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Old 03-18-2012, 03:57 PM   #1
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Really horrible feeling in my stomach

Hello all,
Well, I did it. I jinxed myself real good this time. I was just telling someone how our trailer has a solid floor and no signs of leaks (can you tell where this is going?)
We were supposed to head out on a mini camping trip today, but our son has a fever and no amount of cowbell is helping. So my husband thought it would be good to work on some electrical work that was chopped up by the PO.
I didn't mention that it is a rainy day, did I? He's been out there for a little bit, so I went to go see how it was coming along.
He has removed the couch and panel covering the battery boxes and

then!
I see it.

Water. Dripping. I think I'm gonna be sick.

Can someone look at this picture and tell me where to look? I'm am praying that it is from a window seal. That would be the better scenario, right? if it is a window seal, it's not an obvious one.
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The water is dripping from under the trim around the window, where the screw driver is pointing to. I don't see any drip any higher up than that. I seriously don't know what I'll do if it's not. Possible shell leak?

Many thanks!
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Old 03-18-2012, 04:25 PM   #2
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Cara there are numerous sources for the water to get into around that area. Yes the window seal is one area also the space between the window frame and the shell.
It could also be leaking from the clearance lights or the Airstream letters.
I found a spot (actually a few spots) on mine. If you have the plexiglass rock guard over the front windows it will most likely be leaking from the point where the hinge is riveted on and also from the point where the lift up arms are riveted on. Both the hinge rivets and the arm rivets are pop rivets and not closed solid buck rivets. They will definitely leak.
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Old 03-18-2012, 04:38 PM   #3
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WasagaChris,
Thank you for the prompt response and your expertise. I'm kinda freaking out right now. (do you remember me talking about my dry trailer with 270win? Geesh.)
So, I probably shouldn't nit pick about where the leak is, right? I'd rather seal up as many possible spots as I can. I'm guessing I should have the window reinstalled with new gaskets/seals, right? Then what about the smaller possibities? Should I caulk?
Or do you think I should get out the garden hose and really see where the water is coming from?
It's rare that I freak out over things like this. I'm a handy girl (10 years in the motorcycle biz and an avid home improvement DIYer) I can usually figure out how to fix things. But this one is making my head spin because I don't know where to start. I'm not too proud to pay someone to fix things either, but I fear that this will mean we need to take the interior apart which is my nightmare.
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Old 03-18-2012, 04:38 PM   #4
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One step at a time. Treat it like routine maintenance...seal the seams, the lights & window edges. You will find and control the leak.
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Old 03-18-2012, 04:48 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Melody Ranch View Post
One step at a time. Treat it like routine maintenance...seal the seams, the lights & window edges. You will find and control the leak.
Step one: Breathe

Ok, so don't freak out? Ok. Treat it like mainenance. Ok, I can definitely handle that. I'll order some silver caulking today. I'll do the whole trailer, it appears to be due for it anyway. Hopefully I won't cause any leaks.
How many tubes might I need for a '31?
I'll wait for a dry day. Good weather is on the way. A beautiful day will make it possible for me to bear the 'caulk' jokes from my husband.

I've got a 5 night trip to Oregon coming up in two weeks, any reason I be concerned?

On the brightside, we've been in a drought all winter. We really needed this rain.
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Old 03-18-2012, 05:01 PM   #6
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That can come from anything uphill of the leak. Great help, eh? My '74 Argosy had a big floor rot issue from a leak at the bottom of the window. Is the window bedded in a plastic extrusion? Those are no longer available of course.

When the rain and leak slow down, sheet some water outside on the window for a while. Some may enter that lower seal and show up back inside. That would be the easy answer. I posted a long time back on my fix and then Zeppelinium did a great job explaining it more fully -- Wing Window Leaks.

Your window gaskets aren't old & hard? They been replaced with good resilient gaskets? If you have a rockguard over the front window, check out if the top attachment rail is nicely bedded in Sikaflex or Vulkem. These leaks can travel laterally a suprising amount once they get between the outer and innner skin.
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Old 03-18-2012, 05:19 PM   #7
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Quote:
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That can come from anything uphill of the leak. Great help, eh? My '74 Argosy had a big floor rot issue from a leak at the bottom of the window.
Anything uphill?!?!? Haha, wow. Thanks for making light of my situation. I need that. My husband isn't saying much. But his looks are saying "what did my wife get us into?"
Fortunately, the floor is not rotted, still solid, but it is discolored from water. I can see it has leaked a few times. The discolored section is about 14 in x 20 in. All around that is perfect looking wood. So my non-expert opinion tells me we don't need to rush to gut or refloor (again, my nightmare)

MelodyRanch, your simple words calmed me down. Told my husband we need to seal everything as soon as we can.

He's already making 'caulk' jokes. Geesh.
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Old 03-18-2012, 05:33 PM   #8
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Relax and take a deep breath. Think about the problems of the third world. Your Airstream leak will seem so insignificant Chasing down leaks in Airstreams is considered routine maintenance.

Enjoy your trip to Oregon, and don't let a little leak stop you. If the floor gets wet, just point a fan at it and dry it out (this is also good advice for when you forget to lock the fridge door and everything spills out in transit and soaks your floor). You might want a little fan to keep in the trailer for these sort of emergencies.
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Old 03-18-2012, 05:45 PM   #9
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Quote:
Relax and take a deep breath. Think about the problems of the third world. Your Airstream leak will seem so insignificant
Haha, Stephanie, Oh, I think about 3rd world countries all the time. Haha, I really do. And thank you, you're right. I count my blessings daily. Freak outs are few and far between for me. When it comes right down to it, I have a warm, clean bed at home and wholesome food.
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Old 03-18-2012, 06:29 PM   #10
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I bought four tubes of aluminum caulking for the 31' Albatross and I might need a couple more. Of course I am using it liberally and not taking any chances that we will end up with a shell off restoration again down the road. I think we have taken everything apart and replaced, restored, and resealed. Now watch...first trip out we will find a leak. After all, they all leak.
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Old 03-18-2012, 06:53 PM   #11
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Y'all aren't really using caulk on your Airstreams, are you?
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Old 03-18-2012, 07:01 PM   #12
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Put some duct tape around the lower seal of the window and enjoy your trip.

You'll have plenty of time to deal with the leaks.

Plus you need to arm yourself first....

Bob
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Old 03-18-2012, 07:20 PM   #13
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Y'all aren't really using caulk on your Airstreams, are you?
Terry,
Heck ya! They got a big ol' discount tub of it at Big Lots for a 1.98! I'm gonna get out my best butter knife and slather it on! More is better right?!?!?

Actually, I was just going to ask what the best product is. Also, I am seeing a few places online what offer Airstream parts and such. My husband bought a few things from Inland RV. From everyone's experience, is that the best priced place to buy? Once I find a good source for certain things, I tend to stick with it.

Also, I love asking questions and learning how to do new things. Airstreams are so new to me and my husband, we never assume and ask lots of dumb questions. Having said that, I welcome all advice.
If anyone saw my other thread, they'll know that I just sold my prized 1972 Cutlass Convertible to get this AS, so I want to do everything properly, no half-assed jobs allowed here.

Thanks again everyone. I am calm now. I saw the water and knew that was the AS biggest enemy, it overwhelmed me for a minute.
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Old 03-18-2012, 07:22 PM   #14
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Like other posters have written, leaks are a matter of deferred maintenance or damage. If it's deferred maintenance, just do the maintenance . . . top to bottom. If it's a leak from damage, just fix the damage.

My trailer had water damage just to the front of the entry door. I figured somebody left a window open too long. Wrong! It had 11 separate leaks from the entry door to the front of the street side window. I sat in the trailer on a farmer's milking stool with a poacher's light during a month of summer night thunderstorms before I found them all. I had to remove the inside skin to find the last leak. It was a midway skin lap joint that looked fine from the outside.

Some leaks I could only see at night with the light. In the daylight, I couldn't see them.
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Old 03-18-2012, 07:24 PM   #15
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Or, my favorite:

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I know your sick feeling. (been there, done that!) You'll get through it, though! I prefer the hose method. It gives you some kind of idea where the water is coming from so you aren't in a crazy frenzy sealing everything on your trailer. Try to find your leak & then seal the rest of the trailer at your leisure. It's a big job that is tedious, so have your patience lined up too!
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Old 03-18-2012, 07:26 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mrs.Mod View Post
WasagaChris,
Thank you for the prompt response and your expertise. I'm kinda freaking out right now. (do you remember me talking about my dry trailer with 270win? Geesh.)
So, I probably shouldn't nit pick about where the leak is, right? I'd rather seal up as many possible spots as I can. I'm guessing I should have the window reinstalled with new gaskets/seals, right? Then what about the smaller possibities? Should I caulk?
Or do you think I should get out the garden hose and really see where the water is coming from?
It's rare that I freak out over things like this. I'm a handy girl (10 years in the motorcycle biz and an avid home improvement DIYer) I can usually figure out how to fix things. But this one is making my head spin because I don't know where to start. I'm not too proud to pay someone to fix things either, but I fear that this will mean we need to take the interior apart which is my nightmare.
Cara you don't need to remove the windows to reseal them. Just clean off all the old sealant and apply new.
Parbond is what you want to use for seams and around windows.

Inland RV Center Inc.

The gasket for the windows is made from a rare material called unobtainium. A phrase you will soon become very familiar with by the way.
To seal around the glass to frame just cut back the old gasket and apply sealant.
Like others said reseal every thing then use the garden hose to leak test the area.
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Old 03-18-2012, 07:28 PM   #17
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I used Vulkem 116 grey from Home Depot or Lowes
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https://visitsiouxfalls.com/assets/i...uxfalls-og.jpg
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Old 03-18-2012, 07:30 PM   #18
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Hey, yeah don't freak out! It can leak for a while without causing terrible damage, and you can get it fixed. I didn't read every post, but it is also possible that it is coming in a skylight and traveling down the inner shell. I speak from experience. Someone gave me invaluable, simple advice: start low on the body, and shoot a hose at it. If nothing, shoot it higher on the body. You may see something coming out inside, or it may take a while. I also tried ink, to see where it came out inside.. non permanent. That actually worked and didn't do anything to the zolatone.. it was so diluted by the water. OR, just seal everything.
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Old 03-18-2012, 07:32 PM   #19
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Quote:
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Put some duct tape around the lower seal of the window and enjoy your trip.
Duct tape adhesive can be a bugger bear to get off -- worse the longer you leave it on.

You'll probably see rain before you leave, so step up and mask the glass-window frame junction, trying to help it begin to dry out. Take it off if you see a dry stretch coming. I wouldn't use acetone anywhere near clearcoat, plastic extrusions, sheet metal laps or at junction of skin & window frame. I'd use a cloth lightly damp with soap and water right at the frame-window junction. Mineral spirits are pretty kind to the skin-frame areas -- soft cloth on any area with road grit removed -- might take some persistence.

As overlander63 sez -- caulk is a big no can do. Do research and get Sikaflex 721 (my favorite), Parbond or the appropriate Vulkem before you pursue a permanent fix. The factory has pallet loads of 721 for all current assembly - great stuff.

Okay, this may have been the link I tried to find in the first place - Quick Wing Window Fix. Mask the frame & glass for easy cleanup, apply your bead, run a finger along the junction with intent to press it as far into the junction as you can. Certainly work with the area cleaned and dried (air compressor? nice stretch of weather?) as much as you can before doing this!
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Old 03-23-2012, 12:24 PM   #20
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I had some problems in that area where the seal between the glass and the metal frame was bad. I cut the gray plastic stuff flush with the metal frame and caulked it will Trempro 635. There are seams in the window frame on the inside and the outside that leak water when the frame channel fills up with water. Other places will be the frame to skin joint and any places like marker lights or porch lights. I still have my front interior skins off fixing leaks and replacing battery boxes. Check that area to the right of the door as well. Here is a good thread on water leaks in that area.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f46/...ble-87457.html

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