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Old 11-30-2022, 08:16 AM   #1
1977 31' Sovereign
1987 29' Airstream 290
Norman , Oklahoma
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 105
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metal overlap makes no sense

I've removed the bottom 'rub' rail from my '77'. I'm very surprised and somewhat disgusted to find the entire bottom section around the A/S 'over wrapped' with metal instead of 'under wrapped'. What I mean is (and you can see i the attached photos) the layers of skin are installed like the shingles on a roof, so when water flows over them they are able to shed the water, not catch the water. On my '77' it seems that the last layer of aluminum at the bottom is wrapped 'over' the panel above, vice under the panel above. I would think that this would lead to a massive influx of water with every wet weather event? I know the 'rub' rail should be water sealed but in reality how much is it really weather sealed? Has anyone else noticed this on their trailers during restoration? Is this just a botched repair job by a PO or is this the way the factory installs the last layer of skin?
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Old 11-30-2022, 09:18 AM   #2
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1972 31' Sovereign
Lexington , Minnesota
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Yes, this was apparently how Airstream did it, since it was the same way on our '72. When we redid the trailer and replaced the belly pan, we tucked the belly pan under the side panels before sealing back up. They did some dumb things....

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Old 11-30-2022, 10:49 AM   #3
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Yes, this was Airstream's SOP for that era, not sure about modern standards. It seems there was no forethought with regards to sensible practices versus meeting production demands.

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Old 11-30-2022, 10:59 AM   #4
1977 31' Sovereign
1987 29' Airstream 290
Norman , Oklahoma
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 105
Images: 14
Do you think if I added more rivets and used a healthy dose of sealant along the entire trailer I could mitigate 'most' issues that would arise from this bad practice? I really wanted to do away with the bottom rub rail but due to this it looks like it's here to stay!
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Old 11-30-2022, 11:03 AM   #5
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1964 17' Bambi II
1961 24' Tradewind
Strasburg , Pennsylvania
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I have always found it strange that the aluminum for the front end cap is also "under" the main longitudinal roof panel. Seems to me the end caps should overlap the roof panel...especially when you are driving 70 miles per hour into a rainstorm and the water can find its way easier into that exposed seam.

Putting a good, fresh seal of Trempro on the seam you mention under the rub rail will definitely help the situation.
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Old 11-30-2022, 12:57 PM   #6
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I put the banana wraps and side wraps under the side skins. I have also eliminated the moldings on my 71 GT. I also added a few extra rivets in the seam.

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Old 12-01-2022, 05:58 PM   #7
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1994 34' Limited
colebrook , Connecticut
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not the only issue

Not only is this poor design, but many of the rub rail rivets go thru the base channel into the floor. Airstream's placement of rivets in this area are the source of leaks and rotten floors. Often theses leaks can only be found by removing the inner skin.I have used the rubber roofing fire and ice membrane sliding it under the side skin and over the belly pan. Once I reinstall the rub rali. I use a razor knife to remove any excess sticking out under the rub rail.

Lots of frustration , cussing and leak testing with the garden hose.
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