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Old 04-27-2012, 12:03 PM   #1
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1972 27' Overlander
Penokee , Kansas
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Small leak question

Had our first real soaker down pour rain since we got our 72 Overlander, After it stopped I went out to admire my sealing job on the windows and roof vents,. To my shock I saw on the floor in front where the inside walls meets the floor are 2 small damp spots..

The only thing on the trailer I have not sealed is the outside blue trim around the bottom of the shell,, Is there any way water could soak in behind the trim and should that be sealed also?

I also saw that I forgot to seal around the trailer plug in where the TV wire goes.. But the leaks are more to each side and not in the center where the plug is..

So where do I start looking if its not the blue trim.. >>>>????

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Old 04-27-2012, 01:03 PM   #2
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Where in the front were they? There are tons of places to leak that you never thought about. The door frame area tends to leak because it sees so much banging. The Z stringer to the right and above the door had loose rivets on mine. The windows can leak between the aluminum frame and the glass. Water gets in there and can leak where the window frame seam is. Awning attach points are common places to leak as well as marker lights, and the scare light to the right of the door. Anything on the roof can leak and travel down the walls and end up in the floor. Battery boxes are another place to leak. You also want to check roof vents, sewer vents, TV antennas etc.

The bumper plate at the back is probably the worst and most expensive leak location. Tail lights tend to leak.

Leaks commonly show up in the 4 corners where the straight sections meet the curved sections. There is a gap in the C-channel there and any water that comes down the walls will end up in these locations. Some of us have bridged that gap and installed drains in the C-channel so water can get out.

Awning covers can have loose rivets because these see a lot of stress and many times pop rivets are used to attach awnings and they can leak.

Perry
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Old 04-27-2012, 01:28 PM   #3
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If the front of the trailer is down hill from the rear. The water could be getting in and running down the inner skin.
It will be tough to locate unless it is something like a vent etc.
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Old 04-27-2012, 03:55 PM   #4
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I sealed all the window glass,, window frames,, vents,, fans,, ac,, awning rail,, door light,, scare light,, clearance lights,, and on and on..

The blue trim at the bottom of the body is the only thing I have not sealed.. and the trailer plug in for the TV lights and brakes cable.. Got me...

When the sun pops out I will start at the top and work my way down again to see what I might have forgotten.. If I don't see anything I will do the garden hose soak from the bottom up till I find it,.. Since a leak can travel a long distance I will soak just one area and wait.. Then another,, and keep working up till I nail this leak..

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Old 04-27-2012, 05:43 PM   #5
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You can tape the suspect area as well and see if the leak stops. We had several long soaking rains over the winter and I found lots of leaks. The problem with leaks is sometimes it take a good long soaking for them to show up at all or there is a delayed reaction. The pink stuff has to get saturated before it runs down the walls and finds it's way out. A last resort is to pressurize the trailer with something like a leaf blower and spray soap/water mixture around any place that can leak. If you find the leak then you see bubbles.

It is possible to get a leak around the belly band. Sometimes the belly skins go under the top skin and sometimes not. If not, then you can get leaks.

Perry
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Old 04-27-2012, 06:16 PM   #6
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Never gave it a moment to think that the insulation is sucking up water also.. Now that gives me an idea.. I can pull the control console panel out and reach between the skins and feel if the insulation is damp on each side.. if not that could rule out a roof or corner leak.. Will go try that right now..

Don't have a leaf blower,, will the 2 fantastic fans make enough pressure since I have all new window rubbers and door seal?

Thanks Sodbust
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Old 04-27-2012, 06:23 PM   #7
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I gave up chasing leaks on my 73. Fix the big obvious ones and keep her out of the rain unless you are using the old girl. She has been around for over 38 years now, do not worry about a few tears from heaven. If she gets rained on while out camping, just park her in her cozy garage or covered patio and let her air out. My daddy always said if you want your toys to last you need to keep them out of the weather.
Good luck in your efforts however.
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Old 04-27-2012, 06:46 PM   #8
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Sounds like a job for Captain Tolley's Creeping Crack Seal. I've heard good things about it; found some today at Camping World to try out.
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Old 04-27-2012, 07:23 PM   #9
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I had an occult leak after I had installed new window gaskets, sealed top seams, installed new roof vents, removed the television antenna, and resealed the vista windows. I ended up removing the inside skin from the door to the end cap and sat on a farmer's milking stool during a night thunderstorm with a poacher's light. The leak was a metered leak at the midway exterior skin lap joint where 4 panels meet.

From the outside it looked fine.

I sealed the inside and outside with Vulkem 116 and the leak quit. That was the last leak I had. That was 2010. I haven't had any leaks since.
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Old 04-28-2012, 06:20 AM   #10
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I had to pull the skins in the front to find all my leaks. I also replaced the cracked battery boxes.

Perry
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Old 04-29-2012, 05:36 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by perryg114 View Post
I had to pull the skins in the front to find all my leaks. I also replaced the cracked battery boxes.

Perry

Hope I don't have to go that far,, our inside is 97% unmolested.. Guess drilling a few rivets would not be the end of the world. Don't have any problem with the milk stool and sitting up all night watching for drips,, but will try a few ideas before pulling down skins inside. .

Sure got some good ideas that I had not found on my own. Now I need another hard rain....?

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Old 04-29-2012, 09:54 AM   #12
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Yesterday I found the base flange of the front FanTastic fan I installed in 2010 is cracked and leaking. The tops of these trailers is a constant babysitting job. I see why people without scaffolding and ladders and access to a well equipped shop have Airstream leak anxiety disorder.
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Old 05-19-2012, 05:18 PM   #13
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I have a leak and floor rot in the floor under the sink/shower in my 1968 17' Airstream Caravel near the seam where the curved and straight edges meet. I will try to seal it with TremPro 635 and see if that fixes it. I just got my airstream and have never done any maintenance like this in my life. I hope I can seal it correctly. How big of a bead do you use? Thank you for your help. I really appreciate it.
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Old 05-19-2012, 05:20 PM   #14
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Could a person use an air compresser to pressurize to find leaks? How do you do that? Just shut everything tight inside and put the compressor inside or ??
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Old 05-19-2012, 05:55 PM   #15
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Question

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Originally Posted by drevell7 View Post
Could a person use an air compresser to pressurize to find leaks? How do you do that? Just shut everything tight inside and put the compressor inside or ??
Air compressor, I don't think so...you need volume, not pressure.

PM Soldiermedic for the straight scoop...

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Old 05-19-2012, 06:07 PM   #16
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I was fooled by my own assumptions. I assumed the trailer I bought was in good condition because it didn't have deferred maintenance. The trailer was actually in pretty good condition because it had been stored inside much of the year.

When I got my trailer it had a small spot of water damage in front of the entrance door. I assumed somebody had left the window open in the rain at some point, and I didn't discount for it when I bought it. When I got it home I found the top vent had a crack in the lid and I assumed that was the cause of the water damage.

I stored the trailer outside and when I finally got done "assuming" and got down to maintenance and leak detection, I had found 11 separate and unrelated leaks from the entry door to the front of the first window in front of the entry door. It took removal of the interior skin and sitting out in the trailer in a month of midnight thunderstorms on a farmer's milking stool with a poacher's light and a notepad to find them all. I could only see the leaks when it was dark outside. In daytime storms, I couldn't see the slow seeping type leaks like the missing rivet leaks.

The last and hardest to locate was a mid outside skin lap joint that looked fine from the outside. I used Vulkem 116 to seal inside and outside. I followed the advise of the experts and I replaced everything I could replace, and sealed everything I could seal. When I was finished I didn't have any leaks in addition to the step release slot. I mitigated that feature with aluminum screened belly pan drain holes.

In part I replaced all three roof vents with FanTastic power vents, replaced the air conditioner, removed the television antenna, sealed the top seams, replaced the sewer vent gaskets, sealed the awning rail, sealed the window and door frame to body joints, replaced all the window and door gaskets, found and fixed 5 missing rivets under the awning roller, resealed vista window glass to frame leak points, and sealed the top of the rub rail.

Every time it rains I check everything.
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Old 05-19-2012, 08:21 PM   #17
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While an air compressor won't work. A leaf blower might work for leak testing. Of course you would have to make sure there is no way the pressurized air could exit in places like the refer vent or the plumbing vents. And don't forget the cooktop vent. Of course every hole in the floor where plumbing and electrical go thru would be another air leak.
I think it will take a lot of air.
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Old 03-15-2013, 07:24 PM   #18
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Wise advise

Quote:
Originally Posted by fourcatos View Post
I gave up chasing leaks on my 73. Fix the big obvious ones and keep her out of the rain unless you are using the old girl. She has been around for over 38 years now, do not worry about a few tears from heaven. If she gets rained on while out camping, just park her in her cozy garage or covered patio and let her air out. My daddy always said if you want your toys to last you need to keep them out of the weather.
Good luck in your efforts however.
This is the smartest thing I think I've heard I have been "chasing leaks" for over two years, going crazy, and have yet to put my trailer back together. I'm now going to seal what I can, put her back together and enjoy what I have. My TT is outside, but I think I saw some plastic trailer covers that were reasonably priced (for my 23 footer). BTW, we won't do any long term camping, long weekends, maybe a week. This plan should work for us. Thanks for saving my sanity!
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Old 03-15-2013, 07:32 PM   #19
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Thumbs up

Sara,

A good "cover your Airstream" read.

Another....

Bob
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Old 03-15-2013, 10:20 PM   #20
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Awe, Bob, do you have to kill my joy?
Thanks for the links....I will continue to read on...
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