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Old 06-23-2018, 09:09 PM   #1
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1968 24' Tradewind
Cardiff , California
Join Date: Jun 2018
Posts: 4
Need some advise on seams Roof seams that failed

I originally posted this in exterior skins and rivets, but it is at the roof seams.
I am a new guy here, first post. I have been looking around this website for some info to help me understand why this problem happened and how to fix it. I recently bought a 1968 24'T Airstream. The seams on both sides of the top roof skin have failed. The rivets have mostly failed (broken, missing, separated seams)and the sealant to mate the seams has turned to a whitish powder when scraped off. The unit sat on the cliff above the Pacific Ocean for at least 14 years per P.O. Most of the other seams still are tight and have some sort of sealant between the skins. There is definitely some corrosion in a few areas, but most of the unit is in tack. My first priority is to make it weatherproof, fixing the two seams roughly 14' each with Olympic rivets and vulkem. I read on this website that every seam on an AS is structural. I am a union Carpenter and understand shear values. I am wondering if these rivets are sufficient. I really do not want to strip the interior skins off. The interior is mostly original and want to keep it that way. I am also wondering why the sealant failed (salt, heat, sun). Any help or suggestion will be kindly appreciated. Also, I would like to hear an opinon from a profesional trailer restorer or VTS.
Some suggested the seams did not use sealer. That sounds right, because the white powder stuff is oxidation.
Someone suggested that maybe someone was on the roof. I think that was the problem because the AS was at a surf camp with plenty of kids around.
I am still wondering about the rivets being structurally sufficent, as it is about 280 rivets and I want it done right the first time.
Thank you kindly, Big Rich

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Old 06-25-2018, 05:51 PM   #2
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1986 25' Sovereign
2008 F350, 6.4L diesel , Oak Harbor, WA
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Given that those rivet are very strong I would say they did not mechanically fail. With that in mind I would say that you had an electrical current that sacrificed the rivets. Why only those, perhaps the way the fog and wind carried the salty air to the trailer.

Therefore I would install Olympic rivets so you would not need to remove the interior skins. There are sealers that you can push in with a thin putty knife.

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Old 06-25-2018, 06:41 PM   #3
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1968 24' Tradewind
Oxford, , Mississippi
Join Date: May 2009
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I have a 1968 Trade Wind. I gutted it but did not remove the interior skins. If I had it to do over, I would pull the interior skins so that I could seam seal from the inside and use new insulation. Also you probably have aluminum wiring like I did and changing to copper would be a good thing and easy with the interior skins off. If you don't pull the interior do make sure you pull every electrical outlet and check the connections on the back for corrosion and then make sure the connections are tight. The outside outlet is notorious for leaking and being corroded. Finally, for that many rivets on the roof, I would have to go with bucked rivets. Stronger, better seal.
Bruce & Rachel
68 Trade Wind
2001 Toyota Tundra
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