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Old 05-03-2007, 10:48 PM   #1
2 Rivet Member
1963 28' Ambassador
Albuquerque , New Mexico
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 22
Leak from back bumper?

Has anyone had experience with water leaking in from the back bumper\tool box? We have a 64 Ambassador, and after pulling the damaged floor up under the rear sink it appears that the water is actually entering from the exterior, coming in from the junction of tool box and side skin. Is this a common problem? Any fix it ideas, besides silicone at the junction?
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Old 05-03-2007, 11:02 PM   #2
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2006 25' Safari FB SE
St. Cloud , Minnesota
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 13,280
Images: 19
Blog Entries: 3
Hello campbell. I'm glad you're coming back with your questions. Alarm bells go off when I hear 'silicone' on the AirForums. Let's back up a little...

You could tell us what type and year Airstream you have -- or change your profile to include that info in your User Control Panel (User CP) at the top left of any forums window when you are signed in. This may bring responses particular to that year and model.

I can guess that you are talking about the storage area between the lower back shell and the bumper. Yes, this is a common area for breakdown of seal and potentially some frame flexing to open up a path for water (the frame is more flexible than the rigid shell). Is this the area you are talking about?

As a starting point I must say that silicone must never be used against aluminum. The oxide on the surface of any aluminum may decide to stick to silicone caulk with a passion, while an inch to the side the oxide prevents bonding and allows water passage like a river bed. It is important to use other caulks like Sikaflex 221 or Vulkem. Use the search function to find out more.

Let us know your year, length and model of Airstream. I think that it is necessary to understand the condition of your plywood floor and the frame underneath. Hopefully we'll get some responses ... please give us more info.

[on edit: How did I miss you saying '64 Ambassador? It never has to be said if you put it in your profile anyway. Sorry. At least that's not the late '70s period of rear end separation, although frames weren't as hefty back then. Still could be a floor issue. Do you see any caulk at the shell-bumper-hatch junction?]

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Old 05-04-2007, 12:30 AM   #3
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1993 21' Sovereign
Colfax , North Carolina
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 21,254
There has always been an issue with the rear bumper compartment leaking, a forums search should find many references.
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Old 05-04-2007, 10:40 AM   #4
2 Rivet Member
1963 28' Ambassador
Albuquerque , New Mexico
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 22
rear bumper leak cont

Thanks for the replies! Yes, I am finally figuring out how to search on the forums and I did find a number of posts on this issue. Thanks for the explantation about silicone - my husband couldn't understand why everyone was so keen on Vulkem etc and now I can tell him. Is Vulkem the best sealant to use on the exterior, and if so where do we get it? I guess I can try to search on that too. Next I'll try to add my AS info to my profile. I'm learning as I go, both on using the forums and fixing up our new baby. . . Thanks for the help!
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Old 05-04-2007, 11:15 AM   #5
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1984 34' International
1977 Argosy 24
Central , Georgia
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 492
Images: 15
Originally Posted by campbell
Is Vulkem the best sealant to use on the exterior, and if so where do we get it?
Many pages of sealant discussion:
Travelers by aluminum roadships, loyalists to one species,
masters of convenience, herdsmen steeped in maintenance and restoration.

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Old 05-26-2007, 08:55 PM   #6
1 Rivet Member
1989 34' Excella
laurens , South Carolina
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 6
Hello Campbell. I am having some of the same problems with my 89 Excella. what I have been doing is using the small tube of Parbond for the small cracks and the Vulkem tubes,with caulking gun, for any bigger cracks or suspect sells these good sealants. These leaks caused my floor to rot so I'm now replacing it. I have been caulking on a Monday, wait till /thursday and then spray water on the lower area and look for leaks. If none are seen, I move the water spray up higher and look again.It does take a lot of time. Good luck
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Old 05-26-2007, 10:30 PM   #7
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1973 31' Sovereign
Danielsville , Georgia
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 804
Images: 219
This is the really fun part about rear bumper leaks!
Ron Kaes
Psalm 112
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Old 05-28-2007, 10:02 AM   #8
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1968 24' Tradewind
Eureka , California
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 696
Images: 4
Ah yes, rear-end leaks... They led to this:
~~~Be sure to caulk under the trim that hides the connection of the body to the lower "banana wrap". This area, has slits to allow the curvature and, on mine, NO CAULK! Also, replace your rear compartment door weatherstripping and caulk around the opening as well. This area is a leak magnet!!

Good luck!
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Old 05-28-2007, 11:19 AM   #9
2 Rivet Member
1963 28' Ambassador
Albuquerque , New Mexico
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 22
Wow! Thanks for the pictures and the tips. We sealed the bumper\trailer connection with Vulkem, but are still having leakage. We will check out the areas you suggest. Thanks!
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