Originally Posted by JackDog
I have a 2013 16' Sport I bought new last year. Are water leaks something that is caused by the design of AS's or is it due to poor contruction?
I had a Casita travel trailer for six years and I never had one issue with water leaks. In fact other than a few minor issues the quality of contruction and execution of design was stellar.
I moved up to the AS as it was always a dream of mine to own one. So far no issues with the five trips I've made. High temps in Arizona to Snow in the Eastern Sierra of California. The AS sits in my driveway and we don't get alot of rain here in So Cal.
in So Cal
We had a Scamp, another fiberglass shell that didn't leak. The quality was in the simplicity of design but not much else.
Airstreams are assembled by punching a few thousand holes in bunches of aluminum panels, riveting it all together, then hoping various sealants will keep the water out. They do a great job, but because of the complexity leaks will happen.
Set up a quarterly inspection and maintenance plan for your Airstream and you can find and correct problems before major damage occurs. A leaking shell or fitting will end up wetting the plywood subfloor. Eventually it will rot. An excellent (and perhaps only) way to find subfloor moisture is probing through the vinyl floor covering and into the plywood with a moisture test meter.
We use a Sonin Moisture Test Meter model 50211 from Amazon.com for about $35. It's battery operated and has probes on the end of a cord so it's easier to reach into narrow spaces. Just go around the inside perimeter of the trailer, edge of the floor, and stick it right through the vinyl. If the needle moves there's moisture, if it moves a lot there's lots of moisture.
So far I guess I've found 6 minor leaks. Below two awning support brackets, loose entrance door hinge, below rear window corner from too loose of a latch, behind sink from an incomplete Pex crimp, and behind toilet shutoff valve from loose water line fitting.
Without the moisture test meter, I would not known about any of them. Could claim a leak-free trailer. And this is not unique to Airstream, they all leak (except those little fiberglass buggers and other exceptional examples), they just don't know it. Perhaps they trade them before their foot goes through the floor.
Regular inspection and maintenance are part of trouble free ownership. Include systems checks (turn everything on and see if it works), battery maintenance, hitch maintenance, trailer shell/interior cleaning, lubricating, and polishing as needed, running gear inspection and maintenance, and corrosion inspection, preventive treatment, and repair.