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Old 05-28-2006, 11:40 PM   #1
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Inexplicable bumper design

In the process of tearing apart and remodeling my Sovereign (and Caravel, and Ovelander--every 70's Airstream, I'm sure), I came across a very poor design issue. The horizontal piece of aluminum that the bumper locker door attaches to runs under the rear inch or so of the floor. Any rain or other source of water that falls in the bumper area will run under the plywood and rot it.

I recommend undoing the lower belt so that you can gain access to this area, then apply a bead of Vulkem at the interface between the lower edge of the exposed floor and the horizontal aluminum strip. If your skin doesn't come down so low that you can't, I'd coat the entire vertical edge of the exposed floor.

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Old 05-29-2006, 12:11 AM   #2
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Cyclo

Roger,
How are you doing? That bumper looks to be a pain, sorry.
I was wondering if you are going to be using your cyclo in the next week or two?? We are on a super tight budget and are desperate for a cyclo. Please call me at 917-596-4719 or Joshua at 303-669-5643. We are willing to barter or rent please let us know. We are trying to finish our Airstream as fast as we can.
Thanks
Adam
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Old 05-29-2006, 12:49 AM   #3
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I couldn't of said that any better

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeppelinium
In the process of tearing apart and remodeling my Sovereign (and Caravel, and Ovelander--every 70's Airstream, I'm sure), I came across a very poor design issue. The horizontal piece of aluminum that the bumper locker door attaches to runs under the rear inch or so of the floor. Any rain or other source of water that falls in the bumper area will run under the plywood and rot it.
Where having the same problem but it caused us some damage to our frame.So we had to completely remove ours for now...
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Old 07-25-2006, 02:37 PM   #4
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as part of the "banana skin repair--dents" thread, I finally got around to sealing the bumper deck. Just as suspected, a lot of the flooring there is soft. I'm going to have to leave that for another day.

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I didn't want to seal the entire height of the flooring, just create about a 1/4" high dam to prevent rain water that sits on the bumper deck from seeping under the floor.

You CAN'T fix this by putting vulkem above and below the trim belt. All you'd do is create a tunnel where the water would have difficulty getting out or evaporating. You could put a line of vulkem at the top of the trim belt to keep the area a little drier and prevent some wicking into the flooring, but I'm not going to do that--I want as big a path as possible for water to escape.
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Old 07-25-2006, 03:03 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeppelinium
as part of the "banana skin repair--dents" thread, I finally got around to sealing the bumper deck. Just as suspected, a lot of the flooring there is soft. I'm going to have to leave that for another day.

Attachment 23900

I didn't want to seal the entire height of the flooring, just create about a 1/4" high dam to prevent rain water that sits on the bumper deck from seeping under the floor.

You CAN'T fix this by putting vulkem above and below the trim belt. All you'd do is create a tunnel where the water would have difficulty getting out or evaporating. You could put a line of vulkem at the top of the trim belt to keep the area a little drier and prevent some wicking into the flooring, but I'm not going to do that--I want as big a path as possible for water to escape.
I'm not sure why you can't solve this as you say by putting vulken above and below the trim belt as it looks as though you have put vulkem below the trim belt. I also removed my locker door and put lots of vulkem between it and the bumper deck. I found that water leaked under the locker door and underneath the bumper deck and back into the trailer floor that way.
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Old 07-25-2006, 03:14 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wacnstac
I'm not sure why you can't solve this as you say by putting vulken above and below the trim belt as it looks as though you have put vulkem below the trim belt...
because if the upper bead of vulkem on the trim belt fails, you will then have created a dam at the bottom of the trim belt that traps water against the flooring.

Yes, I put the bead at the bottom, but not on the trim belt. It's behind the trim belt and directly against the flooring and the bumper deck. This allows any water behind the trim belt to ooze out at the bottom and onto the bumper deck.
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Old 07-25-2006, 09:21 PM   #7
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At any rate it was a piss poor design back there.
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Old 03-11-2008, 09:00 AM   #8
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I agree that it is a poor design. On my 1970 27' Overlander it appears after removing the rear floor that the main problem was water ponding on top of the rear bumper and entering under the skin on top of the aluminum sheet that the lid is attached to.

I am thinking of bending a sheet of aluminum at a 90 deg. angle to slid up under the outer skin and under the hose carrier lid hinge. Here is a crude drawing which I hope will explain what I am trying to say.

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Any ideas on this?
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Old 03-11-2008, 09:32 AM   #9
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wacnstac: the thing that puzzles me is the problem could have been prevented if the small horizontal skin that the bumper locker lid is hinged to was eliminated--just carry the shell skin down another 2 inches and attach the hinge to the vertical skin with a thin standoff so the lid can open up flush with the shell. simple. Oops, before I say "simple" maybe I ought to go look and see if the frame cross member allows this. I think it does. As a matter of fact, I'm getting an idea...

vhord: If you put your new "L" under the outer shell skin and it hangs over the bumper locker, all water should drain away from the floor and instead go into the bumper. I would think a bit about the bead of vulkem--it isn't necessary to stop water migration, except capillary action between the skin and your "L".

My rules about water control are:

1. First priority is to always allow a path for water to exit.

2. Second priority is to prevent water entry.

This is precisely why the belly pan should not be sealed--you can attempt to 100% prevent water entry, but if you do that you almost guarantee that if any water gets in, it will be in there for a long long time. That's a much worse situation than providing some method for draining and rapid drying (eg, air flow, no matter how slight).

So I think your "L" is a very good idea--it directs the water away from the floor, but doesn't seal the area. The vulkem may also be a good idea--preventing capillary wetting of the skin may outweigh the danger of trapping water behind the skin. Don't know.

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Old 03-11-2008, 09:52 AM   #10
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Thanks Zep,

I agree that the Vulkem might be an overkill.

One more rule of water I guess is that it doesn't flow up hill. Therefore no need for the Vulkem
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Old 03-11-2008, 10:23 AM   #11
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Maybe just put vulkem at the ends of the "L", where the shell starts to curve. I'm sure there is a path there to get back under the floor.

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Old 09-19-2009, 09:15 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vhord View Post
I agree that it is a poor design. On my 1970 27' Overlander it appears after removing the rear floor that the main problem was water ponding on top of the rear bumper and entering under the skin on top of the aluminum sheet that the lid is attached to.

I am thinking of bending a sheet of aluminum at a 90 deg. angle to slid up under the outer skin and under the hose carrier lid hinge. Here is a crude drawing which I hope will explain what I am trying to say.

Attachment 56008

Any ideas on this?
I did exactly what you drew a few years ago, I had the same issue in the back, it has worked well
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Old 10-05-2009, 11:34 AM   #13
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Going by these last pics, if the top of trim is not sealed, then the water will just go down inside the bottom section (not sure what this is called) then where does it go ?

Exactly where is the plywood located on these pics ?

Would a 2000 look like this ?

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Old 10-05-2009, 12:10 PM   #14
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Yes, you have to seal the top of the trim if you don't put that new piece inside the shell.

The plywood sits right on top of the frame. The bumper support is an extension of the frame.

No clue how the "newer than vintage" Airstreams are put together.

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Old 10-14-2009, 05:22 PM   #15
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Pulled mine apart. Explains the wet spot.

I have a very small wet spot under the curb side twin bed in the back of my Excella. It appears it had just popped up because I could feel no other soft spots. I have been thinking it was from the windows, rear awning or lights. After reading this thread, I pulled the trim and bingo, I think I see where the water was coming from. For the most part, it was sealed very well with what looked like Vulkem. On the end, it looked like it lost it's seal. It is within a foot of the spot.
In the pic with the screw driver, I'm pointing to the plastic or fiberglass bottom cover. Is that what is called the banana wrap? The trim covers this up. Should I try to seal this also? It is attached below the flooring so I do not think it would wet the bottom of the OSB. Looks like someone had put some silicon on that area so I'll be peeling it off. I have Vulkem to seal everything.
Glad I caught this before major problems.
Joe
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Old 10-14-2009, 08:22 PM   #16
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Joe, the banana wrap goes from the trim band and curves down under to the belly pan. You photo makes it look like a black foam rubber strip.

In any event, just seal the top edge of the trim. If the shell skin goes down below the bottom edge of the floor, then any water that gets in will go into the banana wrap and thence into the belly pan. The belly pan is not sealed, so the water leaks out.

One of the big dangers in sealing too much is that you wind up trapping water and causing long-term corrosion. So always make sure there is a path for water to escape, if it gets in.

Zep

Quote:
Originally Posted by AirHeadsRus View Post
...In the pic with the screw driver, I'm pointing to the plastic or fiberglass bottom cover. Is that what is called the banana wrap? The trim covers this up. Should I try to seal this also? ...
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Old 10-23-2009, 07:39 PM   #17
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Poor Design

Zep,

My wife & I started to revive a 65 22' Safari this summer. We found the only floor problem is the same that you shared earlier in this thread. The bumper wicked so much water over the years that the rear of the floor is totally rotten. The original owner repaired the floor enough to get by. They must have thought the water came from the rivets and seams as they used silicone caulk on all in the back (took forever to remove it all and polish). My question is: Did the piece of angle alum. stop the wicking? Any more info you can share will be greatly appreciated.

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Old 10-23-2009, 08:13 PM   #18
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Hard to know if it worked fully. All I know is that the floor hasn't gotten noticeably soft. I don't feel any moisture in the wood when I look in that area--it's fully exposed just inside the back access door.

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Old 03-20-2010, 11:21 AM   #19
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My bumper storage area on 1973 Overlander is filled with stinky water. Is there supposed to be a drain hole? It looks rusty in there. Will wet/dry vaccuum it out. Any suggestions?
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Old 03-20-2010, 11:51 AM   #20
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Don't vacuum! drill some drain holes. It sounds like some PO "thought" it ought to be watertight. Nope, bad idea. You can't keep water coming down the back of the trailer from going in there unless you do some awesome work on the lid--got an O-ring that's 4' in diameter?

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