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Old 02-21-2014, 08:31 PM   #341
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2007 27' Safari FB SE
Olympic Peninsula , WA
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 47
Creating an Air Gap

UPDATE- got everything dried out and ready to go back together.
As others have suggested, I'm going to create an gap between the Reflectix insulation and the plywood.

Since I still have a 16" x 65" hole to work with from the top side I decided to use closed cell foam rods (aka pipe insulation) as a waterproof spacer; I can reach in and push them all the way up to the first crossmember, leaving the ends to go under the patch. This will create a 1.5" deep air gap; the reflectix has enough stretch to accomodate the spacers. If water does find a pathway in the future, it won't wick into the plywood- a couple of small slits in the insulation will allow it to drain through.

I was able to stick my camera down and snap a picture of the underside of the plywood floor- as you can see, it's nice and dry, and the foam snugs neatly up against the crossmember. I'll trim the ends before I install the patch panel for good- it should be good and solid all the way around the patch- three sides are on steel and the front will be screwed to blocking.

Now, on to the source of the leak...
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Old 02-21-2014, 08:44 PM   #342
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2007 27' Safari FB SE
Olympic Peninsula , WA
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Naked as the day it was born...

Had time to pull the rubrail molding before I ran out of daylight- as expected the rear bumper joint was "AirCaulked by Airstream"" (nothin' but air...)

Also enclosed a picture of the likeliest suspect- this is where a chunk of reflectix extended out over the bumper- it was acting like a piece of flashing to divert water back inside between the insulation and the floor...what the heck was Jackson Center thinking?

The joint cleaned up nicely; will get it caulked with SikaFlex 221 tomorrow AM, and start getting it all back together- replacement insert molding should be here Monday.
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Old 03-01-2014, 08:29 PM   #343
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PROGRESS UPDATE

Waited a week or so to get back on the repairs; wanted to make sure the flooring was good and dry before closing it back up. It's been in the eighties here in AZ, so the weather really cooperated.

First item on the agenda was sealing the body seam at the rear bumper.
As others have suggested I masked it off, put on a good thick coat of SikaFlex 221 and then peeled the tape (about 20 minutes later). The caulked seam looked good, after all the work to get to this point it was almost a shame to cover it up with the rubrail..

As SuperTrouper mentioned, the new stainless screws were a bit thick for the rubrail. While his solution of mixing martinis for life was certainly viable, I elected to reduce the head thickness a bit instead. I experimented with how much I could take off and still drive them with my cordless impact. Coincidentally, the answer was to twirl the heads on the bench grinder wheel with my bare fingers, when I had to drop them suddenly because they were starting to burn my fingers they were just right... it only took a few minutes to reduce the head thickness on 20 screws.

So, leak sealed, rubrail back on, time to get the floor patch stitched down permanently.
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Old 03-01-2014, 09:17 PM   #344
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2007 27' Safari FB SE
Olympic Peninsula , WA
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FINALLY INSTALLED THE NEW FLOOR

The trailer is currently sitting in an unpaved storage lot in the AZ desert, so dropping the belly pan to install spacers and foam panels wasn't a good option. I mentioned using closed cell foam to create an airgap in an earlier post, this ended up working out really well- it pushed the reflectix down a bit over an inch, without tearing it. I also wanted to create a sump in each of the frame cavities that would allow any water that made it into the floor in the future to have a direct path out. It needed to be thick enough to deflect the reflectix down below the foam spacers and create a shallow sump, but not tear through the insulation or tear it loose- I wanted to preserve the reflectix envelope as much as possible, and didn't want to create a pathway for mice or insects to create a nest in the new airspace. I looked at several different options and settled on really simple solution- two 4" ABS toilet flanges with three rows of 9/64" weep holes drilled in them. These are screwed to the underside of the plywood patch with #10 x 3/4" stainless screws, centered in the bay spaces. I cut a 2"x2" "X" slit in the reflectix, centered at the bottom of the sumps for a drain. These are the only penetrations through the reflectix envelope- I used foil tape on one nick I created when cutting out the rotten plywood.

I added a couple of pieces of plywood backing (Airstream Life has an article on this subject this month) to support the patch panel at the front, these are screwed to the frame members on the other three sides. I put two coats of fiberglass resin on the underside and edges of the backing boards to prevent any moisture issues in the future, and when they were dry, I used another good coat to glue them to the existing plywood, secured with a dozen #10 screws to hold everything in place until the epoxy resin was dry.

After slathering the edges and the top of the backing boards liberally with fiberglass resin, the patch dropped right in, and was secured with #10 flathead self drilling structural screws at 4-5" spacing around the perimeter and with #8 coated drywall screws at 2" spacing into the backing plates. All the screw holes were pre-drilled and countersunk for the screw heads.

Next step was to put down an 8" wide strip of fiberglass cloth over the seams, and coat it with resin. It sealed up the joints nicely, and serves to reinforce the seams where the patch was cut in.

I'm treating the underside of the old vinyl floor with a strong bleach solution, will roll it back about a third at a time every other day to give the bleach time to work and dry out before putting the interior back together.
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Old 03-02-2014, 12:04 AM   #345
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Congrats! Always like to see a good job well thought-out and done well. Airstream, on the other hand...
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Old 03-02-2014, 12:55 AM   #346
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Nice Job 55! I like your solution for the proud screw heads!
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Old 05-03-2014, 08:16 PM   #347
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2009 27' FB Flying Cloud
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Just returned home to Colorado Springs earlier this week. While in Boise, I experienced the dreaded soft spot/crunching sound underneath my table. No indication of problems before hand. Having read all the threads from start to finish, nobody has posted a problem as in-depth as mine. My flooring is rotten past the inner skin of the trailer. This will require at least three interior panels to be removed to get at the separate floor piece that is installed in the rear and the main piece that is about six feet after the end piece. Removed the rear trim and found I did have a bead of caulking above and around the bumper area, but it had a few places where the caulking had cracked and deteriorated. Haven't a clue where the water came from. Have been proactive on all the caulking on the 27FC, even on the pano window seams. So, looking for more advanced comments on how to proceed with my issue.
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Old 05-03-2014, 08:46 PM   #348
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2009 27' FB Flying Cloud
Colorado Springs , Colorado
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Floor rot

Pictures of floor; or what use to be one.
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Old 05-03-2014, 08:49 PM   #349
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2008 27' Safari FB SE
Pfafftown , North Carolina
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Been There, Done That

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug2009FC View Post
Just returned home to Colorado Springs earlier this week. While in Boise, I experienced the dreaded soft spot/crunching sound underneath my table. No indication of problems before hand. Having read all the threads from start to finish, nobody has posted a problem as in-depth as mine. My flooring is rotten past the inner skin of the trailer. This will require at least three interior panels to be removed to get at the separate floor piece that is installed in the rear and the main piece that is about six feet after the end piece. Removed the rear trim and found I did have a bead of caulking above and around the bumper area, but it had a few places where the caulking had cracked and deteriorated. Haven't a clue where the water came from. Have been proactive on all the caulking on the 27FC, even on the pano window seams. So, looking for more advanced comments on how to proceed with my issue.
Doug,

I am sorry to hear of your floor rot problem. We bought a used 2008 Safari SE 27FB in August 2011. During a trip in January 2012, we discovered we had floor rot under the table. The table leg actually drilled a hole in the rotten plywood floor as we drove, tearing the vinyl in the process. By the way, we paid an Airstream dealer to inspect the trailer before we closed the deal and we were told the trailer did not have floor rot.

We took the trailer to Jackson Center for repair. The entire interior (including cabinets, appliances, and bath) up to the bedroom (we have carpet in the bedroom) was removed in order to replace the vinyl since the vinyl had been damaged and couldn't be repaired. About a third of the plywood subfloor was replaced. Leaks were found around belt line at the bumper, at the pano window, and at one of the marker lights. The repair took a week to complete.

Unfortunately your experience sounds very similar to ours. Good luck in getting it repaired.

Susan
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Old 05-04-2014, 09:46 AM   #350
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2007 27' Safari FB SE
Olympic Peninsula , WA
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Doug,

Having just been through this, I'm really sorry to hear about yet another rotted AS floor. Unfortunately, I'm sure we'll see many more posts like this. They have a serious design/production problem, they know they have it, and have chosen to take the low road (blaming the customer) instead of pro-actively addressing this issue.

Your pictures would look great here:

Billboards:Posters Jackson Center, OH 45340 Shelby County SR65 N/O SR119 JACKSON CENTER W/S F/S

Keep us posted.
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Old 05-04-2014, 10:24 PM   #351
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Keep up the great work Airstream! You should be proud!
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Old 05-05-2014, 09:02 AM   #352
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I've not been keen on legal shots at AS over this but a local billboard campaign on major routes near the plant might be interesting followed up with local media coverage. It would certainly bring the issue to the attention of the staff and management. There's a person in SF that's purchased time on billboards in the Bay Area and is presenting pictures of people texting and driving.
It's an interesting and very public way of bringing attention to a serious issue. We could publish a few pictures of rotted floors / other craftsmanship issues and simply list the age and model of the trailer from which the picture came and a quote from the AS website "This latest fleet of Airstream Travel Trailers continues the tradition of extraordinary design and hand crafted quality that has made Airstream wold famous" (quote from the current presidents letter section of the AS corp website). Any locals know how much CBS outdoor or clearchannel is charging for 3 months on billboards near JC?
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Old 05-05-2014, 10:33 AM   #353
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2009 27' FB Flying Cloud
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Initial state before removing rot

Rot discovery after removing floor covering.
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Old 05-05-2014, 10:59 AM   #354
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That is tough and a tough job. Have you been able to find out where the leak was coming from? The leak would need to be immediately addressed so you don't get further damage. Do you plan on repairing it your self or having a dealer do it?

Margie
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Old 05-06-2014, 08:25 AM   #355
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2008 23' Safari SE
Janesville , California
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Rotten floor fixed

But oh, the surprises... subfloor (under insulation) lots of scraps of insulation tossed into the hole by workmen, lots of sawdust, what a mess. This is just part of the ongoing saga of crap workmanship by AS. I found two small screws in the glass lamp globe, just loose, not meant for anything, and nearly every fixture is crooked.

Airstream, doesn't ANYONE inspect these things before they go out?

I am convinced I've purchased a very expensive beer can on wheels (after the assembly guys finished drinking it). Bitter, heck yeah.
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Old 05-06-2014, 12:11 PM   #356
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhrezo View Post
But oh, the surprises... subfloor (under insulation) lots of scraps of insulation tossed into the hole by workmen, lots of sawdust, what a mess. This is just part of the ongoing saga of crap workmanship by AS. I found two small screws in the glass lamp globe, just loose, not meant for anything, and nearly every fixture is crooked.

Airstream, doesn't ANYONE inspect these things before they go out?

I am convinced I've purchased a very expensive beer can on wheels (after the assembly guys finished drinking it). Bitter, heck yeah.
Too funny, I found a pneumatic brad nailer with an employees name painted onto it, inside the screwed closed base of a dinette on an 05 27'. I'm not surprised to find scraps, but tools...............hmmm. In fairness to them, Doctors have left stuff inside people after operations too
Colin
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Old 05-29-2014, 11:23 PM   #357
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I see it has been more than a few years since your ordeal. I'm remodeling our '08 (made in late '07) and found the real floor rot. The rest of the vinyl is up (poor quality vinyl I might add) and I don't see any other indications of leaks but have not pulled the shower, frig, wardrobe and such. Just planning on doing the trim to fit floor replace for those areas. Appears the floor rot is not bad, just the little strip at the very back with some corrosion around the hole in the wall on the curb side but still it is there. I think I'll just treat it with epoxy unless I find some other problem when I pull the belly pan. I'd like to tig the miters as I spotted them as a weak point but wonder what I'd burn doing that. Guess I could remove the inner panels to check and do that.

We are in Houston and bought the trailer from the Hill Country San Antonio used so I figured we would have some repairs. The belly pan has a lot of rivet heads rubbed through. I understand a lot of that comes from severe vibration caused by the tires being out of balance 'cause they are not balanced very often in the first place! I'm tying balance beads and will test before and after with a G-meter to just see what happens.

Guess I'll pull the belly pan when I fix the rivets and see what I can see. I'm using 1" x 1/8" strips of aluminum to reinforce the rivet penetrations and I'll pull the bumper trim strip to put some Sika there.
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Old 05-30-2014, 12:55 AM   #358
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Good job, most helpful

So easy to prevent if it had just been done right to begin with. As so many have said, Airstream should hang their heads in shame. I'd never buy a new one, they aren't worth the money. Used ones are terribly high still.

Anyway. Good job and good pictures. I'm remodeling putting in an L sofa and recliner plus twin beds up front. I think I'm going to put the inspection plates in the top through the plywood and under the furniture then add some drains in the belly pan when I fix the shook through rivets. I may just stick a couple of inspection plates up front under the beds as well.

Instead of flooring in the non-show areas I believe I'll treat the plywood and give it all a good coat of epoxy paint even before putting the new flooring in.

Did you make your pressure tester or is it purchased? If you made it how?

Thanks again for the great pictures and explanations.
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Old 05-30-2014, 12:57 AM   #359
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BTW, I see a little bump and a rivet that is a little proud of the skin, can I have my martini now?
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Old 05-30-2014, 01:27 AM   #360
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I also found all sorts of crap under the floor, the cabinets, everywhere. Sorry craftsmanship and little or no pride of work or construction. Just sorry. I also find the cabinetry is shoddy. Hardly holds the screws and not one bit of glue used. I'm not redoing the kitchen, bathroom, Wardrobe yet but the sofa and bedroom are being redone with welded aluminum frames and solid oak face frames, birch plywood decking and American made quarter sawn oak ply for drawer and door fronts.

The wife likes the modern look and I will keep it that way for her for now but if I live long enough and decide to redo it all I'll do it with raised panels and solid wood.

For now though I just want to get it back in shape and go fishing.
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