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Old 03-22-2020, 06:52 PM   #1
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1970 23' Safari
Marion , New York
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Posts: 114
Internal cover for tail light housing missing

In preparation for replacing the floor in my '70 Safari, I removed the lower internal skins. In doing so, I discovered that the exterior lower rear curbside skin had been replaced at some point in my Airstream's past. When the panel was replaced a hole was cut for the tail light housing and the housing was held in place using sheet metal screws at each corner. On the roadside, I see Airstream used an internal cover over the backside of the tail light housing. This cover is sealed to the skin and I see no leaks from it. Unfortunately when the curbside panel was replaced this internal cover was removed leaving the back of the tail light housing exposed. This housing is not watertight and allows water to flow into the trailer. Why it's not watertight is one of those Airstream mysteries. Does anyone have an idea on how I might seal this area against leaks? By the way, the replacement panel leaks as well but I should be able to fix that now that I have the wall opened up.
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Old 03-22-2020, 07:46 PM   #2
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Interesting things are found under the skin of Airstreams. Does it look like the inner skin was removed for the repair? If there are Olympic (3 legged ) rivets, it most likely was done with the inner skin on. That would explain why it was not sealed properly. While you have it apart, you can find the leaks by spraying water on the outside and see where it comes in. you could mask off the electrical and use something like flex seal on the inside.

I have never used Flex Seal, but the commercials are pretty cool...
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Old 03-22-2020, 08:20 PM   #3
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1970 23' Safari
Marion , New York
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I suspect the panel was replaced from the outside without removing the inner skin. The panel is attached with some type of pop rivet, not Olympic rivets. The rivet head is a close match to the buck rivets and looks solid. There was no sealant used over the rivets or at the panel edges on the inside. The inner rib was not attached to the panel, probably because there was no way to get to it from the outside. To bad they didn't remove the tail light cover from the damaged panel and attach it to the replacement. At least then I would have it and could seal the lights properly. Thanks for your suggestion of using Flex seal.
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Old 03-22-2020, 08:27 PM   #4
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1971 25' Tradewind
1993 34' Excella
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The tube Flex Seal is just silicone.
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Old 03-23-2020, 12:04 PM   #5
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1976 31' Excella 500
Chappell Hill , Texas
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Make you a new one. You can make a cardboard or paper template then transfer it to a piece of thin aluminum sheet from HD or Lowe’s or even easier modify a heavy foil baking pan. At least you can weatherproof it then. Make sure the bottom lip is to the exterior of the skin.
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Old 03-23-2020, 03:25 PM   #6
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1970 23' Safari
Marion , New York
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tbashin View Post
Make you a new one. You can make a cardboard or paper template then transfer it to a piece of thin aluminum sheet from HD or Lowe’s or even easier modify a heavy foil baking pan. At least you can weatherproof it then. Make sure the bottom lip is to the exterior of the skin.
I like the idea of using a foil baking pan, thanks. That might be light weight enough to conform to the curves of the outer panel. I need to change out the tail light cans before I seal up the backside. I'm hoping I can do that on the roadside as well without removing the factory cover, which is leak free.
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