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Old 01-17-2011, 12:19 AM   #21
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Eternabond, or not?

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Originally Posted by ROBERTSUNRUS View Post
Hi, after several years of use I had two problems. The rear vent cover was blown off in a heavy wind. I got on top of my trailer and found the vent cover was broken. I put in on and duct taped it in place. That night it rained like crazy. My front vent dripped a few drops of water. I thought it was condensation. But when I got home, I found that the front vent leaked. The sealer used on the vents gets hard and dry and cracks. I had to replace my rear vent cover with a new one and reseal the front vent and plumbing vent. This will have to be checked and/or resealed every few years.
Hi, well it seems that my front Fantastic Vent is leaking again, or possibly was never stopped completely from leaking. This time after quite a bit of rain, I noticed wetness in the same area. This time I decided to remove all of the sealer that I could get to and reseal it more properly than last time. I don't want to remove the vent completely because as you can see in the pictures the plastic base has many cracks in it and a few broken corners. I feel that if I remove it completely it will crumble in my hands. So I cleaned it as well as possible and resealed all around the edges, over all of the screw heads, and over all of the cracks. Now I'm thinking about going all around the vent flange with Eternabond, like maybe the 4" wide tape. Has anyone else used Eternabond white tape on their Airstream?
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Old 01-17-2011, 09:34 PM   #22
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Still leaks.

Hi, as I await for total dryness of my trailer, today I hosed it down to clear the dust and hope not to see any leaks. But when I went inside and checked there was still some drops of water that got in. As I searched for possible leaks, I spotted a crack on the inside of the Fantastic Vent main housing. I know I sealed all of the cracks from the top, but when I flexed the area where the crack was on the inside, it dripped drops of water. I will go on top again tomorrow and see if I missed this crack, or didn't seal all of the crack. Maybe I didn't see the whole thing. I'm still considering using Etenabond tape on it for insurance, but I want to stop all leaks first. Eternabond is for almost forever, so I want this done last. If you look at the last picture in the previous post, you can see where I sealed the screw head and went up the crack. In the first picture in this post, you can see the crack in the forth screw area. And the last picture shows the crack from the inside.
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Old 01-17-2011, 11:11 PM   #23
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I find it interesting; the talk about Airstream or any other manufacturer and their quality control. In an earlier post their was a mention of the testing process AS goes thru at the factory for water leaks. That's when the trailer is new; doesn't have an interior and all of the stuff in it to travel. On a 4000# net weight trailer, 6000# GVW; If it is virtually the hull and frame. How much does it weigh? Maybe 2000#.
Ok, load it up to the GVW weight, haul it down the road for 10,000 miles on every kind of road and weather condition imagineable; Through temperatures varying 100 degrees. Let it set outside with ice and snow setting on it melting slowly, running down the sides, getting in every crack a crevice, then freezing solid. Then thawing and refreezing over and over again. I could go on and on.
But after all of that; take it back to the factory and test it for leaks again. I'd bet it or any other TT wouldn't pass.
I would think it would be better to come up with a design that would allow for any water that leaked in to be drained out. With the history of rotted floors in AS's, why are they still building with a design that has the floor going under and behind the interior walls. It's just a trap for the water. In my experience with this old Argosy with the leaks it has had in the past, the most (99% of the) damage has occured to the floor and the frame.

So get the wood out of under the interior wall all together, let any water that gets in between the inner and outer skin run down into a system of drains that would allow the water to run out the bottom. Put drains in the belly pan that would allow any water to run out and not be saturating the insulation and rotting the frame away.
Just A thought.
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Old 01-18-2011, 02:15 AM   #24
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Julie,

The most common leak problems arise from the vent gaskets getting old, these are a maintenance item. One thing about an Airstream is if it does have a bad leak the worst thing that usually happens is floor rot, which can be repaired! Now think about a box trailer, the whole thing falls apart! I guess I just want to point out how many 40 year old box trailers do you see around here? I have friends that have new expensive box trailers and they are constantly fixing leaks, can't say that about mine. And you know we have had our share of liquid sunshine these past few years! Having owned one, I don't think I would have anything else! Unless I had a cover or covered space for it!

Just my 2 cents!

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Old 01-18-2011, 06:15 AM   #25
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Good point about not seeing very many 40 year old box trailers around. My AS is a '61 and she still has no leaks and the floor is solid.
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Old 01-18-2011, 06:52 AM   #26
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They probably all leak

I think they all leak but the owners may be unaware. Mine is gutted, all of interior including the interior walls. With the interior walls removed you can see the leaks, some are very minor and probably would not cause any problems if they didn't worsen. I have been chasing leaks for 2 months, some only appear after many days of continuous rain. I'm using Prodex insulation because it won't absorb any future leaks, sealed the new wood floors and have considered the drains in the floor chanel idea that has been done by a forum member ( I looked the thread, but didn't come across it) and was mentioned above as an idea. Prior to this trailer I had a 1963 Silver Streak that actually had 1/2" screened holes through the c-chanel for to direct any water that might get in, out into the bellypan where it would drain.
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Old 01-18-2011, 07:19 AM   #27
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Why trailers leak~~~ Because they can!

I live in a community with 2500 Campers set up permanently and I do repair work on all types of campers here. ALL campers no matter what they cost, either leak , have leaked or are going to leak. I have worked on 5 year old campers, that have been set up on blocks since new and still have the floors completely rotted out. So they don't have to be towed to develop leaks. If a rubber roof has a pinhole in it water will get in and then the roof becomes a perfect seal to keep the wood damp and cause the roof to rot. I have worked on campers with rubber roofs that no one has been able to find where the leak is and they continue to leak no matter what anyone does to stop it. Slide outs are especially hard to keep leak free. I have found that You must inspect every window and door and every seam especially on the roof, at least once a year and use the factory type sealer any where that it is needed. I personally would suggest getting up on the roof and checking it at least twice a year. NEVER NEVER use silicone anywhere. Only use the same type sealer used by RV manufactures. I buy Dicor self leveling lap sealant by the case and it is great for the roof vents and of course I use Parbond for most of the Airstream leaks.
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Old 01-18-2011, 09:40 AM   #28
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Why can't you use silicone on an Airstream?
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Old 01-18-2011, 10:01 AM   #29
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Silicon

Because ------ NOT EVEN SILICONE WILL STICK THE NEXT TIME !!!!!
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Old 01-18-2011, 10:09 AM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yve79 View Post
Why can't you use silicone on an Airstream?
Many silicone sealants react with the aluminum skin on the Airstream, causing corrosion issues. The aircraft alloys used on older Airstreams contain copper and are quite sensitive to corrosion effects. There are silicone sealants suitable for use on such aluminum alloys; however, this can be difficult to determine and you have limited recourse if things go wrong. In addition, removing the silicone sealant residue when it needs to be replaced is difficult. In general, you're best off using the recommended polyurethane sealants. They are a little more difficult to apply and clean up than silicones - a cloth wetted with mineral spirits seems to work well. For small seam repairs the Parbond or aluminum colored Alcoa gutterseal work nicely, and if carefully applied can be used w/o tooling (shaping) the applied material.
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Old 01-18-2011, 11:33 AM   #31
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Quote:
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Why can't you use silicone on an Airstream?
Silicone is the unfaithful lover of aluminum. It's very inconsistent. Many places it sticks so hard that you can't remove it with gifts or vacations. And inches away it doesn't adhere to its vows -- easily giving up the grip for the next pretty swoosh applique!

Leaks like a sieve in other words...
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Old 01-18-2011, 11:39 AM   #32
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Why can't you use silicone on an Airstream?

Previous replies are right on.
I hate to find a silicone mess when I try to fix a leak. It fails much more rapidly than Dicor or Parbond and is a REAL bugger to try to remove and clean up. It is also much more difficult to work with and make a neat job with. It has a very uncanny ability to completely fail in one spot and stick like glue and be very hard to remove just one inch away.

I wont use silicone in any salutation. Not even on household jobs of any kind.
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Old 01-18-2011, 12:50 PM   #33
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It scares me to say this, but, so far, my 2000 30' Excella has never leaked! It faithfully sits outside throughout the winter and summer, going through temperature changes of 100 degrees, covered from time to time with over a foot of snow. I did lose the rear skylight on a trip through Nova Scotia but, fortunately, it wasn't raining and I was able to make temporary repairs until I returned home. I've often worried that leaks might be running down the inside of the walls to the floor but I've never found any soft spots. I hope my good fortune with this AS continues since, for the most part, it has been relatively trouble free.
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Old 01-18-2011, 12:53 PM   #34
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Maybe

Quote:
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It scares me to say this, but, so far, my 2000 30' Excella has never leaked! It faithfully sits outside throughout the winter and summer, going through temperature changes of 100 degrees, covered from time to time with over a foot of snow. I did lose the rear skylight on a trip through Nova Scotia but, fortunately, it wasn't raining and I was able to make temporary repairs until I returned home. I've often worried that leaks might be running down the inside of the walls to the floor but I've never found any soft spots. I hope my good fortune with this AS continues since, for the most part, it has been relatively trouble free.
That you know of.....
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Old 01-18-2011, 01:03 PM   #35
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Leak

Quote:
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It scares me to say this, but, so far, my 2000 30' Excella has never leaked! It faithfully sits outside throughout the winter and summer, going through temperature changes of 100 degrees, covered from time to time with over a foot of snow. I did lose the rear skylight on a trip through Nova Scotia but, fortunately, it wasn't raining and I was able to make temporary repairs until I returned home. I've often worried that leaks might be running down the inside of the walls to the floor but I've never found any soft spots. I hope my good fortune with this AS continues since, for the most part, it has been relatively trouble free.


It ain't going to fix itself. Given time I guarantee it will need attention sooner than later. You should probable completely redo the vent and skylight seams at this point, if they have never been touched.
In your weather zone, the freeze will continue to work an any opening available, and eventually cause LEAKS !
You have been lucky to get a good one. Preventive maintenance will keep it sound for many years.
Dave
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Old 01-18-2011, 01:12 PM   #36
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That you know of.....
I alluded to the possibility that there could be leaks - but ignorance is bliss and I had rather spend my time planning the next trip! Besides, at 71 years old it's a pretty sure thing that my Airstream will outlast me - and even require less maintenance along the way!!!
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Old 01-18-2011, 01:21 PM   #37
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It ain't going to fix itself. Given time I guarantee it will need attention sooner than later. You should probable completely redo the vent and skylight seams at this point, if they have never been touched.
In your weather zone, the freeze will continue to work an any opening available, and eventually cause LEAKS !
You have been lucky to get a good one. Preventive maintenance will keep it sound for many years.
Dave
It was repaired right away with a new skylight. I plan to replace the front skylight before heading out this Spring, as well as the A/C shroud. I check the other sealants faithfully, however the skylight failure was due to deterioration of the plastic and/or overtightening of the installation screws. The A/C shroud is so brittle that I could break it up in little pieces with my bare hands. I found this out when replacing the A/C starting capacitor late last summer.
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Old 01-18-2011, 01:31 PM   #38
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A/C Shroud

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It was repaired right away with a new skylight. I plan to replace the front skylight before heading out this Spring, as well as the A/C shroud. I check the other sealants faithfully, however the skylight failure was due to deterioration of the plastic and/or overtightening of the installation screws. The A/C shroud is so brittle that I could break it up in little pieces with my bare hands. I found this out when replacing the A/C starting capacitor late last summer.


I broke my bath vent also. Not hard to do.
The A/C shrouds get brittle over time. Small repairs can be made to make it last a bit longer.
USE CONSTRUCTION ADHESIVE AND A SCRAP PIECE OF VINYL SIDING AND REINFORCE ON THE INSIDE. Then you can fill and smooth the outside crack with white sikoflex caulk.
I used this method to reinforce mine to mount 20W solar panels on top. Worked good.
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Old 01-18-2011, 09:28 PM   #39
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Leaking Fantastic

I can't be sure, but it looks to me that the fan was not installed correctly originally. Fan-Tastic fans come with a foam gasket that goes under the flange. No other sealants go under the flange. I know we all love our Vulkem, but don't do it. The directions that come with the fans are explicit and every broken flange we've seen is the result of the directions not being followed completely. If the fan is installed correctly and the flange breaks, Fan-Tastic will stand behind it. I know because we work with Fan-Tastic to honor warranty claims now and then and I was on the phone with Larry Milks at Fan-Tastic about this just last week.

Now, as for whether Vulkem is the correct stuff to use for the finished perimeter bead and on top of screw heads... I don't think so. Vulkem (100% Polyurethane) is the best stuff to use for metal-to-metal sealing, but when you are doing plastics, all bets are off. You have to know what plastic you are sealing. In the case of the Fan-Tastic bases, silicone sticks well and Vulkem sort of, usually, mostly does. Although I am willing to be corrected (we're all learning), I believe the fears about corrosion when using silicone on alclad are unfounded. No, you don't want to use spray silicones, but caulks are fine. You may choose not to do it for other reasons (mildew, hard to remove, etc) but I do not believe you will find any damage caused by the silicone on your roof...and it sticks. The only other product I would trust up there as a caulk-type sealant is EPDM sealant. Dicor has one but make sure that's what you are getting. EPDM sticks and it is highly UV resistant.

No matter what you do, I would stay away from adding lots and lots of goo up there. It creates dams and hides problems. Keep it simple and follow the directions.

I look forward to other opinions.
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Old 01-18-2011, 09:36 PM   #40
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Hi, on my Fantastic Vent assembly, it was installed at the factory when new. If there is a gasket of any kind in there I don't see it. Because it is cracked in places, I chose not to remove it. [probably destroy what's left of it] Originally it was covered in some kind of sealer about 2"s wide. I am using the same sealer that the Airstream repair center sold me for sealing my rear bumper area. I believe it is called Tempro 626. I hope it works and I may go over it with Eternabond RV tape.
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