeness.
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Old 07-25-2015, 11:36 AM   #16
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In follow-up to what Lewster said about the AC gasket: I watched JC try to find a repair a leak in my AI. As part of this they removed the inside plastic cover (two screws are hidden behind the slide-out filters at the front). Instead of simply tightening the screws he backed them out several inches and applied sikaflex to the threads then tightened them down. Apparently they have a tendency to loosen with vibration. Then he proceeded to fix the problem - which was at the vinyl cover where the awning, antenna, and rear camera wires entered the coach. Good luck.

Now I am in process of figuring out where the sliding door window leaks - to try to help guarantee that JC fixes in in one visit and not the two it took to get the aforementioned vinyl cover leak fixed.
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Old 07-25-2015, 11:56 AM   #17
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Speaking of these sealants, I wonder if Lewster would comment on Dicor self leveling ? If I'm not mistaken, it is polyurethane based.
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Old 07-25-2015, 12:11 PM   #18
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+1 on Sikaflex 221. Also check the black flex wiring cover for the awning/antenna/camera wiring. The split cover which makes it easy to install can also be a source of leaks.
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Old 07-25-2015, 12:55 PM   #19
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Lew is AdSeal now being used on new Airstream trailers? If so perhaps they are also using it on the new Interstates and that is causing this rash of new leak complaints.
Just a thought.


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Old 07-25-2015, 04:20 PM   #20
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Lew is AdSeal now being used on new Airstream trailers? If so perhaps they are also using it on the new Interstates and that is causing this rash of new leak complaints.
Just a thought.


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I would not doubt that it is one of the issues with the increase in leaking. That, along with improper surface prep ( read less time spent to do job properly) and a push thru attitude from management and you have the present results.

From what I've seen of AdSeal, it doesn't hold a candle to SikaFlex 221 !!!


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