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Old 08-29-2014, 07:19 AM   #1
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2002 30' Classic S/O
Fleming Island , Florida
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Angry Oh No! Raining on the Inside

So we have had this trailer for 7 months now. Not a single leak. One time I thought it was leaking but later figured out it was water from the upholstery cleaner I was using on the walls.

We are camped at Sebastian Inlet, FL for a pet shakedown cruise. Last night we got a real rainstorm. Lasted about 30 minutes. DW opened the hanging locker at the foot of the roadside twin and stuff in there was wet. It looks like water ran down the back side of the vinyl ceiling until it hit the junction with the mouse fur and then transitioned to the inside. The mouse fur was pretty wet, but not soaked. Looking around found the foot of the bed wet also with water soaking down the mouse fur until it hit the bed platform.

I went outside and took a look to see if I could spot a potential entry point. The leak area is significantly forward of the window. I don't think water from the window could run horizontally quick enough to get to the leak point on the inside. The most obvious possible source is the roadside awning rail. The rain was blowing up from the curbside rear. My guess is it piled up against the awning rail. Either I have a new crack in the sealant or when stored at home the trailer is slanted enough and the storm direction is different enough to keep that from happening.

We are headed home today. I was planning to clean up the trailer and put it back in storage until ready to leave for Alumalina, but now I guess I have work to do. Ordered the sealant kit from Airstream with Acryl-R, two Sikaflexes (white and grey) and another sealant for the banana wraps and down. As soon as it comes I guess I'll be up top cleaning up old sealant and re-sealing. I wanted to do that around the front vent and TV antenna anyway as the caulk in that area didn't look so good. Sloppy job originally or more caulk slapped on on top of original, couldn't tell which on quick inspection. I also wante to try to stiffen up the area around the TV antenna with some spray foam to stop some oil canning.

I'll report back with findings and results. If anyone has any other suggestions for places to look or suggestions for getting up old sealant please let me know. Hope it doesn't rain for a few days.

Thanks,

Al
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Old 08-29-2014, 07:44 AM   #2
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1981 31' Excella II
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From your description, I have no idea where the leak is. Airstreams are tricky. Leaks can end up several feet away from the source. Have you replaced roof vent seals lately?

Perry
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Old 08-29-2014, 07:59 AM   #3
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Perry,

Thanks for the suggestion. I have not replaced the seals in the vents. I thought if that was the source, I'd see some water at the vent, but maybe not. I'll pull the inside trim and the fan plate and I should be able to see the underside of the vent opening. I can hit it with a hose on the outside and look for water coming in. I'm hoping that when I get topside I'll be able to see something that doesn't look right at a seam or along the rail.

Maybe I'll kluge up one of those leaf blower pressurizers and spray some soap solution around on the outside.

Al
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Old 08-29-2014, 09:18 AM   #4
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I am not sure what the newer vents look like but the olds ones just had a piece of rubber to seal around the vent pipe and it would crack and let water in like mad. Also stove vents can be an issue. Window frames and awing brackets are leak prone. Since the walls are full of water absorbing fiberglass, that will hold water and leaks may not show up when using a hose. As a last resort, there are places that can pressurize the inside of the trailer and spray it with soap and look for leaks that way. Also all Airstreams are prone to leaks at the back where a plate goes under the back of the trailer. This plate funnels water under the floor and you can have serious problems before you know it is even there. The floor covering hides the leaks till it is too late.

Perry
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Old 08-31-2014, 08:53 AM   #5
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I may have more than one leak. The biggest one, if there are two, is high since water was coming down the inside from the junction of the ceiling panels and the mouse fur panels on the wall. I went up on a ladder yesterday and found a few suspect spots. I've got the sealant kit coming from AS and will start with the rear vent fan and along the roadside awning rail where I saw gaps and cracks in the sealant. Sealant on the window looks good. I'll check the bathroom vent and water heater exhaust as well since they are in the area.
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Old 08-31-2014, 10:05 AM   #6
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Oops-brain fade. I was thinking of the refrigerator exhaust when I said water heater. Water heater is on side, not roof.
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Old 08-31-2014, 12:44 PM   #7
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Found It! Now What?

Sealant cracked on forward edge of Fantastic Fan mounting flange. I pulled the fan control plate and trim ring and the back side of the vinyl ceiling panel is wet to the touch. Insulation is not matted, no apparent mildew or mold.

I'm guessing I should leave A/C on or place a dehumidifier, perhaps use some sticks to push the ceiling material down to facilitate air flow to dry everything out. Considering spraying a little dilute bleach solution just in case. Do I need to pull the roof panels to inspect further? If so, how would I do that? No apparent fasteners holding them up.

Obviously I need to pull the fan and reseal it to the roof. I'm going to add vent covers while I'm up there. Front fan and TV antenna are next, but no signs of leaks there yet.

Thanks,

Al
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Old 09-01-2014, 10:18 PM   #8
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Blow Dryer to the Rescue

Drafted DW's blow dryer with flat nozzle to assist the dry out operation. Tie-wrapped it to the vent fan structure and stuck the flat nozzle between the vent flange and aluminum interior ceiling. Using just the blower, not the heat, it made a substantial difference in the moisture. It is now dry as far back as I can reach. I'll run it some more tomorrow. Got to get up on the roof and seal the flange with duct tape until my sealant kit comes on Thursday.

Perry hit it on the head with the vent fan gasket suggestion.

Al
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Old 09-01-2014, 10:49 PM   #9
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Hi, my trailer leaked at the Fantastic Fan too. I did not remove it. I cleaned off all of the sealant around the flange and mounting screws and re-sealed it with TEMPRO. My dealer told me that they use this one sealer for everything on these trailers. There was also a hairline crack in the vent base. I sealed that inside and out. To dry my insulation I stuffed old towels up there and let them hang down to wick the water out. I left them up there for about a week. All dry and no more leaks. [been a few years now]
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Old 09-02-2014, 06:14 AM   #10
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Major bummer, I feel your pain.
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Old 09-02-2014, 06:47 AM   #11
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From what I have read, the Fantastic fans are notorious for developing cracks in the plastic flanged mounting frame. If they leak, I guess water might even drip straight down or might get between inner/outer skins and run to the floor inside the walls.

I recently removed all the old caulking from our front fan - although it looked ok. Underneath, I found water, so it was not ok, and also a number of cracks in the plastic flange as suspected - mostly where the mounting screws go through. I cleaned everything up well and recaulked.

Brian.
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Old 09-18-2014, 04:29 PM   #12
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Does anyone know someone who will reseal an AS..removing old caulk and replacing with new?
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Old 09-18-2014, 04:54 PM   #13
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One Down, One To Go

Got all the old sealant off with a scraper and some Toluene. DW used GooGone to get the gray caulk off that someone had used like paint to block light on the vent lid. It looks really nice now!

Straightened the outer skin where it had been bent. Made some backing plates out of 1/16" thick 1" angle and match drilled to the flanges. Held them in place and guided the flange in place with pieces of bamboo skewer. Masked the skin leaving about a 1/16" space to tool the caulk. Gooped up the fan flange with white Sikaflex and put it in place over the skewers, removing the skewers one at a time and replacing them with screws. Put the mouting brackets for the Fantastic Vent Covers in place of 4 of the original screws. Tooled the caulk, pulled the tape and mounted the cover. No leaks so far!

Now on the the front vent and the TV antenna.

Al
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Old 09-18-2014, 07:42 PM   #14
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You might want to take a look at your front roof clearance lights while you are up top.

I spent a lot of time trying to track down a leak that was wetting the carpet either side of the sofa across the front of our trailer. After checking & re-caulking everything else, I finally noted condensation inside the clearance light fixtures.

When I pulled the lenses off for a cooer look, everything was wet indie the fixture, and the bulb sockets were almost completely rotted away - I was amazed that the lights were still working.

I have replaced the light fixtures with new ones, and also sealed them with Acryl-R.

I am cautiously optimistic that this has fixed the problem.

Seems water can run down between the walls to a bottom channel around the front curve of the trailer and can then escape to wet the plywood where the channel transitions from curved to a straight section down the side of the trailer.

Brian.
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Old 09-18-2014, 07:49 PM   #15
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Thanks Brian, I'll check that out tomorrow when I'm up there.

Al
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Old 09-22-2014, 06:42 PM   #16
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Almost Done!

I pulled the front Fantastic Vent and TV antenna. The vent had the foam gasket which was compressed and not doing much. Someone had smeared some caulk on the surface of the trailer, vent and antenna, but the seal had failed in multiple places due to flexing of the skin.

I scraped and then cleaned the roof with Toluene to get off the old sealants. I cut away the sealant that had flowed through the multiple sets of holes to give a flat surface on the underside of the skin. I made backing plates out of 1/8" x 1" x 1" angle aluminum and match-drilled them to the vent flange. I then mounted them to the roof skin with two screws each.

Next step was foam. I used two cans of red label "Great Stuff" foam, one on 3 sides of the vent, the other on the remaining side and the antenna. Prior to foaming i pushed several inches of 1/2" plastic tubing onto the TV coax and fan wires in hopes of keeping the foam from sticking to them. I also wrapped a 1" PVC coupling with wax paper and pushed it into the antenna crank hole to keep it clear and minimize drips to the inside, and masked from the top of the inner skin to keep any foam from getting on the ceiling and put a drop cloth over the recliners.

The foam has now mostly cured, and will hold the backing plates in place when i pull the screws to mount the vent. I am impressed with the additional rigidity on the inside. I can't check the outside because it started raining at 2PM when I finished foaming and hasn't stopped yet. If the roof is anything like the ceiling, there should be no more oil canning around the vent or the TV antenna. If it stops raining tonight I'll mount the vent and antenna in the morning. I may make it to Alumalina yet!

Al
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Old 09-23-2014, 03:27 PM   #17
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Here's a Picture

Here's a picture of the living area vent hole showing the repair. You can see, starting from the bottom, the vinyl and foam ceiling covering which has separated from the interior skin at the edge, the interior aluminum skin, the "Great Stuff" foam oozing out under the aluminum angle backing plates, and the edge of the exterior skin. It's all ready for fan installation, but it won't stop raining. The blue tint through the hole is my official Florida hurricane blue tarp, resting on the Ultrabreeze vent cover which is just sitting over the hole.

Squirt some caulk and gun in 28 screws and I'm good to go.
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