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Old 07-12-2013, 02:08 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by BAB View Post
...I was at Alumapalooza in May. Went through the factory tour for the 3d time, and "yes" they put each trailer through the water testing chamber. (And, as noted by another poster, the interior skins are NOT on yet....though it looked as if all "through the trailer" fixtures are in place.) There is someone inside the trailer as they pressure wash, and he/she has a black light to spot water intrusion and (of course) a caulk gun. Awful to hear about leaks from brand new trailers. Up until now, I haven't found any leaks in my '12, and I have done a couple of checks with my moisture tester under the dinette, by the door, and in the rear under my bed. So far, so good.
They may do this form of testing but I think this is the wrong methodology. It is clearly missing many significant defects & leaks. Many leaks go undetected. Imagine a 3 hole defect on one seam. The upper leak is discovered as water tracks down but the two lower defects will be missed. The amount of pressure & water contact to any given area will vary significantly.

I believe it would be far better to pressurize the interior & using the soap bubble method look for leaks. This would be far more sensitive & effective.

Airstream has a problem with a high rate of catastrophic leakage & failure. They need to change those design quirks that contribute to this as well as test more effectively. Even if they couldn't care less about hapless owners struggling to keep their AS's in good condition, their reputation & business is at stake here.

- evan
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Old 07-12-2013, 03:17 PM   #22
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Mine didn't leak when I bought it, I know because I have been probing the interior perimeter for nearly two years with a Moisture detection meter, the kind home inspectors use.

I found one after a year, under a loosened entrance door hinge. Yesterday I drenched the trailer exterior shell with large amounts of water, and this morning made my quarterly check for leaks.

Found another at the front floor edge. Tiny, just a couple drops perhaps. I see a small crack above the exterior floor trim seal which I will reseal and test again.

They most probably send them out leak-free, but plan on regular inspections and resealing as needed to keep them that way. Not hard to do. Like it or not, the quality assurance becomes our responsibility after we buy it.

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Old 07-12-2013, 03:31 PM   #23
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Mine didn't leak when I bought it, I know because I have been probing the interior perimeter for nearly two years with a Moisture detection meter, the kind home inspectors use.

I found one after a year, under a loosened entrance door hinge. Yesterday I drenched the trailer exterior shell with large amounts of water, and this morning made my quarterly check for leaks.

Found another at the front floor edge. Tiny, just a couple drops perhaps. I see a small crack above the exterior floor trim seal which I will reseal and test again.

They most probably send them out leak-free, but plan on regular inspections and resealing as needed to keep them that way. Not hard to do. Like it or not, the quality assurance becomes our responsibility after we buy it.

doug k
Hi Doug,

I like your idea of the moisture meter. Good idea.

I think you have been lucky. was your unit built on a Wednesday?

If you had a brand new vehicle that required all the trim to be removed in order to caulk seams & joints that were over-looked by the factory, would you consider that acceptable?

I just finished doing that for my unit at the 5 year mark but what I repaired was wrong from the factory. I was lucky. At least it wasn't rotted out but I am upset that I have to do this sort of maintenance in order to keep my unit from falling to pieces.

During our Spring camping trip down the Oregon/ California coasts my wife & I encountered a fair bit of rain & had the usual frustrations with water accumulating in the Front & Rear window wells but no other obvious water leaks. We started talking about replacing the nasty shag type carpet in the bedroom & talked about converting our Queen FB to twins to give a little more room & better sleeps... thus I came back to the forum to search on flooring options only to find that topic was not what kind of floor to put in but how to deal with "Rot"!

"Yikes" says I. Could we be afflicted too? Since we were going to replace the floor I took the plunge & cut into the vinyl near the dinette. Sure enough, the plywood was soaking wet! No rot but clearly there were big problems with water entry.


Since then in late April, I believe that I have spent 500 + hours working on my Airstream. There were at least 4-5 different routes of water entry contributing to the problem. Once I started pulling the unit apart, it prompted a whole lot of other work...

I will be posting a more complete blog of what I have done but here are a few pics showing how much water was trapped in the floor.

This image has been resized. Click this bar to view the full image. The original image is sized %1%2.





The trim taken off by Rear bumper - no caulk - nothing; just dirt & water on the foil.


Hmmm...I wonder where that foil goes?

Cutting into the under floor insulation revealed a virtual geyser...


Water was coming in through the bumper wall interface. The Starboard Rear tail light was incorrectly installed & had a major 2-3 cm wide gap between the inside wall & the housing. (I forgot to photograph it unfortunately.) Water was coming down the inside wall from the front & back windows and also Port side front area near the GVWR stickers where the belly band had no caulk. Similar smart design as the rear bumper.


Would have thought this could leave the factory like with these defects?

-evan
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Old 07-12-2013, 03:44 PM   #24
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No I wouldn't call it acceptable, an old and ongoing problem with Airstream and others. I've just tried to find the best ways to deal with it.

doug
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Old 07-12-2013, 03:44 PM   #25
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Wow...so sad to read about these kinds of leaking issues. That is my biggest fear, after all I live in Seattle area!!

What is the best moisture detector unit to buy? I found a pinless model at Amazon, but the reviews are lousy. Any recommendations?
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Old 07-12-2013, 03:51 PM   #26
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This is the Sonin moisture detection meter I and others here use. It is battery operated and has a probe at the end of a cord to get into tight spots. Works very well. I sharpened the probes a little extra.

Sonin 50211 Rapitest 10% to 28% Pinless Analog Wood, Concrete, Plaster, Carpet, and More Moisture Meter - Amazon.com

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Old 07-12-2013, 04:58 PM   #27
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This is the Sonin moisture detection meter I and others here use. It is battery operated and has a probe at the end of a cord to get into tight spots. Works very well. I sharpened the probes a little extra.

Sonin 50211 Rapitest 10% to 28% Pinless Analog Wood, Concrete, Plaster, Carpet, and More Moisture Meter - Amazon.com

doug k

Thanks for the link Doug.

I don't want to be cutting into the new floor to monitor the situation.

I ordered one of these. I'm hoping I have things sealed properly now but I would like to know when there is a problem sooner than later. This should be just the ticket.


-evan
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Old 09-07-2013, 09:49 AM   #28
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I have a question.

Is the seam sealer that Airstream uses (when they use it) the same quality as the seam sealer used in the auto industry to seal the auto bodies?

Seems like cars and trucks rarely leak. Could that type of product be used on the aluminum to solve leak issues? I would imagine that it would be best applied to the inside of the walls, but should be fine on the exterior roof seams etc.

Here's an example of what I'm speaking about:
3M Automix Self-Leveling Seam Sealer, 08307, 200 mL cartridge-Shop 3M

This 3M product works in auto bodies for 10, 12, 15 years without fail. Has anyone ever tried something like this?

I agree, that on a 50-80K brand new Airstream leaks should be the exception not the norm.
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Old 09-07-2013, 10:27 AM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dkottum View Post
This is the Sonin moisture detection meter I and others here use. It is battery operated and has a probe at the end of a cord to get into tight spots. Works very well. I sharpened the probes a little extra.

Sonin 50211 Rapitest 10% to 28% Pinless Analog Wood, Concrete, Plaster, Carpet, and More Moisture Meter - Amazon.com

doug k

Where do you recommend testing? Do you push the pins through the vinyl floor?
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Old 09-07-2013, 11:25 AM   #30
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Where do you recommend testing? Do you push the pins through the vinyl floor?
Thanks. Was about to ask same.

I have likewise endured that Airstream disappointment. The FaN was purchased from a nice indoor showroom (during one of the rainest winters here on the wet coast).

So, the besotted one brings 'er home and leaves 'er outside - and notices a few drips from a bathroom wall seam.

The dealer repaired it - and a couple of small ones since that were easy to track down; one involved the fantastic fan seal, and the other one was from the smaller bedroom window.

The experience has put me on constant "leak" alert. So, a couple of nights ago we had heavy thunder and rain - I go into the FaN and there's a wet spot just inside the door. Oh no! Upon closer inspection, the "wet spot" is shaped like a dog's paw. Whew! Ole' Rover jumped in and out when I left the door open for a sec.

The Airstream "honeymoon" period tends to be more realistic than romantic. You don't want to trade 'er in because you still love her/him/it, but you realize the relationship is going to involve some degree of work. (BTW, no more leaks for over a year and a half now).
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Old 09-07-2013, 11:54 AM   #31
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Have you travelled in her yet, FaN? For me, that is a real test of leaks.

♫ Rollin', rollin', rollin, keep them doagies rollin', rollin', rollin', rollin', rawhide ♫

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Old 09-07-2013, 03:09 PM   #32
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Hi Aage, the FaN still has less than 2,500 km on her, but we hit heavy, driving rain in the Cascades on the last, and she was as tight as a drum.

Am back in the driveway for a few days; getting reading for my biggest trip. Am heading east on Monday. Not as far as your part of the woods, but I will be on the road for 2 - 3 weeks. I guess my next big leak test will come this winter. If I pop another one - it won't be like the first feak-out. She shall be fixed.....and ready to roll, roll, roll, roll on....(caution Canadian content)....down the highway again!....

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Old 09-08-2013, 06:32 AM   #33
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My new unit will be here in october...
Are your feet feeling wet and cold yet ?
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Old 09-08-2013, 07:10 AM   #34
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Where do you recommend testing? Do you push the pins through the vinyl floor?
Yes, I go around the perimeter of the interior, paying special attention to leak prone areas such as under the pano windows and entrance door. Some cabinets and appliances prevent getting behind them. Also probe around the shower.

My probes are almost needle sharp so they make tiny openings in the vinyl which "self-heal" somewhat soon afterward. They are virtually invisible.

Have found two leaks, one under the entrance door hinge that worked loose, tightened and resealed the hinge. Another (very minor) at the floor inside the left A-frame (I resealed top of the exterior front rub rail). I suspect that was caused by too stiff a hitch (Andersen) I was using, also had the corner banana wrap tear loose from a rivet there. So bought a hitch with more flexible w.d. bars.

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Old 09-08-2013, 08:11 AM   #35
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No col feet - hopefully they stay dry with the advice here
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